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  • Locked thread
SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Sitting Here posted:

Muffin, toxx up laddy
LOL :TOXxX: like a bossxsc

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Daphnaie
Sep 5, 2013


Thunderdome Week CXCV Results



This week the prompt was to invert an existing story, but unfortunately I neglected to mention that you guys probably shouldn't be inverting quality. The judges agreed that this week wasn't Thunderdome's lowest low, but Thranguy didn't think he'd seen lower highs. This didn't have to be the case, so if there's something that everyone should take away it's edit and revise!

With that said:

THE WINNER: Congratulations to Ironic Twist! Your spider-story grabs the reader from the start, and was far more interesting than I thought a story about a spider living inside someone's head could be. Arachnophobes might want to give this one a miss, but myself and the other judges are giving it the win.

THE LOSER is unfortunately new arrival Goodpancakes. Although your story was lacklustre regardless, missing the prompt and serving up a story far too close to being a rewrite of the original sealed your inverted crown.

DISHONOURABLE MENTIONS: Our first DM goes to Toxxupation. Satire and humour are tricky business in any medium, especially writing, and your work didn't quite rise above that genre's chaff. ThatGuyStoneSoup earns the other DM, typifying this week in how your lack of editing made this story a muddle of confusing chronology.

That all said: thanks to everyone who participated and took on this week's prompt, even if a lot of your stories didn't quite get there. Practice makes perfect!

Ironic Twist, I cede the throne to you.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Maugrim posted:

Gonna help you all procrastinate with some crits from The Worst Week (#193)


Thank you Maugrim!

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Thunderdome Week CXCVI: Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome

There’s a Youtube channel I’ve been into lately where a guy pours molten copper on various items.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdg...vrCWJcgfQFdSdI7
Pick one from the playlist, write a story about it.

Yes, this may seem weird, but if you think about it for a second, flex your metaphor muscles, what do you have? A conflict. You have the destructive entity (the molten copper) coming after another entity, which can react in any number of ways. Are they burnt all to poo poo on the inside but fine on the outside, like the Coconut? Do they disappear in a wall of fire like the Green Paintballs? Do they bubble and send up noxious fumes like the Antifreeze? Do they melt and spray ink everywhere like the Magic 8 Ball? Are they mostly unaffected, like the Pomegranate Seeds, or do they burn up completely, like the Lego House?

PLEASE DO NOT BE HYPER-LITERAL WITH THIS PROMPT. The copper and the thing being destroyed by the copper can signify any number of things, but I ultimately want a conflict: between who or what is up to you to decide. Yes, I will assign a video for you if you ask, but I don’t promise to give out easy ones.

E: also, declare what video you're using with your in-post.

Word Count: 1500
Signup Deadline: 2359 EST, Friday, May 6
Submissions Deadline: 2359 EST, Sunday, May 8
No: Fanfic, Nonfic, Erotica

Judges:
Twist
A Classy Ghost
Djeser


Burn Victims:
Sitting Here—Pomegranate Seeds
newtestleper—T-Bone Steak
Julias—Sugar Part 2
Quidnose—Snow Globe
flerp—Rainbow Sprinkles
spectres of autism—Water Gel Beads
Thranguy—Cake Happy New Year 2016
sebmojo—Exploding Ice
CANNIBAL GIRLS—Watermelon
Toxxupation—Copper Pennies Ingot Treasure
Tyrannosaurus—Magic 8 Ball
sparksbloom—Pink Nail Polish
a friendly penguin—Popcorn
Carl Killer MIller—5 Pound Gummy Bear
Falconier111—Toy Army Men
Chernabog—Snow Globe
Entenzahn—Blue Glass Diamond
Grizzled Patriarch—Elmer's Glue
magnificent7—Cast Iron Pan

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at May 7, 2016 around 22:20

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I'm in

Also by IRC request, newtestleper is in, but he is eating a right now so he can't post hisself

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Once again I have dishonored myself. Were I a samurai I would happily spill my own intestines to prove my worth. Sadly, I'm Irish Catholic, so instead I'll just do some penance. But instead of a bunch of hail mary's and our fathers, I will only join a dome week after I have posted the two failed stories, and seeing as how this was Daphnaie's week, I'll let her pick something else (if she wants) that I must do. The only conditions are that it not be A) illegal and B) easily identifiable. So like no pictures, or something.

Until then (and until such time that I can actually make a commitment, or am willing to budget the proper time so that I can make the commitment) I will not be 'doming.

Julias
Jun 24, 2012



https://youtu.be/Od2lgXa5nDI

Sugar part 2
I'm In.

(On a separate note, I will try to submit an entry for week 193 before week 200 is up.)

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

Inverse World Crits

This week was not so good, in a different way from other not good weeks I've judged. There weren't all that many stories that were particularly bad, but the top stories this week were not all that strong. Like, would have been hovering around the wrong side of the HM/No Mention line (8/10 on the scale here) in a more normal week. Overall, I think that the problem was lack of ambition and energy.

A Virtue

We're already in Inverse World as this is a first-time domer posting early on Saturday and yet, in defiance of longstanding Thunderdome tradition, not horrible.

quote:

Gus had been part of the second time Esmé had an extended wait for a bus
. Fairly clunky, forced transition here. A couple of cases where you're being more abstract than you need to. “her sister”, “her North Carolina town”; these things have names. The second flashback section is generally weaker than the first, doing a bit too much telling where there should be showing and establishing strange mini-mysteries without resolving them. (Why was Gus interested in the husband being a lawyer, why wasn't he on the picket lines. Exactly what happened? Just a kiss? More? With or without full consent?)

The ending is a bit of a cheat, to be honest. Dementia endings are usually regarded as 'oscar-bait' in general, and when you establish that your main character is 82 years old and, by the rules of your apparent POV, aware of that fact, it's a lot harder to sell. This and some awkward prose is going to put you at 7/10.

Having read the original you're working on, I'm not sure exactly what you were trying to invert. Djinn's piece is frenetic and yours is languid, I suppose, but I don't see much by way of themes. Even with the note you put in it's not that clear.

Invisible Hand

So you got dealt the worst hand by this prompt, having one and only one choice of story to invert and having that story be one that did very poorly. (Although I personally wouldn't have had it at the bottom that week.)

This story was a mess. As with your other story, you have some fairly strong dialog skills, a rarity in the dome. Unfortunately, they're getting wasted again, this time with some preposterously heavyhanded attempted satire and excessive worldbuilding that still doesn't quite manage to make sense. (Just to pick a single thread, somehow these megacorps are so completely in charge as to have taken over the military and generally reorganized society but are still somehow vulnerable to a civil court?) Also, stakes are all over them place here, and 'and then they all blew up' is just about the worst ending you can give a story. 2/10, DM candidate.

The part where I try to figure out what you inverted: I think that what you're going for is inverting the narrator-as-smartest-person-around to a narrator who's the dumbest guy in the story? Although you have to have him figure something crucial out for the ending. Also inverted 'no ending' to 'extremely definitive ending', but that didn't really work out very well.

How to Finish a Sentence

I think that I'm going to have to file this one as 'good implementation of a flawed idea'. The prose is adequate, although the voice seems a little too flat, a little too human to really work as a non-human narrator, and there's a general lack of agency going on here. I feel like this kind of narrator should be either more alien or have a stronger personality and voice or both. The biggest problem here is that there's no sense of what the spider eats actually being consumed, lost to the host forever, and if you're going for that as subtext or unreliable narration it's not working. 7/10

The part where I try to figure out what you inverted: Pretty darn clear, a non-human that goes from knowing a lot to knowing nothing reverse to one that goes from knowing little to knowing a lot. The problem is that the original was the more interesting conceit, and the problem with both stories is that too much time is spent directly explaining the concept.

A Wall all Night

The opening is interesting, but is hovering just barely on the right side of confusing. What is Satch, if not an angel? Will we find out? When we have angels, a character named Jack wearing a seersucker and drinking scotch is almost overkill as far as devil-signifiers. Looks like we're not going this way, though. Having a character comment on how bad a line of dialog is never, never works.

Some short pieces that stick out as bad choices: “heart eclipsed”, “Jac”, two “metaphysicals” in a row when one would be too many, “.',”,”suffused booze”, another metaphysical.

At the end of this story, what has happened? What has Satch done? You're trying for a reversal where we're meant to think he's supposed to fix this doomed relationship, but when you turn it around, what has Satch done? These crazy kids were going to break up with or without him. 3/10.

The part where: Someone ramping a party up becomes someone winding one down, in a addition to an unhappy couple taking a more mature approach to their situation.

On the Farm

Starting in, the prose is both overwritten an boring. You're feeling the need to assign an adjective to every noun, and then winding up picking the most obvious or cliched one possible.

quote:

When his father died; Jameson left.
Ug. The only thing worse than a semicolon in prose describing action is an ungrammatical one. You've also got a where/were error.

You introduce a motorcycle in the tenth paragraph. That's a little late for an apparent genre shift. It was looking fantasy-ish up to then, now it's post-apocalyptic maybe? Also, this is where we see the first signs of conflict, which is way too late. And it's only a conflict if Jameson wants something he can't have, which we don't quite see even yet.

quote:

Raids were common, it was far easier to steal what you needed to survive than to make it yourself.
This is where you want a semicolon. Or to rewrite the line entirely. Way too much introspection and worldbuilding, not enough character. I'm not as down on worldbuidling as many other judges around here, but if you're going to spend words on it you need to have there be something interesting and compelling about the world, and here you don't. Also, this magic motorcycle, with it's Mr. Fusion fuel converter somehow never needs maintenance or other fluids or anything else that would require a functional civilization? 1/10

The part where: well, you said it outright, but I see it

Whimsy

Prefacing your story is bad bad bad, don't ever do that again.

There is nothing wrong with the word “said”. It's almost punctuation and not a word you should worry about overusing. When you do replace it, do so sparingly and for effect. Don't ever use words that don't do anything that 'said' doesn't do, like 'uttered' or, in your case, 'offered'. Comma splice in the third paragraph.

I'm going to be disappointed if this cape isn't literally bedazzled. Strange capitalization of 'table' and 'she'. Inconsistent on that last. More comma splices. So, to recap-summarize, a fan of stage magic has married a performer who's lost her way. He goes to see The Master, who is so flamboyant it's painful to read, and he suggests 'whimsey' as the solution, which goes over like a lead balloon. One of those stories that appears to be going for humor but fails to include anything remotely humorous. I think you may be attempting parody of the original here, but it doesn't really work and parodying something that the readers probably won't have read until after they finish yours, if at all, is a pretty bad idea. 1/10 at most.

The part where: The part where I wonder if you read the part of the prompt that told you not to try and rewrite the original story. Bedazzled cloaks are the opposite of tribal tattoos? Also, where the original was a good story, this was not.

My Secret Plan to Undermine the Policy Agenda of Michelle Obama

Okay, this is light, actually hits on the humor side more or less. A little low stakes, a bit of an unlikeable protagonist. And Mrs. Metcalf seems a little too-easily gulled. There's more to it than most of this week so far. More energy to it, in fact this was the only story that really had any energy at all. 8/10 (I liked this considerably more than the other judges) with a caveat: I'd rather not see this kind of story get the win but would have been be okay with an HM. I mean, it's fairly well written, but unless the prompt specifically calls for this sort of thing, I'd rather not see something with themes this juvenile win, at least not unless it's really, really fantastic, and this is merely good.

The part where: Character is trying to get sick rather than get healthy.

No More Lies, for Once

A fairly good story, this one. My one major problem with it is that I have absolutely no idea how old the narrator is, if he's a kid in fairly deep denial or an insane and/or mentally challenged adult. There are some practical matters of undressing and re-dressing a corpse that are glossed over as well (or was he put on the sofa naked? Surely not? A robe? I guess you're deliberately glossing over this part to make the story less BTS-esque than it already is, perhaps. 7/10. Probably would have been my top pick if I'd been judging alone.

The part where: Pretty clear, original was about letting go of a dead father and this is about not letting go of same.

I Used to be

Before starting the story, just from the title, wondering if this is going to be another meme story. Thankfully no, but this is...not exactly a story. Monolog, confessional, and there's a character in there, but not enough conflict or interaction to really drive much narrative out of it. Second person is always tricky, and when the 'you' is apparently the entire audience it's even more so. I'm not sure what's going on with the strange semicolon break near the beginning. 6/10.

The part where: Fairly obvious even if you hadn't stated it.

Final Thoughts

Not a good week when you're still looking for a viable win candidate and run out of stories. So I'll heap a little extra shame on all four of this week's failures, because, well, this could have been any of your weeks to shine.

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


Ok, I failed last week but I think I have time this week. I WILL DO IT:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WarNOKCnWYs
Copper vs. Snowglobe

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

From beyond the Toxxic Curtain, flerp wishes it to be known that he's in with this video.

Goodpancakes
May 18, 2004

Redlining my shit posting machine


Fun Shoe

Hey thanks for the crits! The intention was that its a magician and not actually a wizard but I'm bad.

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




in with the water gel beads one

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 with Cake Happy New Year 2016

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

Ironic Twist posted:

Yes, I will assign a video for you if you ask

Asking

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Goodpancakes posted:

Hey thanks for the crits! The intention was that its a magician and not actually a wizard but I'm bad.

lol

e: in with exploding ice block lol

sebmojo fucked around with this message at May 3, 2016 around 20:30

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


In with the watermelon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJPOly61hDQ

NieR Occomata
Jan 18, 2009


In with copper pennies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auhByjWYOtQ

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-3QByz1S9U

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Ironic Twist posted:


E: also, declare what video you're using with your in-post.


If you haven't done this, please do so, or ask for one.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007


In, can I get a flash rule judges?

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In with the nail polish.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Thank you for the critique, Thranguy!

I really enjoyed your story too, ironic twist.

In this week with https://youtu.be/RClU4uW5Qs0
Molten copper vs popcorn

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Carl Killer Miller posted:

In, can I get a flash rule judges?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4BRsE7trws

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


say thank you to A Classy Ghost for unbanning me and letting these crits out sooner! and also, thank you again to ghost for being the coolest ghost around

Crits for last week, out of order because idgaf.

oh yeah i wasnt a judge if any1 is confused these are bonus crits cause im nice.

Twist

I don’t like when people do the whole “okay, first of all” because it feels like rly hard to force a voice in and it also doesnt really do anything. Like those words are just kind of wasted at the beginning and I think starting with “I never intended to live inside your head for so long” is a lot more interesting way to start instead of all those words at the start that amount to basically literary junk (i rly want to say literary introns but idk if people would get that). This is continued throughout the story and muddies your story down.

Second paragraph I don’t really dig. Maybe it’s just because I’m familiar with the four F’s from bio classes, but in the essence of the story, what does it really add? I don’t really learn much here.

I don’t really understand the third paragraph that much.

This is kind of oddly vague? Like there’s specifics but also there’s a lot of whats? Like, the description in the third paragraph give me a what? vibe and then the white orbs are just like what? Im just mostly confused at this point.

I really dont understand. Like, i guess he’s eating the brain and feeling the emotions? How? And man, you really gotta throw your reader a bone sometimes because im confused already and then those italics come in and im just like what????

Ok, so the spider just becomes sentient all of a sudden, understands its eating memories, and decides to only eat the bad memories? Why is he eating only the bad ones? How does he know that they’re bad? Idk.

Twist i dont loving understand. Your words are good, like always, but the story, it just, it hurts my brain. I really dont understand ur spider. He’s just like, i gotta eat, but now i can weave ur memories back or make new things or do something else or idk i have loving clue. This just doesnt make sense and it feels like you were trying to make this make sense but it doesnt really.

There’s also some vagueness in your description, but you do get out of your useless informal speech stuff which is nice. I just, this is kind of peak-Twist, in that you have an idea that is not translated well at all in the page.

I mean its a p obvious win over the others because wooooooooooooow these stories were bad, but i didnt rly enjoy this one. you fell back into ur old traps of vagueness and it sucksssss

Carl Killer Miller

Holy poo poo that opening is so bad. Like, i have literally no clue what any of that even means.

quote:

Jack lounged in a crumpled useless adjective seersucker while sipping on neat useless adjective scotch.

Yep, still no clue what the gently caress is going on.

You got some nice descriptions but you have to watch your adjectives. “Clumsy insult” is bad. There’s a few others, but im not gonna point them all out.

quote:

Satch cracked his metaphysical knuckles, reviewed what he'd been presented, and understood why this was his task, his wall.

Wow that is… really loving dumb and useless because its like “Hey, here is a thing that will happen next”

There’s a lot of description of movements and what people are doing, but they dont really add anything to the story. Like i really dont need to know where someone is sitting to be engaged with a story. If anything, it keeps me out of it because it feels more like a movie and your a camera.

I mean, I think the issue i’ve got with this story is really, not much has happened because of the narrator. Like, he’s just kind of watched and looked at things, but his presence is, essentially, meaningless for most of the story.

Stop using metaphysical, come up with a better word.

The ending I’m okay with actually, but yeah, the narrator doesnt really need to be present? Like, it actually kind of makes the story weaker even though it’s the whole gimmick. It dampens the whole power of the two coming to terms that they need to divorce because some divine being is basically controlling them so that their decisions isnt because the people decided to make the decision, but basically someone else did. Its also kind of annoying to be like “he didnt break the wall” and then “oh wait now he sees the wall.” its kind of dumb waffling about when you can get to the point faster.

Another issue is focus. Idk who I’m supposed to think the main character is, Jack or Satch? Maybe its kind of a first person peripheral, but if so, I felt like putting us into a perspective of one of the actual characters would make me more engaged. The perspective of Satch kind of distances me from the conflict when I think I should be more involved.

A friendly penguin

P. lame to start with “character waits at bus stop.”

Boring as gently caress. Also, i loved the original story this was based on but I dont really see the connections between the two. like im not sure if there even is a connection, they feel so distant from each other.

I actually came back to this crit after reading it and waiting till later in the day and i literally cannot remember a single detail from your story besides “girl was waiting at a bus stop.” the ending was a dumb “twist” (twist in quotes because its not rly a twist but feels like framed like a twist). Idk dude, i honestly dont have much to say because i was so loving bored throughout this that i dont even care. Nothing really seemed to happen right from the start and nothing happened after that. P. lame story imo.

Oh yeah also making things be retrospecitve generally makes the whole story feel less affecting because were disattached from the action.

ci said this was close to hming but i find literally nothing interesting in this at all

Toxxupation

Hey, i dont care too!

I dont even know whats going on rn.

Ok so i think the “joke” here is that the military has become like an online service agreement thing or something? Idk my eyes were bouncing forth between like three different things and wow this first scene is really hard to get through. Like, if thats all that first scene is doing then its failed. gently caress, its a bad scene. so boring AND doesnt rly tell us anything useful

Oh this is uhhhh that tom cruise movie? Fanfic. Edge of tomorrow or something?

Oh and now its mgs fanfic. Man this is a lot of talking, fitting right into mgs.

And casual racism/misogyny, man this story has got everything.

And topical humor! Man, this story keep giving!

And they die at the end! This was well worth my time.

Idk what to even say about this story. Like, jesus, this was really dumb and boring and so much drat talking about bullshit and wow this was bad.

ThatGuyStoneSoup

Im almost surprised that when i read this first line it wasnt god awful but its still p. Bad

Nothing
Is
Happening

MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR FUCKS SAKE

I dont even know what this story was,what happened, but i think it was like post apocalypse with a motorcycle but also farms and poo poo??? I really dont loving know nor did i care at all and also this was so so so so so boring and lovely. Just dull the whole way through, everything blurring into an indistinct shade of boring poo poo.

Goodpancakes

After reading these dms, gently caress man, im rly dreading this story.

Ok that first line is like, not amazing, but not terrible. A leg up already.

Yep im alrdy lost. Idk how the master owns him, why the master is flirting w/ this dude, and also your missing end quotes on some of your dialogue.

Dont capitalize she, its not a proper noun. Or table.

Why is all of this so vaguely sexual? Like the master’s flirting with the dude and he says “She showed us things I never thought were even possible.” like its just weird and unnecessary if intentional.

Holy gently caress cut your adverbs dude you dont need them.

Idk this isnt much of an inversion of the original but more of a reinterpretation (I read the original before this week anyways).

Yeah, stop capitalizing random words its rly loving annoying.

Ok so i dont really understand what this story was about or what really happened but compared to the other dms its like kind of on par on boring level and shittiness. I guess, maybe it was because of prompt failure (wow i was actually right, cool) because yeah, this didnt really invert the original, just kind of took the original, got rid of all the agency from the main character, made it way more dull, and got rid of any likable character, and uhhhhhhhhhhh yeah was just kind of bad. Not as gut wrenching as i thought it would be and im gonna say im a little bit disappointed in how not bad this is (its still bad).

Sparksbloom

I remember reading the original story because i judged it and i kinda liked it (better than the other two judges at least).

First sentence is a bit garden pathed imo, but not terrible. Not great either

Idk man i dont think was super serious so idk if you want me to crit it seriously but it was kinda funny but a bit too tongue in cheek for me ever to be super LOL and the ending was dumb. also it felt kind of phoned in so i didnt rly care i could go more in depth if u want.

Flerp

The judges are frauds this man deserves a dm

Muffin

I mean, first line is kind of weak, but its short so i give it a little longer, but the first paragraph is kind of just like the opening to a high schooler’s personal essay.

Hmmm there’s some good lines in here and some good stuff but i think it needs some editing to try and figure out what it’s trying to say and also cut out some of that wishy washy stuff. Like there’s a few words in here that kind of make the piece feel a little bloated when you could cut this down. I mean, its good in a rougher draft to have too many words as you want to nail down that voice and then cut around that voice.

Im not a big fan of the repetition either, it just feels more unsure than like, repeating for effect.

And thats kind of the feeling i get with this as a whole. Just kind of unsure. Im getting this feeling of like this character isnt sure if he’s right or wrong about all of this, but im not sure if thats the intention of the piece. I mean, i like the idea of focusing on being unsure because were unsure all the time. but idk if u intend for that.

The whole your bigger than you think you are also feels a little insincere? Like it feels like it’s trying too hard. Idk, this isnt bad and this has some good lines. Its a monologue obv, but i think this could be tightened up and be more definitive in what its trying to say. the insincerity comes from, in my interpretation, of going too far. i feel like this is overcompensating, like its desperate to prove there was a change when perhaps there wasnt? idk this is a weird one to crit and im hoping i didnt offend because this felt more personal.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Thank you for the crits, Thranguy and flerp.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012


This is my first time in Thunderdome and I have no idea what I'm gently caressing doing.

I like to watch toy soldiers melt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BalWU-_lh8

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

If you wouldn't mind, I'd like your thoughts and general comments on my piece from last week. I'm thinking about doing some revision and then expanding it.

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4684

There's a lot to like about this. Your style is clear and simple, which works well with the strange world you're writing about. You've balanced clarity with keeping things mysterious until the proper time to reveal them about as well as I've ever seen in Thunderdome, and your world itself is interesting and compelling, and becomes more so the more we discover about it.

The plot is kind of unfocused, and I don't think your ending is especially strong, but it all more-or-less works. I wish Spencer had taken a more active role in things there at the very end, although I guess he tried to. I think it's his general lack of reaction when his single attack against the manager doesn't work that leaves me cold, and it makes his final resolution that he's "done losing friends" fall flat to me. Billy and Christina have some personality to them, but not quite enough to grab me.

Even so, this grabbed my attention early on and kept it the whole way through, and most of my thoughts are of the "how could this pretty good story be made better" variety.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


Good to know. Thanks docbeard!

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



First time thunderdomer here. Also going with the snow globe vs copper.

And the word count is the max number of words, right? Not the minimum.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Chernabog posted:

First time thunderdomer here. Also going with the snow globe vs copper.

And the word count is the max number of words, right? Not the minimum.

Yeah, you've got it.

Welcome

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Someone call Chili

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Give me a video

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Entenzahn posted:

Give me a video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieBeJQ1milQ

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Confirming I am in with
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6zg2EA5IBc

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012


Quick question; do we retain copyright on anything submitted here? Or is it lost to the winds forever?

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

you retain your copyright, but other venues may consider posting in thunderdome as "previously published," if your idea is to publish it later.

Others argue that a little-read forum behind a paywall isn't really "publication," per se, which is what most people here seem to believe.

Either way, no rights are transferred. Who would they even be transferred to? The thunderdome cabal?

One note: your story will be archived in the TD archive, but that is also not accessible by the public, and you can hide your stories even from other domers whenever you'd like.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

If you want to publish it, then before the end of the year come back and delete it. It will stay in the archive though.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


While I've always edited stories out where possible, I have had stories published that were originally on here and that I didn't bother editing out.

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


Ok since I'm judging again and still haven't put up the crits from last time, I promise I will have everything before May 16th.

if I don't you'll just have to deal with it because honestly you clowns don't deserve the incredible crits that will flow like honey from my bee fingers

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Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week CLXXIII: ZeBourgeoisie, anomieatthegates, SurreptitiousMuffin, my effigy burns, Fumblemouse, Sixty Lezcano, Lazy Beggar, newtestleper, Grizzled Patriarch, and Thranguy

What a long, strange journey it has been! I'm sorry these are so long overdue. No excuses. I only hope late is better than never.

This was one of those rounds in which Thunderdome saw the prompt and decided, for whatever reason, to do the opposite of what it asked. Endings that resolve the story’s major conflicts or questions, I said. Make that conclusion matter, I said. No entry was completely bereft of a conclusion, but resolutions were another matter, and I lost count of the stories that were effectively preludes to a larger tale. Fumblemouse scored a lot of points by presenting a complete package. Enhancing that with a sympathetic protagonist and gentle tugs at the heartstrings, he gave us an easy choice for the win.


ZeBourgeoisie, "Madison"

Such choices, ZeBourgeoisie. Such strange choices. In the oystermen story, in the butterman story, and here, you made decisions that to a lesser or greater extent transformed a workable premise into a pile of . I don't mean your odd fascination with edible characters, either. Your beetle protagonist and her pilgrimage to a new tree were cute right up until the moment Madison stopped making any effort to survive and told Cassidy to hurry up and eat her. What child of any species would be that stoic in the face of being injected with acid? Who, reading this, would be satisfied by Madison's fate? Not me! Not even remotely. Madison's shell wasn't the only empty thing in that ending!

You've been jerking the steering wheel of your stories hard to the left and sending them careening into the ravine of absurdity. I wonder whether you've been trying to keep your readers from being able to guess what will happen. A story can certainly be too predictable, devoid of surprise and dull because of it, but the way to avoid that isn't to make your characters do weird, confusing things like decide to kill their crushes for unfathomable reasons or resign themselves readily to agonizing deaths. It does a work no good to have unexpected turns of plot if the reason they're unexpected is that no one involved behaves in a credible manner.

To focus on the good points of this one, though, the beetle viewpoint stood out in a decent way: I liked the creative pilgrimage, and if you didn't nail an inhuman perspective--what beetle eats meals off a plate?--it didn't matter much while your tone was light. You did have an ending. I didn't think much of it, but at least it existed. An uncanny number of your competitors should have taken a page from your book in that regard.

I still have to come back to the problem Madison's death scene presented. The tone of the story to that point was completely wrong for it. I would have sworn you were leading up to Cassidy having a change of heart. Given that she didn't, the point of her describing how Madison would die in detail was lost on me. That whole sequence seemed to exist for the sake of out-of-place vore. Ugh. Then the ending tried to be sweet and sentimental, but it couldn't land when Madison's death had been so easy and meaningless.

My advice to you: cut the vore and rein in the loopy twists. Make sure the surprises you work into a text have logic at their roots.

* ****** ** *

anomieatthegates, "Roots"

Your story was one of a young woman coming back to a town and family she'd never known, seeking refuge with a stranger who had no reason but the ties of blood to grant it. Not a bad theme. If Karen had faced any difficulty besides the fibbing townsfolk--a strange difficulty, because why would they lie? That wouldn't and didn't make her go away--then you might have had something decent here, but the feeble conclusion in which Aunt Emily gave Karen a place to stay almost immediately was like a weighted stick taken to the story's kneecaps. That ending was far too pat, far too easy. The tension you'd built up came to very little. The story desperately needed more emotional struggle, if nothing else; you had two hundred words left and probably should have used them all.

One of the other judges disliked Karen's stereotypical hooker clothes. They did seem cliche. A T-shirt and pants from the Salvation Army would have gotten the point that she was broke across, while her resemblance to Amy and the baby she had with her would have been plenty to give the locals the impression that she was a walking ball of trouble.

It's a shame the end was so shoddy. This was otherwise a pretty good Thunderdome debut as they go. The grandfather's hunting knife was a nice detail, a suggestion that Karen had cared about a family connection before she became desperate. I'd read more stories of yours with the hope they'd be less anticlimactic.

* ****** ** *

SurreptitiousMuffin, "saline or, the last man alive"

Thumbs down for that title formatting. You put the comma in the wrong place for it to look decent on a single line, as it will usually be seen.

Adam cried a lot--too early, too easily, and too often to do the story good. He couldn't erase the first impression he made as a big bag of tears. I think I understand what you were going for with his weeping over something as mundane as a seat belt: the mundanity was the point. It was an artifact of a time when a seat belt was no big deal because there were plenty of people to make them, a relic of a lost world that was the more poignant because it wasn't humdrum anymore. It didn't work as you presumably wanted, however. Adam had plenty of cause to be emotional, but the way he began the story crying and choked back tears twice more before it was over made his situation seem less heartbreaking. It also felt like you-the-writer were using his tears the way a sitcom would use a laugh track, to make sure we-the-readers knew how gosh-darned sad everything was. That also took some of the impact away. You're good enough to manipulate emotions with more delicacy.

If you revise, I would dial the mood back to melancholy early on and let the grief of Adam's situation build and sink in as much as the story's length allows; give him one shot of tears, maybe after "humanity had already come and gone" if you want to avoid the possibly cliche (but possibly effective, too) tear of hope at the end. A man alone trying to find hope for his mostly dead race is sad as hell without so much gilding of the lily.

MEG, now, I liked quite a lot. Her pep contrasted well with Adam's despair. More than that, the sentence "Even when the world was falling to pieces, somebody at NASA had seen fit to program a humour routine into the ship’s AI" was affecting, strong--it said something about humanity. I found it true and touching, and that was when I started to feel a little bit for all the dead people of Earth. You had something here, and I didn't mind where it ended because the journey from despair to hope had been completed, however temporarily. You mostly just needed to pull on the heartstrings with a less heavy hand.

* ****** ** *

my effigy burns, "Geburtstag"

An easy DQ at nearly three hundred words over the limit. You could have trimmed it down without much trouble: if you'd condensed the backstory and reined in Arthur's introspection, you'd have lost a significant chunk of bloat. Cutting the fat in a rewrite might improve the pacing to the point that this would be a decent story. Maybe. It would help if you'd learn to capitalize "American" and "German." And phrases like "One his eyes were nearly swollen shut"? Avoid them.

This meandered and dragged too much to be a good read, but there was something compelling under the surface. Arthur bumbled through his life, stumbling onto paths he then followed to the best of his ability, a Nazi almost by accident and a prisoner deemed dangerous because of one joke. His birthday decided his fate. He had limited control of himself, possibly for the best since the choices he did make were so poor. He wasn't too bright and had pity without the moral fiber to act on it. His haplessness would have been frustrating if it hadn't seemed designed, like you were trying to say something about how war or just life could make a mockery of a man's free will. This story contrasted truth and appearance, too, since Arthur was neither a tough son of a bitch nor a die-hard Nazi nor a rabble rouser, but he may have been the only one to know it. How false are our understandings of the people around us?

The execution fairly spoiled the food for thought you provided, unfortunately. The whole thing needed to be more focused; we didn't need so much background on Hans and Lucas. The combination of dumb choice and dumb chance that turned Arthur into a Nazi would possibly have been more striking if it had been delivered without embroidery. The end felt rushed in a way it might not have if the earlier sections hadn't gone on so long.

So to sum up: learn to edit, don't go over the word limit, and come back to write some more.

* ****** ** *

Fumblemouse, "Forest Flower"

The archaic style you used could easily have been too much, but you handled it beautifully, sculpting a touching and complete fantasy story that glowed in this week of broken offerings. The technical errors didn't do you much damage, though the child's name was important enough to deserve a consistent spelling. I scarcely noticed the gaffes while I was caught up first in Satman and Tanara's romance and then in their danger. The vow of honesty, the extremity that drove Satman to break it, and the possible consequences--possible, but not definite--hooked and held my interest through a conclusion that was somewhat predictable but satisfying nonetheless.

I quite liked that I couldn't tell whether Satman's vow had anything to do with Tanara's death or the appearance of the hunter's hut. Maybe the Mountain Gods took her away because Satman intended to lie to her, but maybe not. He nearly told the truth, though he didn't know it; was that why his daughter lived? Did the Gods take stern pity? Did they put that hut in his path in return for his faithfulness for many years? Or possibly Gods had nothing to do with any of it, whatever Satman thought. It was entirely open to interpretation. More certain was that he kept his other vow, to always bring his wife the flower of the forest.

I didn't care for the mention of poo poo thrown in when Tanara died. It didn't fit the tone you'd built. The one crass, rough word in an otherwise stylized story gave the moment a bitter tang that suited Satman's emotions, but it reduced Tanara's dignity.

In all, an easy choice for the win and a clear contender even before I saw the rest of its competition. Congratulations! Keep track of how you spell your characters' names next time, though, pretty please?

* ****** ** *

Sixty Lezcano, "Ontonagon Route 28"

You took a chance in writing a story of which the question "What was the point?" was the point. Why did Stuart think dragging Matt out into the frozen arse-end of nowhere would make him a man? Why did he insist Matt should stay past his boredom threshold? What was achieved, beyond one punch? What changed? Well, nothing, really. The whole trip was pointless and dumb, because suffering for suffering's sake is inane; they came home early, and Matt was still Matt at the end. On the one hand, that wasn't fascinating reading. Especially raddled by your sloppy punctuation. On the other, it made a point--that such stunts are not magically transformative--and did so with some subtlety. Poor execution kept the risk from paying dividends, but I liked what I thought you were attempting even if what you achieved was so messy I wanted to punch you myself.

This does assume the last paragraph wasn't meant to suggest that the aborted camping trip did turn Matt into a total social butterfly and party animal, yo, because that would have been stupid and would have undermined every good thing about the entry. I choose to believe that Matt was never as feeble as Stuart thought, but Stuart succeeded in giving him a story to tell--a decent brotherly gift.

Either way, your mechanics blew chunks to a startling degree. A small showcase of your abominable grasp on punctuating dialogue, italicized for visual convenience:

Gotta get way out there --",

“drat right!”.

It was fun.”,

“I’ll drive, even.”.


was that last one, especially? You approached Baudolino levels of technical mastery, and that says volumes. You left the period off at least one sentence, you didn't consistently separate your paragraphs with blank lines, you punctuated single quotation marks like a Brit but everything else like an American, and you couldn't seem to make up your mind whether Matt or Stuart was the point-of-view character. Those problems are all of the distracting sort. I couldn't appreciate your work to its fullest while mangled mechanics kept catching my eye. Visit the Purdue OWL for some free guidance on the sentence-level nuts and bolts of writing.

Why did Stuart slap Matt's hand away from the radio? That's a dumb question, but it stayed with me. If Stuart thought Matt was going to try to make him listen to Evanescence or Taylor Swift or whatever, you should have said so and given Matt's character that little bit of color.

* ****** ** *

Lazy Beggar, "Saudade"

Although your idea of a village of people who announced their emotions at all times didn't stand up to scrutiny, I had a feeling it wasn't meant to. It was more of a problem that the village concept and the core-in-theory story of a woman fleeing the death of her son weren't integrated well--and that's putting it mildly, considering that Karen's struggle to become emotionally overt took over the narrative to the point that I'd forgotten all about her child by the time his doppelganger showed up. One of the reasons the ending didn't work was that the boy's death acted as a set of bookends to the story rather than as a thread running through it. The sudden appearance of a lookalike felt contrived, a clumsy way to bring back that Chekov's gun of grief in order to make some sort of point.

What point was it supposed to be making, though? Karen saw the image of her dead child. Karen started crying. Amy pleaded with her to tell the village how she felt. How doubling over in tears was covert I do not understand, but I'll get back to that. The story ended on a line that looked so much like it was intended to be deep and profound, but that wasn't, because Karen said something any five-year-old knows: some things are more sad than other things. Not exactly a revelation. Not a satisfying conclusion.

My guess: the idea was that the villagers cared too much about what was said and not enough about what was felt despite their supposed concerns about honesty. Karen was possibly lambasting them for a lack of real compassion or understanding. Amy was claiming to be heartbroken that Karen would have to leave when Karen was clearly heartbroken herself--though to be fair to the villagers, they had no reason to know what was going on with her since they accepted a shallow level of emotional honesty without probing very deep. Am I close? It would be a concept worth pursuing, but it was mishandled here, and the effect was one of two stories getting in each other's way rather than a solid exploration of a theme.

An issue that may have bothered me more than it would most readers was the whole notion that not broadcasting your business to the world at large was dishonest and covert. What the heck. The concepts of honesty and privacy seemed to be muddled, and that was a distraction. The only reason I can think of to tangle the two is to pull off the (poor) ending. Oy. The whole work felt contrived, like you'd bent realistic human behavior and realistic human necessities and realistic human thought in order to arrive at a final line that wasn't worth it, and that was more frustrating than C7ty1's mishmash of tones and messages.

All that said, the village idea is worth keeping and working with again someday.

* ****** ** *

newtestleper, "Sea Serpents"

Count your lucky stars! Your story of a young woman who traded her ordinary, hometown boyfriend for a more exotic model on the basis of five minutes' acquaintance escaped DMing somehow, though Octavia came off as shallow and fickle and Tom conveniently abandoned his protective, possessive tendencies. Octavia and Tom must have been married to have a single berth on the ship, but he let her go with Tipene without any meaningful struggle. She gave up on the life she'd built to that point because she met a boy who had neat tattoos but was still white, so it was okay. I imagine this was a metaphor for a person's relationship to her homeland: it's possible to find that your soul feels most at home somewhere far from the place you were born, to fall desperately in love with a far land and hitherto-unknown society. It failed because your characters treated each other like countries and not like people, so they seemed inconsistent at best, sociopathic at worst. The romance was not at all convincing.

Forgetting to put a period at the end of one of your sentences or an end on another were minor sins in comparison, but they did not help! For frick's sake, the partial sentence was right in the first paragraph! You know better. Dogs know better.

Poor Tom; despite one sneer, I cared the most about him and pitied him for having such an unfaithful partner, especially when he'd defended her on the ship. I doubt this was the response you intended me to have. If it were me I wouldn't try making him more hateful in revisions; I prefer the idea of Tom and Octavia both befriending Tipene for his personality--preferably over a longer span than five minutes--and making a life in New Zealand, seeing the taniwha together. You didn't need the ill-conceived romance angle to show love for an adoptive home.

* ****** ** *

Grizzled Patriarch, "On the Hearth a Little Flower Blooms"

You technically met the prompt in both the literal and metaphorical senses of a journey to somewhere far from home, but as in Week 165, I wished you'd played it straight. "War is bad" is a familiar theme. You pulled my heartstrings with the uncertain smile of the man trying to communicate through poetry as he was about to die, yet that one lovely moment wasn't enough to keep the piece from blurring in my mind into the body of all the war vignettes I've read.

I could almost have done without the second scene entirely; of course Nelson was haunted by the horrors of war, of course he wanted to go home, and of course his love kept him going in the face of the dark. The break left the story off-balance, I thought. It weakened the impact of the blood on the snow. I dislike saying you should have stopped with the executions since doing so would have made it too pat in a way, even less memorable, and I liked the chant of Ich liebe dich. My suggestion instead: don't blank out the deserters as they die. Don't remove the viscera from the deaths by reducing them to a lingering note and flecks of blood. Have Nelson turn away after the shots, thinking of Helen and whispering his prayer as he walks--away, or to get a shovel, or to resume his march, whatever you think is appropriate. I don't want Nelson or myself to be spared the sight of the bullets hitting and the bodies falling. It's a prettier story for glossing over those details, but maybe that gloss is why it seems so feather-light.

* ****** ** *

Thranguy, "Knee Deep in the Hoopla"

Clever title. I didn't recognize it without the help of a search engine and somehow missed the best thing about it, namely that it wasn't a line from any old Starship song but from "We Built This City." That fit your setting like a rhinestone glove! It wouldn't have helped you if I'd been quicker on the draw; no title could have made up for the flaws in this story, but I appreciate the finesse in hindsight.

The concept of a temple for bards in which music was a sacred study was fantastic. The story you built around it, not as much so, possibly due in part to the words you burned on your other concept of a far-future city that had forgotten everything about our time except rock and roll. You tried to play that notion straight, and the story was mangled for the sake of it--or for the sake of including Lani and her plotline. It's difficult to say which did more damage.

What I got: Ian came to the Temple of Music as a pilgrim, looking to study the songs of ancient masters before going further out into the world as a traveling musician. On the road he met two other would-be bards, one of whom vanished from the story shortly after her introduction. The Temple required offerings in return for study; Ian's was inadequate, so he took the chance to earn his tuition in a musical competition, in which his other travel companion joined him. Because of his integrity, Ian declined the opportunity to perform a mysterious, anonymous song that he knew as his own. Kass was a less honest man and played Ian's song--but how did he know it?

So far, so good, but then it fell down because Ian didn't dwell on that puzzle for even a moment. He went on to study Jimi Hendrix lyrics and solve the far less interesting mystery of what sort of percussionist Lani was. (Why didn't she just tell them she played piano?) Lani had to clue us in that Ian's and Kass's song was a forbidden, "dark song," recovered through "dark arts" of "lectric" and "gital" and ughhhhhh. Nearly half the story in terms of visual space was conversation with Lani, and her only purpose was worldbuilding. I think that even if I'd liked the rock-and-roll twist, the entry would have come off as half baked, its plot buried under setting details.

I would personally cut the rock element out wholesale, but maybe you could pull it off if you narrowed the focus to Ian and Kass and had Ian give a drat about the odd circumstance of his secret song turning up in a stranger's mouth. What if the priests gave Ian the prize, and Ian were so puzzled by what had happened with Kass that he sought answers? You could make that business of the "lectric" menacing, I think, if it came up in a confrontation between Ian and a priest instead of a casual conversation between Ian and Ms. Exposition. I daresay there are other approaches you could take if that one doesn't appeal. The idea is definitely worth salvaging to hang on a more sound story structure.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Aug 14, 2016 around 18:19

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