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flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Crits for Please Write Likable Characters Week #139

Thyrork - Tiny Tyrant
How Bad was the Day: It was pretty bad.
Character(s): Bad and boring
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: Low, not enough to get DM though
Comments:
- this is a really basic sentence fragment - “Struggling to not let the turmoil of emotions get the better of him.” (who’s the subject?) with errors in the intro, not a good sign
- I do not like the writing style of this story, it just doesn’t feel good.
- i feel like there are more errors in this story, but i'm too tired to point them all out
- its pretty hard to write compelling characters when it comes to nobility due to the formalities. it’s possible, but it requires a great deal of subtle details that were missing in this story.


hotsoupdinner - One Round in the Chamber
How Bad was the Day: Painful at least.
Character(s): Decent, could’ve had more, especially when it comes to Erica
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: Middle (DQed, didnt read the post)
Comments:
- the repetition of the word torture turned me off a bit.
- a little bit overwrought when it comes to the torture scene, shouldve been toned down a bit imo
- “The next blow breaks my zygomatic bone, which he explains to me is in my cheek.” - cute line
- “All because of the damage it took earlier when the car bomb went off. Saved by my previous gently caress up. “ - NO WHY DID YOU SAY THAT!!!!!!!!! I actually was super happy about how you talked about that little detail and it came back to it, but then you had to tell me! I knew what you were doing, have faith in your reader!
- One of things I was hoping for this week was the fact “worst day ever” also means that nothing is going to be as bad as it is now, and your ending reflects that a little so im happy.
- overall, this was enjoyable. the style turned me off a bit at some places, but it’s still average.


spectres of autism - All I Think About is Death (ugh, feels like a tryhard )

How Bad was the Day: I wouldn’t say it was really that bad...
Character(s): He’s… interesting at least
Was it a story: kinda
Where it stands: Middle (i am not letting this lose even if my other two judges hate this story)
Comments:
- Usually I’m not one for blatant criticisms of culture through sci-fi, but I think this is doing it decently, just a little too on-the-nose.
- lol “the memespace” goddamnit
- idk, this story just makes me laugh at all the really dumb poo poo in it.
- “no anime, not ever.” i like this man
- this got a little bit too philosophical for my tastes, but it was just a fun read to see how stupid you can make this world seem. its not spectacular, but it made me laugh so hey, you got that going for you.
- ent didnt like this as much me or sh, but i just couldnt bring myself to hate it (maybe you were pandering to my gbs posting????)



A Classy Ghost - Baby’s Day In

How Bad was the Day: Losing your legs sure do suck
Character(s): Pretty 2-dimensional
Was it a story: Sure
Where it stands: DM
Comments:
- I already feel uneasy about this right from the start, especially cause i remember that american horror story episode where he cut that girl in half
- i dont think the skateboard should be funny but it really is
- i dont like the motivation for not getting a c-section. seriously in this moment, any rational person would go to the doctors
- why does nobody give a poo poo about her having legs? is this serious or funny?
- ok this was supposed to be funny, but I didn’t really laugh to it that much besides some “what the gently caress” moments which I dont feel like are legit funny and more “wow you wrote that” reactions.


Screaming Idiot - When Life Gives You Lemons, Eat Your loving Lemons (or Eat Your loving Lemons?)

How Bad was the Day: poo poo sucks, yo, but wasnt completely awful, really.
Character(s): Started out awful but actually started to become real people near the end. Should’ve shown the other side first, imo, or at least hinted at it.
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: middle
Comments:
- already hate your character, good work (sarcasm)
- what the gently caress why are people writing all these jokes, omg stop!
- one of the things i dont understand about these stories is why did she stay with him if she hated him so much?
- nooooooo, why focus on richard? why? i hate this guy!
- what signs of her being gay?
- omg, when i said focus on character i wanted you to write people i like not people i revile!
- ok, richard is redeeming himself.
- at the halfway point i was sure i was going to dm this, but it ended well enough that I was happy with the story
- bit with the homeless guy tracking him down was a bit weird though
- one of the judges didnt like this but you redeemed yourself slightly at the end


Benny Profane - Marjorie’s Weeding
How Bad was the Day: Wonderfully awful
Character(s): Horrible, but they exist
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: MIddle
Comments:
- your voice is strong from the start, i like the sea theme, the storm metaphor in particular sets up a little foreshadowing, though it tapers off near the end sadly
- I like the interactions between characters
- I get this sort of “American Psycho” vibe from this with the Paul-or-William thing. I actually haven’t read that book, but I know what it does (like how it names some characters based on what they wear) and it gets that feeling.
- There’s this great feeling of things unraveling at the seams. It’s like watching a car crash, it’s so wonderfully tragic that I want to watch it all collapse.
- i liked this a lot, but the problem was your characters were awful people and that hurts it a lot. Maybe if there was just one character I liked it could HM or win it in good conscience, but nope sorry.


Something Else - Lance’s Last Chance
How Bad was the Day: It really hurts man
Character(s): Cliche, though there are hints of clever characterization
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: DM
Comments:
- good dialogue
- voice feels authentic
- Ending needed to be a bit stronger.
- I didn’t think this was this bad when I first read, but I agree with my judges when they say that you did the dude-bro humor too much and Lance wasn’t that great of a character. Maybe it was just me being tired but I don’t see why I liked Lance...


God Over Djinn - Mercy
How Bad was the Day: Strange and pretty awful
Character(s): Strong
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: Win
Comments:
- a strange story i enjoyed. I like the themes it explored and the surreal situation
- i read this on my phone and seeing it in the thread is one of the most terrifying things in the world with these huge blocks of paragraphs. maybe you could tone it down a little? (just joking I actually kind of like the big blocks)
- I had this high, but after sleeping on it, this still stood out to me as the most creative and interesting story this week. It used second person as an excellent tool. I can’t quite put the words on why I like it so much; just the themes it explored and how you explored them were wonderfully creative. Good work! (sorry you have to judge)


Ironic Twist - Penny For Your Life
How Bad was the Day: It’s an interesting take on a prompt, since it’s more about the memories of the past and the pain of it, and I like it. It’s also a pretty lovely day to remember all that crap.
Character(s): Strong, liked the protag
Was it a story: Kind of
Where it stands: HM
Comments:
- Protag is unfortunately passive, which hurts the story a bit
- I reread the last couple of lines a couple of times (hey look at the advantages of submitting just a few hours earlier!) and while I put it as high, once I figured out what you were doing, I really liked it. I don’t blame you though for making it hard for me to understand, it’s just me being tired.
- The reason I felt confident in HMing this was that me and the judges talked about it quite a bit and if a story does that without us puking in our mouths, then it did something right. It also had an excellent character which def. helped you out.


Grizzled Patriach - One-Fifteen Heavy
How Bad was the Day: A bad and terrifying day
Character(s): While not fully explored, i feel a nice hint of it, which feels good
Was it a story: Not really
Where it stands: Middle
Comments:
- Let down mostly by there not being much of a story.
- Writing is solid. It has an odd cadence that I like, but there just wasn’t enough there.
- I think sh or ent had this as an HM canditate, but it just needed more. It just ended and I was left wanting more. I mean, that’s good of course, but it felt incomplete


Killer-of-Lawyers - Population Affairs
How Bad was the Day: Yawn, idk
Character(s): Boring
Was it a story: If you count people talking as a story, then yes (i don’t btw)
Where it stands: Lose
Comments:
- gah boring dialogue
- this is just boring
- line crit inc


SadisTech - Deposits
How Bad was the Day: lovely
Character(s): ME!
Was it a story: Yeah
Where it stands: HM
Comments:
- Whoa, the second second person story this week. didnt use it to the full extent as djinn did though
- ok that happened
- this had a very slick writing style that was strong. this probably wouldn’t have HMed in a stronger week, but it was still good.
- judges convinced me to hm this one, i objecting mostly for the pants making GBS threads though
- "good story telling
"is making you feel like you poo poo your pants” - quote from the judgechat


Pete Zah - Nosebleed
How Bad was the Day: Bad
Character(s): There
Was it a story: Yes
Where it stands: Middle
Comments:
- Tense shift at the beginning (you instead of I)
- Pretty much like SadisTech’s story, except without the poo poo or slicker writing style
- not bad though


Trex - Five Minutes on the Powerline
How Bad was the Day: Bad but cool at the same time
Character(s): Nice
Was it a story: Yeah
Where it stands: High, but some might beat it out for being HM material
Comments:
- I like the voice
- I liked it, it was a tight piece that was just an enjoyable read.
-There was very, very, very close to HMing, but the fact that it didn’t feel like a complete story brought it down.


Skwidmonster - You’ll be getting a line crit for being a noobie, but here’s a little taste:

Base impressions - the prose feels average, but the story was cute and I liked it a lot. I was also going to be picky about it not being “the worst day ever” but your ending line cemented it very well. It was good, if it was not DQed, it would’ve been middle. I've seen much worse TD first entries.

flerp fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2015 around 00:27

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newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


I will have sequelbrawl II and the remaining judgeburps from painting week done by close of submission this week.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


Oh lord don't waste a line crit on my drivel. Give it to someone more deserving. I know I put out more crap than Sadistech's finale.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


I've been felled by jetlag. Prompt will come crashing down on your unwary heads in the AM (eastern US).

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Killer-of-Lawyers posted:

Oh lord don't waste a line crit on my drivel. Give it to someone more deserving. I know I put out more crap than Sadistech's finale.

self deprecation is the worst kind of precation

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


sebmojo posted:

self deprecation is the worst kind of precation

Self deprecation would require me to be modest!

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Sequelbrawl Part 2: The Switchening - Judging

Cancercakes - Perfect Action Hero 2: Ho's Revenge

Coming in as the underdog you exceeded my expectations with this piece. You really latched on to the spirit of sebmojo's piece, and gave us a story that fits the formula he established.

Some of the lines were really good, such as "Jack Magnum reached for his trusty Sig Sauer P226. Not there – back in his Shelby GT500 Classic." This cracked me up because it works as a send up of a piece that was already a send up, and those layers work with the way both of these stories keep getting more ridiculous.

It was a masterstroke to set this in New Zealand, mainly because the idea that there are secret agents doing this sort of stuff in our daggy backwater is hilarious. It also makes your (almost certainly unknowing) reference to Brad Thorn work better than it did in Sebmojo's piece. He is a famous rugby player.

So in terms of the theme, the way it works with sebmojo's original piece, the humour, the style- all these work really well. A few things let it down though.

The most important one of these is the clarity of the action. There are point where I just don't understand what's happening, eg "Two giant boots demolished the window as Jack’s instinctive dive connected and they slid across the floor on his leather-clad rear end, halting behind the tatty high-backed red leather sofa."

Second is the clarity of the plot. While plot is obviously a secondary concern in the burgeoning Jack Magnum franchise in this case I had just no idea what was going on at all. Leah attacks him in the end for some reason? They're at Ho's apartment for some reason? Who is Ho getting revenge on?

Last the prose is clunky in parts. Not horribly so, but there are definitely bits where the old read aloud could have helped. Eg "The barrage ripped through leather, splinters filled the air the wooden back began to give way -"

Sebmojo - Ethical Incontinence

This expands on the setting that Maugrim gave you to work with in a really nice way, giving clarity to the mixed up techno-fantasy jumble in a way that seems appropriate for a sequel. However I did feel that the worldbuilding stuff went on just a little too long for a 500 word story. The ansible is a cool thing- I knew I'd heard of it before but I'm not enough of a sci-fi reader to not have to google it- but when I did I realised it fit in perfectly.

Your prose is very good, significantly better than cancercakes. That's not to say it was perfect though- "The arched ceiling of the ship’s launch she’d commandeered off the Valse Triste, before its AI so regrettably lost its poo poo and plunged the ship into the sun, writhed. " is a bit of a mouthful.

The main problem I have is that there is so little to it. It did expand on the setting and the characterization, but it didn't do much apart from that- I don't even know what he's transmitting at the end- is it just a spy mission? Basically the actual storyline is somewhat boring, though hidden by tech-speak and good writing.

Judgement

WOW this was really really hard to judge. I basically like Cancercakes story more, just from a pure enjoyment point of view. It sort of spoofs the spoof by getting the style just right. I just wish I knew what was going on. Sebmojo's story lacks the raw charisma, but makes up for it in prose and the interesting expansion of the setting.

The winner is Sebmojo, for the sole reason of clarity. Cancercakes you were incredibly close to taking down the king of brawls here, I mean it when I say I enjoyed what you wrote. This was the closest brawl I have judged- I had to get some second opinions to make sure that my thought process was good (for the record they disagreed with my verdict, but thought my reasoning was sound- that should show you how close it was).

GREAT brawl guys! Thanks to both of you and also to Maugrim!

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



newtestleper posted:

Sequelbrawl Part 2: The Switchening - Judging

GREAT brawl guys! Thanks to both of you and also to Maugrim!

Grats seb and CC, I thought it was too close to call too.

I really liked this brawl format, it needs to be used again in the future.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Thunderdome 140: Who do you think you are?

Write the biography of an imaginary person.

1500 words
signups by 10pm PDT Friday April 10
subs by 10pm PDT Sunday April 12

There are no rules beyond the ones above but if you're going to go off the deep end you'd better write one motherfucker of an entry, you dig?

e: I knew I was forgetting something.

judges
Yours truly
Djeser
curlingiron

biographers
Thyrork
Killer-of-Lawyers
Jitzu_the_Monk
A Classy Ghost
Tyrannosaurus
Grizzled Patriarch
spectres of autism
newtestleper
Screaming Idiot
skwidmonster
Sitting Here
SadisTech
Bompacho
sebmojo
Benny Profane
Ironic Twist
Broenheim
HWPS
Wangless Wonder
After The War

God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at Apr 13, 2015 around 02:30

Thyrork
Apr 21, 2010



WARNING:
Crushes tea, and tea-related rebels.


Slippery Tilde

Do autobiographies count?

E: Yes im In, regardless.

Thyrork fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2015 around 15:43

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


gently caress it. I don't see how this will work if I don't play loose with the traditional structure of a biography, but what ever.

I'm in. I'm going to regret this. (Again.)

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at Apr 7, 2015 around 15:43

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


in

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


In.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

In.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Neat. In.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


In

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


Could I get a flash rule?

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

In!

This will actually be a great chance to work on a supplementary piece for a project I've got going.

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Friggin IN

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I'm in.

edit: though if you are in dire need of another judge by the end of the week, I can step up and do that instead. But put me down as in for now.

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


in

Bompacho
Nov 28, 2005


I missed 2 weeks of Thunderdome and I'm not happy about that.

I'm In

Bompacho fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2015 around 01:39

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Worst Day Crits for Week 139


Thyrork

The first couple paragraphs aren’t badly written, per se, but there weren’t a lot of clues as to 1) where this character is and 2) what the heck is going on. Of course, it’s easy to put together later; there’s some kind of blight on the crops, and Jonathan is at the capitol to ask for aid from the sadistic young empress. But let me go over those first two paragraphs, because they really did dampen my enjoyment a bit:

quote:

It was the smell that shook him as he touched the cup to his lips. A rich smell tinged with bitterness, one he knew well. I didn’t put together on the first read that he was drinking tea from his home. It’s a cool detail, but I didn’t pick up on it initially With a trembling hand he, lord Jonathan Grey Not fond of this introduction, lowered the cup. Struggling to not let the turmoil of emotions get the better of him. what emotions???

Jonathan tried to reason with himself as the unaware attendant moved on with her duties. Word couldn’t have gotten to the capital yet. <<<Okay that, right there. I don’t know nearly enough by this point to make sense of this. Why does the attendant’s presence cause him to speculate whether word of the plague had made it to the capitol? And also, the way this is phrased made me think he wasn’t actually at the capitol yet. He gave the order to Ellse, his fair-haired wife, before he left to put the harvest to the flame to keep it ”it” is way too ambiguous here, IMO from spreading. Jon had prayed fervently on the trip here that such a bold move would keep this outbreak from infecting the entire empire.

After that, the story actually unfolds fairly smoothly, but I felt like I had to work too much for some basic details. I thought the characterization was decent, and the choice at the end was grizzly enough. Certainly, it would be the worst day for any parent. I wonder if you read the book Dune recently though? The tiny, sadistic empress and her playmates, House “Harkon”, and the way you described the nobility all made me think of Dune.


hotsoupdinner

I’m going to be honest, my first thought at the end of the story was “what the hell was the point of Tony?” I have a confession to make. TD has made me hate guys named Tony in crime stories. Like, Tony is IRL a perfectly noble and good name, but every time I judge TD there’s good ol’ Tony who inevitably runs off with the money, backstabs the protag, or in this case is sort of just there as an exposition tool. There’s no reason the protag couldn’t have pulled the assassination attempt off on his own. You could’ve used that space to build on the relationship with Erica, or expand on the whole car bomb thing, since the resulting damage to his gun is very important at the end. Come to think of it, it’s pretty uncanny that Charlie would decide to shoot him with his own gun. I mean, he looked at it close enough to know there was only one bullet in it, so would he not have seen the damage? I’m like the furthest thing from an expert on ballistics or firearms, but it seemed like kind of a stretch.

That said, I didn’t really mind the “twist” at the end, because I did feel like you put enough effort into foreshadowing something like that. I think you had the right idea with how things played out, but your characterization was weak and you didn’t spend enough time with your most important plot points.


Spectres of Autism

This had some good things, some interesting things, and some bad things. I have a personal soft spot for stories like this. That said, you got too heady at parts. Your character’s sudden moment of disillusionment as he finally succumbs to the effects of neuronet addiction comes across as almost...pontificating? I hesitate to use that word, but it’s just so dang introspective, without much to connect it to anything concrete. I think most people reading this are internet enough to imagine what some sort of literal memespace might be like, but your actual conflict gets lost in your protagonist’s musings. I couldn’t figure out what prompted the big turning point where he gets stuck in his nostalgia, and all the other internet people turn on him like sharks in a frenzy. I think there’s a sort of interesting implication in there about how the internet seems to resent vulnerability, but I don’t think you quite hit the mark on this try.

I thought the ending was a little weak. The moral of the story is: get off the internet and go outside. You needed something stronger to justify all the swirly loopy abstract stuff that came before. I can’t stress how important it is to have a concrete, relatable human element in stories like this.


A Classy Ghost

Sometimes absurd, wacky premises like this one work. Unfortunately, this didn’t. It didn’t feel like a story that particularly wanted to work, either. For one thing, going into labor just after you’ve had your legs magically removed would be HORRIFYING. But all your characters had this quippy, blase attitude that really didn’t fit with the mental image I had of this pregnant, legless woman lugging herself around. I mean, what kind of world do these people live in where, for example, a manure truck driver makes a woman in labor ride in back with the manure? That’s what I wanted to know. The tone didn’t really achieve the right balance between gross/surreal/fantasy and humor.

The end was just cheesy. Why wouldn’t she ask the magician to teleport her legs to her? Wouldn’t a large cruise ship have sober medical personnel on staff? You could’ve done some really weird body horror, but you went with limp whimsy instead.


Screaming Idiot

I hate making assumptions about the writer in my crits. But in your case, I get the sense you don’t connect with your characters very much. Not in this story, anyway. Melody and Pepper are the only sympathetic characters, and they pretty much only do anything exciting at the end. Richie is so detestable I was sad the prompt prohibited him from dying. Like, did he have to be that sleezy? It felt forced.

What sucks is, if you’d written a realistic, relatable couple in this situation, it might have had some emotional pull. Plenty of people realize their non-hetero orientation while in a heterosexual relationship, and have to go through a painful breakup. It’s no one’s fault the relationship won’t work, in that case, and that’s what makes it extra sad for the parties involved. They may still even love each other, even if it can’t be romantic.

Instead, you made Richie this detestable character, with an even more detestable and less realistic boss. Also, the detail about the homeless guy bringing the ring back was unnecessary and unrealistic. Why would that happen? Why would someone in massive poverty give back something that could literally fix their life for a not-insignificant amount of time? I think it’s another symptom of the forcedness of this story. I wanna see you serve up some realness next time.


benny profane

This took a couple reads to grow on me, but it did. I think the good stuff is in the details, which sometimes get overlooked in Thunderdome due to the volume of words the judges have to read. You’ve got a lot of names and dynamics at play. Candice is more excited about meeting Jessica than seeing her estranged biological daughter get married. Jessica is clearly in a marriage of convenience. Harriett seems to mainly put up with Jessica because of the pills, and to maintain appearances. I will say, I thought Candice seemed a little too pathetic at the end, when they catch her boning the groomsmen.

This was clearly supposed to be Marjorie’s worst day ever, which I thought was clever, but I think there were too many characters for me to really care about any of their individual quirks. And they’re all such remote, aloof high society types. Candice is your only really “normal” person, and as I said, she comes across as a bit pathetic. Good words though. I think the judges all agreed this was a good story, if not a very emotionally compelling one.

Something Else

Wait, so the whole crux of this story is basically that, sometime in the past, Lance dumped Carly because she wouldn’t let him do her up the butt? Which he regrets, now that she’s getting married. This story didn’t feel very serious from the get-go, but when I read that I kind of lost patience for the saga of Lance the Improbable Idiot. Dumb as Lance is, though, I felt like Dustin was needlessly rubbing things in at the end.

I don’t understand why there’ve been multiple stories where the writer chose to go with an unlikeable character. Like okay, I don’t think Lance is an evil guy (just dumb as hell), but he’s not fun to read about because I’m not terribly invested in what happens to him.


God Over Djinn

This was the judge’s unanimous pick for the win. I think I liked almost everything about it, even your choice to use a 2nd person POV. There was a reason for the POV choice. It wasn’t just a conceit or a gimmick. Your details are very well-observed. I was almost getting bored of it in the coffee shop scene--loving hipsters, amirite (but I guess the character’s sort of banal bitterness is part of the point?)--but you dropped in the intrigue right on time.

I’m struggling to put into words what about this resonated so much with me. I think the other judges are in the same boat. I think it was the line “These days you just want to want to want to want to, and so on down the recursive plughole” that really drove it home. Whether you intended that to be “the point” or not, a lot of people go through a time where they feel like, if only this one thing hadn’t happened to me, I’d be two beats ahead of where I am now, smiling bigger and saying the right things and etc. Your character obviously has a particular hangup that began when he had that first moment of jealous ownership, which kicked off a spiral of self-indulgent self flagellation. He strikes me as someone who’s not grasping at life itself, but this illusion that he owns his life, re: the coffee shop and, much earlier, the action figure. And because he’s more focused on that feeling of ownership, he’s not actually living a life worth having ownership over.

That moment of realization is an actual Worst Day any reasonably intelligent person could have. And had you not written such a wonderfully creepy story, it almost could’ve come across as hopeful. Which is why I think the way you handled the other “you” is pretty great. Is he a metaphor? A hallucination? Were you ever really living your own life, or have you always been blearily trailing along after this guy, totally oblivious because you were staring down at your feet the whole time? Is he a literal alien who decided, “hey, I could do this way better than you are”? I wondered if the character is really “themselves” or if they’re more like psychic detritus. Maybe the other “you” is the real deal. Maybe they got better, and started doing what they wanted, and you’re like the cast off exoskeleton. It’s cool because it makes the story work on an easy kind of Twilight Zone level.

Anyway, GJ, I would be kinda hard-pressed to say anything bad about this other than nitpicking on a line-by-line level I guess.


Ironic Twist

Full disclosure: I’m writing this after talking to you about the intent of your story, since you already know what my initial impressions were. What you have is a good character, and a good setup. It’s just the specifics of your protagonist’s motivations that aren’t clear. Once you told me he was basically a debt-phobe, all the character’s little idiosyncrasies fell right into place. I think a lot of us run into this problem where like, because we know our plot so well, we feel like we’re giving too much away when we just come out and state our characters’ motivations. But since the reader doesn’t know the plot in advance, and their picking up information as they go, it’s ok to be a little more direct. Especially when the character’s motivation is something as specific as a life-crippling obsession with never being in debt.

The subway scene was a little bit confusing. I got why he fell over and I could visualize his position relative to the subway tracks. I think what threw me off was

quote:

He shut his eyes tight and felt his whole body jerk violently upward by the neck, choking the life back into him.

He opened his eyes.

The subway doors hissed open.

He felt someone standing over him.

It was a man in his thirties with a shaved head.

On my first read, I had trouble visualizing what was happening here. At first, I didn’t get that shaved-head guy had pulled him to safety. I think the reason is because you say, “The subway doors hissed open” and THEN introduce shaved-head guy. So in my mind, he was on the subway. On my first read I was like, wait, so who saved Tisdale? And why is he running away from this random guy? So I think you could fix that scene with a little more careful blocking. Otherwise, I’m glad we all thought this was worth another look.


Grizzled Patriarch

This was a great first half of a story. Fantastic. The judges were angry when it was over. Because you didn’t really end it, per se, so all the tension you built up fizzled out. Jacobs trying to scratch through the window, for example. The narrator is pretty sure he won’t get through, but we never find out why it’s “worrying he would try”. We begin and end the story with these characters listlessly drifting through the sky. You were real smart to pick a premise that is instantly terrifying to most of us. Being on an out of control plane in a sky that never changes is pretty high up there on the list of poo poo that would make me simultaneously cry and crap my pants. But there’s absolutely no payoff here. I’m sure literally anything you thought of would’ve been better than just kinda ending the story without any resolution whatsoever. You had 700 more words, you tease. I need the money shot next time.


Killer of Lawyers

Unless your dialog is very, very good, it’s usually not enough to make a story. This is one of those pieces where I wish you’d have scrapped the whole premise. What’s happening here? An orc is giving his pixie buddy a pep talk about how she needs to buck up, stop skulking in the bar, and go breed. I guess. That’s not actually readily apparent from the dialog, in spite of how much of it there is.

Your orc dude is marginally likeable and his voice is actually semi-believable. But it wasn’t nearly enough. I felt pretty aggressively apathetic about everything else. The generic future bar setting, your choice to make your characters tired old fantasy stereotypes. Both of those things felt like story elements you threw in just ‘cause. You need to really think about who your characters are and why you’re choosing to portray them one way or another. These could’ve easily been two humans having this conversation. I mean, a mandate forcing people to breed? That’s messed up, and you could’ve explored your character’s reaction in way more detail, rather than writing hundreds of words of coy dialog.

Even though this lost, there’s a kernel of quality in here that I want you to expand on. Get rid of all the extraneous bullshit you most likely picked up from video games, TV shows, or cheesy genre fiction. I don’t know which one of those things is your poison, but one of them definitely is, and you need to get away from some bad habits in your writing.


SadisTech

What can I say, the judges really liked your pants-making GBS threads simulator. I think this week showcased the 2nd person POV pretty well, which is so unusual that it couldn’t go unremarked upon. There wasn’t a whole lot of plot here beyond “get from point A to point B”, but the writing was detailed and immediate enough that I had this grotesque fascination with what was happening to “me”. Plus we all know how it goes, where you feel awful and it’s like the whole world is maliciously salting the wound. Entenzahn put his finger on it in Judgechat when he said he got a sort of Falling Down (the movie with Michael Douglas) vibe from it. That moment where we finally poo poo our pants for the whole world to see is cathartic. It’s like, gently caress you world, if you didn’t want me to poo poo my pants, you shouldn’t have backed me into a pants-making GBS threads corner.

It’s that beautiful, liminal moment of true freedom where the mind and body have hit rock bottom, and the soul may fly, free of worry or anxiety, because the worst has already come to pass.

Just don’t try this trick twice.


Pete Zah

This one was actually pretty similar to SadisTech’s in a lot of ways. Not going to lie to you, I keep getting this horrible feeling inside my nose every time I think about your piece. That’s a good thing. I think where this fell short is, at the end, your character was too self aware of how this was all like some big “cosmic joke.” Whereas SadisTech’s story built up to a point where it was pretty self-evident that the character was just uncannily and cosmically hosed, you came out and said it, which actually took away a little from that cathartic last scene.

Where you excelled is making me uncomfortable. The mixup with the meeting times was good too; it’s something I can imagine being legitimately infuriating. I don’t know if this story represents a “Worst Day”, but it was certainly viscerally bad. You can feel good about this though; you kept things moving, and your description was pretty spot on.


Tyrannosaurus

Good things about this: Plot is amusing, easy to read, characters are fairly fleshed out.

Bad things: I don’t know if I was totally convinced by these blue collar folks. If I were gonna read about their adventures trying to fix what they done screwed up, I might give more of a hoot. But as it is, this reads like, “local boys get into a helluva mess,” the end. It’s like, the characters are somewhat real, but I don’t really care what happens to them in this particular sequence because you don’t give them enough time to develop a real rapport on the page. And like, a good rapport is your strong point usually, so I was a little bummed.

The judges all enjoyed your story this week, we just weren’t terribly moved by it. I know you tend to err on the side of short stories rather than long, but I think you could’ve taken advantage of the 700 words you had left over to get your hooks into our judgy hearts.


Skwidmonster

This is a good first offering. Don’t feel too bad about the DQ. I really wish you’d cut out a bunch of the background of Grandpa’s clown fear. Like, the beginning part felt autobiographical, the end felt like an actual story. I found myself skimming a little, because I wanted to spend more time in the surreality of a children’s entertainment venue. I didn’t like how, once Grandpa sees Cornflake, then the story cuts immediately to after the fact, when mall security finds him. It would’ve been way cool if you’d started the story with Grandpa and Christie Lynn en route to the show, and built up his fear as they progressed through the crowds to the main stage. You could’ve layered description (which I think you’re pretty good at, once you trim some fat), characterization, and plot into one set of actions.

The very end is pretty weak. That’s not really the reaction of a kid whose grandpa just went nuts because of a silly mascot character. I think it would’ve been funnier if like, Grandpa had a meltdown, which caused Christie Lynn to have a meltdown, and they have sort of this insanely awkward and embarrassing shared tantrum in a big, properly climactic scene. Then you can tell us all about how Grandpa feels like a failure, and Christie never wants to let him take her anywhere for years, and etc etc etc.

You seem like you’ve got a good eye for observation and a decent knack for how to capture it. For example, “The roar of children is not a low, rumbling sound like it is for adults. When children gather en masse, it is a tinny, railing sound that assaults your ears, like the sound of wind slipping through the crack of the window of a gargantuan car on the highway.” <<<I really really liked this. I knew what you meant, and what’s more, I enjoyed reading how you interpreted it.

Welcome to Thunderdome!

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2015 around 02:55

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


A Classy Ghost posted:

Could I get a flash rule?

Your character is the world's best at doing something, but there are very important reasons why nobody but him/her knows this.

Thyrork
Apr 21, 2010



WARNING:
Crushes tea, and tea-related rebels.


Slippery Tilde


Thank you for this.

Thyrork fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2015 around 12:38

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


Sitting Here posted:

Killer of Lawyers

Right on the money. I wish I had scrapped it all as well, but you're right. I've got to cut out those bad writing habits.

Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



in

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



in, sorry Djinn.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


im in

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I'll judge because this sounds like a week full of awful storytelling fun

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Ironic Twist posted:

in, sorry Djinn.

this had better be one drat good story idea that you managed to generate, champ

Djeser posted:

I'll judge because this sounds like a week full of awful storytelling fun

you, on the other hand, are now officially in my good books

Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009


i think im gonna have to write this on my cell phone while I poop but luckily i poop well and often. in.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

flash rule me, djinn

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Reincarnation.

HWPS
Apr 3, 2015


Hello. I am in.

hats4cats
May 23, 2008



Is the passive voice suitable for biographies?

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Alright here are your dumb crits. Friendly reminder that I don’t care all that much what went through your head when you committed these atrocities. If you have any questions take them to Fic Advice or IRC or PM me. Speak up now for a linecrit.


The Tiny Tyrant. – Thyrork

This isn’t the worst Game of Thrones fanfic I’ve ever read and for a story that relies a lot on dialogue I think the conversational part was actually the high point of the story. Not that it was an entry with particularly high highs, just that everything else was such a mixed bag of muddy exposition and uninspired description (“a grand and lavish hall” – let me guess, it’s “richly decorated” and “full of splendor”) that the audience, with all its conflict and clarity, seemed decent.

The opening scene is particularly weak, in that nothing much happens, it only exists to introduce the problem, and then it doesn’t do that properly and I’m left asking myself if Jonathan is implied to have been poisoned and what the crop has to do with it.

It’s a decent dilemma you finally present, a kind of Sophie’s Choice, but then it’s not really pondered much. You build up to it, but that’s most of what your story is, your protagonist pacing back and forth going “Woe is me”, setting setting setting bla bla bla enter princess Amellia of House Slytherin who finally tells us what the story is, and that’s the climax and that’s the end.

The guy basically offers his son to be tortured by some psycho child queen. Condense all the crap in the beginning and give that decision a lot more weight. Show me his suffering, or his people’s suffering, or both, but don’t write a story about a guy dreading an awful performance review when lives are at stake.

---

One Round in the Chamber – hotsoupdinner

I’m no fan of rote crime drama. Yet, I didn’t hate this. It avoids the pitfall of being “edgy” and grandiose while taking itself too serious. Instead this is rather believable. Also it doesn’t start with a guy running with a gun in his hand. What you did was only marginally more original but you don’t harp on it too long, instead transitioning into the aftermath of a botched hit-job where everyone ditches the protagonist. It’s hard not to root for him when the opposition just flies in his face like that.

You still have many of the same problems that haunt these kind of stories stories. Some of the cliches are still there (the scene where he meets Erica and - gasp - it’s a trap! (there’s a meme for that)). It’s also not a very personal story. I never get a feel for the character as his narration or the plot don’t reveal anything that I don’t already expect from a stock crime drama protagonist (likes to survive, has traitor girlfriend), so I’m left with the impression that he’s just a soulless device for you to write action scenes.

The narration is serviceable, but first-person distracts from the story towards the style and for that I feel like you could have put more edge on the narrative tone. Don’t coldly explain the principle behind the torture. What does your character feel? Cut out the “I know”, “I hear”, “I look at” – it creates distance.

It’s cool that your protagonist is powerless and vulnerable, as he should be in this scenario, but then things conveniently fall into place before I really get to worry about him. I would have liked it more if the exploding bullet in the chamber would have been put there by him as some sort of long shot at using his knowledge about Charlie’s interrogation techniques to free himself, as opposed to being an Act of God that breaks him out of a jam.

---

All I Think About Is Death – spectres of autism

I don’t understand what the other judges see in this. It’s half stream-of-consciousness with clunky language (why bother), half GBS in-joke. The plot is a confusing mess without any concrete goal or characterization and the prose is full of crude abstractions where you’re supposed to be evocative. I’m sure stuff like “accelerated at the speed of birth”, “morphing his nostalgia receptors” or “fragmented, latticed truth” sounds super-deep in your head but if you want me to visually imagine the neuronet, if you want me to feel what this character is going through, this is not how it’s done. Having your protagonist “,think” stuff every other line doesn’t do anything other than to make the narration awkward and create even more distance in a story that should live from direct sensory impact.

Somewhere deep underneath all the rainbow-colored barf there’s the faint outline of a single tiny plot thread, and that narrative of a guy realizing he’s growing out of his juvenile internet persona is not a bad idea. But why does it happen here and now? Why does it happen the way it does? When your character doesn’t narrate what an internet is, or his attitude towards the internet, weird stuff happens, and where it’s comprehensible it doesn’t make sense. The guy is addicted to the internet and then he goes to the internet cafe and then he just so happens to grow out of his addiction within minutes? The gently caress.

This whole story reads like a bad simile for the internet from tumblr’s perspective, and you describe it by inventing an even more complicated internet. I guess I can give a respectful nod towards your noble goal of aiming for a story that you don’t have the writing chops for. Okay. The ending also wasn’t bad, but tbh I think the final line, good as it is, is also the only one that isn’t bad.

tl;dr: “spectres of autism” should have been the story title.

----

Baby's Day In – A Classy Ghost

There once was a horse who was very thirsty. It went to a bar to drink water. When it entered, the horse had to keep its head low as not to bump against the upper door frame. It worked its way through a mass of drunkards and the barkeep looked at it with amazement, beginning at the hooves and working his way all the way up, and said, “Why the long face?”

Comedy is tone. Comedy is perspective. Comedy is timing. Comedy is not a straight-faced retell of something you’d consider funny if it happened in real life. Really, there are so many ways to do comedy, they write books about this kind of stuff. Read Chairchucker’s Seriously, It was Huge, or Tyr’s A Series of Serious Beats, or SadisTech’s Deposits. They are all different, and they all work.

This missed the mark so bad I still wasn’t 100% sure this was a comedy when the skateboard scene happened because “weird stuff” and “comedy” are two different things. Considering that, when does the comedy start here? I’d say it’s her understated reaction at getting cut in half, but then it’s too little too late, and promptly subverted by her very normal reaction shortly after.

Your internal rules are all over the place. The only reason I know you attempt to do comedy is because the characters are so stupid I refuse to believe that you’re serious. So your plot makes no sense. Humorous stories still have rules, and comedy characters aren’t complete morons unless they are established as such. The prime example is aforementioned skateboard scene, which doesn’t just make no sense, the way you use it it’s mostly visual humor, like dressing a guy in a really funny-looking shirt (LOL!!!), the kind of humor that’s almost never funny in written fiction.

What can I say. The story was there but there’s nary a worse sin than failing at comedy. It’s like that one guy at a party who tells a story that’s not funny and when he realizes that nobody is laughing he keeps improvising in a desperate attempt to somehow salvage the moment and it just gets more and more painful to watch.

---

Eat your loving lemons. – Screaming Idiot

Imagine, if you will, a piano: black and smooth polished wood, ebony keys gleaming in the spotlight, just waiting for a talented artist to take a seat and combine the dainty highs and the roaring lows to a forceful harmony that dazzles the audience. Then three people sit down at once and play three different songs. That’s your story.

Sometimes the prose is good (“a gaudy gold ring practically gave off light of its own”), sometimes bad (“Love and expectant joy had been replaced with shock, and growing anger.”). Sometimes the characters seem likeable (Richard gives the ring to a homeless guy, puts a lot of effort into his proposal…), then they’re assholes (...all the while being portrayed as self-centered and arrogant). Sometimes the humor is timid and down-to-earth (he is smug while proposing), and then, BAM, I’m reading an episode of Family Guy (“One older woman fell to the ground clutching her eyes, raving about the blinding glare of an angry god.”). There’s no harmony here.

The characters don’t always make sense. Melody is implied to be reasonable, then flies off the handle because her smug boyfriend had the audacity to propose to her and not realize she was secretly gay and cheating on him. When Richard flies off the handle, the narration pretends it’s to defend Melody, and not because Bruce humiliates him. It’s all a bit weird and then I can’t relate to characters who are either unpredictable or plain unlikeable.

What elevates this above DM-levels of messiness is your ending, which is heartfelt and touching and shows serious character growth. Some glimpses at good humor are there too ("...and that is why I think you're an rear end in a top hat,"), but not enough.

I love the title.

---

Marjorie's Wedding – Benny Profane

Your characters were about as likeable as the combined dock of the Nuremberg trials. I had this on my very special DM hitlist for failing so miserably at the “make me care about the characters” part of the prompt, but then it’s decently written and tonally consistent, which is more than your brown-tagged comrades can say for themselves.

The plot had some absurdist thing going and you need strong writing to carry that kinda aimless stuff, but you provide that. If anything, there were some clarity issues: what’s the deal with everyone insisting that Candice is "only Marjorie’s biological mother”? It’s never explained. The beginning is particularly muddy, where many names and characters are thrown at me without much of an explanation. The prose needs some tidying up in spots (the silent, shy girl “buffeted on the small-talk”?) and the protagonist shift mid-scene is… novel.

Awful as they are, at least your characters are consistent and believable, so I guess this is nice if you take it as a trainwreck in the making to be consumed in slow motion, and I admit that it’s hard to take your eyes off it, but that wasn’t really the requirement this week.

The ending is weak stuff. “Everyone was shocked. Then *important girl* came in. She was also shocked.” Well poo poo!

---

Lance's Last Chance – Something Else

“Dude what does my crit say?!?!” “poo poo! Dude what does my crit say?!?!” “Story! Dude what does my crit say?!?!”

Okay so this wasn’t funny. Dudebro humor rarely is, unless you do something original with it. You wrote a plain story of a bunch of fuckups where one of the fuckups fails at preventing the wedding of a bunch of other fuckups, and everyone talks like characters from a Friedberg-Seltzer movie (truly the epitome of comedic storytelling). Another notch in this week’s dull comedy blade, and a deep one. The only part that made me chuckle was Punth’s attempt to flex before Lance ("I have a photogenic memory.") because it came so out of the blue.

Your characters aren’t just stupid but also plain unlikeable. What kind of a friend of is Dustin, for instance? His best bro lies in the hospital with two broken legs, at an all-time-low, and he walks out on him because he did the stupid thing Dustin knew he would do. What friendship. Then, much like Screaming Idiot, you have a chance at redeeming your Wile E. Coyote of a protagonist, but where you could give us a heartfelt moment of introspection and realization you do a 180 and slam the door on us with a dumb punchline.

Other than that I don’t remember much of it because I think next to all the dudebro humor, flat like like the liquid remnants of a failed night of beer pong, nothing much happens except people barf backstory and more dudebro humor at each other.

---

Mercy – God Over Djinn

I love long sentence constructs, but you kinda gently caress them up because some of your clauses are way too long. When you build sentences like that you take someone along a long, scenic road; there has to be a linear progression. You can’t take long detours or leave a thought hanging and then pick it up five lines later, because that’s just you getting your flock lost along the dirty jungle roads when they’d rather race along the cliffside.

I really liked this piece otherwise. You make good use of detail (and aforementioned long sentences) to illustrate how rote and predictable this man’s life has become, and the slow realization of the doppelganger, how it moves from the cup that’s supposed to be yours, to the - wait a minute - FACE??? is on point. The whole thing is just one long discovery trip both towards finding out the truth about the doppelganger as well as deeper down the rabbit hole that is the protagonist’s boring, wasted life.

It ends on a very sweet and profound message and is one of those very, very few stories where I don’t feel cheated when you omit the solution to the mystery. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter what happened to his identity. Because you show us, throughout the entire story, that he sucked at it, and that he’s probably better off without it. And then, unlike Lost, it really isn’t about the mystery anymore. It’s about the character.

---

Penny For Your Life – Ironic Twist

I often write your crit as late as possible because I never know what to say other than “this was well-written” and “I’m not sure what you were getting at”.

Here’s my interpretation: the protagonist is ill. That’s what the light-headedness refers to. He’s also a penny pincher. He meets his daughter, and on the way home his illness overtakes him just as he picks up a penny at the edge of the subway station. No idea why he runs away from the guy who saves his life, or what happens in the last para. I assume the man Tisdale is waiting for is death, though considering you went out of your way to bring up the proprietor at the beginning it might also be that guy, but then I wonder why you say he’d take “everything Tisdale couldn’t pay back”, which seems odd when he is indicated to have the money to pay his rent.

Your writing chops once again save your rear end here. There’s a lot of detail that brings the scenes to life and the dialogue is genuinely good, full of characterization and information that moves the action along and provides backstory without seeming forced. Two people talking at a restaurant is kind of stock, so it speaks for your skill as a writer that the bistro scene was very enjoyable regardless.

The characters’ relationships slowly unfold through the story, and that’s nice, but I’m not really sure what the protagonist wants, or why this story exists. I think it’s something to do with why the mother started calling Tisdale shortly before the events of the story, but I don’t know what that is. Did he just get his diagnosis recently? I dunno. As it is it’s a well-written but scatterbrained account of a day in the life of a weird dude.

---

One-Fifteen Heavy – Grizzled Patriarch

GP, I like your style but you have this really serious problem where you’re too lazy or whatever to think of endings for your stories and then you end up with two people stranded on a mysterious magical airplane and once you’re done explaining the premise you curtly bow out and leave me with the problem of what to do with those purple-as-hell balls of mine. It's like that part of a magic trick where the magician shows you a big box, and then he opens it from all sides and, see - no hidden compartment - and then he runs his hands over it - no strings! - and then the drum rolls and he goes into the box and, presto, the curtains fall and the trick is over. You even had 700 more words to go! I like to think that one day you will make a habit out of writing endings for your plot ideas and when that day comes we will shower you in Thunderdome wins, but today is not that day, which is a shame because the start to that unfinished story was neato.

---

Population Affairs – Killer-of-Lawyers

This story was a huge pile of

What
the
gently caress
FUCKKKKKK
Fig. 1 – Layout of a WTF-pile.

A literary ouroboros that only exists to unravel its own setting and conflict. The dialogue is painful and expository, the description fails at establishing any mood or attitude, the setting changes from bar scene to fantasy tavern to cyber-elves-whatever-the-hell spaceship and I still have no idea what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure it’s the character background for one of your Star Trek Online RP characters. Did I get it? Be honest.

My liberal interpretation of your story is that pixies are endangered, and the protagonist has been selected to breed with other pixies to keep the race alive, but she’s run from it, but they found her. If so, congrats, you wrote a story that’s a puzzle, and when complete it reveals what it’s about. It ends when you know the premise, so in a way the start is the goal. How very philosophical!

I was pretty annoyed when you only revealed the setting and the race of the protagonist half-way through (fun fact: when you mentioned her feelers I thought she was supposed to be a humanoid beetle), almost as annoyed as I was when you never showed me what was on the tablet, or why her conversation partner was the captain of the ship, or why he had to be an orc other than “well it’s faaaaaaaaaaantasy (in spaaaaaaace)” (imagine I’m aping you as I’m saying these words).

In case this wasn’t clear enough, the plot is also bad. Two people talk backstory at each other. “As you know, Captain Orc...” The prose wasn't much better and I wish you’d done another editing pass to weed out all the blocking and adverbs and bad smilies and cliches and punctuation issues and wrong dialogue attribution so it wouldn’t sound so much like the Shadowrun fanfic that it is.

Belated welcome to Thunderdome, bitch.

---

Deposits – SadisTech

I just wanna say that I fought tooth and nails to get “the making GBS threads-pants-story” HMed and you are welcome.

So without really going anywhere this has a cool vibe to it where it starts slow and problems just keep piling up. As you know, it is okay to throw obstacles in your character’s way, and if they keep escalating, it can even make for a good story! The writing is gross, gritty and consistent and in that way one of the few comedy stories this week that sets a tone and sticks to it.

I guess sh already stole my Falling Down simile so I’ll say it also reminds me a bit of Postal, the game where you just want to do your groceries and extremists shoot up the convenience store. It’s like, cut me a loving break, real life.

Not sure how I feel about the pants-making GBS threads. You had some cool plot going about a tiny cog getting hosed by the system and then you went and did slapstick toilet humor for the finale. I will grant you that the description is effective. It’s the whole story through, really, some A+ prose here. But maybe you could have come up with a better ending. I was genuinely leaning into my screen as the robbery part happened, and I remember being a little disappointed when you resolved the story the way you did.

Then again I guess making GBS threads yourself is all you can do sometimes.

---

Nosebleed – Pete Zah

Even having just read a story where I poo poo myself at the end, this was too gross for me. It’s also very one-note, like, the whole thing is very similar to Deposits in that random bad poo poo happens to a guy with weak agency, only you never escalate, it’s just one instance of “his nose bleed!!” after another. He’s also kind of a moron. Why doesn’t he admit that he’s obviously bleeding profusely and needs to reschedule? Why doesn’t anyone else notice or care? “Hey Barry, the next candidate just made a huge mess in the bathroom, like the whole sink was filled with blood and poo poo.” “Wicked sick brah *fist bump* pfooooshhhh.” It makes no sense unless the company is run by vampires or these people are pretty metal, which is never indicated.

You hosed up your tenses. Big time. Seriously, they keep switching back and forth mid-paragraph and for a story that clearly illustrates the grave short- and long-term effects of speed-bumps I feel like there’s a bit too many of those in your prose.

The first person narration has a lot of attitude and carries its own weight throughout the story. There’s also a few really nice prose bits here (the first line is fantastic, for instance). So tonally this worked very well for me, and the delivery was okay and even funny on occasion, but not good enough to make up for your weak-as-hell plot.

---

Five Minutes on the Powerline – Tyrannosaurus

You got thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to an HM. I don’t know if knowing this will make you happy or if it’s just salt in the wound, but that’s what it is. The reason it didn’t work out is that your story wasn’t very profound. It was funny, yeah, it was entertaining, probably the second and only other comedy story that really worked this week, but it never touched my heartstrings or explored any greater motive past the level of “some poo poo happened to me at work last night brah you’re not gonna believe this”.

Everything else was on point. Comedic tone, on point. Dialogue and attribution, on point. Characters, on point. Okay, the structure. The structure was a little off too, like, I don’t know if it was necessary to start with the dinner scene. This could have probably cut deeper (get it???) if you had put more emphasis on the accident/fallout and the aftermath (the recursions might have had to be more serious for that to work).

It’s a fun little tale for what it does, but it doesn’t leave much of an imprint.

---

Cornflake – skwidmonster

This is competent. You’ve taken more of a literary approach where you opt for slow pacing and fleshed out characters instead of high-octane action. It’s an appropriate choice and I think you see it through okay, making good use of all the little details that make your characters believable and paint evocative pictures in my head (“wild hooligans and their keepers” was pretty lol).

I don’t care much for the plot though. It’s obvious from the start that there’s going to be a mascot at the end and that the protagonist will get scared. You basically tell me outright and then you spend the rest of the story describing their road trip as if to build up suspense with the question mark of a potential unknown encounter dangling over my head, only that’s not very suspenseful. I know the twist is coming up, I even know what it is, and if I didn’t it still wouldn’t make the material much stronger. Really the character’s only goal in this story is to get from A to B and there never is any opposition until the twist ending. If you look at what actually happens, he narrates his fear a lot and they drive to the concert and, wouldn’t you know it, he gets scared. The end.

So this was genuine and believable, and the style was a good choice, but it wasn’t much of a story because there was no conflict and too little action, even considering it's a story that focuses mostly on the inner life of its protagonist. I did like the ending. There’s something simultaneously sad and cute about the way the girl reacts to her grandfather’s breakdown. You know she’ll eventually grow out of it and forgive him, and the adult way she sends him off is almost funny if you wouldn’t know that he’s not going to see her for one and a half years.

This has some good bits, but they are few and far inbetween a sea of exposition and beige travel reports.

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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

madpanda posted:

Is the passive voice suitable for biographies?

your mum is a biographies

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