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  • Locked thread
Mar 21, 2010
A title in bold is an excellent title. It portrays strength and masculinity two traits that are coincidentally shared by the common sea otter. The virile posters Thunderdome would do well to emulate these pleasing sea creatures.


Apr 22, 2008

New Year, new thread!

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 18:51 on Jan 4, 2016

Dec 19, 2007

Eyes Only For You
"A man tries to study in seclusion but succumbs to the temptations of love."
827 words

Katherine Morse stood next to a patient whose face was wrapped in bandages. Opposite of her was Dr. McLafferty, the surgeon, and at the foot of the bed a journalist snapped photos of the scene.

“Are you ready to see the world?” McLafferty asked the patient.

“Yes, but more than that I’d like to be rid of this scratchy gauze.”

McLafferty looked to Katherine and said, “You do the honors.”

She unraveled the gauze with caution. The woman’s face was swollen. More bandages were adhered to incision points on the corners of her eyes and the eyelids. She peeled the bandages from the eyelids and told the patient to open her eyes slowly.

Katherine gazed at the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen. Bronze stars surrounded the receding pupils and burst outward into verdant green spindles. She thought of how many more hours she could have spent lost in their tangled webs.

“How does everything look?” McLafferty asked.

“I can make out light and dark and shapes, I think.” Her eyes were darting, trying to make sense of the sudden visual overload. Then they became wet and glossy with the flow of tears.

Katherine felt like she’d been jabbed in the glottis. She waited for the journalist to take close-ups of the patient and drifted unnoticed from the room. The sounds of idle chatter, the sick coughing, the metallic rattling of gurneys, and the incessant beep beep beep of cardiac monitors was all too much. She threw her body past doorways and thrust wheelchairs to the side until she found the quiet of her basement office a building away.

She dug through the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a small blue flask with a “K” emblazoned on its side. She swallowed a few sips and vowed—for the second time this month—to finally leave drinking for home.

Just as she put her lab coat on, a brisk knocking echoed from the door. She paused, wondering if she could get away with pretending to be absent, but the knocking continued and she acquiesced.

“Hi, I’m Ed Tully. I was just talking with Dr. McLafferty about your research on this procedure and he suggested that I come talk with you.”

“So McLafferty ratted out my office huh?”

“I like to think of it as a lead.”

“I’ve got a lot of work to do.” Katherine plucked the sleeve of her lab coat.

“All I need is five minutes of time. Really simple stuff, Dr. McLafferty filled me in on the basics. It would just work better with a quote or two from you.”

“Five minutes, okay.”

She hustled to her desk and made note of the time.

He began, “Dr. McLafferty was responsible for the transplantation, but what was it about your research that made this case especially impactful?”

“This was the first successful procedure using lab-grown eyes. Currently, the waiting list for transplants is a mile long, but if we can control the supply then it would be considerably shorter. Maybe one day there won’t be a list at all.”

“We’ve seen lab-grown organs in the past, but the eye has been particularly problematic. Why is that?”

“With other organs, size was the most difficult problem to solve because they’d collapse on their own weight. That’s a mitigated concern here, especially because of the work others have done to solve that problem. The main difficulty with the human eye is the complexity.” Katherine swallowed hard, “They’re delicate—intricate beyond belief.”

“It’s to my understanding that the seeding donor for-”

“Dr. Welch was a brilliant scientist, and we were lucky to have her while we did.” Her heart seemed to beat outside of her chest. She knew she was being abruptly dismissive, but couldn’t bring herself to care. She stood.

“Like I’ve said, I have a lot of important work to do today.”

After she showed him out, she sank back into her chair and tried to calm down. There was no whiskey left. She put the emptied flask into her lab coat pocket and made her way down the hall, toward her personal lab.

She set the flask onto a counter top, and instinctively opened the cooler. It was always the same horrific sight, Janice Welch’s eyes floating in well-labeled jars, suspended in preservative. Each one stared eternally back at Katherine. They used to be filled with joy when Katherine arrived to work, surprised when Katherine arrived at 11:57 p.m. on February 14th, and teary when they watched a bad romance movie. But now they just stared into the abyss.

She reached in the reagent cabinet for ethanol, but what she found herself holding instead was a bottle of methanol. She thought of the patient with Janice’s eyes, how they were alive again at last, and a pang of jealousy overwhelmed her.

Fifteen milliliters, no more, no less.

Mar 31, 2015

Immortal in a Time of War
WC: 736

I guess you could say, after three hundred thirty-six wars and countless clandestine missions, that the General had gotten sick of fighting on the behalf of people.

The world's oldest soldier adjusted the tote on his shoulder and stepped into the elevator. He had no idea what to expect when he reached the sub-basement, but he had his old Walther from the Big War for company. Besides, the scuttlers had no reason to hurt him. He wasn't the enemy. Not anymore, at least.

After a couple thousand years, General Felix Maldonado was finally betraying the human race.


"I mean, look at how this war started. Just a request for some land airside, just a little place for a liaison embassy to double as a temple. And how did we react?"

The woman continued to stare straight ahead to the mirror behind the bar, eyes glazed. She lifted her drink once more to her lips, and Felix took that as an invitation to continue.

"We bombed 'em! Torpedoed a whole city. Little Chictaua, it was called. I was on the submarine that did it."

"So what, you're in the Navy too?" It was the first thing she'd said the whole conversation, and she said it to the bar mirror.

He was thrown off his rhythm. "Yes. Well, no, not technically. I was more of a... tactical, umm... advisor, I guess you could say. There to help make the tough choices."

"So you made the decision to bomb the town." She took another sip and arched her eyebrows at him.

He dropped his own drink to the bar a little loudly. "My orders were to take Chictaua out," he said, "and my job was to minimize casualties. And I did a hell of a job." A couple of heads turned, then shook when they saw it was the General talking.

"Oh sure, twelve hundred casualties is practically nothing. Good thing you were there, General."

"Only a hundred fifty two dead, the rest injured, and when the body count could have been twelve thousand or more, I thank the good lord it was me there." Felix finished his drink, laid down money for his tab, then another tenner for her drink. "Good night." And he began the long unsteady trek for the door.

"Tonia," he heard from behind him, and he took an unbalanced swivel to meet her eyes. "I'm Tonia Corda." He noticed for the first time that she wasn't just pretty. She made his blood pump a little quicker just by meeting his eyes.

"I'll see you again," his future wife said.


The elevator opened, and Felix stepped through the doors. The sub-basement had a blue feeling to it, and the smell of ocean water. Nobody waited to escort him. He started to walk.

This building was an old office building. No furniture remained. He hit light switches as he went, and a few of them turned on lights.

"I'm here," he called.

No answer.

He continued to check room by room.


"I don't want you to go," little Felix said to his father. "Caesar has enough fathers, why should he take mine?"

His father knelt, putting a big hand on his son's shoulder. Felix could smell the old leather of his armor.

"Caesar needs us to be strong for Rome. Someday you will fight for your country, and you'll understand."

Felix's father kissed him on the forehead, donned his helmet, and stepped to his wife.

"I'll be back soon. I'll think of you always." He kissed her, a peck on the mouth, and walked through their open front door.

That was the last time Felix had seen his father. He'd chase his footsteps from that day forward.


There was a rustling in a room to the right. Felix opened the door slightly and pressed the light switch.

A high-pitched hissing came from the other side of the door.

"Sorry! Sorry. Should've given you a warning," Felix said.

In the room were three angry-looking hermit crabs. They hissed and whistles at him.

"Look, I'm sorry, but I don't speak the language. I'm just here to drop off the plans..." He held the bag out to them. The crabs didn't move to take it.

"I guess I'll just set it right here, then. Okay?"

The crabs stared him down.

"Well, then. Thank you. Thanks."

Felix turned back for the elevator. For a moral betrayal, it sure was anticlimactic.

Apr 12, 2006
Submissions are closed for real

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Submissions are closed for real

Ah, well, poo poo. My story had too many details from history of a small country anyways.

Apr 12, 2006

JcDent posted:

Ah, well, poo poo. My story had too many details from history of a small country anyways.


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:siren: failbrawl results and crits, finally :siren:

It's fitting that the failbrawl has a failjudge. Oh well.

The winner, and recipient of the line crit, is Jay O.

Jay O posted:

Tipped Scales
600 words

"One thousand, two thousand, three thousand..."

I nestled down into my favorite pile of jewels to rest my eyes, while the lanky human raked his fingers through the day's haul. I hated him getting his smell all over the fresh gold like that, but it made him happy to touch it. If he was happy, he wouldn't swing that staff at me anymore. The thin, curved thing made such a horrendous noise when he swung it around, sending violent shivers rippling under I think "rippling through" might work better here my scales and filling my head with hornets until I passed out. Every time I regained consciousness, the stinky human creature would be sliding his way off my neck I think a more specific word would be good here. "dismounting, maybe? , so I knew some time must have passed that I could not remember. I should rip him apart for even touching me, much less hypnotizing and riding me. But...

But there was always more gold in my cave when I woke. More gold was good. That made this human both good and bad at once, and I didn't know how to feel about that. So I decided to do nothing for the time being. Before I knew it, seven whole days had passed in this manner, with the pain of the staff overcoming my mind in the morning, a forgotten afternoon, and an evening filled with the scent of fresh gold. This human must know where his fellow humans kept their treasure. I did always have trouble finding it on my own. So this arrangement wasn't so bad.

"This is amazing. Simply incredible. Today, my life begins anew!" The unattributed dialog so far is a little confusing.

If only my imposed partner could enjoy our spoils with more dignity. How could such a small animal make so much noise? Maybe smaller animals made more noise by their very nature. His horse was quieter than he, and I was quieter than the horse.That line made me lol Speaking of which, I could hear him shoveling something into the nag's saddlebags. My eyes shot open, catching In general, I'm not a fan of "my [body part] did a thing. It's just more words between the reader and what's important, usually a glimmer of gilded metal as it sank into the animal's pack. The human was already racing Why not just "the human raced"? back to today's haul, arms outstretched to gather up more of my treasure.

I lifted my head and let out a low rumble. He froze between his horse and my gold.

"Come on, friend. We've been amassing these spoils for a week now. I think one night of carnal pleasures is more than reasonable for all my help. I have to spend a little sometime, right?"

No. More gold is good. Less gold is unacceptable.

He took one timid step closer to the treasure. Embers began to crackle Why not just "crackled"? in my chest.

"Don't worry yourself. I can't possibly spend it all."

My eyes twitched twitched is an odd word to use here. I know what you mean, but it's not quite spot-on. Also, the important thing here is that the dragon sees the staff, not that it's seeing the staff using its eyes back to the horse. There was something familiar bulging at the bottom of one gold-laden saddlebag. It was thin, curved, and emitted a faint hum that sent unmistakable shivers rippling under my scales. My eyes aaaargh had scarcely returned to the human when he broke into a scramble, now headed straight for his beast of burden. It's ok to just say something like, "the man scrambled back toward his beast of burden" or something like that. You're over-blocking and adding a bunch of extra words to actions that should be relatively simple. This is ok if it adds something to the scene, but describing the dragon's eyes seeing a thing isn't really necessary.


I set the horse ablaze. It screamed and bolted from the cave, hemorrhaging gold with every buck and convulsion on its way out. The human sank to his knees and dug his fingers into his skull comically as the beast disappeared into the forest.

I believe I have lost gold because of you.

He whirled to face me, water pouring out of his grotesque human face. ugly bags of mostly water!

"I-it can't have gone far. It's already d-dead, I'm sure. I can get it all back for you--"

Yes, it was a bad partnership after all. The human even tasted as bad as he smelled.

Of all 7 stories, this one felt most complete. Most of the failbrawl stories played coy with the exact nature of the monster and ended up feeling gimmicky. In this case, you didn't outright tell us we were dealing with the dragon, but you made it easy enough to figure out which was cool. I felt like it had its own wants and desires other than "serving master" or whatever. You don't waste any time showing us how the villain used the dragon--one line near the beginning of the story made it clear the dragon was being forced to raid human castles or w/e for gold--but rather, you focus on the dragon's response. At first he's content with the partnership because more gold is good. But once the villain causes there to be less gold, the dragon has to take action. It's the perfect sort of little yarn for 500 words. And you were mooooostly economical with your words, other than a few bits I pointed out in bold text above. Don't be afraid to describe actions directly. I see this a lot in TD, where you've got body parts beginning to suddenly do things. Usually it's unnecessary and clumsy.


I was intrigued by the exact nature of your monster at first, but I felt like the story was all a buildup to reveal it was a briefcase. The repetition of "My mouth is closed..." would've been better if it was used a bit more sparingly. There was a lot of movement, but all we know is some lady is stealing this briefcase monster because....we don't know.


I think you were trying to be elaborate and humorous with the voice in this story, but a lot of parts felt unnecessarily wordy. Or just plain wrong. This is an amusing story in theory--A scottsman wants to restore the british empire and is aided by his smarmy cat--but the writing got in the way. And at parts, the cheerful feline perspective worked ok. But like, you switch tenses briefly in the first paragraph. And sometimes you go from the cat's perspective to the americans' perspective.

At one point you wrote: "[dialog]," master's voice boomed as he, Agyle McIntyre, with one swipe of a claymore cleaved in twain the rifle of the American spy." That's annoying to parse. You're telling us that Argyle McIntyre shouted something as he cut the rifle in half with his claymore. Just say that.


So, a troubled, super smart kid turns her teddy bear into some sort of assassin robot or something. But most of the story is this deformed bear watching this blossoming super villain do newbie super villain stuff. I dunno. It's written in a way where nothing feels very present or immediate. The bear just kind of watches some things happened, then some stuff happens off-screen, then the story is basically over. One caveat I had was that I don't think even a robot bear would perceive being shot by a bullet that slowly, or in that much detail. I kind of hate when the moment of death gets drawn out unrealistically just to avoid ending the story abruptly. Which you kind of did anyway. Maybe actually just don't end stories with the narrator getting shot. There are like a billion other ways to write endings. Anyway, this wasn't bad, it just felt really removed and I didn't have many emotions about it.


Is rocky literally a rock? Just some villainous king's lucky smashin' boulder? Technically, this was mostly competent. One thing that threw me off was the beginning. Supposedly, the king is wandering through the mountains. But then, mere sentences later, it seems like he's being pursued by a mob. So which is it? Wandering or running? That has an effect on how many shits I give. Be precise. Otherwise, a rock doesn't really have very much agency, so it was hard to stay interested. Evil king is evil, heavy boulder is heavy.


Honestly, when I started reading this I thought it might have the makings of a failbrawl winner. It felt grounded in a time and a place, and there could've been a lot of emotional weight to it. Losing your hero/mentor/religious figure is a powerful moment of disillusionment. But then the story just kind of....ends? It's pretty, but it boils down to: the narrator dies. The end. I dunno, it was a vignette that started strong and ended like, :mediocre:


So, this is about a disembodied, cancerous lung? I got that from the title, but like most of the other stories you sort of danced around exactly what the pet/monster was. But so ok, master's cancerous lung is trying to cockblock him. Why does he even keep it around? Why does it watch American Idol? I dunno. There's nothing intrinsically bad about this, but it feels kind of trite? Like, as soon as I'm done writing this crit, the story will be lost like tears in the rain.

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: failbrawl results and crits, finally :siren:

We thank the blood queen.

As blood repentance, I'm offering five crits this week. If you want your Shakespearean crap crit-ed, just say so.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

anime was right fucked around with this message at 06:56 on Oct 27, 2015

Apr 12, 2006
:siren: Week 147 Judgement :siren:

newtestleper, dmboogie, God Over Djinn, Djeser, SkaAndScreenplays, guts and bolts, Auraboks, JcDent. You all are failures. You could not muster up a single word for an internet writing contest that you yourself signed up for and you should be ashamed. gently caress you forever. Goddamn and amen.

Benny the Snake and SquirrelFace both earn a disqualification for failing to follow the prompt and for editing their story after its been submitted (respectively).

Benny the Snake also performs the rare double dip of DQ + DM for writing a goddamn piece of poo poo fiction that made no sense and was terrible on a loving assload of levels. Wait for my crit, darling. Enchanted Hat also receives a dishonorable mention. gently caress you, too.

Blue squares, Entenzahn, and Killer-of-lawyers all get an Honorable Mentions for writing stories that fulfilled the prompt in a clever way and also for making me laugh.

Thranguy, congratulations on your first win. The throne is yours.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


Tyrannosaurus posted:

also, crits are tight. write 'em and post 'em. don't bother waiting for me!

I like critting. Artist's rendering: :c00lbutt:

Fausty - From Rose to Thorn

Meh OK. I am kind of confused about what happened here. Lana left but the other guy got a message? I don't know who Lana is or why she matters to anyone. Did she leave Virginia? Does it matter? I can't tell. These descriptions are wordy and overwrought. Way too many adjectives. Feels like the end of a short story -- too many unanswered questions.

Enchanted Hat - The Monster of Adelphia

Why did you split polemistos' paragraph at the end? That should be one.

Not a fan of the present tense. "With those words, Polemistos dies." reads like stage instructions.

It's an end via Deus Ex Machina? That's not the forest dragon attacking because Omilitos helped it, but that dragon is in fact attacking the city, and this new one is a completely unrelated newcomer? :what: With roles reversed it could have made sense. This is just a non-sequitor. And the whole thing just feels like a history lesson; this happened, then that happened, then the warrior died the end.

Ok looking at your prompt, it's the other twin? I guess? How does that matter? It's not even stated that the two men are twins. You have to actually say things in a story if you want a reader to know what the gently caress.

Benny the Snake - The Willow and the Ribbon

I don't what

the brotherly phl - When you can read the world

half way through - this is good.

You missed the divider before "He might have lied".

Hmm. Not poorly written sentence-by-sentence but I'm not sure I see the point of the bar stories. Both strands seemed to just peter out without much in the way of resolution. Children found, girl refused, the end.

Thranguy - Any Way the Wind Blows

Um. I am not sure the point of this week's prompt is to literally write Shakespeare fanfiction.


So uh. This is unreadable for anyone who's not well-acquainted with the plot of Hamlet and I can't see the point of any of it. Is it just a parody of the play? And who or what is the narrator, anyway?

TheAnomoly - Kissing a Boy

"those giant anime looking eyes of hers" hoo boy

maybe I'm not being completely selfish in all this, just a little. - reads awkward

and their full.

their full.


did you uh run out of punctuation budget at the end? You're nowhere near the submission deadline. You can afford to proofread a bit more.

So. This is a group of survivalists who were at a summer camp during the bomb, and now x years later (months? I don't know) they are leaving. Ending feels anti-climactic.

SquirrelFace - Diplomacy

not reading unspaced lines

Jonked - The Final Lap


a little more aggressive, reckless - should be adverbs.

"I guess now I <past tense verb>" is awkward.

Otherwise I don't have much to say. Makes sense, works.

Benny Profane - Honorable Men

Written competently enough, but what is the point? Why are these two motivated to kill their friend? Just because he might be tempted to overreach in power? Isn't that only delaying the selection of the new sheriff anyway? I don't see it.

Entenzahn - From Above

All right. This is not bad; the events are fairly well foreshadowed and come back around to the beginning to tie things up in a way that's at least satisfying. The story feels fairly slight but I guess there are worse problems to have.

spectres of autism - Jelly

OK this is good. The juxtaposition of normal and really, really weird works and made me laugh unlike other stories so far this week.

And then I. I don't know. You had me until the end. Destroying the head seemed too simple and the resolution of their fight/magic spell was too pat and the last paragraph was hnnrg. It wasn't an fitting punishment or a Twilight-Zone style ironic ending, it just seemed to come out of nowhere. And I like Was It All A Dream? endings even less than It Was All A Dream! endings. After all that, it needed a stronger payoff. You just kind of "meh"ed all the strands' conclusions with a wet slop.

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at 05:09 on Jun 2, 2015

Jay O
Oct 9, 2012

being a zombie's not so bad
once you get used to it

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: failbrawl results and crits, finally :siren:

It's fitting that the failbrawl has a failjudge. Oh well.

The winner, and recipient of the line crit, is Jay O.

Hooray! My first time winning anything of any kind in the Dome! (Including any sort of HM) :derp: I hope I can continue to fail upwards.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Tyrannosaurus posted:

:siren: Week 147 Judgement :siren:

newtestleper, dmboogie, God Over Djinn, Djeser, SkaAndScreenplays, guts and bolts, Auraboks, JcDent. You all are failures. You could not muster up a single word for an internet writing contest that you yourself signed up for and you should be ashamed. gently caress you forever. Goddamn and amen.

Benny the Snake and SquirrelFace both earn a disqualification for failing to follow the prompt and for editing their story after its been submitted (respectively).

Benny the Snake also performs the rare double dip of DQ + DM for writing a goddamn piece of poo poo fiction that made no sense and was terrible on a loving assload of levels. Wait for my crit, darling. Enchanted Hat also receives a dishonorable mention. gently caress you, too.

Blue squares, Entenzahn, and Killer-of-lawyers all get an Honorable Mentions for writing stories that fulfilled the prompt in a clever way and also for making me laugh.

Thranguy, congratulations on your first win. The throne is yours.


Jan 13, 2015

Writing "mostly technically competent" on my tombstone~


Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Thranguy, congratulations on your first win. The throne is yours.

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.
Okay, that was a bit unexpected. Since I just won with a high-risk approach, let's go with that:

Thunderdome CXLVIII: Gambling Degenerates

Simple prompt this time: write a story about a bet. High stakes, low stakes, long odds or short, fixed or clean.

1500 Words

No Erotica, as usual.

Signups close at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time Friday

Submissions close at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time Sunday

Thranguy, Djeser, Bad Seafood

Broenheim An adventurer wagers a priceless artifact.
Dr. Kloctopussy :woop:EGG RULE:woop: The winner of this bet will receive an unusually large egg.
Hocus Pocus A bet between a human and a non-human animal.
Erogenous Beef
Grizzled Patriarch
Jonked :toxx: Your protagonist is the person being bet on, and they're none too happy about it.
Screaming Idiot :toxx:
skwidmonster :toxx:
Rap Three Times
Posthumor Old Maid. To the death.
curlingiron :toxx: Your protagonist's opening ante is their fondest childhood memory. Literally, their memory.
JcDent One of your characters lives by the rule "It's not cheating if you don't get caught." Tonight, however, their preferred methods are unavailable to them.
Enchanted Hat
Fausty A friendly wager ends up with someone's reputation on the line.
SkaAndScreenplays :toxx: The fate of world rests on the outcome of this game.
Jagermonster Your protagonist is almost certainly going to win this bet, but they don't want to win.
hubris.height A hero with a tragic flaw, fated to lose this wager, but fighting to overcome that fate.
spectres of autism
the brotherly phl A gentleman wizards' wager.
docbeard :woop:EGG RULE:woop: A feud between egg farmers is settled by a bet.
Phobia :woop:EGG RULE:woop: We bet on what's inside the egg, and it keeps making that weird ticking, but it just won't hatch no matter what.
Le Woad
Tyrannosaurus :toxx:
Lake Jucas Your characters bet on something you wouldn't usually think to bet on.
Benny Profane A classic game gets a terrifying twist.
blue squares

Thranguy fucked around with this message at 05:54 on Jun 8, 2015

Feb 25, 2014

:siren: offering 3 line crits for people for any week :siren:

1. skwidmonster for gamble week

also newbies and loser if trex has one for the previous two weeks (guts and bolts, enchanted hat, ska and screenplay, fausty, the brotherly phi, squirrel face) are also getting line crits

gently caress why do i do these things for you asswipes?

flerp fucked around with this message at 17:52 on Jun 2, 2015

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

You took a bet and you lost, cause I'm judging this week. As punishment for my pitiful performance last week, everyone this week is getting line crits.

And I am going to be very mad while doing each and every one.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
In and would like a flash rule from one of the judges

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

In and would like a flash rule from one of the judges

The winner of this bet will receive an unusually large egg.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Crits for week Week 146 (villain week)

I did all the crits for the people who made it in on time. If you were DQed and want a crit, ask me in the thread or in IRC per my usual policy for late people. Also, since I was reading in judemode, I couldn't see your usernames while I was judging. And I didn't really feel like adding them in. If you don't know what your story was called that's not my problem :v:

Under Cover of Darkness

Beginning plods along. You’re not using the characters to tell us about the house, you’re using the house to tell us about the characters. So have them do more stuff. Most of the beginning could have been cut, and opening dialog is really banal. We can’t see facial expressions or hear tone of voice (and describing those things in detail is often laborious), so you have to make the dialog itself do a lot of heavy lifting.

Ending has something approaching Real Emotions. A little maudlin, but the characters seemed pretty human. Had you done something different the beginning, this would’ve been a fairly strong contender. I thought the way you “revealed” the man in the suit was a vampire was pretty well-done too. I wouldn’t have finished this story if I wasn’t a judge, but you actually had the makings of a nice piece here. So just keep an eye on pacing and description in the future, and I think you’ll do just fine.

The Jewel of Kazaar

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. The ending was literally a dude ripping off a mask to reveal….he was Captain Smashing all along! I mean, I understand you were trying to be funny or tongue-in-cheek or something (I hope?). But most of the dialog was kind of cartoonishly bland. In order to create an endearing villain in a story like this, they have to be really witty. You can’t waste time on “Aha! Once I complete my villainous plot, my victory will be assured!” which is basically my impression of most of the dialog in this story. Make your words DO things.

Plot-wise, it was...sort of coherent. Except I’m not sure why Captain Smashing and the empress appear to be on the same side? If Smashing was actually working for the Empress, was he betraying the League?

The Wrath of the Wasp

The voice was pretty enjoyable. The stinger/dick metaphor was a giveaway that this was Crabrock. My only critique is that it was kind of dumb that the wasp would be so dumb about what a tongue is, but he says stuff like “cut a bitch”. This seemed fun to write, it was easy to read, and it hit the prompt. Why weren’t the judges falling over themselves to HM it? I don’t actually know. I’ve been putting off this crit because I honestly can’t figure out what didn’t resonate with me about this. Sorry :negative:

Plumbers, Cracked

There were too many characters. The beginning with the captive and the hair felt really weird and unnecessary, since it didn’t match the tone of the rest of the piece too well. You really crammed that flashrule in there, too. Tsk tsk. I think you could’ve had sufficient banter with only two characters. Beyond that, I am weirdly attracted to the idea of summoning an eldritch god via a tremendous influx of super bowl shits. I like the concept way, way more than the writing.

Cradle to the Grave

This is kind of a pity party. Dumont was the most interesting character, insofar as it was kind of sad to see him get cut down like a monster after the tea scene. It was kind of weird that the supporting character seemed more complex than the villain, who was ostensibly the main character of the story. But the crux of the story is pretty much “reasonable ruler is cut down by religious anti-tax nuts,” which felt a little on-the-nose, I guess. It wasn’t really clear if the ending would count as a win or a lose, either. I suppose he gets to be basically immortal as long as his daughter needs him, which is more or less a win? But I’m not sure where that puts in him the bigger picture w/r/t the whole “overthrowing the dictator” thing.


Too many characters for me to really care about them. Having your guy physically removed from the heist necessitates that everything is going to be passive telling. And it doesn’t really do any good to have all this elaborate hacking description if I don’t really care about the characters, which was hard because there were so many of them. I kinda liked the idea that this was all for the purpose of getting staple foods, but you didn’t really inject much of the interesting part of your premise into the actual action.

Destroyed By Your Own Creation

Nothing about this hangs together very well. Why did this guy arm a bunch of monkeys? Were the monkeys also super intelligent..? How did they get the guns away from the monkeys? It’s not just enough to have the narrator think “maybe I’m crazy” at the end. Also, the editing was pretty bad. At one point I think there’s like, a chunk of a sentence you forgot to delete. You randomly introduce someone named Lisa and then never mention her again. This was trying to be wacky and crazy, but it was kind of messy and confusing.

That Time I Induced Stockholm Syndrome in an Owl and Leveraged it Against My SHITBAG Neighbor

I feel like this was trying to be elaborate and ridiculous. But the narrator’s scheme doesn’t really live up to the conceit of the title. Like, if you’re going to have a guy who’s into absurd bird-related vengeance, you have to go all out with it. This “scheme” involved having the bird scratch the guy and fly around a bit. Your narrator went from being absurd and nefarious to just kinda plain crazy. That was something I noticed a lot this week, and I suspect it’s because it’s hard to write a truly elaborate scheme in a relatively short work count. But I was with you until the end, basically, so you had the right setup. You just needed a stronger payoff.

Honey Kiss

I can tell you fell in love with your own description and metaphors at the beginning especially. This had something approaching a plot, but then it’s like you kind of got tired of writing, killed the villain, and walked away from the keyboard without so much as a backward glance. You villain isn’t really endearing or interesting. He’s just pointlessly evil. The ending line doesn’t really make sense and I’m not sure it’s supposed to be nonsensical rambling because he’s dying or what. But it didn’t read very good. It’s not really fun when a character is pointlessly evil, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them.

Sun Eater

This is basically three different stories about power and hunger expressed across time and vast space. You could interpret this story as having three villains, or one sort of villainous archetype rippling through various lives. The writing is pretty precise and I enjoyed reading it. The rough use of language was effective for the “modern” part of the story. It said a lot about the narrator without having to say a lot. I like that, in the end, your “villains” ultimately defeated themselves. It was neatly done, and hit the prompt pretty spot-on.

The Zurich Teleportation Caper

The dialog is very I dunno. Anime, I guess. Everything happens too easily, and I’m not really sure what purpose there was in having Appleby loot the CIA “off screen”. Like, narratively, why drop them in the ocean and take Mitzi out of the action? Also, if you could teleport anywhere, why not just use that ability to steal and stockpile weapons of mass destruction or something? I kind of winced when Mitzi revealed her anarchy symbol. Everything about this is just so dang cheesy. I think the dynamic between the characters was alright, but the execution was messy.

paper cranes are hard to make when your hands are for the gun

Cool title. This story made me smile a lot. I liked the sort of casual touch of scifi. Like, I automatically pictured a cityscape of megatowers and other scifi buildings when they were on the roof and felt the heat and the humidity, and you accomplished that with light brush strokes. The characters really were front and center, though, which was good. Kang IS a villain, but obviously he’s not, like, an evil guy. My only real critique is the jump to after Amelie is gone. It was jarring, and I wanted to know exactly how/why he let her go. I mean, I can guess at why, but it seems important. I guess it was probably the word count, but it took me a second to figure out that Amelie was gone. That’s a minor caveat though, cause this was a nice story to read.

Fortress of Solitude

Inept minions. A fatal moment of hesitation. COME ON I SAID NO CLICHES. But okay your villain is slightly gay for the hero. That was funny. The descriptions were all good. You definitely captured the sights, sounds, and especially smells of a convention. But I kind of felt like the story dragged a bit because of those descriptions. Like. Yes, a real-life villain is awkwardly navigating a convention where he fits in because cosplay. The ending was actually pretty well-realized, but I almost wanted to get to the confrontation faster? Or spend more time in your villains interior fantasy world where he thinks about watching Netflix with the hero? But I hate giving crits that are like, “I think you should change the whole premise of your story,” so I dunno.


Best as I can tell, an evil queen has been stuck in an endless loop of prophecy fulfillment. But as time goes on, I guess technology gets better and the whole prophecy happens faster. Then the evil queen just kind of like, decides to do things differently than all the other times? And vaporizes the heroes. But then, why are the heroes using standard RPG items instead of new weapons? Nothing about the logic of this world is very clear. Your first paragraph, for example, is full of action without context. I don’t know who this lady is or why she has dopplegangers. It’s just a bunch of things happening out of nowhere. And that kind of continued through the whole piece, which made the plot hard to follow.

A Bad Parry

A swordfight between two old nemesis. I don’t really care about anything that’s happening here because everyone involved is kind of just cardboard cutout. I’m not really sure who the note at the end is supposed to be from. And I’m not entirely sure what the significance of the briefcase really was, beyond an excuse for the swordfight to happen. Rereading this, I like that you kind of tried to paint Brahms as a guy who’s more or less ready to end this rivalry or whatever, but then most of the story is action and I didn’t quite care about the characters enough to make it exciting. I don’t even really know the basis of their fighting. So you’re falling back on the tried-and-true dynamic of a rivalry, but your characterization in this piece isn’t strong enough to make that dynamic feel new or different.


There’s nothing terribly likeable about your villain, though you make an attempt to at least hint at a sad backstory, and he’s effective at what he does, at least. I guess I appreciated that he stuck to his evil guns at the end. Like, if he’d had a change of heart, I’d have been real mad and frowned very hard. But in this case, his consistency in the face of compassion was the most interesting thing about this story. The slight “twist” at the end, where he recorded the lady who ran the orphanage, was pretty good. But I dunno know, having a guy who wants to literally buy up orphanages is were making bedroom eyes at clicheness, and I really wanted people to avoid cliches this week. That said, your villain had a clear victory, and you didn’t pull any punches or make him have some weak-spined moment of ~redemption~. Evil tried and evil won. I can respect that.


So, Cthullu uses the power of Lovecraft memes to dream his rebirth into existence. I kind of like that premise, but it’s too simple and too derivative for how dang elaborate you were with your gimmick.

Man in the Machine

This felt like a weird mashup of a few summer blockbusters from the past couple years. I mean maze-runner was literally a movie that came out not too long ago. I’m surprised you didn’t drop a Hunger Games reference (or maybe you did idk i was skimming a lot). The dialog feels like a vehicle for the characters’ backstories with each other. The villain is pretty overpowered at the end. The violence felt gratuitous. The whole dad/daughter thing was a bit maudlin. All that said, I didn’t hate this. There was a shred of relatability in the villain. He’s mad that the hero couldn't’t save his wife. He’d had his big moment of near-triumph and lost it. Those are fairly ok motivations for your villain to have. What would’ve made this better is if you’d implied their backstories rather than using precious, precious words telling us through dialog.


ARRGH I hate story intro where it’s just like, ships docking or coming out of warp or landing or whatever. Personal peeve. Ship operations dialog is boring. You’ve seen it in shows and movies a million times but usually it’s a really uninteresting way to open a story. Maybe some people love that poo poo, but I don’t. Ok. Anyway. The intro really was a bad omen, since the rest of this was a lot of space battling flim-flam. I don’t CARE what the spaceship is doing unless I care about the people on the spaceship. Plus, I don’t think you could just fly a reasonably sized ship around inside a space station while blowing stuff up without some serious problems. So even the space battle bits were kind of eh. There’s nothing here that is going to stick in my mind after doing this critique, because this is basically a by-the-book space battle with a bunch of cardboard cutouts manning the ship.

in memoriam

Not a whole lot of people went the route of the villain as an unfortunate or misunderstood monster. I was happy to see something different. I think you did a good job using his other senses, particularly sound and touch. I’m not too sure how I feel about the “present” italicized parts. I think you could’ve done the same thing in a cleaner way. They just don’t layer right, like there’s not enough difference between the past narrative and the present narrative to successfully give me the back-and-forth feeling I think you were going for. The ending was pretty sad. He went from existing in a hell he could live with to one he couldn’t, it seems. Like his one, hideous joy was broken by a moment Dim affection? I’m glad it wasn’t actually his sister. That would’ve been too maudlin and heavy, IMO. I was left feeling like he definitely “lost,” though what his future might be I couldn’t even guess.

Dr. Apocalypse Vs. the Modern World

This was a fun story about a super villain struggling with red tape and changing times. All the dialog felt real. Putting Dr. Apocalypse, who’s kind of a cartoon villain, in a realistic and relatable situation was a good choice. Because a lot of people basically wrote their own versions of Dr. Apocalypse this week, but they didn’t juxtapose it with anything realistic or clever. The end is good because not only did he “lose”, he’s pretty clearly been left behind. His only real nemesis is an old man who’s only in it for kicks anymore. Unfortunately, this piece’s strengths may be what kept it from the win. You did well because you took a cliche and contrasted it with a realistic world. The winner this week ended up being a story with minimal cliches (or at least less apparent cliches. This is flash fiction, after all), so it’s hard to compete with that even if you’re super adept with the tropes. Still, this was an enjoyable read, and you can feel pretty clever if you like.

Whites and Reds

I dig this. Small-time, real life villainy. Your guy was a smug bastard, but he was an observant smug bastard. The commentary about the shoes was especially great. Now, I have no idea wtf about cricket. But you kept me interested, and the fact that I was even able to follow the story at all is probably a testament to your writing. Writing in detail about a sport or a hobby can either bore your reader to tears, or reveal something about your character. I would say the narrative did a fantastic job at characterization. I was wondering why the batsman took his helmet off, though? Especially given that the narrator has a reputation as a dick. It kind of ruined the “perfection” of the narrator’s trolling, cause it was so convenient. Otherwise, great job.

The Last villain

I was with you on this one up until they started hashing out the plan. It felt kind of convoluted. The two-line scene where punchy guy walks into the police station was kinda rushed and lazy, so maybe you could’ve dumped the whole “i have to fake my death” part of the plot. He could’ve just changed his identity and made a one-liner about faking his death. Would’ve been smoother, and required less confusing dialog. It’s not like I couldn’t follow what was happening, I just thought the dialog leading up to the end was unnecessarily convoluted.

Every Family Has Its Problems. Ours is Telepathy.

So, this kid is telepathic or something and uses his power to troll his polite and talented brother. It’s hard to figure out what bugged me about this one. Everything just kind of...happens. The ending is just everyone abruptly deciding to make up, and dad “shouting” aaawwww made me laugh but not really in a good way. I didn’t understand why he lost his power. He was just too much of a little rear end in a top hat so it went away? Like, I read all the words and understood each individual thing that happened, but I didn’t understand why it was happening. And having a touching family moment at the end for no actual reason doesn’t actually make the villain endearing.

A Glutton for Punishment

I thought this was pretty good until a 2nd grader somehow got access to some sort of generic gas that conveniently starts out as a pourable liquid. I don’t think “knockout gas” is actually a thing that would be kept around schools. If it was, it certainly wouldn’t be anywhere rear end in a top hat kids could get to it. I find it hard to believe that a second grader would have the forethought and knowledge to knock out a room of people, but be singularly obsessed with candy. I mean, it’s funny, but it evoked a slight harumph from this judge. Otherwise, the writing voice was more or less enjoyable, and I didn’t have any trouble reading this in one go. So that’s something. And my questions about the plausibility of the premise may just be a matter of taste. Then there was the ending. The peanut allergy thing doesn’t really count as a “twist”, per se, but I kind of hate it when a key element of the climax comes out of nowhere. Your villain was a bit endearing, at least, so you managed a part of the prompt that a lot of people failed.

Like a Lemming off a Cliff

Uh. Ok. So we have the beginnings of an interesting character, but then he just abruptly jumps off a boat and ends up paralyzed. This story literally ends with a splat. Given the word count, this seems like a token effort. You could’ve spruced it up a bit, though. Maybe you start with the guy jumping off the boat after his blankie, then go back and explain the connection to the blanket, and his plans for world domination. Then you illustrate the end of his fall, as he plummets into the boat and crushes his enemy with his body. You could’ve done that in the same amount of words, tbh. It’s hard to crit things like this because it reads like half an idea.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

In, and could I please have a flash rule, judges?

e: thanks!

Hocus Pocus fucked around with this message at 08:22 on Jun 2, 2015

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Hocus Pocus posted:

In, and could I please have a flash rule, judges?

A bet between a human and a non-human animal.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
Villain week DQ crit for Djeser, per IRC request.

Burned By The Courts (And A Dragon)

My first thought when seeing this was a transcript was: Oh no I'm about to be bored. But actually, I wasn't terribly bored. I wished it wasn't a transcript, because my eyes automatically skim over all the all-caps words, but otherwise I thought it was pretty good. I like that Thranikar is definitely a villain, just not in the way we're initially led to think he is. I mean, he destroyed the village. But he also clearly had the foresight to get an inadmissible yet damming confession from Maywether before he razed the village. Now, why exactly it was in his interest to burn the village down, especially in a world where dragons can apparently be held accountable in a court, is kind of a mystery. He explains that it's his nature, but obviously that was a lie because it was premeditated. But otherwise, I thought you did an ok job of painting a picture of this kind of bureaucratic fantasy world and a clever dragon who knows how to exploit it. I enjoyed the fantasy trope legalese too.

This was a fun read, even in spite of the format. Too bad you didn't submit on time!

Jun 26, 2013


Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
If you like to gamble, I tell ya I'm your man.

Bad Seafood fucked around with this message at 01:23 on Jun 3, 2015

Dec 17, 2009

Fuschia tude posted:

SquirrelFace - Diplomacy

not reading unspaced lines

Hence the edit. I hit Ctrl + V and then my fat fingers hit something else and it posted.

I figured the DQ for editing was better than leaving a wall of text that wouldn't be read and DQ'd anyway.

Apr 12, 2006
Oh and Fausty is the loser. Crits coming soon.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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


Feb 15, 2005
I am in.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007





(also tyvm for the crit, Sitting Here!)

EDIT: And in the spirit of the theme, I'm betting my account. :toxx: ME MOTHERFUCKERS.

Screaming Idiot fucked around with this message at 15:21 on Jun 2, 2015

Mar 31, 2015

In with a :toxx:

Mar 31, 2015


Broenheim posted:

:siren: offering 3 line crits for people for any week :siren:

I'll jump on that, Bro. I just love making you unhappy. Can I get it for the gambling story for this week?

Rap Three Times
Aug 2, 2013

Thrice, not twice, nay not four times either.
Grimey Drawer
As the prompt is for high stakes gamble, I'm going to include myself and my fragile psyche in this week's show-down. I should have 20 minutes free on Saturday morning I hope...

Do I have to eat a jar of mayo to be allowed to enter or do I just post?

Jan 13, 2015

I'm in for gambling & would like flash rule.

Apr 12, 2006
This should be a mandatory :toxx: week


Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

In with a :toxx:

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