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a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Proooooooooooooooooooooooompt

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a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Prompt?

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


Interprompt over phone:

"Jerry!"

A scream so loud it cut through the headphones, making him look away from his homework and down the hall. He knew that scream, down to the volume and pitch. He was in trouble.

No sense waiting to make it worse. He headed down the stairs and into a disaster zone of cookware and steaming pasta strewn about on the linoleum tile. Mom was up on the counter, feet tucked in tight to her chest, eyes wide as she glared at him, then the cabinets under the prep area, then back to him.

Chester poked his head out from a cabinet door, took a nervous look here and there, clicked its mandibles twice, then retreated into the darkness of the storage space.

"Oh, crap." He said, shoulders slumping. She found Chester.

"Crap is right, young man!" Mom replied. "What did I tell you about super science in the house?"

Damage control time. "Mom, I know you're angry, but it's a school project this time, I swear."

Eyes narrowed, but she made no move to get off the countertop. "What project?"

Chester pushed his way out of the cabinet, the dog-sized black ant scuttling over to the upturned pot of spaghetti, steady click click click of its legs on the tile as it attempted to grasp the pasta in its mandible. Every scoop ended up falling to the floor, landing with a wet plop, only to try again.

"Dr. Halls gave us a module on the cube-square law," Jerry said, looking down at the ant as it tried, again, to eat the spaghetti. "So I wanted to demonstrate how it'd affect a creature that has been upscaled. I wanted to keep him in my room, but his exoskeleton can't handle the steps."

Chester was now pushing itself down flat, dragging the noodles to its beak with a wet, slurping sound. Mom sighed, feet sliding off the table, sitting at the edge of the counter. "Clean this up, then. I'll get the dog bed out of the closet and order some pizza."

Chester finished off the pasta, clicking in triumph as Jerry began to pick up the mess.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


No interprompt real prompts only.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Thunderdome CLXXXIII: Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots

This week's prompt is the post-apocalypse.  You are going to write me stories about interesting people who want something.  I want to be specific:

1. Post-apocalypse.
Something happened, and society got messed up.  Maybe it's a medieval post-apocalypse after demons invaded.  Maybe it's a sci-fi post apocalypse and trees are turning into crystals.  Maybe it's a surreal post-apocalypse and everyone's becoming rhinoceroses.  Maybe you write Fallout fanfic and I get mad.  No stories about causing the apocalypse.  If your brains are too decadent and soft, you can ask for an apocalyptic premise and I will flash rule you.

2. Interesting people.
How are they interesting?  I don't know.  Maybe they have a sweet jacket, or a complex emotional landscape, or they can melt bones.  I don't want to read about boring people though.  And I really don't want to read about people doing boring things, like wandering around aimlessly or talking the whole time.

3. Who want something.
This can be anything, even abstract concepts, as long as it's specific.  Maybe they want to reconnect with their girlfriend.  Maybe they've been captured and want to break free.  Maybe their car got stolen.  Maybe they want to find a working god drat computer that doesn't have a cyberzombie jacked into it.  'To survive' is vague and bullshit.  Give them a specific goal.

So, write about interesting people who want something in a post-apocalyptic setting.  You have 1250 words.  Signups close on 2359 Mountain time Friday night.  Submissions close 2359 Mountain time Sunday night.  That's 2 AM Eastern, 11 PM Pacific.


Judges:
Boaz-Jachim
crabrock
sebmojo

Entrants:
Jitzu_the_Monk
WeLandedOnTheMoon! - Flash rule: The world is freezing over, and your protagonist wants to go skiing. Just think of all that fresh powder, man.
Bleusman
J.A.B.C.
Grizzled Patriarch
Broenheim - Flash rule: The day to day struggles of living on a cozy, tropical, island paradise after nuclear armageddon.
Phobia
QuoProQuid - Flash rule: In the post-apocalyptic-energy-crisis world, fuel is a precious commodity. So how far are you going to go to keep this awesome road trip going?
Pham Nuwen
Thranguy
Ceighk
Blue Wher
YFDHippo
Jocoserious
Killer-of-Lawyers
SadisTech
Titus82
spectres of autism
ZeBourgeoisie
CaligulaKangaroo - Flash rule: Someone must protect the people of a frontier town from one of the unspeakable horrors that now roam the West.
scuz
Ironic Twist
Pantothenate - Flash rule: Humans have lost the ability to harness heat of any sort, and no one knows why. Fires won't start, the sun no longer warms, and anything using steam or combustion (power plants, motors) no longer works. Your protagonist's motivation is righting a wrong.
SurreptitiousMuffin
curlingiron
Wangless Wonder
Tyrannosaurus
Bird Tyrant

Boaz-Jachim fucked around with this message at Feb 6, 2016 around 10:32

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


In

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


THIS IS A SIGN UP POST AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE A FLASH RULE PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

THIS IS A SIGN UP POST AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE A FLASH RULE PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Flash rule: The world is freezing over, and your protagonist wants to go skiing. Just think of all that fresh powder, man.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

J.A.B.C.
Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.


I got an idea. Count me IN for this one.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




In.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

THIS IS A SIGN UP POST AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE A FLASH RULE PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

same

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


Sure, why not, I'm in.

Boaz-Jachim posted:

you write Fallout fanfic and I get mad.
Quoted for emphasis.

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


Also thank you for the critique Titus, you're a swell guy.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE



Flash rule: The day to day struggles of living on a cozy, tropical, island paradise after nuclear armageddon.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


ing in this week, because I'm a literal child who can't meet his commitments.

Gimme a flash rule

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



There's a signpost up ahead, next stop: the shitpost zone

I'm 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

The living will envy the dead (since the dead can't read horrible stories).

Ceighk
May 27, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

IN with a radioactive for last week's shameful display

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

"Dear Strong Feraligatr,

How do you read Pelipper mail with such big, meaty claws on?

Axew,
Post Town, Canada"

In!

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


QuoProQuid posted:

ing in this week, because I'm a literal child who can't meet his commitments.

Gimme a flash rule

Flash rule: In the post-apocalyptic-energy-crisis world, fuel is a precious commodity. So how far are you going to go to keep this awesome road trip going?

YFDHippo
May 2, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In

Jocoserious
Jun 9, 2014

LOOK OVER HERE!!


In.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008




I'm in. Let's do this.

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


In.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Count me in.

...

Wait, was I supposed to come up with a word with in in it?

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Titus82 posted:

Count me in.

...

Wait, was I supposed to come up with a word with in in it?

you did

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Crits for Strange Log Week, Part 1



klapman - The Fetal Fastness

This was a lot more poignant than I was expecting, given your prompt. You've got a good hook, and you keep introducing these new, interesting elements that make me want to keep reading. There's a neat balance of self-aware goofiness and a deeper, more meditative tone that I dig.

Mechanically, your prose has improved a lot. When you first started in the dome, you had some issues with purple prose / unclear imagery, but you've really pared it down. The imagery here is actually pretty strong; I really liked the bits with the invisible babies carrying away the swords / corpses and all of the soldiers seeing the funeral pyre. The whole thing is kinda surreal, but still internally consistent.

The only real issue I had here is that the first half is a lot stronger than the second; you start out with this strong sense of immediacy and these clear images, but then you get to the stuff with the narrator's son and the narrative eye sort of "zooms out," I guess is the best way to put it. The result is that a lot of action gets compressed and things inevitably become more tell than show, which makes it hard to get emotionally invested in what is meant to be a touching sequence. It almost feels like two different stories bolted together -- I see what you are going for, but you need more space to stretch your legs in the back half for it to be effective.

Not a bad way to start the week!

Amused Frog - Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

Another good hook.

This is a fun idea that just doesn't quite land, for me. I think part of the issue is that you've got what Roger Ebert would call an "idiot plot" - a lot of the narrative arc depends on characters being dumb / making dumb decisions. This can work - for another film-related reference, the Coen brothers pull it off pretty well - but here there just isn't enough meat to make it satisfying. It's pretty obvious early on how this is going to play out, and expectations aren't subverted.

To be fair, part of this is the prompt's fault. You've got an interesting concept here, but when you're talking about death being eradicated, just having a band that doesn't die from random diseases or something feels like it isn't taking that concept to the most interesting place it could go. The image of the audience being all battered and scarred and pockmarked is pretty cool, but I think you should have taken it even further. This is an absurd premise, so go nuts with it.

Your prose is solid enough, and there weren't any issues with clarity. The dialogue didn't quite ring true to me, but I can't really put my finger on why.

Not a bad story, but it didn't do enough to stand out of the crowd this week.

CaligulaKangaroo - The Ablution Feast

Muffin really wanted this to HM, and it was an easy call to make. This was one of the best stories of the week in terms of evoking a strong mood / atmosphere, which really lends itself well to this kind of story. It wears its Lovecraft influence on its sleeve (which is pretty much a given with that prompt) but there's this quiet sense of building dread that I really liked.

The prose is strong, and you know when details are important, and when holding back a little bit can be just as effective. There's some good characterization--the mother and father feel very human. The reverend is kinda leaning towards a caricature, but that Puritan, fire-and-brimstone type of character is one of the most difficult to write well, in my opinion.

The ending is great, too. Sweet, sad, and succinct.

theblunderbuss - Bliss

Your intro here is a little iffy. Since we don't know the bird is supposed to be dead right away, it takes a few paragraphs to get hooked. The mini weather report in the second paragraph doesn't help. In fact, Old Saul himself seems kind of unnecessary - you could have Ciara find the bird herself and it would basically play out the same without leaving the reader to wonder if this guy is ever going to show up again.

Once things pick up, it's a lot easier to get invested. There's some interesting stuff, you establish a strong conflict, and there's a satisfying / logical conclusion that is genuinely pretty creepy. The major issue here is a structural one - you are sort of playing coy with the reader the whole way through, which is a bit frustrating. It's obvious that Ciara knows what is going on and how to fix it, but you keep teasing the explanation out until the very end, which creates a sense of unearned tension. I think if you were just right out in the open with it, you could do some even more interesting stuff with the relationship between these two women. As it is, I just feel like I'm on the periphery the whole time, an outsider looking in.

Pham Nuwen - Get off my magical lawn

This story is just kind of silly in a way that doesn't end up being satisfying - what payoff there is is already heavily implied / pretty much explained early on, and it's just not a strong enough gag to hang a story on in the first place.

The biggest issue here is that the story is almost completely dialogue; it's a guy telling a story to another guy to explain an element of the story, which is almost never going to fly. Without some characterization, some sense of space / blocking / what these people are doing and thinking about, it's pretty much impossible to become invested in them or the situation. This is magnified by the fact that the most interesting characters in the story - the children and their father - are secondary to this very matter-of-fact explanation of what happened to them, to the point that it basically reads like a wikipedia article.

Basically, what you ended up doing was telling a story about telling a story. All of the important conflict and characterization is secondhand or off-screen, so there's not really anything for the reader to interact with.

Masonity - The Umbrella Man

Opening with dialogue is tricky, and it just doesn't work when you immediately break from that dialogue to create this sort of thin framing device. The entire story is dialogue except for those two framing lines, and as a result there isn't a way to visualize anything that is taking place. All I have is two talking heads, one of whom is talking in a grating, almost cartoonish cockney accent. There's no real conflict, no characterization aside from "this guy is a swindler," and no real narrative arc. Basically, it's not even a story at all. Nothing actually happens, and the entire thing culminates in what is essentially a throwaway gag.

I dunno, it's hard to give constructive feedback with this piece because I'm pretty confident that it was just a last-minute rush job. It pretty much breaks every rule of basic storytelling.

HellishWhiskers - The Universal Translator

This was an interesting story, and I'm still not totally sure how I feel about it. The story seems to be setting something up, and then it takes a hard right turn into something else, and it only partially works.

On a mechanical level, your prose is a little hit or miss - some of it feels overengineered, like your using larger, less precise synonyms that tend to break the flow of your lines and make them sound clunky. Sometimes this can work if you are doing it for a very specific effect - there's a David Foster Wallace story called Another Pioneer that does this - but here it doesn't quite seem deliberate. The dialogue doesn't really feel natural (it has a kind of self-conscious, weary-cynic feel), and the stutter is just not a good idea.

It's not irredeemable or anything; the idea is a neat one, and the sheer insanity of this "diplomat" that shows up is great. I think you went out on a limb here and I can appreciate / respect that even if it doesn't stick the landing. I also dig that final line, even if maybe it shouldn't technically work. I think it's like a one-line summary of the tonal whiplash that the story has got going on, and I like that.

Bleusman - A Fellow of Means

I liked this one. This is a good example of creating a narrative voice that contributes to the flavor of the story without feeling particularly intrusive. This is also a pretty good example of a story where the surreal elements feel natural because the characters' reactions to events remain consistent, even if they aren't "realistic."

The main issue here is that you've got these competing conflicts - the narrator's vs. the giant's - and the giant ends up being the more compelling character by quite a bit, which means that the story should have probably been told from his point of view. As it is, the reader ends up feeling like a spectator instead of being immersed in what is going on.

I dunno, I don't have all that much to say about this piece. There isn't a super strong narrative arc, but it's still a charming little story with some strong imagery, a solid voice, and an interesting premise. Pretty good for a debut story!

Ceighk - To The Curious

Opening with character descriptions is kinda like opening with the weather, or a description of someone waking up. That said, you almost make it interesting enough to work here - it sets a tone, and there's a bit of characterization in it, so I can forgive it.

You spend almost half the story setting up backstory and banter in a hand-wavey way that makes it feel unnecessary, and it mostly is. You could get the same thing across in a low fewer words and get to the actual meat of the story earlier, which is important when you are trying to keep the reader's attention. You do a good job of establishing a paranoid atmosphere, though.

The ghost crabs are cool, and you do a pretty good job with the imagery there. Then we get to this portal, and everything is building up and...nothing happens. I guess you are going for a kind of joke ending here, subverting the whole "curious person finds much more than they bargained for" Lovecraftian trope, but the side effect is that you totally kill your story's momentum and basically deflate all of the tension / interest that has been building. It's a gag that could maybe work in a more visual medium, like a TV show, but as the climax of a piece of written fiction it just doesn't work. Instead of being funny, it comes across as the author being afraid to commit to the story they are setting up.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! - Bindings

I think I mentioned this in IRC, but when I started reading this, I was in judgemode and I thought that my lack of a "no erotica" disclaimer had finally come back to bite me. Once I got farther into the story though, I think that intro serves it well. The way it segues into the next few paragraphs paint a really great picture of the kind of relationship we're dealing with.

Your prose is really strong throughout, and you've got some impressive economy of prose. Lots of little bits of characterization, foreshadowing, etc.

The time jumps were a little disorienting on my first read-through, though maybe I was just tired, because the second time I didn't have any problem with it. There's a good narrative through-line here, though I kinda wish I had a bit more insight into the narrator's headspace. It's hard to tell exactly what his motivations / desires are, though I suppose that's understandable when you're dealing with someone that is confused and narcotized, just drifting through life. This story is dark - not quite nihilistic, but pretty grim, and all of the judges were a bit unsure how we felt when we finished reading it. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Definitely in the upper end of this week.


Alright, I've got to get up early tomorrow, so I'll post the rest of this week's crits tomorrow!

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im entering

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


In

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


Thanks for the crits!

Also, in!

Any chance I can get a flash rule?

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


CaligulaKangaroo posted:

Thanks for the crits!

Also, in!

Any chance I can get a flash rule?

Flash rule: Someone must protect the people of a frontier town from one of the unspeakable horrors that now roam the West.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




this is triggering me so hard right now

scuz
Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!


Never done one of these, might be a good break from bideo gabes.

Am in.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



In.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

In. And can I request a surrealist flash rule, or does that defeat the point of flash rules?

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Pantothenate posted:

does that defeat the point of flash rules?

If you have to ask......

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


sure, In.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

ok people can stop signing up now

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Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Pantothenate posted:

In. And can I request a surrealist flash rule, or does that defeat the point of flash rules?

Flash rule: Humans have lost the ability to harness heat of any sort, and no one knows why. Fires won't start, the sun no longer warms, and anything using steam or combustion (power plants, motors) no longer works. Your protagonist's motivation is righting a wrong.

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