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  • Locked thread
Apr 12, 2006

Phobia posted:

In. :toxx:. Ain't letting last round happen again.

PootieTang posted:

Oh and I'm in for this week too.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 18:48 on Jun 3, 2014


Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW

Oh and I'm in for this week too.

Apr 12, 2006

:siren: Jeeple Meza and the Art of Perspective Judgement :siren:

Jeza has disappeared and Meeple has not. Meeple wins by default. Yay.

Apr 4, 2013

In for five dollars free!

Apr 12, 2006

Kalyco posted:

In for five dollars free!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




CommissarMega posted:

Can I get an extension on the loserbrawl, just an extra day maybe? I've just got back from work, and I'm dog-tired :(

o.k.. You both have til FRIDAY at high noon EST.

Dec 31, 2008

"I thought we had something, Shepard. Something real."

I'm in.

This is my first time writing a story in prose, so it'll probably be terrible.

Apr 12, 2006

Sam. posted:

I'm in.

This is my first time writing a story in prose, so it'll probably be terrible.

Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.

If I regret this, I will personally murder each and every person in this thread whose username is magnificent7.

Give me a prompt, Ser Tyranno.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

I'm in with a :toxx: this week since I hosed up and ended up getting way too drunk at a Game of Thrones party last weekend instead of writing.

Apr 12, 2006

Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

If I regret this, I will personally murder each and every person in this thread whose username is magnificent7.

Give me a prompt, Ser Tyranno.

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I'm in with a :toxx: this week since I hosed up and ended up getting way too drunk at a Game of Thrones party last weekend instead of writing.

Dec 5, 2003


Kinapak the Ijiraq 1246 words

I remember how mama always told me that papa died in a plane crash, except when she drank, then she always called him a cheating bastard. Since I was eleven at the time, I thought she was mad about Monopoly, because we used to play a lot of it - there wasn’t much to do in Greenland. I remember how my jealousy grew alongside her belly. I remember my sister being born. The shaman blessed her and mama said to me, “Ahna, you are my wise little girl, and you have to promise me you will always take care of Sesi.” So I tried.

At the time, I didn’t know I would have to take care of mama, too.

Every morning I cleaned the house before school and every evening I stopped by the little grocery store on the way home to see the owner, who gave us expired bread and produce and sold us baby formula. Mama took care of Sesi during the day. At night, she drank and reminded me to take care of my sister while I cooked dinner for the three of us. “You wouldn’t have to do any of this if that cheating bastard were still here, Ahna.” When she passed out, I pulled the bottle from her hands and covered her in a blanket.

“I hate you. We were fine before you came along.” Sesi waved her arms and legs. I fed her a bottle and burped her, then put her in the crib papa had built for me. She was so little under the worn blanket, with a mop of dark hair like me, but icy blue eyes like papa. Sesi curled her hands into tiny fists and fell asleep. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.

I grabbed my parka and opened the door. The wind bit through the layers. Overhead, the Northern Lights swirled green through the autumn sky and the moon hung full and bright. The night was free; I strapped on my snowshoes and left my sleeping family for the quiet solitude of the ice sheet.

In the silence, I found a VW bus secreted in the hollows of the hills, hand painted yellow and black, a big smile on the front and a stinger on the back. My magic bumble-bus. An immense gust of wind blew out of the van when I opened the door, accompanied by the smell of oily leather and sound of clicking bones. Dozens of amulets rattled together; they hung from hooks in the ceiling, each one taken and carved from whale or wolf, bear or reindeer. I climbed inside, sat in one of the weathered seats, and reached for a bear claw hanging by a leather thong. As my fingers closed, a man spoke from outside, and I whipped my hands behind my back.

“Are you lost, little girl?” He sounded big. He sounded like papa.

“No! I’m not lost.” I leaned out of the bumble-bus and looked around.

“Well, if you don’t need a guide, maybe you need a friend. You can call me Kinapak.”

I jumped out and followed the sound of his voice to a pair of faint, red eyes looking out from the darkness of the hillside. “I’m Ahna,” I said, voice shaking, and picked up a nearby rock. “If you’re my friend, come into the light!”

“Of course,” he said, and stepped into the light of the moon.

Kinapak was tall. Or short. Some days he was handsome and others toad-faced. Some days he was a snow hare, running across the ice fields like a shot while I tried to keep up. He was a lumbering bear, carrying me on his shoulders while I roared at the top of my lungs and then broke down giggling. He was a reindeer, and we rode across the land, exploring hidden caves and lost valleys. He taught me how to track animals, small and large, by starlight. The days belonged to mama and Sesi, but the nights of that winter were ours.

“Kinapak, why do your eyes fade a little more each day?”

“I am dying, little one.”

“You can’t leave me, papa bear.” I thumped his pelt with my fist, but he only smiled, huge bear teeth shining in the moonlight.

“It will be alright, Ahna.” He sat down on the snow and put me in his lap. “I am very old and spent many years in that prison. You freed my body, but my spirit is still trapped and I cannot take sustenance. Each day uses the silla, energy, that I have left.”

“I won’t let you die, Kinapak. You have to take care of your friends.”

“Then you must free me and do it willingly, regardless of cost.” He set me aside and the shadows of his form flowed into a familiar reindeer. “Climb up.” We rode to my bumble-bus, where we met and left each evening. “Find the sealskin amulet and bring it to me. I cannot enter or I will be trapped again, but I will guide you.”

The bus was always ten degrees warmer than the frigid ice sheet outside. I sorted through the amulets, dozens of them, and found it hanging from the rearview mirror. A ball of sealskin, sewn shut, with a half-dozen bits of bone dangling from it. Kinapak’s voice whispered, Ahna.

I took it.

I remember the horrible screaming in my ears when I first clutched it. Stepping out into the snow, blood dripping from my hand as the small pieces of bone cut into my palm.

Ijiraq, ijiraq, child stealer!

The calm when Kinapak wrapped his hands around mine. “Open it up with this.” He gave me a knife. My hands shook uncontrollably, but he steadied them as I cut open the pouch. Thirteen petite, human teeth tumbled out onto the bloody snow, each one a stolen life.

I sank to my knees and could only watch while Kinapak whispered, “Find me,” and left, his eyes glowing a little brighter in the darkness. When I could stand, I scooped up the knife and destroyed amulet, and started walking.

At the house, Sesi was gone. The tracks led north: wolf, then reindeer. Mama was bruised, drunk, and raving. “You promised, you promised.” I got her into a parka, grabbed papa’s old rifle, and led her to the bumble-bus.

“Mama, stay here. It’s safe.” I left her there. I was eleven and angry and, at the start of that spring, I could track a dandelion seed on the wind. Kinapak couldn’t hide from me.

He fled across the ice sheet, Sesi in his arms, and I followed, rifle in my hands. I ate what I could catch and drank melted snow. That day, I camped under the shadow of an inuksuk, a stone marker, and dreamed of a crossroads. My family stood on one side, Kinapak on the other. That night, I found his lair.

“You lied to me!” I shouted.

“I’m a liar, but I’m also your friend,” he said, standing over Sesi. “We can be together forever. Just us, you and your papa bear.”

“You stole my sister.” Her eyes were blue like glaciers, like papa’s, and I knew where I belonged.

I remember how the shot hit him in the chest and he fell over. I remember how I followed the guiding spirit of the inuksuk, using the knife and amulet to trap the evil ijiraq. I remember Sesi’s first tooth, first step, first word.

Sep 22, 2005


Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

If I regret this, I will personally murder each and every person in this thread whose username is magnificent7.
WTF did I put in your rear end?

Dec 5, 2003


The time draws nigh, Tyrannosaurus. I'm going to bed, but I'll be here in the morning.



Drinking coffee. Possibly eating toast. Correcting typos.

Thalamas fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Jun 4, 2014

Apr 12, 2006

Thalamas Brawl Entry

And Beyond
1157 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 02:56 on Dec 11, 2014

Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.

magnificent7 posted:

WTF did I put in your rear end?

You're the only one whose name I remembered. I am very upset about the baka gaijin ruining Kurosawa-sama's epic masterpiece, 七人の侍, by setting it in America with western actors, and your username reminds me of this disgusting slight towards the chrysanthemum majesty of Nipponese cinema.


Jan 26, 2013


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I love book-cover art too much to miss out on this. In.

Apr 12, 2006

Kaishai posted:

I love book-cover art too much to miss out on this. In.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Anyone want to trade with me?

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


In in IN.

Aug 2, 2002

systran posted:

Anyone want to trade with me?

write about a hair cutter person that has to deal with teenagers from the local high school. they're all annoying, but dammit if she isn't going to give them a fabulous hair cut.

Sep 22, 2005


So... what? No crits?

Apr 12, 2006

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

magnificent7 posted:

So... what? No crits?

Hold on to your tits, Jesus Christ. Wednesday crits are hardly unheard of.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

The Nicest Crits You'll Get All Week (4934 words)

So drat, you guys, I just moved from a car-clogged shithole where I could hardly go outside for fear of getting mowed down by 22-year-old Microsoft employees texting on their Windows Phones while driving their Miatas with their knees, to a cute beachy town where it is not only possible to walk outside but also go for the occasional bike ride and maybe even smile at people on the street once in a while without worrying that they're either going to cringingly apologize to me after years of being trained to expect everyone they interact with to demand their jobs & their heads in return for the smallest slight, or else scoff at me for having the audacity to walk around with piercings and weird hair and while making less than $100k a year: this has put me in an astonishingly good mood, a downright attitude of goodwill as it were, and thus you will find your crits rather unusually nice this week (and while this does not indicate that your stories were any better than terrible, I do sincerely hope that it makes you cheerier than you were before and/or inspires you to keep coming back to Thunderdome, where sometimes we are not all cocks).

Drunk Nerds - Just One More

- You don’t shy from the morbid, macabre, and bizarre. Often writers are too timid to go for the big hit in the guts - you aren’t. And you save it for late in the story, where it has more impact.
- I didn’t see the ending coming, but in retrospect it seems inevitable - of course he’d be furious with the mermaid if he thought that she was the reason his wife left - of course he’d think she was more trouble than he was worth. This means it’s essentially, structurally, a good ending.
- The “pathetic old perv” line made me laugh, because it runs counter to the tone that you expect when you’re dealing with mermaids and decrepit old fishermen and blah blah blah floaty fablelike stuff. That kind of contrast can be a nice jarring note in a story.

CommissarMega - Hydrogen, Part II

- Nice transitions, early on, between exposition and action. You have a lot of exposition to get through, but you successfully situate it in the context of actions where it’s reasonable that your POV character would be sitting back & contemplating for a bit.
- I like the ‘smallness’ of this story. Really, only a single thing happens, but it’s enormously significant in context - when you’re writing to this (very) tight of a word limit, you have to have in some sense a single action, a single character, a single motivation, etc. You don’t overcomplicate things, which is nice.

dhamster - Riding the Rockoon

- You capture the physicality of the narrator’s adventure well. From reading what you’ve written here, I can definitely ‘get’ the sensations that he’s experiencing and what he’s picturing.
- The Cosmo-Jacket updates are a nice, topical, relatable gag. I laughed.
- In fact, I like the feel of the whole thing - the disappointing five-minutes-from-now future, where the impossible is literally possible, but it never quite works out exactly how you’d expect it to, but you can’t even be enraged about it or even that disappointed in it, because you’ve come to expect that ‘cool but mildly disappointing’ is just how the world functions. If you were going for this, you totally hit it, and I dig it. If you weren’t, try to rework and get more of that sense into it, because it’s one of the strong points of the story.

theblunderbuss - An Alien

- I like the contrast here between serious, poetic images and goofy, over-the-top ones. See the second paragraph: “purple as the evening sky”, but then we go straight to “strange face-eating crab thing”. It almost reads like you’re lampooning the kind of literature that would say the former thing unironically, which is cool.
- The implication, halfway through, that Jim stuck his head in a facehugger just for the hell of it. Hah! Another cute contrast, between the fraught ‘facehugger’ archetype & the goofy poo poo these space bros are doing. That lightheartedness is a strength.
- "KkkKkKkkKkkkKKkKKK," he said, and ate his face. Love a good deadpan delivery, and this has it in spades.

Meeple - Contract

- Nice work keeping your exposition from feeling excessive. It would’ve been tempting to ‘explain’ the concept of geas, the presence of witches, etc. to the reader; instead, you’ve chosen to just let the reader take it as it comes, with a bit of assistance given by a relatively ignorant character (John) - although his ignorance is relevant, so even this doesn’t feel problematic. In short, nice work establishing a foreign-feeling universe without jumping up and down and going ‘this is foreign!’
- I like Senne’s voice in dialogue. It’s consistent, and I feel as if I can hear it, just based on what little info you’ve provided.
- The bullet ‘flattening to a disk of lead’ when it hits Senne is a nice touch. Goes a long way towards making the witches feel inhuman, without robbing them of their human motivations.

Entenzahn - Prince Charming

- You managed to carry the (ridiculous) tone from the first sentence into the entire piece with consistency and aplomb. The first five lines could easily all have been from the same story - I wouldn’t have even noticed that the first one was borrowed.
- “I give the ground a few good smacks with my body.” works really well as humor, at least for me - it just gets at that reversal-of-expectations thing that is at the heart of almost all good humor.
- The transition between the ambulance and the fantasy world is seamless. “I notice the roaring dragon behind me has stopped” made me do a medium-sized double take and then instantly get exactly what you were trying to do, which is exactly how you wanted it. Other writers, take heed - just go ahead and write the weird poo poo, don’t try to apologize for it or ease us into it.
- Lots of action. A+ for writing a story where Things Happen, as opposed to a story where People Sit Around And Natter.
- Honestly, I just loved this in general. A lot of people recently have tried to do the ‘neckbearded goon’ stereotype, but you actually manage to make the guy sympathetic (largely by giving us lots of rapidfire action, which gives us - against our better instincts - the impression of struggle against a great force, and by not obviously making fun of the poor guy, but just presenting his actions as they occur and as he perceives them. By being non-judgemental as a writer, essentially. Compare this to the story about ‘A Talentless Hack’ a month or two ago, or that story of Moon’s that everyone hated, and rejoice in what you’re doing right.

Broenheim - A Mammoth of a Problem

- You nail the way that people with children talk, and the way that people who care about children talk to children. I.e. “Hey, girls, can you come here for a second? Daddy has something to ask you.”
- I appreciate that you didn’t attempt to explain the presence of the mammoth through science (that would probably end up spurious unless you’re a literal biologist IRL, because gently caress, we all only have a week to do research.) As it is, it feels almost like a story for children - the kind of magical tale that you’d tell to a child without blinking.
- The ending is sweet and simple, and so is the structure as a whole, in fact - you’re really showing the idea of ‘inciting incident -> problem -> character dilemma -> character resolves problem by coming to a decision re: dilemma.’

Nikaer Drekin - Gertie’s Game

- You establish the stakes explicitly, and early on. A nice example of a story where the stakes aren’t life-or-death, but that still demonstrates there have to be some stakes - in this case, it’s enough that a bunch of drunks in some redneck joint might want their bar tabs paid for.
- Via tone, you definitely led me to expect that the ‘pit of acid’ wasn’t actually a ‘pit’ of ‘acid’. Especially with the bit at the beginning of Monty’s attempt, where he ‘stands in the pit, still dripping wet...’ - I was actually totally with you. That meant it had a lot of impact when you revealed that it was, in fact, a pit of acid. The early lightheartedness contrasts beautifully with this turn for the macabre. Actually, another comment about this - the physicality of your description of Monty’s melting is really nice. It’s exactly enough without being too much.
- I didn’t see the ending coming, but in retrospect it lacks the cheap cutesiness of a ‘twist’ ending, because you do a lot to establish the ‘uncanniness’ of the setting early on. I.e. I don’t feel like I’ve been cheated, that people can come back from death in this setting; instead, it sets me wondering about the eerie connotations.

magnificent7 - One More For The Road.

- Although you give us basically zero detail about the setting, via very small touches - the names, the word/phrasing choices - you convey a very specific setting and tone that are both consistent and contribute to the way that the story goes. I’m totally getting a noir-y western-y vibe here. Which is why it’s all the more jarring/interesting when you use things that seem slightly anachrronistic, like Ted Nugent or whatever - it drives home the fact that just from your first paragraph or two, I expect these guys to be driving around in horsedrawn carriages, not cars. What you’ve done with that makes it feel fresh.
- Another ending that I sincerely wasn’t expecting, but that in retrospect makes perfect sense.
- This is a good example of the size of a problem/event that one should be trying to tackle in a story this small. A single scene, with backstory heavily implied but not even remotely described, with a single problem and a single resolution. I personally have trouble with not explaining literally everything in the stories that I write, so it’s good to see somebody who has a handle on, narrative-wise, the scope that flash fiction should have.

D.O.G.O.B.G.Y.N. - Report on the Peri-Tharsian operation

- The narrator’s voice is spot on. I sincerely feel that I’m being told a story by an actual person, and that person isn’t necessarily DOGOBYN The Writer - the little omissions, the asides, the occasional quirks of word choice (“insta-bonkers”) - this is a great example of when you should really, definitely use first person, because this narrator sounds like an actual person. Nice work.
- I was gearing up to be disappointed because due to the fact the guy is telling his own story, we know already that he gets out okay, which robs us of a bit of suspense… but then that ending. God drat. This week has a run of good endings, and this is a nice example of such.
- Your integration of the content and tone of the sentence you were given is particularly good. I.e. there are echoes of it throughout the story, and having read the story I certainly feel as if it was a thing the narrator would have said - you really nail this when you put in ‘a Dunno Whether to Cry or Laugh measure’ towards the end. In general actually my comments here are revolving around your generally excellent command of tone, which is a big strength of this story.

Mercedes - Like a Wrecking Ball

- I’m digging the contrast you set up between Carlos’s utter immersion in his acting, and his apparent ‘puppet-like’ acting from the perspective of his brother.
- Because, the word in which Carlos is ‘immersed’ is also, from the perspective of your readers, a pretty clearly ‘fake’ and superficial one - the world of Miley Cyrus and twerking and whatever the gently caress. And then there’s this extra level where it’s literally acting in a move, so it’s not only ‘fake’ but literally fake. So you’re kind of starting to explore this idea of truly, genuinely immersing yourself in an artificial, deliberately-constructed experience, which is not just deep for Thunderdome but pretty deep in general.
- The relationship between Carlos and Sergio, while loosely sketched out, is believable. You get the provoking/taunting/ultimately caring for each other thing that siblings sometimes have going.

Cheneyjugend - Type 1 DM

- I loled at your interpretation of your picture as the monster eating the cyclist. That man is participating in the fine sport of cyclocross, which is only marginally less ridiculous than what you describe here. I like that you took it up to 11.
- I also did not remember that this particular monster was literally called ‘Cookie Monster’ until the third time I read your thing, which made the ending hysterical, especially the ‘sweeter times’ bit.
- Basically the little pieces fell together for me over a couple of readings, which means that you’re good at dropping hints and also making the reader want to read enough to figure out what the hell is going on. I assume i.e. that the ‘diagnosis’ is diabetes? Is ‘type 1’ in the title a reference to that as well? Basically it’s just obscure/culturebound enough that I felt awfully satisfied when I figured it out.

Gau - A Ghost in the Desert

- The description of Koltor’s soul ‘like so much liquor sitting on an upset stomach… It needed out.’ is both evocative in itself, and also ends up reflected in the ending, once it’s revealed that Koltor’s soul is, in a sense, ‘escaping’.
- The language you used is simple but also evocative, which fits the nearly featureless desert setting. It has a ‘matter of fact’ness to it that in itself gives me a sense of what kind of people Koltor comes from.
- It has a nice cohesive ‘philosophical’ point to it about the shedding of one’s earthly concerns, and the fact that one might mourn the ‘earthly’ aspects of other people after their deaths, incorrectly, before one has learned to set aside these concerns. This is very clear in the story, which is pretty transparently allegorical, but it’s never explicitly stated, so I don’t feel like you’re shoving it in my face. It’s just reflected, step by step, in the events that occur.

Obliterati - Avast, Me Hearties

- The ending sequence is charming. I like the way you succinctly demonstrate what happened to the coal without having to tell us.
- Your opening line fits neatly into the banter between Theresa and the narrator, and they keep the same tone when speaking with each other throughout the story.
- The image of the mine train “pouring a column of smoke into the wind” is a simple but evocative one - so are some of the images that surround that line. Actually, I like that part of the story in general, because the back and forth between Tsongwe and the narrator (“I have my ways…”) is cute. Really you have a nice way with banter.

Tyrannosaurus - ¡Gol!

- Cute use of that opening line.
- What’s at stake in the story is 1. immediately obvious; 2. significant enough to get the reader emotionally invested in it; 3. not so complex that it doesn’t fit in a tiny story like this. Word to other writers: one strength of this story is its matter-of-factness about character motivations.
- I love how the ending is bad from the perspective of the rest of the planet, but good from the perspective of the kids and their relationship. You manage to avoid giving us the impression that they’re ‘bad people’ (possibly because you had them be teenagers and seemingly pretty idealistic) while also writing an ending that is hard to construe as unambiguously happy.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! - The Ciderman

- The dialogue is especially nice - particularly the conversation between Dorian and Harkless. It feels ‘tight’ and has a nice rhythm to it that makes it easy to envision.
- ‘The office computer, an old, plastic thing that looked like it came from the year 2000.’ That line made me laugh IRL.
- I like that you had the agent think to pound on the tanks to figure out what was in them - it’s clever without being contrived, & thus believable - and I also like the way you describe how he strikes them and how they sound. It’s an elegant couple of lines that, given the setup you’ve already established, keep the reader on edge for just long enough but not too long.

Some Guy TT - That Nagging Voice

- The protagonist undergoes an observable, meaningful change, and this isn’t a change from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ like some people might be tempted to write. I like that you’re explaining how your protagonist became objectively a worse person, because it makes perfect sense in the context.
- Definitely get a clear impression of Eric - he reads as a very specific type of person that I’ve definitely met before in real life, somebody who thinks that evading the law is fun and most adults are slow and stupid - this particularly at the end of the first scene, with how he describes the cop and with his ‘giving the cop a fist and running off, ready for a good night’s rest.’

pandycanda - Chubby Grigg

- Ridiculously creative use of language and imagery - “One of those old school sweep the leg eighties movies bullies,” “Vulcan human being logic,” etc. Everything about it is just outrageously colorful.
- Particularly, the way that you express emotions through events and experiences. Like, you don’t just say “Sorcha Rodriguez was dull and whiny and nobody really liked her much even though sometimes they tried to have sex with her”. Epitome of showing not telling, good on you.
- I like how this is just a slice of life sort of thing, where you get this very vivid picture of how this character lives and thinks about things and reacts to events, even though at the end there isn’t some oppressive heavy-handed moral lesson about appreciating your family or somesuch.

docbeard - Half Alive

- The premise is cool and gave me the actual willies. The deadpan way that you describe i.e. the holes in the dude really creeped me out and fit the tone.
- I like that you didn’t try to explain why this all was happening (although I suppose you hint at it with the uranium, which gives us just enough to make us wonder) but let it stay basically mystical.
- I also like the idea of the guy ‘trying to make himself believe’ in bizarre things going on. His preternatural calm throughout and lack of panic really contributes to the chilling tone of this thing - I feel like it would feel more ‘human’ if he was freaking the gently caress out, but would definitely lose some of its impact.

Whalley - Chef Fancy

- Really all of my good comments about this boil down to one - drat, that imagery. You made me laugh more than once, the way you capture the specific physicality of the giant’s actions - using the wine bottles upside-down as glasses, pinching his fork between thumb and finger, slurping a whole bratwurst into his mouth, etc. It’s just so visual and colorful that even though there’s only a single idea here and it isn’t a particularly complicated one, I’m more than happy to spend 1100 words reading about ‘what Whalley thinks a an enormous gourmand troll would look/act like.’

Kalyco - Recycling

- The relationship between Theresa and Jack is cute and believable. You adopt the tone of your (pretty weird) first line into the tone of their banter.
- You manage to convey a very foreign-feeling world through just a sprinkling of words and terms, and resist the temptation to pile exposition on us - i.e. ‘natural meteoric twilight’, ‘pseudo-dermis’, etc
- The exchange that starts “...the story about Odysseus” is also really cute. In general you portray a nice, witty back-and-forth between these characters that contributes to the general feel of the story.

lambeth - The Wood-Carver’s Apprentice

- I love a fairy tale that subverts expectations. Like, of course she would already have tried wooden wings, duh, but in a weaker story that would’ve been the ending.
- On top of that, I think you got a realistic sense of how a human would react to existence under the miserable conditions described here - we don’t get a hackneyed Cinderella triumph-of-the-will-over-adversity story, but we do in the end see the will triumph over adversity, in a sense.
- I dig the “now, shall we talk wish-granting?” line. Very nice way of showing the narrator’s reaction to suddenly finding herself in a superior position.

Anomalous Blowout - When No One Else Will, Try

- Cooool imagery: the pines as a spiky maze, the pebbly skin of the whale, the water frothing around Caroline’s ankles; etc. In some stories it’d seem a bit over the top but the whole point of this one is to be vivid and emotionally evocative so I dig it.
- Nice rhythm to some of these lines; you have a good sense of meter. “The hinges on her bucket’s handle creaked”; “The warm, wet sand was a willing cushion”, etc. I get the feeling that you spent some time rewriting at the sentence level.
- I like that you chose an ambiguous ending. It keeps this from being overly cutesy but I feel like a sad ending might have been too maudlin.

kurona_bright - Traveling Alone?

- The point at the heart of the story (that Megan’s learning to ask for help) is clear without being punch-you-in-the-face obvious. When I read the ending, I realized what the point of the sequence at the beginning was, where Megan doesn’t understand why turned down Janet, but when I first read that opening bit I didn’t know quite where you were going. I like a story that wraps itself up neatly at the end.
- I like that you had the dudes be a gay couple & made it completely irrelevant to the story. More stories need incidental gay relationships IMO.
- Nice title. It captures the point in an oblique way, as well as being an idiomatic phrase.

crabrock - Hiding in the Foxhole

- I like how you situated your opening line in the context of war. It gives a very unblinkered and unromantic feeling to the first scene, which contrasts with the lush, romantic imagery of the last section (“the stream that used to be crystal blue…”). Also thanks for not making the story literally about butt-wiping and going the serious route.
- Nice line from Paul: “Anyway, get out of here. I’d hate to assault a veteran, but I’d love to lay into the son of a bitch that left my sister.” I find the ‘I’d hate to assault a veteran’ thing completely believable, and the line also really conveys the contempt that Paul feels for Prince, without dipping into melodrama.

Kaishai - Cathedral of You

- I love the opening sequence. The first two paragraphs of this are just completely gorgeous. Simple, elegant prose; a startling comparison between two disparate images (the person lying in the thoroughfare, the knock-knock joke); and a really nice hook - why on earth is this person lying in the street?
- And in general this has your usual way with evocative prose. I do prefer the bits that are more spare to the more florid stuff, but it’s all nice, really.
- The bit where the narrator thinks down the road, not across the street as opposed to gently caress, I am probably going to die shows us something very odd and very clear about her character. It’s a nice moment: it’s got this neat grim sarcastic raised-eyebrow tone to it that really pervades a lot of this story, but not more clearly than here.

Cache Cab - Life Lessons

- This was actually really funny. I lost it at the scene where Mike starts taking a poo poo while they’re trapped in the Porta-Potties. That’s just such a pragmatic rednecky thing to do, and you’ve captured it beautifully.
- Really, really nice ending. I was hoping that these two yokels would learn absolutely poo poo-all, because by this point I was getting very tired of transcendent stories about good people learning harsh lessons about the world - and you delivered. Sometimes it’s okay to teach the *reader* a lesson moreso than the charactrs.
- There’s a nice ‘lightness’ to the dialogue. It doesn’t necessarily read like authentic speech, but it does have a pleasant back-and-forth pattering rhythm to it that moves the story along quickly without getting bogged down in monologuing, and this is good for humor, which has an obligation not to get dull and draggy.

Bad Seafood - Strength

- Although I’m still not entirely certain what’s going on with the timeline in this story I suspect there is something very clever going on where the end of the story wraps around to the beginning, or there’s some kind of a jump to the end towards the beginning? I hope I’m not wrong, because I like it - it gives the whole thing an interesting self-contained feeling, which fits with the topic.
- Nice eye picking out/editing that “bear” line (“Tell them if I am reborn…”). It’s a beautiful, weighty line, and it’s well supported by both the tone and the content of the story.
- I like that we don’t really know why they’re fighting. It was an appropriate choice, I think, to divorce the whole thing from context. See my comment above about self-containedness - it seems like the only connection to the past or the world outside of the apartment block, in this story, is the tale of the Bear and the Viper, which lends that anecdote a sense of profundity. Everything else is cyclical, inevitable, lacking external cause or external impact (and now that I’m writing about this, I notice the echoes of this in the ‘reborn’ line) - except for that one ‘input’.

PootieTang’s Bewildering Erogenous Beef Fanfiction

- You explained how Erogenous Beef got his name and made me laugh. So did the “batty beef boy” line. Nice work.
- Also the line “exit stage right, pursued by a journalist” is a cute nod and just as flippant as the rest of the story, which is to say extremely.

Hocus Pocus - Escape From Ice City

- I like that you brought the names into it. It could have been awkward and/or too cute to have them be named -1 and -2 or whatever just for the hell of it, but when it became a plot point I kind of nodded and went yep that makes perfect sense. That touch went a long way towards making the argument between Adam and Sarah feel authentic.
- And to add to that, “I don’t want to exist as a response” is a really nice retort.
- You describe physical places in a succinct but evocative way, giving a sense of this expansive country/world. I.e. “His source was born in Muswellbrook, a dinky little coal mining town in New South Wales, where Harbin likely got much of its coal”; “Shackled by the cold, the city had slowed. Bikes needed boiling water to be poured over them to make it down the street”; etc.

curlingiron - Facsimile

- My favorite use of image/first line this week, although I can’t say I didn’t see it coming when you got that line. That said, I certainly can’t accuse you of being unoriginal. It’s a funny, novel premise, and one that’s additionally laden with potential for emotional impact. Mannequins are just one of those things, you know? They’re *like people but not* ooooOOooOoh
- The way you describe the mannequins suddenly talking and walking around, is a lovely example of “show not tell”. Seriously, this exchange is such a combination of deadpan seriousness, humor, and advancement of the story, in addition to being very well written: “Her most recent ex was standing in front of her, a look of contrition in his eyes. “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately - “ he began, before Robyn cut him off. “Yes, yes, very good.” She gave him a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, and he blushed. “You’re on floor 3, in formal wear. They’re expecting you.”” It would have been so easy to just *say* that the mannequin looked and talked like her ex, but instead you demonstrate it beautifully.

Fumblemouse - Travel Agency

- You nicely capture the way that people talk/act/think when they’re drunk. A combination of self-consciousness and doing/saying totally ridiculous things anyways, and willingness to accept the weirdest poo poo.
- I also particularly like the premise. Some might say that “heaven/hell/faerie is as lovely as earth and has jobs/bureaucracy too” is overplayed, but I think your ‘travel agent’ idea is novel enough that this doesn’t read as cliche.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

WTF did I put in your rear end?

Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

You're the only one whose name I remembered. I am very upset about the baka gaijin ruining Kurosawa-sama's epic masterpiece, 七人の侍, by setting it in America with western actors, and your username reminds me of this disgusting slight towards the chrysanthemum majesty of Nipponese cinema.


Sounds like a good reason for a brawl, then.


If you both accept, then give me 600 words on anime cowboys which, let's be clear, must not suck. Due 12 June High Noon PST.

Sep 22, 2005


God Over Djinn posted:

magnificent7 - One More For The Road.

- Although you give us basically zero detail about the setting, via very small touches - the names, the word/phrasing choices - you convey a very specific setting and tone that are both consistent and contribute to the way that the story goes. I’m totally getting a noir-y western-y vibe here. Which is why it’s all the more jarring/interesting when you use things that seem slightly anachrronistic, like Ted Nugent or whatever - it drives home the fact that just from your first paragraph or two, I expect these guys to be driving around in horsedrawn carriages, not cars. What you’ve done with that makes it feel fresh.
- Another ending that I sincerely wasn’t expecting, but that in retrospect makes perfect sense.
- This is a good example of the size of a problem/event that one should be trying to tackle in a story this small. A single scene, with backstory heavily implied but not even remotely described, with a single problem and a single resolution. I personally have trouble with not explaining literally everything in the stories that I write, so it’s good to see somebody who has a handle on, narrative-wise, the scope that flash fiction should have.

Hey that was awful nice of you. Thanks!

sebmojo posted:

Sounds like a good reason for a brawl, then.


If you both accept, then give me 600 words on anime cowboys which, let's be clear, must not suck. Due 12 June High Noon PST.
Thanks, but I'm trying to just get back in the habit of writing one flash fic story when I say I will. No point setting me up to abandon all hope on my second week back in this place. Thanks, and all that.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 22:43 on Jun 4, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

Thanks, but I'm trying to just get back in the habit of writing one flash fic story when I say I will. No point setting me up to abandon all hope on my second week back in this place. Thanks, and all that.

Stop thanking people.

So. Who will pick up this glove.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

sebmojo posted:

Who will pick up this glove.

Oct 4, 2013

Not enough room in this town for the three of us, partner.

If sebmojo is willing, I would like to enter as well, and turn this brawl into a good old fashioned standoff.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

dmboogie posted:

Not enough room in this town for the three of us, partner.

If sebmojo is willing, I would like to enter as well, and turn this brawl into a good old fashioned standoff.


Seafood, dmboogie and Tyshalle: decide for yourself which you are when you brawl. 12 June, high noon, anime cowboys, don't suck, GO.

Tyshalle you don't have to do this, but it is the right thing to do so you should.

Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.

Are you kidding? Anime? Westerns? My raging, throbbing erection?

Just according to keikaku.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

:siren: BRAWLIN ALL DAY :siren:

499 words

“I’m quitting,” Ronnie said. He scratched his arms and nervously looked around and I wondered if junkies had always been like that or only since the advent of TV crime dramas.

“Sure, kid,” I said. “Just a little, then. Don’t want to go cold turkey.”

He bit his lip. I projected a placid smile and did my best to pretend it’s perfectly fine we’re tense isn't right here, otherwise competent opening - sets up a clear if cliché opener going through the same circus every time he scores some smack off me.

“Just a little,” he said. “Sure.”


I put the envelope in the mailbox on corner 30th/Bellevue and turned to leave, and there was Mac. I’d seen him around, buzzcut, ex-marine, doing assorted jobs for assorted shady clients, and Big G was one of them, and that was bad news for me. You're dropping characters on us fast - I've now got four in my head that I have to keep apart - but I think you're still getting away with it. Big G had better not be a nameless off in the background guy though, because if so you should have cut him.

He got a key out of his pocket and dangled it in front of me.

“If I open that envelope,” he said, “what am I gonna find?”

“Money,” I said.


“My daughter.”

“How generous of your boss to pay her medical bills.” should have used the boss' name here

“I’m Big G’s best peddler. I earn more money than any of his other bozos, and then some for recreation. Do you get this? I’m an outlaw, DANG DIDDLIANG DANG I'M JOHNNY CASH and I have to do loving overtime. But my cake is the biggest. So I scrape off some dough. So what.” people don't talk like this, way too many ideas in this line. Plus, is he scared? worried? cocky? you're effectively making buzzcut Mac not very threatening here by having the dealer be so motormouthy

“Well it ain’t your birthday.”

“And what if I gave you a slice?”

He raised an eyebrow.

“A big one.”


It had taken weeks of blackmail in public places to get Mac to trust in the businesslike nature of our relationship enough to come here. so he's been trying for weeks to get him in the alley? seems weird. The alley was empty and dusk had settled when he crossed the corner and walked towards me, pace brisk, spine upright.

“Hands where I can see ‘em,” he said.

I raised them chest-high, a paper bag dangling in my right. When he extended his, I tossed the cash.

Mac must have seen the movement in the corner of his eyes, because instead of catching the bag, he turned just in time to grab Ronnie’s wrist and wrestle him for the knife. cool, this is a nice reincorporation

I took a step forward and buried my own i'd have described it, 'my own' makes me go 'huh?' at a time when you want the action to be clean and clear in his back. Once, twice, a few more times nice. I stopped once he was on the ground, wheezing. At least let him die somewhat peacefully.

“I hope your daughter gets better,” he finally croaked, eyes on the sky.

“Thanks,” I said, but he was already gone.

Ronnie, still clutching his knife, stood over the body. He looked as though he’d never seen a man die before. His jaw had dropped to his chest, eyes wide like a lame bunny in front of a steamroller. good if overblown noiry simile, but reach for unexpected reactions to severe trauma - eyes wide and open jaw is super cliche

I snapped my fingers. When he looked up I threw him a crumpled-up plastic bag and he caught it between his arm and chest. After some careful examination he said: “That's not my money.”

“It’s your H.”

“I wanted money,” he said. “I’m trying to quit.”

“Sure, kid” I said. “It’s just a little. Don’t want to go cold turkey.” Awright. So this is a pretty tight and slick piece, except as noted, but I wanted you to go a step further. What does it mean that he's killed the thug? is he just going to keep on? what were the stakes for him killing the thug? how about that %drug_boss%? won't he care? This is a competetent sliver, and I liked the way you put words together; next time make your words mean more.

Musical piece: Cage the Elephant – Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Lake Jucas posted:

Losing All Wits
Word: 407
The Song

“Come! Come! Warm yourself by the fire, stranger! Is so cold outside, pretty girl like you would catch death of cold out there. Let Alexei get you drink from bar. No no, I insist!

“There you go! So, what brings pretty little American girl like you out to small village like this? You are American, yes? Alexei can tell these things.

“Come! Sit by fire with me, Alexei does not bite. Much. Ha! Is joke! Do not look so nervous!

“So, you looking for friend? Say she just came in here to use bathroom? Alexei has not seen anyone come in. Ona razyskivayet svoyego druga. Da, dva v odin den'! No, none of them have seen her either. I am sure she will turn up soon, you should have seat and wait. The fire is nice and warm....see, not so bad!

“Do they have winters this bad in America? No, I did not think so. You have look of someone who has not had to live through such things. Is good thing! Alexei has seen many bad winters, though none so bad as this.

“It is winters like this that people lose all wits. Poof! Vanished! Hahaha!

“Where are you going? No no no...sit. Stay. There is no where to go for kilometers and there is not much else in town besides the bar. When she turns up it will be here, Alexei promise you.

“Is nice, yes? If there is one thing we have in town it is good drink. Harvest, not so good. Food? Nyet. But at least we have drink. I say toast, to pretty little American girl and -

“No, it was not scream. Must have been wind. Come, were just about to toast., you are making scene, is why everyone is staring.

“Ona znayet , otkroy dver'.

“What did I tell them? Oh, Alexei just say you are fine, is no big deal. Yes you are-


“I...No, Alexei never- this doesn't work because there's no indication what's she's saying; you manage this better in the rest of the story

“You are being silly, pretty American...but you are pretty.

“They have locked the door, pretty little American girl. No, that will not help. Now, come sit next to Alexei by fire and we can talk. Then, if you are good little girl I can take you to see your friend.

“Where was I? Oh yes. In winters like this after such harvest is easy for people to lose all wits. Poof! Vanished! Hahahahaha!

“Why you not laughing?” no more line comments because I guess this is competent enough. It feels like you took an easy route to get to where you're going - the end is predictable from the beginning, but on the other hand you have an end and a beginning.

:siren: Judgment :siren:

Both of these are bearable. Ent's fails by being an annoyingly slim sliver of a much bigger story, Jucas' fails by being kind of thin. On balance, however, the second works better in its own right and manages a competent creeping dread and that, as an intentionally evoked emotion, is the sort of thing we are all here to accomplish SO victory in this brawl goes to LAKE JUCAS.

Dec 5, 2003



Gau posted:

A Ghost in the Desert (700 words)

Story Picture

Koltor knew the ghost was still there and even the strongest magic could never banish it from his thoughts. They had sat here, in the middle of an endless desert, for a day and a night. The ghost never spoke, even when Koltor had screamed, pleaded, accused. It smiled when he was happy, frowned when he was sad, and pointed to the horizon when asked a question. Fascinating. Tell me more.

The sun burned overhead during the day and Koltor was terribly thirsty. After sunset, the desert became cold and he knew hunger. At dawn, a horse appeared on the top of a dune in the distance. Koltor ran across the sand to the horse. He swung up onto its back, gazing across the desert. Any direction was as good as another, he thought, and so he put the sun on either at or to his back and rode. This is surreal and comfortably terse.

The ghost followed him, walking next to the horse. As the sun ascended, they came across a bizarre, lifelike effigy hanging from a pole. Koltor dismounted and approached. The workmanship was incredible; it looked just like a real person. Lifeless, but realistic; Koltor shuddered and turned to leave. The ghost pointed at the effigy, and it descended to the sand. It continued pointing, and Koltor looked at its face.

Koltor’s had few memories of his mother. She had died when he was young, and only a few hazy images of smiles below loving eyes remained in his mind. Show. And yet there she was, in this desert. Her smile, her soft face, her beautiful hair - entirely identical. The eyes - the eyes were dead. Nice switch from her/positive to the/negative. There was no love there. You start and end this sentence with “there”, which just feels weird.

A one lol tear fell from Koltor’s eye. He cursed and mounted his horse. What demon was this to play such cruel tricks on him? He must leave this damned place. Telling. The horse carried him onward. This paragraph is clumsy and needs tinkering.

For a full day and night, he passed these lifeless mockeries. Dude don’t sleep. Horse don’t sleep. Some he knew well, some not at all, but he came to realize that these were all of the people he had known in his life. There were thousands; at times he struggled to navigate his horse through and around them. Then, at dawn, there was one last effigy. Koltor fell to the sand upon seeing it.

It was his father. It hung there in judgment of the son. This is a huge perspective jump that takes me out of the story. The eyes followed him, gazed through him to his sins, his regrets, his fears. His soul burned, like so much liquor sitting on an upset stomach. It needed out. As God Over Djinn mentioned, this is some evocative description.

The ghost extended his its hand toward Koltor, motioning him to rise and get back on his horse. He did, and as they rode away from the rising sun Koltor began to speak.

The wrongs flowed out one at a time, his life story played out as a story of the evil he had done. There was much to tell, and they rode for days and days before the entire story was told. As they rode, Koltor noticed the ghost became more substantial. Its face, once formless and vague, took on familiar characteristics. It began to leave tracks in the sand next to the horses. As he spoke, Koltor felt his thirst fade and his hunger leave him. His skin, reddened by the sun, hardened and no longer felt heat or cold. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Koltor finished his confession. The world had begun to fade This is the second time you use fade in the last few sentences.; Koltor saw the ghost, now barely translucent, take the horse’s lead and guide them over a final hill. In the distance, he could dimly glimpsed a wide shore and an expanse of sea. And then Koltor fell forward, and was no more.


Two figures stood on the shore, the first and last Koltor had seen in the desert. They were no effigies, though; their eyes burned with life and knowledge. They smiled warmly as the ghost approached. I even enjoyed your adverb.

“Welcome, son,” said one.

“I have been waiting so long,” Is there a reason it isn’t we? said the other. “Will you come with us across the sea?”

The ghost took a coil of rope from the horse’s saddle and a long pole from the shore. “Yes, mother,” it said, “but I have one final burden.”

“We will wait.” The ghost slung the dried effigy over its shoulder and began its journey toward the sunrise.

Much stronger title this week. I like that there is a hint of the ending staring me in the face. The combination of the story and picture make for a good fit with the previous entry.

Crisp, clean writing. The repetition of the sun continues to bring to mind the desert setting, but doesn’t feel redundant. The story is stark, strange, and has a satisfying payoff. There is one sentence that sticks out like a sore thumb. Here it is, paired with the sentence beforehand:

It was his father. It hung there in judgment of the son.

You go from his to the son, and it doesn't work. Other than that, the rest is little stuff that doesn't detract much. This is an enjoyable read.

The last thing I have to say is that it would suck to be the horse. That is all.

Lord Humongus
Apr 10, 2009

ice ice baby :toot:


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Hey guys. Here is about half of this past week's crits. I will DQ myself from this round if I don't have the rest done by Friday night.

This was a pretty good week, overall. One thing I sometimes dislike about Thunderdome stories is how anemic the endings tend to be. I don't know if it was the focus on ending lines or what, but I felt like I read a lot of complete stories.

I was also really happy with the different things people did with their Ore People, and how they incorporated the pictures into the last line prompt. I think that, in this case, a restrictive prompt made for good results.

Anyway, apologies for being slow at crits. Everyone will eventually get one.

Drunk Nerds

Use of your assigned last line: Pretty good. At the beginning of the story, we’re not exactly sure what he’s talking about. By the end, we understand all too well. I was admittedly worried you were going to go a rapey direction, but you went the more tame route of mermaid disembowelment.

Writing: Forgetting your very first line for a second, lets take a look at the first half of your second line: “Realizing the blessing of perspective that came with losing everything….” This is bad and passive and awkward, because I had to stop and parse it for a second. You don’t want that right at the beginning of your story.

Other than that, I felt like there was a lot going on here that there’s not enough room to fully explain. I was really interested by details like how the mermaid took on the colors of the wishes she granted (I think? Maybe I just wanted that to be the case. On second read, you might’ve just been doing a metaphor). Because of that, I was kind of disappointed by the fact that he just ended up gutting her like a fish for food.

Also, if you ever feel yourself wanting to say things like “Gazing upon her splendid form…,” don’t.

Neither character is sympathetic. They should be; a guy who’s been left by his wife, a mermaid forced into granting wishes. But the dialog between them kind of kills any sympathetic feelings I had for these characters.

Ending: As you may have gleaned from the above, I wasn’t so much a fan of this ending. The screw in the house wasn’t a big enough deal to make it the Chekov’s Gun-type thing I think you were going for. I don’t generally care for endings that are a gruesome twist unless it’s a really really thought-provoking gruesome twist.


Use of your assigned last line: I would’ve italicized it instead of quotes, but since I didn’t say you could do that, I won’t hold it against you. In addition to using the first line, you seem to have incorporated the original story and told it from a different perspective. Which IMO could’ve been a cool way to go about things...

Writing: ...unfortunately, much like the Hindenburg, it doesn’t entirely work out. There’s a bunch of stuff that would take a line-by-line crit to point out. You started multiple paragraphs out with “but” for no good reason, for example. There are a few really obvious typos.

My biggest issue is really with the story itself though. There is tooooo much background, especially given that I had to go back and remember all the details from the first story. I hated that Maria just suddenly had this bomb that isn’t mentioned at any other point in your story. It’s not really clear what her actual motivations are except….vengeance? I guess? I was confused how Maria got the bomb. You mention she was taken by the Gestapo, but obvs they would not want her to blow up a German airship. So who gave her the bomb? What does it even look like?

Ending: The only way I will like this ending is if someone writes Hydrogen Part III where ANOTHER distraught lady somehow finds herself up in the ship’s rigging with a bomb/matches/sudden control over the element of fire, and then it turns out that the Hindenburg was actually full of people who wanted to blow up the Hindenburg, and the whole thing catches on fire on accident while everyone is having ethical crises/trying to sort out who’s going to actually blow the drat thing up.


Use of your assigned last line: I thought you took it and went with it. I thought you did a particularly good job of combining inspiration from both your assigned line and your ore people image.

Writing: Mostly p good. I was intrigued by what was going on the whole time. It’s somewhere between science fiction and surrealism. At least, I hope so. I don’t know how this stacks up in terms of hard science. I imagine not well. But luckily I don’t know physics from dick, so I had a nice time reading this.

Ending: Everything was dandy right up until the last line. “It traced out a crescent in the sky” doesn’t really paint a clear picture of what your protagonist is looking at. I *think* you mean that the sun is hitting the earth in such a way that it’s a crescent. But ‘traced’ is verby enough that I unwillingly picture the Earth moving around in a crescent shape.


Use of your assigned last line: Some people got very flexible last lines to work with. You didn’t. You are immediately stuck in the first person perspective of someone who is dying. I don’t really like that you switch directly to a different POV in the next sentence. You could’ve used that opportunity to somehow introduce the soulflies as he’s leaving his body, then switched to his mates’ POV. Or something.

Writing: This was amusing, and better than the average story about a bunch of everybros exploring an alien world and getting totes hosed. That said, it feels a little too bantery, considering the word count. The writing itself is serviceable enough that I understood what was going on.

Ending: I really can’t say anything too terrible about the ending. After I finished, I thought about it for a second, and realized that Jim had probably gone into the crab’s body, and the crab had gone into Jim’s body. I thought it was neat that I could easily extrapolate that. Well done! I’m going to assume this was a totally original headcrab which is not at all similar to Half-Life headcrabs.


Use of your assigned last line: I like how you built a character around the line.

Writing: Writing itself is fine. I guess my issue is with tone. At first you had this Terry Pratchett vibe, then Senne is all like “I’m actually the most baddest super saiyan witch ever”. Her character overpowers John; I have a clear picture of her, but he is too much the everyman and it made my eyes start to scan (rather than read) when he had dialog. Maybe it’s the fact that Senne starts screaming “loving bitch” every two lines, which is I guess consistent for a drunk witch character, but it really shifted the tone in a noticeable way.

Ending: The story resolves itself well enough, but the whole “I lied” thing isn’t a very satisfactory last quip from an otherwise kind of dynamic character.


Use of your assigned last line: You got a weird one, and you did good with it. I aaaalmost felt like the character doing that weird meta author thing was a little much, considering he’s already having delusions of being a literal white knight. But I can see why you did it, given the prompt.

Writing: Pretty dang good. The issue I mentioned above was really the only thing I had a problem with. The action was good, the language was good, the voice was good.

Ending: The ending is bittersweet. It’s a triumphant last image for the protagonist, but we know sooner or later, he’s going to come back to reality, where there isn’t a happily ever after for him and his princess.


Use of your assigned last line: Okay. So your first paragraph is really confusing. There are people laughing and crying. There is a mammoth. The POV is momentarily from the mammoth’s perspective when you tell us that she is confused. There is a description of a passage of time when you talk about “all these years.” That’s not really a critique of the first line, but the first line is so vague that it could be in any story ever. So the next few lines need to really give the reader something concrete, so we know that they are laughing until they cry about.

Writing: This read like a literary jalopy, but by god it’s got spunk. The dialog is pretty cardboard. But for some weird reason, I like that we don’t even address HOW Sally was revived, or why she is so docile with this family. You get the instant impression of a single dad just trying to do what he can to make his kids happy. I feel kind of bad for him, actually, because I doubt whatever shadowy entity is trying to get the mammoth is just going to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Again, the writing has some pretty clunky parts and some obvious punctuation mistakes. But since I’m not doing line-by-lines, I’m more focused on the ideas, and there was something about this that worked for me, kind of.

Ending: I mean, there was an inciting incident, a problem, and a resolution. I’m glad that the dad didn't take the money in the end.

Nikaer Drekin

Use of your assigned last line: You admittedly got a weird last line to use. I would’ve found a way to immediately mention that fact that what he plucked out was a chicken feather, and that he’s holding it as he makes the jump. “Pluck” implies feathers, but it was confusing on a first read.

Writing: This is really dense with descriptions of what the characters are doing. Which isn’t a bad thing, since (other than the very beginning) I can easily visualize their actions. I would’ve liked more description of the bar itself.

I’m sort of confused by the premise. How long has Val been hosting these acid pit jumps? Pete seems to be a regular, so how is it that he’s never seen anyone fall in before? It’s not completely clear if Monty was the shill in Val’s show, or if it was evil stuffed chicken magic that made everyone see Monty die so that they would tear Val apart.

Other than being really good at IRL platform gaming, Pete doesn’t have much to him. His decision at the end to help literally dismember and dissolve this old man doesn’t really mean that much to me because I don’t really know how Pete feels about his decision.

Ending: Regardless of my confusion, I thought the ending landed pretty well, but I might just be a sucker for endings where people have some horrific realization that they’ve made a terrible mistake. The whole thing read like an episode of The Twilight Zone, actually.


Use of your assigned last line: I like that you went with The Lover and The Daughter in addition to The Man. It harkens to the original, and makes these people feel archetypal, which is good since this is the sort of thing that could play out in any ol’ small town. You more or less ignored the part of the sentence that said “... briefly mourned his suit, then put his gun back in the leather holster with its blooded bloodless knight ..” but I’m not holding it against you super hard since that is a hard line to incorporate in its entirety. Oh, Muffin why you be so poetry. But yeah, it would be pretty confusing to someone not reading this for Thunderdome.

Writing: I honestly don’t have much to complain about. You managed to show us three actual characters in like 500 words. In a weaker week, this might’ve been an HM.

Ending: ...well okay I might have a minor caveat. I guess I didn’t like that the ending focused too much on The Daughter, seeing as she is the last one we meet. A story like this would have really benefited from some symmetry.


Use of your assigned last line: So, your last-first line is kinda funny, but then you do not tell us a funny story. Which wouldn’t be a problem, but the tone change was so instant and obvious that it kind of made me go hrrrmmm.

Writing: You’re going for the one-sided conversation type of narrative. It doesn’t add much, and in fact, makes your story more confusing! It might have helped a little bit to break the paragraphs up more like dialog. Right now, everything is mostly in these huge paragraphs that are so dense with scifi stuff that my eyes start to scan. I feel like you missed the mark with your use of italics throughout the story. I wasn’t really quite sure what was going on, or where the characters were, or why there were blood rituals, or why blood ritual guy was an asset to the company.

Part of it was the way you place/block your characters. Like when you say:


‘Cause the moment I left the Hi-O building Matty the Supervisor came running to me saying some other horrible crap had happened. In all my years as a Junior Secretary, I had seen a lot of horrible crap. Of course – not so many homicidal bot-related and not so many on such a quick succession, but nonetheless, I was kinda ready. Kinda.

The sight, I didn’t go insta-bonkers at it. Weirdass glyphs, sleek and sinister figures doing untellable acts… drawn in blood along the shed’s walls.

I felt compelled to go back to figure out when/why these guys were suddenly in a shed. It’s just little things, little cues that move both the action and the story along.

Ending: The narrator gets disappeared, I guess? I don’t know how to feel about the ending because the story was confusing.


Use of your assigned last line: Sup Merc. I thought you did a good job setting up a scene based around that one line. I’m glad your story wasn’t about an actual baby/little kid.

Writing: Um. So I was nodding right along with this, thinking that I was just going to nitpick about show v tell and typos and stuff. But then I got to the dreamy sequences where Carlos was…in character? And chandeliers start dancing around and stuff. And then the wants to save his mother?

It’s weird because Carlos is a sympathetic guy in a pretty sympathetic situation. He wants to be an actor, but is it worth it if he has to portray characters in a way he doesn’t agree with? But then the dreamy sequences. Is he Miley Sirus? Are you referencing something that I’m not getting?
In spite of being nearly inscrutable, however, I do like the basic skeleton of this story. I just wish I knew what the hell was going on in those dreamy bits.

Ending: Surprisingly coherent. I like to think what happened was that Carlos got super in character to the point where poo poo was like, esoteric. Like he put his literal god-fearing soul into this crappy movie. And then his brother is like lol dumb. And it brings it all back down to reality. It that’s what you did, eh, pretty ok job I guess. If that’s NOT what you were going for, then IDK WTF.


Use of your assigned last line: Well uh, you didn’t really use your last line as your first line. So boo on you for that. But you got a particularly weird story, so I kind of forgive you? I would have liked someone to have taken advantage of Toanoradian’s gimmick with that story, but beyond your second sentence, you don’t really do anything with it at all.

Writing: Okay. Here’s what I got out of this. The Cookie Monster has given up his cookie-eating ways because he got a case of the diabetus. The beginning paragraph is a mystery to me, though. Who is eating what? And then there’s aliens? Normally I would’ve lambasted you for fan fiction, but I am so honestly baffled by about 60% of this story that you somehow tai chi’d your way out of a DM.

Ending: Your ending was about the only part of this that made sense. So good job!


Use of your assigned last line: You took a pretty pedestrian ghost story ending and made it something cool and moody. Good job!

Writing: There were a few instances where you used “it” for both the ghost and an inanimate object in close succession, which was mildly confusing. The imagery and atmosphere were good. The premise was (apparently) pretty simple: A dude is going to the afterlife, but must first traverse through the legacy of his life. Simple is good in flash fiction, I think. My biggest complaint is that I don’t really get a sense of what this person was actually like in life, other than he did bad things.

Ending: No complaints here. The ending was clear enough that I walked away with a sense of understanding and a vivid picture in my mind.


Use of your assigned last line: The line pretty much sets the scene for you. It’s interesting that Theresa barely figures into the story, though. After the opening banter, she’s pretty much just the pining love interest.

Writing: Oof.


It wafted languidly along with the hot breeze, and I was just about to scurry over and welcome our customer when I saw exactly who it was that was stalking across the floor, leaning nonchalantly on the disused fireplace.

So many awkward, unnecessary words in here. And then “...stalking across the floor, leaning nonchalantly on the disused fireplace.” How is he stalking across the floor AND leaning on the fire place at the same time? Because that is what this description makes it sound like he was doing.

There is so much stuff like the above that I encourage you to seek a line by line. What kept this off the DM list was that the concept was relatively solid. It was a pretty decent spin on the “just one more job” cliche. Both your protagonist and his cohort had identifiable motivations.

Ending: This story had an identifiable arc, and the protagonist was likeable enough that I was happy that he more or less got what he wanted. I thought the whole pirate thing was cheesy, but somehow it works. Because in the beginning you’re like “this guy is such a nerd.” Then he goes and steals some booty (albeit useless booty), and you bring the whole pirate joke back in at the end. Like I said, cheesy, but it gave the story a symmetry that tied up neatly.


Use of your assigned last line: No complaints here. It was a weird line, but you made it meaningful in the context of your story.

Writing: Hernando is instantly sympathetic. I thought “Davi was the same. But Davi had a plan.” was great. Two things happen instantly: One, I get an instant picture of Davi. Two, I want to know that his plan is, so you’ve pretty much created story tension/intrigue right there. I want time to be on Hernando’s side! But then they go get guns, and I’m not sure if I like Davi’s plan, and I’m worried that something bad will happen to Hernando.

I could “see” everything very clearly. Most sentences feel deliberate, and you use your words well (as in the above quote. A lot in a few words).

Ending: Okay, this kind of tiptoed around plausibility for me. But it was just believable enough, and I was rooting for your characters, so I’m okay with it.


Use of your assigned last line: You got a somewhat restrictive first line. Martello was cyberpunkin’ real hard. You worked it. There are a few instances this week where people kind of shoehorned their first line into a completely different genre/voice/perspective, to varying degrees of success. This story was a good example of referencing the source material without making it necessary to read the source material (I didn’t actually reread Martello’s story until after I read yours).

Writing: This could have used more action in the first few paragraphs. I kinda started to scan. After that, thought, it’s good. I thought it was a nice detail that Dorian possibly hosed himself over by hitting the tank while talking to the MetSec guys, since it gave Harkless the chance to compare the sounds of the two tanks. Though, I don’t understand why Harkless came back without his goons. If they’re there to arrest him or whatever, why confront him about the tanks alone? Probably because it would have been hard for our protagonist to kill all three of them.

Ending: Yeah I guess I’m happy Dorian outsmarted the MetSec guys. I thought the very last line should have just been “Dorian pressed “send,” and plugged his ears.”

Some Guy TT

Use of your assigned last line: Sure, he’s running from the police. I’m not quite sure what incited them to chase him, and you don’t really go anywhere with “...but he would never get away from what happened that night.” As far as I can tell, the police tried to talk to him about some murders, and he ran away.

Writing: Writing itself is fine. Eric is characterized well. The parkour detail was interesting and fun. I didn’t really like the logic of “if I go to jail my junkie sister will have to get straight,” but his conscience isn’t necessarily infallible, I guess.

Ending: I am not a fan of the very last line. I like the sentiment, and what it says about his character, but I think there might have been a better way to convey that sentiment.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 07:43 on Jun 5, 2014

Jul 18, 2011

Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”

I feel the need to stretch my critiquing muscles, so the first three people to ask get line-by-lines.

Returning the favor by critting someone else's story is encouraged, but not required.

Also, I'm in.

Nov 13, 2012

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

docbeard posted:

I feel the need to stretch my critiquing muscles, so the first three people to ask get line-by-lines.

I'd like one. I've put a lightly edited version of the week we've just done in the Farm which could really do with a line-by-line.


Dec 5, 2003


docbeard posted:

I feel the need to stretch my critiquing muscles, so the first three people to ask get line-by-lines.

Returning the favor by critting someone else's story is encouraged, but not required.

Also, I'm in.
I would like a crit of my recent brawl (but not until after judgement). Thanks! :D

Speaking of crits, Martello, yours is on the way tonight.

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