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  • Locked thread
Feb 15, 2005
Also I'm in for the fail brawl.


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Alright you insolent weaklings, it's time for

:siren: WEEK 146 JUDGEMENT :siren:

Four of you were ambitious enough to rise ruthlessly through the ranks and crush your opponents with iron-clad plotting and silver-tongued voice. Only one villain had the versatility and competence to truly crush the rest, however. Tyrannosaurus, well done on creating a lovable bastard. The judges unanimously enjoyed your story this week. Cool title, also.

Your three worthy adversaries were: Benny Profane, for a complete plot and fun dialog, newtestleper, for a distinct voice and well-observed details, and God over Djinn, whose triptych of self-defeating power and hunger was a welcome departure from a cliche-riddled week.

Four of you are destined for the piranha tanks. Sorry, but thems the breaks. Those guys up there, getting all the praise and glory? They did this to you. Sorry bout that. Don't you even think about harboring notions of sweet, sweet revenge. Definitely do not quietly nurture a toxic need for payback.

Enchanted Hat, the first line of my crit for you is: "I told you to avoid cliches, but I feel like you took the opportunity to frolic through them foppishly while calling yourself a naughty boy." I mean, your ending was literally a guy ripping off a mask to reveal he was the hero all along. Maybe if this had been Scooby Doo fanfic week, you'd have had something, but alas it was not, so down the trap door you go.

But don't worry, you'll have company. Specters of autism, your story got kind of gross, but didn't have the payoff to justify it. You still have some work to do on making "human" characters, and that's what this week was all about. Making a villain into a relatable human. Merciless oppression and coercive sex aren't very likable things. SkaAndScreenplays, you made a bit of a mess. I was asking "why?" the whole time. Your protagonist realizes he was crazy at the end, but that doesn't really excuse the lack of coherence in the rest of your piece. SadisTech, your gimmick overshadowed any semblance of a plot. But once the judges figured out what you were trying to do, we weren't very impressed that the story was about summoning cthullu. You have to do more than just reprise Lovecraft but with THE INTERNET to pull off what you tried to do.

Tyrannosaurus, the blood throne is yours.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Crits for ALL stories up in order of submission

Guts and Bolts — Under Cover of Darkness
This story is well-written and has good characters, but it bored me, especially the beginning. The end turned that around a bit, but if I were just browsing through a collection of short stories by unknown authors, I would have moved on right around the description of the portrait. Pay attention to this—many well-known writers have given advice along the lines of “the most important thing your test reader can do for you is tell you when they stopped wanting to finish the story.” That’s where you need to go and see why your reader hasn’t been engaged. For me, it was because you were heavy on the wrong details: the house, the door, etc. In a short story, every word counts. The house is old and run down. I get it. Now make me care about the characters. What details the characters have in the first bit are boring, too.

Enchanted Hat — The Jewel of Kazaar
This story made me laugh at it’s terrible, terrible ending. Then I stopped laughing and got pissed off. The ending really just comes out of NOWHERE and feels like you stopped caring. Also, your dialogue is very unnatural. After you’ve written your first draft, you should read it out loud, especially the dialogue. I suspect you didn’t, because anyone who did would have realized that no one speaks that way. Also, Google punctuation rules with dialogue and what comma-splices are. Stop doing those things wrong.
An ending should follow logically from the events of story leading up to that point. Twists are fine and fun, but only when, after the twist is revealed, the reader can have an “Ohhhhh!” moment; when it all makes sense. A twist that has never been hinted at is NOT a twist, it’s taking a crap on a piece of paper and making me look at it. Don’t take a crap on a piece of paper and make me look at it. It’s just rude.

Crabrock — The Wrath of Wasp
This was fun to read, though I think it would have been better if it was a little more concise. With such a style, I find it hard to really say much constructive. I didn’t care if the wasp was going to survive or not, so if you were trying to make the reader invested, look into that (though I’m not sure you were).

Pham Nuwen — Plumbers, Cracked
A swing and a miss. I’m annoyed right off the bat that you ignored the flash rule as much as you possibly could (why bother asking for one). You made a couple choices that didn’t work out for you.
Beginning the story with the James character and then switching to Rob, Mike, and JD. I don’t know why you made this decision, but it doesn’t work. Given the comedic tone of the rest of the story, you should have focused on the trio and not on a scared victim. And beyond tone, it just doesn’t make sense to begin a story with one POV character and then dump him and move on.
Not explain the trio’s motivations until the end. After the jarring switch in POV, I didn’t know why they were doing what they were doing.
What I did like about the story was the Super Bowl and simultaneous flushing thing. This is a really funny idea, but by leaving it to the end, I think you lost some of the humor. It could have been capitalized on better.

Screaming Idiot — Cradle to the Grave
Good opening with the twist on the baby’s cries. Made me smile. Thankfully, so did the rest of the story. This was well-written, had an endearing villain, and ended on a good note. I really like your decision to have Lucy bring Mourir back to life. The only negative thing I have to say is about when you switched to Willis’s point of view for the fight with Dumont and the slaying of Mourir. You say Mourir looked “oddly at peace,” when he died. This is a change in the way Mourir was at the beginning, and seeing as he is the focal character, this change would have been better if seen through his POV.

Thranguy — Cupiditas
This was decent. I like the opening and the last line a lot more than the long action play-by-play. You have some creative ideas and clearly had fun writing the mission scene, but for me it went on too long. Success was an inevitability, so more time developing the characters would have been more enjoyable to read. As it was, the action was mostly clear, though at times I had a little bit of trouble following it. Good job, but next time work more on characterization. They were all one-dimensional and the betrayal’s motivations weren’t explained.

SkaAndScreenplays — Destroyed By Your Own Creation
This story is full of typos and grammar problems. You obviously did not bother to read over it after you finished, because many of them are clear as day. Example:
Lars hoped this worked. Having
That’s just laziness. Also, the whole contrivance to get Lars into the zoo, with Lars having a regular customer who just happens to work at the zoo and invites him to come put up cameras, was also lazy. Lazy plotting.
Then James loving leaves and “Lars turns to Lisa.” WHO? This story is awful.
The only good part is the final line, because it makes me wonder if you asked yourself the same question: What if I’m just crazy?

Jitzu The Monk — That Time I Induced Stockholm Syndrome in an Owl and Leveraged It Against My SHITBAG Neighbor
This started off promising and was funny. Around the time you had the character get on the train, it went off the deep end and stopped making sense and was funny for a different reason (not the one you intended). The first bad part of the story came when the character interacted with the old woman on the train. It was a pointless interaction with unbelievable dialogue. You should have cut it. Everything following that was rough and instead of having that amusing tone of the beginning, was just ridiculous and needed another round or two of edits. Look at the shift in tone from what I thought was funny (the beginning) and what I thought was bad (the end) to see how you can develop what worked and stop doing what didn’t.

spectres of austism — Honey Kiss
You seem to have missed the part in the prompt which specifies your villain should be ENDEARING. Your villain is just terrible and I couldn’t wait to be done reading about him abusing and raping people. Your last line also makes no sense and I don’t know what impression you wanted the reader to have at the end, but whatever it was, you missed it (unless that impression was disgust, in which you nailed it).

God Over Djinn — Sun Eater
I got outvoted on this because I have no idea what the hell this is even supposed to be? I don’t see the connection to the prompt. SittingHere asked for clear goals and I don’t see it here. The other two judges both voted for an HM though, so there you go.

Blue Wher — The Zurich Teleportation Caper
Some grammar notes:
1. You don’t need a comma before every single “and.” Look up the difference between independent and dependent clauses.
2. You don’t capitalize the “she” after a line of dialogue (ex. “What?” she asked.)
3. Don’t use periods at the end of a line of dialogue that includes a dialogue tag (ex. “Hello,” said Clarice.) Note the comma after Hello.
Style notes:
1. Don’t repeat a metaphor twice in a row. “like they were ghosts[...] While on this platform, we are basically ghosts.”
2. “To a pedestrian, it merely looked like a big steel marble.” Are there pedestrians in their lab? Strange phrasing.
3. I’ll get to this later, but concluding the story though after-the-fact dialogue explanation is boring.

So, I liked the beginning, but then it just went waaaay downhill from there. The dialogue is very unnatural and the conclusion is completely tacked on. You should not end a story by making the POV character just pass out and then be told “hey, here’s what happened while you were sleeping lol.” That’s bad storytelling.
Another problem is that your POV character is passive. That is also boring. Your characters will be more interesting when they take actions that drive the plot instead of simply reacting and then LITERALLY being passive when the actual loving climax happens.
Do better next time.

— paper cranes are hard to make when your hands are for the gun
This is a good story. I was drawn right in and eagerly kept going. I had to slow myself down once or twice so I wouldn’t read too quickly. I loved the image of Kang pouring the cranes out of a bucket into the sky. Beautiful.
However, I don’t understand why you skipped to Amelie being gone without explanation. This shows a big change in Kang and the reader never learns why he does it. When I finished, I really wanted to know what made Kang change his mind. Making the reader want to know more about the events is a sign of a good story, but when it is something so crucial, it can hurt you.

Grizzled Patriarch — Fortress of Solitude
“It is true that I have a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Crimson Patriot in my bedroom, which my henchmen are prohibited from entering on pain of death.” LOL. Great line.
The rest of it is well-written, but nothing quite comes close to that line (save for the one about reading a poll). The action isn’t terribly interesting and the main character’s motivations are not clear, nor is the outcome. What exactly does he want and does he achieve it? I’m not sure. Good job on the characterization, but there’s not enough of it. A little more focus on the character and what he wants would have helped you.

J.A.B.C. — Progress
I didn’t understand what happened with this one. You had 700 more words you could have used and you needed them. There just isn’t enough information here for the reader to make sense of what you’re presenting. Clarity is probably the hardest thing in writing to fix, because it is so difficult to see the story though the eyes of someone who didn’t create it. What seems perfectly clear to you could be a mystery to readers. You hinted at gates, cycles, fate, but they didn’t all come together to create a clear picture. I also wasn’t sure entirely what your villain wanted. She seemed to be preparing to die like she always does, but then suddenly she kills the heroes with ease. Why was this time different?

Schneider Heim — A Bad Parry
This story was really boring. Why? No characterization. You gave the reader no reason to care. Your main character’s motivations were not clear. The story had no stakes. Next time, ask yourself why each character wants what he or she wants and what that character feels will happen if he or she does not achieve their goal. I don’t know the answers to that in this story.

Entenzahn — Bonaparte
I’m not sure why you were compelled to capitalize the word “whiskey.”
Other than that, nice job! I kept expecting you to screw it up, because your story kept hinting at going lovely directions, but each time you surprised me by making excellent choices. Mostly, I thought it was going to get really sappy. The ending was perfect and made me laugh.
Also, kudos for actually have a villain with a clear goal, something a lot of people forgot to do. As for improvement, I did not like this line: “And Lionel gave real answers. And if he was being completely honest with himself, maybe, just maybe, he even enjoyed it a little.” I would have liked to see what Lionel actually said.

SadisTech — O RLY? YEH.
I don’t know what else to say besides this. This was incredibly vague and confusing and also boring. None of us judges could make sense of what you were really trying to do here. Instead of being so abstract, just tell a clear story with characters and scenes. Give the characters a goal and show us the struggle to acheive it.

Benny the Snake — Man in the Machine
I can only echo the most common complaints I have had this entire round: Too much action in lieu of characterization and an unclear motive (until the end). The prompt was clear: the villain is supposed to WANT A THING and either get it or not get it. There are also some really clunky sentences like: ‘’I shout at the top of my lungs while punctuating each syllable slamming my fist into his punchable face as we break through each floor of the building until we finally reach the ground floor’’ and metaphors that fall flat like: ‘’gawking as though I just assaulted their collective grandmother’’
Work on building characters with clear motivations. Without clear motivations, there are no stakes. Without stakes, there is no drama.

Killer-of-Lawyers — Factory
I’m halfway through and I have no idea why Virnesh is doing what he is doing. Nor does he seem like a villain. WHAT DOES HE WANT? Why should I care? What are the obstacles? Why can nobody do this?
As for what you did well: the writing itself. I was able to visualize the scene and follow the action. The dialogue was good. You know what you are doing on a technical level. However, you just never gave me a reason to care. Again, this is the problem I see in about half of this week’s stories: motivation issues. Who is Virnesh and why is he doing what he is doing? Next week, focus on creating clear motivations for your characters, because that is the heart of an exciting story.

SurrepitiousMuffin — in memoriam
You were faced with a challenging flash rule and you rose to the occasion, but along the way you seem to have forgotten about the actual prompt post. Your story is interesting and has a lot of great lines, but it didn’t do what SittingHere asked you to do: give your villain a goal and have your villain either succeed or fail. Also, the writing itself was better than the story as a whole. This is because it lacked a real drive. I didn’t know what Samuel was after, what he wanted.

Benny Profane — Doctor Apocalypse Vs. The Modern World
I loved this story. I laughed out loud several times at the excellent dialogue and prose. The whole thing with Solar Flare, especially in the middle, did drag a bit. The “old enemies who are nostalgiac for the old days” thing is cliche and even showed up in two other stories this week (at least). But, this was the best take on it. Great characterization overall, clear motivation, clear outcome. Good Job. Only reason it might not be a winner is that it is one-note. It’s funny, but none of the characters have much of an arc, if at all.

Newtestleper — Whites and Reds
This is tough because the piece is very well done but I’m not sure how well it actually fits the week. Yeah, the pitcher does seem to purposefully bean the batter in the face, and that’s villainous. Very good voice and great details (like the pink shoes). I was drawn right in and could see the scene.

A Classy Ghost — The Last Villain
This started off interesting but just degenerated into blah. The flash rule was incorporated boringly (I’m trapped! Oh I have a gun I’ll shoot it everything fixed now yay). Punchinator turned to the “dark side” too easily. But mostly: there was never any conflict in this story. At all. Doctor: You have diabetes. Spencer: I can’t be Sugar Bullet anymore. So he stops being sugar bullet. Problem solved. He faces no real obstacles, therefore the story is boring. Next time, throw some wrenches into your protagonist’s plans. Seeing how a character responds to difficulty is what makes characters interesting.

Broenheim — Every Family Has Its Problems. Ours is Telepathy
Your conflict was solved in the first paragraph. That’s not good storytelling. You didn’t spend any time setting up the characters and establishing the conflict. Instead, you just told the reader that everyone likes Brett, and then the very next sentence the protagonist does *something* that makes people not like Brett anymore. Right there, your story is told. The rest of the piece is just a bunch of unclear and repetitive stuff. With no conflict, there’s no reason to keep reading (except that I have to). Focus plot structure next time.

Fuschia tude — A Glutton For Punishment
Excellent opening. The first sentence establishes conflict. The paragraph specifies what Carlos wants. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, PEOPLE!!
The rest of the story proceeded logically and was above average. The allergy thing didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story, though. I know you were flash ruled and had to put it in, but some hinting at his allergies in the beginning might have helped that twist to seem more sensible. I’d say work on tweaking dialogue, as the interaction with the teacher’s helper wasn’t very natural. And the whole thing might have benefitted from being a little shorter, as it was clear where the story was going but it took a while to get there.

— Like A Lemming Off A Cliff
This is a fun little piece, but if you really wanted to be in the top today, you should have used more of the word count to flesh out the story a bit. Explaining who this Callister is, for one. I really like the idea of a supervillain being defeated because his childhood blanket is held hostage, but I wish you’d done more with the idea.

blue squares fucked around with this message at 03:24 on May 26, 2015

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


blue squares posted:

Crits for ALL stories up in order of submission

Thank you!

Jan 13, 2015

i'm a failure sign me up for failure bowl

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Quoting for the new page. failures (and DQed people who submitted after I posted the original brawl post), you have three hours to sign up for the failbrawl.

Sitting Here posted:


You are invited to participate in a special failures-only brawl. The brawl will only go forward if at least four (4) of you indicate that you are in. You must announce your intention to participate by 11:59:59 PM PST tonight (so about 22 hours from this post).

Your prompt is to tell me a story from the perspective of the villain's pet monster. The word count is 600 words. The due date, if any of you should rise to the challenge, will be 11:59:59 PM PST on Wednesday, May 27th. The winner will get a brawl victory, a line crit, and the knowledge that they aren't as much of an abject failure as the rest.

Don't fail me again, assholes.

Redemption Seekers:

Jay O
docbeard - Submitted

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 05:51 on May 26, 2015

Sep 22, 2008

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile,
Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile.

Sitting Here posted:

The terms have been met. The redemption brawl will proceed. The rest of you failures have 13 hours to declare your intention to participate.

Those of you who've signed up so far are now free to submit your stories.

IN on redemption.

Apr 12, 2006

Week One Forty-Seven; or, the Tragedy of Shakespeare Descending

Can’t ever figure out what you want to write about? Don’t have a creative bone in your body? Just dumb as hell? No worries! Sign up this week and I’ll give you a one sentence summary of the story you’ll be writing! I can see people freaking out already. Chill. These are all good ideas. I'm copping them off the greatest writer of the English language.

1500 words
No erotica

Sign-ups: Friday at midnight (EST)
Submissions: Sunday at midnight (HAST)

Dramatis Personae
dmboogie: "Power corrupts the substitute duke who tries to seduce the sister of a condemned man."
Killer-of-Lawyers: "Despite help from France, the crown is lost."
Benny the Snake: "A romp in the forest where everyone falls in love."
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE: "Witches give a prophecy and a throne is seized."
Thranguy: "A young prince plans revenge against his murdering uncle."
newtestleper: "A king gives up his kingdom to his daughters and then gives up his mind."
God Over Djinn: "Bloody revenge in ancient Rome, with the emphasis on bloody."
Grizzled Patriarch: "The king wonders why is son can't be more like that nice boy until that nice boy starts a rebellion."
Djeser: "A man's jealousy leads him to murder his lover."
Blue Wher: "Two houses head off a civil war."
SkaAndScreenplays: "A man tries to balance love and war but sacrifices everything for love."
swkidmonster: "Rome’s best general feels slighted, so he switches sides." :toxx:
spectres of autism: ""A man gets so jealous that he makes his wife fall in love with someone else (there's also some magic involved)" :toxx:
blue squares: "A man and a woman vow undying love, which dies all too quickly."
Enchanted Hat: "Two sets of twins turn the town upside down."
Jonked: "A man kills everyone in his way to get his way only to lose everything including his life."
docbeard: "A man 'tames' his wife but, really, it's the wife who gets what she wants." :toxx:
Entenzahn: "A man uses magic to recover his land and find a husband for his daughter."
the brotherly phl: "A man lives, loves, loses, and regains his family while touring the Mediterranean Sea."
TheAnamoly: "A boy loves a girl but she is in love with another boy except this second boy is secretly a girl who is in love with the first boy."
guts and bolts: "An overgenerous man finds out who his true friends are once he runs out of money."
Benny Profane: "Friends murder one of their own when they fear he's on the verge of seizing power."
Pete Zah: "A man tries to study in seclusion but succumbs to the temptations of love."
Claven666: "A man runs away to avoid his new wife but she follows him and tricks him into being a faithful husband." :toxx:
Auraboks: "A king is usurped and the usurper takes the throne."
JcDent: "A peasant rebellion is incited by a noble house."
Fausty: "Forbidden love tempts and destroys a young couple."
SquirrelFace: "France is invaded."
crabrock: "A man starts up a new church so he can get remarried."

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 04:17 on May 30, 2015

Oct 4, 2013


Apr 22, 2008


Benny the Snake
Apr 11, 2012

Something to be said about Shakespeare and fate but I don't have a snappy quote ready :shrug: IN

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

anime was right fucked around with this message at 06:55 on Oct 27, 2015

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
In for brushing up some Shakespeare.

Oct 30, 2003

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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


Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

I am in plese mister tee-rect

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

The Smart Baseball Dargon Sez:

"Baseball is chaos!"

His bat is signed by Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski

Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica

Need to prove to myself that I am better than the garbage I turned out.

Apr 12, 2006

"Power corrupts the substitute duke who tries to seduce the sister of a condemned man."

"Despite help from France, the crown is lost."

Benny the Snake posted:

Something to be said about Shakespeare and fate but I don't have a snappy quote ready :shrug: IN

"A romp in the forest where everyone falls in love."

"Witches give a prophecy and a throne is seized."

Thranguy posted:

In for brushing up some Shakespeare.

"A young prince plans revenge against his murdering uncle."

"A king gives up his kingdom to his daughters and then gives up his mind."

"Bloody revenge in ancient Rome, with the emphasis on bloody." Titus Andronicus fyi

"The king wonders why is son can't be more like that nice boy until that nice boy starts a rebellion."

Djeser posted:

I am in plese mister tee-rect

"A man's jealousy leads him to murder his lover."

"Two houses head off a civil war."

SkaAndScreenplays posted:


Need to prove to myself that I am better than the garbage I turned out.

"A man tries to balance love and war but sacrifices everything for love."

Mar 31, 2015

Ohhhhh King Lizard, you mother fucker, you. Of course I'm in. And you know what, for you, I might even turn in something good.

Apr 12, 2006

skwidmonster posted:

Ohhhhh King Lizard, you mother fucker, you. Of course I'm in. And you know what, for you, I might even turn in something good.

pfffft i doubt it

"Rome’s best general feels slighted, so he switches sides."

take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo
okay so lately i seriously have not been reading the prompts closely enough

in with a :toxx: that if i dont hit the prompt perfectly i get banned or whatever

e: since this prompt is in fact one sentence flash rule me or something or ill keep this toxx going till next week too

Mar 31, 2015


blue squares posted:

— Like A Lemming Off A Cliff
This is a fun little piece, but if you really wanted to be in the top today, you should have used more of the word count to flesh out the story a bit. Explaining who this Callister is, for one. I really like the idea of a supervillain being defeated because his childhood blanket is held hostage, but I wish you’d done more with the idea.

Thanks for the crit squares!

Apr 12, 2006

spectres of autism posted:

okay so lately i seriously have not been reading the prompts closely enough

in with a :toxx: that if i dont hit the prompt perfectly i get banned or whatever

e: since this prompt is in fact one sentence flash rule me or something or ill keep this toxx going till next week too

"A man gets so jealous that he makes his wife fall in love with someone else (there's also some magic involved)"

Mar 31, 2015


Tyrannosaurus posted:

pfffft i doubt it

"Rome’s best general feels slighted, so he switches sides."

Throwing in a :toxx: again too

I know like loving nothing about Coriolanus

Don't know if that's great or terrible for me

Mar 31, 2015


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Submissions: Sunday at midnight (HAST)

Wait no, I forgot, I really do love you

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007


Enchanted Hat
Aug 18, 2013

Defeated in Diplomacy under suspicious circumstances

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: WEEK 146 JUDGEMENT :siren:

I regret nothing! Also in. Do the stories this week have to be in iambic pentameter?

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
Some much-belated crits. Short and snappy cause honestly not too many stories last week deserved anything more and I don't believe in fixating on minutiae when the whole needs to be tossed anyway. If you somehow feel I have shortchanged your submission by summing up in three sentences why it sucks, too bad.

Those of you new to the 'Dome should know I typically assign homework along with my crits, the purpose of which is to target your weaknesses and make you a better writer. I won't be doing that this time since the whole joint-authorship deal makes it tricky to nail down who's at fault, but the next time I'm at bat you should all be prepared.

Gifted and Talented by Newtestleper & Jay O

A weird thing happened, the end. That's your entire story. I've just distilled it into six words. The opening conflict of a baby growing at an accelerated rate causing problems is immediately defused by the punchline that this sort of thing happens all the time here at the brothel to the stars, yes. Not exactly a seamless transition from worried parents to a pimp and his prostitute there Jay O. Fortunately nothing was lost as neither of them were particularly interesting characters anyway.

Leaving It All Behind Simplefish & Blue Squares

Several hundred words of dry introspection followed by a father-daughter bonding story that didn't really build off the first half in any meaningful way. Not that I blame Blue Squares for taking a detour what with the directions he was given. As a general rule of thumb, I should care about your characters before you unload all their baggage on me. Your longtime friend coming clean about his marital struggles is heartbreaking; a stranger's just a drunk guy in a bar. It doesn't take long to establish someone's lost everything, so next time consider saving some of your words for the purpose of bringing me closer to your protagonist. Then his suffering shall be my suffering.

Except we weren't looking for suffering this week, which is where you both screwed up. The second half is better than the first in that there's an actual narrative taking place and not just some dude staring off into the distance while a harmonica plays in the theater of his mind, but fails to realize or redeem anything from the first half beyond the names as it tries to tell an intimate story with an impersonal tone. Eh.

An Unfinished Story by Posh Alligator

Two characters talk about stuff I don't care about while one of them struggles in vain not to look at the other's eyepatch. Several times. Nobody continued this story, but I've no real desire to see how it ended.

Round Sundown by Blue Squares & Skwidmonster

This was okay. No real surprises, but competently executed. Blue Squares writes yet another bumbling Middle American, but he's got personality so I am invested in this newest of the presumably many dilemmas he finds himself embroiled in. His wife's more a punchline than a character though, and the story suffers for it. It may be a reveal, but it was never really a twist.

An Unfinished Story by Benny the Snake

I don't crit plagarism.

Mercury Rising by Pham Nuwen & Benny Profane

Everyone in this story is either a dickbag or an idiot. Some of them are both. Your protagonist is both and that makes me angry. I don't like reading about dickbags unless they are interesting dickbags, and I don't like reading about idiots unless they are sympathetic idiots. Your protagonist is neither interesting or sympathetic. She is instead an incredibly bitter and petty person whose response to getting fired is to deploy a virus into the computer system hypothetically responsible for keeping everyone alive in the harsh vacuum of space, her act of revenge enabled by her equally petty coworker whose password she is able to guess because he decided to dedicate it to insulting her. But she saves the day and so her slate is washed clean without any self-examination or special exertion on her part. Go team.

Competent prose, but don't take that as a pat on the back when it's in service of unlikable characters who can't even be unlikable in engaging ways.

Prehistory by Benny Profane & Ironic Twist

Congratulations on writing a boring story about an intergalactic hero who is also a dinosaur. Your opening was promising, if a little heavy on exposition, but when the whole of your story can be boiled down to a famous person learning he's famous even way out in the boonies, why do I care? Not even the occasionally fun dialogue could save this piece. It feels like you spent all this time telling me your protagonist was off having cool adventures when instead you might have shown me some of those adventures. Lame.

The Monster in the Closet by Jitzu the Monk & Something Else

"Hmm, Crabrock requested a lighthearted week, no drama, so let's do a young woman struggling with her emergent sexual identity in the face of her conservative religious upbringing, yes, that's the ticket. Lacking that Something Awful touch though, dear me...well let's just jump straight to the loving bit and skip over any hint of a substantive relationship. Gah, no erotica though. Fine. The post-loving bit."

Decent prose, wrong week, subtle as an anvil. Your protagonist wants something and is given that thing on a silver platter. There are no stakes. Her inner struggle is relegated almost immediately to the periphery, which is a shame because beyond her struggle she's got nothing of note.

Bobbins by Schneider Heim & Sebmojo

I know you goons love your profanity but sometimes I feel like you guys don't appreciate how it can transform a story. Here we've got the makings of a quaint, quirky little slice of somebody's life only for a big fat "loving" to come outta nowhere piercing straight through the tone. People swear in real life, of course, and sometimes you wanna wake the reader up like that, but I don't think you did right here and it really strikes me as out of place. Unless you're writing a story in which (or a character for whom) casual swearing in the norm, consider instead how a single word like this can either take the legs out from under you or knock down the dominoes just as you planned.

Anyway, as the guy whose only winning entries have been ghost stories, I can't say I thought too much of this one. Schneider spent way too much time on setup while Sebmojo kinda rushed the climax. If I wasn't expected to critique it, I'd likely have forgotten all about it by now.

The C-Word Out of Space by Spectres of Autism & Thranguy

My reaction upon reading this story:

Everyone dies, nothing was learned, the end. Your 12-year-old genius protagonist (who acts like none of those things) creates a monster because he feels like it, who in turn proceeds to kill everyone because it feels like it, except it's...his mother? Then it kills him and his death triggers a killswitch which kills it. Maybe. What a waste of time.

Next time consider cutting down on the mountain of corpses to make room for any semblance of reason why I should care about your characters or their plight. Also consider submitting during a different week since nothing about this tale was remotely lighthearted.

The Crucible by Sitting Here & Grizzled Patriarch

Your protagonist doesn't speak at all until the halfway point which is kind of weird to me. Your protagonist also uses RPG magic to solve all her problems, which drains the story's tension. Without any established rules or known limitations governing what your protagonist's magic is capable of, the solution to everything boils down to "I cast the right spell to overcome this obstacle," in which case wow, who cares.

Otherwise, an adequate effort. Chalk this one up as another story I would've forgotten if it weren't my job to put it through its paces.

The Fire and the Slave by JcDent & Jonked

(6:14:59 PM) BadSeafood: Done with the slave story.
(6:15:09 PM) bompacho: was it lighthearted
(6:15:11 PM) BadSeafood: I like how the slave said and did nothing the whole time.

I think Broenheim very nicely summed up everything wrong with this story so just read his twice but imagine the second time it's me.

Square Pegs are for Squares by Blue Wher & Tyrannosaurus

I like how everyone in this story has exactly one character trait. I also like how the problem is solved by a character just randomly having an idea which is then implemented off-screen to great success with no complications. Yawn.

The Art Lesson by Fuschia tude & Jitzu_the_Monk

"Hmm, Crabrock requested a lighthearted week, no drama, so let's do a young woman putting a gun in her mouth to join her sister in a magical realist painting."

You did whatever you felt like in this story with little rhyme or reason. Your protagonist was dull and your antagonist (???) was pointlessly cryptic. Please refrain from writing something this offensively stupid in the future, thanks in advance.

Sole Survivor: Space Janitor by DMboogie & RedTonic

How rad would Risk of Rain have been with an innocuous janitor character.

This was the first story I actually enjoyed reading this week. Your premise was fun and your protagonist was funny. Tonic's contribution was a little underwhelming after Boogie's opening but paid off dividends with the conclusion. Not a fan of the epistolary structure but that's just me. Your prose is serviceable; nothing more, nothing less.

Sculpting Perfections by Ironic Twist & Blue Wher

Weird Science meets the Gods Must Be Crazy. Kinda preachy. Not sure I can believe the protagonist would be satisfied with the woman he wound up after how he was nitpicking everyone at the beginning. He's happy just to have someone who appreciates his work after reverse-catcalling the women of the village for their physical blemishes? Not sure I see his turning point. The ice crying out was weird but I'm not sure what it was in service of.

At the end of the day, inoffensively bland.

Ring Quest by RedTonic & Pham Nuwen

Now here's a story that started off great only to crash and burn in the second act. Your protagonist is charming and knowable. Everyone is, really. Even though she's dealing with a major dilemma, there's this feelgood atmosphere that permeates the piece. I was concerned over the fate of your protagonist's ring and hopeful that they would recover it.

Except she doesn't recover it and someone else ends up solving her problem for her. Strike one. Except they really didn't since it's someone else's ring. Strike two. Which she decides to keep making her seem incredibly petty. Strike three. Ever hear the story of the Honest Woodsman? What you've done is reward your protagonist for lying while punishing her for taking matters into her own hands. Not an unrealistic ending, but not a very satisfying one either. Her success is ultimately someone else's doing and her victory rings hollow.

Work Experience by Something Else & Newtestleper

I was with you until literally the last two lines. The door's over there.

A Better Place to Be In Jay O & Schneider Heim

A shipwrecked crew turning to cannibalism isn't the first thing I'd think of when asked to write a lighthearted story but maybe I'm just old fashioned. There's a sequence of events here, but I can't be bothered to care about any of it. The captain cuts the protagonist free saying they'll need every man they can eat(!), but didn't kill him beforehand because...? If the protagonist's fate is to nourish his former mates, shouldn't it be a bad thing he's not as far as Dario? I'll admit I'm not exactly hip and with it when it comes to the subject of cannibalism so it's possible there exists intimate insider knowledge I am unaware of.

Some stories I forgot about reading after I read them but this one I feel like I forgot about while I was reading it.

Birdy by Grizzled Patriarch & Spectres of Autism

A promisingly absurd opening spills over into serial killer territory. Your protagonist getting angry over his apartment-sized self-declared nation not being recognized by the United States is funny. Your protagonist fetching a gun to murder the person who's come to check up on him is not funny. I don't profess to know you, Specters of Autism, but between this and your half of the C-Word Out of Space I am becoming increasingly concerned over your definition of a lighthearted story.

Ulterior Motives by Jonked & Simplefish

Your protagonist is a thoroughly unlikable person and the time travel element feels like it came out of nowhere. Probably because it did. Again I direct you to Broenheim's comments.

Trouble Trouble by Chairchucker & DMboogie

Literally the only reason this didn't DM was because that wouldn't be fair to DMboogie since whoever got stuck with this was doomed from the start. Chair, you're usually pretty funny, but this felt like someone trying to imitate your style and falling flat. The poorest possible successor to your David Bowie story.

What a Twist Thranguy & JcDent

I liked your opening paragraph. I also liked how you ultimately completely disregarded that conflict to come up with a new one that was stupid in every way. I liked how your action was confusing, and I had to reread certain segment to parse what was happening. I liked how nothing about Gord was interesting or compelling beyond the contents of his trunk. I liked how the fact that it was cats was what he found most pressing. I liked how this bizarre scenario in no way accented or developed Gord's character in any appreciable way. I liked how this bizarre disaster was virtually interchangeable with several mundane and/or nondescript ones.

I hated the ending though.

The Princess Ball by Skwidmonster & PoshAlligator

I kept having to mentally correct my projected age for the protagonist's daughter girlfriend. She sure has a one-track mind. Good thing she has a sudden change of heart in time for the conclusion, except it's implied that's how she was all along? A flat and superficial story.

Mummy Got Boned by Djeser & Sitting Here

My only disappointment with this story was that the mummy wasn't bandaged up. Otherwise, a delightful read. Of particular note is the effective use of tone. Your protagonist is essentially a bad guy, a predator stalking his prey, yet the mood of the piece and the antics of its players leave the whole thing feeling like a screwball comedy. That woman is totally gonna have all her internal fluids sucked out and that's hilarious.

Thee Tends Well By Sebmojo & Fuschia Tude

After Sebmojo's hilarious opening I hit Fuschia Tude's court transcript and immediately stopped reading. Congratulations Fuschia on turning gold into lead.

What's Left When It All Goes Wrong Tyrannosaurus & Djeser

Heartwarming and off-prompt. It's probably worth noting this is pretty much the only story you might've tricked me into thinking one person wrote all the way through, so props to Djeser for perfectly matching Tyrannosaurus' style. Not a bad piece on its own merits, though I dislike how your protagonist has literally no agency. He's in a bad way and his father fixes everything. As with Ring Quest, realistic endings aren't always thematically satisfying.

Feb 15, 2005
I'm in again.

Mar 21, 2010
The new Mad Max movie has spawned the :mediocre: emote, and I encourage all Thunderdome members to use it as much as possible.

Apr 12, 2006

"A man and a woman vow undying love, which dies all too quickly."

Enchanted Hat posted:

I regret nothing! Also in. Do the stories this week have to be in iambic pentameter?

jesus no

"Two sets of twins turn the town upside down."

Jonked posted:

I'm in again.

"A man kills everyone in his way to get his way only to lose everything including his life."

Jul 19, 2011

In, pursued by a bear.


Apr 12, 2006

docbeard posted:

In, pursued by a bear.


"A man 'tames' his wife but, really, it's the wife who gets what she wants."

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

Aug 20, 2014


Feb 20, 2003

Apr 12, 2006

"A man uses magic to recover his land and find a husband for his daughter."

"A man lives, loves, loses, and regains his family while touring the Mediterranean Sea."

"A boy loves a girl but she is in love with another boy except this second boy is secretly a girl who is in love with the first boy."



guts and bolts
May 16, 2015

Have you heard the Good News?

blue squares posted:

Crits for ALL stories up in order of submission

Thank you for the crit/feedback.

Also, I'm in for this week.

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