Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Dec 3, 2007

I have trained in strange lands and my prose level is more powerful than ever, I will demonstrate this to you provincials in the year 2014 (but not this week I am still on holiday and gently caress that).


Dec 3, 2007

Deathless world, deathless prose, cinch. In.

Dec 3, 2007

Closure (502, #26)

“What do you do with your memories?”

He saw her looking at him in the twilit room. Her golden sectioned face, with just a hint of asymmetry. She had excellent taste in faces. He had thought that when they first met and it was still true.

“Maximum fidelity,” he said. “Full sensory bandwidth. If it’s anything less than real I’m just not satisfied with it.

“That must use up a lot of archival space.”

“It does. But I’m picky. But I only save the perfect experiences. Those ones you want to remember for the rest of forever. The last geysers on Titan, before they paved it over. My personal audience with the Jupiter mind. The trysts I will never want to forget.” He winced inwardly. Why did she have to ask that now? “What about you?”

“I don’t save in high detail. But if I find something I like, I do it for a long time, over and over. The memory is engraved a little deeper each time around. The things I’ve liked enough to remember well, they’re things I like enough to live again for real.”

“Sounds time consuming.”

She shrugged. “It passes the millenia. I spent some time trying to do everything, just like everyone. But after you’ve done everything, then it’s time to focus on what’s most important to you.”

He grunted assent, and they lay there for a while. These had become more common, lately. Not silences of unspoken understanding, but awkward silences waiting for words.

Letting that wait go on longer would just be painful for them both.

“I think it’s time we both moved on.”

He braced himself but she just looked at him sadly.

“I think you’re right,” she said. “It was good at the start, but now the magic is gone.”

“You could feel it too?”

“I’ve known this was coming for a long time, to be honest. But I wanted to preserve things until it finally arrived.”

“No hard feelings?”

“None. We can always remember the good times.”

“Yes.” He paused. “Yes, we can.”

He said his farewells and left. Outside her private sector, amid the brightening voids of the megastructure’s day-cycle, he reviewed his recent history.


<This is Sol Megastructure Archival Facility. Do you have a memory management request?>

Only the best, only the perfect and irreplaceable. His memory was already almost full, and eternity had only just begun.

<Archive, delete the last two hundred blocks. I won’t be needing them again.>

<Understood. Deletion of last two hundred blocks will commence on receipt of quantum signature confirmation.>

He confirmed.


Later, in an unfamiliar part of the Sol megastructure, where none of his carefully curated memories were set, he met a woman he had never seen before. She smiled at him but looked a little sad, and strangely unsurprised. He couldn’t help but notice she had excellent taste in faces.

She seems interesting, he thought, and struck up a conversation.

Dec 3, 2007

THUNDERDOME WEEK LXXVI: The Mysteries of the Finite

Sup. You guys have 1000 words to tell me a mystery story with no science fiction or fantasy elements. Don't wimp out with some fragment poo poo either, I want both a presentation of the puzzle and its resolution between the start and end of your entry.

Signups open now. Signups close 10PM EST Friday. Submissions close 10PM EST Sunday.

Your judges are:

The Leper Colon V suicide
Amused Frog
God Over Djinn
V for Vegas
Bigup DJ
crabrock - 987 words
Anathema Device
Rainbow Unicorn
SurreptitiousMuffin - 500 words
Music Theory suicide
Schneider Heim
J. Comrade
Nikaer Drekin

Peel fucked around with this message at 04:02 on Jan 18, 2014

Dec 3, 2007

sebmojo posted:

:siren:No more epic stories. :siren:

Dec 3, 2007

:siren: crabrock and SurreptitiousMuffin have violated the precepts, their wordcount drops to 500 :siren:

Dec 3, 2007

Just under one hour left.

Dec 3, 2007


This week's winner is God Over Djinn for an inventive, harrowing and adeptly written tale of aerial confusion. This week's loser is Mr_Wolf for a poo poo mystery. One of many, admittedly, but this one was also badly written, unfunny and failed to deliver its twist with any punch.

Honourable mentions: SurreptitiousMuffin, Kaishai, Black Griffon, curlingiron

Dishonourable mentions: Reptile Chillock, Baudolino, JamieTheD, tankadillo

Special Least poo poo poo poo Award: No Longer Flaky

Special Wolfshirt Award: Djeser

Besides murder, the most popular topics this week were children and excrement. I guess this tells us something about applicants to the Thunderdome. Not all the poop stories were awful, but the judges were rolling their eyes by the second one they came across.

When will more substantial criticism follow? Now there's a mystery.

You're up, Djinn.

Dec 3, 2007

curlingiron posted:

e: More Mystery crits? :shobon:

Yeah I have been slacking on this, I've had less free time than I expected but not sufficiently less to make a decent excuse. I'll get the first set out in the next 24 hours (this is a toxx).


Dec 3, 2007

Let's get going on the Mystery crits.

Rainbow Unicorn: The Lisa Incident

This is inventive, with a decently haunting punch. I’d normally criticise having all the action unfold out of sight of our narrator, but it works in this instance because bla bla modern society bla alienation blah. Good payload for a mystery.

What lets it down is the construction. The first section is a cutsey-quirky spat of the sort that’s very difficult to write successfully and is tonally dissonant with the rest of the story. The second section doesn’t have those problems, but it fails to develop anything compelling, which the story should be doing by now in its second section. It’s only in the third section that we get some real tension and so drive to uncover the truth, and by then the reader has almost lost interest.

You could probably have cut the first section entirely and rewritten the second to incorporate the needed information.

Mr_Wolf: He knows what he likes

Oh boy.

First off: Language. I’m wondering if you’re ESL, because there’s a lot of grammatical errors in this. A selection:


Professor Lindoff perched on the edge of his oak desk, he removed his glasses and placed them into their case.

This is two complete sentences, but you’ve joined them with a comma. It should be one sentence with no ‘he’, or two sentences. The ‘he’ just reintroduces a subject you were already talking about.

It was quite obviously too far away to have a normal conversation from but Lindoff had spent £11,000 on his marble floor and nobody was to move any furniture.

Watch your tenses. The story is already taking place in the past, you want to specify that the purchase is even further in the past.

The professor's forehead formed a thin layer of sweat across itself.

Second off: Content. I think this is supposed to be a comedy. The problem is, it isn’t funny. The three stooges are sniggering shitheads delivering a barrage of flat ‘banter’ and the professor is ‘wacky’ without any of the charisma needed to pull it off. Comedy needs charisma. Even cringe comedy needs characters with charisma enough to make us empathetic with their inability to deploy it.

Also, poo poo isn’t automatically funny. A lot of people needed to learn that this week.

Third off: Construction. I’ll focus on the end here. The big twist is that the dog did it. It’s an obvious twist, but you could have gotten away with it with good delivery. It needed to come with a punch, but instead it just appears nearly 200 words from the end, and the story keeps going for some reason with more boring banter and wacky professoring.

Conclusion: Tighten up your grammar, think harder about how to deliver important information in your story, and if you’re attempting comedy (a tough brief), be funnier.

SurreptitiousMuffin: The enigma of who keeps taking my drat lunch

This is a good idea and animatedly written but isn’t doing it for me for some reason. It’s coming across as a little flat and forced compared to your usual. This may be because of the very abrupt, declarative sentences, which may be intentional but sound rushed and artifical to me.

Jagermonster: Rest for the Wicked

There was some dislike for this among the judges but I didn’t personally have a big problem with it, besides it being the second poo poo mystery in four stories. The actual formal content of the mystery itself, the setup leading to the twist and the twist itself, I thought was well executed.

On the other hand, there’s a serious lack of structure. There’s no demarcation of scene shifts, just a continuous stream of paragraphs that makes the story hard to follow. Maybe try working from a plan and aiming for maximum clarity in your next story.

Baudolino: How Tommie died.

This almost lost. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs.


Inspector Isaac looked down the young man lying dead and stiff on the frozen parking space outside of “ Grootz`s Golfing shop”. Isaac waived the pathologist over to him” Good day Larson, give me the facts”.

You want ‘waved’ here, not ‘waived’, and you need a full stop at the end of the sentence before Isaac speaks.

” The victim`s head, neck, and forearms have been smothered with extreme force. It`s possible that he might have been dragged around post-mortem.

You don’t need both ‘possible’ and ‘might’. Either one establishes uncertainty.

Very little blood on the scene, so he probably did not die here. His clothes are partially covered in grey dust. We also found his keys and wallet, his driver`s license was inside.” Larson gave him the card” Tommie Mathieson” it said and included his address.

You want a full stop between ‘card’ and ‘“Tommie’. The same error as in the second sentence.

Isaac bade Larson give him the keys.

‘Bade’ isn’t in common usage in modern English.

It’s riddled with problems. I didn't even flag everything that struck me as wrong. Some of these I think are ESL problems, but not all of them, and either way you need to work on punctuation and word choice. Read a great deal and keep writing by whatever trick you need to do that, because only a lot of input and output will teach you the skills you need. But that’s just the language, and I’d look past a lot of it for a good story. That’s not this.

It’s just not a very interesting mystery in content or structure. The content is ordinary and straightforward, so you need something interesting in character or storytelling or just very good writing to make it stand out, and you don’t have any of that. To solve the mystery our detective walks through a series of clues to a pointless meeting with Daniel, then has a sudden revelation of the solution apropos of nothing. No brilliant deductions, no twists and turns, no nothing.

The story as a whole is empty and pointless. There’s a mystery, and it’s solved, but to what end?

  • Locked thread