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  • Locked thread
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.
I have tasted blood and desire more. In.


Feb 8, 2014

I am in. Whether that's foolish or wise :shrug:

Jan 11, 2014

In. Just in. No fooling around this time.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p
Well, I completely failed to write anything this week, but I did do QuickCrits for you assholes, so at least I accomplished something (haha, just kidding, my life is a lie).

These are far from comprehensive, and I recommend that the majority of you go back through previous judging posts and glean what general tips you might from them (in particular Erogenous Beef's; those are good), since a lot of you don't know how to write a story.

If you want more out of me, too loving bad. Here's what you get:

kwasimodick – Untitled

Everyone’s already yelled at you for not putting a golden bean in this, so I won’t jump on that wagon. I like to imagine that the dad in your story became an angel at the end, somehow fulfilling the prompt, and not making this just another drive-by troll. But I live in a fantasy world, soooo…

Gau – The Suffering Sister

Your opening paragraph is truly awful. Short, disjointed thoughts clumsily put together, confusing sentences and a tense change slapped on to the end adding insult to injury. If we did a DM for worst first paragraph this week I would be gunning for you to take it.

The most interesting part of your story (the characters questioning God, making the decision to return to Earth) happens before your story begins. What is mentioned of it is entirely telling, and therefore Bad. At the end of the story the only thing different is that what’s-her-name and Jeremiah are back together, through absolutely no effort on her part. No character development, no choices, no story. You could maybe make a story out of this by showing the original decision of the characters to leave heaven, but then you’ve just got a story that’s been done to death already.

Thalamas- The Inside Job

Super jumbled, deus ex machina at the end out of nowhere, character development was forced pretty hard (also he committed assault and theft in order to repent his sins, lol). I did like that the title changed meaning after reading the story, so there's that.

Tyrannosaurus – Testify

I actually thought this story was pretty great, although I can hear my mother screaming that a little girl should be wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle when I read it. Is it a little cliché? Sure, but I don’t really mind too much. Only quibble I have (and this got you DQed from winning) is that there’s no angel. Sorry, bro, prompt said real angel of a god, not a Hell’s Angel Who Does Good Work.

Runningintowalls – The Visitor

Whole big pile of “so what” going on up in here. You almost had some character development, but it was entirely out of the protagonist’s hands (and who was the protag, now that I’m thinking of it? You switched POV so much that I was unclear on whether I was reading about Maggie’s life or Joanna’s), and Kelly showing up was kind of nonsensical. Also, for gently caress’s sake, questions need a question mark at the end of them, regardless of whether or not they’re part of dialogue.

Some Guy TT – For the Glory of God

I can see what you’re trying to do with the opening paragraph, but you’ve somehow managed to make insanely bloody medieval warfare suuuuuper boring. This was “I had to stop reading and force myself to come back to it” bad.

Okay, so you have a character that’s perpetually bored (not good), he hears some ideas that shake up his world view and find that they are changing him (okay, not bad), kills some random dude and does some boring pondering about it (bluh), and then magically wakes up and decides to kill everyone (what). You have a lot of boring exposition, and then some clunky action, and then a weird and stupid ending that makes no sense.

I hate you.

God Over Djinn – Reapers and Sowers

I… kind of don’t get your story. Your main character is a douche that never changes, the angels actions and purpose make almost no sense, and Sarah feels super flimsy as a character. Your main character doesn’t really do anything to achieve his goal, and his relationship with Sarah before the story isn’t made particularly clear, so I’m not even sure that anything changes from the beginning of your story to the end.

This kind of reads like a teenslpoitation short with a paranormal twist. Didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really like it much, either.

tenniseveryone – Mixed Blessing

Didn’t sebmojo JUST yell at your about not putting line breaks in between paragraphs? PUT LINE BREAKS BETWEEN ALL OF YOUR PARAGRAPHS. ALL OF THEM.

Shouldn’t the angel know who the child’s real father is? Isn’t that kind of the whole point of “an omnipotent being is sending a messenger to tell you that you’re pregnant, and also the future disposition of said child”? It kind of takes the punch out of the “who’s the father” Maurray poo poo you’ve got going at the end there.

You’ve also got no character choices, and nothing different at the end of the story except that now she knows she’s pregnant (although if she already had a pregnancy test…? I don’t know, you have some weird clumsy telegraphing going on in this thing).

Erogenous Beef – Concessions

Ehhhhh, I thought this was a little weak. I liked what you were going for, but it felt rushed, and frankly a little stereotypical. I enjoyed the resolution, but the setup wasn’t really doing it for me. If anything, I might have cut the entire daddy-daughter scene and fleshed out the robbery more, but without a word count to worry about, you could just as easily expand the whole thing at this point and wind up with a better story.

ZorajitZorajit – Burning Bright

I liked your first paragraph, but you started to lose me with the second. I dislike “the fingers” “the lips” (which somehow have a mind of their own with which to consider things!) etc. You had your artsy setup, now give me a character, goddamnit.

Oh god, the whole thing is like this, isn’t it.

gently caress.

gently caress you.

Paladinus – Angel of Light

Okay, end of third paragraph, I have my ending prediction: protagonist ends up in Hell.


This is clumsily written and bad on several levels (predictable, stupid, and no real character development), but at least there were characters and you’re not in love with your own terrible writing. So, uh, thanks?

Maultaschen – In the Wind

Cute kid, bad dialog. On a weird picky note, I’m not really sure an owl could break a bay window.

“A year to ten seconds later” is something that probably sounded like a good idea while you were writing it, but really ought to have been cut during editing.

Uh, cool ending, I guess? I think maybe the woman in the house was supposed to be Shanna’s mother? I don’t know, this didn’t make a lot of sense. Your character didn’t change or make any choices, or even really have a conflict, he(?) just… Bumbled along, while some birds and some tarps flapped about in the wind (you can’t hear owls flapping, btw; it’s one of their distinguishing features as a species).

WeLandedOnTheMoon! – The Chronicle of Clifford Johnson Part 6: Black on Blaq Crime

I don’t even know if I should bother judging this, or if I should let Merc deal with it. OH WELL, TOO LATE.

Nonsensical and occasionally clumsy, but in a fun way. Very Mercedes. Not gonna win you anything in the main event, but a good Black Jesus Contender.

Fumblemouse – Falling Angels

Ah, this is sweet. Thanks for not making me want to kill myself, FM. :3:

crabrock – Angelic

I won’t lie to you, this kind of reads like a hosed Up Wasp story.

I was actually hoping it was a hosed Up Wasp story.

You know, along with “and it was all a dream,” one of the big ending clichés is “and it turned out they were Adam and Eve.” I feel like “and he was the snake in the Garden of Eden” fits into that category. I want to ding you for that, but it works with your story, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

perpetulance – Clipped Wings

You need some italics or something to differentiate characters’ thoughts from the general narration.

Huh, I didn’t hate this. No real character development, but interesting in a way that I didn’t see many people pull off this week. Not bad.

Kaishai – Angel of the Morning

The ending of this one felt way too clean. It was nice, in a childish way, but the whole thing worked out way too well for everyone, so nothing you established within the narrative seemed to matter at all. I wasn’t nuts about it, but it’s well-written, as always.

sebmojo - The gaps between

I quite liked this one. It seemed like with angel week people went one of two ways for the most part: sweet or gritty. This was well-done gritty angel stuff. I wanted you to win, to be honest. Sorry, bro. :(

Jonked – The Holy Flame

Several instances in your story where you really ought to have proofread, but I’m not going to go through all of them.

Judge starts as a “he” then becomes an “it,” although there’s only one instance of “he,” so I think this was just a typo.

And then it ended. I didn’t feel any connection to the protagonist and didn’t really care when (he? She? It?) died. Wasn’t super clear on what was supposed to be going on, either.

ravenkult – אוֹפַנִּים (or, Throne)

Paragraph breaks, yo. I know it looks dumb when it’s just a bunch of single lines of dialogue, but it really goes a long way in not annoying your reader.

You’ve got what I suspect are missing words in one or two places that really muddle your meaning. There are definitely some things that would benefit from proofreading, but overall your prose is pretty good.

Welp. You lost me with the ending. The rest was not-terribly executed, but the ending was just dumb. I have a seriously difficult time believing that anyone would fail to mention that particular message for that long.

Sitting Here – All Too Soon

Wow, Nichole really has it together for a kid in high school.

This is another really sweet story. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since it’s a week about angels. I liked it.

Benny the Snake – Angel of Sorrows

The phrase “distinguish them apart” ought to get you bopped on the nose with a newspaper in a just world. Also “who’s” instead of “whose,” and so goddamn many missed commas, augh we’re not even out of the first paragraph fuuuuck.

I’m not sure whether to praise you for using so many autobiographical details in this one, or whether to call you lazy. I would like to see you break out of the Hispanic-narrator rut (branching out is good while you’re still finding your voice; don’t get too attached to a particular theme or style too early or you’ll stagnate), but I am happy to see that there was no murder this time, and no one called anyone else “holmes.”

Not great, but you’ve done worse.

lambeth – Choices

Is this about killing Hitler? Oh boy, I hope it’s about killing Hitler.

Dialogue needs its own paragraph.

Not about killing Hitler. Very disappointed. :mad:

Yeah, this was sort of bland and uninteresting. I didn't care much about the characters, and the fallen angel seemed pretty flimsy.

Starter Wiggin – Breaking Point

Man, there’s a looooooooot of telling and not a lot of showing in this joint. How does the protagonist even know all of this stuff if Geneva never talked to him (her? It?)? This story makes no sense, there’s no growth, and all of the interesting parts take place outside of the reader’s purview. You might have managed an interesting story out of this one if you actually showed anything instead of just throwing exposition that makes no sense at your reader, but alas.

Phobia – Angel of Death

AND HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME. You, also, would receive a newspaper nose-bop in a just world. This was pretty dumb. Protip: just because you’re putting your clumsy exposition into your story as dialogue doesn’t mean it’s not clumsy exposition.

Fanky Malloons – Audrey

I somehow completely missed reading this one last night! Whoops!

I think Merc really said most of what could be said about it. I liked Black Jesus hanging out with hookers. Would have liked to know more about Audrey, since she seemed a little flat as it was.

Nitrousoxide – Payment

Lol at “glock.” Also, silver bullets? Please no werewolves. I’ve made it this far. :smith:

Why did the angel pick him up just to drop him again immediately?

Let go of your hatred, you must. A plan for you, God has.

What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Your ending, man. :smithicide:

elfdude – An arrow apart.

You’ve got some work to do still with commas and making sure your sentence is saying what you want it to say. There were a lot of errors in this, and several sentences that were drat near impossible to parse.

This story is pretty dumb. I hate Sophia, and Lucifer is boring. I get the feeling you were trying to write Lucifer as charming, but he comes off flat and creepy. If he had been wearing a fedora and Sophia had been completely repulsed by him it would have been at least funny, but as it is the chemistry between the two comes off as unbelievable. You described her as matronly, not naïve and overly-impressionable.

Plus, y’know, nothing really changes from the beginning of the story to the end.

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Apr 7, 2014

Jun 20, 2013
Only fools rush in.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.
In, and could I get a flash rule please?

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

A few more crits from last week.

HopperUK posted:

Sorcha and the Mirror (1092 words)

When Sorcha was little, she dreamed of working at the castle. This is a good example of why openings don't need to be complicated - we have a clean fairy tale cadence that sets up a space and the expectation that we will be traversing it, as well as an idea of how. That's all you need to do, poo poo be straightforward dogs. That said this is still bland, but bland is better than bad. She saw the ladies riding up the hill, and she imagined how it would be to see them dancing in all their finery in the golden halls. But the Queen only hired servants of exceptional talent, and as Sorcha grew, she turned out to be competent at many things, but brilliant at nothing.

"Who cares if you can't bake a perfect pie or sing a perfect song?" her mother said as they scrubbed at the laundry together. "You're my Sorcha and that you'll always be."

When Sorcha was fourteen she was hired on as kitchen maid at the mayor's house. The mayor was an impatient little man with a silly moustache, and his wife was sharp-tongued and unkind, but Sorcha bore it well and each evening she went home to the warmth of her mother's house.

One summer morning, Sorcha was washing the pots and pans when she heard Agnes the senior maid grumbling in frustration. "I declare," said Agnes, "I can't get the mark to come away from this glass for anything!"

"Let me try." Sorcha rubbed at the black mark with her thumb and it disappeared. Agnes snatched the glass away so fast Sorcha was afraid it would fall. nice subtle character beats for agnes/sorcha

"How did you do that?" Agnes held the glass to the light to see its perfect shine, and caught at Sorcha's hand to see the thumb responsible. ditto, and the synecdoche of thumb is clever but not arch

"I don't know," said Sorcha, too startled to mind the thumb examination. "I never did it before."

Together they tested Sorcha's new ability and found she could do nothing with china, wood, or ivory. A brush of her thumb could clean glass, for sure, but everything else behaved just as it always had. "I finally have a talent," said Sorcha, and when she went home that night she told her mother.

"A fine talent," said her mother, "when we've not a single glass in the house!"

"I can at least keep the windows clean," said Sorcha, feeling that her talent was perhaps a small thing after all. Not, anyway, the sort of thing a Queen had any use for. When she returned to work, she asked Agnes to keep her talent a secret, and the older girl agreed, but with a smile that made Sorcha worry. Agnes was a gossip. don't need this

Three days later, a message came down that Sorcha was wanted at the castle. The mayor blustered and his wife frowned, for they were very seldom invited to the castle themselves. But they agreed to send Sorcha, and she went on her way with a head full of admonishments and rules.

Sorcha stood in a fine marble chamber and smoothed at her skirt with trembling hands. The castle was as beautiful as she'd imagined, but she felt that she didn't belong in it at all. It felt empty and lacking in life. The servants she saw were subdued, bad word, pick a better one and there were no shouts of joy or anger, no sounds of laughter. The maid who opened the door to admit her smiled kindly, but Sorcha could find no smile in return. your control slips in this para; you get the point across but it's noticeably less elegant

Behind a mahogany table sat the Queen. She looked as if she had never had a wrinkled skirt, never blushed or felt awkward. She smiled at Sorcha and with one perfect hand beckoned her closer. "I hear you have a remarkable talent," she said.

Sorcha made a curtsey. The carpet beneath her feet was thicker and softer than she'd ever felt. She didn't like to look away at the paintings on the walls, in case it was rude. But hadn't the mayor's wife said that staring at the Queen too long would be rude too? She bit her lip.

"Don't be afraid, child," the Queen said. She gestured to the corner of the room, where a tall frame leaned against the wall, covered in a gauzy sheet. "Uncover my mirror."

With shaking hands Sorcha pulled the sheet from the mirror. She gasped. Someone had hurled black paint over the mirror's surface. The fine golden frame was marred, and barely a speck of shining glass showed. "Oh, how dreadful," Sorcha cried, before she could remember her manners.

"Yes." The Queen rose and came closer. "Once a man hated this mirror, for it showed him his true self, and he found the sight unbearable. He could not shatter the glass, not with fist or hammer, so he blackened it instead. But now I am growing older, and I should like to see my true self." She smiled at Sorcha, but Sorcha thought the smile was more sad than happy. "Will you clean my mirror, Sorcha?"

"I will, your Majesty," whispered SAIDBOOKISM CHECK ENGAGED.....CHECKIN....SAIDBOOKISM CHECK PASSED Sorcha, quite taken with the story, and she curtseyed again for good measure. The Queen's smile became touched with amusement.

"Thank you, my dear," she said.

Sorcha raised her hands and wiped the black paint from the surface of the mirror. With each stroke more of the shining surface was revealed, until Sorcha wiped away the last tiny smear with the side of her thumb. Her reflection was disappointing. She had hoped to see a fine ladies' maid, perhaps, or a fierce adventurer, or a dancer. Instead she saw Sorcha, just as she had been that morning, but now with untidy hair and black paint on her hands. this is actually the heart of the story and it glides by like a stick in a smooth-flowing stream, nice

In the room's reflection, the paintings were sad and faded, and cobwebs and dust covered the walls. It looked like a room that was dying. Sorcha stared a moment before remembering her manners. "It's finished, your Majesty," she said, and stepped back from the mirror.

The Queen sat at her table with her eyes closed and her hands gripping each other. "Thank you, my dear," she said. "I should like to be alone when I look into my mirror. Perhaps I won't like what I see." not having the queen see herself is the right choice - imagined drama is often more dramatic than described drama

Sorcha met the kindly maid in the hall. "I expect you could work here now, if you wanted," said the maid.

Sorcha thought of the sad Queen, and the truthful mirror. "I think I'd better go home to my mother instead," she said. The maid took her to the steward, who gave her a purse of silver coins, enough to keep her mother in a comfortable old age. They sent her home, and she was glad to go.

"But I thought you wanted to work at the castle more than anything," teased her mother as they hugged.

"I thought so too," said Sorcha. "But I'm your Sorcha, and that I'll always be, and I don't want anyone to ever say differently." the ending has an odd note, but I think it's a productive tension - implying the relationship between the paint throwing meanie and the queen rather than stating it. Overall, yeah, this is a p bangin bit of word machinery. It uses the simple cadences of fairy tales to convey a sly and complex emotional payload.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

A Quick Drop and a Sudden Stop
925 words

All the towns, all the cities, all the roads, all the people were just a blur nowadays. Good title, decent first line, though putting in some other detail from the first para could have improved it. Coleman didn’t even know what state they were in anymore. He was going on fifteen years as a carnie. He had worked the ring toss for more than ten of those.

“Is it hawd, mistuh?” a little boy asked.

The kid had a handful of dollar bills and kept looking, back and forth, between his money, the price of the game, and the prize. The prize was a teddy bear bigger than the kid. Nobody ever won it.

“You’re throwing a ring on Coke bottle,” Coleman grunted, “Its drat near impossible.”

The boy tilted his head, confused. Coleman wished the kid would go away so he could close up for a minute and get some more cigarettes.

“Oh, don’t listen to him,” Norah said, stepping out of the crowd, “Its super easy. He’s just afraid that if he isn’t mean then everybody will play and he’ll lose all his prizes.”

“Really?” the boy said.

“Really?” Coleman repeated.

“Go on, show him,” Norah said, “Show him how easy it is!”

Coleman sighed. He picked up three rings and casually tossed them. Perfect throws. Perfect landings. Almost zero bounce.

“Yeah but he’ll give you different rings,” said a man who had stopped to watch, “That’s the trick.”

Coleman made a show of slowly picking up the rings and placing them on the counter. Careful to keep them visible the whole time so no one would think it was a trick. Which it wasn’t.

“Try your luck,” he said.

And the man did and the boy did and bunch of other people did, too. And nobody won because nobody ever won. Like Coleman had said, it was drat near impossible. The only trick was that Coleman was good at it.

“I needed to get some smokes,” he grumbled as more people lined up.

“I’ll get ‘em,” Norah said with a wink.

She reached over the counter and gave his arm a squeeze before taking off. As she walked away, Coleman could just barely make out the tattoo on her lower-back. He felt an uncomfortable longing. He’d have to kill it later with alcohol.

“Good luck,” he said. Like it so far, well-sketched characters, good introduction of the prompt


Norah ran her fingers through her hair and Coleman grabbed another cigarette. Even in his trailer’s dim light, she had a refreshing bad word tell/showglow about her. It had been so long since he’d had a coworker that wasn’t toothless, sunburnt, and stupid. He tried to keep in mind that she was thirty something years his junior.

“I’m thinking of getting another tat,” she said in between sips of beer, “Maybe some cursive words on my collar bone or something. Lez bonny tempers or whatever. Let the good times roll, y’know? I think it’ll look good between my swallows.”

Norah unbuttoned her shirt and Coleman tried to keep his eyes on on the tattoos. A bead of sweat rolled temptingly down her chest and his eyes followed it down, down, down…

Coleman bit his tongue and tried to think of anything else. Anything. He looked at the anchor on his forearm. He thought of being in the navy. Thought of Mike. Mike grasping at the life ring just out of reach. The storm and the waves dragging Mike further and further from the ship. Coleman tossing another ring. Mike’s hand going under and never coming back up. This feels like it should fit better than it does - it's clever, but I think it's a bit too dissonant with the action to date?

“Oh, I got an anchor, too,” Norah said, “And a nautical star. They’re on my hips. Y’wanna see?”

Coleman very much wanted to see. He took a sip of beer and the first drops of a summer storm pitter-pattered on the trailer’s metal roof. Norah looked up in despair.

“Oh, no. No, no, no. I just straightened my hair this morning,” Norah said, “I hate the rain.”

“I guess you could stay here for the night,” he said.

Norah laughed and cracked open another beer. doesn't quite land the last line, but it's a nice little scene


It rained for the rest of the week. It rained while they packed the carnival up and it rained as they loaded everything onto the ferry. It rained when they set sail, too. ooh portentous

The sounds of seasickness kept Coleman from sleeping. He might have been the only one not puking. He just hoped no one was stupid enough to vomit outside. The way the ship was rocking it wouldn’t be hard for someone to go--

“Overboard!” a voice screamed. “Man overboard!”

Coleman burst out of bed and took off running. Years in the navy keeping his feet steady under the rolling ship. grammar, either keep it the same sentence or have it as 'kept' He crashed through the door to the deck and was struck by déjà vu. EW NO TELL SHOW The dark skies. The howling wind. The crashing waves. Coleman rubbed his eyes.

“Mike? Where’s Mike?” he said.

The carnie stared at Coleman.

“Who the hell is... No. Its the newblood. Girl that runs the duck game, you know the one, few tattoos, likes beer? The one who got into that hilarious fight with the monkey a few towns back, has an AC/DC vest, wears Chuck Taylors without socks, squints when she's mad, likes words beginnin' with 'r'?no, this is not convincing dialogue for someone just having been swept overboard

“poo poo! Norah?” Coleman screamed into the storm, “Norah?

“Right. Yeah. That’s her name,” the carnie said, “Norah.” man this is the chillest carnie ever is he high or wot

Coleman ripped a life ring off the wall and tried to find her amongst the heaving swells. A hand darted up. A head. She was maybe already too far out. He didn’t know if he had the arm strength. Coleman tried to picture her as a Coke bottle. He imagined he was at his game. Pictured it perfectly in his mind.

He let the ring fly.


The rope sailed easily over the wooden beam. Coleman looped it and tightened it. He was done setting up his booth.

drat near impossible, Coleman thought.

Then he kicked the chair out and he didn’t think anything anymore. Ehh, nah. Though it started very strongly I really don't like the way you ran this one out, because it felt too pat and it stepped on the relship between the two carnies, which was the actually interesting part of the story - and while the title was a good ref to the end, it didn't actually have the layers I'd have hoped for. STill, lots of good words, and this is one that could well work better expanded into 3-4000 words.

docbeard posted:

Trading Songs
1100 Words

“...iron or steel must be secured prior to departure. Title f/l eh and eh. Repeating, passengers are reminded that belongings composed of iron…” bland and unnecessary, words in first para are as gold dust, you hear! DUST OF GOLD Colleen tuned out the announcement in favor of a cello piece a subway performer played when she was eight, its memory as vivid to her as hearing it. The music kept her attention as she waited to cross into Faerieland.

It wasn’t a long wait. Even at the height of rush hour, there weren’t many travelers in the terminal. People were still wary of the Fae, finding it difficult to accept the intrusion of something ancient and mythic into their modern world. Last year’s announcement of the contract between the United Nations and the Fae for safe and swift passage through their realm had helped relations; Colleen certainly felt that crossing New York with a ten minute walk through the forest was worth extending a little trust. Few others agreed. PLONKITY PLONK PLONK AS YOU KNOW PROFESSOR

She showed her travel pass to the attendant, surrendered her briefcase for inspection, and stepped through the metal detector. The Fae treated iron like nuclear waste, and had forbidden its presence in their realms. She assured the attendant that no, she wouldn’t accept food or gifts from any Fae, and that she understood that she was responsible for the consequences of any bargains she made. The attendant, as bored as Colleen, waved her through the stone archway, and after a moment’s dizziness she was alone on a familiar forest path.

Colleen set out for home, today’s walking music a memory of “In The Mood” as performed by Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters. Electronics, even the new iron-free variety, were unreliable in the Fae realms, so it was fortunate she had no need of an MP3 player.

“Pep pep pep, hot as a pepper,” a rich alto voice rang out. Colleen spun around. A short woman was sitting on the rock she’d just walked past. She hadn’t been there before. Her weathered brown-gray skin and the taper of her ears marked her as one of the Fae. “I adore that song, and you imagine it well. Might I have your name, dear lady?”

Phrasing was important. So were manners. “You may not have my name,” Colleen said, “but you may call me Colleen, and it is a pleasure to meet you.” She wasn’t pleased. She was confused and afraid, though it was confusion she entertained. huh? was there silverware and a muddle of crockery on the upturned table?

“Likewise a pleasure, Colleen,” the woman said, dropping from the rock to approach her. “Call me Emile. Oh, don’t fret, girl, most of your thoughts are opaque to me, but we are sensitive to music, and I have never heard such clear music from a mortal’s mind. A rare and valuable gift.”

“I remember songs well,” Colleen said, not sure she wasn’t making a mistake. “Any song I hear, but just songs. It’s not that useful. I can’t sing, I can’t play an instrument. I can’t recite the Gettysburg Address unless someone sings it. I suppose it saves me money buying albums.” It didn’t. She bought them anyway. She felt guilty otherwise. “Excuse me, I need to get home.”

Emile fell into step beside her. “Some of my kind would kill for a taste of such a gift,” she said. “Not I, of course, though I do propose a trade.”

Colleen fought the urge to run. Just a few minutes more and she’d be home, free of the woman. Unless she was here tomorrow. Unless she was always here. Maybe it was better to humor her. “I’m listening.”

“A trade,” said Emile, “of music. Song for song, what could be more equitable? I offer you music the likes of which you have never heard, and all I ask of you is the same. What say you?”

Colleen had no desire to offend the Fae woman, and, despite her misgivings, she didn’t see any harm, any trap here. “Fine. We’ll trade songs,” she said.

A few minutes later, Colleen sat up from where she had fallen. She hurried to the exit to her world in a daze, made her way to her apartment, fighting back terror she couldn’t quite justify.. Once safe in her home, she thought of that cello piece, always a source of comfort.

The memory of cats yowling and crashing cymbals echoed through her head. She tried again. And again. The Andrews Sisters had been replaced by a waterfall, My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade by inhuman bass voices harmonizing in a language she had never heard. She put an album she’d listened to once on the stereo she barely used, but when she tried to remember what she’d just heard, even that came out all wrong.

Colleen began to cry, to curse, to scream. To think. oh, no this is a bad list of words The Transit Authority would do nothing; their policy was very clear. She had made this bargain, she was responsible. She got a stainless steel knife from her kitchen and stared at it. That, too, was futile. Even if she could find Emile again, she couldn’t get the knife through to Faerieland, and, if she was being honest, couldn’t bring herself to use it.

Steel made her think of metal, which made her think of a mix CD an old boyfriend had given her, full of screaming. Not why they’d broken up, but it hadn’t helped. Colleen dug it out, and put it on the stereo, and while it played, ransacked her collection for detritus. Gifts, bad choices, music too loud, too strange, too terrible, all kept for the usual reasons one keeps things better thrown away. Music she had ignored, because she couldn’t forget. Let Emile choke on it now.

She listened all night, and when morning came, she sang to herself, as horribly as she could manage, “If you want it to stop, give me my songs back.” But when she called the verse to mind, it was Emile’s voice she heard, “Why should I ever want it to stop? Such wondrous music, more than I could have hoped, and exactly what I asked for.” Emile gave Colleen a little wave, lounging beside her on the couch as if she hadn’t just appeared from nowhere.

“I just want my old music back,” Colleen said, fighting back tears. “What do I have to do to make that happen?”

“Why, not a thing,” Emile said, smiling a wide smile. “For it never shall.”

Colleen had been wrong about the knife. Using it was easy. She called the police a few minutes later. She pled guilty, the trial was swift, the sentence long.

She spent the rest of her life in a cell. It didn’t matter. She had her music. Hmmmmm. This is quite clever, and it definitely sticks the landing, but the set-up is terribly contrived. Still, it has a character who loses something she cares about and fights to get it back so that's a Good Thing and the story is Worth Reading.

God Over Djinn posted:

The nearest exit may be behind you (1099 words)

In the end he dropped out of med school just before Memorial Day. YEAH, nice litty vibe from this so far picturing you tappin away at your battered MacBook pro with the stickers on it in the seedy dive bar where you know the names of the bartenders, mostly drunk late harvest hopweiss by yer elbow The scraps of his stipend only lasted three months so when his girlfriend said Sean so are you gonna drop back in or what? he hauled himself off the porch still half-drunk and stomped off to Thornhill-Wilbermoore Science Supply. There without really meaning to he got the year’s highest score on the pre-employment Numerical Literacy Screening and the secretary told him he seemed like a bright young man. Funny how coming from her it was the nicest thing anybody’d told him all year.
nope too much
By September he was top of the order-picking totem pole. At parties his girlfriend used phrases like “temporary new job” or if she’d had a few drinks “slumming it” and at first Sean would sheepishly grin. But when he’d had a few drinks himself, deep in his secretest too cute? soul he’d start to burn with that old sensation his advisor had beaten out of him: he was starting to feel useful again. Each day at five-fifteen he’d lick a thumb and flick through the morning’s first order sheets, plucking the toughest ones for himself: the ones that would send him pingponging around the warehouse, counting out forty-six housefly-wing microscope slides or sixteen buckets of formaldehyded cow eyeballs. The warehouse average those days was eighty-one lines per hour. Sean could do a hundred and fifty-two.

When he came home they’d shout at each other about the dishes and half-assedly gently caress and then while the girl slept Sean would lie in bed and contemplate the hundred thousand future physicians who’d practice on the vacuum-sealed dissection frogs he’d shipped out that day and not know whether to laugh or cry. cliche

Then the union organizer showed up.

When he came to tour the warehouse some of the pickers looked at him and turned away. He was a scarred and sturdy man. Even though nobody really believed that the union would rob them blind, they sure did believe they couldn’t feed their babies without any work. Yet twenty percent of the Thornhill-Wilbermoore order picking team heard his speech, almost all of them sitting on pallets: the only chairs in the building were for the secretaries. We’re just trying to help you do your jobs better, was the theme. And after everyone else had shuffled out into the falltime gloom Sean walked over and shook the man’s hand and looked him in the eye and said My name is Sean, and I believe in what you’re trying to do.

Except instead of believe in Sean used some other phrase like hold your work in esteem that made the man laugh from deep in his chest and say Where on Earth did they get you from, kid?

I was in med school, said Sean. I dropped out.

Why the hell would you do that? said the union man. He had muscular forearms with scars on them like he’d been burned by hot metal. nice observation

Well, said Sean, to listen to my teachers, and I agree with them, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. But then I got here and I turned out to be the best goddamn order picker in this warehouse.

Well I wouldn’t have made that choice said the union man with a funny look on his face, but I suppose I can get behind that. Us who can’t be rich and famous, we just better pray to the good Lord that He makes us useful somehow.

Now in a perfect world Sean would’ve gone home and joined the union and paid his dues with the money he should’ve spent on groceries and felt even usefuller than ever before. In this world he’d drunk three Gatorades in four hours and desperately needed a piss and because God has a sense of humor the union man needed one too. So five minutes after saying their goodbyes they found themselves standing side by side in the bathroom that had two urinals and no divider, the warehouse already empty but for a night-shift janitor or two. this is actually a p awkward scenario for a guy so well done on gettin that

Sean was agonizing over whether to make small talk or not - a sort of self-conscious meta-flagellation that had been a problem for him pretty much since puberty - when the union man made a sound like ‘urp’ and collapsed to the floor.

So there stood Sean with his dick out and his heart going two hundred beats a minute while the union organizer flopped around clutching his chest. He said poo poo and that felt okay and then he couldn’t stop saying poo poo, gently caress, poo poo in a voice that kept tightening. haha cool He knelt down and something that might have been mopwater soaked through the knees of his Dockers. When you live a life without pain you forget how to look at pain without wincing. huh? this reads like an awesome observation from another story Nonetheless the part of him that had been a med student checked for a pulse and started doing chest compressions until he felt the crunch of ribs under the heels of his hands and while the union man did not open his eyes neither did he die.

Sean had never felt quite this helpless before as he pumped at the man’s chest on the soaking tile in the downstairs bathroom of the science-supply warehouse where the order pickers were even now standing outside having a last two good detail cigarettes in the parking lot before driving home.

Yet he kept working and when he finally got up and raced for his phone he spent only a moment worrying that somebody would walk in and assume that he’d cruelly or cluelessly left the man there and the rest of the time sprinting across that warehouse and then watching his calm cool collected self reel off the address to the place which he hadn’t known that he’d known until then.

Twelve minutes later a skein very nice of paramedics descended on them. One of them took Sean by the shoulders and moved him away from the man and actually shoved him into the single stall in that dingy bathroom, and as she did it Sean said Hey, hey, careful now, and she looked him in the eyes for a moment and gave him something that could have been a glare. It was that glare that Sean thought about many hours later as he thawed out from that icy panic, sitting up in bed with his girl snoring beside him and his hand petting her naked thigh over and over. That look had said you can’t do my job as well as I can and Sean’s answering nod said Well I was doing the best I could. hmmmmmmMMMMMmmmmm ok so dogulas this has many excellent, excellent words in it and I am as any fule kno a p high-end fan of such, so that's a dam good thing but, but, but, it does not land its punch because it is unsure how serious it wants to be and the vague floatiness of the character translates to the core of the story; we don't really care about the hard bitten union organiser and we don't care about sean so the message such as it is is a little bow tied with string rather than a nice robust towelling jobbie such as might hold a comfy brown dressing gown closed on a cold winter morning. That said, there is some lovely lovely writing in here, so that was a well-used beer. Get the Oyster Stout next, it has fish in it.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Hmmm yeah I'm in

nuts to you, judges!!

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

Forgive me, Thunderdome, for I have sinned. :negative:

As penance for my crime, I will do in-depth crits for the first three people to ask.

Jul 19, 2011


Wait how does this work again?


May 30, 2011

do not buy a oneplus phone

A Tin Of Beans posted:

Forgive me, Thunderdome, for I have sinned. :negative:

As penance for my crime, I will do in-depth crits for the first three people to ask.

Me please.

Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.

A Tin Of Beans posted:

Forgive me, Thunderdome, for I have sinned. :negative:

As penance for my crime, I will do in-depth crits for the first three people to ask.

I'll need a third rear end in a top hat to go with the second I'm anticipating soon.

Starter Wiggin
Feb 1, 2009

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

A Tin Of Beans posted:

Forgive me, Thunderdome, for I have sinned. :negative:

As penance for my crime, I will do in-depth crits for the first three people to ask.

Yes please kind tin.

Sir Azrael
Jan 14, 2004

Locked, cocked, and polygonally rifled... This creature fears nothing.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

RunningIntoWalls posted:

Dollar Bill Lane - 1,068 words

Tess McDermott was a collector of currency. goodness what a dull opening. a competitor for worst combo, btw A woman with curly silver hair, and face that was creased from the wind dipping into the lines of stress from travel,is she the prow of a boat she walked without the weight of the world, even at the age of 68. From lira to pesos, Eastern Caribbean dollars to the Polish złoty, ducats to drachmas to francs to deutschmarks to renminben to dong to rubles to the end of time, she had it all. She was by no means rich, but had the money to attract a following. there is a very precise amount of money she has that you are hinting at to what end I am unsure She lived a life on the road, with the stories and souvenirs to back it up. There was at least one piece on display in a living room that was quickly turned into small viewing area for the groups of people that came in to gawk at money from the exotic, faraway lands to distant and not-so-distant pasts of places close to home. People were quick to share stories as well as currency and Tess learned quickly when to let go of old pieces that would gather dust in and out of the containers. People would sit enthralled by her stories of where she went, the dangers she faced, the food she ate THEN I ATE A HAT a hat? YES A HAT IT WAS LYING THERE & I ATE IT THEN AFTER THAT I ATE A SCREECH OWL A UNICYCLE AND A WARM AND BALMY AFTERNOON, and what she found lying in the corners forgotten by time and society. so what is this IT IS A DOG TURD is there anything special about it NO She was a researcher of ancient societies in far reaching past, when her hair actually had color. THIS IS AN ARTIFACT OF THE DIM DISTANT MIST-ENSHROUDED PAST it is a hula hoop YES She currently lived in Los Angeles, where East meets West, South meets north, and where snow capped mountains meets the warm salt waters of the Pacific where los meets angeles where orange meets tree where car meets traffic jam. It was her idea of heaven, filled with the stories of immigrants, settlers, natives, and tourists, interlocking and interweaving their narratives seamlessly with others. man it's totally like this with all the coiling and interlocking and interweaving flying into LAX is like descending into the curling non-Euclidean maw of great cthulhu

Heaven came crashing down when the house was robbed and the money stolen. People hang on do you mean 'people' is she imagininin all this stuff rallied around her to replace what was lost. Tess was shaken but refused to be knocked down. She was photographed with a weary smile and the newspaper caption stated that whoever wanted to rob her missed the real target. She shrugged when asked what the real target was. It wasn’t the money that important, that could be replaced.

“No,” she snorted, “it was the memories that are important.” but all her memories were of money

A lot of the museum pieces were replaced, but Tess just could not get used to some them. They felt different, they smelled different. tess why are you smellin that dry dog turd IT SMELL DIFFERENT NO GOOD ANYMORE PASS ME THE HULA HOOP She started to get antsy, a familiar feeling. On a bright spring day, she opened a torn, earmarked snark aside this genuinely puzzled me coz as written this means that a senator had used it to designate funds for his own district then i realised you mean 'dog-eared' map. Water and dirt stained it, creating blotches, making the ink run, paper to bubble, and causing it feel rough, slightly damp, to have mold spots and a musty odor as well as to be difficult to read LOOK I know I bang on about details, and these are details, but they're just lists, see? You're not actually adding anything by listing all this crap. Use the right details, and just enough of them. The paper was thin in places, so she had to be careful, lest a gaping pit swallow Germany for example. Permanent marker circled countries, towns, digs; phone numbers carefully written on the outline; and marked train routes, car rides, and impromptu marathons. A small box in a kitchen cabinet contained Polaroid’s no apostrophe, some faded, some stained by coffee, tea, beer, and dirt, and yet others appeared to be flawless lists. She dumped them out and looked at the phone numbers on the backs of them. Calls were placed, flights booked, and contacts reconnected, is she a robot turd sniffing figurehead fantasist she continued to get ready thing that was happening continued to happen. She got a backpack from her bedroom, a large, endless cosmic rucksack given to her by a kind soul, although she never quite remembered where exactly he or she hailed from harsh! it was given to her by the one man who truly loved her!. Some days she said it was the Alps, other times it was found in the Mojave, and yet other days she said it was Istanbul. she has many many conversations about rucksacks while she is holding the floor at her robot parties With the rucksack firmly placed on her shoulders and filled with emergency supplies, she gathered a passport that resembled a picture book more than any official document. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT WAS The click of the lamp cast the house in darkness and Tess felt for a moment she made the wrong decision. A heavy heart planted her to her stoop for a moment, wondering if this was the wrong idea, but eventually she walked down her front steps and into a house of a neighbor. Tess gave them the opportunity to look after the house after she left. The agreed and bid her a fond farewell, the neighbor’s children asking if Auntie Tess would have more goodies and stories to share with them. She said yes and walked out the door.

She met up with old friends and colleagues in her travels. She asked them about their work and lives. sounds like interesting conversation! Laughs were had ha, that woudl have been pretty funny to hear! and respects were paid to those who could be there to see her once again. Exciting new stories wait the stories were exciting?! can't wait until I hear those ones! as well as coins and bills were added to her collection. Her laughs were countered by a feeling of unease. The buildings that were settings for her stories were knocked down. They were renovated. The people that worked in them grew gray or were replaced by the younger generation. is she an ageless vampir as well as the other stuff Her old haunts were lacking in life she once thought they had. Her back ached from the weight of the rucksack. plus she had no one to talk to about it Hills took longer to climb and even though the distance between places never changed significantly, she found herself taking a bus or small plane to be more comfortable than walking. RIW, i'm sort of having a mean kind of fun mocking your story and don't get me wrong it is achingly mockable, but it does feel mean because I sense you want to put something across but don't quite know how. Think about your character - why is she interesting? it's like she's a bland greyscale cartoon with loads of collectible stickers plastered over her. Why do we care? why should we care? what does she stop? how does she succeed or fail? you could have told this entire story by having her sit in a chair and talk to another character and it would have been like 900x better.

On the island of Sicily, she experienced a new emotion. ooh! She understood that Sicily was another important place, where Christianity met Islam, and where Europe met Northern Africa, and the great empires of the Greece and Turkey she called this emotion: wikipedia. The warm Mediterranean Sea reminded her of the Pacific in Los Angeles. Tired and confused, Tess slumped in a chair on the beach overlooking the Sea. She thought about home and the money museum. She thought of the people that helped her replace what was stolen. Almost all the money that came in had a small story attached to it. She didn't look closely at them; to her it didn't really matter. She continued to think it over. Her reserves got smaller quicker, she moved to different places quicker, and mostly importantly, she wasn't having any fun. one empathises :smith: She got up and found her way back to her house in Los Angeles.

Her neighbor filled her in on what happened while she was away. hey that could have been fun to read about More money from far off places came in and Tess got work opening the packages. She read and displayed the letters, for they contained details she never would have thought otherwise. She asked her patrons to share their experiences because it the money more than the material it was printed it on. It told stories about lean and fat years, of travel, of success and failure, and told the stories of the human love and necessity of bartering. so yes this was a deserved loser and then some. I admire your spunk so I hope you keep entering; your instincts to describe and detail are good, but you are absolutely not telling stories. Find Beef's stories made EZ guide and follow that fucker like it is an ice cream van and you are in the Sahara desert

Dec 8, 2013


Thank you sebmojo. I appreciate the help.

edit: Why not, in. Only way to get better is keep trying and learning from past mistakes.

RunningIntoWalls fucked around with this message at 03:36 on Apr 8, 2014

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




RunningIntoWalls posted:

edit: Why not, in. Only way to get better is keep trying and learning from past mistakes. ONWARD TO GLORIOUS DOOM :black101:

FTFY. Otherwise this, this right here is the correct attitude.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Jonked posted:

The Final Chore
867 words

I watched the M on the Walmart sign flicker on and off across the mostly empty parking lot. Title probably a bit more portentous than you want - something bland like 'Closing out' would have kept the final turnaround a bit more of a surprise, first line solid. Not replete with implicit action beats but sits a good tone.You know your town is hosed when even the big box stores are struggling, laying off the greeters and cashiers. The cash cow is getting sickly, and that meant death to the other stores in the strip mall.

I sighed, and sighs and nods should always be checked for deletion unless they are vital locked the doors early. We hadn’t had a customer in an hour, and it wasn’t like they could fire me. Me and the rest of the crew at Baja Fresh Wiltonburg were going on unemployment, starting officially tomorrow. They had been very apologetic about not having any other management positions available for me.

“Linda, you can get out of here, I’ll finish closing down. You want something to eat?”

Linda looked up from mopping by the drink machine. She was pretty and blonde, in that strange middle age where they stop calling you ‘Girl’ but didn’t quite call you ‘Ma’am’. She probably could have skipped out of this town, if it wasn’t for her dad. Of course, right now she looked like she had just finished the majority of a fast food shift. Fluorescent lights and sweat aren’t exactly ditto exactly good on anybody’s complexion.

“Are you sure, Mike? I don’t mind sticking it out.”

I waved her off. “Don’t worry about it, the place is mostly closed anyway. Seriously, you want something to eat? On the house, for our very last customer.”

She smiled and ordered a burrito. I laid the ingredients out in a perfect distribution, as fast as she could say them, and folded the whole thing up with origami precision. Back when this store was still sometimes busy, I would fly through the customers, faster than the cashiers could ring them. They would end up in a big line, waiting to pay. Back before the rest of the managers quit, one by one, to move away or just stop working.

I handed the burrito to Linda. She smirked as she traced her finger across the almost-invisible surely? crease where I closed the tin foil.

“Something the matter?” I asked.

“No. I’m just still amazed at how you do it.” She held the burrito up like a trophy. “It looks like a bar of silver.”

I shrugged. “Practice, I guess. Eight years of repetition.”

She dropped it in her purse and gave me a smile. “Naw, you’ve got a gift. Too bad there isn’t a competition you could win. You’d be a natural.”

“Yeah, too bad,” you're missing an oppo to have him be charming in spite of himself here, i think I said with a forced chuckle. An awkward silence settled in. I didn’t really have anything else to say about burritos.

“Well…” She said finally, “I guess I should be going. I hope- Well, I hope I see you around, Mike. Don’t be a stranger.” She reached across the counter to hug me tight. I smelled faint shampoo, sweat, and salsa. She squeezed me around the neck, and I gently placed my hand on her back. I wanted to hold her forever, and I wanted this one last interaction before the end to be done with.

She finally let go, and opened her mouth as if she was going to say something else. A look passed over her eyes, and she turned away. She didn’t say anything else - just waved, and walked through the door. My eyes followed her every step until she was gone.

I sighed, and picked up the mop.

It didn’t take long to finish cleaning up and shutting down. Tomorrow, the Closers would come in to gut the place. They'd save everything of scrap value, and toss the rest. I doubted a few stray crumbs on the floor would bother them. All the drawers were pulled, and the safe was locked up. There was just one final task to do.

I sat in the back of the house, holding the pistol in my hand. My dad gave it to me when I graduated high school. It was a simple thing of metal and plastic, and felt heavy in my hand. I pressed the barrel against the bottom of my chin. The metal felt cold enough to burn. I steeled myself to pull the trigger. hrm, ok I enjoyed this turn more the first time round. you've gone from generic desolation to suicide without really making the jump plausible and it works as a surprise, but not when you know its coming. You could maybe fix it by having some more depth in the protagonist, by having his skill be a bit more integrated into the story, by having the protag and linda have more of a sassy connection.

Someone was knocking at the door.

I felt a mix of despair and relief. tell/show? I slipped the safety back on, and put the gun back in my bag. Linda was at the front door, with a strange look on her face. The only car in the parking lot was mine.

“Hey?” I said as I unlocked the door. “What’s the matter?”

“I know this is going to sound weird,” She said, as she put a piece of paper with her number in my hand, “But I really liked working with you. I just didn’t want this to be the last time we saw each other. Anyway, I was wondering if you’d like to call me sometime. You know… ask me out on a date.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “Yeah, I’d like that. You know, it just so happens I’m off work tomorrow…”

She giggled. “What a coincidence, so am I. Want to give me a ride home?”

“Sure,” I said. I grabbed my bag and locked the door. To hell with those drat burritos. I like the overally action at the end though, which is why I think the story works ok. Last line is kack, however: what does 'to hell with...' actually say in the context of the story? Why are those words there?

Chairchucker posted:

737 words

Wouldn't If You Were on Fire

“Bet you can’t.” Awesome title, ok first line

Anna peered over the edge. It was a fair way down. Wind wasn’t too bad though. Little bit of adjustment. No obstacles in the way. She cleared her throat. Hock hard. Get that phlegm into a nice big lump. this is like Competence Porn for hoicking

The phlegm was very important. Lesser spitters often neglected the phlegm. They didn’t understand that, in addition to leaving a more satisfying mark on the spittee, the extra weight made the trajectory of the spit more predictable. She angled her head slightly, hocked once more, pursed her lips and then expelled her phlegmy load outwards and downwards.

Richie Pov shift this won't fly even in ockerland mate what would yer cobbers think etc was waiting outside the front door. Those two dweebs had to come down sooner or later, and when they did, he would give them such a beating. It would be glorious. He was daydreaming about the beating he’d deliver them when a phlegmy load landed in his hair.

“That was the greatest thing I have ever seen,” said Robbie.

“Never doubt my powers of expectoration again.”

“I never will.”

The spittee felt about with his hand and discovered what it was that he’d thought was rain. He did not appear thrilled with his discovery.

“Is he crying,” asked Anna?

“Yeah,” said Robbie. “Now this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“That’s mean!”

Robbie shrugged. “He’s a poo. Maybe now he won’t pick on us so much.” you're bein sorta vague about their ages which is ok ish but not really iykwim


Unfortunately, for much of Anna’s formative years, her special gift would not be encouraged by adults around her, or by her peers. It was ‘unladylike’, or ‘gross’, or ‘totally gross’, or ‘so not hot.’ She still practiced in private, but very few opportunities to show off her talent presented themselves.


Anna blinked and refocussed. “Sorry, I was providing twenty years of exposition in third person.” haha fourth wall b****es


“Uh. Not important. What was the question?”

“Did you want dessert?”

“No thanks, dinner was kind of huge. I’ve got fruity chewy, that’ll give me that desserty flavour without the calories.”

Richie grinned. “That’s pretty weird, but no problem. lol I’ll go get the bill and we can get out of here.”

OK, so you’re probably wondering about the Richie thing. Well basically, twenty years is a long time, right? I mean, we were like, five or something in that first bit. He grew out of being a jackass, what do you want from me? Plus the writer didn’t want to write more characters into it mebbe overeggin the 4th wall pudding here what do you think and think up more character names, and Robbie moved interstate to study or something.


“Oh, you’re back. Just more exposition. Dropped the third person though.”

“I have no idea what you just said.” lol again

Anna kissed him on the cheek. “It’s nothing, let’s just go, all right?”


Now before the tilde denoted a jump of like twenty years, but this time it’s more like two minutes. Just letting you know so you don’t get too confused.

“Uh, Anna, can you stop doing the thing? We seem to be getting mugged.”

Gotta go. again again

“Give me your purse, lady.”

Anna chewed her gum and looked at the mugger. He had no defining features worth expounding on. I mean maybe he turned to a life of crime because he was laid off or something, but it’s more likely in his case that he was just an awful person who was no respecter of property laws.

“I’m not giving you my purse.”

“You should totally give me your purse.”

“I don’t see why I should. I don’t see any positives in this for me.”

The mugger reached out and laid his hands on her purse. “Um. Hands off my purse, you jerk.” this dialogue should be in her para or its own just because you have kangaroos instead of cats doesn't mean you get to ignore the rules charichucker

The mugger yanked hard, and Anna stumbled forward a couple of steps. “If you don’t let go of this purse,” said the mugger, “I am going to do some unpleasant things to you. I won’t describe them in any detail because this isn’t that kind of story, but you can be assured they’re pretty nasty and not the kind of things you want happening to you.”

Anna chewed again. Cleared her throat. Angled her head slightly, pursed her lips and then expelled her chewy load out towards her outwards and upwards.

The mugger clutched at his eye and said some unpleasant things, while Anna and Richie stepped over him and kept walking to the car.

“That was the greatest thing I have ever seen,” said Richie.

Anna shrugged. “I’ve done better. Once.” hahah ok yeah, that worked pretty well. Next!

Whalley posted:

Peel Out
962 words

The Audi at the start line next to Rachel revved its engine, sending heavy vibrations through her tailbone. this is a try-hard and ploddy way of presenting something that's supposed to be exciting = if you want to ground us in rachels experience maybe start with her (this isn't a rule or anything just thinking of ways you could have done this line better) “Pretend you’re on the Beltway, and you’re going home from work. You can do this.” Her hand trembled as she turned the ignition on her rented race car. The engine sparked to life. Rachel shivered, despite the summer heat, and gripped the steering wheel hard enough to feel the vibrations in her fingers as the leather in her gloves wrinkled. She closed her eyes and tried to block out her fear. “You’re going home from work. Jill’s waiting for you. Settle down.” i'm probing my feelings like some kind of word jedi in the terrible dagobah story swamps to work out why I dislike this opening para so much - you're doing everything you're supposed to, theres details and it's a character and you're seeding information for later in the story, but it's flaccid. Hm. Maybe it will come to me.

Red lights changed to green. Tires squealed and engines pulsed. Roars erupted from the engine bays of cars as Rachel was overtaken by everybody on the track. The other cars hit fifty at the first bend. Rachel took it at thirty five. She wasn't concerned with winning. She just wanted to get the car back in one piece. Racing terrified her. She took a deep breath and repeated her mantra. "Going home from work. Going home from work. Going home from work."

"You're a better driver than this." The voice of Rachel's girlfriend crackled through the speaker embedded in the side of her helmet. "I've been on the interstate with you. You're the master of overtaking. How can you slip past Mustangs in a Fiat, but drive this slow on an actual racetrack?"

"Shut up Jill. This is scary."

"Scary expensive. Not to say you ain't worth it, but come on. Mama don't wanna feel embarrassed."

"Thanks. Again." Rachel's voice was deadpan. “What did I do to make you think I’d want to race ca… hang on, corner.”

She controlled the car around the second bend with ease. This was where Jill sat, alone. Rachel saw a sign held up in the stand. She tried to read it in her rear view as she entered the third straight, but the engine vibrations made the reflection shake and quiver.

"I don't know what that sign... oh poo poo." Distracted, Rachel braked late for the third corner and felt the car lose control. Panic took over, then fell aside to reflex. The car drifted sideways, taking the corner wide before leveling out. By the time Rachel realized she was safe, she was on the straight, facing the right way. The car in last place drew nearer.

A whoop sounded in her helmet. "That's my girl. You got this."

Rachel set her eyes on the car in front. She was just going home from work. This wasn't a racetrack. Or a strange, multi-thousand dollar gift from her girlfriend. She was just going home from work. Going home from work. Going home from work.

Last place disappeared in Rachel's rear view. Second-last took the fourth corner ahead of Rachel, but was behind her by the fifth. A meditative calm washed over Rachel. It was as if she had stepped back from her body and was appraising a job well done. At the end of the second lap she was in the top half of the pack. By the start of the third, she was in second place.

"I'm a little intimidated by you right now." Jill's voice brought Rachel out of her trance. Awareness flooded her system. Panic returned to the surface of Rachel's mind.

"Stop. Concentrating." The third corner approached and Rachel moved closer to the car in first position. She stared at its rear bumper until everything else disappeared into tunnel vision. Her world was the back end of a Toyota Supra. She drew nearer and nearer.

Lap three finished with Rachel in first place, the Supra close behind. Jill’s voice shouted in her ear. “Suck it. Nobody overtakes like Rachel Baker!”

Rachel pulled ahead and laughed as Jill continued screaming encouragements. The first turn of the final lap drew close. Seven more corners, seven more straights and Rachel would win the first race she'd ever entered. She felt relaxed, as if she was about to take her exit from the interstate home.

There was nobody left to overtake.

The Supra was the first car to pass her, cutting the inside of the first corner. Rachel squealed in shock as it appeared in her right hand window, closely followed by the throaty roar of the Audi. The strap of her helmet cut into her jaw as she tried to swallow a mouthful of saliva. The two Mazdas passed her in the third straight. Her confidence was gone; by the final corner, Rachel was in dead last again. She mashed the accelerator down for the final dash, but it was pointless. Heart in her throat, Rachel crossed the finish line last.

Rachel's hands shook too hard to undo the strap of her helmet. She sat and waited for Jill to help her out. Embarrassed and on an adrenaline comedown, tears stung Rachel's eyes. She took a deep breath before talking. "I'm sorry, I know you spent so much on this, I'm just not a racer."

Jill shushed her and crouched down on a knee. "It's okay. You did so good. I'm proud of you. I don’t care if you won or lost at all."

"Why did you buy me this anyway? I don’t care about cars, you know that."

"Well," said Jill, her face flushing red. "We’ve been together for two years, and I know you're not out yet to your parents, so I wanted to get you a real expensive ring you didn't have to wear, and, well..." She waved her arm to the vaguely circular racetrack. "Will you marry me?"

Rachel’s heart beat faster. She felt the stares of the track office beating down on her. For once, she didn’t care that they were mostly looks of disapproval. She was a winner. “Of course.”
Crikey. No line crits because most of the prose is adequate, but it's not actually exciting because there are no stakes. I really disliked this on a first read and I still do, but I think you could maybe fix it by not having the marriage come out of nowhere. I don't give a crap about Rachel's jolly racing times because she doesn't either. And the resolution just reads as cheesy because nothing was risked to obtain it - it's just an elaborate proposal.

If I haven't done you I'll get to you just to forestall any whimpers and quivering lips.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 06:21 on Apr 8, 2014

Aug 2, 2002




Tyrannosaurus posted:

:siren: Crabrock and Sitting Here Brawl :siren:

Tuesday at noon EST. I want 750 words. Your topic is "living too long."

Intrepret that as you will.


723 words

crabrock fucked around with this message at 07:50 on Jul 1, 2014

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!

It's been a while, but I am in!

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
I totally forgot to ask for volunteers for co-judging. It's easy work, and at almost no point will you have to read thirtytwenty-ish stories that will make you weep for the world you find yourself in*. Plus you get a free biscuit**. Any takers? PM me or send a stamped, addressed email to my username at gmail.

*Almost no point. Maybe one point, tops.
**Offer not valid in biscuit-hating districts like the one you probably live in

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Apr 8, 2014

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer

The News at 5 posted:

In, and could I get a flash rule please?

Your fool is on the idiot box (e.g. tv, youtube etc)

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Thank you for tearing yourself away from [Kiwi stereotype about rugby or animal husbandry, you pick] to write some crits, Mojo old chap. Spiffing. Top shelf.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: here is a story for my crabbrawl with Crabrock :siren:

On loving Off
WC: 750

I first met Cassidy when I was eighteen and she was twenty-two, down outside the Showbox where she was busking for the lines under the marquee. It was her, her guitar, and a voice like a banshee. Her sounds didn't even bother with 'bad', howled straight into antagonistic territory.

I didn't have a ticket, and no one wanted to sell me one for the five bucks and pack of cigarettes that were all I had to my name.

So much for free dope.

Then I heard Cassidy wailing, saw her in her faux-ripped denim vest. But her shoes were new, and no one busking in a gettup like that would have new shoes unless they were also dealing.

I noticed some percussion-type stuff behind her, buckets and mallets and boxes, and walked up to the banshee.

"Can I join?" I said, nodding at the makeshift drum kit. Without missing a beat in her non-song, she nodded.

I crouched down on the sidewalk behind her and we jammed.


It turned out that, yes, Cassidy had free dope, but she didn't deal. Mostly she was sponsored by sympathetic relatives and disability checks, lived practically rent-free in some converted house in Georgetown where her neighbors did domestic disputes in the ricketty hallway every night.

I followed her from sidewalk to sidewalk and our sounds got a tiny, cult-type following, people who would show up at our likely spots (outside small gigs, mainly) just to hear our ruckus.

One night Cassidy stopped playing, looked up into the eyes of the watchers and yelled, "we're not gonna gently caress off until everyone one of you fuckers begs us to gently caress off!"

She thrust her hand into the air, middle finger turgid in the streetlamp light.

"We're not stopping until I see two of these from everyone."

She brought her hand down on the strings. The guitar shrieked distortion and tunelessness through the small portable amp. I banged buckets. Someone held a blunt to my lips. I inhaled. When the paid gig inside was over and the drunks spilled out onto our stage, she screamed her challenge again.

It was the cops who had to come give us that decisive middle finger, and we went home together laughing.


We were at the edge of the western world, ankle deep in agitated surf.

The Pacific Ocean roared, Cassidy roared back.

"It just isn't the same. Doesn't mean anything anymore," she'd said on the drive out to Ocean Shores. She was bored of our busking, of the Cult of the Middle Finger.

We were both up to a pack a day and an ounce a week, in terms of smokeables. She was looking worse for wear than me, like life was happening to her faster and harder.

She cursed the ocean until her voice was hoarse, cursed her mother and her father and men and women and every goddamn loving human walking this hosed Earth. I think she was waiting for some big wave, her wave, to rise out of the Pacific and drag her in, snarling and swearing.

Later, in a raspy voice, she told me, "I'm gonna die at twenty-seven. I know everyone wants to die at twenty-seven, because rock stars. But I can feel it, I'm supposed to. And then you've gotta tell the world about me, okay?"

I nodded, rolled a joint with the tips of my fingers.

"I just hope it's something big," she said. "I want to die living, you know?"

We slept on the beach, woke up side by side, coughed up phlegm into the sand together.



I flew home to see Cassidy on her thirty-first birthday.

I let myself in. The smell of cigarettes in her rent-controlled studio apartment made my arm itch where the nicotine patch was.

Cassidy was spread out on the sagging couch like she'd grown there. Her cheeks were splotchy and grey.

"I thought about killing myself this time last year," she said. I waved away the crusty bong she offered me.

I shrugged. "Things change," I said. "No one but you said you needed to die."

"But I am dead. I'm dead and this is just an empty film reel spinning on and on and...."

I stayed the afternoon, then made my excuses.

"You think you're still alive," was the last thing Cassidy said to me before I closed the door.

Speeding down the freeway in the rental car, away from Cassidy, I realized I didn't know where I was going. The speedometer crept higher and higher.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Chairchucker posted:

Thank you for tearing yourself away from [Kiwi stereotype about rugby or animal husbandry, you pick] to write some crits, Mojo old chap. Spiffing. Top shelf.

Not a problem, mate! I also toned down some expletives in case you found them troublesome. Throw a prawn at the barbie for me!

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

The biggest question I have about literally everything in your story is "why." World's angriest pizza delivery driver thinks about shooting a guy, freaks out and trembles upon realizing what a dark act he was considering, then straight up MURDERS ONE OF GOD'S ANGELS. Why the hell was he worried about shooting some dude if he's going to straight up murder an angel for cash? I assume it's cash. Is it cash in the bag? Was he especially hard up for money?

You could make this story work, but you need to think a little harder about character motivations. Show us more about why Chuck does what he does, give us a hint of what drove him to murder a drat angel. He seems surprised to have run into one, then murders it anyway, which was apparently planned out in advance. I'm so confused.

Also, you should get a DQ for erotica because Chuck sits around fingering his glock for a bit. Gross. :colbert:

Detailed crit here.

Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...
In. But you're not gonna like it.

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

Gau posted:

I'll need a third rear end in a top hat to go with the second I'm anticipating soon.

How many assholes does one human truly need? This and more, tonight on NBC 5.

Anyway, your story! It was competently written, and you almost fooled me into thinking it was great. You were so close, Gau. So close.

The biggest thing is that you wrote a lot of words, told us about some times your character did or achieved things, and then rolled on by. We hear about a few decisions she makes but don't get to see their impact, since they happen in the past - Mallory and Jeremiah deciding to leave heaven - or don't get to resolve, like her helping the dude at the bar.

Also, she gets injured and has to lie around waiting to die until a dude swoops in to save her. Great. Cool. We got an angel in the machine instead of a god.

Ultimately, this feels more like the set-up to something a lot longer. For that, it works. For a self contained piece, not so much. I did genuinely enjoy a lot of what you sketched out here, though. :woop:

Detailed crit here.

Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW
I'm always looking for new ways to embarrass myself on the internet.

Count me in and sign me up.

Casual Encountess
Dec 14, 2005

"You can see how they go from being so sweet to tearing your face off,
just like that,
and it's amazing to have that range."

Thunderdome Exclusive

New to the game but I'm throwing down.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:Arena Brawl:siren:

I need two volunteers, looking for people who've done a few rounds but haven't won.

There is glory here for the grasping. Do not let it lie.

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

sebmojo posted:

:siren:Arena Brawl:siren:

I need two volunteers, looking for people who've done a few rounds but haven't won.

There is glory here for the grasping. Do not let it lie.

Just got an opening in my schedule so I'll take a bite at this.

The News at 5
Dec 25, 2009

I'm Chance Everyman.


The Sebmojo Challenge

I am game.

The News at 5 fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Apr 8, 2014

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition

In for this week, to glory or to failure.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:QuoProNews Day Arena Brawl:siren:

QuoProQuid posted:

Just got an opening in my schedule so I'll take a bite at this.

This is how it's gonna work.

First: I want 600 words on vampires and small town sports teams that is not reminiscent of any vampire fiction you've read or heard of. I want it posted before Thursday 10 April 2359 PST.

Second: Once you've both submitted you have 24 hours to objectively crit both your piece and your competitors. Post your crits, and your choice of victor, at 11 April 2359 PST on the dot.

The exact time for posting the crits is flexible if that doesn't work with your lives, but I want the posting to be as close to simultaneous as possible. And it goes without saying that you should not collaborate or discuss.

Penalties will be assigned for incorrect crits.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 00:54 on Apr 9, 2014

Dec 5, 2003

I'm in.

Benny the Snake
Apr 11, 2012

Hey Tin of Beans, am I too late to ask for an in-depth crit?

Aug 2, 2002




Everybody in the TD IRC agrees that all the new people who are coming in and giving crits are loving awesome. Others take note, and consider offering a crit up to fellow TDers. Everybody's crit is valid, even if you don't think you're the best writer. The Fiction Advice thread has a couple good tips on what to crit in the last few posts, if you're unsure.

With so many people writing every week, it's really hard for the judges to commit to critting 30k words, so hats off to anybody taking the initiative to do crits, and reminding everybody else that this is absolutely something you should do.

Jul 19, 2011

Toward that end, I am once again willing to do a couple of line-by-line critiques this week. The usual arrangement (crit someone else, ask me in bold easily seen letters to crit your thing) applies. I may also, depending on personal whims and the mandate of prophecy, choose some stories at random or not-random to critique.

Also I would like a flash rule for my foolish wise story thing.


Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer

docbeard posted:

Also I would like a flash rule for my foolish wise story thing.

Your fool is an expert at malapropisms

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