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  • Locked thread
Jan 18, 2015


Friday's rule: Wednesday's rule Anime genre (super powers/ecchi/comedy) + Tuesday's rule four words (Euclidean/Euphoric/Juxtapose/Syzygy)

Word count: 1518

Perfect Art

"Listen, all I want is my potato." George replied to the burly Japanese man who had just barked something unrecognizable in his face. "Just let me enter this establishment and get my potato."

The guard grunted something else unintelligible and gave George a push that sent him sprawling into the cold night air. The muddy street, lit by the red paper lanterns that promised untold earthly pleasures for those who dared enter this part of the city, rushed up and hit him in the face like a scorned lover's slap.
The cold and slimy sensation of his nose and mouth filling with mud overwhelmed him even before the pain of his smashed-up face, and as the heavy rain drummed on his back he could feel his conscious slipping away...

"...ite kudasai!"

"...oi desuuuu!"


George drifted in and out of consciousness, catching glimpses of light and an angel's voice. His body felt light, and he wondered, before darkness reclaimed him, if he had actually died and was lifted to heaven. A brief pang of guilt for his potato was his last thought.

Clarity finally found him, and the sensation of warm fluffiness told him he was off the cold street even before he opened his eyes. The bed was on the floor, and as he gazed around the room he found it traditional Japanese style, from the rough tatami mats on the floor, to the paper walls, and sliding doors.
Where am I? he wondered.
He saw a window on the other end of the room and stepped out of the bed to have a look. He had taken two steps when he realized he was in the raw, and as he stood there, mid-stride looking down at his crown jewels, the sound of a door sliding open echoed through the room. He turned his head slowly toward the sound, and his deer-caught-in-a-headlight eyes met the eyes of a tomato.
Well, a tomato covered in long, black hair. Attached to the tomato head was a body seemingly made of a silky-creamy material, with the way too voluptuous bosom starkly juxtaposed by the thin waist and legs that created a strange syzygy, partially covered by a schoolgirl's uniform that must have been at least a few sizes too small.
George felt the girl's gaze move over his body, and he himself had a hard time controlling what his eyes were directed at. He felt the heat rising, and it was the dim awareness of something warm and wet running down his chin that finally snapped him out of it. A split second later a "HENTAIIII DESUUU!" filled the air, and a hand travelling at the speed of instant transmission sent him flying through a paper wall with a slap-shaped mark across his cheek.

"I'm so sorry-desu," the girl with the long, black hair said, as she put some foul-smelling ointment on George's cheek. "I reacted poorly. I shamed my ancestors today-desu."
"My name," George informed the young woman, whose name was Hadaka Josei desu apparently, as he sat on the floor by a small table, "is George DeNalle." He paused for a second, waiting for the light of recognition and subsequent admiration to turn on in the girl's eyes. All he got was a mildly confused and curious look and a "desu?" from her tilted head.
"DeNalle. De. Nalle? The famous agricultural artist? The man who 'reshaped the look on vegetative art?' The man who 'created a paradigm shift in the sense of the essense of potato?'"
"I am sorry. I have not heard of this name before-desu." The girl replied.
"You seriously don't know me? I've been featured in of all the major news outlets and weekly magazines of worth for the last two decades. Agricultural Weekly, Farmer's News, Arts and Agriculture..."
George sighed.
"I can't believe I have to explain this... I'm an agricultural artisan. My life has been devoted to finding the true meaning of the potato. To distill its form into artistic perfection, if you will. And last year I finally did it." He smiled.
"That potato won me awards all over the world. People could not stop talking about it. How its euclidean shape perfectly complimented the gray-brown color, and how it seemed to evoke euphoric feelings of bliss many only thought they could find beyond this life."
George looked at Hadaka sitting opposite of him, her head resting in her arms on the table, eyes closed. She's been moved to absolute calmness by mere mentioning of my potato, he thought satisfied. Her hair, spread out like black sunrays over the table, encompassed the oval shape of her face, and for a second heat rushed toward George's head. Like a potato...
He shook his head to clear away some disturbing thoughts, and continued.
"Anyway, to keep a long story short, two days ago I found my potato missing, and the GPS tracker I embedded in it pointed me to this place."
George's face suddenly grew dark. "I must get my potato back!" He growled and slammed his cup onto the table.
"Whuzzat desu?" The young woman mumbled as she rose her head from her arms, with her obsidian hair sweeping like silk over the table. The pale smooth skin of her legs as she stood up were enough to send George into another hot spiral of confusion and potatoes.

Suddenly, a smashing sound reverberated through the room, and the paper doors came crashing onto the floor.
George was on his feet before he realized, cup in his hand ready to throw, staring at the smoke-filled hole in the wall. A huge shadow came striding through smoke. A wind seemingly from nowhere blew the smoke away, revealing an immense beast of a man dressed all in black. A huge sword on his side drew George's eyes, even before the repulsive scar across the immense jaw.

"Ah, there you are, my artisan friend." The voice was dark and full of spite. "That potato of yours, I need you to grow more. It gave me great power, and, I must say, a hunger for more. Also, it was quite... succulent."
The world froze. He... ate it? The power went out of George's legs. All his strength, gone in an instant, and he fell to the floor.
He noted a shwiiing sound and suddenly a blast of air almost lifted him off the floor. He looked up and saw Hadaka standing over him, legs apart in a battle stance, with a katana in her hands. pink, he thought feeling the heat grow again, followed by Where did she get that katana from?
"You cannot have him, evil man desu!" Hadaka proclaimed. "I am Hadaka Josei, granddaughter of Hadaka Dansei. My sword will cleanse this world of your evil-desu!"
The man seemed taken aback, but quickly recovered. "Dansei's granddaughter... Heh, this will be interesting."
The air went still, and George could only watch in horror as the man drew his enormous cleaver.
"Come then, girl. Let's dance."
The ground shook as their swords met. Fire and sparks of lightning leapt from their blades as they clanged together over and over. The evil man's strength seemed overwhelming, but Hadaka parried each blow, redirecting its energy into the floor and walls. George's mind was full of terror at what he saw. This was all so surreal! All he wanted was his potato back.

Potato... that fiend ate my potato! A rage was building up inside him. Something he had never felt before in his life! His hands stopped trembling, the terror fled and only rage and agony of what he had lost were left.
A sudden SNAP, followed by a sharp THUNK, made him look up.

"KYAAAA DESU!" Hadaka screamed as she fell to the floor, still clutching her sword hilt. Most of the blade had imbedded itself in the floor next to George after it had been cut off.
"Ah, girl. You have me a workout, but it seems your skills just weren't enough."
George looked at the blade, rage flowing through his veins. "YOU. ATE. MY. POTATOOOOO!"

In a flash he was up sword blade in his hand. Blood streamed from his hand where the blade cut deep, but George didn't even notice it. He lunged towards his opponent, sword held up in front of him.
A grunt of surprise escaped the man before he raised his sword to defend himself. The blade in George's hand felt like fire, and he fueled it with the fire that filled his very essence.
The blades met, and George felt the evil man's essence for a moment before his own overwhelmed him, and with a slash the darkness dissipated.
George stood there for a while, as a gust of wind blew some dust between them. The clattering sound of a huge sword falling to the ground followed by a lohd THUMP told him that it was over. He had won.
He fell to the floor, his vision growing dim, and as he felt Hadaka's hands on him and he saw her tears, he knew all was well.

He let darkness take him.


Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

My redemption and crits will be posted within 24 hours of this submission.

FLASH RULES: Anime (genre: fantasy), "Calathumpian"

A Starchy Situation (810 words)

The potato child wobbled as it sat, its nub-like limbs ill-suited to its purpose. Its eyes were small and black and perfectly spherical, like pearls for sale at a merchant’s stall. Marcus saw himself reflected in those inky depths. His expression hardened, his mind made up.

“Not finding an entry for it,” said Freja as she turned the page of the book in her hands, “Though I’d imagine it’s a member of the mandrake family. Did it scream when you pulled it?”

“Ain’t done no pulling,” said Sasha, arms crossed, “Found it wandering about on the lonesome…and anyway, wouldn’t that kill us?”

“I suppose.” Freja shut the book with a soft snap and tossed it toward her trunk. The trunk sprang to life, its open lid a gaping maw of teeth and treasures and books and supplies. It caught the cast-off tome and dutifully swallowed without chewing. Freja gave it a little pat and locked it up tight. “In any case, good of the two of you to scrounge up something to eat.”

“We’re not going to eat it,” said Marcus. “We’re going to keep it.”

The three had gathered in a modest clearing, a circle of sunlight in the dark and dismal woods. Floating in the center was a cast-iron cauldron, its black belly heated by the warmth of living flames. Freja and Sasha stood bathed in that warmth; Marcus sat apart, the potato child at his shoulder, his helmet on the ground.

“We’re going to…keep it?”


Sasha marched towards Marcus who stood at her approach. Clad in armor painstakingly preserved, his features stern and imperial, he towered over her like a living, breathing castle. “NOW LISTEN HERE YA BIG-” Sasha stopped, her irritation reflected in the polished sheen of his breastplate. She leapt up, snagged his ear, and yanked him down to her level. The potato child held on tightly to his collar. “Now listen here you big lummox. We ain’t had nothing to eat for a day and a half. Freja says she can cook any drat thing we find, and that right there’s what we find. It’s all we find. Soup’s up.”

“Even so,” Marcus shot up, his right hand steadying the creature at his shoulder. Sasha held on (“H-hey!”), her whole body dangling a good foot off the ground. “I cannot allow us to harm his small creature.”

“Because…?” asked Freja. She fanned he flames with her wide-brimmed hat.

“It’s…it’s just…I mean, look at it.” Marcus gestured. “It’s adorable. Followed us here like a puppy. We didn’t hunt it down, didn’t kill it, didn’t have to fight it off its parents. It’s just so small and innocent and unsuspecting. It wants to belong.”

“It belongs in my stomach!” said Sasha, her free hand extended. Marcus batted it away. She lost her grip and tumbled into the grass.

“It belongs with its mother then,’ said Freja.

“I-I’ll be its new mother!” Marcus shielded the potato child with his hands.

Sasha sat up, disheveled from the fall. “Are we really having this conversation?”

“How calathumpian of you,” said Freja. “Nevertheless-

The sound of roots being crushed underfoot interrupted whatever she’d wanted to say.

The lot of them turned to look. There, at the edge of the circle, a large forest troll stood blinking, growling, his hands occupied by an uprooted tree. Freja snapped her fingers. The floating cauldron launched from its position, wreathed in the searing fire of an angry flame. “Right between the eyes,” she muttered, but it never got that far. The troll swung his tree like a bat and knocked it into the sky. Freja stared. Her trunk whimpered and hid in the undergrowth.

Sasha produced a number of throwing knives from her belt. She aimed for its eyes. Her knives struck home. The beast howled in pain and clawed at its face, its trusty tree left by the wayside, but in a moment its pain would subside, and all it would know was fury.

Marcus looked about for his sword. He saw the hilt stuck beneath the troll’s tree.

The potato child pulled on is ear. He looked to it, and in seconds understood.

“Everyone! Cover your ears! Now!”

Freja and Sasha complied with his instructions. He cupped his own just in time. The potato child opened its mouth. It was unexpectedly wide.

It screeched. For the three with their ears covered, it was merely unpleasant. The troll howls of pain disappeared. Blood slowly trickled down from his ears. He lurched and loomed and fell flat on the ground.

Marcus turned to his newfound friend. “You did it little guy! You really did it!”

Sasha shot the creature a wary glance. It smiled back at her.

“Well…I suppose…I suppose it’d be rude to just…cut it up now.”

Freja considered the troll. “I wonder if it’s edible.”

Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

A Man Agonizes Over His Potatoes, 2.0
Friday Flash Rule: Anime. Genre: Real Robots.
Word Count: 878

Heat rose up off of the torn up scabs of earth all the way across the horizon. Shimmering mirages pooled between scars of soil and stone like rays of the sun too tired to travel further, or lasers that chose not to kill anymore. The only moisture above ground for miles was condensation fogging the inside of Erebidae's goggles. He flicked the torch on, and adjusted the jet. These rays were fresher; ready to do work.

The machine's hide, designed to last a century against anything from falling debris, laserfire, and rust began to peel back nicely for the torch. His goggles darkened and he fell into a focused state. He'd planned each move out before daring to expend energy wastefully in this heat. The cockpit's glass was torn away within a minute. Two latches cut through and it instantly changed from Erebidae's window out into the battlefield to a window onto the scorched patch of dirt where he'd set it aside. The shoulder of the beast rippled under the torch, as the flame etched a line into it, revealing no muscles at all between the skin and its hydraulic bones. The smell of bubbling plastic signalled that Erebidae's cut has reached the nerves of the thing, and he scrambled down its side.

His survival bag had already camouflaged itself with the burnt orange dust of its surroundings, and Erebidae considered that in time, he'd develop a tan himself. His hand reached into the bag and plucked out a femur-like wrench, brushing aside thin plastic packets and paper manuals. He turned and surveyed the work accomplished so far. His beast stood brightly at the bottom of a small cliff, its warpainted steel repelling the dust and maintaining its ferocious stripes. Its sensor pod had been burnt off by enemies in the sky. He could not speak to his family with the voice of his machine. This world was not a good one for people, but its soil was said to be rich. There was so much of it, even if his enemies found him before his family, they could not punish him for making use of some.

He climbed up the side of his machine and drove his wrench into the shoulder. Within minutes the thing's arm fell to the ground with a noise that, on the field of battle, almost always implied the death of a beast. Erebidae glanced to the cockpit glass to ensure it had not cracked in sympathy. It was still whole.

The heel of the machine was thin and weak, and holes were torn into it easily. Wires were strung up to its bones, and the beast's arm was lashed to its leg by a web of welded rods extricated from its ribs. It was a sorry creature now, broken and deranged. It had served him well and deserved far better than this. From the cockpit he peered, urging it to limp forward, its taxidermied arm grasping. He had it spread its fingers wide against the dirt. He had it make a fist. He had it claw into the dust. And he pushed the beast on, from his seat. It dragged its leg and its arm and its hand with its claw, and it tore into the earth. The monster drove forwards, and then turned, and then lurched back. This area Erebidae traced grew deep, and before dusk arrived he scented what no mirage on this world could duplicate: the nurturing scent of fresh, damp soil.

Erebidae slid down the spine of the machine and placed his gloved hand onto the flesh of the world. He thought better of this and tore the glove from his skin and dug his hand into the mud. This was rich soil, as his family had said. This would give life. This little gully he had created was as deep as he was tall, and he very cautiously slid his survival bag and his cockpit glass into it. Crouching in a slick of mud in the shadow of his sore and dying beast, he ripped a plastic packet of seeds open. Eyes focusing through his goggles, he placed them into the earth in the manner indicated by his survival pamphlet. As the sun set on his little encampment, he fixed the cockpit glass down over this little patch of seeds. It would keep moisture from burning away instantly when the sun came back. The beast had pumps and filters in its gut, and he would need them to pull water from the earth. Tomorrow's work already greeted him.

Erebidae nestled onto the machine's foot, where it had been jointed to its dead arm, smiling that he had spent an entire day performing work entirely forbidden to a warrior. He flicked his torch on for a moment to ignite the survival manual. It served a higher purpose as smoke rising into the heavens, as he had committed its words to memory. His goggles fogged as he shed a tear of joyful anticipation. It said that the potatoes would require ninety days to become edible. He had more than enough war rations to last until then, but he wanted nothing more than to eat a potato that he had grown from a world that had known nothing but death.

Chainmail Onesie
May 12, 2014

of "Thunder Dome!

Screaming Idiot posted:

Small Potatoes


"No good," Misi said. "But I saw you had an old Ball I could use."


I got yer Ball right here feddy scum

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

that's submissions closed for the 200th week of the thudner "dome"

prepare for the reaping

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Marshmallow Blue posted:

In for Wednesday - Or if that's full, Thursday I guess.

And :toxx: cause I failed to submit last week

pour out a 40 for Marshmallow Blue, or just drink it if y'all don't wanna waste good liquor

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010

sebmojo posted:

pour out a 40 for Marshmallow Blue, or just drink it if y'all don't wanna waste good liquor

I have sinned. Lay it on me :suicide:


Here's the late story-

King of Starch
Anime: Gag Trope

Potatoes always were king in Jing Fong Garden, the outdoor marketplace just outside of Tokyo. While rice had always been a staple in Japan, Mao always thought differently. He saw that potatoes were the king of starches, and his love for the tubers couldn’t be understated. So every weekend he rode his bicycle to the bustling market to peddle his spuds.

However this weekend was different, when Mao arrived, another vendor had taken his spot. Mao leaped into the air, arms flailing he ran to the to the vendor who was setting up his rice stall so fast that his sandals flew off in the process.

“Hey you! That’s my spot. You need to move. I sell potatoes here every week.” Mao said. The rice man chuckled

“No one buy your dirty potatoes. Maybe you go sell them to dumpster.” Rice man continued laughing and turned to one of the neighboring stalls.

“Hey you see this fool? He try selling his brown turds at market. No potato better than rice.” The rice man finished setting up his stall.

Mao was fuming. He turned around in anger and hoisted his sack of potatoes to find another stall only to see a rat running away with one of his sandals.

“Hey get back here” Mao said as he began chasing the rat. Potatoes began spilling out of a hole in the sack and rolling around the market while Mao chased the rat. The rat dodged left and right of Mao’s attempts to capture the creature. It took a hard left and began running the other way. The chase had garnered many onlookers as Mao frantically tried to catch the rat and stop the potatoes from spilling out.

He ran past the rice man who was laughing so hard he could barely breathe. Mao shook his fist towards the rice man as he sprinted by. While he wasn’t paying attention to the chase, Mao slipped on a loose potato and fell to the earth.

Mao stood up and the rice vendor was rolling on the ground laughing.

The rice man could only imagine the grawlix popping out of Mao’s head and began emoting the speech bubbles of angry text.

“ #$%! $&%!! ” The rice man said repeatedly while opening and closing his hands above his head like fireworks.

Mao picked up the potato by his bare feet, wound up, and hurled it as hard as he could at the rice vendor. He missed by a wide margin and the potato clocked an elderly woman in face.

“Rude man!” the lady raised her cane and began running towards Mao. He was truly embarrassed and everyone at the market was laughing at him. The elderly woman reached Mao and began hitting him in the butt repeatedly.

“Yaaooooooo!” Mao shouted as he hoisted his sack again and began to run from the assault.


Mao sat on an ice pack in his tool shed that night, looking at a potato. He stared longingly at the lumpy brown oval.

“You are perfect” he whispered to the potato and gave it a light kiss. Mao began running his fingers along the rough skin of the potato. He gazed into the potato’s many eyes and he could feel the root vegetable speaking to him.

“If only they knew how tasty you are when boiled and mashed.” Then Mao had an idea. He ran out to the field and harvested every last potato. “Yes, I’ll show them all.”


Mao arrived extremely early to the market next weekend. He rented a Tuk-Tuk to haul the massive amount of potatoes he brought. As the sun rose over the empty market, Mao was finished with his masterpiece.

A towering throne of potatoes was erected in the center of the street. Mao placed his hands on his hips and admired his work as a few vendors began arriving. He also brought with him a vat of mashed goop and a spoon.

What no one else could see was the potatoes Mao had place on top of all the stall overhangs. With one pull of a cord, the street would be flooded with potatoes.

“Today, I am the king of starch.” He said to himself as he climbed the throne and sprawled across it. The vat rested by his side. He held a giant spoon to serve the masses. A scepter fit only for a potato king. Lastly, he wore a necklace with a single potato dangling from it.

Mao was high enough in the air on the throne of potatoes to see the rice man coming in the distance.

“Rice man!” Mao shouted down to the vendor. “Today you answer to the king of starch! You have one chance to bow down to me, or feel my wrath.”

The rice man was prepared with insults “How long did it take you to crap those out? You’re bum must be tired. I will not bow to any king of turds.”

“Then this means war!” Mao shouted, dipping his spoon into the vat. He jumped down from the potato throne with the spoon in his right hand, and the vat in the left.

“Today you face the the wrath of the potato!” Mao loaded up the spoon and flung it at the rice vendor.

“Ahhh!” He shouted jokingly “Potato man is trying to hit me with his warm white goop!” The rice man started another laughing fit.

Mao ran to a cord on one of the stalls and pulled it. Potatoes rained from the tops of the stalls. Mao jumped into the air with his spoon held high and began flinging the mashed mixture at the rice vendor in a rapid fashion. He must have flung forty spoonfuls before landing on a bed of potatoes.

*Splat* *Splork* *Splat*

The rice vendor couldn’t dodge the onslaught as his legs were immobilized by several feet of potatoes littering the street.

Mao walked across the potatoes with ease.

“Now rice man, do you submit?” Mao asked, scooping up a giant spoonful from the vat.

“Neve---!” As the rice man shouted, Mao stuffed a heaping spoonful of the starch into his mouth.

“How does that poo poo taste rice man?!” Mao said laughing. Before the rice man could answer he stuffed more and more and more into his mouth.

The rice vendor spat it out in resistance.

“Hah! Rice man not man enough to swallow?” Mao asked.

“I won’t this. It tastes like potato man’s poo poo” the Rice vendor replied.

Mao began laughing hysterically.

“What’s so funny potato man? You got another one coming out of your bum?”

“No” Mao said. “The vat is full of rice paste, not potatoes! You just said you think rice tastes like poo poo!”

The onlookers began laughing at the rice vendor’s faux pas. They giggled, whispered, and pointed, getting extreme enjoyment out of what had transpired.

Mao bent down and placed the potato necklace around the rice vendor and walked away.

Sep 22, 2005



“Man agonizes over his potatoes.”

1000 words. No bullshit.

Ha ha just kidding it wouldn’t be Thunderdome without bullshit. In that spirit, here is a bunch of complicated and unfair bullshit and you assholes are going to sign up and enjoy every minute of it.
Goddammit I saw that as "haha just kidding not really potatoes, but all this other poo poo instead." until I see every other goddamn story mentions potatoes. So. Yay, attention to detail.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

As failure-penance for notposting, I'll crit up the first three replies. I expect that this AMAZING OFFER will go quickly so call now.

No seriously, I'll put some effort into it.

Chainmail Onesie
May 12, 2014

of "Thunder Dome!

Carl Killer Miller posted:

As failure-penance for notposting, I'll crit up the first three replies. I expect that this AMAZING OFFER will go quickly so call now.

No seriously, I'll put some effort into it.

Have at it.

Oct 4, 2013

Carl Killer Miller posted:

As failure-penance for notposting, I'll crit up the first three replies. I expect that this AMAZING OFFER will go quickly so call now.

No seriously, I'll put some effort into it.

I'd appreciate it, thank you!

Aug 2, 2002

i claim one of those crits for Twist this week. (he texted me cause he can't post at work)

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Me please! Oh, nevermind missed it :/

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Chili posted:

Me please! Oh, nevermind missed it :/

Naw, you're good. You acted now so you got four for the price of three.

I am losing the thread on this QVC analogy. Anyhow, I'll have the crits up by the end of the day

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Chainmail Onesie posted:

Flash Rule: No character may speak (sebmojo)
Flash Rule: Thursday Flash Rule (Anime- Mecha Genre) - word limit increased to 1300
Flash Rule: Your protagonist is disguised as a member of the opposite sex for plot reasons. Nobody notices. (Bad Seafood) (NB: I done hosed up on this one, shame on me)

1293 words

Chainmail Onesie:

I'm going to intentionally leave a couple of things out of this crit. I'm disregarding that you didn't get to that third rule. I'm also generally not criticizing grammar because it can be hard to tell poor grammar from stylistic choice. That said, you really need to work on your use of pronouns. A story with one primary character shouldn't be ambiguous. Your use of the word 'it' is especially confusing. The clarity would benefit you a lot.

One of the lessons I'm really learning from thunderdome is paring down my words. It was sort of a revelation, but while passages like

Eva sighed, staring blankly into the auxiliary display at her hip. The letters flickered up at her, pixelated green-on-black amidst the white glare of the cockpit’s central screens. She looked up, squinting through her flight helmet at the radar overlay on her right. Like her radio and magnetometer readouts, it did nothing but gargle noise at her, completely defeated by her pursuer’s electronic warfare module."

are really fun to write and let you flex your vocab muscles, they can get very tedious to read. I had this problem throughout your story. Like some guy said, Brevity, soul wit etc etc etc.

Content-wise, I felt that in a story that should be centered around action, nothing really happened. I understand that while a bang bang pow story also gets boring after a while, the word limit would have let you pack in action without wearing out your welcome. I'm also not a fan of the Potato ex machina that you ended the story on. It came out of nowhere. I was engaged by the 'prototype' angle, but you dropped it (like a hot potato)

I think you should have embraced the ridiculousness of the genre a little more instead of contorting your story to fit it. It's not bad, but it's not something I'd read again.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

dmboogie posted:

Monday prompt, "Man agonizes over his tornadoes."

A Plague a' Your Thatched-Roof Cottages
1012 words

First off, I guess Jill's a man? Or is Hank the one agonizing over tornadoes? The prompts this week were kinda hard to follow but I think you got one with very literal elements and elements up for interpretation. You mixed em up.

All said, I liked Jill as a protagonist. You did a good job in making her a little bit relatable as well as larger-than-life and that's a difficult balance to achieve. It helped that the world you set this in had a good dose of beleivable fantasy to it. However, it's really easy to get caught up and overextend that fantasy. For example, a passage like this:

The tornadoes grew increasingly frequent and difficult to dodge as she traveled. After Jill’s third day’s walk her pack was snatched by the wind, forcing her to wrestle several boars to death along the way in order to feed herself, clear a rockslide from the mountain trail with her bare hands, and headbutt a goat to establish her dominance. Other than that, her journey was uneventful.'

gets really close to that line, then crosses it in the second-to-last sentence. That last sentence is unforgiveable. I get that it's supposed to be cutesy and a little tongue-in-cheek but it's so old that it should be bronzed by now.

Her encounter with the stormlord was sort of interesting. Whether you did it consciously or not, I like that the two characters in positions of power (Hank and stormlord) have a setup that's commisurate to their importance to the story. Unfortunately, the 'twist', if you want to call it that, is awful. Hank and the town seem distressed by the tornado situation, but they also have a solution prepared, so it seems like they've dealt with this exact problem before, which I'd assume Jill has heard of. That's where you lost me.

You took a risk with the ending of this story and unfortunately it didn't pay off. It tries to carry this 'what if god was one of us?' theme, but I loving hate that song. Like a lot of the stories this week, the ending feels rushed. There was a good way to write that ending, but you didn't hit the mark. The last couple of sentences are also completely unnecessary and work against you.

I wouldn't read this again and I'd probably give it a DM if I had the jizz to do so. Good elements, botched delivery.

Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!

INTERPROMPT: Potatomen versus the Yam People. 150 words

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Naw, you're good. You acted now so you got four for the price of three.

I am losing the thread on this QVC analogy. Anyhow, I'll have the crits up by the end of the day

This is sincerely appreciated, I need all the help I can get.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

Week 201 will be up as soon as we figure out who's running it, since Grizzled Patriarch is about to disappear into the wilderness or something.

Jan 11, 2014


curlingiron posted:

INTERPROMPT: Potatomen versus the Yam People. 150 words

War Cryams

'Is it true that under your supervision a weapon that uses dead soldiers as ammunition was created and widely used in military operations?'


'I have no more questions, Your Honour.'

Aug 2, 2002

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

Week 201 will be up as soon as we figure out who's running it, since Grizzled Patriarch is about to disappear into the wilderness or something.

this is it. td anarchy. this is how it ends

Sep 22, 2005


Sitting Here posted:

:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

Week 201 will be up as soon as we figure out who's running it, since Grizzled Patriarch is about to disappear into the wilderness or something.

Do we just pick one at random to crit, or is somebody sorting that mess out. I'll crit.

Feb 25, 2014


magnificent7 posted:

Do we just pick one at random to crit, or is somebody sorting that mess out. I'll crit.

just crit somebody

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

I would crit.... but I'd like to get at least one not bottom of the barrel story under my belt, critting now feels somewhat presumptuous.

Feb 25, 2014


Chili posted:

I would crit.... but I'd like to get at least one not bottom of the barrel story under my belt, critting now feels somewhat presumptuous.

no you crit somebody. you crit somebody right now. i have literally no power but i will look at my monitor very sternly if you do not crit someone.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

flerp posted:

no you crit somebody. you crit somebody right now. i have literally no power but i will look at my monitor very sternly if you do not crit someone.

I actually decided after I made that post that critting itself is a skill and I'd like to get better at it. So I did!

Guiness13: Hope Takes Root

I read a couple of stories as they were being submitted. Yours stuck with me the most. As far as capturing the feel of scent, you nailed it. Your careful use of colors and the temperature helped the most here.
What gave me a hard time, though, was how quickly the story got gross. I suppose you want it to be jarring but describing a dude’s intestines hanging out, and a bulging face that quickly… it’s somewhat overwhelming. I was worried that the story was going to stay all nasty and I was pleasantly surprised when it shifted. Your character also seemed very blasé about the whole event, which may have helped tone down the impact.

The other issue I had was at the end, when he goes for the potatoes. You weren’t exactly discrete with your descriptions before this and you built up how going for the potatoes was going to really hurt and be a big deal. Then, it just kinda happens and nothing is said about it. It felt like you knew you were coming up on the end of your story and were rushing up.

Nice job though.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

Week 201 will be up as soon as we figure out who's running it, since Grizzled Patriarch is about to disappear into the wilderness or something.

i'll run it look at my credentials *opens up pdf of all the elder scrolls fanfic i wrote*

Apr 12, 2006

Djeser posted:

i'll run it look at my credentials *opens up pdf of all the elder scrolls fanfic i wrote*

sounds p legit

Apr 16, 2007

Mr Gentleman posted:

The Curious Matter of the Nattily-Dressed Man (1023 words)

During my long partnership with my sister Khloe, amongst our more intriguing adventures was our investigation of the nattily-dressed man, a matter that was revealed to the public this week. Whilst I typically defer to our television producers to recount our adventures, I could not in good conscience remain silent over their portrayal of these events. For they focused on lurid details, providing little instruction on the virtues of deductive reasoning. As perceptive viewers know, our adventures are not far-fetched series of unlikely occurrences, but rather the results of principled deduction—even when premised on something as unexpected as potatoes! Let us now journey back to that fateful summer day.


Khloe and I had recently defeated the machinations of a sinister Parisian (an event so grotesque the world remains unready for public disclosure) and planned to recover at our estate in Bakersfield, a hamlet north of Los Angeles. Early during our journey, we broke for lunch in the village of T—n at a ‘fast food’ establishment named I—t. (We suspect our viewers are intimately familiar with its yellow arrow logo and famed ‘secret menu’.) The village, despite its inhabitants’ coarse peasant stock, had prospered from being located in a mountain gap through which a highway passed. The astonishing heat that day had driven the villagers to take refuge in the local shopping mall, leaving the streets deserted.

As we approached the entrance of I—t, a nattily-dressed man emerged, holding a white paper bag. He shuffled slowly towards the unseen rear parking lot, where his vehicle presumably rested.

‘His buttons reveal foreign birth,’ I remarked to Khloe. ‘His creases suggest nervousness.’ I struggled to concentrate in the heat. Why do they care so much about this random person?

‘Intriguing,’ replied Khloe. ‘Now let us eat.’

The restaurant was barren but for a lone attendant who also served as the cook. So as to be seen by the public, we elected to take our meal ‘to go’ and drove to the mall. I partook in crisp french fries, hard and ridged to the touch with a texture resembling cracklings. Now refreshed, we took a constitutional through the mall, mingling with local fans. A few hours passed before we returned to our automobile, whereupon we discovered a local constable waiting.

‘Are you the famed sisters?’ cried the constable, in obvious distress. ‘I recognized the sigil upon your vehicle.’

‘We are, good constable,’ I assured him.

He beamed. ‘What fortune! We require assistance.’ He led us back to I—t and then to the rear parking lot. Spilling from the open door of an automobile was the body of the nattily-dressed man from earlier, his expression twisted into a horrifying grimace. He was unquestionably deceased. The restaurant manager watched nervously from nearby.

‘This man was Gaspar Lemieux,’ said the constable, holding up a passport.

‘The famed Belgian food critic?’ cried Khloe. ‘He suffers from crippling introversion.’

‘We contacted his secretary,’ replied the constable. ‘He’d recently improved somewhat and was touring this region.’

‘Lips inflamed,’ I said, ‘and throat still swollen. Clearly an allergic reaction. He passed agonizingly.

‘His severe peanut allergy is well known,’ offered Khloe. I have some trouble believing she is THAT acquainted with this man, especially since they didn't recognize him earlier.

‘A terrible accident!’ exclaimed the constable.

‘Surely a food critic would be mindful of allergies,’ I said, frowning. The bag Mssr Lemieux had held lay near his foot. I unrolled it and found only a wrapped hamburger. ‘His meal remains untouched,’ I murmured, ‘as well as nutless.’ I felt the bag’s interior and his hands. Something began to glimmer in my mind. <-- This is leading towards the explanation of the murder but instead goes on to describe other things.

‘This is a twenty tweet problem,’ I said, removing my mobile from my purse. The weather was cooling and my thinking sharpened. I thought of the french fries from earlier and their crispness; of how salt prickled my fingers and hot grease dribbled down my palms. The sky was dark by the time I looked up. This paragraph doesn't add anything to the story and it gets repeated later when it actually becomes relevant.

‘Murder,’ I whispered.


We gathered indoors. ‘A man succumbs to a food allergy,’ I began. ‘But without eating. How?’

‘Sprayed with peanut crumbs,’ offered Khloe.

‘There exist myriad outlandish possibilities,’ I replied. ‘Let us apply the deductive principle of simplicity—we presume he ate peanuts.’ Khloe nodded.

‘From where?’ asked the constable.

‘The effects of various cooking oils on vegetables is an interest of mine,’ I continued. ‘I’ve authored a website on the subject.’ I began pacing. ‘As we know, I—t is famed not only for freshness, but also its unusual french fries. They are soft, distinctly limp in feel, chewy— unique properties imparted by being fried in cottonseed oil.’

‘Yes,’ agreed the manager. ‘They’re quite controversial.’

‘But the french fries I purchased today were hard, crispy, ridged; they felt like cracklings.’ The manager’s eyes widened. ‘The inimitable marks of peanut oil, sinisterly substituted by someone.’ I frowned. ‘Being foreign—and possibly affected by heat and hunger, as my own faculties were impaired by the same—poor Mssr Lemieux remained unsuspecting.’

‘His bag contained no french fries,’ the constable protested.

‘Precisely why this is murder, not an accident,’ I replied. ‘The culprit surmised that Mssr Lemieux, being painfully introverted, would drive elsewhere to eat alone. But as is common practice , he sampled a french fry in his vehicle before departing. His early death surprised the murderer, who subsequently removed the evidence. Examine the receipts; I’ve no doubt you’ll find Mssr Lemieux purchased french fries.’ I sighed. ‘The lone attendant from earlier. We must have barely missed him.’
She seems to make a lot of assumptions that just happen to be right. More evidence would be neat

‘He’s a new hire,’ cried the manager, ‘and ended his shift prematurely today. That’s when I came and discovered the body.’

‘What an unlikely plot,’ said the constable grimly. ‘Let us seek this murderer.’

What occurred afterwards is well known, having been depicted in gruesome detail by our producers—how the attendant was unmasked as the Belgian french fry restaurateur Mario Guzman, who had been slighted by Mssr Lemieux; the subsequent pursuit through the mall; and his painful last stand, nude and covered with peanut oil, in a room full of potatoes. Why?

Whilst I appreciate the titillating spectacle of these later events, they were simply the natural consequences of what began with the potatoes. With that, it suffices to state the virtues of deductive reasoning, applied rigorously, have been demonstrated once more.

Congratulations! You are the lucky winner of one (1) crit which I picked at random.

I realize the language is intentionally stuffy... but why? It doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than a gimmick and throughout the whole thing I kept getting distracted by it, especially because it is set in modern times. It's not clear if this is some sort of reality TV or just a tongue-in-cheek detective drama.
The mystery is a bit dull and the logic raw in some places, but all in all I think you captured the 'procedural' show vibe on it. It might have been fun to put more things at stake here and making it harder for the protagonists to solve the crime since they had basically no resistance.

Feb 25, 2014


some crits all choices determined by rng

paladinus here's a line by line mostly focused on cleaning up your language. i feel if you try to focus on being conscise and fall out of those dumb language traps that new writers get involved in, your stories can get somewhere.

anyways overall impressions

-light on character
-action is kind of meh
-the dialogue feels like it's trying to be a bit more fun but idk im not really feeling the dialogue most of the time esp with the main character.
-the main character is a bore and that's what kind of tanks this whole story.
-your ending is kind of weird. you just have your character basically say near the end "i dont want to do this" and then at the very end he comes back? i don't really understand why you decided to do that. just have the character stop believing thats ok.


-i dont get the opening. its boring.
-the pacing in the second thing is odd. there's a lot of weird phrases that pop up that don't really do anything and you have quite a few "begans" and "felts" that distances me from this section. like this line for example


But then there was another lift, more violent, as the wave thrust my feet upwards and to the sides, twisting my back around and then I was driven down, shoved into the dim grey, shutting my eyes as the ocean roared in my ears like a busy highway.

i think by putting a period at around would make this paragraph work a lot better. also putting a period at violent could also help. like here's just a rough edit of that line by adding some punctuation and cutting a little bit.


But then there was another lift, more violent. The wave thrust my foot upwards and to the sides, twisting my back. I was shoved into the dim grey, shutting my eyes as the ocean roared in my ears like a busy highway

i think that this makes the paragraph a lot more immediate and arresting and the long run-on sentence you had earlier doesnt quite work with what you want your reader to be feeling.

-i dont rly get that whole "grains have an agenda" thing.
-uhhhh what? i dont really understand this ending or this story? what was the point of the frame narrative? like the middle section isnt terrible and it has some cool moments, but i wish there was more to it. the frame isnt very interesting or really necessary. like, why is the cat talking? why was that a thing that you needed your reader to think about when the majority of your story is about some dude drowning?
-anyways, i think in a story like this, it's very important to have your language super super strong. somebody drowning can be horribly dull or very interesting depending on how you describe it. as such, there's no real strong narrative. its jsut a dude a drowning and the language, imo, isn't quite strong enough to pull it up and make this story very powerful. it needs to be tightened up quite a bit. and ditch the frame dude.


-moving from profane's to yours is a nice change of pace. you both dealt with kind of the same thing, but this is so much immediate and visceral like how i wanted profane's to be more like.
-good thing u told me he was agonized over those potatoes. im glad i know u can read prompts now.
-idk why but "weird investigator" made me laugh ebcause it was so, idk, just like "yeah im an weird investigator nbd"
-i dont rly think club penguin jokes work well with the beginning of a detailed car accident or whatever. it still made me laugh though.
-hmmmm idk. this isnt terrible but the girl gives mostly an exposition dump and i wish you made that a bit more natural. it also kind of flew over my head a little bit but i guess the kid can like control sound around them? idk but its cool and if i read a bit closer i think id get it but im a lazy fucker.
-the tonal whiplash of grief and death contrasted with the girl talking about club penguins just doesnt work. it makes me laugh but i feel like im not supposed to laugh about this story. it also makes me kind of confused. idk if this is supposed to be sad or funny or something in between since they never really mix well in here.
-prose is pretty solid but the dialogue is more exposition than anything, sadly.


-huh that volleyball metaphor was... pretty rad. like, yeah. nice. i like that metaphor more than i probably should.


“Go, honey, go!” Louisa was waving the neon-blue poster board with such gusto that she hit the man in front of them several times on the back of the head. Martin offered an apologetic look and a half-extended hand by way of consolation. The man just shook his head. Surely, he understood.

we dont need this. cut probably after "poster board" imho, or maybe ditch those last 3 sentences.


“She is competing against her peers!” Martin had exploded, trying to unstick his mouth from that manic smile he always got when they argued. “She goes to school with her peers. She socializes with her peers. ‘Peer’ means ‘person who’s in the same age group.’ We decided to keep her with her peers whenever possible, whether they’re developmentally disabled or not.”

this dialogue feels a particularly weak for me
-the dialogue of the mom owns actually. i love the pulling out of the dictionary. people do that all the time in arguments so it works for me.
--there's a bit of weird stuff in this that im not rly feeling. the whole "how could she possible disagree with me" is kind of odd because in relationship you disagree all the time. so like, this is the only thing they disagree on? or what?


The day she found out she was competing, Alex insisted that he drive her to the community center so she could run the track. She had always been a natural runner. Louisa’s nephews introduced the concept of racing to Alex on one family vacation—a race to the tree and back, winner taking first dibs on the inflatable tube roped to the back of a speedboat. On your mark, get set, go! and Alex dashed from one end to the other and back, the nephews a good yard behind her. Since then, she called races to the car in parking lots, to the beach, to the front door, basically anything that involved moving from one point to another on foot. Louisa had to ban racing in the house, it had caused so much destruction.

this owns though.
-hmmm idk about that dialogue at the end, but the ending is sweet and kind of cool. the kid just saying im so happy to lose was a little too on-the-nose imho and was pretty predictable.
-i liked this overall though. some of it can be cleaned up but the story worked for me. i do like dad stories though sooooooooooo idk.

anime king seafood

-there's a lot of characters. like prob too many but we'll see.
-i feel like im reading fantasy party week again
-i mean this isnt terrible. its kinda fun. it's one of those stories that kinda just does what it does without any fuss. it just, doesn't reach for anything higher. i dont really have any true complaints with it (besides all caps yelling) because it's not terrible. it's just kind of a look into a small little moment of a fantasy story and its not bad and i read it through easily but i kind of want more, you feel?

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sitting Here posted:

:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

You can see which stories have received crits so far here! I'll try to keep this up to date as new crits are posted.

Apr 30, 2006


First, it’d be really helpful for readability (and also just general grammatical reasons) if you’d start a new paragraph every time a new character speaks.

I’m not sure what tone this piece is aiming for. I’m going to guess “dark humor,” because that’s what the effect is closest to, except that this is just silly, and not funny, which makes the PTSD-riddled veteran seem a little in bad taste. I’ll admit, I was definitely a little intrigued to find out why potatoes were so triggering to our friend Marvin, and I think there’s the seeds of something farcical and interesting in the potato-torture lieutenant, but it’d help if there was a little more subtlety.


Everyone who heard about poor Private Grouse wondered why he didn’t just quit, but Marvin knew that SFC Soldid would have something far worse in mind than peeling potatoes if he failed. Years after the war, SFC Soldid would later find himself in the curious employ of the CIA helping to develop and perfect the art of psychological torture. Private Grouse feared him in Vietnam, and Manual Noriega learned to fear him in Panama.

For the purposes of this story, you could definitely cut this passage down to one, sharp sentence about SFC Soldid being a sick puppy instead of these three, stiff sentences. Along the same lines, there’s no reason for the stuff about Marvin ordering food to go on for so long. Like all you need is a sentence or two about Marvin regretting ordering potatoes, and then boom, segue into the flashback. That’s all you need.

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

Crit for Tyrannosaurus

I know nothing about anime other than 'One Punch Man is great' so I'm ignoring that flash rule

I am a sucker for first sentences and I really like this one. It's got a nice setup, and it feels like pathos? I don't know, but whilst at that first glance his heart breaking is melodramatic, you show us very nicely why this guy's potatoes are so drat important to him as the story goes on. I don't even know if they need to be for orphans, but that gets played for laughs as well so I'm less bothered.

Oddly enough I didn't see the plot twist coming here: it comes out very organically and I don't think it needs any further signposting, as it were. I'm mildly surprised he takes No Hands Man's word for it though.

In the end, this story catches a lot of the spirit of post-Friday Northern Ireland, where most of the guys who actually fought are either behind bars or in parliament, with violence mostly renounced, and the prisons are full of people who ideologically loathe each other but are capable of basic conversations, even if they're about the other ones all being bastards. Yet the old ways are still there, under the surface.

Basically when I say this feels like an Irish story it's a high compliment. This is a good story, hurrah.

Onto nitpicking:


“Trying to wash me rear end arse without arms”

- In common parlance, people wouldn't say 'the IRA': firstly because there are like six splinter groups that claim the name (my favourite being the 'Real IRA'), and secondly because it's usually shortened to “the 'Ra” as a word and not an acronym.


“Do you believe in Jesus, Iain?”

“I’m Irish,” Iain said meekly.

Bahaha that's great

- I feel the ending here is a little abrupt. Sure, Iain's confessing, but what change has Sean undergone? It feels like he's two sentences off what I think you were going for, which is dropping the last of his IRA ties after realising that they only want to use him. Maybe a final scene where he's sowing new potatoes, and his cellmate is simply 'absent'?

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London

flerp posted:

lovely flash rules: you have to write about potatoes, specifically Purple Peruvian potatoes. Additionally, your story must be set somewhere in South America.; No commas; 'zaftig'(twice)

853 words

Spudipus Complex

I don't find line crits terribly useful even on short things so:

Likes in order of importance:
- actually tries for something interesting and imo succeeds; also very tight and focused; seems like you had a clear idea of scope and type of story you wanted; feels almost roald dahl-esque in its carefully structured whimsy
- for me, does the difficult job of hitting the right level of sweetness
- last line is excellent
- clearly defined characters; characterized in clever, efficient little ways; interaction feels right
- lots of dialogue but in a way that works
- complete story arc
- hits prompt in non-throwaway manner

- narrates like you're reading your diary aloud to me
- something incomplete or one dimensional or unsatisfyingly tautological about elizabeth's goodness-with-colors and god's not-goodness; the colors are good because she good with them; god's are bad because he isn't; elizabeth wins; not so much desiring the "why" be filled in (since it's not really that important to this story -- to me the character interactions are) but the "is what it is" is a little flat or disappointing in not conveying something more; i had actually thought somewhere in the back of my mind that elizabeth was god's aesthetic sense incarnate and distilled (especially with the god's not perfect ending line) but reread and realized she wasn't; i should say on rereading the title i think i know where you went with it
- prose is a little flat for a story involving beauty and colors
- i hate the name elizabeth
- anything ive forgotten

this and the cat story were probably my favorites this week!

Mr Gentleman fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Jun 6, 2016

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


I did crits of the first three or four stories last night but when I plugged my USB stick in to take a backup my computer crashed.

You'll have to wait until I get back home to get those. But everybody's story up until Chernabog's got a crit. Except mine, if it was in there.

Maybe more crits after that if I have time.

Apr 30, 2006

Week 199 Crits - The Thrilling Conclusion


My issue with this story is the lack of immediacy. There’s no energy here, nothing at stake, nothing for a reader to latch onto. So the writing is very pretty, there’s some good imagery, and even a good character arc, but because the arc is told in this frame story about the Saint, all of this feels really distant, and I had a hard time caring about any of it. It’s also not that interesting to read about a perfect person, though I think there’s a germ of a good idea here about the protagonist trying (and failing) to live up to the legacy of someone they saw as perfect in a crapsack world. But for that to work, the story needs to engage us with the protagonist’s story, instead of spending so much time on the Saint himself.

The Shape of Human Hearts

Sharp, present tense prose, well-realized characters shaped with specific details, and not much of an arc – must be a GP story! This is a touching story with a strong emotional core, and I really love the details about the characters, but I think this has a problem with immediacy too. I like the paragraph about Connie wanting to learn Urdu, but I’m not sure it belongs in the piece, and I think the pacing of this story would be much smoother without it.

A Plea to the Little Bird

I can’t decide if I like this or not. There’s a poignancy here, but I think it verges a little on irritating, but that probably says more about me than this piece that the vulnerability here strikes me as a little bit twee. A good way to temper this a little bit would be to cut down on the times the narrator repeats “little bird.” But I also like that as a way to take on the standard apocalypse story, and the depths of loneliness implicit in this story are touching and I definitely respect that a whole bunch.

(Also, it’s “OK” or “okay.” It’s never “ok.” I feel like I’ve given you this note before so maybe this is a stylistic quirk. If so I think that’s kind of silly but whatever.)

Poor Little Terry

Speaking of stylistic quirks – really not a fan of this story’s modernist baggage, even if it’s in the service of character voice. I kind of hated this story the first time I read it, because it’s clearly inspired by a bunch of writers I don’t really like, but coming back to it I’m kind of fond of the way this flows, and I think there’s a nice energy to it (this strikes me as something that was fun to write.) The repetition is definitely overdone, though, and it draws attention to the fact that this is Style Over Substance: The Story. The ending doesn’t help – I don’t think it really adds anything that isn’t there already.

In the highways, in the hedges

I love the first sentence here. And I think this is one of the better structured stories. Each of these four scenes is important to our understanding of this world and these characters, and they go a long way to making the last line land with the kind of ironic oomph that makes this one of the more memorable offerings this week. The dialogue is quick and snappy and the whole story really nails this sort of dark, satirical tone.

On Soft, Dark Wings

The fairytale tone in the first half of the story makes the second half of this story all the more visceral and disturbing. I didn’t see the turn coming, and the story’s all the more memorable because of that. There’s an economy of detail here that makes the horror resonate pretty deeply, and the story clearly accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish. One of my favorites this week.


You didn’t seem to put much effort into this so I’m not going to bother either. This slapdash story works well enough to not DM because there’s the bones of an emotional arc, but the pacing is pretty terrible (less words about people breathing through cloth, please) and the tone isn’t clear.


The first sentence wanders off and gets lost, which unfortunately sets the tone for this story. It doesn’t help that Brooke is drafted into being a hell warrior and has literally no reaction about this at all. That makes this story pretty bereft of any emotional stakes in a way that really harms it, despite the evocative imagery. When a main character has no presence in the story, it’s hard to really care either way what happens, no matter how many horrible things you describe.

Sep 20, 2015


My Opinions of Your Stories
Based On Their First Paragraphs

edit to add: A short first paragraph isn't inherently bad, but it means I couldn't say a whole lot about your story, so if I say that, it's not a criticism, it's just me pointing out that's why I can't say much.

ZeBourgeoisie: Generically western, but might be interesting. "gleamed like a cursed jewel" is poorly executed as a metaphor. I don't know what a cursed jewel looks like, or what you're trying to say about the gun by saying that.

Ziji: Relatively interesting juxtaposition. 'My friends are all too busy' is a strange emotion considering, as a vet, some of his friends are likely dead. Working Applebee's tagline in at the end is dumb.

Chili: Bland, but at least it sets up a conflict. I was worried when you started with a question about being stuck in a room because that's a super generic start, but you fleshed it out more by the end. If they're working backstage or in a theater or at a studio, I wouldn't call it so much a "room" as one of those other things.

a friendly penguin: Even counting the first actual line, I'm bored.

Black Griffon: Passive, but reasonably interesting. It makes me wonder why Anja is in an abandoned school, so you accomplished the job of making me want to read more.

Chernabog: At least stuff happens. Prose is a bit dry, but too short to get much more without violating my first-paragraph rule.

Guiness13: You lost a point for starting by waking up, then gained ten points for the last line of that paragraph. You get the first :unsmith: of the day, congrats.

Hammer Bro.: Short, but interestingish. I do want to know more, but I don't know why the last line is important.

Screaming Idiot: This was three sentences when it should have been at least five. Please comma splice less. Also, I'm bored. It's all telling and like ten different sci-fi tropes crammed into a blob without character of its own.

sparksbloom: Intriguingly gross. I want to know more. Have an :unsmith:.

dmboogie: First line's tone feels a bit different from the rest, but I appreciate the comic rhythm after that. Not quite :unsmith:-worthy, but if I was a judge, this would make me feel hopeful for the rest of the story.

Carcer: I'm bummed out and also kind of bored.

Pippin: The intensity of something so simple is intriguing, as well as 'there wasn't enough time'. What's he racing against? I'll never know.

Mercedes: Intense but I don't know what's going on yet. Hopefully that gets resolved soon. One paragraph only, though.

QuidProQuid: Grabs at my emotions in a way that most of these haven't so far, but not enough to make me go "ooh what's up here?".

Entenzahn: A bit bland but you set up a conflict in one paragraph so good on you.

Benny Profane: Despite nothing much happening, you've got a good mumblecore tone to the first line.

Chainmail Onesie: For someone who had her communications jammed and is being chased by someone, she seems more put out than actually upset. Eva spends this whole paragraph looking at stuff.

Titus82: I have to hope this is a setup to some creepy bedtime-story-type horror, like the moon is a blister on your cheek that bursts into spiders and then he finds that his dog wasn't licking his hands at all!!!

Fuschia tude: Reasonably compelling, but too short to get a further read.

Tyrannosaurus: Aww. Passivity works all right here because it sounds like he's still in shock.

Ironic Twist: Might be cool, might not be, it's only fifteen words long so I can't say.

magnificent7: Okay this is six words, at least 'fight' is one of the words so that's a conflict, I guess.

flerp: I hope this is either someone's religious screed based on his knowledge of god via potatoes, or that god is a character in this story.

SurreptitiousMuffin: I like it, good combination of urgency and a bit of imagery. Although it didn't get me right away, on reflection, you get an :unsmith:

mistaya: Oof, starting with dialogue is risky, but I guess this makes me want to know more.

Obliterati: Bit flowery at places but at the same time, it's an interesting idea. I want to know what's up with grampa's iron business.

Mr Gentleman: I can't think of a good burn using Arthur Conan Doyle's name because I snoozed through this entire thing.

specres of autism: Interesting if short.

Killer-of-Lawyers: I want a story about exponential potatoes but I don't know if this is going to deliver.

skwidmonster: Too short to say much, but hey, conflict.

The Saddest Rhino: Explosions are cool, "the disarrayed crashings" is dumb.

Boaz-Jachim: What the gently caress is this nonsense eternal loser -1/10

Noah: You'd get an :unsmith: but it's about missing testicles so :smith: is more appropriate. Where's his balls?

curlingiron: Okay, I guess the conflict is dad vs daughter's lack of enthusiasm.

Kaishai: I feel like the fact that they kept doing it in the potatoes was a bit weird, but okay. It's an interesting sorta-magic situation set up here.

Paladinus: Zzz

Dr. Kloctopussy: I hope "glamour" and "as young as ever" are literal and not figurative.

Thranguy: Wow why is this guy a dick to a prisoner?

Fuubi: That's a really awkward sentence. It reaches back to put an action before the dialogue when you could just put it before the dialogue and avoid having to day "who had just barked".

Bad Seafood: Creepy and reminds me of the latest Oglaf about the avocado incubus. :unsmith:

Capntastic: I have no clue what any of this is and cannot pronounce your character's name, even theoretically inside my head.

Marshmallow Blue: Fairly basic, but you've got a potential source of conflict established, at least.

Boaz-Jachim fucked around with this message at 21:12 on Jun 6, 2016

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

Screaming Idiot posted:

Space Corps

"That's what you get for trusting DiGriz the Rat."

Did you seriously think nobody in TD has read Harry Harrison? Even worse, like hell would 'Slippery Jim' DiGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat, be so blase as to leave his name at the crime scene: an amateur move, from a poor operator. You insult me, you insult DiGriz, and you spit on Harrison's grave.

Interbatiĝo kun mi, ŝtelisto :toxx:

Feb 25, 2014


Obliterati posted:

Did you seriously think nobody in TD has read Harry Harrison? Even worse, like hell would 'Slippery Jim' DiGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat, be so blase as to leave his name at the crime scene: an amateur move, from a poor operator. You insult me, you insult DiGriz, and you spit on Harrison's grave.

Interbatiĝo kun mi, ŝtelisto :toxx:

this owns and ill judge when scidiot accepts


May 7, 2005


Here's a crit. I didn't want to do a line by line, but too many things jumped out at me.

Entenzahn posted:

flash rules: Your story must involve someone who has to find some genuine goddamn humility and ask for help/a favor; tuesday bonus word: monsterful

The Green on the Other Side
964 words

The crops weren’t growing. Again. Second year in a row, the soil was ripe with nothing but the failed hopes and dreams of baby potatoes. Planted, watered and rotten. Their leaves should be dotting the field right now, but Ruben just looked at the same barren wasteland every morning, brown and dull all the way out to the next farm, to Simon’s farm, the farm of his brother. Over there, everything grew just fine. This is a bad into. Too much passive voice. Too much telling over showing. Start with something more vivid like "Ruben surveyed his barren wasteland every morning . . ."

It boggled his mind. Again. that "Again." is real awkward and repetitive

He’d done everything right. Just like their father had. Planted by the same schedule. Used the same brand of fertilizer. Watered them in the morning, checked the soil each evening, dug out a root once a week just to check progress. Until they’d just - poof - vanished, shriveled back up into little veggie corpses.

He couldn’t afford another failed harvest. His farm was already barely hanging on as it was. Rust on the machines and cheap tar on the roof, it wasn’t in shape so much as it was desperately trying not to fall out of it. Even the rats were meager.

He didn’t know what he did wrong. But he knew somebody who, obviously, did it right.

He had to bite the bullet.

He had to visit Simon. this doesn't have the dramatic impact you probably intended it to have - you need to foreshadow the conflict between the brothers more effectively, maybe describe Simon's farm in way that insinuates Ruben's envy and/or bitterness


Ruben’s gut churned up as soon as he stepped out his truck. At his brother’s farm, everything was pristine. The house was painted a fresh turquoise and the roof still had all its shingles and there were boxes of produce piled up in the barn, wafts of fresh carrot and starchy potato spicing up the air with every gust of wind.

This was how a farm was supposed to look. yeah we get it

He hadn’t talked much to Simon since their father had died. They’d both gotten their fifty-percent share of his old farm, and they’d set up their respective corners on this earth and for as long as Ruben hadn’t taken his brother’s calls, that had been it, and it could have gone on like that forever for all he cared. big ol boring peanut butter and TELLy sammich

He stepped up to the house, and his fist hovered in the air, shy, like it was thinking of a way to ask the front door out for dinner. Finally, it opened on its own.

Simon hadn’t changed much: he still wore oversized baggy pants, and sunglasses inside, and a fuzzy beard that suggested he only shaved ever once in a while, when too much cheeto dust caught up in it. In some ways he was a walking 90’s kid meme, and he’d been like that since, well, the 90’s.

“Bro,” he said. “What’s up?”

“Long time no see, huh?”

“Tell me about it.” He opened the door and Ruben stepped in, slowly, as if he was expecting to be ambushed by solid wafts of marijuana smoke. The air remained clean. It was a nice place in general. No empty pizza boxes, no bong on the couch table, but flowers, and scented candles and pictures of a woman above the fireplace.

“Found a girl?” he said.

“Hell yeah, dude.” Simon had disappeared into the kitchen, shouting over his back as he was opening drawers. “I met her at the farmer’s market. She bought a bunch of my veggies, for soup. Came back every time I had a booth up, and I used to be there, like, a lot.” He came back out with a bottle of apple cider and two glasses. “It took me a while before I twigged that nobody needs that much vegetable broth.”

“She looks nice.” this passage would have been better if there was no picture of the woman and Ruben just assumed Simon had found a girl because his place was clean, which would be a nice way of showing Simon was naturally a slob


They sat down at the couch table, and the recliner that Ruben had been ushered into was one of the finest drat things his buttocks had ever made contact with. You could kill someone in these cushions. They wouldn’t mind. definitely a "You could kill someone in these cushions and they wouldn’t mind." situation from what you're trying to convey

“And the farm? Everything going well for you?” he said.

“Totally. Going to be another monsterful harvest this year.” boooooo you failed your flash rule word challenge

“That’s nice. Dad would be proud of you, man.”

Ruben had never been a good liar. Yet, it had come off as sincere.

Because he’d actually meant it. you are breaking up these sentences as if this convo is the tensest thing in the goddamn world but it's boring AF, and the sentence construction instead just highlights that

His brother had used to be nothing but a stoner loser. oh God here we go again with the goddamn TELLy Clarkson Always the one who’d have to be bailed out. From the cops, from the loan sharks. But this wasn’t his old brother anymore. This was someone who was, in every aspect, better. Better than the old Simon. But also better than Ruben.

“So how are things on your end?” Simon said.

Ruben set down his glass and took a sigh, like he was breathing out his last bit of resistance.

“My farm’s a failure.”

“Come on, bro. That’s not true.”

“It’s not like you can’t see it from here.” He took a deep gulp from his glass, buying time, as if it wouldn’t all have to come out anyway. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’ve tried everything. I’ve done it just like dad used to do. I just-- I dunno.”

The penny dropped for Simon. is this a common expression? He leaned back in his chair, and he took a sip from his cider, and for a second, his lips tightened up like those of a disapproving mother. But then his face mellowed out again. Because that was his brother. So what if Ruben hadn’t called in two years. So what if he’d only come because he needed something. That was Simon. Chill. To the core.

“I can help you,” he said. “My veggies are doing fine.”

Ruben twisted the glass in his hands. His reflection frowned back at him through the amber cider. “If you… if you’d like.”

“I’d love to,” Simon said. He leaned forward and put a hand on Ruben’s knee. Just like their father had used to do, when things had seemed tough and there’d been cheering up to do. “But first you gotta show me your crib.”

I have no idea what the significance of the ending is. Is that last line supposed to mean something more than just Simon wants to see Ruben's house? You need to set up why Ruben would be so reluctant to seek Simon's help more. So the gist of this "story" is: Ruben was the good son, Simon was the gently caress up. Therefore, Ruben is bitter that the father gave half to each son and should have given it all to the good son instead? And now it's hard for Ruben to accept how successful Simon is? There needs to be more conflict, more of a reason/more stakes to Ruben seeking Simon's help. More needs to happen in this story. This entry is half telly backstory and the backstory doesn't even do a good job of getting the reader to care about wtf is happening.

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