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  • Locked thread
Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/brawls.php?story=460

Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2016 around 19:11

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Illavick
Sep 15, 2012

WHENA MINA RENA VATIVE

Thranguy posted:

The Verse May Not Convince The Judge, Nor Chorus Sway The Jury

486 Words


Holy poo poo!

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007

a negative influence


Week 216 Results: The Jury is Drunk

A sparse week, and my co-judges were generally not impressed. I'd been hoping for some eclectic approaches to the prompt, and got what I asked for, but that monkey's paw once again turned out to be an unsound investment and the quality was variable, at best.

Still, we have a clear winner and loser. In victory, SurreptitiousMuffin can add yet another notch on his axe-handle for a piece of eldritch drawing-room grue that disgusted and entertained in equal measure, while SkaAndScreenplays was found bleeding out into the parlor carpet, after a last-minute submission that hobbled in with so many technical errors it almost covered up the meandering nothing of a plot.

Everything in between was more heavily contested, but one judge would like to throw an Honorable Mention to Boaz-Jachim and the macabre antique featured in their story. And all three were in consensus that llamaguccii's "The Munster Monster" earns a DM, due to being a scrambled jigsaw of a story that only revealed a vomitus-caked middle finger once assembled.

Has Lizzie Borden's soul been given some respite? Watch for the hatchet-gleam in the corner of your eye. Meanwhile, Muffin once again waddles to the throne.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007

a negative influence


A Woman’s Work (ToasterBeef)

There was some solid imagery in the first few paragraphs (though I’d advise against using both “hot and damp” as adjectives in an analogy for something “humid,” it’s redundant), but this deteriorated quickly after you pulled the dream reveal. With a word count this low, it’s generally a good idea to stick to just one conceit/set of characters so you have enough time to get the readers set up and invested in your idea. As it stands, you now have several paragraphs devoted to self-indulgent grue, followed by a lot of running and yelling that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Freddy Krueger flick.

I’m also a little lost as to how this excuses Lizzie herself – maybe the implication is that there’s some other malignant presence in the house that does the killings? Either way, it wasn’t clear, and the story just shrugs and concludes without elaborating further.

No Hatchet Stays Buried Forever (The Cut of Your Jib)

I was at least hoping for a couple stories that instead created a scenario analogous to the original Borden murder and used that to meet the prompt instead, so I was happy to see this one.

Still, it clearly runs out of time and space halfway through. I liked the scenario itself – family transplanted into touring musicians, etc. (though for a few paragraphs I thought “Axe” was a reference to the body spray and was rightly confused), and the setup in the tour bus between Emma and John is effectively and succinct, but once we enter the hotel room with Lizzie everything turns into flat exposition with little in the way of questions answered or reasons to care, and like the last story, it has little in the way of a proper ending. Might have turned out better if it’d been twice as long, but as it stands, this didn’t properly utilize the space it was allotted.

Seeking gold, he wakes the dragon (Boaz-Jachim)

This is a submission that would be almost completely insubstantial if we didn’t have the prompt to give it context – if I didn’t know it was written to excuse Borden’s crimes as the acts of one of her fragmented “possibilities,” the plot of this thing would be “girl touches magic rock, freaks out, runs off, narrator buries rock while thinking darkly of negative consequences.” And that doesn’t make for much of a story. The prose itself takes a fair crack at matching the diction of the era, but overall had little in the way of striking imagery or turns of phrase and its stiffness often crosses into redundancy (“the possibilities, the dangers, the sheer thrill of discovery” is probably the most egregious example). And while this one does have something approaching an ending, the conclusion itself is limp – narrator buries the stone, walks away whistling with hands in his pockets, word count maxed, end line.

You did a solid job in conveying the mechanics of the stone itself, which gets you points because it’s a fairly complex idea, but this was otherwise the seed of something decent that never had a chance to take root.

Roost (Benny Profane)

Jesucristo, that first sentence. I think you’re missing an “as” at the beginning of the second clause and that turns the first part of the sentence into a comma splice that just dominos into a huge ugly mess by the end. Not a good look.

There’s nothing technically wrong with this piece besides, but I found it to be the least impressed one so far, mostly because of how staid the prose is – we just have a narrator going “I did this thing. I did that thing. I watched this other person do this thing and I thought of that thing. These things happened. Then this thing happened. The end.” The image of the pigeons in the barn could have been striking, especially with the prior foreshadowing of the imagery relating to Lizzie, but the writing itself is so flat and unambitious that it makes the whole scene about as remarkable as a trip to the corner store for bread. And despite all this dry exposition, I’m still left with little idea of what happened in the end besides “something vaguely supernatural.”

This sort of writing might be period-appropriate, not sure, but I’d have preferred a penny dreadful to Henry James.

The Verse May Not Convince The Judge, Nor Chorus Sway The Jury (Thranguy)

I don’t have much experience with poetry, but this mostly passed the spoken-word test regarding phonetics and meter, at least. There were a few clunkers (“If divine ironic justice/Reigned the blade would have struck man” stopped me dead, and I still couldn’t work out what the hell it meant until I started typing up this critique), and the italicized lines’ separate rhyme scheme and random dispersal through each stanza hurt more than it helped, I think, since I was often tripping over them while proceeding through the lines in an orderly fashion. It also didn’t help that most of the usual rhyming-verse issues were confined to the italicized lines, like inverted syntax/Yoda-speak (“Feathers in bird-pile lain”) or phonetic slipups (“Slaughtered daughters and son” matches the syllable count but the beat is off). Punctuation seemed to be erratic, as well. And for God’s sake, you rhymed “rest” with “rest” in the very end. For shame. For shame!

Still, the verse was serviceable overall, and so far I’d say this does the best job of actually meeting the prompt – the pigeon incident is documented, and pardons Lizzie’s murders in a straightforward but humanist and poetically appropriate way. And that final beat was excellent stuff, if you overlook the repeated rhyme.

The Munster Monster (llamaguccii)

Well, this completely failed to hold my attention. I sort of get what you were trying at with the newspaper-clipping epistolary format, but the mummy-dry prose and sudden timeskips made it unpleasantly difficult to follow what should be a relatively simple plot. There’s also a number of bewildering formatting errors where it looks like you smacked the Return key one too many times, leading to line breaks where they shouldn’t be. Sloppy.

I can’t even really give this point for ambition, because in the end, this just takes over 1000 words and a lot of meandering back and forth to say “Lizzie Borden didn’t kill anyone, but this other guy did.” The one time it approaches something interesting is in the very last line, where the clipping reports on the children skipping rope – something that no newspaper would ever do, which itself lends the image an eerie, surreal air. If you’d stuck with that for the duration and unscrambled the timeline a bit, this could have been something engaging. As it stands, it’s just a tepid mess.

Old Lizzies’ Secret (Entenzahn)

Pretty sure that’s supposed to be Lizzie’s, not Lizzies’, but what do I know.

So far this submission’s main point of interest is that it spends the most time featuring Lizzie herself as a character, which is a shame because it does next to nothing with her – she starts out giving exposition and ends the same way, with neither the dialogue nor the narrative itself lending her much detail or personality. It’s also the dullest entry thus far, featuring nothing but a mostly blank narrator recalling some conversations with Borden, who eventually reveals that she probably didn’t kill her parents, and then dies. The story’s called “Old Lizzies’ [sic] Secret” and that’s literally all it is. It’s a piece of dry toast with tap water, hardly a single distinguishing twist or image. Technically competent enough to save itself from a loss, maybe, but that’s all.

Lizzy Borden loved her father (some doors even the devil won’t open) (SurreptitiousMuffin)

I don’t think the narration’s folksy diction quite matches the subject material you’ve got here – this is H.P. Lovecraft by way of Louisa May Alcott and your dropped gerunds call to mind a wrinkly hayseed in overalls hocking chewin’ tobaccky into a brass spittoon. You seem to think likewise, since you drop the conceit almost completely after the first several paragraphs.

All that aside, this was tremendous fun. Sort of a prosaic way to pardon poor Lizzie, but the execution was solid enough to make up for it, especially the twist with Andrew Borden’s broken German. You’ve been doing this long enough and well enough so that I won’t waste our time nitpicking your prose, but overall if you change the opening’s diction to be in line with the rest of the piece some alt-horror mag out there would probably get a kick out of publishing it.

Terrible Purpose (SkaAndScreenplays)

A loving mess. I can’t be kind about this. The myriad errors in formatting, spelling, and punctuation alone would drop it to the bottom of the pile, but add in the total lack of an ending and the fact that it reads like warmed-over Assassin’s Creed fanfiction and it busted the curve for failure on what was, overall, not a spectacular week. I’m especially annoyed because I extended the deadline mainly so this piece could squeak through, but if it’s going to be posted in such a shoddy state then it might have been better if it hadn’t shown up at all.

There are a few regular ‘domers who can hack out a piece in a few hours and still produce a first draft in a semi-readable state – looking askance at you, sebmojo – but they accomplish that through a frankly ridiculous amount of practice, and even then it’s not really an advisable thing to do. If you can’t put in the effort to make your piece readable then don’t expect anyone looking at it to care overmuch about the content. I certainly didn’t.

Oxxidation fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2016 around 02:19

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Well done folks, I'll have crits up tomorrow night.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Crit: Terrible Purpose

Okay, the biggest problem with this story is the degree to which it's leaning on extratextual information, particularly the reader's knowledge of this week's prompt. That's always a big peeve for me. Now, sometimes it's possible to layer things in so that the story stands up without the outside knowledge, and it just works as an added bonus, but I don't think that you've managed that here.

The opening line is a bit flat. The rest of the paragraph at least does something, but again far less for a hypothetical reader who doesn't know the prompt.

'ensemble' is the sort of word that you can probably get away with once in a story (of this size).

Missing punctuation that you probably already know about.

The 'handler' here's description is just a little bit too close to Neil Gaiman's Death, especially for another kind of anthropomorphic personification. Although some of that may come from the picture of Lizzie in the prompt?

quote:

“I like the scales,” he chuckled, “It really captures the reptilian way in which you interpret your namesake.”

Okay, this is a horrible, horrible line. First of all, no human being has ever spoken anything like this, ever, and in service to a really strained bit of off-mood humor.

Extraneous capital 'So'.

The dividing lines don't do anything good; those two paragraphs aren't worth setting apart like that.

The ending doesn't quite work, does it? I mean, in every other case we've seen it's Justice picking the target and Charles doing the killing. But the last one has reversed that so that Charles can have the opportunity to surprise her. If they're alternating in some way on each year's five, you haven't established that well enough. It also doesn't work on a higher level, because the story doesn't do anything to show how Charles has changed, what made this year any different than the hundred or so before.

There's some interesting business in here, particularly the fact that he feels more remorse for his 'just' killings than he did for the original ones. But I don't think this quite hits the mark. And given how strongly you're leaning on the prompt here I'd really liked you to have found a way to directly address it, to make more clear exactly what was happening with the Bordens. (Was this post-Justice, and if so what crimes had they committed? Was it pre-Justice, with the birth of Charles' conscience causing him to spare Lizzie (and the maid, unmentioned in the story, but...?) Or was it related directly to how Charles and Justice came to meet? Either way, it's a bit too prominent to not make a bit more clear.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


nb: the first draft went full on hayseed voice but it got axed a few hours before posting. I'm going to pretend this was a totally obvious decision instead of something another reader had to point out to me as annoying.

prompt up in the next 120-240 minutes: I've got some stuff to get done in the next few hours but I'll swing to it asap.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Thanks for the crits and the new avatar. I'll make sure to put the feedback to good use.

Schneider Heim
Oct 17, 2012


Doing 3 crits. Any takers?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Week CCVXII: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, ATTACK!



It’s been a quiet, maudlin few weeks in the ‘dome - somber stories about the frailty of human life, and a creeping sort of existential dread. That’s all well and good, but it’s time for a change of pace; your story this week must be METAL AS gently caress. That’s not to say it can’t confront grand themes of the human experience, but it should endeavour to do so with (for example) as many mecha-vikings, dragons, babes (or hunks), wizards, battleaxes and improbable explosions as possible.

But that’s too easy, so we’re gonna mix it up. None of your characters may be straight, white men, and your story must pass the Bechdel Test.

quote:

The Bechdel test (/ˈbɛkdəl/ BEK-dəl) asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.

There are no genre restrictions on this week, so long as the judges get a palpable “gently caress YEAH” rush while reading: space babes wielding laser blasters to fight off mecha-pirates? Awesome. A group of suburban teenagers accidentally bring about the apocalypse by rocking too hard? Deathgasmic. If you’re still lost, the judges be posting a series of album covers for inspiration during the week. You may use them as you see fit.

Nb: if your story comes off like a Saturday Morning Special about TOLERANCE, you will have failed the Viking Gods and will receive an automatic DM. On the flipside, no weird porny stories about girls kissing each other while riding dragons or whatever - sexuality is not forbidden, but be smart about it because if you fail, you will fail hard.

No fanfic. Poetry is acceptable, but must be EPIC.

Signups: 11:59pm Friday PST
Submissions: 11:59pm Sunday PST

There is no word limit but I'll stop reading when I get bored.

LEADERS OF THE GRAVEN HOST
Glorious Leader Muffin, Fabulous Lord of the Queering Host
Sittinghere, Blood Pontifexa of the Seven Steps
Mercedes, Ebony Warlord of the Glorious Nubian Expanse

WARRIORS
SkaAndScreenplays
ghost crow
Thranguy
sebmojo
Daeres
The Cut of Your Jib
Pittsburg Lambic
llamagucci
Maigius
Obliterati
Mister Bates
Toaster Beef
QuoProQuid
Hawklad

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at Oct 1, 2016 around 06:58

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Schneider Heim posted:

Doing 3 crits. Any takers?

I'm down.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2016 around 03:36

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN:

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


Kaishai posted:

We then cleanse our palates and hopefully yours with a reading of CaligulaKangaroo's heartwarming story of drug dealers, "Jean and Milan."

No joke, this totally made my day. Even with all the cringing I did at my own typos.

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


In

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

In

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Hell yeah i'm in as goddammit

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Some inspiration:







still need two co-judges

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I will help judge. Heavy metal lol TD is the aluminum foil of metal.

Daeres
Sep 4, 2011


In.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Indium has no biological role and while its compounds are somewhat toxic when injected into the bloodstream, most occupational exposure is through ingestion...Like tin, when it is bent, indium emits a high-pitched "cry".
(this is TD's patron metal)

The Cut of Your Jib fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2016 around 20:41

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Week CCVXII: SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, ATTACK!



It’s been a quiet, maudlin few weeks in the ‘dome - somber stories about the frailty of human life, and a creeping sort of existential dread. That’s all well and good, but it’s time for a change of pace; your story this week must be METAL AS gently caress. That’s not to say it can’t confront grand themes of the human experience, but it should endeavour to do so with (for example) as many mecha-vikings, dragons, babes (or hunks), wizards, battleaxes and improbable explosions as possible.

But that’s too easy, so we’re gonna mix it up. None of your characters may be straight, white men, and your story must pass the Bechdel Test.


There are no genre restrictions on this week, so long as the judges get a palpable “gently caress YEAH” rush while reading: space babes wielding laser blasters to fight off mecha-pirates? Awesome. A group of suburban teenagers accidentally bring about the apocalypse by rocking too hard? Deathgasmic. If you’re still lost, the judges be posting a series of album covers for inspiration during the week. You may use them as you see fit.

Nb: if your story comes off like a Saturday Morning Special about TOLERANCE, you will have failed the Viking Gods and will receive an automatic DM. On the flipside, no weird porny stories about girls kissing each other while riding dragons or whatever - sexuality is not forbidden, but be smart about it because if you fail, you will fail hard.

No fanfic. Poetry is acceptable, but must be EPIC.

Signups: 11:59pm Friday PST
Submissions: 11:59pm Sunday PST

There is no word limit but I'll stop reading when I get bored.

LEADERS OF THE GRAVEN HOST
Glorious Leader Muffin, Lord of Homosex
Sittinghere, Blood Pontifex of the Seven Steps

WARRIORS
SkaAndScreenplays
ghost crow
Thranguy
sebmojo
Daeres
The Cut of Your Jib


gently caress!!!! I'm stuck doing some crap brawl

Let me Judge!!

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2016 around 21:36

Pittsburgh Lambic
Feb 16, 2011

by Lowtax




I'm doing this.

llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In. Thanks for the fast judging btw.

Maigius
Jun 29, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Let me try for redemption. IN

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Metal is a lot of different things! Have some more inspiration!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w2m-TeLi6I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkysjcs5vFU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7kJRGPgvRQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ2u3pRpCjc

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Late subs leads to late verdicts:

Con Artist Brawl

Syndicated Owl of Electricty: The Hypnotist
Just starting off, this story is a mess. You want to earn some good will with judges? Look at how the drat thing is formatted. Preview edit your posts and make sure they’re not offensive to the eye. Second, this sentence:
Vance stops, looks up, and locks eyes with the investigator holding the manilla envelope for a beat.
is a bad sentence. If you have to ask why, read it again and think about where the verbs and adjectives are. I’m not trying to nitpick but look at how quickly your writing is fostering negative will. It’s a shame too because I rather the beginning bits with the unwinding yarn and such.
Also, your dialogue is poorly punctuated. I’m gonna pass along the same thing flerp passed along to me after kaishai passed it along to him. Go here, fix your poo poo: https://litreactor.com/columns/talk...e-in-your-prose
I don’t know why you chose to do the whole “Q:” thing. Nothing about this conversation seems atypical so I’m have a hard time understanding the point. Also (kinda like you), is it being said out loud? What’s happening there? Oh good, you keep going with parenthetical. I’ve never seen this done like this before. I have no idea if he’s just thinking them for the readers benefit or including them in what he’s saying in awsnap mode. It doesn’t work because the narrator's voice is outside of Vance.
Anyway, your story ended and I found it difficult to care. I guess he dosed the cops in the end or something? I don’t know. This story had so many problems that made it a chore to read, and it’s a shame because there’s some decent stuff buried underneath the mess.

__________________________________

Djeser: Tell me about a challenging experience you had at work

Good opener, but it’ s writing a big check that I’m hoping the rest of the story can cash.

OK, so apparently we can just throw around Diplodocus references and expect everyone to get it. I had to look it up, but cool. Hoping that specific reference making ability is earned through the story.

"How exactly are we getting into and then loving around in a mob boss's apartment, I ask. "

You ask? I think?

Oh good, more dinosaurs. Glad it’s a thing and just whackiness.

"I make it sound like the sort of place that's so boring any banker worth his coke would be begging for something risky and exciting to play with."

This is good.

Alright, read the rest of the story straight through and enjoyed it. Lots of good humor here.

Verdict:

Pretty easy decision here. Djeser would have won this handily had his submission been on time, but it appears that he has made the unfortunate error of overvaluing real world commitments. That’s no way to be a champ Djeser. And as for you, Statically charged nocturnal flighted publication, fix your poo poo. Preview edit. I got the sense you were going for humor, but none of it really landed. The parentheticals were also a big detractor. Since Djeser could not win this battle, I was looking for an excuse to hand it to you. Unfortunately, you did not provide me one.

Due to tardiness, and sloppiness, there will be no winner this week. May the holy one, blessed be he, have mercy on your souls.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Oh and I'm going to get my crits up for the week soon. Been crazy busy at work.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In.

Mister Bates
Aug 4, 2010


I've never done Thunderdome before, but gently caress it, first time for everything. If I suck at least it'll be a learning experience.

In.

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat



College Slice

Mister Bates posted:

I've never done Thunderdome before, but gently caress it, first time for everything. If I suck at least it'll be a learning experience.

In.

Good luck!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Driveby Crits!

Because I love/hate you all very much, I'm trying to get in the habit of doing more random crits. Here are three:

My Cat is Norris
Claudia and the Black Wood

I was going to do a line-by-line of this, but honestly, it doesn't really need one. If you listened to our recap episode for week 215, you would've heard some in-depth discussion of this piece. In which case, you'll already know I found it generally competent. I decided to crit this piece because I saw you post in the thread that you were feeling not-ready to have your stuff seen/critiqued by a bunch of mean goons. Well, to hell with that. Your words are fine. You could write good stories, but that'll mean getting bopped on the nose a few times.

What this story suffers most from is a lack of anything specific to your characters/where they live. You've got Mother, Father, Monsters, Priest, etcetera. A regular little LEGO town of stock characters. Even the foreboding Black Woods themselves seem like a fairly standard monster haunt. IMO there are a couple ways to get around that, via characters or via the setting.

Via characters: give your protagonist or one of your supporting characters a goal that has nothing to do with the actual plot of your story. The actual plot of your story is basically that some spooky creatures want Claudia to come join them in the woods. There's nothing wrong with that, but it needs a little spice, something that tugs the protagonist in the opposite direction of her destiny.

So, to make up a stupid ad hoc example, maybe Claudia wants to win a prize for spelling at school, but the voices distract her from memorizing words. In my example, the voices wouldn't have to be particularly scary or evil, even if the townspeople still see them that way. Maybe Claudia secretly knows she belongs with the voices in the woods, but gosh darnit she needs to prove herself to the town that's ostracized her. Maybe she even succeeds at this spelling bee, but she's still "that girl who hears spooky voices," and so she embraces her destiny and dances off into the woods, only to find the monsters weren't so monstrous all along. Something like that.

Basically, the goal is to give your character(s) something unique to their story (and your writing).

Then there's the other way I mentioned, having some unique characteristic of your setting. This is a little harder to make interesting, since no one wants to read a bunch of description. But one thing I noticed about this story of yours was that the setting was fairly generic. I'm not saying you need to describe the local geography and customs in depth, but we are very much shaped by our environment. Is Claudia meek and obedient because she grew up cowering beneath massive, unyielding mountains and heavy storm clouds? Is she strong because she's carried water for miles across a desert every day? Is she bold because her town is a frequent stop for passing merchants, who reward her precociousness with stories of far-off lands?

I'm not trying to put my ideas in your head. But what your writing needs most is just...a dash of detail and originality. And I feel really weird telling someone "be more original". I'm not questioning your creativity. I just think you need to expose more of your ideas to daylight, see all the possible ways you can develop them.


QuoProQuid
Dinner with the Parents

I'm critting this cause I told you I'd crit you, but tbh you turned around and wrote something really fun and charming so it's hard.

I like this story. My impression as a reader is positive. But ok now i'll give you my impression as a writer. Which means I'm gonna get all nitpicky, because you're at a place where the path to "better" is getting less and less obvious.

Ok. So. I think my issues with your story are actually kind of similar to what I talked about with Noris's story above. You have a really inherently good juxtaposition: the awkwardness of meeting the parents combined with the terror of facing an unholy horror.

I just wish the characters had a little more going for them. Henry was kind of predictably nervous but agreeable. I wish you'd somehow found a way to work more conversation into this. The bumbling "Hi how do you do" shtick worked just fine, but if we're in the business of pushing our writing farther, which I hope we are, then we should always consider how to make something more memorable. I would like if the conversation had lent itself to more personal details about Henry and Momdad. Some humorous common ground for them to have, or something.

Henry's reflection on how awkward Astrid must've felt at his family's house didn't ring completely true to me. Like, I think if we're being honest, we know that meeting awkward human parents is very different than meeting hellbeast parents from beyond the void. The forced equivocation cheapened things for me a little bit. That's why I wish there'd been more insightful conversation beyond the awkward greetings. You could've ditched Henry's musings on his own parents and established a different, more credible reason for him to be totally cool with hellmom and helldad.

I mean, The Joke is "lovecraftian parents are just like normal parents if you think about it!!" And it's a fine joke, and this story made the judges smile too, I think. But there are ways to twist that joke and put your own spin on it. I would've liked more on the embedded dad head, for example. He was there and it was weird and funny, but I don't think that device got used to its fullest extent.

Lastly, the language was all fine and good, but most of it was pretty standard re: describing eldritch horrors. I wasn't really a fan of referring to Astrid's mom as "the thing".

quote:

The appendages seemed almost too long, as though they had been made by someone with only a vague idea of what arms were supposed to look like

They seemed almost too long. So were they too long or not? In this case, 'seemed almost' weakens your image. Maybe her sinuous arms hang down so far her hands are parallel with her stooped knees. Maybe her torso is shrunken and hunched, making her limbs look longer than normal. IDK, far be it from me to tell you how to describe hellmom, but again, I think you could've been a little more specific with your language.

The second part of that sentence touches on somewhat of a personal pet peeve of mine: "...As though they had been made by someone with only a vague idea of what arms were supposed to look like". I get what it's supposed to mean. The thing you're describing is a distorted or malformed version of a familiar shape. But again, it's not very specific, and it makes me feel like the narrative is sidestepping actual description.

Anyway, just some stuff to think about.


SkaAndScreenPlays (or whatever your name is now)
Terrible Purpose
Line crit time!

quote:

A painstakingly chosen ensemble lay neatly at the foot of his bed as Charles prepared for the evening's outing Not gonna lie, I'm not that interested in where he's got his clothes laid out . August had always been a grim month for him. It had been August that impulse had bested self control. It had been in August that he had met her. It had been August that he had doomed a young girl to life as a pariah. I would've started with the last line of this paragraph, maybe. It's a hell of a lot more interesting than "a guy has some clothes on his bed"

That's not right, He thought, more like eternity. He shuddered as that goddamned children’s rhyme chimed in his head ???? . Just another macabre reminder of his grisly purpose, of a good deed gone horribly wrong. This isn't super effective since I don't know the rhyme you're referring to. But I guess I'll take your word for it, it's a super macabre reminder.

Charles turned from his ensemble and made way to the closet, ignoring his reflection as he reached for the top shelf. He retrieved the revolver with the kind of confidence one could only hope to achieve with a century of practice. I get what you're going for, but at the same time, simply getting the gun from his closet doesn't seem like it would illustrate competence.

He thought back to the girl whose life he had ruined, and to the girls whose lives he had taken. More than a few had deserved it. It was the first ones, the innocent ones that stuck with him. Okay not gonna lie this is where I've p much gotten fed up with vague allusions to his dark past

Charles eyed the Webley in his hands with a rare look of affection as he checked the ammunition. One short of a full cylinder. He closed the revolver and closed the closet for what he hoped would be the last time, telling himself the same lie he had so many times before. Yeah, this was a better way to illustrated how comfortable he is with his gun

This isn't murder, murder is without cause. This; this is-

“Justice…”

The word left his lips not as an emboldened statement of cause but as a bitter greeting of an unwelcome guest. The first time I read this, I thought this was pure metaphor. It wasn't super apparent that a person(?) hat literally materialized. I think a liiittle bit of character blocking was needed in this bit.

“Now is that any way to speak to your favorite person?” The question was sarcastic, but the implication not entirely wrong. “What happened to the dashing young lady-killer I met in Whitechapel so many years ago?” Again, the lack of any specific dialog attribution just adds to the confusion here.

“He died Charles ignored the sleight, assessing his handler with an attention to detail which would have impressed even the most vigilant of investigators he had thwarted. Bwuh??? This sentence is a mess. Looks like you were reworking this part and forgot to finish.

Combat boots polished to an obsidian shine met an impractically tight pair of jeans at the knee Okay, so again, because you haven't attached any blocking or description to this new character, it sounds like you're describing random clothing. . She wore a white blouse contrasted by a dark Victorian era corset that Charles could swear she had been wearing the first time they’d met. The night I was given purpose, he thought, the night I was doomed to repent for my crimes by repeating them. HELLO YOUR CORSET REMINDS ME OF MY DARK AND TERRIBLE PAST

The look was completed by a snakeskin jacket. She looked less like a personification of law and order and more like a girl ready for a night on the town. It was not a good sign. This is the weirdest episode of What Not to Wear ever

Regardless, Charles forced a grin.

“I like the scales,” he chuckled, “It really captures the reptilian way in which you interpret your namesake.” You tried soooo hard for this joke and it didn't work, mainly because people don't talk like that

“Swift retribution is the fastest road to restitution.”

Charles had never quite figured out what she was, probably some demigod or Fera given life and personality by the ever changing ideals and dreams of humanity. oh, I see

No, he had known drat well what she was ever since that night in the brothel, probably some sort of demon. Wait, which is it??? Why bother saying he'd never figured it out when apparently he's actually got a pretty good idea of what she is?

She raised an eyebrow as their eyes met. Charles became aware of his nudity even before she commented on it.

“Get dressed, because you're handsome and all, but I doubt you’ll be getting into the club like that.”

“You know, sometimes I wish you were blind in more than just a metaphorical sense.’ This is all so gosh-darn cheeky but we've wandered far away from the whole issue of this girl who Charles apparently condemned to an eternity of being a pariah, or something?

He groaned. It was going to be a very long night.

And So began their annual ritual. Five rightful deaths for the five lives Charles had taken too soon. I am at my wit's end with this dude's shadowy backstory

Their first target seemed unambitious.

“A drug dealer?” Charles scoffed, “You’re going soft on me Justice.”

“He killed two kids for this corner.” It was enough for Charles.

“Hey, buddy, my Girl and I are kind of lost and we were hoping you could point us towards the freeway.” He flashed a hundred dollar bill, “I’d really appreciate it.” Boy it would be nice if you'd used a few words to tell us that they'd got into a car and drove to Drugdealerton

Their target approached the Benz, drawing a pistol and espousing a threat. “Yeah, you give me your wallet, get out of the car, then-”

The shot cut the target off mid-sentence.

Charles drove off. Killer or not, he hated the envious way the dead looked at the living. Right, okay, well at least we're on our way and plot is happening.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I see a lot of bad scene breaks in TD and to answer your question, yes, this is one of them
Target number two was the owner of a suburban rub-and-tug. Prostitution didn’t bother Justice, was the sex-trafficking set her blood boiling. There was no telling how many girls had died in shipping crates on the way to these places.
Charles cut the madame’s throat as she entered the room. It was a nearly identical to his first murder. Only this time he felt guilt.

They made two more stops and killed two more people. The heinous acts only noteworthy in that they were two of the last he would ever commit. oh, ok cool
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It was around midnight that they finally dumped the car, Should be a period here, not a comma IMO Charles had decided that the port would be a good place to do it, no one really bothered coming to the lakefront at night. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with conviction as he made his way out onto the pier.

“Oooh,” Justice’s curiousity was uncannily earnest, “Are we killing some dockworker that dumps the bodies in the lake? Some corrupt coastie that’s smuggling women through the great lakes maybe?” Wait, I thought Justice was sort of his taskmaster?

“Guess again.”

“That cop you’ve been trying to out as crooked for the past...” Justice’s eyes shifted upward, literally looking for the answer in her head. “Twelve years?” The cheerful tone poked a hole clean through Charles’ resolve.

Does she know?

“Could be, though what would he be doing out here?” He took another deep breath, stumping a demigod was the most fun he had had in years.

“Hiding another body?”

“I’ve never been that lucky.”

“Damnit Charlie, I have to approve of it.” Justice’s spirited veeneer had cracked, frustration pushed its way ever closer to the surface. She can't be that oblivious to the fact that something's wrong

Is that her way of saying it won’t work?

“You aren’t used to being oblivious are you?” He reached the end of the pier, looking down at the revolver in his hands.

“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark.” He turned on his heel. For the first time since they had met he took time to look his friend in the eye. This thing that had saved him from the ravages of time and given his impulses a coldly noble purpose was real. I feel like you're not sure if you got their relationship across, so you're kind of dumping information near the end. And tbh, it's NOT entirely clear what their relationship is or how they got there.

She saw the gun in his hand, yet made no attempt to stop him.

“Tonight, my dear and only friend,” This is such a sudden shift, it doesn't feel very credible. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to go all maudlin. And again, it feels like you didn't trust yourself to get the dynamic across he choked back a tear, realizing that for all her flaws this abstract concept given life this is p awkward had truly been just that. He pressed the muzzle of the pistol against his head. “Tonight we end a reign of terror that spans a hundred years and three continents.” Yeah, I can see the story is ending, but again, I don't really know the nature of their deal. I get that Justice is forcing Charles to pay penance for indiscriminant killings he did in the past, but within this narrative, he doesn't seem like a bad guy at all. So this, again, just feels kind of forced

“Well played sir.”“Tonight woops we kill Charles Cross, colloquially known as Jack The Ripper. Perpetrator of the Whitechapel Murders, the Borden Killings, and nearly a thousand other violent crimes over the course of his lifetime.” AND THAT GUNSLINGER'S NAME WAS ALBERT EINSTEIN

Tears he’d never thought himself capable of welled in his eyes, “Before I go, thought. Answer me one question.”

“Anything.”

“What are you?”

Once more Justice donned the cocksure expression which had grown so familiar to Charles. With a grin she answered.
“Pull that trigger and you will never find out... Uh, this isn't an ending duder

Okay, so. You asked in IRC about alluding to things in flash fiction. TBH, this story would've benefitted from some straightforward exposition. You spend way too long playing coy about the fact that Charles is a killer-turned-avenger. You seem to be really into the banter between your two characters, kind of at the expense of everything else. What I like to do is put all of the basic info about my setting, characters, or situation up front, then use the rest of the story to put an interesting spin on it. Flash fiction is weird because you can actually do a lot of telling, assuming you then turn around and show some unique or interesting consequence of your plot elements.

To that end, I don't think Charles's dark past~ or relationship with Justice should've been as vague as it was. I actually like the idea of Justice as a sassy lady who works through a penitent killer until she ultimately drives him to suicide. I don't like the ending because, if you hadn't dropped that line about how "these were the last two murders he'd ever commit" or w/e, I would've have no real way of knowing whether he pulls the trigger or not. That, and the story just kind of ends. Literally trails off with an ellipses.

There are things I do like about this piece. As I said, the concept is kind of neat. I'm a fan of character-driven situations where people find friendship in weird situations. There's this really dumb but fun show called Lucifer, where the actual, for-real devil teams up with a no-nonsense cop and they solve crimes together. I wanted this to be like that. One nice thing about the show is it's very unambiguous about the bigger plot details. Lucifer himself doesn't try to hide the fact that he's the devil at all. At no point does the show play coy with the cosmology of the world its characters inhabit. God is a real-life entity who's got real-life uncooperative kids with immortality and magical powers. Hell is a place, but it sucks to be in charge of. All of this over the top stuff is basically presented ASAP so the show can get on with doing fun, character-centric plot things. You needed to have taken a similar approach here.

Also, in retrospect, the dude's shooting skills were only very lightly touched on, since you basically glossed right over any actual avenging he and Justice did.

And, hell, now that I'm thinking about it, it's really unclear what you meant in the beginning when you talked about making a girl a pariah. I get he killed people in the past due to Reasons (impulse, I guess), but it really seemed like the story was going to hinge more tightly on his guilt over that one girl. I'm still not quite sure how it all fits.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(crits over)

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Sep 29, 2016 around 03:00

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat



College Slice

Thank you very much, Sitting Here!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Sitting Here posted:


SkaAndScreenPlays (or whatever your name is now)
Terrible Purpose
Line crit time!

[...]

And, hell, now that I'm thinking about it, it's really unclear what you meant in the beginning when you talked about making a girl a pariah. I get he killed people in the past due to Reasons (impulse, I guess), but it really seemed like the story was going to hinge more tightly on his guilt over that one girl. I'm still not quite sure how it all fits.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(crits over)

Oh my god, it literally just occurred to me right now that the girl in question was supposed to be Lizzie Borden. And now I'm loling instead of getting ready for work. Addendum to my crit: This was the most oblique nod to the prompt ever in the history of Thunderdome, good job.

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way


As I submitted my last story, I thought to myself, "This seems middling to bad." Naturally I'm not thrilled to have written something of that quality, but I am happy to know my sense of my own writing is kinda intact after being out of it for so long.

This prompt's awesome. I'm (edit) ehhhhh pulling out of this because I'm not at all going to have the time this weekend. Whomp.

Toaster Beef fucked around with this message at Sep 30, 2016 around 13:22

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


Enten, I need an extension on my story. A few days would do it.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


that's sweet but I'm not judging our brawl so you should ask sh

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Mercedes posted:

Enten, I need an extension on my story. A few days would do it.

You currently have until the 3rd. I need a real good reason to give you longer than that.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

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


Sitting Here posted:

You currently have until the 3rd. I need a real good reason to give you longer than that.

Oh, pfft, I thought I had until the first. Nevermind, carry on

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


okay, im in

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

I'll take a crack at this one.

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