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Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

(800 words)
Rice Pilaf


See Archive

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 30, 2015 around 17:04


Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 1191
food prompt: Japanese ramen

Breaking the rules

The stars above Kyoto swirled as Tom and Jack stumbled out of the bar and onto the street. Jack lit up a cigarette, his thin face briefly illuminated by the lighter’s tiny flame. He offered the pack to Tom, flicking its base with his thumb so the central cigarettes poked out in Tom’s his direction.

“No thanks,” said Tom. “I still don’t smoke.”

“You will, newbie” said Jack. “This is Japan. Everybody smokes! But for now we need ramen - soak up the sake!” He pulled at Tom’s arm, and the two of them noisily crossed a small bridge, waking the Koi that slept in the waters below.

The elderly owner of the Ramen-ya shop stared implacably at the two gaijin as they stumbled toward the counter. On the wall behind him, a cockroach scurried over a cheap picture calendar of the Yodo river.

“Nice place,” said Jack, watching the insect walk on water.

Tom pulled out his wallet and retrieved a crumpled two thousand yen note. He leaned heavily on the greasy counter. “Konban wa. Miso ramen, ku desai,” he said holding up two fingers and then pointing at Jack and himself.

The old man remained motionless, a still pool filled with passive aggression.

“Uh, forgive me,” said Tom. “Sumi masen. Ni Miso ramen? Ni? Two? Uhn.” He turned to Jack. “How do you count ramen bowls? Is it like bottles, or...short things?”

Jack didn’t answer. Instead he watched the elderly owner of the store grab a baseball bat from behind the counter and make a couple of quick, preparatory swings. He managed to say “Duck!” though, and tugged hard at Tom’s shirt, pulling him down as the bat whistled through the air above them both.

“What the hell?” said Tom. He rubbed the top of his head, where a breeze had recently been felt. “Listen, buddy…”

“Would not suggest starting anything,” said a voice behind them. Tom and Jack turned simultaneously to face the newcomer, a young japanese woman in a floral printed dress and be-zippered leather jacket. “Toji-sama good with bat. Warning shot. You here less than a minute and already you break rule number one.” She pointed to a prominent, hand-calligraphed sign hanging on one wall.

“No...miso...please...” read Jack. Tom just stared at the woman. The heady cocktail of foreign liquor and an unfamiliar country had befuddled him, he knew, but he was also fairly sure this was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

“Crazy bugger took a swing at me because he’s out of miso?”

“No. Misunderstand,” said the woman. She indicated the old man behind the counter, who was now coolly leaning on the baseball bat. “Toji-sama, make ramen for many years, remember when there was no miso ramen. Miso ramen ‘johnny-come-lately’ and not sell in his shop. The sign say “please do not ask for miso ramen as baseball bat may offend.”

“Jeez,” said Tom. “This country.”

“Well, it’s clear gaijin aren’t particularly welcome here, we should go,” said Jack.

“Are you kidding?” said Tom, not taking his eyes off the new arrival.. “We just broke the rules a little and got a warning shot fired across the bow. Gunboat diplomacy? No problem.” He smiled at the woman. “No harm done. So what does Toji-sama think is good then?”

“His shio ramen is famous across the Kansai,” she said. “Here, you boys sit down - let me talk to him.”

Tom and Jack took up stools at one end of the counter while she spoke to the old man. “Jeez, she’s gorgeous,” whispered Tom.

“Christ,” said Jack, “you’ve been here all of 48 hours and you’ve already got your slut on. This isn’t home - things don’t work like that here. Just be friendly and don’t be a dog.”

“A woman like that,” said Jack, oblivious. “I would do anything she asked. I would deny her nothing. Not a single thing.” Tom rolled his eyes.

The order placed, the woman waved farewell but Tom spoke up quickly. “Wait - uh, thank you. Domi arigoto. Won’t you join us for a bit? We don’t even know your name.”

The woman took a fresh look at them, mulling over the proposition before apparently deciding they were, as they appeared, harmless gaijin on a night out. “Stay for a beer, if you buy.”

“Ah, sure. I mean, absolutely,” said Tom. “Least we can do, after you saved us from Batman over there. I’m Tom, this is Jack, but you can ignore him.” Jack rolled his eyes even harder.

“Tomika,” said Tomika, as Toji-sama handed her a beer. “Either you speak nihongo? English make me tired.”

“Hai,” said Jack.

They conversed in Japanese as Tom watched, failing to pick up more than a word here and there. Eventually he couldn’t help but interrupt. “So, Tomika. What do you do?”

Tomika looked quizzically at Jack, who translated. “Ah,” she said, “For job. I work here some night for Toji-sama, but at day I paint kimonos.“

“That’s a job?” asked Tom, “I mean - of course it is. Somebody has got to do it, I guess.”

Tomika looked bemused, then excused herself to go to the ladies. “Real smooth, bud,” said Jack.

“She paints kimonos,” sighed Tom. “That’s a beautiful job. Of course she’d have a beautiful job. All that … beauty. You think she likes me?”

“Get over it. She’s just being polite. There’s this whole complicated ’face’ thing that I don’t have time to explain to you, but what she thinks and how she acts are probably totally different.

“Pfft,” said Tom. “She saved us from a mad bastard with a baseball bat, That’s the story I’ll tell our children. Tom and Tomika. Obviously meant to be. Shhh - she’s coming back. Be cool!”

Tomika pulled up a stool beside Jack, and continued talking with him in Japanese while Tom fidgeted. Occasionally she would look over her shoulder at Tom, at first with a confused look on her face and then with an increasingly broad smile.

“Tom,” she said at last, turning on her seat. “Your friend, Jack has been telling me many things about you. He says you are nice fellow, who only drinks too much sometimes. He says you must get to know the real Japan, and that you, please excuse if I said this wrong, do anything for me?”

Tom looked at Jack, then back at Tomika, momentarily unable to form words. “Um. Yeah. Sure.”

“Promise?” asked Tomika in a low voice.

“Absolutely. I promise. I swear.”

“Will you…,” her eyelids fluttered, “have a cigarette with me?” She proffered a pack of Camels. Behind her, Tom could see Jack almost fall off his seat laughing.

drat him, thought Tom. Smart-arsed Nihongo-speaking bastard. I’ll show him. “That would be uhm lovely, thank you. Domo.” He reached forward, took a cigarette from the packet, felt the electricity as their hands almost touched. He placed the cigarette in his mouth, lit the end from the lighter she held, and then drew deeply into his virgin lungs.

Tom’s sake-infused vomit fountain cascaded over Tomika’s floral print dress, as Jack finally fell off his stool and Toji-sama reached for his bat.

Apr 22, 2008

New Year, new thread!

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2016 around 17:53

Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!


prompt: bánh mì

1350 words


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:26

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In Porco Veritas
Food: Pig's head
(970 words)

"Come out here, baby!" Gin's mother called from the living room. Gin didn't have much choice but to go and see that sure enough, Richard was sprawled on their couch with her mother on his knee. He had on his biggest grin, the one that promised wonders and usually lied.

He said, "Tell her, Ell."

"We're going to a medieval restaurant tonight. Fancy food, fancy clothes, ladies and knights--Richard's treat," her mother said.

Gin shouted her joy. Her mother jumped up and grabbed her hand, pulled her to the bathroom to have her hair brushed and braided. Gin wriggled into her good dress that was only a little too small. Within ten minutes, she felt like a lady herself.

That delay was long enough to have soured Richard's smile. He herded them out the door with hard hands. But in his car, Gin could tuck herself into a corner of the back seat and be forgotten. The smell of meat in the restaurant, the rustle of the hostess's velvet skirts, and the animal heads hung everywhere gave her plenty of excuses to forget him. A big boar glowered over the long table where they sat with other families, Gin beside her mother and Richard across the way.

"Mom, is it real?" she asked, but her mother didn't seem to hear. Maybe Richard had. Some of his smile was back. When a waiter dressed like a page came around, Richard crooked a finger and said something quiet to him.

More pages set a large platter in the middle of the table for the main course, and it held the body of an animal with little cloven feet: a headless suckling pig. The waiter to whom Richard had spoken put the head on Gin's plate.

Its mouth gaped wide. Heat had scorched the rims of its ears. Its eyes were dents in red-gold flesh, and they stared at Gin, and she screamed until her mother clapped a hand over her mouth and a kind person grabbed the horror away--while Richard laughed and laughed.

At home, Gin was sent to her room for embarrassing them. Tears streaked her cheeks as she listened to the lack of anger beyond her door.

The pig's head waited in her dream. It had eyes there, at least, black and glossy ones. It had a voice like a teacher's, matter-of-fact. "The man is cruel."

"I know that."

"He's going to marry your mother."

She knew that, too.

Gin went to her mother in the morning and said, "I don't want him for a dad, Mom. I hate him. Please--"

One more thing she had known: that it wouldn't make any difference.


The day Gin turned eighteen, she called on her friend Alex to bring his pick-up truck to her house after Richard had gone to work; she put concealer over the bruises on her wrist, on her jaw, and told her mother good-bye. Ellen yelled first, then cried. She'd lapsed into silent staring by the time Gin and Alex got the last of Gin's belongings out the door.

"She loves you both," the pig's head told Gin that night, and Gin turned her back and covered her ears. After that, the dreams stopped.


Gin's relationships for years were safe and sane. They had nothing whatsoever to do with love. Men from bars or dating sites warmed her bed for a night or two, and then she or they stopped answering calls. But Alex was different, still her friend, still making her laugh, and far more confident in himself after college. Their morning coffee dates turned into dinner dates, and Gin stopped going out drinking alone.

Sometimes, though, they argued.

Sometimes Alex frowned at her, and her stomach went queasy. So she struck first: "I can do better than you," she'd said once. "God, haven't I just!"

"Then don't blame me for your falling standards," he'd shot back, yet he'd stayed.

Sometimes he hugged her to him, and his arm felt too tight and she pushed him away. And half the time she snapped at him when he laughed at her--or at something she'd said; she couldn't always tell the difference in the moment. She showed up for dates in sloppy clothes. Late, too, like shoddy clockwork. He would stand, kiss her, and tell her he'd ordered an appetizer.

Gin lay awake beside Alex one night until his breaths were deep and even, then left him to curl up on her couch, where she could sleep.

The pig's head hovered in front of her. It had gained size, an adult pig now, and in her dream she didn't question how such a thing could grow up. Its mouth hung open, a void in the roasted flesh.

"Tell me why," Gin said to it--then thought, I know why. The black eyes glittered; the pig disappeared. Waking, Gin remembered.

Alex sat on the couch in the light of dawn. Watching her sleep without him. Gin said, "You're not like Richard. I am. You ought to leave me."

"I've thought about it. I might have to, eventually." Alex reached for her hand; he didn't grip it too hard; he didn't hurt her. She stroked her thumb across his warm skin. "It depends on whether you can remember we're Gin and Alex, not that man and your mother, not anyone else."

Gin levered herself up and nestled into his side, within the arms that folded around her. She couldn't speak through her closed throat, but since Alex held on, maybe he already knew.

Later in the day they stood together while Gin picked out two stuffed pigs in the toy store, soft and pink things with glossy black eyes: one for herself and one for her mother, to be sent with love, to remind her.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen

Forks down!

Mar 21, 2013

Crunch (788 words)
potato chips/crisps

Did she really see Uncle Patrick come down here? Ray looked around the dark, deserted station. As she wandered around, cell phone in hand, her heart began to pound. Why did a hole in an alley lead down to a deserted subway stop? How did a hole in an alleyway wall lead down to a subway stop? And if city buildings were right overhead, how was dim sunlight filtering in through grates in the ceiling? It didn't make any sense. And the utter emptiness of the place was really starting to to send her imagination into overdrive.

But instead of leaving, Ray sat down on one of the dusty benches and pulled out a bag of chips from her backpack. She glanced to her sides. The subway rails ran past colossal support pillars and disappeared into darkness. It was fine. Everything was fine.

Crunch, crunch. As fried potato gave way to teenage molars, she began to relax. Staying at Uncle Patrick's had made for a really boring summer so far, but this bizarre, deserted area seemed intriguing. All she had to do was find someone to explore with. Ray dug into the bag again, and snagged more chips than intended. Crumbs and chip bits tumbled down onto the concrete floor.

She was just about to make a feeble attempt at cleaning them up when she heard footsteps, and then the part of her brain mostly concerned with survival strongly reminded her that she was all by herself at the moment. In order to hear her screams, somebody would probably have to actually be in the alleyway leading down here.

Ray snagged her backpack and ducked behind a nearby pillar - but as she peeked back at where she'd been, she slapped her face in exasperation. In her haste, she managed to completely upend the bag, and now potato chips were scattered across the floor.

The footsteps were drawing closer. Hopefully the person they belonged to wouldn't think much of the mess she'd left behind.

Finally, the footsteps stopped, and they echoed around the empty station walls. Something growled.

Ray peeked around the curves of her refuge. A dark figure was squatting by the upended chip bag, and carefully examining one of its inhabitants. As she watched, it popped one into its mouth.

Then the dark figure sputtered and coughed, hacking out loud whoops that bounced around the empty room. When it finally managed to regain control of its lungs, Ray heard it mutter, "Ugh. That junk never changes."

Then it froze and cocked its head. Slowly, slowly, it turned towards Ray. As it advanced towards her, Ray found her limbs had turned to stone. She shut her eyes.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Ray cracked open her eyes to see a tall, young woman glaring at her. Silence stretched out between them, until the woman demanded, "Well?"

"Um, well, I decided to... go exploring?" Ray tried on her most winning smile, which transformed into a grimace when the woman gripped her arm, hard enough to bruise.

"That's not good enough!" the woman snarled into Ray's face.

Ray cried out in pain, and tried twisting out of the woman's grip. It didn't work, so she took a swing at her captor in an attempt to free herself. This was met with a derisive laugh, and now both of her arms were bound.

"Look, just tell me who sent you down here, and then we can get this whole thing over with as soon as possible."

As the grip on her arms tightened, Ray whimpered. Finally, she managed to get out, "Nobody sent me! I just thought I saw Uncle Patrick come down here, and - "

"Wait. Uncle Patrick?" The grip on her arms loosened, but it was still too tight for Ray to free herself. "As in, Patrick Hechizo?"

"Yes! Do you know him or something?" Ray tugged again, and to her surprise, the woman let her go, and began punching in numbers into a cell phone.

Ray stared at the woman as she held the phone up to her ear.

"Hey. Your niece decided to come pay a visit to the crossroads. Well, who else is going to call you 'Uncle Patrick'? Yeah."

A brief lull, and then the woman started yelling into the receiver.

"You want me to what? ..Fine. But you owe me for this."

The woman hung up and held a hand out to Ray. "C'mon, we're going to see your uncle."

At Ray's hesitation, the woman sighed. "Look, we can either walk there together, or I can drag you by the collar of your neck all the way there."

After a couple more seconds, Ray took her hand.

"Good. Now hurry up."

Mar 21, 2013


Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

docbeard posted:

Bailing this week. The bad seafood was too much for me. Er, wait...


Interview of Marja Grimsdottir, Tape One, Side B
(1,176 words)

always delete your stories

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Oct 5, 2015 around 09:51

Feb 25, 2014

Broenheim posted:

I just wanted to point this out as I was going through the submission grinder, I found this place that holds what looks like monthly contests. And it just so happens that this month's theme is food. So, you know, keep that in mind this week, if you really like your story this week, you might even try to get it published.

Here's the link btw:

It does say it shouldn't be on the internet, but I'd imagine if you just edit out of your post and keep it on the archives, you'll be safe. Also, since everyone should try to get their stuff published, if you prove to me that you do submit your story this week to this magazine, whether it be before submitting it here or when the deadline ends for the contest, I'll give you a line crit of any of your stories.

this offer still stands and if you need somebody to give your story a crit before sending it out, then PM me or hit me up in irc. Idk if the judges will have crits out in time before the deadline closes for this contest. The deadline is October 1st btw.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

Doctors and Seafoods must stand together!

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen


We sure had some stories this week! Sweet, sour, bitter, umami, all the flavours. There were more than a few bad endings, too, so let's hope this result post won't have one as well.

There's some stuff I just refuse to eat. All these stories had inexcusable endings.

We push our plates away and shake our heads. Oystermen by ZeBourgeoisie is the loser this week.

Dishonourable Mentions go to Objector In Red by Froglight and Crunch by kurona_bright.

Honourable Mentions to Peacekeeper by Tyrannosaurus, which was snappy and very fun, and to A True Christmas Tale by Bompacho, which was like a charming letter from an Australian pen pal that all the judges enjoyed reading. Well done.

The tastiest meal was In Porco Veritas by our winner this week Kaishai. It was a very touching piece. I felt genuine feelings reading this and all judges agreed this was the best story of the week. I expect to see a pig's head in my dreams tonight.

We have a fanfic DQ. I apologise for this, since this might seem pretty harsh, but -

Grizzled Patriarch, you did a homage to the excellent Australian writer Margo Lanagan with “Chew”. Everyone should go and read her wonderful story Singing My Sister Down. But your story had so many similarities, so many of the same elements, that it's absolutely impossible to judge.

Chew is disqualified as Margo Lanagan fanfic. I will elaborate further in my crit post.

Detailed crits to follow from me, probably tomorrow. This post does end well because it's over to you, Kaishai!

Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer


Feb 25, 2014

Fast judging, slow prompting


Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


This judge will burp up some brief crits later. Maybe even tomorrow. Prepare your palates for acid reflux regurgitation. (That's right, not plates.)

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Week CLXV: Back to School

Professors: Kaishai, curlingiron, and crabrock.

This is the time of year when students are settling into academic life. Labor Day has passed, and Thanksgiving is months away. Long weeks of study without respite await. I don't know why I miss this experience when September comes around, but I do, and I'm bringing you back to campus with me by prompting you to write school stories.

Every entry this week should have a hall of learning at its center, within the set defined by elementary school and college (including graduate studies). These don't have to be the most realistic schools in the world. If you want to write about a magical university, do. Put your characters through high school on Aldebaran II, if your heart desires. Tell us about staff squabbles under the ocean, as long as you keep scholastics at the core of your work. I'm looking for stories that wouldn't be the same if the characters weren't teachers, students, or school janitors, and no, "Rural Rentboys" wouldn't qualify.

You may want to keep in mind that while the school experience is different for everyone, I'd rather read about the academic side than about parties, sports, or filming porn in the dorms. Fanfiction, nonfiction, erotica, poetry, and GoogleDocs are verboten.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, October 2, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Submission deadline: Sunday, October 4, 11:59pm USA Eastern
Maximum word count: 1,101

Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth:
Screaming Idiot (Foreign Language): "You are Mine"
Broenheim (Chemistry; thesis: your characters share chemicals, but none routinely used by people): "How Argon Lost His Nobility, Then Himself" (Submitted after the deadline.)
Dr. Kloctopussy (Biology; thesis: an adult in your story is asked where babies come from but doesn't know): "Ovum"
ghost crow (History; thesis: history as written by the losers, no real-life events allowed): "Losertown"
Ironic Twist (Drama)
Lazy Beggar (Economics; thesis: a character can see anything 100 years in the past, with 100 fewer words): "Trade-offs"
Fuschia tude (Art; flash rule: someone is in trouble at school, and you must show why): "Control"
Froglight (Physics)
God Over Djinn: "Holes"
Echo Cian
Ovaltine (Home Ec; flash rule: a yearbook photo no one would forget, no matter how hard they tried)
Boaz-Jachim: "1087 words"
Fumblemouse (Music): "Practice makes perfect"
Thranguy (Geometry; thesis: explore the relationship of two people involved in moving a couch up or down stairs): "What Tinies Do"
Benny Profane (Calculus): "The Mean Value Theorem"
Obliterati (English Composition): "To Hell With The Laws, Away An Bile Yer Heid"
Sitting Here (Geography): "June 3rd, 6th Period"
Jocoserious (Speech): "Flame"
WeLandedOnTheMoon! (Algebra): "≤"
Meinberg (Earth Science): "Graduation"
spectres of autism (Choir): "Soul"
dmboogie: "This Ceramic Sunset's For You"
Killer-of-Lawyers: "Order of Authorship Determined by Proximity"
Grizzled Patriarch: "Junior Has the Spirits"
Entenzahn: "Roses"
worlds_best_author: "Covering the Spread"

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Oct 5, 2015 around 05:58

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007
I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Fun Shoe

*raises hand, waves it around*

Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!


Feb 25, 2014


also give me a flash

also also boyz

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Broenheim posted:


also give me a flash

also also boyz

Flash rule: A student so fond of ic substances should do well in Chemistry.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

/me does not even wait for the teacher to finish the question before shouting out the answer

"Flash Rule! The answer is FLASH RULE!!!!"

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo

First timer, I'm in. I'll take a flash rule as well

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

/me does not even wait for the teacher to finish the question before shouting out the answer

"Flash Rule! The answer is FLASH RULE!!!!"

Flash rule: What would an up-and-coming doctor be studying but Biology?

ghost crow posted:

First timer, I'm in. I'll take a flash rule as well

Flash rule: History is full of ghosts, crow and otherwise, which makes it the perfect subject for you.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Yeah, not missing out on Kaishai Studies.

In, Flash.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Ironic Twist posted:

Yeah, not missing out on Kaishai Studies.

In, Flash.

Flash rule: Ironic twists should be at home in Drama.

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011

In with a flash.

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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

In. I don't need no stinking flash rule. In fact, *flips up collar* I don't follow any rules.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


In. Also flash me. Also you said "college": does that include grad school?

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Lazy Beggar posted:

In with a flash.

Flash rule: An Economics class should teach you to beg more efficiently.

Fuschia tude posted:

In. Also flash me. Also you said "college": does that include grad school?

It does! Flash rule: We are enrolling you in Art in hopes that if nothing else, you'll learn to spell "fuchsia."

Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer

Mercedes posted:

In. I don't need no stinking flash rule. In fact, *flips up collar* I don't follow any rules.

*links to google doc of a scooby doo erotic epic*

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

crabrock posted:

*links to google doc of a scooby doo erotic epic*

If anyone takes that as advice, I will preserve your head in formaldehyde and display it on my office wall.

Oct 4, 2010

In and Flash, please.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Froglight posted:

In and Flash, please.

Flash rule: Although most frogs end up in the bio labs, your interest in light has convinced us to place you in Physics.

Feb 25, 2014

The Third of the Museum Crits. Don't worry everyone who hasn't gotten one, you'll get one soon enough. Maybe even something more



She tried to make the train ride sound like an adventure. Even as we packed, my mother was an optimist. I was nervous . Nervous about leaving home. Nervous about losing my things. I decided that, at the very least, I should hide away my savings. From “even as we packed” to “savings” this is all telling and lame. But where? Under the bed seemed too obvious. Buried outside, too easy to forget. I didn’t have the skill to sew a hidden pocket somewhere. And then inspiration chimed from my father’s study and I knew where my small handful of coins would be safe-- inside his clock!

Ehhh, this first paragraph doesn’t really do a lot for me. Ok, so this person who feels like a kid has to hide her coins, but I’m not quite sure why. Wish I had some context into what exactly is happening, what the train ride means, etc.


I wasn’t supposed to touch it because it was old and I was young but I was a curious child and did many things I wasn’t supposed to.

Telling. Most egregious is “curious child and did many things I wasn’t supposed to.” Show us that.

Oh dear, a Holocaust story from the perspective of a child.

Transititon from the beginning and coming back is very sudden and feels highly underdeveloped. Like, I don’t have the emotional resonance with these characters that the protag coming back doesn’t have the effect it should have. I don’t know these people enough to care about what’s happened, and I don’t know the specifics of what occurred that I’m left to fill in the blanks, but it’s like having me write a whole other story for them. It’s ok to leave little bits to a reader’s imaginations, but not huge moments.

Final Results: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I see what you’re trying to do, but it’s so little that there’s nothing to latch onto. This feels written in a haste, like you had the idea and the ending in mind, but couldn’t think of how to link them together and make them resonant. I don’t know the character well, your prose tells a lot without showing, and it’s just extremely underdeveloped that it feels like an extremely rough outline.



Shay spit out a chewed-up wad of paper and pressed it into place on the papier-mâché lizard’s leg. “You’ll need strong leg muscles to fight the guards,” she said.

Cute, I like it mostly because it’s cute, and some ideas of what the conflict will be.

And then girls kidnapped in cells, sheesh.

Ughhhh, this knight is just a dick to be a dick and i loving hate that.

I really hate this knight just because he’s just that cliche total dick character for no reason.

Final Results: You played too much into stereotypes. The girl is too happy and optimistic and the knight is too dickish and there’s no nuance to them. I liked the girl acting like a witch and that had some fun moments, but overall, your story fell apart because your characters felt fake. The ending I guess is some kind of twist, but I think it works out ok, if a bit sudden. Your writing in this is pretty good, some nice descriptions, but I couldn't muster up any real interest or care about the girl because of how cartoonishly evil the knight was.


So, don’t start an opening with dialogue. It hardly ever works out for you. Especially something like "Lucius, I need something from you." One, that isn’t interesting. Why should I keep reading? There’s no reason. I’d drop this story if I was reading for fun. I don’t who Lucius is, the speaker, or anybody. Two, it establishes barebones conflict (that the speaker needs something) but that’s it. What is that something? Who are these people? Develop these guys, make me care in the first paragraph.


"I need hemlock.comma here" S this should be lowercasedaid Druses. I’d do a line break here since Druses has stopped talkingLucius laughed.

Read this to learn how to punctuate dialogue better -


"We escaped from one hell only to find ourselves in another. I know you can't bear to be gone from your family. If you die a slave, they'll be responsible to cover your expenses. They'll lose everything. Be brave Druses, our time will come."

Holy gently caress this is awful. This isn’t how people talk. He is just stating everything outright, just telling us what is happening. Show us these thing, show us how Lucius can’t bear to have his family gone (like maybe he shivers in his bed even with a blanket, grabs onto his pillow like a lover, something vivid). Try to capture how people speak. Listen to people. Hear how they talk and find how people tell you things without really saying outright what it is.

Lol Cato is so stereotypically drunk, god damnit. Also lol at putting *hic* in his dialogue when that’s how WoW shows how people are drunk. That’s loving dumb, don’t do that.

Lol he just throws up and nobody reacts or does anything.


small, fragile feeling of hope.

What does this feel like? What is this hope, what does it do? This is telling and hurts a lot to read.


"He is but one." Said Lucius. "We are legion."

I literally laughed at this line. This is so bad holy poo poo. What an awful dialogue.

Ahhhh so many names I have no idea what is happening and who is who omg.

Lol, he kills himself for some reason? Wtf

Final results: Bleh. A million times over bleh. Your prose is iffy, your dialogue punctuation all wrong. Your action scene felt weak and boring, mostly because there was no tension. You invested all your words in it, but forgot that action means nothing when we have no characters to care about. Also, the action felt stale because of your writing. I’m not great at writing action honestly, but it felt very barebones and very personality-less. Like, all these dudes were just doing things. I don’t care if these characters die. Your dialogue is horrendously awful. Read more, to see how other writers handle it. The ending blew, especially with like 8 lines of dialogue with no physical blocking.

flerp fucked around with this message at Sep 28, 2015 around 21:20

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!

Fun Shoe

Hello! My name is curlingiron and I will be judging this week. Although you may know me from writing mediocre words in Thunderdome, during the day I am a professional Teenager Wrangler. This means I know a lot about teens. Middle school kids, too.

In light of this, please be aware that if at any time during your story I feel as though I am reading the transcript of an After School Special, or that you have pulled from the Shadowy Closet of Two-Dimensional Teen Stereotypes, I will vote to DM you.

Remember: children are terrible, but they are rarely terrible in the ways that (lazy) media portrays them.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011


Mar 23, 2012

In w/ a flash rule thanks!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Ovaltine posted:

In w/ a flash rule thanks!

Flash rule: After taking Home Ec, you may be able to feed your family something other than a powdered beverage!

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen

Judge crits for Sour Green Apple, Prawns, Pizza, Duck Blood Soup, Roast Leg of Mutton, Fish and Chips, Falafel

But first, Grizzled Patriarch's Pilav Fanfic DQ

Mate. Did you think I hadn't read Singing My Sister Down?

Here’s the problem. Every line I read, I think of a famous short story where somebody’s sibling is slowly submerged as an execution, while everybody watches. As soon as I read the start, I thought “Wait, what the gently caress, Singing My Sister Down?". I read on in disbelief. I threw up my dinner. I can't judge this.

I’m assuming you meant this as tongue-in-cheek humorous to Margo Lanagan - there’s a wreath reference and everything. But what if I hadn't read her? I would have thought your story was creative and would have been judging it on false merit.

Not cool.

Screaming Idiot's Sour Green Apple

Get to the point! The start is bad - the first interesting bit is Lucifer, and even then, it's not actually interesting. I am reading pointless musing and thinking "god that was a bad paragraph" after each one. I read this story and I wish I wasn't wasn't reading it.

There is all this melodrama, description, and it just does not work at all. It’s flat, the voice is borderline juvenile. The reader has no reason to care about anything thats going on and then there’s all this musing evolution bio poo poo.

Grab me by the balls with your story! Make the reader give a poo poo! This story the opposite of that.

What I did not hate: I laughed when the apple was sour. Metatron, the voice of the Creator I don’t hate. I don’t hate how he talks in bold.

But then, what is this ending?

DM candidate. Narrowly missed out on a DM.

Bompacho's Prawns
Great premise. Casual voice is suitable. Needs to be condensed - slow, too much rambling - and seems a bit undercooked. Needs revision and cutting. You need to make every word count in flash fiction! I feel this could have been a stellar piece if you really took an axe to the writing here.

So the writing can be sloppy in parts but - it's charming as all hell. I was curious what the other judges would think, since I'm the only Australian of us three, and they had very positive responses - probably because this is legitimately a good story, and it works very well. Nice one! HM.

Entenzahn's Pizza
Awful voice. Is this humour? This is irritating and a displeasure to read. It's extremely juvenile and not clever at all. Maybe - with proper editing and care - a snarky voice could work in a story like this but, this is just terrible.

Stuff actually happens, though, and the events themselves (but not the way they're described) are funny (if you like a certain style of humour). His mum showing up. The ending. Decent stuff actually happens!

The stuff that’s happening is actually alright and funny in parts but the voice absolutely ruins everything.

worlds_best_author's Duck Blood Soup
The concept of the story is good, but the execution isn’t. This reads like a first draft begging for a serious restructure and rewrite.

Vomiting the obvious happens a lot. There’s a lot of melodrama, and you also tell us a lot of unnecessary detail. Use your words carefully! Don't describe un-interesting stuff before the reader's invested.

A lot of sloppy sentences here. Did you edit?

Breaking in and saving ducks? I’m curious here, this is good direction for this story to take, and then… What? The story just ends? Did you use up your word count boring the reader and then go "whoops, time to end this masterpiece"?

Very low middle, DM candidate.

Guiness13's Roast Leg of Mutton

Plenty of conflict and tension. Danger established from the start. It's all pretty straight but it's solid.

The writing here’s pretty good, too. Very competent but not very memorable. I don’t much care for the ending.

With the fight at the end, also - I kinda had the idea the protag & his brother were regular schlobs and the sheep-stealing men were tough and scary, so it seemed a bit weird to me when the good guys took the bad guys on pretty well? Not a big swing against the story, just an observation.

Competent high-midrange piece, but other pieces this week outshined this one.

Thranguy's Fish and Chips
The first few sentences, I'm with you. Secret menu, a date, cool. And then - black van, action, what? It's awkward and ridiculous but not in a nice way. Protag’s reactions/commentary/voice do not work for me at all.

The action feels pointless because I don't care. I’m just reading gratuitous chase stuff and there’s no tension because I don’t give a poo poo. At least Anne shows up again and I’m mildly curious about Anne.

This might be a pet peeve, but I cannot stand “pointless” action when the reader has no reason to invest themselves in the outcome. Mysterious black vans, mysterious goons - there is *nothing interesting* about that. We’ve seen it so much in every piece of media oh my god.

I do not hate the ending safehouse and the handcuff. I do not hate Anne/the date stuff - in fact, I like her - and I like the very start. But please, I don’t like the crazy crappy action and most of the story was that and its cheap and a waste of time, but it’s sandwiched by not-terrible things. Low pile.

MaggieTheCat's Falafel

This is the first story to really make me hungry! Some nice lines. Awesome grandpa telling a cool story works for me - its probably personal preference, but I dig this sort of thing.

The problem is, this is so clumsy, style-wise. I don't mind the framing of Alif getting falafel and reminiscing (although it needed polish and a bit more *something*).

But - you needed to really, really tighten up your writing. I am so cool with the plot but the writing is so goddamn lumpy. It's hard to read! That is a shame because it's a very charming piece and the actual story I legitimately liked (restaurant bit at the end is totally unnecessary, though). There is a lot of telling which does not always work. This story could really benefit from a line by line crit from someone (I might try for one if I have time late week).

Here’s a tip: always print your story out and read it out loud. Then, take a red pen, and edit mercilessly. Really try to get mileage out of every word (unlike me with these crits).

Okay? Okay.
More crits later/maybe tomorrow.


Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Morning Bell posted:

Okay? Okay.
More crits later/maybe tomorrow.


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