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Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Thanks Hammer Bro. and Tyrannosaurus and RedTonic! I will have my crits in tomorrowish, mostly undercritted work.


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Interprompt Crits for dmboogie, Auraboks, and Chairchucker

dmboogie, "The Fast and the Bearded"

This was somewhat fun to read, and I liked your main character and your descriptions of magic, but why did the Boss run illegal car races again? Who was Morgan? Did those Traditionalists come out of nowhere with an objection that made no sense, or was it just me? Naming your protagonist Merle may have been a mistake: it made me think of Merlin, which made me think of Excalibur, which made me wonder whether your setting never had magical swords, grails, etc.

A lot of things felt pulled out of your hat for the sake of keeping the story moving. The logic to support them wasn't there. If I were you, I'd cut Morgan and the race altogether and give Merle a different reason for driving at crazy speeds at night. Some important and possibly illicit errand for Boss, maybe? Boss could have enemies--the Traditionalists going after him is flimsy as it stands. Your wizard-mechanic ending a drag race in a spectacular, self-sacrificing crash but surviving to rev cars another day is all good, but the specifics need some tweaking.


Auraboks, "Open and honest discourse"

On the one hand, you incorporated every part of your prompt. On the other, I didn't understand why your protagonist's power couldn't overwhelm this one woman's mind until I checked out the wizard description you'd been given. Her persistence was weird to me--though maybe it shouldn't have been, given reporters--and why did he keep letting her in? Shouldn't she have used other tactics than a direct interview to get the facts about him? The situation was too contrived, enough so that it nagged at me. If the protagonist's manipulations on such a public figure as the President were transparent enough for someone who didn't believe in magic to notice, it's strange too that the Wizard Police didn't figure out what was going on sooner. It would have helped the ending if you'd set up the Wizard Police beforehand.

I enjoyed your opening section, your prose (except for "no matter how well you pay the wizard"--to go with the hypothetical "would," the verb should have been "paid"), your angle, and your jerk of a main character. I don't think you pulled off the conflict or climax, quite. It's as though you made story stew by combining several quality ingredients with one or two that left an oily aftertaste.


Chairchucker, "That Was a Pretty Wizard, Wasn’t It?"

That was written in the last fifteen minutes, wasn't it? You don't say. Your casual humor was on overdrive, and I suspect and you surely suspect and I suspect we all suspect there's no reasonable hope of victory, and yet this tale of wizardry as told by a fun-loving eight-year-old (or a Thunderdomer with the soul of one) still made me grin a time or two. I think it was the log looking so fly. Having the log "talk" worked in this context; making your carpenter-wizard a woodpecker was clever; overusing "dumb" so much was as dumb as a dumb thing, that's how dumb it was. It's my only real beef with the piece. Well, that and Wendy being a woodpecker with a random power more than a wizard. You could at least have described her as a pileated so she'd have had a pointy crest.

As a serious attempt to win, of course, this would be a tad ridiculous, but it's a fun dance for you to have bust out at the wizard party.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 19:00 on Apr 28, 2015

Oct 30, 2003
Grizzled Patriarch - Jesus Walks into a Motel

Love the first paragraph. It says so much about the characters with such a funny little anecdote.

I also liked the voice a lot. Eg "What is that saying—you can’t put the genie back in the bottle? It’s a frightening thought." It's subtle but it's there. It definitely feels like there is depth to the narrator.

I feel like it was let down by clarity. I think that you often use dreamlike sequences in your stories, such as the dream in your last entry and the it where the girl goes into the crack in the wall, but normally they have something solid and real as a foundation. In this case I didn't think the opening paragraph provided enough of that, and I felt a bit adrift in the rest of it, and while I enjoyed the ride because your writing is beautiful I didn't get much out of it. I don't want to know everything that's going on in a story like this, but I need more than you've given me.

Also- I'm not sure whether this fulfilled the prompt, but for non-judge crits I don't really care too much about that.

Oct 30, 2003
Gnap! - Intangible

While there are some errors I do like the way you wrote this. You obviously enjoyed writing it, but even still you don't go too overboard with the description. This gives it a certain charm despite its problems, which include getting a little too carried away with your prompt and with "OMG WIZARDS!!" in general.

Here you have a character who you set up to be quite likeable, as a sort of affable, humble wizard in a room full of pompous gits. However you don't do anything with him. Even if he's a bit of a "the dude" type, he still needs to do something, to want something, to be interesting. In this case it's made worse by the way his wizard powers just sort of happen. If you had given him a very simple goal, like maybe embarrassing a particularly overblown wizard during a duel, then I think this could have worked well. As it stands it's not a story.

Radical and BADical!
Jun 27, 2010

by Lowtax
Fun Shoe
Thank you T-Rex and Hammer Bro for the awesome crits.

I need a wizard to cast time stop so I can get some crits down on paper for you people.

Apr 21, 2010


Or at least use Retrograde Mini's to make cool mechs and fantasy stuff.

Slippery Tilde
Okay I'm doing some crits, starting with two people I know and owe, and would like to offer at least three more. Ask here, in the thread, and Ill see if I can fit you in.

:siren: Preferential treatment for anyone who's not gotten a crit so far.

I'm using Google-docs with comments enabled. Feel free to comment if you want more discussion about it.
Promps in the Docs so far:

Killer of Lawyers - Randolph the Green Done!

Gnap! - Intangible Done!

Thyrork fucked around with this message at 12:52 on Apr 28, 2015

May 7, 2005



This is a bad story, man. It starts off bad, with a cutesy title, and get's worse with a bad opening AOL-speak. That poo poo is played out . Millennials take selfies and are obsessed with likes and retweets. We get it. I thought that may have been your prompt, and was cutting you some slack at first while I was reading it. Then I saw that it wasn't, that you had so much to work with, and I was even more disappointed in you. Tonally, you're all over the place. You start with a tweenage-like AOL-speaking sassy Zeus who schizophrenically shifts into a more stilted dull narration about how the virtual competition with the wizard is affecting him. You use awkward telly lines like, "Everybody sees you getting pwned by a kid, and then they have a hard time taking you seriously." You pretty much just showed that effectively with Zeus withering, etc. right before that. Edit stuff like that down. Then there's the "done hosed up" line which is jarring because it doesn't match the tone of the rest of the story. I don't know if you were just loving around this week or what, but the social media/Jeff K. humor just didn't do it for me. The best part was the imagery of the superpowered nerd wizard rolling across the plains in a thunderhead towards Zeus, then . . . . what? The tension and the story fizzled for another dumb gag. That prompt could have been put to really good use. Instead you squandered it on dumb interwebz lulz jokes. I'm not mad, I'm disappointed. I expected better from you.


You've got some great trippy imagery in the dreamscape or wherever they go, but man, you took your sweet time getting there. You waste a lot of words on a dumb sparring session that has absolutely no bearing on the story and then you painstaking set up the scenario with some cookie cutter fantasy setting conflict. Assassins, barons, Red Kings. Who cares? This is flash fiction, you need to jump into the cool poo poo and the conflict immediately. Start in the trippy dreamscape, and figure out how to drop some exposition - that they're searching for assassins to murder with a nightmare - in naturally. Trust that your reader will catch up with you. Don't spoon feed it. I'm not sure what happened at the very end. Bonus points for a main character whose name starts with a soft 'J.'

Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face

Entenzahn posted:

Hunting Golgoth

Marrow tended was tending to her bone garden, with its figures and animals and shapes in all forms and sizes, when she noticed the two moving dots on the horizon.
Tense issue - the action of tending is interrupted by the noticing, so you want the past progressive

More governante than woman.
I'd never encountered this word before and even after consulting a dictionary I'm not sure what you intend it to mean. "Governess" is more common and might conjure up the right image of lemon-faced authority? In either case, since a governante/governess is invariably a woman, it doesn't make sense to say that she's more that than woman.

He studied one of Marrow’s tiny sculptures, picked up a bone-bell without asking, rung rang it, chortled
I rang the bell
I have rung the bell
The bell was rung
English is ridiculous

fields ripe with golden wheat and the profanities of conversing farmhands.
Zeugma is my favourite figure of rhetoric so this bit made me happy inside

As twilight broke
You can get away with this because ~art~ but it's not standard usage - dawn/day breaks, but twilight/night falls

It led her to an indiscriminate indeterminate spot in the woods

It was already halfway on towards her by the time she’d reached out for his its skull
Pronoun mismatch and preposition oddness

There was a heavy grunt, and the wolf disappeared in into the air.

Finally, Bags steepled out her robes and studied the giant.
I have no idea what this means but I'm assuming she just got an erection

Bags took the hit, probably on hardened flesh, but the brunt force of the punch propelled her into a nearby tree.
Brunt is a weird word with a very specific meaning (the majority, but implicitly not all, of an impact). It's not quite what you're after here.

Bags looked at Marrow and Marrow looked at Golgoth and Sanguinus looked at Golgoth as well, but out of curiosity, and Golgoth looked at nothing in particular because he was dead.
Another bit I particularly enjoyed reading. (And an example of mesodiplosis, if you're wondering)

His body lumbered toppled to the ground, eyes pointed at the night sky.
Lumbering generally means heavy, ungainly walking or running - it's weird to use it for falling over

Dude, if you're going to ask for a grammar crit you better make sure you have some grammar errors in there first :mad:

It takes fairly close examination to realise you're ESL - the biggest clue is preposition confusion, which trips up most people now and then. Even the occasional inappropriately-used word could just as easily come from a native speaker.

There were some bits of prose in there I really enjoyed - you have a decent feel for rhetoric which I'd love to see you develop further. The overall story, although it contains nothing terribly groundbreaking, was reasonably affecting. I've spent the last week taking care of a huge dumb dog and I know exactly how Marrow felt about her poor misunderstood child-brute.

Dec 28, 2009
Right, I got distracted from writing crits by writing a Google Docs to BBcode converter instead, so if something's mangled in here that's why (or I suck at formatting things in the first place, which is also possible). The amount of sarcasm and bile in any given crit is not particularly well correlated with the quality of your storytelling, except where it is.

The bit where I still had enthusiasm: Entries 1-11

1 angel opportunity Wesley the Wizard

Wesley is… unlikable. There are plenty of authors who make schoolboy bravado and embarrassment relatable in a protagonist, but in this case I’m just reading and thinking “oh god, maybe he’ll stop talking soon.” A couple of re-reads and he grows on you, but that was definitely my initial impression.

The twist at the end comes out of nowhere; I ended up reading back to see if you’d done anything to telegraph it but Janice gets three very short sentences before that point, none of which hint to her overhearing the magic phrase. Wesley doesn’t have much agency in this story. He tries to get the girl, fails, and then gets hit by a passing plot point.

I did like your interpretation of the prompt - it was a nice way to keep internal consistency with what might’ve otherwise been an awkwardly unbelievable magical power.

There’s some clunky phrasing that doesn’t help. A couple of examples:
Cynthia said to her friends, “Hey guys, I’ll be back in a bit. I have to talk to Wesley.”
Better options:
“Hey guys,” Cynthia said to her friends…
Cynthia turned to her friends. “Hey guys,” she said...

Wesley already thought she was the most beautiful girl, so nothing changed, he just hoped she didn’t realize she’d actually used the phrase on him.
Hard to parse, doesn’t add a vast amount. Either make it more explicit, or cut it.
eg, “Wesley felt a tingle of wizardry as the phrase hooked itself into his heart. It didn’t change anything - Cynthia was already the most beautiful girl in the world, after all - but he hoped she didn’t realise all the same.”

Honestly, though, if you find yourself writing “He hoped” or “He thought” then it’s not often a good sign.

2 Noeland Three Dimensions, More or Less

Welcome to the Thunderdome. Prepare to suck.

Your opening paragraph is not strong. Directly addressing the reader is rarely a good framing, and there’s a lot of minor problems. The rest of the story continues in the theme, but I don’t have time to do this for all of it.

Paper cuts aren’t that bad. They usually sting a bit, last only only last for a short while, and minutes later you forget all about them you just said this. The same does not doesn’t go the same what for a paper cut received when you're pulling books from the dark, dank, dusty dull, disagreeable, dreary, diversity-less shelves of the deep congratulations you found another adjective that begins with D stacks in the libraries of the University Arcanus. The last student to get a paper cut while pulling stack duty was found 3 three days later with his head turned inside out standing in front of his bathroom mirror his head was in front of the bathroom mirror, but where was the rest of him? Swap the two clauses, insert a comma, then take a good, hard look at yourself and consider whether you want this sentence to be this long anyway.. I think I think personally “I think” is completely redundant. If you’re going to insist on addressing the reader, don’t add even more fluff. Start this sentence at “Personally, I … “ I personally got really lucky that I didn't cut my finger on the pages of the first edition Necronomicon like he did. Instead, I cut myself on the pages of less sinister, but no less dangerous comma belongs here volume, a 9th edition 'Practical Papercraft for the Occasional Occultist'.

So by the time I get to the end, your framing is at least justified in-story, but there’s not much in the way of actual story to hang it on. Your whole piece is just “A funny thing happened to me on the way to actually writing a story today…”. Protagonist has no goals, no obstacles, he’s just explaining this thing that happened to him and why it’s totally not his fault, moooooommmmm. He’s not likable, there’s no sense of wanting to find what happens next (except in the “ this actually going to have a point?” way), and I don’t care about him as a reader. It’s not awful, it’s just not engaging.

For your next story, I’d recommend starting from a plan rather than just writing words until you get to the end. A character with a goal, an obstacle he overcomes (or fails to overcome) before he can reach that goal, a narrative arc and a reason for the reader to care what happens next.

3 ravenkult Nine Wolves

This is a good story, but perhaps a touch bland. I don’t feel much in the way of motivation for the protagonist; he does all this dark magic, but without me understanding why. Was it just because his favorite slave girl got stolen from him? What’s going on with the monologue as he casts his spell over the dead earl’s blood but addressing the living brother?

There’s a lot of hand-waving over the finer points of the story, imo, which leads to me not feeling engaged with it. Beyond that, you write well - the dialogue is pretty tight and the action well-described. Err a little more on the side of explaining yourself rather than keeping things spooky and mysterious, and it would be very good.

You get a short crit because I can’t find much else to lambast you for. That’s probably a good thing.

4 Guiness13 Joy

There is no joy here. There’s also no plot, really, just a little vignette of a sad woman and a metaphor for psychiatry. Your prose flows reasonably well, you have a knack for metaphor but it sometimes runs away with you. I don’t like your aversion to contractions in speech, though I’m prepared to give you half-a-pass because it’s someone talking in a formal setting. In general, though, no matter the setting it still sounds really goddamn awkward.

The problem with this piece is I don’t care about the characters much. It reads like you’re trying to make a deep and artistic point about depression and psychiatry and the sad, human habit of clinging on to familiar pain. You make the point well, but this was a fiction competition, not a moralising one.

I also hate it when the characters in a story start talking to the reader. Stop it, all of you.

5 Bompacho Colours and Councils

I read your wizard’s name as Rymdkraft and now I will be reading your story to a cheery chiptune soundtrack. Just FYI.

poo poo son, that’s a good thesaurus you’ve got there. Good work. Now go find the entry for “said” and draw a picture of a dick over it so you don’t use it again. “Said” is one of those words that’s noticeable only by its absence - when you just use “said” every time, the eye skips right over it; when you try and use a million synonyms because your teacher at primary school was an idiot and told you never to reuse a word, it stands out like a sore thumb.

You’re infodumping a lot there. You blew the first two-dozen paragraphs and all I know is there’s this guy, he’s a wizard of photoshop filters, and look at all these cool wizards and facets of wizard society I made up, please pay attention to them. I’m at the half-way mark now and I all I have is a feeling of being lectured at about magic poo poo I don’t care about.

Look, a magical battle of indescribable something! Yes, you’re definitely telling me I should be impressed by the impressive things happening here. I’m not, though, because I don’t give a single drat about what either of the wizards are fighting for, their motivation, or their struggle. But they’re secretly Michelangelo and Beethoven, which is kickin’ rad, right? (Hint: no).

You really, really need to work on improving your flow. It hits your dialogue and your prose alike, and it’s really glaring. Big, long, breathless sentences with nothing to break them up. Stilted phrasing with no contractions. Your piece reads like the kind of lecture where half the audience are nodding off by the mid-way point, long and droning and sanctimonious but ultimately irrelevant.

You have nice ideas, but need to focus on your prose first and your storytelling second (goal! obstacle! resolution!) and leave the world-building behind for a bit.

6 RedTonic The Rules of Return

Off to a bad start, as I couldn’t keep track of who was talking and being referred to until I re-read the opening few paragraphs three times. When you’re using gender-neutral names like “Hines” and “Salt” you need to be a bit more obvious before you immediately jump into the he/she.

Also, contractions. Use them, I hate you all.

You had to insert a link to a website to explain a joke in your story. Please stop, take a long, hard look at yourself, and consider what you’ve done. Now never do it again. There’s a glimmer of a half-good story in there, somewhere, but it really feels buried under in-jokes and references and places where you think you’re being so drat clever.

I think you were trying to write comedy. Unfortunately, funny is hard, and your story wasn’t funny. Stripped of all that, I think there’s a reasonably good story that, ironically, would probably be funnier without all the comic asides and smartass remarks.

7 J.A.B.C. A Distant Hand

First-person present tense is an awkward choice even when you don’t flub your tenses within the first two paragraphs. Stick with past tense, it works fine for this story anyway, which is good because you seem to revert to it pretty quickly anyway.

It’s a sweet little piece, but I hesitate to call it a story. As a vignette it works well, and I honestly quite like it despite its flaws. It gets better as it goes, to be honest, and it’s a shame your opening is the poorest part. Just for you, line-by-lines of that part.

I smile as I watch the rat's legs kick again, its eyes blinking open. I spare only a few more seconds to observe before turning to my tome. The enchanted silver arrowhead outperformed my expectations, reviving the creature within ten seconds of contact.

The crash of shattered air echoes through my tower and slams into my back, nearly blowing my hat off. I turn and watch as a ship floated whoops now it’s past tense down, aligned with the clearing outside. I judged past tense again, and drop the verb it a newer model by the forward-swept wings and sleek design. Blue, gold and green bars on the wingtips were the only color on the chrome body, telltale signs of a Imperial embassy ship. A lot of infodump to tell me something he trivially knows. If we’re first-personing this poo poo, you can cut the “as you know Bob, the blue, gold and green bars signify an Imperial embassy ship. You can tell from the angle of the wings and some of the pixels that it’s a newer model”. It’s an Imperial embassy ship, new model, the protagonist will know that without needing to think through the details, so don’t subject us to them either.

I take the narrow stone staircase slowly, counting each step, letting me calm down before I made my way across the drawing room odd choice of room; if we’re being old-fashioned enough to have a drawing room we probably also have a reception room or entry hall and to the old wooden door. Breathe. Be impressive. I reach for the staff next to the door, feel it's its weight in the palm of my glove your glove has feelings? Maybe you feel it in your gloved palm. It helps the image.

I push the door with all my might, swinging open you swing open? That sounds painful with a thunderous crash, stepping forward, staff raised high.

“WHO DARES DISTURB THE GRAND ALLAMENDO?!” I DO! I get he’s probably intending on sounding like an overblown cliche here, but still.

A woman leaned Did she start leaning just as Allamendo opens the door, and you hosed up your tense again? Has she been leaning all along? on one of the landing struts, clad in a greatcoat over her flight suit. Her sharp face stretched and their hazel eyes widened in that way one does Hate this phrasing. “Like” is a perfectly good word. when they've seen a ghost. Or a celebrity.

“You're the wizard?” She asked nervously. Less with the adjectives. Show her being nervous, don’t just tell us she’s nervous.

“And you are the pilot,” hate this phrase, it’s not as witty as you think it is. There’s only one pilot in the whole universe? Wizard is plausibly a significant title, pilot a lot less so I shot back. I also hate your speech tags “Why are you on my planet?”

She stared two actions at once! Truly she is a talented woman. as she removed a small touchscreen pad from a pocket not a specific pocket, just a pocket in general.Whoever sent this poor fool I could say something about poor fools, but I won’t, because I’m nice hadn’t told them about my gloves. Gloves! My goodness! How unusual and clearly worthy of wonder! “If this is a jest, then it is not amusing.” Who’s talking here? You got so busy mocking this pilot lady that I don’t know.

She put the pad away, impressed gaze changing to somewhere between annoyed and apprehensive. I hate this sentence even more. If you find yourself writing “somewhere” or “somehow” or “sort of like” or otherwise adding unnecessary ambiguity to your adjectives, stop. It’s a very common thing and people use it in speech all the time, but it just doesn’t work in writing. You’re not ad-libbing here, you’re writing and (hopefully) editing so take the time to find a way of describing what you actually mean, not what you sort of like mean. “Alright then, um, sir Wizard. I feel like you want to have her stop and take a breath, or clear her throat here. Might be just me, though. Firstly, Her Imperial Majesty would like to thank you for your past and future service to the Empire under her reign.”

So the Emperor died. Assassin, or he took off the ring I sold him years ago for this planet. Get what you’re saying, still reads weird. ‘Traded’ or ‘gave’ rather than sold? “I thank you for the message, but Again, for whatever reason I want to put a break in here. Maybe a “I bowed my head formally” before he lays back into her again why was this not sent with my supply drop?”

“Ah, that's the other thing,” Another little thing people say a lot in real life but doesn’t work so well in written dialogue. she said. “Her Imperial Majesty has assigned me to be your supply pilot. She believes that a savior of the Empire shouldn't have food dropped on his head from space. In her words.” She can use quotation marks when she’s quoting someone, then you can use quotation marks when you’re having her speak. I’d do this (using quotation marks to quote my version of her speaking and quoting someone, poo poo now I’m getting a headache): “She believes, I quote, ‘A saviour of the Empire shouldn’t have food dropped on his head from space’” The way you’ve phrased it, I don’t know until the end that she’s doing that slightly different voice people do when they’re quoting someone else.
Perfect. Another distraction from my work.
You probably want to move your internal monologue onto a separate paragraph, it’s sort of speech. It’s also quite common to italicise it to differentiate it from narration.

“Will that be all?” I said, turning around.. I found a missing period! Guess you won’t be a parent after all.

“One last thing,” she said, touching her hand Glove? Hands don’t have buttons on them. Usually.. The bottom of the ship unfolded outward. and A platform descended, stacked high with containers. “Where do I put these?”

I like the premise and the arc I think you’re shooting for. It’s a nice conceit, but falls a bit short from your prose and also through not really being a story. Still, the idea shows promise.

8 Pham Nuwen Chance Man

Welcome to Thunderdome. Prepare to suck with a statistical significance of p<0.95.

A lot of infodump/background and I never like stories where the protagonist is busy expositioning to the reader. You did at least start with something action-shaped, so I’ll return half a point.

You know, other than that, I can’t find a huge amount to dislike about this story. There is conflict, and the fact that the protagonist survives by dumb luck is somewhat fitting. It’s not great, but it’s not really awful either.

Some little things. New speaker needs a new line in the third paragraph. I’m not sure the guy’s much of a wizard, per the prompt, this feels more like a psychic-power scifi story.

For a first timer, this is pretty good really and with some editing could be even better.

9 Hammer Bro. Sequelae

Man kills death, people stop dying. Oh god this is so cliche :(

Honestly, other than the plot, I don’t dislike this too much. The writing is pretty solid except where you slip up (who’s Randall? Did you chance Dominic’s name and forget to search/replace?), the kids’ dialogue at the beginning is believably dumb, though the conversations with death are cliche and camp.

It’s the plot I don’t like most, it’s a cliche and heavy-handed and trails off at the end - we don’t see what Dante’s achieved, other than loving up some more. I’m not sure what he was really expecting to happen, for that matter. Dante’s an rear end in a top hat and an idiot, and it’s hard to sympathise with someone who casually wipes out most of a city to further his own ends.

It’s not awful, but it’s not great, either.

10 Something Else Seeds on the Wind

Oh god stop talking to me. Why is everyone having their protagonist talk to me. I blame sittinghere’s prompt style for this.

This isn’t a story. It’s a monologue, and frankly that’s a kind term for a 1200-word rant that smells of hemp and unwashed hippies. There’s no characterisation, no motivation, no obstacles, no development. We just get the narrator blustering about how totally sweet his plants are and how horrible humans are and gently caress you dad I’ll grow weed in the attic and gently caress plants if I want to.

Come up with a story next time, and a character anyone will care about.

On the plus side, you can at least spell and punctuate reasonably well.

11 Claven666 Old Lady Carbuncle

Oh god I’m being talked to again. Stopitstopitstopit. Oh, alright, it’s not your protagonist, this only slightly sucks. It’s still not the best framing technique, especially when you’re writing flash fiction. You could’ve saved a lot of words wasted on the narrator being a good ole hillbilly and actually used it for plot, given the only real action happens in the last half of the story.

Actual story? Reasonably neat, it fits the tone of your framing even if I don’t agree with that way of doing things. It’s not much in the way of progression or narrative arc, though, as it’s just “some things happened, bad guy got what’s coming to him, nobody else did much of anything”. I’m not really sure who the protagonist is supposed to be, or who I’m supposed to care about. The smelly old woman? The narrator’s grandfather? I town itself? I dunno.

Neat little piece, not horribly mangled english, could’ve done with a stronger story arc but I don’t hate it.

Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.
Thanks for the crit, Meeple!


Thanks for the crit, I didn't catch this earlier!

POOL IS CLOSED fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Apr 28, 2015

May 7, 2005

More WizCritz


Haunting, mesmerizing stuff, not unlike staring into the wail. Some things bothered me, niggled me as I read. "Wail," for example. Not sure how I feel about using that word, so close to "whale," that it seems like a typo at first. There are jarring typos such as "No should one ever miss a day," which do damage when word flow is as important as it is in this story. I like how you took a stark departure from traditional medieval type wizardry with a more exotic Island flavor. I sound like a broken record by now, but the intro could be stronger. Maybe start with Diau floating in the water while the celebrants look on unworried, creating a sense of mystery and tension. As it stands, 19th birthday, standing in the surf, etc., just doesn't grab the reader like it should. The ending could have a stronger punch. It's not really clear if this is what he wanted, if he looks forward to teaching the next Diau or what. I think it needs a clearer resolution to flesh out the main character's development/journey.


*Obligatory shpeal about the need for a stronger opening.* I don't know why, but I got the feeling Red was playing the narrator and when it turned out to be true, I felt smart and good, which is something you want your reader to feel, so good on you, if you intentionally dropped hints. I'd have to go reread the story, which I don't want to do, to look for the clues, but one was Red snapping and releasing the waitress from her trance, indicating she knew more about the narrator's "magic" than she was letting on, though that may have been a typo on your part. Was it? Was it supposed to be the narrator who did that? I think you could have cranked up the noirish tone. As it stands it's a little flat. I liked the touches of him remembering to zip up his coat after she embraced him indicating the warmth she made him feel, though it could have been more descriptive than just the narrator remembering it was winter (zipped up against the wintry chill, etc). I don't really get the ending. Why would he be mad and want to go after her despite the sick son, but give up after finding out she had played him and didn't in fact have a sick son? It wasn't clear what the narrator "wanted." You end it by explaining he didn't really need money because he could get what he wanted throw magic hypnosis. He wanted Red, but not until after he met her for this bank job. Does he just want to help people by helping them rob things? Stronger character motivation would go a long way to strengthening the story.

Jul 14, 2011

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

Maugrim posted:

Thinking Dogs for the Stupid
1293 words

As others already wrote, I appreciate that the protagonist is immediately established as a dog. That was a refreshingly straightforward touch. He turns a door handle, not a knob, which I thought was a good detail. I didn't buy into the switch from Val rejecting Seth to Val and Seth being best buddies at the end. I'm not sure how dog slobber was the catalyst for this turnaround. Around the mid-point you have a couple "it was" and passive constructions that snuck in; those could stand rephrasing in more active language. The mention of a cutthroat wizarding school threw me. I expected the rest of the story to resolve at this school, though I wasn't sure how cutthroat a place with a significant portion of special needs wizards could be. What I did like was the twist in who Gerontius was actually after, but that concluded somewhat disappointingly. I wish Seth had been more active in the climax and conclusion.


Erogenous Beef posted:

Lethal Ingestion (1269 words)

I do enjoy a gross-out tale and I liked the set-up you gave, pitting necessity against, say, human rights. I think opening with the protag's "awakening" would have been more interesting than beginning with his test results. You made the phenomenon sound pretty awesome with poor Mort. There's a tense shift in the Truth paragraph which is a bit disorienting (from past tense to future tense to present tense in one sentence about the doc). The conversational, slightly understated tone of the narration works for me. I don't know why you gave Maks a nonstandard spelling in an apparently contemporary setting. That was odd; didn't really gel for me. I don't know if the pissing in a champagne flute is some bizarre way of casting a spell or if that was a joke. (Or both.) I also don't get why a shrimpy poop pill would result in a wizard detonation. The shrimp seems to link back to Mort, but I can't make sense of how that Chekhov gun worked. That bothers me. The dissolved teeth part was pretty clever, but in the end it was just a meaningless piece of detail. Surely a reasonable person would figure that as long as your jaw can move, you can still crush a soft object. The pill disappears without a mention as soon as the struggle begins, so I had assumed the protag swallowed it; however, it's uncovered under a jacket--that's awful convenient. The narrative probably should follow the reverse suppository a bit more closely. I'm also not sold on why Maks turned on his partner instead of bringing him into the conspiracy and using a mook as the human bomb instead. :words: aside, I think you put together a genuinely interesting story with some amusing scatological humor. It just needs some work to hang together more.


newtestleper posted:

Old Soldiers
940 words

You efficiently packaged this story with only 72% of the max word count. You could have trimmed it down further and given us something really spare and beautiful, but this version gets pretty close. You handled Walter's dementia honestly but sensitively--I appreciate that he wasn't a human punchline. This is one of my favorite stories this week, and I honestly don't have much more to say about it.


Sodacan posted:

Minor Opportunity
(1292 words)

I also gave you a pre-crit, so this mini-crit will be even shorter. I think the changes you made improved the story, but the conflict could be clearer. You also ditch the client character in the first third of the story and then introduce a female character whose identity and importance is unclear. I think sticking directly with the trifecta (protagonist, client, and antagonist) would have made this entry tighter and kept the conflict and stakes sharper.


Doctor Idle posted:

Helka’s Inheritance
(1,297 Words)

I thought at first that this story would be a tale of adventure, but nothing really presented itself as an obstacle or conflict during Helka's search for her father. Her success seemed inevitable as soon as she read the magic note. She did not have to struggle to overcome anything between reading that and finding the phantom wizards. Did she render them visible with her power? I didn't feel as though her ability really came into play within the story's confines besides Ingvar's speech. I think Helka overcoming the harbinger with trickery would have been a better spot to set your story. You included several intriguing details about the tower, but unfortunately they never came into play.


Killer-of-Lawyers posted:

Randolph the Green
Word Count: 802

What's this title referencing? A quick search brings up Randolph the Green-Nosed Reindeer. That didn't seem too relevant. I do like a tale of comeuppance--the poetic justice was pretty good! The first section lingered a little too long on Ryan's contempt for the middle class. If you were trying to juxtapose his contemptuousness with the reality that he was a parasite, that would have come through with much less rumination. You could make that section more compact and more powerful. I don't actually know if women are more likely to choose head vs. chest when using a gun. In general, women are less likely to use a firearm to commit suicide and more likely to use poison than men, so if you wanted to signal that oddity, a different and more female-dominant method would be best. I wish you had not hidden what Jane was wishing for when the perspective switched. Also, I'm a little surprised that Ryan wouldn't know the content of a wish before stealing it for himself. I didn't really get that from the first 30-40% of the story. It makes a little sense when re-reading Ryan's diversion into demographics, but you never state that this is the case. Aside from glossing over the first section and needing to reread it, I got a chuckle out of this.

Jan 10, 2006

Jagermonster posted:

Of a Feather

Quick Crit for an old brawl buddy

Initially your sentences are too short, so that rather than ramping up the tension it just seems primary level. Should have started in media res, with the second paragraph. That Trutlag can control the birds is made obvious later anyway. Because the first section of story is establishing why the main event occurs it should take less time, spend more words on the main event at the declaration.

You could have cut this closer to the bone, and had a tighter story out of the plot. Each paragraph has at least one sentence it doesn't need, and you could have lost 1 paragraph in every five without altering the plot or characters. Slay your darlings (starlings) a little more.

Slow start, nice bit of unexpected regicide, I really quite enjoyed it.

May 7, 2005

Thanks, CancyCakes. Still looking into how to appeal that brawl decision, btw.

Oct 27, 2014

There's nothing quite like urinating out in the open air.
First, I really appreciate the crits: newtestleper, RedTonic, Tyrannosaurus, Hammer Bro.

I'm not sure if it's taboo here to crit a disqualified piece, but I chose SadisTech's "The Ruby Fountain of Ghel-Gamort" since I was actually keen on seeing how this writer would tackle blood magic without making the protagonist a vampire. I'm pleased to say it worked out well, with a pleasantly simple solution (treat blood as any other traditional reagent. which can actually be hard because "eew blood" and etc). My main criticism applies to the plot itself. I was disappointed when the major conflict turned out to be the tired old "angry villagers storming castle Frankenstein" bit, and I found it difficult to believe that the lone angry villager who survived would simply go "oh my, so sorry we tried to kill you, I'm totally cool with what you're doing now!" and also accept that yet another child would be brought into Arashai's fold (given what just happened in plain view to her last disciple). Perhaps you had to wrap it up because of the constraints of the word count limitation, but if you've exceeded it already you might as well go whole hog. As far as staying within the word count, I feel you could've dispensed with much of the exposition about the past civilization Arashai mentions, and that would not have detracted from my enjoyment.

AgentCooper fucked around with this message at 23:48 on Apr 28, 2015

May 7, 2007

Jagermonster posted:

More WizCritz


*Obligatory shpeal about the need for a stronger opening.* I don't know why, but I got the feeling Red was playing the narrator and when it turned out to be true, I felt smart and good, which is something you want your reader to feel, so good on you, if you intentionally dropped hints. I'd have to go reread the story, which I don't want to do, to look for the clues, but one was Red snapping and releasing the waitress from her trance, indicating she knew more about the narrator's "magic" than she was letting on, though that may have been a typo on your part. Was it? Was it supposed to be the narrator who did that?
That was supposed to be a hint showing that Red was playing him from the start. I should have made that more clear.


I think you could have cranked up the noirish tone. As it stands it's a little flat. I liked the touches of him remembering to zip up his coat after she embraced him indicating the warmth she made him feel, though it could have been more descriptive than just the narrator remembering it was winter (zipped up against the wintry chill, etc). I don't really get the ending. Why would he be mad and want to go after her despite the sick son, but give up after finding out she had played him and didn't in fact have a sick son?
The narrator only wanted to seek her out for romance. He didn't care about the money just her. Only now in hindsight I'm able to think of a ton of ways to make that more clear.


It wasn't clear what the narrator "wanted." You end it by explaining he didn't really need money because he could get what he wanted throw magic hypnosis. He wanted Red, but not until after he met her for this bank job. Does he just want to help people by helping them rob things? Stronger character motivation would go a long way to strengthening the story.
I think you nailed it on the head. I knew something was missing when I submitted it. Even after a re-write something still felt off. Thank you, Jagermonster, for the time you took to read my story and write a crit. I'll try not to make the same mistakes next week and focus more on character motivations.

Has everyone received a crit now? Kind of hard to keep track with so many submissions. I'll offer up two more to anyone that hasn't been hit yet.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Killfast37 posted:

Has everyone received a crit now? Kind of hard to keep track with so many submissions.

Everyone has! The first twenty or so stories have been especially blessed.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Some much-belated crits from last week, while I'm at it.

Week 141 Crits, P. 1

thehomemaster - Untitled

Solid opener, and the language lets me know there is going to be a religious theme here.

"Thou shalt not lie. A commandment that is surprisingly difficult to keep. In the open, on the streets and in the market I must constantly break my promises, but here in my home I will obey my Lord. I clasp my hands together, letting the pain seep in for a time, and pray."

This section is telling, when you should be showing. You had plenty of words left, so it would have been nice to get some scenes showing how difficult is it to keep the commandment. That's where you get the opportunity to build characterization and establish deeper context for your conflict.

"At night I often dream of Hell, and I’ve envisioned its many levels and depravities."

This is another spot that is just begging to be fleshed out with some vivid descriptions.

Your prose gets stronger when the officer shows up and the action / conflict gets going, which means you've got the chops to write compelling stuff when you get past the exposition. The conflict is interesting, though I wish it was hinted at earlier. Still, the ending is pretty solid - nice and punchy.

Ultimately the amount of telling vs. showing is definitely what hurt you the most here, especially with such a small wordcount. The conflict, characters, and motivations just don't enough room to breathe, which makes it hard to get invested in anything that is happening.

RedTonic - An Escape in January

I think all of the judges agreed that this was the most disappointing story in terms of how much potential the prompt had.

Cutting the first two lines would make for a snappier opening without sacrificing clarity. Some odd word choices in the first paragraph - "decamped" and "disinvited" stick out, and you could probably rephrase those lines to give them a bit more punch and immediacy.

Your prose is pretty good - it's clear and sparse, not quite minimalist. Nice details throughout.

The big issue is that your story ends where it should be beginning. We get all this build-up, and she meets a prisoner, but then what? Is the bit about the knife at the end implying that she's about to kill the guy? I'm just not sure how this is going to lead to breaking into prison, and if I wasn't reading the story in the context of that prompt I'm not sure what I would take from it.

This narrowly escaped a DM, mostly because your prose is solid and there aren't any glaring clarity issues, but you definitely left us hanging at the end.

spectres of autism - Bound

I gave you a pretty tough flash rule, and I think you did a good job of sticking to both it and the prompt.

Your opener does a great job of piquing my interest. It becomes clear pretty quickly that the narrator isn't a human, or at least not quite, but I think you might be playing coy with the reveal for a bit too long. It's reasonably easy to guess, I suppose, but it feels like you are dancing around it to be clever when it really isn't necessary to tell a strong story. First person present tense is a bold choice, but I like it. You establish the conflict fairly early and build on it throughout, which is good. The climax is a little cliche, but I can roll with it. The resolution is kind of disappointing, though; it's one of those endings where the arc doesn't reach an organic conclusion, and instead something just pops out of nowhere and makes things right again.

Still, you've got some nice prose and I enjoyed reading this.

Sitting Here - Unrefined Tactics

Strong opener that leaves just enough mystery to make me curious, while simultaneously establishing the tone and mood of the piece.

I really like the bit where your protagonist is telling himself a story while he rakes the Porsche - it's a nice bit of characterization and gives the action some depth. I do wish his motivations were explored a little more deeply - everyone hates those assholes that double park in a handicap spot, but what is making him go the extra mile and actually wage a large-scale "war" on them?

The mother is a neat character - usually a character with so few lines / actions ends up feeling flat, but you give her a surprising amount of characterization in a short space. I love this line in particular: "People like Mom would burn the Library of Alexandria all over again if you handed her a torch and a reason to be ornery."

You do a strong job of leading up the central conflict / climax, and the little details you add make it easy to visualize.

The idea of an actual shadowy underground army of these people is great. It almost wraps up a little too quickly, but the pacing and prose throughout is so punchy that it doesn't really do any harm.

A fun, entertaining, and well-written story that all three judges had as a win or a tie for win.

Bompacho - Ethan Eternal

"Ethan sat at the bar, the stench of stale beer hung in the air." You do this in your opening line, and also quite a few times throughout the rest of the story. As it's written here, you are separating two independent clauses with a comma, which only works if it is a compound sentence ("but," "and," etc.). You can tackle this a few different ways, though the simplest is probably best: "Ethan sat at the bar. The stench of stale beer hung in the air." It's still a boring hook, but it's grammatically correct.

"Stan Cifer" is a really odd name. Once you tell us that his nickname is Lucky, I assumed you were going for a "Lucky Cifer = Lucifer" sort of thing, but that's way too on-the-nose.

The whole chain of events just feels really contrived. The bit with the crossword is cheesy, and Ethan just assuming right away that Lucky was Satan wasn't very believable.

You've got a conflict and and actual plot arc, which is more than some people can say, but your prose is kind of a mess. There are a lot of grammatical errors and clunky constructions, and the way the story unfolds just doesn't feel natural. I think you'd be able to tell a compelling story if you buckled down and focused on the basic elements of prose style.

Morning Bell - Gorelord in Love

Already love the title.

Your first few paragraphs are really strong. They've got a lot of energy and everything is easy to follow.

There are a couple minor proofreading errors: at least one missing comma after a bit of dialogue, "Some guys from Roadrunner Records is here," etc. The story starts to sag a bit in the middle, and all that momentum from the beginning gets lost in the shuffle. Still, you give us some decent characterization and show us the conflict.

"They talked and talked, turned time into an etch-a-sketch, shook it clean." This is a nice line.

The ending just kind of falls flat for me. The whole section with the record executive feels forced and a bit predictable, even if it leads up to a tender moment at the very end. I appreciate what you were going for with the juxtaposition of a mushy, loving death metal frontman, and it works in places, but there just isn't enough gas in the tank to sustain an entire story with it.

Killfast37 - Tapes

Opening is a little weak, though mentioning melatonin kind of saves it since it makes it clear that something is out of the ordinary.

You do a pretty good job of building characterization through dialogue in the first half. It feels natural and it lays out the situation without feeling like exposition, which can be tricky.

Well that certainly took an unexpected turn. I am glad you didn't go into a bunch of gory detail with the tape - not only because I wouldn't want to read it, but because keeping it vague lets the reader's imagination make it worse.

The reactions of the characters feel a bit hollow after the big reveal. Aside from vomiting, the protagonist comes across as more angry than devastated. "I have these urges" is pretty cliche and kind of weakens the tension of the scene. The resolution is obvious, but it works, and the ending is nice and understated and depressing.

A Classy Ghost - Feeling Blue

Perfect timing for a more upbeat story. Opening is strong, hooked me into reading more. Creative spin on the prompt.

The idea of some alien just portaling in to check out gyms is pretty funny. The plot is moving very quickly, which fits the tone, and it avoids saddling the story with a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with the central conflict. The characters are all likeable, and even though the characterization is pretty slim, there's just enough of it to make me invested in the protag's quest to find this alien babe.

"My face fell. After all these years, to be turned away in such a short time… I did not have the heart to plead. I activated the motorized pulley and let it drag me back through the gate.

“Sorry, I guess!” were the last words I heard from her." - This is a funny image.

The ending seems like it should have been predictable in hindsight, but I didn't see it coming, and it was a nice way to end the story without the piece's tone suddenly taking a dark turn. All of the judges had fun reading this.

Crits P.2 Coming Soon!

Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.
Thanks for the crit, GP!

May 7, 2007

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Some much-belated crits from last week, while I'm at it.

Week 141 Crits, P. 1
Thanks for the crit, I appreciate it.

Dec 19, 2007

I failed to make a wizard story so I'm going to atone by doing some indiscriminate line crits for new people until I can't stand it anymore

Here's one for Puzzle Pieces by The Shortest Path

edit: whoops, apparently that just said ~fart~ for a while. Hopefully I just fixed the link.

wigglin fucked around with this message at 20:13 on Apr 28, 2015

Apr 1, 2009
Hey newtestleper and Thyrork, thanks for the crits! Some really good points I hadn't considered.

Gonna have some random/not so random wizcrits up tonight or tomorrow, probably starting from the bottom because why not i just really like bottoms okay

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Killfast37 posted:

wow I guess I should have and I'm glad you noticed and wow did you really

Don't respond to crits in thread: responding by pm, irc or Fiction Advice are all fine.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014
I shall be critting this piece for the critique requirement this week. I am doing it in the manner of bolding my suggestions, as several other people in this thread have done, so that I can't be yelled out for doing something wrongly.

Chairchucker posted:

That Was a Pretty Wizard, Wasn’t It? 487 words

Wendy the Wizard Woodpecker perched on Leroy the Log. She cocked her head to one side, as if to say “Get a load of that dumb cat trying to stalk me.”

Leroy stoically made no discernible movement, as if to say “Yeah, cats sure are dumb.” Logs cannot think, and I think I will have a hard time liking this story with a thinking log [b/]

The cat slowly stalked forward, its tail sticking conspicuously I don't know this word. out of the underbrush like a periscope, except a way more noticeable one, and one without the ability to see at all. Wendy ignored it and went back to working on some really cool holes that she was making in Leroy. Leroy didn’t mind, it was all good, man. She could tell by his cool demeanour. The cat reached the failed attempt at a Miniature Hadron Collider that Wendy had attempted to fashion out of a stump last June. It didn’t collide Hadrons very well, but it seemed to serve a useful purpose anyway. I do not understand anything in this paragraph.

As the cat passed by the Miniature Hadron Collider, a piece of it (the Collider, not the cat) peeled back, scooping up the cat and flinging it back from whence it had come. Why is it doing this? Wendy bobbed her head and Leroy did nothing in laughter I am not familiar with the phrase 'nothing in laughter.' at how dumb the cat was.

Very dumb. That’s how. [b]That is how what? I think you forgot to finish this sentence.

After a few minutes, during which Wendy had made some really neat holes in Leroy – and Leroy now looked pretty fly for a whitewood log, let me tell you – they noticed the unmistakeable tail of the cat (the one that was super dumb) returning, albeit from a different route that did not go anywhere near the Miniature Hadron Collider.

Wendy bobbed her head like “This dumb cat is a glutton for punhttp://www.bankofamerica.comhttp://www.bankofamerica.comhttp://www.bankofamerica.comishment, eh?” and Leroy stayed still and looked fly like “I know, right?”

Wendy went back to making holes in Leroy, but, like, really cool ones, and almost before she realised it, the dumb cat’s dumb tail was right in front of her.

The cat pounced from the thick underbrush, teeth and claws all out, ready to do war, but its teeth and claws found air as Wendy flapped just out of reach. Before the cat finished its leap over the log, Wendy’s eyes narrowed and energy flowed from her beak to the cat’s body. The cat paused in midair, seeming to swell just a little bit, and then split into, like, a billion pieces, which rained down around them, some of them landing on Leroy, although Wendy managed to dodge them all.

“Gross, dude,” Leroy’s complete lack of movement seehttp://www.bankofamerica.comhttp://www.bankofamerica.comhttp://www.bankofamerica.comgoogle.combank of america website is down?http://www.bankofamerica.commed to say.

“Sorry, that’s my bad,” flapped Wendy. “I really meant to just leave that dumb cat in midair or something, but whatevs, this works too.”

And then Wendy returned to pecking cool holes in Leroy, and Leroy went back to looking cool. And the dumb cat eventually decomposed and went into the ground as nutrients for Leroy, so it all worked out all right, really.

To be honest I do not get this story. Thankfully it was very short, and enabled me to qualify for this week without too much extra effort, as I think it is unfair to impose additional restrictions on us after we have already submitted a story. That is a bait and switch and it is illegal. Thank you.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

I respect your dedication, but the troll gimmick is getting pretty boring by now.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


Why won't they stop? When does it end? Augh I'm so tired of them! (Also, crits.)

Jagermonster posted:

Of a Feather
I'm about halfway in and the broad strokes are palatable (though bland!), but the little details keep tripping me up. Soldier thugs go to some poor old wizard's house, which at first I assume is isolated, and kick down his door for tithe even though he clearly has nothing. First, that's a terribly trite plot device. Second, it doesn't make sense. If you're trying to collect tithe, you do it from people you think have money. What does a king care about taking 1% of the income of someone who basically makes no money? I'm sure those (jack-?)booted thugs aren't free, so I'd expect them leaving with one rusty pink trinket is actually a net loss for the king's coffers. Ten minutes times five people plus travel <= ping think? Probably not. Why are the soldiers even satisfied with that little loot? Who gets to hold their singular spoil?

I assume you were going for done-to-death dialogue on purpose, but it's still been done-to-death. And I can't buy the soldiers goin' around bein' jerks of that scale just to be jerks. You're laying the evil-for-the-sake-of-evil on far too heavy for me to skim past it. I do like the constantly trying to be helpful but sometimes misguided birds; that's a cute touch. What's a bare muddy knoll doing so close to the king's square? He can't even have pavement across a hundred yard radius of his stronghold? I assume you were going for natural imagery but this detail doesn't pass the draw-it-out test. Birds can't hold that much poop in them; that's why the flop so often. You're very much Telling Trutlag's emotional state instead of Showing it. "This was not what he wanted, he told himself." Bad! "His jaw dropped in dismay." Less-bad.

While I'm glad you took a turn for the macabre, it's still bizarre macabre and none of the actions really make sense. Other than the umbrella-boy, I have a hard time believing that what you wrote is how any of the characters would act in any of those situations. The whole thing's a charicature, except the people weren't intended as parodies. The concept of your progression (subverted town erupts into violent chaos) is fine, but its execution is poor (everything's Leave it to Beaver peachy then modern cowboy comedy saloon brawl bad except legitimately violent).

Careful; I almost read your prompt as part of the story, and that would've put you over the word count (I assume; I'm deliberately skipping the prompts on this one since I don't care how well they were followed). Having said that, your character's first bit of monologue is rather confusing. Oh, I guess maybe it's dialogue. Nope, monologue. Why does the officer have a gun trained on what seemed to be a spraypainter? I guess some of us are kind of living in those times but we'd still like to protend that firearms are only drawn when the situation is already life-or-death.

Why is the protagonist forcing out all of this exposition? Who is he even supposed to be talking to? He can't be talking to me; he doesn't know I exist. Even if he did, he ought to be able to tell, from my facial expressions and body language, that I don't want to hear it. Where'd this second boy-man come from?

I'm seriously not tracking well. Some of it may be story fatigue, but this is only my second one of the morning, so I think some of it is your disjoint presentation of ideas, unheralded appearance of characters, massive amounts of exposition, and in general lack of anything for me to ground myself to (or want to attach to). The banter fails to be witty; maybe it would work if I liked either of the characters, but I don't. They're jerks and I can't relate with them (not a wizard nor a spraypainter nor a habitual monologuer), and the quips are predictable.

The first interesting interaction comes from the paladin's partial belief that the grafiti was a compulsion or a hobby -- that I can wrap my head around, and that makes sense for him to think given what he's observed. Most of the things spewing out of the protagonist don't make sense given whatever the context even is. rear end pain can be terrific, but it's rarely terrifying.

There are tiny redeeming qualities at the end, but they don't make it worth the ride. The action writing was certainly better than the other writing, though I still have quibbles with it. The twist is acceptable -- it makes sense without being surprising nor telegraphed. I'd only just recently learned your wizard could change memories by the policeman comment -- I thought the opening scene was some kind of time dialation. And referencing T-shirts and tattoos again brings closure. But there was too much to not like in this piece; I didn't care for any of the characters.

Cache Cab posted:

Cities Fall Yet Rivers Still Flow
Minor stumble -- I thought Rivers, the plural of river, hung upside-down. I'm not going to comment on the proofreading errors, but it looks like you were in a hurry. One has to be a bit careful when phoneticising unusual dialects. It's okay to add some flavor, but slather it on too heavy and it becomes hard to read, even if it is hard to understand. Writers generally take some liberties with painful to read things, even if they're realistic. If a character is locked in a cell for a hundred days, you won't hear about him waking up a hundred times, eating gruel a hundred times, or going to bed a hundred times. For the sake of keeping us around, we readers get to hear just the highlights. Th' slang be'hap how're 'magin' they're talkin', but it quickly becomes uncomfortable to read. Striking a balance can be tricky; I've seen some authors explicitly state (without breaking the fourth wall) that they're toning down their representations of the typography though the characters in question still speak that way.

Now I feel like the backwater speech habits of the antagonists are bleeding into the prose. You use "real" as an adverb more than once, and say Rivers is going to get "ate". Perhaps Rivers is also unsophisticated, but I didn't get that impression (perhaps because one generally assumes contrast between protagonist and antagonist, especially when the antagonists are exaggerated). And how are they coughing up, repeatedly, thousands of bugs yet not freaking out?

What purpose is served by having the narrative voice be uncultured as well? Standard narrators are third person omniscient non-entities, which means that their voice is authoritative and unobtrusive. You've got mannerisms in the voice of your prose, which implies that it's attached to some character, except that it doesn't appear to be attached to any of the existing characters. There's a lot of exposition at the end and although there is a little tension leading up to the climax, you glaze over a lot of things you could've left unmentioned but instead I feel like there were other significant challenges that are just being waved away.

Here's what worked about the story, which wasn't much: I liked the aspect of miscommunication. Wiz and gently caress being appropriate things for the protagonist to say, and understandable how they'd be misinterpreted, and then tension and conflict is created for entirely believable reasons (people miscommunicate all the time, so it's easy to relate to). But your attempts at evoking disgust feel juvenile -- thrown in there just to be disgusting.

Disgust can be a powerful emotion to explore. Why are we culturally or biologically averse to some situation? Are we being bigoted, or do these reactions serve a purpose? Should we swallow our disgust for admirable reasons, or is our contempt well-founded? There's also no contrast to give the disgust potency -- everything's gross and nobody minds.

Okay hook, but a little rough on the execution. You'd get more power from "I ducked, but a couple grazed my cheek and drew blood." "Shining through the open space" also removes immediacy by adding words that don't help too much; I by default assume that the character was inside (since the door busted open), there wasn't sunlight inside (he was inside), and if their bronze armor is gleaming in the sunlight then that light must be coming from outside. Though I'm surprised at how well I identify with and empathize with your protagonist in just a few short lines -- nobody likes being intruded upon.

It's been said before and by people with a better grasp of grammar, but generally avoid -ing verbs and end 'em with -ed. "I began, but then I saw crossbows and was moving, ducking behind my desk" -> "... and moved, ducking behind my desk" (-> "and ducked behind my desk"). I like that the protagonist is in trouble and therefore the only recourse is to shoot his way out; that's probably the kind of thinking that got him in trouble in the first place. I don't like your magical naming conventions, though.

Most of your action is handled decently. There's a sense of urgency, believability in the protagonist's responses, and not too many was -ing pairs ("were converging" is appropriate, since it was an ongoing action at the time of writing that wouldn't complete until some future point). Your line explaining why he's out of shape meandered a little too much.

The ending's a bit of a letdown. Protagonist escapes immediate danger but not much has been resolved, and he doesn't grow as a character. Also, was he the only person who had discovered clones? According to my interpretation of the rules of the world, it shouldn't be that surprising that clones would attempt to clone themselves. Or be so well organized as to escape notice for so long and orchestrate clone-cloning and then all turn on their master at once.

Broenheim posted:

A Brat’s Request
A first paragraph typo takes away from an otherwise decently-established mood. Why does a fire elemental (I like that she's playful) care that the rabbit is missing an ear? Wouldn't her flaming claws require or ensure that it's dead? I'm enjoying the commonplace relationship drama wrapped in the importance of saving some village. It's refreshing. "Brightened blue" doesn't read well to me.

Gettin' a bit heavy with the typographical errors. The fastest horses make the best glue, eh? The chain-of-favors plot quickly grows wearisome. I've done that too much in video games, and I didn't like it then, either. Your attempts at silliness wear thin.

Just like how I hate most everything that gets categorized as a "Western" RPG these days because that means a bunch of pointless plots instead of one potentially significant one, your piece loses its way with a bunch of tiny interactions that I don't care about as much at the cost of not being able to develop the one I do care about.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi posted:

The Square Root of 13
Heh. You do a good job at utilizing shared assumptions to imply past events. There used to be some floor 13, I know wizards are likely involved, and now I've got an idea of what has happened. The peon mistaking something specific (numeral signs) for something more commonplace (sadly but amusingly hashtags) is a nice touch. Breaks down again into hysterics is a bit much for me to swallow -- he was talking fine up until that point, even casually enough to dismiss a correction with a whatever. His tone/voice don't match that of someone in and out of hysterics. Also this may be the first piece where the first person present tense isn't distracting.

Though it's exposition, I rather enjoyed the bit explaining the passcode. I didn't know the majority of those details, and it makes perfect sense in the context of the story for the narrator to be thinking about them. Perhaps even as his mnemonic for remembering them. You've got some spelling / typo errors, though. The bad math is an amusing touch as well.

I'm not at all mathematically bothered by the concept of the square root of thirteen. One can approximate it to arbitrary precision with a Taylor series, and now that I double-check that, a ton of other ways as well. Now what really gets me pissed off is Euler's Identity. e to the quantity i times pi, plus one equals zero? What the crap is this, magic? Crazy nonrepeating number raised to the power of the most irrational number we know, TIMES A NUMBER THAT DOESN"T EVEN EXIST, plus the multiplicative identity, and you get the additive identity? NOT IN MY HOUSE. I'm going to take a breather. (But find something better to upset your wizard.)

At first I thought the flying numbers were hokey, but then the protagonist explained why the 5s were the worst, and because it was real to him it then worked for me. The wrap-up is nice, as well. You said early on exactly what should happen, but I forgot about it (still angry at Euler to be honest), so when it happened it was both a surprise but not unexpected. The banter was all right; actually a lot of the little details were good, but there were some rough spots and the overall piece wasn't the most evocative, memorable, or thought-provoking. A decent stab with some rough edges.

Benny Profane posted:

Mo Wizards Mo Problems
I dig the title. Zoned out more than once trying to read past the Wizardly Descriptive Titles of Little Relevance. Also there's too much exposition in the opening to grab my attention. You've set some wistful tone, but I would've been in a better mood if you'd just started your story with "Tonight is the night..". That's the first line that gets my attention. Too many adjectives in the next paragraph.

The song names are amusing, and the first few times you Told a character's emotional state with auras, it was clever. But now it just grates. There's some conflict in this story, but no resolution. Things escalate, then things stop. I wasn't terribly connected with the characters, what did they do that I should empathize with other than be humans who had a fiery break-up? The humor was briefly okay, but would've been better as a single-panel comic showing a wizard DJ picking through his set list. Drawing it out over however long it took me to read it did your piece no favors.

Killfast37 posted:

Perceive and Deceive
I'm with you until "Her copper eyes ablaze searing into my soul." I don't care for that line. I am curious what she's on the lam from. It's a little uncomfortable how desperate the protagonist is for lady-touch. I like the tension established by the paralysis magic then diffused on something trivial: discussing the tip. A few minor typographical errors. Ah, a heist.

All right, she's tryin' to double cross him, but why's he still so affected? Most of the big details were blase, but the specifics of the trance inductions were of interest, as were the descriptions of the morphing coin and the way, which was pleasantly not entirely clear, that the protagonist used quarters for magic. But there was very little that stood out (plot, characters, prose, creativity), and the ending was more of an implied continuation than a satisfying conclusion.

Benny the Snake posted:

La Voz Silenciada
A shower of donations is a bit unexpected for a busker. A man approaching the front of a crowd is generally going to come from behind those who must part for him, so visual characteristics rarely come into play. "Said exhaustedly" is no better than "sighed". Which is only okay in moderation. Some technical errors ("Dodger's" is probably not what you meant). Why would the cop call for backup against a familiar and seemingly nonviolent busker? The reactions of the crowd, ensorceled or not, are exaggerated to the point of uncomfortability. Don't say "to further charm the crowd" when you didn't need to say he was charming them in the first place; you were doing a bit of Showing, forced as it felt.

I must admit I glazed over the lyrics a bit. They didn't seem important, and oh am I tired of reading these. The stylistic punctuation doesn't help -- it communicates a feel, but it impedes easy reading, and right now easy is the only kind of reading I can handle. Heh, John. I did that, too. The way you've worded it, Pablo should be saying "I'm sorry Pablo", but I assume you meant Juan.

A little bit of repetition is good for a sense of coming full circle, but your too much of it was bland to reread. There are a handful of logistics that I don't think make sense but I don't want to untangle -- the officer always calls for backup, so shouldn't they be immune to the spell? Did they just show up there this time? I feel slightly for Pablo at the end, but not Juan -- he wanted to do something he was warned against and then the thing he was warned against happened and also he felt flat. All of the characters were fairly two-dimensional; Pablo grows a little in a slightly sad way that was the impact of your ending, but that was it as far as change.

Djeser posted:

Sif the Strong
I'd read it better as "All she wanted was to not be noticed." As in, right then she has an active want for that particular situation, although she may also have that more general want. A decent burst of action, but I'm having trouble visualizing the layout such that Sif wouldn't've seen someone else's fleeing example to follow. It does serve as a good way of establishing your conflict, or at least creating tension, now that she's isolated and advanced-upon. The accidental magic is both well executed and well described -- I feel like it was an accident, and I feel like Sif was surprised by it too. Great way of revealing the limits of the magic. Minor tense error that's particularly painful at the crux of an action sequence I'm actually enjoying.

Nice beard detail. Tender, touching. I'm impressed that in this piece, all of the characters felt like they had motivations, and behaved in a reasonable fashion. Even a crowd of enemy warriors, and it's hard to make a crowd real without relegating some of its members to cardboard. This piece does many things right and few things wrong and I'd do myself a favor (that sadly I'm not going to do right now) to study it better. You engender empathy, compassion, tension, a little bit of wonder, and a thrilling discovery all in few words.

dmboogie posted:

The Fast and the Bearded
Interesting that you're openly acknowledging the wizardry. Why would the boss expect her to perform any other way if he knows she magics it? Also some typos already. Acceptable description of magical mechanisms. I'm a little concerned that she refers to him as proper-noun Boss and that he's not just in charge of the mechanics. Okay, good, racing. "previous quiet dull roar" too many adjectives. "the one driving" feels a little awkward and distant.

This could benefit from a line crit, as many of the phrases feel just a little bit off to me. But there's some heart in this piece, and I like that. A little bit of fun between wizards. The briefly repeated sentiments at the end are enjoyable.

This piece is rough around the edges, but I liked it. You've got a pleasing relationship between Merle and Boss, and in general the sense of camaraderie comes across. The prose could use some work, but your heart's in the right place, and a lot of the smaller stuff comes with practice.

Apr 22, 2008

Thanks for the crits so far!

Here's a crit of Brohiem's story. I think I owe him some critting since he critted my slop from weeks ago. Sorry about that man!

I'll work on some more later!

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Cache Cab posted:

I shall be critting this piece for the critique requirement this week. I am doing it in the manner of bolding my suggestions, as several other people in this thread have done, so that I can't be yelled out for doing something wrongly.

To be honest I do not get this story. Thankfully it was very short, and enabled me to qualify for this week without too much extra effort, as I think it is unfair to impose additional restrictions on us after we have already submitted a story. That is a bait and switch and it is illegal. Thank you.




solid gold hilarity

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

Omi no Kami posted:

The Nightly Portents
1,245 words

Oof, this was a bit of a mess. You're trying to go for an archaic tone, but it's just coming off over-the top for the most part. In fact, several turns of phrase read like you didn't actually know them before you started this story, but looked them up in order to plump up the Wizardtalk. I could be totally off-base with that, but that's certainly how it comes off. If nothing else you have some extremely awkward turns of phrase that won't endear you to anyone.

I see that this is your first Thunderdome, so let's take a minute to talk about stories. I've had plenty of trouble with this myself, so I think that it's important to keep in mind as you (hopefully!) continue to 'Dome. Stories should have a conflict at their center, characters should develop over the course of your narrative, and things should be different at the end of the story as they were at the beginning. Unfortunately, none of this happens in what you've written. You have a lot of interesting details and description of what's going on in your world, and you have some funny stuff that's happening from beginning to end (albeit most of it in a "it's just like our world only maaaaaaaaaagic!!!" way), but I don't really get a sense of anything that happens during what you've written really having any meaningful impact on the lives of your characters. You've taken the prompt as a setup to a joke, and then used your 1300 words to build up (agonizingly slowly) to a punchline that's... Honestly a little underwhelming, given all of the preamble.

As far as technical stuff goes, I was a little confused as to who our perspective was supposed to be following in this. You start out with Larry (who doesn't even get a name until 800 words in), but spend most of your time with the producer (who didn't get a name at all :( ). It made the narrative hard to follow, and the lack of names did not particularly endear anyone to me.

Which reminds me: your characters were pretty lacking. There were actually a few interesting tidbits about the producer (why doesn't she have any of the particular affectations that the rest of the people (wizards?) in the TV station (or whatever) do? She seems observant, and certainly more interesting than Larry; I'd love to know more about her. I'd also like to know more about Larry, since he reads as a paper cut-out labeled "WIZARD PUA" in purple crayon. You can't always develop every character completely in flash fiction, but you should probably aim for at least ONE.

Anyway, I didn't hate this, and I hope that you continue writing. For the most part, I think that you just need to put a little more thought into plot and structure, since this is only really a vignette at best. There have been some really excellent posts on how to structure a basic story arc that I can't be assed to find at the moment, but I'd read the first page or so and see if what's there. I know E. Beef had some pretty great advice posts in the last thread, too, if you can pick through all of the vitriol and bile, and there have been plenty of others that I'm neglecting to mention because I have grades due tonight and I'm a piece of poo poo reasons.

Yaaaay, crits! I'll try to do some more soon!

May 7, 2005


Cache Cab posted:

I shall be critting this piece for the critique requirement this week. I am doing it in the manner of bolding my suggestions, as several other people in this thread have done, so that I can't be yelled out for doing something wrongly.

To be honest I do not get this story. Thankfully it was very short, and enabled me to qualify for this week without too much extra effort, as I think it is unfair to impose additional restrictions on us after we have already submitted a story. That is a bait and switch and it is illegal. Thank you.

I think something in your post messed up because you ended up writing, "http://www.bankofamerica.comhttp://www.bankofamerica.com" over and over again in some places. You might want to go back and redo/edit it. It's important to edit and look over your posts, even crits.

Thanks for the crit, Hammy Brah.

Feb 25, 2014
thanks for the crits Hammer Bro. and Jay O and a real big thanks to Killer-of-Lawyers for the out of the blue line-by-line, it's all greatly appreciated

Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW
holy poo poo broen your new avatar :swoon:

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005

Very much appreciate the crit, Hammer Bro.

Jul 16, 2014

by Ralp

Cheers matey, I'm sensing a theme.

PS. I am madly resfreshing CC every 5 minutes.

thehomemaster fucked around with this message at 01:52 on Apr 29, 2015

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Holy gently caress, stop what you're doing. Go to the store. Get some wine, a nice cheese. Some crusty bread, maybe the kind with olives in it. What I'm saying is, you're going to want to settle in for a novel of a post because

:siren: :siren: :siren: WIZARD JUDGEMENT IS UPON YE :siren: :siren: :siren:

This was officially a record-setting week in every category but failures. All told, 61 entries came in. I've read them all. I know whose soul will be writ ever after in the Book of Not-Abject-poo poo, and who will be cast into the maw of poop-tinted oblivion. The wizard council, in its meta-infinite wisdom, now finds it meet to reveal this knowledge to you, the cowering masses.

Lets start with the bad news. Your Dishonorable Mentions. These are stories that were in consideration for the loss, or were just not great wizardy fun for the judges to read. Now, remember, just because you DM (or even lose), doesn't mean you should quit and never come back. We love our losers. We want them to become winners. If you find yourself listed in this unhappy section of the results post, consider this your personalized invitation to keep 'doming. Trying and trying again, that's the real victory. Because the trying becomes practice. The practice becomes a habit. The habit becomes quality words.

Your DMs this week are:

Agent Cooper - Tulpas for the One Percent, for a story that made the judges feel both grossed out and disinterested at the same time.
Skwidmonster - When He Sleeps, for a vignette that made me feel confused and creeped out even though it was explicitly stated that nothing creepy happened. Part of the I-Have-No-Idea-What-Happened squad.
Omi no Kami - The Nightly Portents wut up I-Have-No-Idea-What-Happened squad member #2

Special DMs go to:

Cache Cab - Cities Fall Yet Rivers Still Flow As if reading about loving waifu tulpas wasn't enough, you took something that could have been tolerable and pushed it into the realm of clumsily unnecessary. I don't know if you're a gimmick or a troll, but I spent time reading your offensive and disgusting story so that qualifies your nuts for the chopping block.
Chairchucker - That Was a Pretty Wizard, Wasn't It? If I have to DM Cache Cab for a poorly done/under-developed gimmick, I have to do you too, Chairchucker. Sorry. Your whole thing is being chill and lol, and while I did have a minor chuckle at one point, the judges didn't think this lived up to your sense of humor.

Your loser this week is the captain of the I-Have-No-Idea-What-Happened squad. This entry make judges confuse and anger like Hulk. CancerCakes! Come on down to be fitted for your shiny, special edition losertar. The judges were just plum perplexed by what/why/how while reading your piece.

That wasn't so bad, was it? The worst is over, and we all lived to fight another day.

Your Honorable Mentions this week took some narrowing down. You should all feel very proud, even if you didn't make it onto this list. There were more candidates for HMs than DMs!

Your HMs are:

Kaishai - Epitaphs, for a fun, touching piece whose ending was just a drop too sweet for the judges.
Twist - Diau haunting and poetic, and you mostly held the plot together in spite of the dreamy imagery.
A Classy Ghost - A Gift for Amy for an ending that let the judges feel semi-human again, just for a moment, and pro-level wizardness.
Bompacho - Colours and Councils. You lost points for kinda purple prose, but the setting and final battle tickled the judges' fantasy bones.
Claven666 - Old Lady Carbuncle for a well-written, earthy tale with a little humor. COMPETENT NEWB SQUAD ACTIVATE.
Pham Newen - Chance Man for a clean, tight story. I see you are also a member of the competent newb squad, gj.
Something Else - Seeds on the Wind for awesome use of conversational 2nd person POV and a really loving cool, creepy wizard.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. The battle-hardened, blood-spattered, magic-mongering :siren: :eyepop: winner of Wizard Week :eyepop: :siren: is:

DR. KLOCTOPUSSY with The Bone Loom. All the judges agreed, this was really moving and visceral and haunting. I still itch every time I think about certain scenes. You are a sick but oddly emotionally perceptive lady.

Doctor, the blood throne is yours. My crits will be up shortly. ALL OF THEM. AAALLLLL OOOOOFFFF THEEEEEEMMM :smith:

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 03:04 on Apr 29, 2015

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
:siren: :siren: THUNDERDOME WEEK 143: Smells Like Dome Spirit :siren: :siren:

Inspiration: This week, take time to stop and smell the roses. Or at least imagine how they smell. Or just read about how they might smell if they were combined with a bunch of other scents by a weird goth lady in her basement. Go on over to a fun indie perfumery. Pick one of their many scents. You will see that included in the description of nearly all their scents is a myth, or a poem, or an entire Thunderdome story. Find inspiration within the scent of your choice. Its name, description, what the scents themselves conjure up in your mind. I don't care. I'm sure as gently caress not going to read the description of your scent when I read your story.

You don't have to tell us what your scent is. You can change your scent as many times as you like and as late in the week as you like. Don't post about it if you do (no one cares), just do it. More than one person can use the same scent. If you can't decide, as always, I will assign you one. You must ask by the sign up deadline, though.

Don't post the name of your scent in your story post (I mean, you can use the name of the scent in your story, or as the title, or whatever, but don't write like "My scent was XXXX, here is my story."

Guidance: A common bit of writing advice is "get into your character's head." Well, this week I want you to get into their body. This week's theme is "writing with all 5 senses." Too often, description is limited to sights. Occasionally a sound. Build the texture of your story by immersing yourself in the environment. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures. Put yourself there, feel it all, then put it in your writing. In judging, I will take into consideration how effectively you have done this. Not how many senses include. Not how well you describe the immaculate scent of lavender on a summer's day. I know what lavender smells like. This isn't a contest on who can describe poo poo the best (hint: it's lovely).


Complete. Independent. Story.
Goals. Motivation. Conflict.
Characters. Plot. Setting.

Thinking about how characters would experience their world in all five senses is intended to benefit you, the writer. As people, we experience the world with all 5 senses all the time, though we often ignore the information. How can you use this information to enrich your story? How can it help bring your characters or setting alive? It should add to the story, not take over it. I'm not looking for stories that are about experiencing sensations. The story probably be about something else. But I want to see the benefits of immersing yourself in sensation. In my opinion, the most effective way to do this is to have your story mapped out, possibly even a first draft written, then go through it, be in it, and find the details that bring it alive. Details that matter.

For example, I have a bad habit of letting vegetables go bad in my fridge. And I feel really guilty about it and hate myself for not doing something I meant to do (cook and eat the vegetables). If you were writing a story about me feeling guilty about not doing something I really should have done, and cared about, maybe you would write a little foreshadowing scene at the beginning where I open the fridge and hate myself. A good way this could work is if, hypothetically, I was an alcoholic, and drinking is what kept me from doing something really important, so at the beginning, you would show me opening the fridge to get another beer. Let me tell you that half-spoiled cabbage has a very distinct smell, and that smell alone makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Sometimes I avoid opening the fridge just to avoid that smell -- and then I cook even less. It's a terrible circle of guilt. So that would be a good detail. A story that was just about how that smell makes me feel, not so good.

1) No synesthesia. Be wary of writing about hallucinogens, too.
3) No Fan Fiction! Many of the scents on BPAL are like the perfume version of Fan Fiction. You can pick any of those, it's totally fine. You can not write fan fiction. You can pick a Fraggle Rock scent. Do not write Fraggle Rock fan fiction. Even if it is not "pop culture," if it was created by someone else, writing in their world or with their characters counts as Fan Fiction. Do not write Alice in Wonderland fan fiction. Some of the Neil Gaiman stuff has archetypes like "Death." Writing about the archetype Death is okay. Writing about Neil Gaiman's goth girl Death, or anything that I think looks sufficiently like her, is NOT okay. If in doubt, write something more original.

Boring but Important:
Sign up: Friday, May 1, 23:59 PST
Submit: Sunday, May 3, 23:59 PST
Max Word Count: 1,250
Judges: DrK, Muffin, Grizzled Patriarch

Smelly Dudes:
Wangless Wonder - :toxx: to submit at least 12 hours before the prompt is due.
Blue Wher
Sundance Shot :toxxx:
Ravenkult :toxx:
Broenheim :toxx:
spectres of autism
Sitting Here
Something Else
big perm
Screaming Idiot
Screaming Idiot
A Classy Ghost
Pete Zah :toxx:

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 03:02 on May 2, 2015

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:55 on Oct 27, 2015

Apr 22, 2008


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

:siren: :siren: PROMPT: Smells Like Dome SPirit

Dome spirits? So anything over 80 proof?

edit: Who am I kidding, I'm in for this, no matter what it is. Gonna write something about alcohol though till it gets clarified, because whatever.

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 03:33 on Apr 29, 2015

Aug 2, 2002




I judged these anonymously, so I had no idea who was who, although for one I did guess correctly. If you don't like what I have to say about your story, then write better next time. I have no interest in reading your response to a crit, so if you don't like something I said, suck it up and hit a pillow if your little angry heart can't bear it. Generally, the less I say about your story, the better.

Overall problems with this week were LACK OF loving MOTIVATION. Like, half these stories have a person doing stuff for... .reasons? that's not a story. A story has a character with a loving goal. The goal should be readily apparently from the first few paragraphs. IF YOU HAVE TO SAY "WIZARD MAN REALLY NEEDED TO GET HIS NUT ON" that's still better than NOT HAVING A PLOT AT ALL. Obviously the better you are writing, the more subtle you can be at stating your plot, so for examples go see the HMs this week. Read DrK's story in particular. She never said "THE LADY NEEDED TO FIND A WAY TO STOP KIDS FROM DYING!" but that was the goal and it was clear what she was working towards. So many of you failed at this simple loving task, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Crits 1-10

1. Wesley the Wizard
So I’m assuming the end is that the friend told Janice how to get the wizard to notice her. Only I thought the power was just *notice*, not actually make them attracted to them. So i’m a bit confused on that front. Reading this was easy and fun, and I’m anon judging but then I remembered that systran posted early and this is most definitely systran’s because it’s told through the eyes of a socially-awkward tween, which seems to be a favorite of yours. This story has all the elements of a story, but the ending isn’t very satisfying. He doesn’t get what he wants, really, and gets tricked by his own poo poo. Only his arrogance wasn’t as much a part of the story as his awkwardness, so having him get hit with his own medicine isn’t really satisfying, more of just kind of sad. This is probably going to rank somewhere up near middle upper. Good, but just kind of plain. Feels like a small part of a larger work meant for middle schoolers. Like “Diary of wimpy kid” for wizards.

2. Three Dimensions, More or Less
This is another story that feels like it is written for a younger audience. The setting (school) the wording (hot date), and the examples of failures all conjure up a much younger mindset. Then he casually reveals that he’s at least 80, and it’s a bit surprising, and I don’t feel like it adds anything to the character. The whole story has this casual, friendly tone that feels like the narrator is telling me this story personally. While that can be effective, it also removes me from the story and makes me feel like an outsider. This story is like, all backstory. There’s no real conflict besides “you shouldn’t get papercuts,” but even that is a weak one. The papercut isn’t set up as a thing to be avoided so much as it’s a minor nuisance that happens all the time. Ok, so the twist is that I’m the fake friend he folded and I’m in 2d? It’s a weak twist, and though I now get the reasoning behind the narrator’s voice, I don’t think it works well with this “plot.” The whole story is actually in the last paragraph, and everything else is world building. Restructure this whole thing to show more about how the wizard is lonely, but is happy now that he has a friend, and then really make the reader happy that this guy met a friend, and then sad that he “lost” his friend or his friend cannot be interacted with, and then finally reveal that you are his friend in 2d. Also, work on your punctuation, because you are missing a shitload of commas.

3. Nine Wolves
You do that thing where you don’t want to say a person’s name, so instead you just throw out adjectives, and each time I have to stop and think “who is talking here?” So when you say “the thrall” I have to think, “wait, who was a slave? is it the girl? I guess?” Just go ahead and give them either a name or a constant nickname that you refer to them as so I can know wtf is going on without having to think too hard. Your opening dialogue is confusing because I don’t know what is going on and I don’t know the characters well enough to establish their voice. The ordering of “kill him bed him” makes this story seem gross. Don’t use “were now” in a past-tense story, as you just switched into present tense. “she immediately felt weak.” show don’t tell. “The unearthed her head” typo. They unearthed her head to check she was dead, and then put a sword through her heart? That doesn’t make any sense. A: if you just made sure she was dead, why do it again? And B: with only her head unburied, how does he know he hit her heart? Pick one and lose the other.”Svartr held his arms out and said nothing.” I don’t know what this is supposed to look like? The first steps of the macarena? That’s weird. “The chieftain thought for a while. Then he turned and walked away.” This is incredibly boring. If you’re going to have plot points dependent on a dude sitting and thinking, at least have the other char sweat or something while it happens. “The men were back the next day.” back where? “This was unexpected.” by who? You are leaving me to assume a lot because you aren’t just telling me. This is lovely story telling. “planed” typo. “He put his sword to Svartr’s neck, as his men disarmed him.” Awkward, because it reads like Svatr’s own men disarm him. “There were eight men, and the earl made nine.” he is not a man? “followed him at his own pace” pronoun problems.
Overall this story is bad and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The conflict seems to be that a girl has murdered somebody, and doesn’t want to be punished for it. You weave some confusing backstory about slaves and taxes, but nothing enough to actually unravel what happened. Classic case of knowing in your head what happened, but not telling your reader know. Anyway, this story meanders all over the place without real direction, and stuff happens for the sake of happening. Why wolves? Why did the dude want them to go to war and die? None of this is explained or makes any sense. Your writing mechanics are also clunky and at times just wrong. You need a lot more practice; welcome to the dome. I’m assuming you’re a brand new writer. Oh also your wizard wasn’t a wizard and your assigned power didn’t seem to come into play at all? You wrote a mess about a vaguely magical guy that wasn’t even really effective. DM

4. Joy
Boring rear end title. “ I can feel the coolness through the heat of the water” I don’t understand what this means other than it reads like ~*look how literary and poetic I am!*~ “courses through my veins” is a cliche. This story is very slow, and I’m having a hard time finishing it. I just stopped to stare at my lizard for a while, because even though he is doing nothing it was still more entertaining than this. Dunno how i feel about words being “worn by use,” because that just makes me feel like she’s just slurring words together. “Two months later, walking to the bus stop, saw her.” dunno if this is a typo or a style choice, but either way, don’t like it. So the main char in this story is the wizard, but he doesn’t have any motivation/conflict? The conflict is the woman’s and it’s “should i be happy with a spell, or keep my loser boyfriend?” But because the wizard’s the POV char, we don’t really care what she chooses. nothing she does will change what our wizard thinks/feels. He’s kind of set on the course from the moment the story starts. does he do a spell, or just wait another session? not really big odds there. Then the end feels tacked on and pointless. Furthermore, this story suffers from basically making fun of fat people and being overly preachy. It reads like “I have REAL joy all figured out, you know, people have to work for it, but they want the easy way out. hmph.” It reads like a person ranting against pharmaceuticals, and is a perfect allegory of the argument “people need to just snap out their depression.” In the end, there really isn’t much meat to this story, and the wizard feels like a symbol of something else more than a real wizard.

5. Colours and Councils
British person alert. Opening line: the ocean and clouds are decorating the sunset? this needs some editing for clarity. “pass a gift onto the young lovers” wait, so he’s gonna give them his powers? or is he just giving them a gift? “ensconced within gargantuan walls constructed from a beautiful intertwining of alabaster” this so purple it pretty much ultraviolet. I can’t read your char’s name as anything other than “ryan craft.” Anyway, you’re giving me a lot of detail that seems pointless. Why do I care about the glass tunnel and the tents and the guys making diamonds explode? What are your trying to do here? Right now it all seems frivolous. “benevolent light” is a dumb phrase. This got better by the end, like you hit your stride and really knew what you were working toward, dropping some of the “i need to sound sophisticated” airs of the first half and just describing what you wanted me to see. This is good. You should go back and edit the first half to read like this. Overall, this story is decent, and I like several things about it such as a NBD gay couple, the locale, and the magic battle at the end. Things to work on are punctuation, clarity, and focusing on the story you want to tell, and not adding a bunch of other poo poo in just because.

6. The Rules of Return
I feel like the beginning of this story is just saying the same thing over and over and over. I got it. Ok. Now I don’t. To be honest, this almost all dialogue story is not very fun to read. I’m not sure wtf the wizard did, and I don’t want to spend the time figuring it out because i have maybe 70 stories to read. I get that she can see strings of conflict/love between people, and that she ironed out the kid’s to make him less angry, but then all of a sudden he’s more angry and threatening her and then his mom comes and she has a love string and all is well? bleh. Spend less time ramming the beginning down my throat, and explain what’s happening a bit more in depth. There’s a difference between being subtle and being coy with your plot.

7. A Distant Hand
This thing is chock full of tense shifts. Like, there are a billion of them. I have no idea if this is supposed to be present tense or past. “You still have not relayed my news!” wait, what news? I looked back over the story several times, and I don’t know what he’s referring to. Overall this is a decent story with an OK plot. But at the end of the day, what does the wizard get out of this transaction? The pilot would get over her hubby’s death, and still be there. Maybe you had a whole other chapter that is missing or something? Basically, you don’t really establish the relationship between the two. You s pend way too much time on OH MAH HANDS ARE MAGIC BUT SOMETIMES FAIL when you should have been showing me the natural friendly relationship that built up between the two over multiple visits. Then threaten her with leaving because she has to be with husband or something. There’s no real growth or motivation for the wizard. Does he lose anything by giving the lady the ring? Fix this up, and it could be a fun piece.

8. Chance Man
I’m down with this story. Writing was good enough that I didn’t notice any errors, and I was able to read through in a single sitting, which is a big compliment coming from me. I like that you had good backstory, believable motivations/plot, and an interesting setting. The only thing I could suggest improving is how has the world changed now that this guy has almost died. it seems kind of like nothing is different, and he’ll just go back to his life with a weird story. You should come up with something about he had never feared death, but now he is more cautious, or anything like that to show a bit of growth/change. Good job. Possible HM

9. Sequelae
“He groped blindly around his pillows until his fingers brushed across a leather strap.” uh, can’t this mofucka see out his right eye? All these years, and this douchebag hasn’t learned how to close one eye? Why are his hands bloodied when he comes back? does he sleep punch things?“he gathered up the corpse of Randall” who the gently caress is randall? “ tendrils of fear turned into fire.” tendrils turning to fire is a dumb image. instead say they turned into tree trucks or giant octopus arms, or something bigger but still tendril like. The plot to this story feels a little cliche: A man must defeat death itself WITH death in order to save somebody! So he does, finally, at the end, kill death, but for what purpose? Will he save his family? We don’t know if getting rid of death gives him the power to save his family, and whoever Randall is. Your last sentence is confusing. Are you saying the eye doesn’t have power anymore? because “little of its potency” implies that it’ll still kill the man, just a little, and who doesn’t feel the succor? The wizard, or the man? Still, you had an actual story, and few errors, so that was nice. You didn’t have enough of a resolution, and the plot is a little bland, so those both lose you some points.

10. Seeds on the Wind
“I can grow it into I want.” typo. This story is easy and fun to read. Some questions remain and make me want to read more: who is Dean, what exactly is the wizard making, etc etc. Dunno if the dome has ever had a story about a plant fucker before, so good on ya for that. The second person would get a little annoying in a longer work, but is find here. I like the crazy wizard man, but was hoping for more of a resolution than “oh also i have to kill you because plants.” Like he seems genuinely lonely, with the way he prattles on about Dean. Possible HM.


Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

:siren: :siren: PROMPT: Smells Like Dome SPirit

in for whatever this means.

also :toxx: to submit at least 12 hours before the prompt is due. I need to stop writing these at the last minute

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