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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
You open a message in a bottle. It reads: Sitting Here is in.


Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...
I like this prompt! I'll throw my hat in.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
Dispensing flash rules. Stand by.

toanoradian posted:

This is toanoradian 二千二十五 from the future. Yo, toanoradian 一 in March 18, 2013, stop being such a pussy and get in. Also get a flash rule.
Your correspondents hail from the same country several centuries apart. One of them has their own Wikipedia page.

Jonked posted:

I'm in, I want a flash rule, and I've been informed that mediocrity won't cut it anymore. If I'm not an Honorable Mention, then throws me on the loser pile.
Someone starts receiving love letters from themselves, postmarked from another reality.

Bushido Brown posted:

I want to give this Thunderdome thing a whirl. I'm in and would like a flash rule.
Whoever, wherever your characters are, they bond over their mutual adoration of a 90s pop culture icon of your choice.

Apr 12, 2006

Dec 31, 2007

What, I wonder, does this hidden face of madness reveal of the makers? These K'Chain Che'Malle?
I'm in. Can I get a flash rule please?

Jun 16, 2013

In. Are there any flash rules left for me?

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Masonity posted:

I'm in. Can I get a flash rule please?
One of your correspondents writes from a crumbling utopia.

Krotera posted:

In. Are there any flash rules left for me?
Several different people receive and forward an intergalactic chain letter. Electronic communication is to play no part in this.

Dec 8, 2013

Think of this as my chance at redemption. In.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Mercedes posted:

:siren:FLASHEDES RULES!!!!:siren:

Where optional (non-judge) wacky rules are fun!!

Communication is illegal and there has to be a mule.

Miss-use of sign-language can explode a man.

And remember, quote it if you're gonna use it!

Quoting these high-end flash rules so the new page sees them.

Starter Wiggin
Feb 1, 2009

Screw the enemy's gate man, I've got a fucking TAIL!
Do you know how crazy the ladies go for those?

sebmojo posted:

Quoting these high-end flash rules so the new page sees them.

I will take "communication is illegal and there has to be a mule".

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

Echo Cian posted:

Also since it seems to help me get into the writing groove, I'll crit another fantasy-oriented story. Doesn't have to be a recent one. Whoever drops me a link here first gets it.

No one took me up on this, so I took it upon myself, though I waited until judgment to post.

A Ghost of Many: Paladinus

Even though no one asked, too bad; I'm co-judging this week. As such, if you idiots decide to write fantasy, it had better not be boring, stupid, cliche-ridden schlock. I would strongly suggest reading the above crit and the others I did last week so you can maybe take a limp-wristed swing at learning from their mistakes.

On that note: Whether you're writing fantasy or lit fic or whatever you're doing, I want to see characters, not these paper-thin cutouts some of you try to pass off as something I should give a drat about. And the non-fantasy had better not be boring, stupid, cliche-ridden schlock, either.

Jul 25, 2012

I'm in.

Mercedes posted:

Miss-use of sign-language can explode a man.

Using this.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

In for this week, too.

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
In for this week.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005

Count me in.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
In. Please give me a flash rule, Seafood.

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

Aw, of course my story was terrible. I have no idea how to accurately gauge the quality of my own work. I can't bear to post crits now, my opinion's probably worthless. Don't bother hurrying to give me any in-depth tear-downs. Now that the idea's been flippantly described I think I have a pretty good idea why it was so hated.

In again for this week.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Some Guy TT posted:

Aw, of course my story was terrible. I have no idea how to accurately gauge the quality of my own work. I can't bear to post crits now, my opinion's probably worthless. Don't bother hurrying to give me any in-depth tear-downs. Now that the idea's been flippantly described I think I have a pretty good idea why it was so hated.

In again for this week.

Fixed that for you.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

So just to make sure, because I've been disqualified does that mean I'm unable to enter this week's prompt?

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."

Benny the Snake posted:

So just to make sure, because I've been disqualified does that mean I'm unable to enter this week's prompt?

Not at all. All it meant was that you wouldn't have been able to win last week's (though you could theoretically have lost). And it's way better than failure, plus you'll still get a crit.

You should enter again this week.

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


I am going to write some 'crits' of this prompt that was a whole month ago. (Note quotation marks denoting low effort.)

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Now, in the year of our lord 2014, he has written a story about his very favourite LEGO set, which might in fact be the most awesome LEGO set ever.

OK first of all while that is a very nice LEGO set it is definitely not the most awesome LEGO set ever, what a silly thing to say.

Anyway I really liked this story, I liked the very LEGOlike fake cussin' and cartoon violence, it was fun and funny good job Muffin.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi posted:

Your setting and cast of characters - 70505 - Temple of Light

rocked him like a wrecking ball, Bit of an anachronistic simile IMO shattering him into a puff of smoke. This doesn't really make sense to me, the verb doesn't match the thing he becomes. Now alone, the bladed ninja performed a lunging jab at the giant’s ankle, rendering a deep scratch. What the hell's a deep scratch? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. But the damage was merely cosmetic, and a moment later he was squashed into nothingness. Because this part of the story kind of has two subjects, it's not entirely clear from this who was squashed into nothingness.

...torment, then—plant a boogie... What's a then-plant? Need a space between the punctuation and the words IMO, otherwise it looks like a hyphenated word.

Apart from those things I thought it was pretty OK though.

Way too much exposition. "This is all that guy's fault, let me remind you of all these facts you and I are both already fully aware of for the convenience of the reader!" No, don't do that. Show us those things happening in the first place, or draw them out in more natural conversation that doesn't sound like infodump for the sake of it, or don't give us back-story at all because it barely matters anyway. Slightly saved by quickly LEGO building a saddle for a bear.

Your 'LEGO set' is only one person whereas your story has like four people and an airport, so there's that for a start. Offensive, ('fat chick', 'waddled') butchered language, (repeatedly using lower case 'i', 'a buzz', missing apostrophe on 'the flights so huge', didn't start a new paragraph for a new person talking at one point, had at least one instance of "thing someone said." He said - note the incorrect full stop and new sentence when it should be a comma and lower case 'h') and boring because you exposition dump the climax on us and the climax sucks anyway - I FULFILLED MY DREAM OF SELLING MY CAR AND GOING ON A HOLIDAY, AND THEN BEING A JERK TO WORKERS. Some of the other judges suggested that it was possible that other stories might be in the conversation for worst, and I laughed at them.

Oh also you used some unLEGO language.

Techno Remix posted:

My set -

“Captain!” The sudden sharp yell from Reynolds made her jump. “You need to get out here! There’s…it’s huge!”

This paragraph is the only hint that something cool and exciting could've happened. I would've preferred to have read that story I think. By no means a terrible story, just terribly disappointing that the BIG REVEAL never happens and instead you just have them crash for [unexplained reasons].

docbeard posted:

The Set:[/b]

“I’ve told you before I don’t like you leaving your Legos there.”

“Don’t call them-”

“I paid for them, I’ll call them what I like.

You play a dangerous game, docbeard. A lot of people did stories where the characters turned out to be actual LEGO people being played with by humans. It wasn't always necessarily done in a way that made it an interesting story. This was kind of an interesting take on the idea IMO. I didn't mind the story overall, it was all right. I had no strong feelings on it. Dunno what else to say really.

Entenzahn posted:

Set: Viking Fortress against Fafnir the Dragon

“Ødeleggerlegos,” King Thogar muttered.

:crossarms: Another domer who likes to play with fire.

I didn't mind this I guess, it was all right. Although Olaf landing on "something that was soft and hard" was kind of weird.

Kind of depressing and also kind of more things than are in your LEGO set, I know EBeef watered down my rule a little bit because he is a jerk, but I still definitely expected people to pick sets with multiple people if they wanted to have multiple people in their stories, but anyway. The problem I guess is not much happens. A monkey busks for a while and then dies, oh the humanity.

I thought it was all right, the LEGO / real people thing was done pretty competently. The other judges were way higher on this than I was so you won, so congrats from like a month ago I guess.

Decapitation? Not very LEGO. Also the protag was way too fascinated by the dog for no apparent reason. Took too long just marvelling at what a weird dog it was.

Crab Destroyer posted:


He wasn’t looking for a fire extinguisher, he told the scientists to give him a way to explore the volcanic caves the underground facility was connected to. Ethan could see the disappointment on his face and tried to keep Rex from abandoning the project. Sometimes telling us that a conversation happened instead of showing it to us can work. Here, in my opinion, it does not.

Rex’s eyes lit up. “If this thing can navigate the volcanic caves Digg Corp can finally justify the existence of this facility.” Need a comma in there.

When Rex graduated high school he spent a couple of years as a commercial truck driver, compared to that driving the Fire Blaster was easy. Ethan was in the passenger seat, a second person was needed to manipulate the hose and keep in contact with the Digg Corporation Underground Exploration Facility. I would break up these sentences with either semi-colons or by making them into even more sentences. (With full stops and capital letters, you get the idea.)

toward the direction the pair came from I don't really like 'toward' in this sentence. Maybe just 'in the direction?' I dunno, may be just me.

“Yes, sir” Need a period.

“I would be honored, sir” Also need one here.

“Thank you, sir” And another.

Apart from those the main problem is that the main action is boring. "There was a salamander and then they followed it and they successfully caught it." Be a bit more creative, add some more tension to the conflict, I dunno.

Pros: a more interesting premise and execution of premise than the majority of entries up to this point.
Cons: still way too many spelling and grammatical errors. Do you seriously have no means of proof reading your work?

No sorry, that's not relevant. BTW good choice because Medieval Market Village is dope. I have it and it rules. The main issue with this is that the protag doesn't do much except not die and then not disagree with a person. It's relatively well written and an interesting premise but feels more like a prologue than a story.

I'm a little bit sad because I never saw dinosaur LEGO in stores and a LEGO T-Rex would be cool. Anyway, I liked this because it had a dinosaur in it and because the rabbit ending was amusing.

The other judges hated this way more than I did, which is not to say I loved it though. I don't have strong feelings on it either way TBH.

UGHHHHHH maybe I'll write more 'crits' later, let's see how I'm feeling. Maybe I won't.

Jul 26, 2011

I haven't written any semi-serious fiction for about three years. I'm in. Let's get this train wreck a-rollin'.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?

Chairchucker posted:

UGHHHHHH maybe I'll write more 'crits' later, let's see how I'm feeling. Maybe I won't.

Literally the only reason I entered was because of the prospect of receiving a low-effort, OG TD style crit from you, you jerk :colbert:

May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator

Bad Seafood posted:

Dispensing flash rules. Stand by.
Your correspondents hail from the same country several centuries apart. One of them has their own Wikipedia page.

Do you mean an actual Wikipedia page, that I can link right now by using[insert_entry_here] or in-story Wikipedia page that is not real?

Also is it the correspondents or the country that has the Wikipedia page?

if you only say "yes" to all of this i swear to god

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

In. Please give me a flash rule, Seafood.
Your story is not about the people writing these letters, it's about the people delivering them.

Speaking of which, to clarify the Explain Nothing part of the prompt, you may of course depict the means by which your letters are sent or received, just spare me the paragraphs upon paragraphs of science fiction technical jargon explaining how it's possible.

toanoradian posted:

Do you mean an actual Wikipedia page, that I can link right now by using[insert_entry_here] or in-story Wikipedia page that is not real?

Also is it the correspondents or the country that has the Wikipedia page?

if you only say "yes" to all of this i swear to god
One of your characters must actually be a real dude who has existed.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:DjesEcho Brawl:siren:

Djeser posted:

Snake and serpent husbands and Hodja, Nasreddin: Eat, My Coat, Eat

(500 words)

(Drink your gourds dry—the Second-Woman-Story begins with thirst!) I like the dramatic nature of your story-teller's interstitial asides

Atsu, First-Man, found his well dry to the mud. “Drier-than-my-rear hole!” he cursed his well.

He knew Ngozi never thirsted, so he came to him. Ngozi, Drought-King, knew why Atsu was there. He'd drunk Atsu's well dry himself. I think there's a POV issue here - it's also too elaborate a construction for the nice simple story teller setup

“You want to drink, and I want First-Woman Ayo,” Ngozi said.

Atsu came back to Ayo and told her the deal. Ayo said, “You're not leaving me with Ngozi!” voice is wrong here

They covered their hut with brush why? and through the night they struggled together. is this like SEX because if not I'm confused and if so i'm confused too, I guess?

The next morning, they found Idowu, Second-Woman, in their hut. if they made her then say that - being simple and good takes more work than you're putting in here She was like enough to Ayo that not even Ngozi would know.

“Go to Ngozi so we can drink, or we'll drink from you,” Atsu said.

Idowu clenched her fists and left for Ngozi's hut. very vague verb

“Choke on your water!” she said over her shoulder.

On the way, she found some mud and she rolled in it. She found twigs and ground them into her hair. She smelled of sweat and dirt so much that a hyena mistook her for its own. tell me more of this hyaena I thirst to know its tale

“Lookit you,” Ngozi sneered, leather-lipped. “I wouldn't want you to scratch my rear end. why not say rear end instead of rear before? Wash, and then I'll give First-Man Atsu his water.”

Idowu bathed in Ngozi's pond, and tied her hair into long braids, and rubbed herself with lotus petals, until she was more beautiful than Ayo.

The water rushed back into Atsu's well when Ngozi saw Idowu. TOTES SEX METAPHOR

(Are you ready?)

“Yes, I want you now!” Ngozi said and clapped. (Clap!) you may not have wanted to over sell it, but I think you could have had more of these

Ngozi grabbed Idowu. With a slip and shake, she popped out of her skin, leaving the braids and flower-perfume and clean, beautiful face in his arms. She was hairy and pale and grinning like a chimp.

“If you only want my pretty looks, then take them!” (Take them!) Idowu said.

She sprinted out the door.

“Hey!” (Hey!) Ngozi bellowed and chased after.

Ngozi grabbed Idowu and with a (Clap!) she leaped from her skin again. She left behind her fingers and toes this time and dropped to all fours. Ngozi dashed after Idowu, Second-Woman-Boar.

Ngozi grabbed her again, but with a (Clap!) she sprung free. She left her arms and legs and her soft skin. She hit the ground on her long, long belly. Ngozi reached for her, but she slipped into the reeds. Yeah that bits all cool and you make a nice rollicking momentum in the chase with the actions.

When he was tired of chasing, Ngozi came to Atsu's hut. “It's only fair that I bring drought to you,” Ngozi told Atsu. the drought needs to be much more visceral, since you described water flowing back into the well

“Then it's fair that I curse Idowu, the idiot,” Atsu said. bad line, have this being said to idowu

“You'll never get your old skins back, because we'll burn them. Slide through the dirt and shake off your skin again and again,” he said.

Idowu came back to find her skins burned in Atsu's fire. When she tried to shed her skin again, she was still the same, still Idowu-Second-Woman-Now-First-Snake. She spent the rest of her life that way. Her daughters still hold her hate of men, so watch out. I like this myth-telling overall, with some reservations into your maintenance of tone and voice.

(Watch out! A snake's hate can kill!) Not so keen on the last line though - I think you could have had a catchier motto/moral or w/e

Echo Cian posted:

Kora and His Sister + Androcles and the Lion

Arya and the Guard
495 words

There were once two young slave siblings named Kora and Arya, who were so clever in their work that their master declared they should wed, for no other slaves equaled them. Arya knew she could not marry her own brother, but though they had favor, their master ignored their pleas. She searched for a way out, but could not find it on her own, nor was she allowed to speak with her brother until the wedding. She wept for their fate.

It happened that one day a guard of the house fell grievously ill. Slaves feared the guards, but Arya could not bear to think of anyone so miserable. In her kindness, she asked the plants she tended to help her, and herbs grew. With them she made a tea, which she brought to him each day. Soon the guardsman's illness left him.

When he was well, he called her to him. "What was it that made you weep so, while you tended me?"

"The master wishes to wed me to my own brother," she told him. "I cannot do it, but I don't know how to escape."

The guard was quite taken with Arya. "I will get you away from your master to repay you for saving my life. Come with me now, and we can both be gone."

But Arya would not move. "I will not go without Kora."

The guard tried to convince her, for it would be simpler to save her alone, but she remained steadfast. In the end he saw that to argue was futile. Still, he needed to prepare. He sought out her brother and returned with instructions: "Grow me hemp and hemlock, and wait for me five days."

Arya returned to her garden and the plants once again answered her plea. The guard harvested them and left for his duties, while Arya waited anxiously. If he poisoned their master, they could all be put to death; if his plan was found, they would never escape. As the time for the wedding came closer, she could only trust in him.

In five days, the guard came to her at night, and Kora was with him. Arya hugged her brother, and together they left their master's property. They passed the other guards, tied and bound with rope made of hemp. They were not set upon by dogs, for clever Kora had poisoned them with hemlock. Such was the plan they had devised together, which neither could have done alone.

As they traveled, Kora caught them food. The guard protected them by day on the road, tying their hands with rope and pretending they were his slaves until they were alone. At night, Arya asked the trees to shelter them, until at last they made it safely away from their master's lands. By now Arya and the guard were quite in love. They married, with Kora's blessing; and the three remained loyal to each other for the rest of their lives. Hrm. Your prose is ok, and you get that fairy tale cadence reasonably well, but there are a lot of dead words in here and really nothing much actually happens - you could have cut some repetition and put another obstacle in there. Plus I kind of wanted some more character from kora, but I suppose 500 words is not a lot to work with.


Neither of these were shining jewels of stories, though both made a reasonable fist of the prompt. While Djeser made a few frownable mistakes in maintaining the jaunty tone he'd set himself, he had good words and told an engaging story with them. Echo wasted too many of her words on flannel to do the same.

Victory to Djeser.

Nov 18, 2008

Okay, here's my Thunderdome entry!

EDIT: I hope you don't mind my interpretation of the flash rule (There must be a significant age discrepancy between your correspondents.) :ohdear:

Aaron's Burden (1189 words)

The room is dark, dusty. There's light from above, but I cannot see the source, only more darkness. There is a table, a screen upon it. It's the central focus of the unseen spotlight along with a chair, and he's there. “Good evening,” he said, the screen on the table flickering into life.

”What the hell-?!”

“I know why you're here.”

* * *

The dream- no, the nightmare- stuck in my mind. In it, I shot my ex-wife after leaving my kids with her for the weekend, because I knew, somehow, that she'd kill them. I couldn't stop thinking about it, didn't want to. We loved our kids- it was the only thing we could agree on. Even so, I made sure to hug them extra tight on Friday evening, feeling like an idiot the whole time.

On Monday, I recieved a phone call from the police.

The next time I dreamed, I did as it said.

* * *

”You're a murderer,” he told me. “Plain and simple.”

“I didn't have a choice!” I screamed at him. “You know that!”

“I do,” he said. “But I also know that it doesn't change anything.”

* * *

I fix my scope on her from the roof. She was young and pretty- too much for what she was doing. For what I was about to do. I couldn't put down the gun. I had no choice.

It was hard at firs- sometimes the person I killed wasn't even a criminal. I'd be allowed to live my life for a while, but sooner or later the consequences caught up. They were the brainwashed cultists who detonated the bombs. Her son's the school shooter. His financial misconduct bankrupted nations. And every time, I'd 'rewind' to the critical point- younger, wiser.

I take aim. Her haid was cut short, her makeup expertly applied. I twitch the scope- there, a plainclothes officer- no, two. More there. It didn't matter.

I pull the trigger, force myself to watch. She was- is, forever is- sixteen, remember that. I need to watch, need to remind myself of what I am.

I quickly go back inside. Hide the rifle in the janitor's closet. He was ex-law enforcement; that's his rifle. He was smart- he'd kill just one or two prostitutes before skipping states, using his knowledge against the police. I tried anonymous calls at first, but by the time the law started believing me, the killer would have moved on- worse, his elusiveness would inspire copycats. This was the fourth rewind, and by now I'd given up fighting back.

The girl down there though? She was doing research; her first serious role outside the popular tween comedy that had made her a star. The resulting manhunt would turn into a frenzy, but this would focus on how stupid he was attacking a girl anyone would have recognized up close. He would be mocked, vilified- a band's one-hit-wonder would have been about what an idiot he was.

I never got to undo that Friday evening. Eventually, I stopped hoping. Maybe that was the point.

* * *

”It doesn't get easier, knowing what will happen,” he said.

I nodded. “Might even be worse- most of these would have just slipped my radar.” My voice started rising. “Hell, I thought some of them were history, or I'd have died never knowing about them in the first loving place!”

I slumped against a wall, sat down sobbing. “Why the gently caress did anyone think I could do this?”

* * *

Getting out's always the same.

I leave her slowly bleeding to death. She will live long enough to beg passers by for help. Useless- nobody helps slaves, and her grieving husband would go on to give vital intelligence to the Union.

But that was later. Right now, I need to walk- just walk. My eyes grow heavy, my mind drowsy, everything hazy. I never see anything change, but I'd turn away and look back- there, a stone wall crawling with vines that were not there before. Turn back, forest has become jungle. At some point I fall asleep and dream again.

And then I wake up once more, two lives in my head- one, the life I was 'supposed' to have led up to this point, always alone. The other....

I look at the boy in the crib. He is my son- the me now, at least. But the Romans are coming, and my wife wants to ransom him for our survival. It will not last. If my people fight, they will find themselves better warriors than my wife gives them credit for. The Romans will conquer us, but they will respect us, instead of use them as slaves- slaves who will burn Rome to the ground, long before its golden age.

I pick him up, hear him coo. I kiss him on the forehead, put him back in.

He will not wake up.

Watch, drat you.

* * *

”You tell yourself sometimes that it's necessary,” he says sadly. “That someone has to do something. And you believe it.”

“I do,” I reply. “But that doesn't help. Never did.”

“Liar,” he says, smiling wanly.

* * *

It's not always bad.

This late in the war, the Nazis are scraping the barrel. Some of the train's guards are veterans of the Great War, finding kinship with their Fuhrer. Some are children, barely out of a schoolboy's uniform, drenched in Nazi propaganda. It doesn't matter, we are stopping this loving thing. Someone on my side falls, and we dive for cover.

I throw a grenade, and by sheer luck, it lands among the trees behind the machine gunners. They are inexperienced kids, laughing as they suppress us. Those the grenade doesn't take out are showered with splinters from behind, and I hear a literal squawk of pain. It's hilarious, and I'm laughing as we counterattack.

Train doors are thrown open. The escapees cry grateful tears. We lead them away into the forest.

The war's ending- many will live. It's bittersweet- I know I had killed one of them last week, twenty years from now- loving Six-Day War. But she was just one of hundreds- today, I lose myself in joy.

* * *

”Too few of them, though,” he said. I nodded. “Too far between.”

“I couldn't take it anymore,” I whispered, head down. “This really is the last dream,”
we say together. Curiosity strikes me, and he answers, as I know he will.

“This recording's almost done,” the me displayed on the screen says. “It's set to erase itself afterwards. I'm sure you can redo it.” I look at the bony remnants in the seat. I touch them, and they crumble to dust. “We'll be here awhile,” he adds. “Or you will, at least; my time's up. Goodbye, Aaron.”

And with that, the recording stops. I look around the room. How many times have I come in here? Where- and when am I?

It doesn't matter, I realize. I just want it to end. There's only one thing to do.

I touch the screen, and a menu pops up. I press 'Record'.

“Good evening,” I say. One Mississippi, two Mississippi. “I know why you're here.”

CommissarMega fucked around with this message at 13:39 on Mar 22, 2014

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)
Muffin's crit

That took a little longer than expected. CommissarMega, I'll do yours tomorrow. I need to meet my daily quota of children's cartoons tonight.

Apr 29, 2007

Why would an ambulance be leaving the hospital?


Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.

Flash me!

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

RedTonic posted:


Flash me!
Your characters are all subversions of well-worn archetypes, with one exception.

Some archetypes to get you started.

FAKE EDIT: It should go without saying your characters should also be actually distinct human beings on top of being drawn from long-standing archetypes.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

I really wasn't going to sign up this week, yet here I am doing it anyway.

Apr 12, 2006

WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

I really wasn't going to sign up this week, yet here I am doing it anyway.

Good on ya.

Martha Stewart Undying
Oct 22, 2012


Apr 7, 2009

Patron of the Pants

Feb 8, 2014

In it to win it. Or just to take part. That's what's important, right?

Bikini Quilt
Jul 28, 2013
I'm in, lets do this.

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

In it like a virgin for the very first time.


Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
Ghost Story Crits Part 1

So, I have decided that the only way I can face revisiting all these stories is to go through and simply note down the three things for each story.

In general though, one thing I noticed a hell of a lot in these stories was a lack of agency in the protagonists. If your story is all about someone who meets a ghost, the story shouldn’t be that the character meets a ghost, who then does something that the person sees. The person has to play a part other than observer unless you’re really good and can somehow make a non-viewpoint character the actual protagonist (with all the imparted knowledge about their state and agency that implies).

I’m putting that one at the top for free so I don’t have to write it twenty times.

Running into walls - Dancing and drinking

Don’t have a story where, when your character turns in a plot token, they are rewarded with the exact same plot token (in this case, a skanky fedora)

Don’t just leave a character abandoned in the middle of nowhere because, gently caress it, they’re just some chick in a flapper outfit, it makes your hero look like a douche. Ghostly invite or not, he won’t get a second date.

Don’t end your story at the start of Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean video.

This one was actually my pick for loser. It seemed to have some vague idea of the dots it needed to connect, but the lines were all squiggly and the final picture was Jackson Pollock’s chimpanzee.

Masonity - Bonfire Night

Learn difference between it’s and its. Seriously. You are too old not to know this.

I did like the actual reveal. The terror is all in the guy’s head - and the dog doesn’t break character and do freaky ghosty stuff. However, the guy went too quickly from lost to existential terror. Some more build-up would have given us time to know him.


I needed the false dawn of a thousand street lights. I needed the chaotic orchestra of traffic. I needed the smells of grilled onions, week old hot-dogs and month old, hardened buns.
this shows potential, but then you said buns and after the last guy finished up in an MJ video I started thinking of pedo jokes which spoiled it somewhat. Blame him and his awful story.

Some Guy TT - that which is seen

The first paragraphs are basically exposition. Don’t do that, have the facts of the matter come from Steven’s interaction with the ‘ghost’ “You get outa here,” Steven’s slurred, “unless you just put away ten drug dealers for a thousand and, and, something years combined. Did you? Then gently caress off!”

The psychedelic trippy stuff in the middle is usually more interesting for you than the audience. A little of that kind of detail goes a long way. Make it symbolic so it has a deeper resonance than just weird poo poo. What does it mean that he almost gets eaten?

The ending is disappointing - what revenge? For being smelled? For being old? “Haha,” said the crazy old judge, “it is true I am old and nobody likes me, but so will you be one day, and vengeance will then be mine, fucker!” Dunno - seems weak. You’ve undercut yourself by being vague about the ghostiness of the whole thing.

Chairchucker - Undying Love

It was a good gag and we all laughed.

But it wasn’t much more than a gag, which made us sad

And then a ghost turned up and ripped her flesh mask off and we all laughed again. That poo poo never gets old.

nethilia - Katy’s Doll

This seems pretty adequate - competent grammar and spellin’s. Character gets some growth and realises the value of her little sister so there’s even a character arc in there. It’s all a bit twee, though. The doll is haunted so they throw it away. Kid is good girl after all and really loves her sister - hooray!

So what this story really needed was something to give it some edge. Eiither something a bit more horrific than a floating thing that inhales, that can be gotten rid of with a decent throwing arm, or a venture off the beaten path of cliche endings.

Watch the said-bookisms in there “She whimpered weakly” -it’s not like she was going to whimper strongly

SurreptitiousMuffin - Freezing Floor Bolt Gun Blues

Visceral and powerful. I liked it - some very twisty turns of phrase going on there.

The antag didn’t seem particularly ghosty - more horror movie villain, but you tied it in with the meatworks and the dead animals so whatever.

I really didn’t like the ending. He just fought the bugger and and pretty much won, so he’s going to kneel just because he’s dead? Seemed to violate the character somewhat.

This was my pick for second.

CommisarMega - A doctor for Mama

Again, not too bad - but a little twee. Nasty spirit isn’t raelly so nasty after all, because the good little boy is good. Boo, I am a monster and you are a bad child. No, I am am doing a good thing. OK, now we are friends.

As such it felt trapped between being an actual story, and being a fairy-tale, where such caricatures are more at home. But that didn’t fit with the ‘this is the actual truth about hantu tetek’ approach you took - you needed a real boy with real failings to make his goodness be more than a stereotype.

The boy ‘heard her say’ something about 20 times. We know he heard her because it’s dialogue in the story.

Echo Cian Fallen Grace

A ghost story that gave me goosebumps. Very nicely done. Also, well written, crafted and plotted.

When I was discussing this with Kaishai she thought the characterisation had let you down - there was no reason for the ghost to fall in love with the girl except she was a plucky period chick. I pointed out the line ““A servant lost his love there,” the maids said. “He was driven mad, so he leaped off the balcony to join her. He waits there for women who look like her, and kills them so he won't be lonely.”” which to me kind of answer that as a plot problem (though some character dev wouldn’t have gone amiss) and gives it a nice, dark edge. However, I didn’t actually pick up on it the first time through, only after I had a look to see where Kaishai was coming from, so if that was a line you wanted to follow, maybe strengthen it somehow with other references or clues to indicate it has happened before

I’m in two minds about the interspersed backstory - execution - coronation - rebellion. On the one part if gives the story a sense of time passing, but on the other it’s so far removed until the end - perhaps the events could be tied into the everyday activities - eg people are gearing up for new queen's arrival or something.

Cache Cab - The Baptist

OK - that was just weird as gently caress

At the time I couldn’t decide if it was sexist/racist or just provocative. I’m starting to come down on the former side (I think spending time on the size of the Jewess’s nose really pushed me over the edge there), but it’s a tricky road to navigate, and while I don’t think you should be chastised for trying something along those lines, I also don’t think it came off very well, because I spent too much time trying to guess your intent and not enough worrying about the story, which could have been done just as well without picking solely on that kind of stereotype.

While you paint the picture of the situation well, there’s not really a story going on - we learn what these guys do and then that’s it, except for the bit at the end where some future stuff is mentioned.

Cpt Mahatma Gandhi - Blessed By Yama

Who is Yenkat? Not know this really annoyed me for some reason, because it denied me some context for the finale.

For some reason I found it quite hard to get caught up in the tale. You’ve got about 5 section breaks, which is usually three too many for a piece of this length.

Also why do people steal ghost bones? Not for good eatin’ - it just seems a bit random.

Similarly - he kills his brother, mentions it once, and then gets distracted by something else. I guess I didn’t really feel involved in his story as it didn’t really seem to affect him much.

Djeser Burden

This was just dull. Over time the dragon does less and less interesting stuff until he becomes completely passive. Possibly an actually good story in reverse. Or perhaps some origin story knocked off in a couple of panels before something interesting happens.

The ghost dragon is, as the protag notices, a cool idea, but you’ve only done half your job - you had a lot of words to spare, surely you could have done something with them. Because the dragon is talking, nothing ever happens in the framing story except for a very non-sequitur-ish, and to be frank, not very funny last line.

This is a beginning, but theres no context - no consequence. To be honest, I would rather have read a story about the metal band with the ghost dragon’s hilariously unruly first gig and left the backstory to a couple of throwaway lines.

Entenzahn - Why rules are important

This is a slight work. You can’t be taken seriously if you call someone Isaac McScratchy, and the only way this could possibly work is if the nastiness is in stark relief to everything else, so you’re undercutting you own efforts.

You also left the last, presumably supposed to be scary line as ‘a nasty voice cackled’. This is neither scary nor horrible. It comes across like the potions mistress in the The Worst Witch. (I have never read the Worst Witch, it just sounds suitably bland). Try and think of other ways of getting the same point across, metahpors or similes. Would you rather read about a voice that sounds like chainsaws on flesh, or nasty voices that cackle?

Plus the ending is just cheap. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy, it’s not scary enough to be a dark comedy. If it was a sketch in a comedy show, the show would be cancelled. Need to try a little harder here.

the News at 5 - Final

You keep on having Walter speak and then Brian do something in the same paragraph and it’s confusing.

This wasn’t really a ghost story - this was just a story where the bully gets the nerd to cheat on a test for him and then the nerd gains some self-respect, and the bully gets his come-uppance. Why did this need to be about ghosts? It felt a bit shoe-horned in to the whole ghost thing. Plus, they all react as if blackmailing ghosts is perfectly natural. Dunno - didn’t really ring true for me.

That said, it was competently written, has a narrative arc for each character and aside from the quoting issue, clear to read - so nearer the top end than the bottom all in all.

nitrousoxide - rematch

I completely glazed over this one. It wasn’t funny or particularly well told. I didn’t hate it as much as some, but it really didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I can turn my brain off with the best of them, but wackiness for its own sake never really floats my boat, and this didn’t really bring much else to the table.

That and the fact that things happened, seemingly because the author thought it would be cool, but these dudes are just picking up the magic books and casting spells just because they can. It’s not, as they say, internally consistent - it reads more like a comic that’s been translated into English.

You need to build your story out of interlinking components that create a whole, rather than just filling in the blanks after another 'And then...'

Starter Wiggen - cattle sam

I actually liked this. It’s simplistic, but it has a nice rhythm to it. Cattle Sam should have been explicitly dared at the end, but not a bad effort at all.

the first section is probably completely redundant. As a framing device it seems to start in the middle which doesn’t quite add up.

There’s possibly a bit too much conversation in there - readers also want to learn about what happens by seeing it happen. That’s why the second to last section works better than some of the others.

Tyrannosaurus - Night Lights in Louisiana

Very good piece - nothing to be ashamed of here.

Didn’t like the last line much - might have worked better without it.

The tendency to break things into single sentence paragraphs became a bit wearisome when it got to things like


Jack exhaled.

“I think I’m in love with you,” he said.
. You start off better in this regard but it breaks down at the end and sometimes it’s not warranted especially if you want you piece to flow and not be poetry.


the two problems with this one were 1) it’s just a silly premise, and 2) nothing happens except he discovers his mate is a ghost.

Why would he have to spend time apologising for the friends behaviour if no-one could see him?

How is he affected by the fact that his best friend is a ghost? that might have made a more interesting tale. As it is, it ends just as things start to get warmed up.

elfdude - the call of the banshee

(meh - not actually a ghost story as Banshees are fairy folk)

Pretty glib story - guy dies, but that’s ok because sexy fae chick is giving him the time of day. You go, dead boy.

today’s grammar area of focus is the Humble Comma

Plus - the Banshee didn’t actually protect him from the Banshee’s wail, nor did the wail apparently come from Morrigan (who is a goddess figure anyway) so how does he realise she’s a Banshee?

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