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JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Let's make this a great year for the dome.
In.

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JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Purple Prince posted:

Excuse-ville

No. Do not do this.

This thread is not the place to defend yourself or rationalize/make-excuses in the face of critique. If you absolutely must respond to a critique the only good response is: Thank you. That's it. What you are getting is their unfiltered impression of your work and how it comes across to them. Explaining what you meant after the fact has no bearing on what you actually did write and how people are going to interpret it. If you want to fix the problems the story has, then revise your story and submit it to the fiction thread we have in this forum (not this thread). Then you can see if you made it more clear and if people are seeing what you want them to see.

Also, when you originally posted your piece, the first thing you did was apologize for a piece that you knew was going to bad. For future reference, you should never ever do that. Never tell the reader that the story is a waste of time before they even get a chance to look at the first word. It is the absolute worst kind of self sabotage and it does not make you look humble it makes you look insecure.

Even if you are insecure, don't do this. Feeling insecure about your work is super common and perfectly normal even for the most successful of writers but keep that stuff in blogs and the like. It has no place in the dome or any writing venue where you are trying to get someone to like or publish your work.

And by the way, you could have used the time you gave up writing that post full of excuses to work on this week's entry some more and maybe even get it done. Just saying.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


(Missed the deadline. Guess dems the breaks.)

Never Forget (Words - 1246)

Maggie first met Susie the Elephant at the hallmark store. The elephant stood on a display way in the back, a small ball of pink fluff with two large black glass eyes, and a shiny red bow on top. Wedged between boxes of forgotten valentine cards, Susie was the last of the store’s elephants. Maggie had to have her, and so she made her mother buy it.

It took two days before the elephant ended up under the bed with all her other junk.

Maggie didn’t really get along with others. Her parents were divorced and she was an only child. Parental guilt bought her everything she could ever want except for friends.

After school, Maggie, frustrated and sullen, would quietly go to her room, and fall face down on her bed. She didn’t want to not get along with the other kids but she couldn’t help it. They were always so stupid and boring and mean and she never fit in. They never did what she wanted to do and it just was never worth the effort.

“Don’t worry Maggie.” Came a voice from under the bed.

Out walked Susie, who stood triumphant with her red bow glistening bright from atop her head. “I’m all alone too. But it’s okay! We can be friends!”

“Really?”, Maggie asked.

The elephant smiled rainbows.

“Yes! Don’t you worry. We will be friends forever and ever and ever. An elephant never forgets their friends!”, Susie assured her

And Maggie got over those rotten kids at school. What did she need them for when she had an awesome elephant friend who was always there for her. The two were inseparable. They’d hop and skip along springs of grass in the woods that catapulted them high into the air and into the clouds. They’d have tea on those clouds then ride bikes down the cliffs and through the world and all the deep hidden kingdoms of the earth.

For Susie was a magic elephant and could do anything. And she liked nothing more than to make Maggie happy.

It was the little things that Maggie liked most. Susie ate the greens that Maggie pushed off her plate, and helped her with her homework, just as a best bud should. Susie especially loved to listen, and would stay still for hours as Maggie talked about her day, the jerks at school, her big thoughts and little dreams.

One day coming home from school. Maggie again was distraught. Nature, in some cruel joke, covered her face over with red splotches. It was a time of change, one that few escaped unscathed.

She was already unpopular, and this only made it worse.

“It’s okay I can fix it!” Susie said. “I always got your back girl.”

Susie worked her magic, and said that her face would not only clear up but that she will appear more and more beautiful as time goes on. So that others would be able to see her as Susie did and that the teasing would stop.

It worked too, just as Susie said. In a few months the teasing slowed to a trickle and then it stopped. She was pretty now and everything felt different. Thanks to Susie’s magic she felt for the first time that she could talk to the other kids. And they talked to her back. Even the popular kids even hanged out with her. She lost time in the depths of the mall chatting it up with her new friends about everything under the sun. It was very different than just having Susie around.

It was late afternoon when she came home.

“You okay? You took so long getting back I was starting to get worried.” Susie asked, appearing from beneath the bed.

Maggie talked to Susie for hours about the kids, all the games they played and how nice it was at school. Susie listened as she always did, nodding.

“I’m so glad you are happy”, Susie said.

Every day it was yet a new adventure. She went with the kids to the mall and the movies and the steak and shake.

Tonight, was homecoming and Maggie was going to go there with all her friends. It was going to be awesome.

An elephantine shadow snuck out from under the bed.
“Hey Maggie, wanna hang out?” Susie asked, wrinkling her large pink ears.

“Oh uh, it’s homecoming you know. Kinda busy, sorry.” Maggie said.

“Oh I didn’t know. You never told me.” Susie said, soft as a ghost

Maggie sagged, when was the last time she had talked to Susie? She couldn’t quite recall. “Oh Susie I’m sorry. I’ve been kind of busy but maybe we can hang this weekend”

“Oh yes! I’d like that”, Susie brightened.

But homecoming night ended, and then the weekend came and went. Maggie spent the weekend at her friend’s dad’s place. They had a giant pool and the largest plasma screen she had ever seen. They ordered a bunch of pizzas and lived like queens.

Again she apologized to Susie and again Susie, the perfect elephant friend, accepted her apology. “What are friends for?” She said, the elephant’s voice only slightly hollow.

As time went on, the apologies continued. Maggie was truly sorry but what was she to do, she had never had so many friends before and it was the most wonderful thing ever.

It took her time to notice as she went out with her friends that occasionally a shadow dogged at her heels. Now and then she would hear the clop of heavy feet amidst the crowd of the mall, or a tendril of fluffy pink reaching from behind a rack of clothing. More and more, she saw signs of Susie, everywhere.

Susie would never admit it, but Maggie knew. She started to avoid her room, going there only to sleep with the covers piled on high and thick. Susie was there under the bed waiting, always.

Yet even Maggie found it hard to ignore when she came home one day to a giant pink elephant standing on top of her bed.

“I was thinking you’d talk to me if I was a bit easier to see. It gets dark under the bed and I’m usually just a small little thing.” Susie was standing on top of the bed, towering up to the ceiling. “I’ve been missing you, you know.” The elephant’s voice was coated with lead.

Maggie swallowed a lump in her throat. “Uh. Hello Susie.”

Susie shut the door with her trunk. “How’s it going? Been having fun with your friends?”

“Yeah.” Maggie backed away. “Say uh, I was just going in for a little bit. Gonna go back out before dad comes home. Do you mind?”

“They aren’t really your friends.” Susie’s dull glass eyes focused onto Maggie. “Did you forget all the things they did to you?”

Maggie inched for the window, with every other avenue blocked. But Susie merely took one colossal step and cut her off “No, you listen to me” Susie said

“I deserve a better friend than a selfish punk like you. I’m leaving” Susie said, little plastic tears rolling from her glass eye. “Watch your back”

And then she was gone.

Yet despite the elephant’s words, she never truly left. Every now and then when Maggie is all alone, she can sometimes hear the stamping of little elephant feet, and the faintest whisper in the air
“No one will love you like I do.”

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Cool prompt. In with mercury.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Mercury
Empathy (810 Words)

Kaito stared unblinking at the ocean, his rusted wheelchair pulled all the way to its oscillating blue edge. I would watch him, willing him to do something in my mind, a word, a smile, a twitch, anything. But my brother was focused, waiting for his dolphins and had no care for my petty desires. His atrophied hands were curled in on themselves like rolled leaves, his limbs dead bug stiff.

I watched the sun fall into the ocean, felt the sea foam brushing across my cheek.
Nothing stirred in me, not even anger. Not anymore.

No dolphins today; I stood to take him home.

The fishermen nodded as I went by, gawked politely at Kaito when they were sure I wasn’t looking. The last remains of a family so hosed over by the gods must be an interesting thing to look at, or so I had heard.

We got home, and I cleaned Kaito up then put him to bed. I sat down at my desk with one broken leg propped up by a pile of forgotten engineering textbooks. The annual hunt was tomorrow. I would be a man and at least for a while forget everything. Live in the moment I could still have that at least.

Kaito wouldn’t like it but he didn’t have to know. Not that he ever truly knew anything. My brother had died inside before he was born. Drove our mother away, led our father to drink and a dishonorable death. And all he ever wanted to do was stare at the dolphins. That was the only thing he could think about.

I greeted the morning sun as Kaito slept in his bed, and made my way for the waters.

The ocean smelled of metal, crimson tides lapping at the edges of the cove. Boats far and wide cut swaths through the churning waters. Here people were equal, we could hunt like in the days of old when times were simpler. There was honor in providing for the village.

I took an old boat I rented from elder Nobu and took my grandfather’s rusty harpoon. The engine came alive with ten pulls of the cord and off I went shrouded in a cascade of erupting cinnabar tinted mist.

I stopped the boat away from the others, and trained my senses of the waters around. I let myself fall in tune with the surroundings, listening to my own breath as I hefted my harpoon up and waited for a target.

A dolphin broke up through the red water and splashed around. In an instant I hurled my harpoon at the noise and it flew into the dark, missing it. I cursed and began to pull the instrument back in, the rope slippery in my hands.

The dolphin for its part bobbed up and down awkwardly, listless. It was alone, none of its pod here to accompany it. If it was trying to get away it did a poor job of it instead it made circles in the water. I watched it thrash, quietly, as I pulled my rope back.

As soon as I had got the harpoon back into my hands it became quiet. I turned to see if it had managed to get away but it was still there. It stared at me, completely unmoving. I stared back. The dolphin’s color was off, faded, it looked dirty even despite the filthy water. It wobbled its fins crookedly, the misshapen things were too small, barely able to keep it afloat but somehow they did.

I lifted the harpoon up, the dolphin a sitting target now but it still made no attempt to flee. My arms tensed up, my knuckles bone white where my fingers grasped the body of the spear. I stood there watching it, the withered thing, the sounds of water lapping at the boat all that I could hear.

A boat came over on a distance, its engine kicking up torrents of water and air as it blitzed by. The men cheered and hollered at the sea, and I saw as one took aim at the water and fired.

The harpoon struck the dolphin in a flash of red, yet it didn’t make a sound. It didn’t even seem to notice. It stared at me as the rope behind the spear snapped taut and then it was gone, dragged away into the frothy red waters.

I stared long after it, into the impenetrable waters. At some point my harpoon fell to the deck. Boats full of dolphins shrieking and writhing as the sun dried their lacerated muscle and exposed viscera. Slowly I turned my boat around, and at some point I came home.

Kaito was calling me and I went to him.

He asked in his a-melodic stuttering way if we were going to see the dolphins today. And I hugged him tight.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Welp, I decided it would be a good idea to do what some other people are doing and hit the random button on that Lego page and going with the very first thing it gives me.

The gods of lego have thus decided that this is my destiny. Truly I have sinned.

Please bombard me with terrible flash rules so I can hate those instead of myself.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Fantastic prompt. I'm in to reclaim my honor for not submitting the last time I domed.

As is our custom, I am prepared to submit a story, or fall on my sword. :toxx:

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


CommissarMega posted:

gently caress, I keep running over the world limit, and I can't seem to prune poo poo without compromising story integrity. Is it still okay if I submit anyway? If not, I might as well take the Thunderdome loser avatar.

You still have until midnight Sunday which is a considerable amount of time. Take a break for a day or so then come back to the story. You'll probably be able to cut some more words out. You can do it, don't give up.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Benny the Snake posted:

DQ me. I'm done this week.

You have two whole drat days. If you have to cobble together something in 2 hours, do that at least. God knows other people have. You're embarrassed, sure, but you aren't loving dead. Ultimately what people think of you on an internet forum doesn't matter.

Writing is what you want, isn't it? Take your flash rule, write up a new story. Do it for you. All you gotta do is put some drat words on the page and you'll find that life goes on. Small steps, big steps, whatever you can manage, just move forward and to hell with everything else.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Jay O posted:

Hey, lotta important poo poo came up this weekend, so my submission is gonna be late, can't finish it by 9 PM PST, I'll just eat the DQ. (Hopefully it's not loser-bad. Can't take the pos. of judge if I were to win anyway, because I'm headin' out of the country with limited internet for 10 days starting tomorrow. Hence the busy weekend.)

Don't wanna be :toxx:'ed though, so I'll have it up, just more like around 2 AM PST. Blegh, sorry.

Yeah I'm in the same boat and will be late as well so will have to take the DQ. I'll have my story done about two hours after the deadline.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Kaishai posted:

I'm starting to be concerned about your senses of time!

To avoid the :toxx:, I suggest posting your stories by 6pm today, USA Eastern.

Well drat. I appreciate the extra time but its just not gonna happen by the looks of it. I think the failure of not submitting something twice in a row stings a bit more than the loss of 10 dollars. Maybe this will teach me to not be crap about submitting because this is seriously shameful. Sorry folks.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


In.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


In.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Cool prompt. In.

While I'm at it, gonna :toxx: so I don't wimp out.

I will murder you all with kindness.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


It's terribly late but here it is.

(Wordcount: 1184)
Standing Vigil


The soldiers used to talk about their homelands that were so beautiful and green just like this place once was before the war. They never said so to me, of course, but they said it to each other. I don’t think it ever occurred to them that I was even capable of having an interest. The fact that I could was a surprise to me as well.

I stood at my post, in front of a torn metal edifice that served as the compound’s entrance once upon a time. It was hardly that now, as much of it had collapsed in the wake of repeated severe tectonic and atmospheric disturbances. There had been a great number of those ever since all the soldiers had left. I noted the events as peculiar anomalies for the region.

I wondered where the soldiers had gone; perhaps they went home to their lush fields and vibrant forests. I had no way of knowing for sure, so I kept doing my job. No one told me to stop.

The perimeter had to be kept safe and the lives of those who lived here must be protected. It was a very important job, and a duty I was compelled to follow eternally.

Yet, it struck me as a particularly bitter sort of failure that there were no longer any life forms here to protect.

I was not useful anymore.

Discussing matters pertaining to one’s execution of duty was permitted between units. So I made an inquiry of the unit in charge of the storage facilities. I asked it if had any ideas of what I could do to fix this.

The clerk unit didn’t seem to understand at first. It scanned me for longer than was due protocol, but I did not inquire about the delay. It might take offense if I indicated that I did not think it was executing its function properly. It was not allowed for us to be friends like the soldiers were of each other, but that was no reason to be rude. After a time, the clerk unit stated that maybe if the soldiers better liked the conditions here they would return. The compound was derelict and the surrounding expanse was desolate and not suitable for occupation.

It had some seeds and a primer, and said a construction unit would have the necessarily equipment to execute this kind of task. Though we both knew that we were the only two units left in the facility and that no construction unit would be available. The clerk unit returned to its business in the ruined storage, and I left in silence with the materials in tow.

My treads slowly brought me through the dust covered landscape. It was still technically part of the compound’s land, and so I was not in violation of my duty patrol it.

I wasn’t sure of how to proceed as this kind of job was outside my scope. But if it had a chance to bring the soldiers back, I had to try. First, I used the tools that were mine to make holes in the ground. But the holes my tools made were much too big, and irradiated. I remembered the soldiers saying once that radioactive material was not preferred by organic life, so I realized that this wouldn’t be appropriate. Eventually I decided that poking at the ground and pushing it around with the cylindrical end of my arm instead of firing it. I managed to plant a few seeds and waited then to see what would happen as I stared at the ground.

The sun, a bright spot in the sandy haze of sky above, went through its routine cycles on schedule. Yet, nothing arose from the ground.

I didn’t mind. For the clerk had been good to give me lots of seeds. So I experimented with locations, mixing different amounts of soil and particulate matter. I drilled water from the ground and tried different amounts. I could learn by trial and error, and I was focused on my task.

It was a miracle, that first sprout peeking shyly out from underneath the soil. My one success after innumerable cycles of failure. I executed my duty in protecting this life form, using my hulking body to shield it from excessive sun and wind. Its life was sustained by the water I retrieved from deep within the ground. I introduced myself to it too, even though I knew it would not converse with me. Yet just because it would not talk back, didn’t mean it was incapable of appreciating speech on some level. I did not know of it's true capabilities as much as the soldiers knew of mine, so who was I to judge.

The tree grew under my watch; knobs of branches twisted themselves up into the distant sky. Soon it had friends too, other trees like itself growing under the endless cycles of the sun.
I thought that perhaps the soldiers would return soon as the green expanse grew. They would think this place home and I could listen to them again. Maybe even one of them would talk to me, give me commands from time to time and I could be useful again.

So I resumed my vigil, guarding the trees under the cycles of days, seasons, years, decades, centuries. I did not sleep but wear and tear on my systems required periods of self-maintenance that required me to be inactive for periods of time. Every time I activated myself again, I saw that the forest had grown relentlessly without showing any signs of slowing.

At some point, the sun became obstructed by the canopy above. The forest was large enough to not need my direct tending now and so I just kept guard as per my duty.
The compound looked nothing like it did before. The forest had reclaimed it with plant matter twisting itself around the metal ruin. I decided that I liked the new look of the place.

Over time, the tree’s roots grew large and thick around my chassis as well. I could break away, tear out from the growth around me but I refused. I would not hurt the tree and it was not so bad to be affixed in place. I had spent nearly my entire existence as a loyal sentinel after all.

Yet something was different now. The forest had become noisier as of late, as other life that weren’t plants crawled out of the wood work. I witnessed little life forms that dug holes in the ground, others that scurried up trees and while others slinked delicately around bushes. They were poor conversationalists despite my best efforts but I still enjoyed watching them come and go.

The wait was enjoyable now. The trees stood silent with me as we watched the forest teeming with life. I knew that we would be here when the soldiers returned and we would welcome them heartily. Until then, we would not be alone. Life here would march forever on.

I could ask for nothing more.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


In.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


In with 2 10. If that's taken then give me whatever.

::toxx:: ::toxx:: ::toxx::

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Meh very late cause I'm a failure but submitting anyways.

Leaving it all behind: [Words: 687]
Based on Ginas and the Rajah

Ginas felt ill for the first time in his life. His limbs trembled with trepidation as he reached for the walls of the giant sand castle that was the only home he knew. He felt his fingers bury themselves in the walls of the giant edifice as he raked out gashes that gushed out with billowing sand.

The castle crooned softly, a calming melody joined by his mother the queen who looked serenely down at him from a balcony of stars. The sand twisted into shapes, the gemstone eyed roc of the stories his father had told him to get to sleep, the form of the dancing dolphin that swept the ocean away with its tail, the face of the pig who slept its life away. The stories his father told him while he instructed his son on the ways of the world, the great economic balance that ruled it and the duties that maintained it.

Ginas felt a great heat in his cheeks, and his vision blurred as he pulled the sand from the wall. It came out as a string, unraveling rapidly. The castle went with a bow and a proud flourish, as it let itself become undone, dissipating into mist. The ever clear blue of the sky shined on, birds chirping perfectly just out of sight.

“All done?”, his father, the Rajah, walked up from behind and slapped him on the shoulder.

Ginas balled his hands into fists at his sides.

“You grew up so fast”, the Rajah said as he hugged Ginas with all his might. “I wish you would have stayed with us a little bit longer, but I understand”.

Ginas looked down, he couldn’t meet the Rajah’s eyes.

“Nothing wrong with fulfilling one’s duty, son”.

Ginas watched as the folds of his father’s magnificent robes turned yellow, breaking away into sand. He heard the words I love you and Ginas watched as the sand rolled itself into the ocean, leaving nothing but the water behind.

Ginas snarled and leapt on the ocean, tearing it away with his bare hands all the way down to the rock below. He took the crust of the world and snapped it on his knee and everything was undone. His world now black.

He awoke for the first time in the dark covered in wires. The equipment that scanned him, beeped energetically.
Ginas stretched his new limbs. His hands looked as if they had been painstakingly chiseled from soft stone but he found that they worked much like the ones he had before. He pulled the wires out and edged the lid of his container open. The room was dark but he could see as if it were light.

His royal clothing, a crisp suit lined with gold awaited him. He put it on.

The staircase crooned happily at his approach, lighting his steps as he left looking back all the while at where he had slept all this time. His real mother was reading a tablet when he entered the room, she glanced at him with the corner of her eye.

“Oh, you’re finally up”, she said.

“Yes”, Ginas said.

“Took you long enough”, she returned to reading her tablet.

Ginas, felt his legs carrying him out of the house and to a car. He knew it even though he had never seen one before. It drove him to work. The man at the door let him in with a sir and a nod.
His real father met him in front of the elevator who looked at him top to bottom.

“Acceptable. Let’s get you to your office.” His father, the CEO said.

It took Ginas six months to completely take over the company. It had been swift, effortless. His father took his severance and left.

Seated in his office overlooking the sprawl he watched the going-ons distantly below. Cars weaving in out between dusk gray pillars. The pale yellow of florescent lights effusing through the streets. His grand inheritance was vast, and he should not have want for anything else. He thought this as he stared out the window into the starless black sky.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Yeah my story was pretty bad, I almost considered taking the toxx instead of submitting it but figured it was the lesser of two evils if only slightly.

I got some honor to reclaim so hope you're ready to bring it Broenheim. Bring on the loserbrawl!

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Welp, not gonna be able to submit for the loser brawl so I will take my well deserved loss. Good show Broenheim.

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JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Anomalous Blowout posted:

If you are 'not able' due to genuine extenuating circumstances I am capable of giving extensions.

Will you be able to submit in 3-4 days?

Yeah I could. The past week has been rough but didn't want to be all excuses cause it's the dome and all. But if you're offering I'd take the extension so I could hopefully actually submit something half decent.

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