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angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

In.

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Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Oh poo poo 24 signups already In.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe

In for a probably horrifying story!

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


In!

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010


Let's do this. In.

Ugly In The Morning fucked around with this message at Feb 11, 2014 around 22:12

Ursine Asylum
Jul 10, 2012

dreaming of that face again

it's bright and blue and shimmering

grinning wide and comforting me with it's three warm and wild eyes


I haven't written anything worthwhile since middle school. I look forward to continuing that streak. In.

Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.


College Slice

Yeah ok I'm in.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time. I know who you are.

You are destiny.


gently caress yeah.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


gently caress it. I'm doing it. I'm combining both my brawl and this week's prompt into one poo poo-show.

Edit: You misspelled "stupid".

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Feb 12, 2014 around 00:27

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


You are one brave sonofabitch.

Comrade Black
Dec 5, 2012



Count me in. I could use a change of pace in not writing anything since high school.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

CRITS

So, this is about 2/3rds of the crits. My esteemed fellow judge Sebmojo should be along with the last 11 or so entries left over at some point, and I know Kaishai is well under way with her feedback. So if you don't see your story here, don't worry! There is more to come.

IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME ABOUT YOUR STORY, DO SO VIA PM, IRC, OR IN THE FICTION ADVICE THREAD. NOT IN THIS THREAD, I WILL IGNORE YOU IN THIS THREAD.


Elfdude

Grammar issues, comma issues. I’m not really sure if I understood what was going on properly. The inclusion of your element didn’t really feel very natural; it would have been better to work it in more subtly. You didn’t lose by virtue of the fact that this had a recognizable story arc and an ending. This warrants a deep critique, which I’m not doing, so maybe head over to the fiction farm?

Mr_Wolf

There were comma issues and general mechanical wonkiness. I felt like I was reading a Peep Show novelization which is sort of good and bad, because I like Peep Show, but I have to wonder if this isn’t a bit borrowed. Unless maybe my binge watching recently is causing me to project, my bad. This story has me torn, because while the writing itself has so many issues, stuff happens! Our character has a defined motivation! He seems sort of sympathetic, then less so, then even less so. He doesn’t get what he wants, but then, we don’t really want him to so it’s sort of a happy ending? Your adherence to the prompt wasn’t too bad, I actually like how you added a pop of color to the story. I really don’t know how to feel about this. I don’t really get the “spun her head around like the girl in the exorcist” thing though, did she actually or did she just turn and give him a scary look?

Whalley


You say mouth two times in the first sentence and it’s weird. A lot of things in this are weird. I find it hard to believe that Lao Qiu would be totally surprised that his workplace was making him sick when he’s puking like bloody vomit. But hrrrm I like the mushroom thing. I did have to read wikipedia to figure out which part of your story was derived from your element, and you did an alright job incorporating it. But like a lot of the entries this week, it felt like there was a nod to some obligatory wikipedia reading, and then the story just kind of got on with business as usual.

Baudolino

Ow my eyes. The paragraph breaks in this entry were all over the place. You included an almost word-for-word bit from the wikipedia article. And you didn’t even have to! It’s not really relevant to your story who discovered polonium or what it was named after. This story itself ends pretty abruptly. I’m not a big fan of endings where the “protagonist”, such as they are, is just BLAP *dead*.

Nikaer

So the writing is pretty good. I’m undecided on how I feel about your use of the prompt. This needs a theme or a metaphor; you almost had something with this girl’s interest in lightbulbs, but you didn’t go anywhere with it. So it feels a bit shoehorned. This is decent enough that a strong theme would’ve made me like it a lot.

Chairchucker

This is weirdly dark for you CC, what’s up? Otherwise, this was a favorite this week. My only critique was that the narrator was almost too hateful for me, and had no self awareness. If she had been a little more human, this could’ve clinched it for me. All in all, a strong entry.

El Diabolico

Um. Well this…..ends. The issues with this are as myriad as the colors in your subterranean sky. Lead has so many uses and is EVERYWHERE, yet I didn’t really think about it while reading this. Pipes and poo poo, I guess? Maybe your protagonist is suffering from lead poisoning at the end? Each sentence is blocky and your descriptions and metaphors are all very tired and well-worn. And then the ending. This feels like the beginning of something, not a complete short story.

Entenzahn

This was barely not scifi, but ok technology at the end of an era of magic, I’ll work with it. The writing itself was serviceable, though your description of things, particularly the sort of stream-of-consciousness moment where Jyllo touches the uranium under ground, wasn’t the most inspired. The only bit that I really didn’t get was the ending. Is the implication that, in trying to help the world prepare for this prophecy, Kyllo brings about the end of magic?

Don’t actually answer that here, but the fact that I was unsure should tell you something. Overall not the best, not the worst, pretty middle of the pack for me this week.

Meinberg

BAD MEINBERG. All you would’ve had to have done was NOT included the nebula cruise-type bullshit and I would have argued with Kai until I was blue in the face that this was pretty realist near future tech. But no, SPACE STUFF FOR NO REASON.

The story itself is ok, if nothing new. I like that you didn’t have your protagonist abruptly killed at the end, though I’m not sure why he is so sure they won’t just kill him anyway or follow through on the deal. Your writing is clear, I think you just need to learn how to have more fun with your concepts. Like I wouldn’t believe for a second that this story is something you care deeply and passionately about. Tell me THAT story next time. This week would be a great opportunity.

Dreamingofroses

So I liked this, and once I figured out what the narrator was up to I liked it a whole lot more. Pretty cool concept and interpretation of the prompt and flash rule. The only thing that was missing for me was more of a moment of self awareness or something...but your character didn’t really approach that. So I was left feeling like I got this cool glimpse into someone’s life, but there wasn’t terribly much in the way of character development.


Quidnose

Ugh Quidnose. You already know the fatal flaw in this. Had you somehow made it more like, absurd or magical realist or something, you could’ve slipped in and probably been upper-middle of the pack. The story itself was pretty amusing and well written, but obviously the speculative elements DQed you.


God Over Djinn

So I really liked this. I personally didn’t have a problem with the chronology; I like the hook in the beginning. You’ve got this old lady who is a “burden” to her family, but then suddenly she’s lighter than air. And I want to know why, and how. I found the inclusion of your element elegant and multi-layered. The tone of the story admittedly resonates with me for hard-to-articulate reasons that boil down to personal preference, but really, I felt like this was the most graceful interpretation of the elements this week.

Jagermonster

So, the more I read this, the more I like it, but it didn’t quite register with me the first time through. For some reason I just didn’t connect the eggs with the whole “humans claim the land by using it” thing. I guess it fits in with sulphur because sulphur smells like gross eggs, but I was left kinda of going “huh?” at the end. But I think I get what you were going for now. I guess I’m just not sure what effect the eggs actually had; the volcano is erupting at the end, yes? So I wasn’t anymore certain of this tribe’s fate at the end than I was at the beginning, so I have to take Budi’s word for it at the end that this is a victory.

Benny the Snake

Benny, Benny, Benny. I hope you come back. You weren’t even the DM this week! But this was kind of a weak entry. I think you spent too much time on the beginning and didn’t really know where you were going with this, which forced you to write a really abrupt ending. I mean, at least it does end. But other than oracles having silver eyes, I’m not really feeling the element silver. Generally when I see lines in stories that are like “little did I know, things were about to change….” or “I still remember to this day…”, I know it’s a bad story.

Another issue is that we don’t ever get to SEE your character trying to avoid his fate. It’s just, he gets his fate told, and then he kills his family.

Tyrannosaurus


You intrigue me, ‘Saurus. You already know you’ll never live down the piss guitar, but you’re actually coming into your own quite well here in the ‘dome. That said, I thought this week’s offering was a little too fluffy for my taste. Yes it does hit all the right emotional spots, and your inclusion of your element was good, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve read this story before, and already knew what was going to happen as soon as it began. That said, I think you did an ok job of going through the loyal dog trope, and E/N likes your story so what now? Upper middle of the pack. Keep improving!

Fumblemouse

Admittedly, I really enjoyed this on the first readthrough. Getting down to brass tacks, I really wanted to have more of a sense of what the consequences of the evening were going to be. I wanted Emily to have more than a bit role as WIFE #2. Otherwise, your dialog was tight; I’m getting really partial to the writing voice of you southern hemisphere English speakers. Maybe it’s all the ‘mate’ this, ‘mate’ that. This had the ring of a 'Mojo piece, in that it had a good eye for detail and characterization, except for Emily. One of my picks this week.

Noah

So, your description was pretty great, but there was so much of it that I kind of got lost in all the pretty shapes and colors. I’m not sure why, looking over it, you’re writing is pretty serviceable and clear. I guess it’s because I never got the sense of what this fantastical cave and weird Core are for, beyond putting hapless adventurers in peril. The very ending lines were kind of weak; “waiting for inevitability” is such a general sentiment that doesn’t really close up your story. Otherwise not bad, you’re just a couple inches left of the mark.

Nettle Soup

While this was one of the approaches to the prompt that I liked, I was left scratching my head about a few things. Why was this lady so fixated on the golden rose? I liked the logic of the blood feeding it, and there was a nice metaphor in there somewhere about our fixation on gold, but it didn’t shine through like I would’ve preferred. I’m not really sure why she became the tree at the end. This had the makings of a King Midas sort of cautionary tale, but the logic didn’t quite work to make me accept your premise. Also, why didn’t it occur to Erik to like, sell this thing?

Martello

I mean, yeah, the writing is solid. But after reading so many of your stories, we can safely put this one into the Martello.txt file. You have a lot of interesting life experiences, and insight but you bury them under lingo that makes my eyes glaze over. Of course, write what you want to write about, but it’s hard for me to dredge up new things to say about the war is pointless trope. Am I being mean? I don’t know. I just know that you’re a better writer with more versatility than you show in TD a lot of the time, and it leaves me at a loss for new things to say.

Jeep

Okay, the first paragraph could’ve been cut, or at least trimmed down. But this was a story, where a character wants something, does/doesn’t get it, and then changes as a result! So structurally, good job. I liked the inclusion of your element also. In a weaker week, this may have got an HM, but as it is, pretty good job. I think it was just that first big block of description that failed to pull me in effectively.

WeLandedOnTheMoon!

Well enough written. I guess I just didn’t really get Joe’s motivation, was the thing that kept it from getting a nod from this judge. There wasn’t enough motivation for him to basically risk ambushing the narrator and assaulting his girlfriend. I guess the fact that he and narrator discovered the shack together? But I don’t recall getting a sense of why these guys hate each other so much. I did like the parallels with the crack of the bat, when you describe Joe in the beginning and then near the end when Claire whacked him over the head.

Schneider Heim

I wasn’t so much a fan of this one. I’m not entirely sure how your element played in, and the premise was kind of a stretch. For one thing, what’re they going to do about a drummer? Why would an amateur cover band get paid? Why would the venue double their pay? Why would any of this work out in any way other than “sorry guys, you don’t get to play or get paid”? I don’t know. The whole premise just didn’t sit with me, and I had trouble finding the prompt element.

CurlingIron

This was good. It was neat, it was tidy. The protagonist was likeable, and the plot was solid. I guess I just saw the ending coming from the beginning, so that’s what kept me from feeling this 100%. I don’t actually have much to crit other than that though, so good on you!

Docbeard

This was charming to me in ways that I find hard to articulate. You’ve definitely been improving here in the dome, though. It did get a little rambly in places, but I was able to work with it because the narrator seemed like the rambling type. I did like his interjections about his thrift store, and how that tied in to him coming into possession of the quilt. Your element didn’t play THAT big of a role, and I can’t say that I am 100% sure that I got your whole premise, but you did an okay play on the whole “devil at the crossroads” thing. I liked that Pete didn’t take the deal, though. I don’t know, this wasn’t the best by a long shot, but you’ve got a kind of charm, Docbeard. Keep it up.

No Longer Flakey

This is one of those stories that feel kind of throw away to me. I don’t really care about anyone or what they’re doing or why. Nothing has changed by the end of the story; Chad is still a total rube, and the narrator hasn’t really DONE anything. The writing is clear enough, but the premise is just…..eh. Come on guys, the prompt is just a starting point to narrow INFINITE POSSIBILITIES down to slightly-less-than-infinite possibilities. So this story just…..doesn’t do it for me.

Paladinus

Sooooooo much pontificating at the beginning. And then your character looks at a ring, and at the end of the story she still has doubt. Only maybe she is reaffirmed in her doubt? I don’t know. The tone in this was overwrought and dry, and there was too much rumination.

Sparrow
Sep 19, 2003
Don't Panic

I'm in.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Some crits.

Lake Jucas posted:

American Werewolf in America
Haha cool title I am totes pumped to read a funny werewolf story.

Words: 1088
Element: Chlorine. Flash rule: must have a pool but no one gets wet.

First thing you gotta know about me is that I'm a werewolf. Good opening. The second (and more important) thing is that I am a skateboarding junkie who'sse desperate attempts to get my fix had turned me into a public menace. Tense is weird here: so is perspective. Plus it's overcomplicated and pretty much squanders the sweet kickflip of the first line. Cut after 'junkie'.

Anthony knew this and went immediately for the jugular.

“My parents had the pool emptied. Dan, it's perfect for skating.” He had me cornered at my locker.

“If it was perfect it wouldn't be the full moon.” I said, casting a nervous glance up and down the hall.

“It will be fine, no one will find out your secret. I'll just lock you in the basement cage when it gets dark.” As much as my parents wanted to keep a lid on my condition, you can't expect a little kid to keep something like that from his best friend. Anthony's parents had a cage to house me for sleepovers after they came around to the idea that I was a lycanthrope.

“I don't know...” I shifted uncomfortably.

“The only way Ashley will come to the party is if Jess comes, and Jess will come if she hears you'll be there.” Anthony had been wanting to hook up with Ashley since freshman year. Jess though...ugh! Okay so you're doing a sort of ok job sketching out these relationships but it's terribly bland just listing the names like this. Introduce characters when they have something to do, not just as speech tags.

I tried to say no, but when I looked for the words all I found was the electric thrill promised by the possibility of pool boarding. There's actually a much better story about an ultra-gnarly skateboarding werewolf that I really wish you were telling us right now. “Alright, I'm in.”

The rest of the week dragged on. When your characters are bored, your readers probably are too. Any attempts to focus in class were sabotaged by the skateboarder lurking within, threatening to make its way to the surface. Friday couldn't come soon enough. When the final bell rang I dashed out of physics, freed my skateboard from my locker, rendezvoused with Anthony by his car in the parking lot. I wanted leave immediately, but he told me we had to wait since we were giving a ride to Jess and Ashley, so I killed time skating circles around his car. seriously this is like hella dull

Most of the parking lot had emptied when Jess and Ashley finally met up with us. It was about time, since at that point I was trying to figure out how much speed I would need to get to jump Mrs. Schumacher's car, which she had carelessly parked at the bottom of side entrance staircase. like bodaciously ennuyeux if you catch my lingo duder

We piled into Anthony's Taurus and set off for his place. Ashley took my spot in the passenger seat, leaving me trapped in back with Jess. Jess was delighted, of course. She had been obsessed with me since forever (I have no clue why), but I felt the complete opposite. Everything she did managed to get under my skin, from the way her voice went up at the end of every sentence like she was asking question to the fact that she was currently wearing a Team Jacob t-shirt (seriously, in 2014!!). can't type falling asleep

“I got a joke.” she announced. I bit my tongue for Anthony's sake, but he was nowhere near as generous.

“Go for it.” he said, grinning as he looked at me through the rear view mirror.

“What's the difference between a werewolf and a mermaid?”

Seriously?!

“I don't know, what?” Anthony asked, stifling laughter.
“Werewolves can't swim while mermaids aren't real.” Anthony was the only one that laughed. Bastard could hardly contain himself. zzzzz

I didn't even wait until his car had finished pulling into the driveway before I leaped out and dashed straight for his back yard. The smell of chlorine was lingering in air, beckoning to me. The change was coming on soon, heightening my senses and making the pool-cleaner's aroma intoxicating. When I laid eyes on the emptied pool I nearly wept for joy. cliché, tell/show, still blah

Anthony's family had money and their pool was one of a number of indications. It was massive, five feet deep in the shallows and eleven in the deep end. It's IT'S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR 'IT IS' bowl shape made it perfect for skating. I hopped on my board and dropped in with abandon. perfectly wrong word choice bro

The next few hours were a blur. cool glad you didn't give us any awesome werewolf sk8r antics that migh have been interesting Other people stared to file in to the party, but I was ambivalent to them and the lovely pop-songs they blared over the speaker system. Other skaters joined me, in the pool, but none could match my fervor or intensity. Tell/show I was MISSING 'A' dervish, flying high and free as I careened between them. My board and I were one, and felt a glorious release from the confines of gravity.

“Bro! What are you doing?” Anthony said, pulling me away as I was about to drop in for nth time.

“Huh?” I saw the hickey on his neck and the look of worry in his eyes.

“The sun is going to set any moment.” he said. He was write i will seriously eat your face off i am like a werewolf but with dumb grammar errors rather than the full moon. It was dusk and I hadn't even noticed.

“We got to get you into the basement.” I knew he was write ffffff, but my skateboard was calling to me, urging me onward to sicker and sicker tricks. If Anthony hadn't pulled me away I think I would have stayed until I had reverted into my bestial form.

My skateboard clenched to my chest, I was lead down stairs to my prison to wait out the night. He locked the cage, wished me could gggn night, and scurried away back upstairs.

The change came quickly. My blood boiled. My bones broke and re-knit themselves together. Muscles and sinew swelled until I became the beast of nightmares and legends. One think BBBBAALLLLRRRRRRRHHHGGGGG filled my frenzied brain: skateboarding.

I had lost track of time entirely until I heard the door to the basement open. Music bellowed from above, while the scent of alcohol and perspiration filled my nostrils.

“Dan, are you down here? I heard – Oh my God!” Jess's cries where kggJAJSKDHJFKAJHHHF downed out by hoard of high schoolers singing along to Miley Cyrus's “Wrecking Ball.”

“Dan, is that you?” she said. She was terrified, but there was something that kept her from running. Probably her werewolf fetish. loving Jess.

“The key. Over there.” I managed to growl out. She nodded and took the key from the peg on the far wall. With only a moment of hesitation she unlocked the cage.

I took a furtive step out of my cell. The wolf in me was calling for blood. I reached out to her with one of my massive clawed hands. But I had another urge besides carnage, an even more powerful urge. I curled my hand into a fist and scooped up my board in the other.
“Pound it.” hOOOOOOOOly poo poo so you set him up as a werewolf and did all that dull stuff just so you could what have him be about to do cool stuff as the story ends? Get out of my sight, Jucas, you disgust me. Also I am a werewolf now on account of your poor proofreading so gently caress you for that too.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


I'd appreciate being flashed.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

I'd appreciate being flashed.

Oh wouldn't you just.

Flash rule, thanks to Djeser: Your protagonist is holding an object, and cannot put it down for the duration of the story.

Whalley
Mar 5, 2004

neato devito


I'd like a flash rule too actually. This could be a horrifically bad idea!

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Whalley posted:

I'd like a flash rule too actually. This could be a horrifically bad idea!

Flash rule: something valuable gets destroyed.

My husband told me to give you 'has to be Transformers-themed'. Be grateful.

Whalley
Mar 5, 2004

neato devito


Uh I have the perfect thing for that actually, and it's something I've talked to quite a few people about in the past~

Whalley fucked around with this message at Feb 12, 2014 around 05:34

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Whalley posted:

Uh I have the perfect thing for that actually, and it's something I've talked to quite a few people about in the past~

Surprise flash rule: story cannot be depressing.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


sebmojo posted:

Surprise flash rule: story cannot be depressing.
Just in case anybody missed it, this rule applies to all of you already.

PROMPTPOST posted:

Nota bene: If your story contains one whiff of whiny woe-is-me bullshit, I will give you something to be sad about. You have been warned.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


You're welcome to write depressing if you can do it without being mopey, maudlin, first-worldy, angsty, pathetic, or dull. If it makes me cry, more power to ya, that means you made me care about your story which is a good start. If it belongs in e/n, judgment will not be kind.

E: 'you' means everyone but Whalley.

Whalley
Mar 5, 2004

neato devito


sebmojo posted:

Surprise flash rule: story cannot be depressing.

Then I'm going to make something normally a depressing thing be a dang strength and you can't stop me

elfdude
Jan 23, 2014

Mad Scientist

In.

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In, since I actually have it written up already, so it's purely an exercise in tightening prose.

Now I just need to see if I can retrieve the old Gmail account I used for the now-defunct mailing list that I typed it up for. There's just the tiny issue that the password retrieval email for that account is my old primary Gmail account, which I sold to a social network millionaire with the same name as me. Fortunately, he's been pretty cooperative about forwarding any errant emails so far, so this shouldn't be too much trouble. .

But man, I can probably write it from memory. That night had everything: a mugging, a drunken car crash, a concerned middle-aged gay couple, a weird stoned neighbour, frightened foreign exchange students, an imagined burglary, a real burglary, three or four brushes with the police, and a beautiful sunrise over the Boland Mountains.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


I'm thinking about entering this week, but I'm going to be moving to another country/exploring steamy jungles next week and probably unable to judge if I win. Can I like, take the crown but defer the judging onto somebody else or would that be a super lovely thing to do?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I'm thinking about entering this week, but I'm going to be moving to another country/exploring steamy jungles next week and probably unable to judge if I win. Can I like, take the crown but defer the judging onto somebody else or would that be a super lovely thing to do?

Yes

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Excellent. If I win, Sitting Here, I name thee Judge Regent. I will send you the prompt upon my victory.

IN.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

So apparently everyone in IRC got apocalypsed and me and Rhino are the chosen ones.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

Some crits.

You missed one, old fellow.

Lake Jucas posted:

“Dan, are you down here? I heard – Oh my God!” Jess's cries where downed out by THE hoard HOLY gently caress THAT'S THE OTHER KIND OF HOARD, YOU MEAN HORDE YOU GRADE-SCHOOL WORD CONFUSION MOTHERFUCKER of high schoolers singing along to Miley Cyrus's “Wrecking Ball.”

Well, two actually.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


One crit, on request.

quote:

Jay O - Salvage

The crows called out when they saw Martin coming up the hill. He could hear them, even through the drum and roll of the rain off his poncho's orange hood, and it sounded to him like laughter at his expense. He cursed at them under his breath, and he cursed the mud harder. It was a slog to plow uphill one foot at a time, dropping to his hands every few minutes to shove against the sliding downhill muck when his boots got sucked under and trapped. He wasn't here because he wanted to be.Lame hook: Ooooh, why is this faceless character standing on a hill? (Good hook: He's here for a reason that the reader isn't equipped to fully understand yet, and thus wants to know more about.)

Schloop! Tripped again. Martin smashed into the ground face first. He could feel the cold, wet clumps of jagged earth pressing into his belly and rainwater pouring in little rivulets down his pants. He pulled himself to his feet, yanked his shirt down, and hissed more swears.This is evocative and lyrically written, sure, but save your pretty images for the emotional heart of the story, not some random guy walking up a hill. You could've got him up to the top of that hill in two lines.

Then he saw what he had come for, yards ahead of him, and his throat tightened.

"Sh-poo poo. poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo..."

Martin kept chanting his sutra of poo poo cute. as he clambered up the soggy grass and soil to the Tinhouse. It wasn't made of tin, really, but that's what he and the guys had called it back in high school. Corrugated tin roof, rusty tin panels on the walls, so it was a Tinhouse, right? But the carcass of their old haunt, underneath the tin-skin, was all just wood, and rotten wood after years of neglect. A wave of mud had slammed through the back of the Tinhouse. Water streamed down the hillside and through this new back door, blocked only a little by the trunk of a gnarly dead elm tree that grew behind the shed. again, way way way way way too much here. Trust your readers: they need fewer words to picture a scene than you'd think, especially if they're the right words. Martin knew it must be flooded inside. He'd hiked all the way up here for nothing.

"Wait."is he talking to himself?

With level ground under his feet again, Martin shot around to the back of the shed and breathed a sigh of relief. The torrent of mud from above had crumpled in the back of the Tinhouse, but it had also formed a dam, forcing the water and muck to fork along the sides of the shack's outer walls and splash down the hill. Gave me a lot of trouble on the way up, he thought. But if the Tinhouse wasn't flooded, maybe some stuff could be salvaged. okay, I'm starting to see the issue here. You have this very complicated physicality in the scene, like you're picturing a very specific image of how the whole hill, mud, etc. with the tinhouse is set up. but the point isn't to package the image that you have in your own head and give it to the reader, it's to guide the reader to develop their own images.

Martin tore open the front door. Some water rushed out, and the floor warped under his feet, but it wasn't Atlantis in here yet.neat image. The gamebooks should all be on the second shelf in the corner. All Wizards of the Coast stuff, most of them with original sheets, some with the supplemental stuff. oh god here comes parade of the nerds. I see what you're trying to do, but this stuff just sticks out so much when you add it as incidentals. Gamebooks aren't 'background'-y enough (compared to, say, board games, or, idk, regular books) that your reader won't start expecting the story to be about them.

Martin shuffled off the backpack he'd been carrying--another high-school relic--and piled every one of them inside. The guy at the comic store said 750 flat for the whole lot. Some of these looked real old...could be less than they were worth...definitely less, the more he thought about it. But he was already a week behind on rent. Too late to think about eBay. Comic store guy could pay him that day, if he was still there. Martin left, what, 40 minutes ago? So 40 minutes back?<< this might have happened in a real world scenario, but it's not relevant to the story you're trying to tell. veracity is not all-important. Also, you could basically have started the story here and it would've ended up the same.

drat rain. drat mudslide. drat bills. drat--

Martin realized he was staring at a few pepperings of metal in the muck at his boots. They weren't rocks, too oddly shaped and...familiar? He fished one out of the earthy slime. Tin. It had a little head, lopsided arms, and big clumpy feet melting into a bigger clumpy stand. The little tin staff was made too thin and the end had snapped off at some point. Oh. That's right. He made these.

The books belonged to Chris, originally. He was a good DM. He took the game seriously without forcing anyone else to. This figurine was made for him. It didn't look like much, but it was supposed to be a god-thing, with a beard and a staff. That's all Martin did in high school. He played D&D and he made little figures. see, this just makes him sound boring. but you could make this a meaningful emotional thing easily. why didn't he do normal stuff in high school? can that reason come up elsewhere in the story? There was more than enough tin left over from making the Tinhouse, and it was easy to heat and bend while everyone else was tallying numbers or arguing semantics. Chris was a bland-lookin' guy and he always DM'ed. He didn't have a game character, so Martin was proud of what he had come up with for him. Bland or not, Chris was the only guy in the group who had a girl. Still did! They were married now, with a kid. He seemed happy now. don't tell me about Chris if he isn't a character.

Thunder rattled the shack's ruffled roof and snapped Martin back to reality. He really should get going, but...were there more of his figures in here? This storm was probably going to wash away most of the Tinhouse. They'd all be gone.

Martin set his backpack down and started picking through the sludge like a sandpiper for all the little treasures he'd made.

There was Mark, a dwarf. The baby of the group, they used to pick on him for needing a ride all the time. He was graduating college this year.

This rusty one was Eddie, a mage. He flaked on half their meetings, but he was funny, so they kept inviting him. Graduate school now, engaged.

So does he still hang out with these guys? A good story might be the story of how Martin feels like he's been left behind by them as they grew up.

Martin pawed through the mud for six more minutes, but his own figurine never turned up. Whatever. He could be running out of time, and a one-inch tin ranger smushed together by a high-school dropout wasn't worth anything. He slung his old backpack over his shoulder and schlepped back out through the slop, bracing himself for a long leg-locked trek back through a torrent of muddy water.

"Caw-caw-caw-awk!"

Martin froze. Crows collected shiny things, didn't they? He looked up at the dead elm behind the shack, full of dead nests. There was something dull amidst one little clump of twigs, copper wire, and earth.

The rain was coming down harder now. His muscles ached and his lungs burned. The way down might even be slower than the way up.

He dropped the backpack and swung his leg into the crook of the tree. It pinched his foot, secure but a little painful, and he hoisted himself up to the swaying, soggy nest about ten feet up.
There were bits of wire, glass, and metal laced throughout the melting nest, but all Martin saw was Ranger Thranmoor, leader of the Timberland Warriors. He twirled the tiny hero between his thick fingers.

Hey buddy. It's been eight years.

It wasn't going to pay his bills this month. He might not have an apartment to bring it back to for long. But... and finally we get the emotional heart of the story, 95% of the way through. This isn't a carrot to dangle over your reader's head, it should be present the whole time.

The wave of mud from the mount above him rushed down almost silently, but the force was incredible. It shook the thick elm. It swallowed his backpack. It swept away two crows as five others screamed and took flight. It swelled to six inches below his shaking feet before stopping. He could walk from the tree to the Tinhouse roof on the new ground. So he did, quivering in shock. more excessive irrelevant physical detail.

Martin sat on the roof with Thranmoor until the rain stopped. When his heart finally stopped racing, he tightened his bootlaces and prepared to head home.

This story is suffering from anecdote syndrome. It's like you have this extremely accurate image of a series of things that happened, and are going to describe them to the reader so precisely that there's no room left for doubt. But then you haven't considered what you're trying to communicate. Ask yourself: what is this story about? If the answer is 'a guy gathering some figurines during a monsoon', blah. If the answer is something else, then get rid of the tedious descriptivewords and put that 'something else' into the story, instead of making me peer around the edges for it.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Before better judgment sets in: in.

And, before better judgment really sets in, self-flash rule , it will be entitled Sodom Has No Pause Button.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Little Mac posted:

Room to Breathe Blah title Element: Oxygen, 1132 words

“So, you think I should talk to her?” Emmett asked, slumping into his chair. He glanced across the room to Esther, who was vacantly staring into a screen. Her short brown hair was bunned up underneath her hat, allowing Emmett to fully take in the profile of the girl he had longed after for months now. You've set your story in a submarine, and you waste your first para on bland blocking. this is a bad thing in case you couldn't tell from the tone of my typing. I hope you don't want the fact it's in a submarine to be a shocking tweest.

“What better time than the present?” asked Chet, shoving his friend in the shoulder. Emmett winced – he was weak and bruised easily. He let out a small breath as his chair spun around with the shove. “Listen, pal, I’m just going to be honest with you: say something to her or stop whining about it! I, for one, am a bit tired of it.” blah this is a dumb and pointless para.

Emmett sighed. “But won’t it make things awkward?” he asked. “What if she says no? What if she says yes and I’m just boring? Or a wet blanket? What if she just doesn’t like me at all?”

“If every man deliberated so much before talking to a lady we’d be a much less populous planet, rest assured.” Chet removed his hat, rolled it up in his massive hands, and slapped Emmett on the back. Ok, so you've sketched out some characters with tolerably specific detail (I like the hat move, for eg), but 'DO THING. NO. GO ON. OK.' is just fundamentally tedious to read, especially at the top of the story.

“Go get ‘er, tiger.”

Emmett stood but he felt light-headed. these two things are not contradictory so why the but He held on to a bar above him as he walked over toward where Esther was sitting, still lost in the blinking lights and subtle beeps emanating from the panel in front of her. Emmett cleared his throat and then, after an awkward silence why is it awkward if she hasn't noticed him, said Esther’s name aloud.

“Oh, hey Emmett,” she smiled. HOW DOES SHE SPEAK WITH HER SMILE IS SHE A WITCH WOMAN Her smile was soft and subdued bad description choice I have no idea what this looks like, but he could see his reflection in her glittering teeth. o god no he loving couldn't that's ridiculous How did she keep them so white, he wondered? She stared at him and he thought he might drown in her ocean eyes. He shuffled his feet from side to side and then stopped, placing his hands in his pockets. He turned his face away from her hypnosis.

“Do you want to-” he stammered, words falling out like water dripping through a sieve, water flows through a sieve, it doesn't drip “do you want to maybe have- have lunch together? Today, I mean.” Suddenly the sieve broke wat the water poured in like a dam had been keeping the ocean in this manages to be both agonisingly literal and completely nonsensical check: “Imeanwedon’thavetodoittodaybutImeanifyouwanttoandImeanifyoudon’tthat’sokaytooImeanyoucantakesometimeandthinkaboutitunlessyoualreadyknow-“

Esther giggled and shushed him. “Sure, I could eat. I’m off duty in an hour. Sound good?” Emmett took a second to fully process her response, perhaps sucking the loose words back in to his now-empty brain. His face lit up and he nodded wildly. so is this like a sub for retards or what are we dealing with here.

“An hour,” he gasped. gasped, asked, shushed, smiled, are all speech tags, or 'said book'isms. Just use 'said'. It's essentially invisible to the reader.

After fifty-eight minutes of frenzied pacing, stopped only by what Emmett could only describe as a moment where the reality of the situation had hit him and turned the world upside down, Emmett grabbed his lunch card and began walking toward the cafeteria. I'm just gonna start cutting words that don't matter, k

Fifty eight minutes later Esther was already there when Emmett arrived and he plopped his tray down in front of hersEsther's. The cafeteria was empty, which was not a common occurrence. He kicked his feet in the small layer of water on the floor. Emmett chalked up another win for fate. As he twirled his fork around the spaghetti, Emmett made an attempt at small talk.

“So,” he said, fear overcoming his confidence once more, “what do you, er, do here?”

“Radar, mostly,” she replied, wiping sauce from her chin with a wet nap. “Though sometimes they’ve got me on comms. I’m not super-interested in that kind of stuff. What’d you do before, Emmett?”

“Before?” he echoed. His socks seemed drenched with sweat.

“Yeah, before they put you down here. What’d you do?”
don't do 'A?' 'a?' 'yes, A?' 'well, B' because it's dull filler

“Well, I was a dentist,” he said proudly, moments before realizing that was the lamest thing he could’ve said. In his mind he scolded himself, thinking he should have said racecar driver instead.

“And you gave up being a dentist for this?” She took a swig of milk.

“It’s not as exciting as it sounds,” he replied. Emmett’s face lit up. Emmet is the viewpoint character, so you describe things from his pov - this line jumps outside that. He’d made a joke! She even giggled a bit. Was he actually charming? No one had ever described Emmett as charming, or even really funny, but he was very glad that she might think he was.

“No,” she stifled her giggle under bread 'Stifled giggles under bread' did a few good singles back in the NO YOUR DUMB LINE IS SO DUMB I CANNOT EVEN DO THE BANDNAME GAG and the echoes of screams, wat “I meant that it probably paid a lot. Most of us signed up for this because we needed the money. So if not that, then why?”

“I dunno, seemed fun.” Emmett thought for a moment on his words and then realized he never did come to a conclusion as to why he’d signed up. It was fate that brought him here.

“Oh yeah, big fun,” Esther laughed again. When she laughed her autumn hair curled a bit. Emmett tried not to get distracted counting the curls but he couldn’t help it. After ten seconds of silence, words fired forth like a torpedo. He shifted in his wet chair and took a bite of his meal. tHIS IS AN INCREDIBLY DULL CONVERSATION WHY ARE YOU WASTING OUR TIME WITH IT

“What’d you do before?” he asked, tomato sauce flying from his mouth onto the table. seriously, why on earth do you think we care about these peoples' table manners? Was your mother v strict in that respect and you are working out your issues with her via flash fiction?

“Just college, mostly,” she sighed. “I wanted to be a lot of things. I- I don’t dream much anymore.” She reached her hand across the table and intertwined her fingers with Emmett’s. Her glossy fingernails sparkled in the swirling red lights. Their eyes met. “Chet told me about you, a long time ago. I’ve been hoping you’d ask me out for a while now.” cheesy, implausible and dull are all adjectives that could be applied to this para. I do like the magic realist disaster happening in the background but it's basically a tourist from another much better story, taking pictures while it waits for the bus

Emmett smiled and was about to say something when Chet burst into the room. He sloshed through the waist-high water and slammed his fists down on the aluminum table.

“Esther,” he growled, “this is your fault!”

“Her fault?!” Emmett exclaimed, standing up with a splash. “Our date’s going so well, pal. Why’re you ruining this?” Emmett looked down at the water is it untucked his shirt. wat “What’d you say you did again, Esther?”

“Radar,” she smiled, finishing her milk and dropping it into the drink.

“If you hadn’t been on this date. If someone had been on the radar,” Chet moaned. “Now we’re done for. We’re sunk, quite literally.” QUITE LITERALLY BECAUSE WE ARE IN A SUBMARINE LOL PSYCH dude this doesn't even make sense in its own ridiculous terms because submarines submerge and are already sunk. It is their natural state of being, man.

There was a flush silence wat as the water reached their shoulders. Chet rolled his eyes and dove his head under the water, perhaps hoping to die in a room where he wasn’t absolutely furious at everyone inside. Emmett looked up at Esther.

“So, not a boring first date,” he smiled. I BEG TO DIFFER Shards of torpedo floated into the cafeteria and up between them. FYI TORPEDOES ARE MADE OF METAL, THE LEAST BUOYANT OF THE SOLID MATERIALS She leaned forward and rested her head on some metal.

“I’ve had worse,” she laughed GGGN. “Everyone’ll be gone soon, and what about us?” Emmett was finally coming to the realization that she was probably really terrible at her job. She sighed again, the water enveloping her chin. They could feel the air thinning. pov but really why am I bothering at this point.

“We’ll always have the bottom of the ocean,” Emmett smiled. these aren't people they're retarded flesh robots. that's the other twist, right.

They embraced as the submarine fell silent. I hated this story a lot.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Djinn and Flakey, just about 9.532.5 hours remain for you to get the dream police up in my head.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Feb 12, 2014 around 23:19

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Martello posted:

Add handsome in there and you've got me, so I'll do it.

Write up to 2000 words of cyberpunk/technoir/space-based near-future sci-fi. Any of those three, interpreted how you want. Writing about violent criminals and street mercenaries (my ouvre, in other words) may get you bonus points but ain't necessary at all. If you write a cyberpunk oppressed housewife story that gets the cyberpunk part across in a way that makes sense, I'll probably like it even more.

Deadline is Sunday night. If that's too short, let me know and we can figure something out.

so like, write some poo poo

martello to the courtesy judgephone

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Sitting Here posted:

Due date: Thursday, February 13th at 11:59:59 PM, PST

Sitting Here posted:

Djinn and Flakey, just about 9.533.5 hours remain for you to get the dream police up in my head.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry


gosh I guess I was just over excited to read your writing

my bad

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


I have to work tonight and tomorrow, getting this in on time is gonna be a close thing.

Sparrow
Sep 19, 2003
Don't Panic

I think I need a flash rule also. Thanks in advance.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

Sparrow posted:

I think I need a flash rule also. Thanks in advance.

FLASH RULE

Ghengis Khan did amazing things. I'm sure you have, too. Compare yourself to the great Mongol leader.

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