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Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

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

It warms my heart to see someone caught the reference, but that warmth is stoked into a fire of pure indignation that you would think it was the actual Stainless Steel Rat and not a copycat out to ruin his good(ish) name!

Or it could just be heartburn. Either way, you just stepped into a pile of kagal, bowb-for-brains! Make room, make room, because I accept your challenge!

EDIT: Sorry, thought the was implied.

Screaming Idiot fucked around with this message at Jun 6, 2016 around 22:01

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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

Screaming Idiot posted:

It warms my heart to see someone caught the reference, but that warmth is stoked into a fire of pure indignation that you would think it was the actual Stainless Steel Rat and not a copycat out to ruin his good(ish) name!

Or it could just be heartburn. Either way, you just stepped into a pile of kagal, bowb-for-brains! Make room, make room, because I accept your challenge!

I see a lot of flailing words but I don't see

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Obliterati vs Screaming Idiot

before we start, i want you guys to write a story. beginning, middle, and end. a character(s) who is likable or otherwise interesting. that's the most important thing for this prompt.

you're going to write me an adventure. entertaining, some nice action, maybe some good banter, whatever. give me an adventure, a quest, whatever your little heart considers to be an adventure, give it to me. BUT WAIT. i want this to be unique. i don't want to read the Indiana Jones sequel or a fantasy story with elves and dwares. avoid as many cliches as you can. we've got a lot of epic adventure stories out there but if i catch you telling me D&D Quest #240 or Uncharted 5 or First Contact with an Alien Race, then you better sure as hell have made it so unique or creative that I don't even notice that you took those cliches. you can write fantasy or sci-fi if you so desire but keep it unique and interesting. thanks and good luck

and scridiot you better up.

1500 words
Due 6/20/16 at 11:59 PM PST

flerp fucked around with this message at Jun 6, 2016 around 22:15

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~




im critting Benthos by Benny Profane. dude i miss yr old av.

this wont really be a progressive type crit since i read it already and liked it and its more something washing over you than a narrative.

i rly liked your prose. sometimes you dont rly notice how good prose is until you realize youre so totally immersed in a scene you feel like youre drowning too. the words are undeniably good, but they dont cudgel you over the head with how good they are, which is how words should be.

i think anime animals that just wander around asking questions about human life are a thing. i can picture the cate just walking around p vividly. i almost know the inflections; i think ive heard them before, and none of the words get in the way so i can hear them better.

i think youre hamstrung by the main theme of the week. like the potatoes dont really tie in thematically. after he almost dies he eats french fries but that doesnt like, i mean im not totally on board. like youre not quite there but i wanna blame the prompt not you cuz the writing is so good. maybe if you were gonna sub this or someth dont make the potatoes such a central idea.

"I wonder how many people waste their last moments of life wondering if they are dying." makes u think (unironically)

i think theres a metaphor here about how his girlfriend is oblivious to how much hes suffering but hands him a french fry anyway. tbh french fries are tiny and not very satisfying by themself.

then the protag starts to shrink which is fanciful and doesnt rly break the tone that much. i like the last sentence a lot, the inverse repetition. this is a good read, i mean its vignette-y but thats obvsly intentional. i left the story with a sort of dreamy melancholic feeling which is not a bad way to feel when a storys over.

as like my general crit conclusion thing id focus less on stuff that is too out of place thematically and try to maintain that consistency of nice words that dont get in the way of my visualization. hope thats helpful

spectres of autism fucked around with this message at Jun 6, 2016 around 22:21

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007


Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

"Dear Strong Feraligatr,

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

Axew,
Post Town, Canada"

curlingiron posted:

INTERPROMPT: Potatomen versus the Yam People. 150 words

Just Like the Movies
69 words, 420 characters

Hollywood producer Cannabis Lector blazed a glare at the hopeful director across from him.

"Potatomen versus the Yam People?! The market is already oversaturated with lovely 'franchise versus franchise' movies. And what's more, this script has 5732 pages in it! That's like a week-long movie! You're a terrible person for thinking of this and you will never work in Hollywood if my name isn't Cassius Clay. And it's not."

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Marshmallow Blue posted:

I have sinned. Lay it on me

------------------


Here's the late story-


King of Starch
1152
Anime: Gag Trope EDIT: so, i only saw your flash rule after the fact. i understand why you made some of your stylistic choices, but the piece is still unbearably cartoony.



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. my mental image is of some bad animation in source filmmaker. that's not a good thing.

“Hey you! That’s my spot. You need to move. I sell potatoes here every week.” Mao said. The rice man chuckled dialogue doesnt tell us any new information about the scene. it's just a repetition of what we've already been told through narration. you're also missing a period at the end of the sentence. please edit before you post.

“No one buy your dirty potatoes. Maybe you go sell them to dumpster.” why is the rice man talking in a racist japanese accent when they are both, presumably, talking in japanese. The 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.” i feel uncomfortable with your dialogue. The rice man finished setting up his stall. this is a weird detail to throw in because your audience has been given no indication that he was setting up his stall.

Mao was fuming. don't use the past progressive tense when past will do fine. He turned around in anger show dont tell. and hoisted his sack of potatoes to find another stall comma goes here only to see a rat running away with one of his sandals. okay, so the central conflict is now atom and jerry-esque short. got it.

“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. your use of past progressive is weird and makes you sound awkward and hesitant. mao did not begin chasing the rat, he "chased the rat." potatoes did not begin spilling out. they "spilled out." The rat dodged left and right of Mao’s attempts to capture the creature. this is a literal tom and jerry cartoon. if you are going to write an action scene, i want details that doesnt make this episode sound childish. It took a hard left and ran the other way. The chase had garnered many onlookers as Mao frantically tried to catch the rat and stop the potatoes from spilling out. passive voice. "Onlookers watched as Mao frantically chased the rat. He stumbled as more potatoes spilled from his bag.

He ran past the rice man who was laughing jesus christ, just use a normal verb tense. so hard he could barely breathe. cliche. try to read more to get a better sense of descriptors. Mao shook his fist towards the rice man as he sprinted by. see previous comment. this is less a story than a cartoon storyboard. 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. okay, so the only characterization we have for this rice vendor is that he talks like a racist caricature and kind of a dick. im not really sure why he's so hostile to our protagonist or why he considers his misfortune so funny. the over-exaggerated nature of his actions are just annoying and cartoony.

The rice man could only imagine the grawlix im not looking up this word. popping out of Mao’s head and began emoting the speech bubbles of angry text. jesus christ.

“ #$%! $&%!! ” you are not writing a 1950s comic strip. if your character is going to swear, have them loving swear. The rice man why is the rice man swearing if mao is the one ranting and screaming. i thought that is where this sentence was going but now im confused. said repeatedly while opening and closing his hands above his head like fireworks. why. i dont understand whats happening. why is the rice man doing a crab imitation.

Mao picked up the potato by his bare feet, ????????????????????????????? wound up, and hurled it as hard as he could at the rice vendor. have you ever seen someone try to throw something with their feet? 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. more awkward phrasing. more tense issues. more cartoon cliches. if the story ends with mao seeing a hot lady and his jaw dropping, im going to scream. He was truly as opposed to falsely embarrassed? adverbs are the devil and you should very rarely use them. embarrassed and everyone at the market was laughing at him. The elderly woman reached Mao and began hitting him in the butt oh my loving god. repeatedly.

“Yaaooooooo!” this is the worst episode of tom and jerry that ive ever read. Mao shouted as he hoisted his sack again and ran 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 comma” he whispered to the potato and gave it a light kiss. so, i have no idea why this guy is so obsessed with potatoes. i might be willing to tolerate some of these obnoxious cartoony bits if the characters were interesting or dynamic. instead, i have no idea what their motivations are or why they are acting as they do. they aren't even two-dimensional. Mao began running TENSE. 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. like really? because idk at this point whether im going to witness a potato come to life or not. it would certainly fit the mood.

“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.” im surprised a literal lightbulb didnt pop up over his head.

---------------------------

Mao arrived extremely early to the market next weekend. He rented a Tuk-Tuk okay, so i know what this is, but i bet most of your readers would not. some description would be nice. 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. passive voice. "He erected a towering throne of potatoes in the street." why he's doing this, though, i have no idea. Mao placed his hands on his hips and admired his work as a few vendors began arriving. so, like, is this market in the middle of nowhere? did no one see him erecting this huge throne of potatoes? 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. please stop the cartoon cliches. i am begging you.

“Today, I am the king of starch.” He said to himself as he climbed the throne and sprawled across it. im not even going to question how this throne is staying together. The vat rested by his side. what vat? when did the vat come into the picture? He held a giant spoon to serve the masses. i dont A scepter fit only for a potato king. what Lastly, he wore a necklace with a single potato dangling from it. what is this

Mao was high enough in the air on the throne of potatoes to see the rice man coming in the distance. like, why would he come? what possible reason could the rice man have for coming to the square if he sees this huge mound of potatoes? if im the rice man, im staying the hell away from this psychopath who apparently has dominion over starches.

“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 YOUR 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 jokinglyPERIOD. “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. so, did mao just basically destroy the entire village's livelihood?

*Splat* *Splork* *Splat* please read grendel by john gardner for a good example of how onomatopoeias work. i would expect this kind of styling from an internet forums post, not a story.

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. aaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

“How does that poo poo taste rice man?!” USE ONE PUNCTUATION MARK. Mao said laughing. Before the rice man could answer COMMA he stuffed more and more and more ANOTHER SPOONFUL into his mouth.

The rice vendor spat it out in resistance.

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

“I won’t MISSING A WORD HERE. this. It tastes like potato man’s poo poo” the you've had rice vendor uncapitalized the entire story. why capitalize it now. Rice vendor replied.

Mao began laughing hysterically. because he's a loving bugs bunny character. jesus christ.

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

“No COMMA” Mao said. “The vat is full of rice paste, not potatoes! You just said you think rice tastes like poo poo!” world's shittiest twist for the world's lowest stakes.

The onlookers began laughing at the rice vendor’s faux pas. They giggled, whispered, and pointed, getting extreme enjoyment out of what had transpired. yeah, i think the villagers would be more worried about the literal cartoon character who turned their lives upside-down for a practical joke.

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

Things to work on:
- Wacky, cartoon antics are not a replacement for character motivation and an interesting plot. Your story is almost Tom and Jerry fan-fiction.
- Read Struck and White's Elements of Style. Your grammar is all over the place and you seem to have little idea how dialogue attribution works.
- Make your characters change or develop over time. Your story is about two men terrorizing each other for little gain.
- Put down the cartoons and read more books to get a sense of how prose and description work. Your bare-bones descriptions are almost always awkward and repetitive, which suggests that you have very little experience with actual books.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

Since you were cool enough to catch my Stainless Steel Rat reference, I'mma crit yo poo poo (it is not poo poo)

Obliterati posted:

Prompts
Wednesday (senses)
Taste
Magnetoception

Galvanised
932 words


I taste the iron on the air. It comes from the north in drafts, swells and wafts, pushing through my nose, settling on my tongue, a sharp tang forever on its tip. When night falls, the dewdrops gather on the old steel poles your grandfather hammered into the dust around our house, one for each cardinal point. The water pools and evaporates, running through internal tubes and machined stills, leaving sparkling fragments for him to scrape up each morning and a drop of water for us. “Iron,” he says, every time. “Pure iron. You'll be glad of it when I'm gone.” I like the use of present-tense in the story; it works to make things more intimate for the reader, whom you have placed in the role as the protagonist's child. I like that, it connects me in a way I hadn't previously considered.

But, of course, it's the potatoes I worry about. There are mouths to feed. Today I stoop at each withered bush and consider its chances. Your mother taught me as best she could towards the end, and I have failed her. I wonder if I was a poor student, or if the iron is to blame: if in some blind rage it wounds the soil that holds it, staining it bloody. I spit on the last plant: what bitter water I can spare lolls down to the ground, languid and brown-red. She used to kiss their leaves, but they are too brittle now, choked in dust. Swaddled against my chest, you squirm. You are restless today. But then, you never did like the iron, did you? Blood and iron, dust and desiccation: you do a beautiful job weaving metaphor into the narrative. The near-poetic description of the rust staining the soil contrasts beautifully with the way the protagonist spits on the plant, the description making it sound like an act of mercy.

Your grandfather takes out his new compass and taps it. The last one made it a week before the rust flooded it into stillness. I have no time for his old world tinkering. The robots went first, throttled by dust. Nothing but scrap, but they still made fine toys. So I humour his smothered, ever-spinning compasses, and his spades that snap, their innards rotted, brown and flaking. Your mother thought him a genius. Perhaps that mattered once. Good world-building; you subtly imply the story to be post-apocalyptic, or perhaps even to take place on another planet, but since neither possibility is central to the plot you leave out unnecessary detail. I should learn from this example.

He taps it again. “Storm's coming,” he says, frowning, and hobbles to the next pole. Simple and to the point.

I open my parched mouth and curse. I shouldn't do that when you're around, but we cannot eat iron. I put you down for a moment and I run for the tarpaulin, wincing as my bad leg hits dust, to shelter what plants remain. I shout wordlessly at your grandfather. He ignores me, scraping up dust like it were gold.

I grab one of the iron spurs scattered around the tarpaulin. I slam it into the ground, to pin a corner down, and it snaps in my hands. I bite my tongue and I taste still more iron. I curse again. You'll get used to it. I try the next, and the next: the last one dissolves between my fingers, dust in the rising wind.

I cast my eyes around for rocks. They are all dust now, lifted into the air. All that's left are Grandfather's old steel poles, rust-free. I sprint to the eastern one and tear it from the ground.

“You idiot! We need that to catch the iron-”

“Aye,” I say, “because right now we're so drat short of it!”

He reaches for the steel. I swat his frail arm aside and push him to the ground. “I'm taking this,” I say. “Don't try and stop me.” He kicks out, and my bad leg gives. We tumble over together, dust and iron clouding over us, and I raise the steel again. I can feel the growing tension, the protagonist's growing irritation with Grandfather's futile insistence. It's not explicitly stated, but I get the feeling these two are willing to kill one another at this point, not out of real hatred, but of despair.

But he's not looking at me. He's looking back, towards the potatoes, to you. And then they remember what's really important.

You know I always tell you not to run off on your own? Well, you never were a listener. You're toddling along at your own pace, past the southern pole and into the trackless waste beyond. The dust is up to your knees, but you don't stop.

I look at your grandfather. He looks at me. I drop the steel, help him to his feet, and we come running. He picks you up and you start wailing. “Let me hold him,” I say, and he passes you over. You keep screaming your little lungs out, and I worry your next breath will be rust. But your grandfather is measuring your line in the dust, checking against the poles.

“True south,” he says. “The lass is going true south.” He takes a breath. “Away from the iron.”

“And the potatoes.” I like how the potatoes in this story have real meaning for the character. While in my lovely little story the potatoes are merely a punchline, you make them something worthy of agony. And this line serves as good foreshadowing.

We both look at you, but you have nothing to add. I lower you gently, he and I shielding you from the duststorm. You resume your course. True south.

Your grandfather and I turn back to our little farm. The north sky is the storm, brown-red and raging. Our eyes drift, together, to the potato patch. He looks at me, and he nods. He's right.

I pull out the southern pole and pass it to Grandfather. “Bring them with us,” I say. “Never know when we'll need pure iron.”

It doesn't take long to pack. A few tools, our food and water stores, your toys; a picture of your mother, grandfather and I before all this, fading red and brown. By the time I come out, Grandfather has already packed his gear.

I quickly scoop up the potatoes: small and tough as they are, they'll make for seedlings. I never told you where we buried your mother, my wife, his daughter. But she wanted to provide for you, and we kept that promise for her. I fold a leaf over in my hands, yellow-green and alive: I kiss it once, gently, and release it to the wind. I lick the acrid dust from my lips. Then I swaddle you up and you lead us away from the storm, keeping us true south with your happy gurgling. A lovely, bittersweet ending, and the foreshadowing bears fruit. Again, you never explicitly state the details, only give their shapes. You have the competence to let your readers make the final connections on their owb instead of hurling exposition like an incontinent monkey.

You're most likely going to kick my rear end during our brawl. After this story, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Screaming Idiot fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2016 around 08:48

Ziji
Oct 20, 2010
Yossarian lives!

Phone posting so can't quote the crits but thanks guys! It was very rough and my first time writing fiction in years so appreciate the feedback.

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


QuoProQuid posted:

Things to work on:
- Wacky, cartoon antics are not a replacement for character motivation and an interesting plot. Your story is almost Tom and Jerry fan-fiction.
- Read Struck and White's Elements of Style. Your grammar is all over the place and you seem to have little idea how dialogue attribution works.
- Make your characters change or develop over time. Your story is about two men terrorizing each other for little gain.
- Put down the cartoons and read more books to get a sense of how prose and description work. Your bare-bones descriptions are almost always awkward and repetitive, which suggests that you have very little experience with actual books.

I was going for cartoons cause the stupid cartoony crap is my entire limited knowledge of anime.

Thank you for the rest of the crit about the grammar and better descriptions.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

Marshmallow Blue posted:

I was going for cartoons cause the stupid cartoony crap is my entire limited knowledge of anime.

Thank you for the rest of the crit about the grammar and better descriptions.

dont reply to crits

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Chili posted:

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


Thanks for the crit!

Will be going through a couple crits of my own once I get a chance to sit down and do it.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


I did a stupid reading of Merc's excellent, anime-inspired potato story.

http://vocaroo.com/i/s03X3maRg64K

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


CRIT: Serreptitious Murfflin.

His/her? work always humbles me, makes me realize there is a huge distance between my poo poo scrawls and Literature. I get the feeling He/She has spent time in college studying writing, so I wanted to do a crit of his work, as a low-life uneducated writer who is actually a student of his incredible feedback. So, for whatever that's worth, this is my crit of that person's work. May you all forgive me for staring into the sun. Or some other literary grand statement of poo poo.

FIRST NOTE: I read the whole thing, only adding a few notes here and there for the few odd typos I was delighted to find. Summary at the end.
SECOND NOTE: My D key is a moody bitch so it's likely you'll find wors without the D in there. Like that one. Goddamn this laptop.

smuffin posted:

SERRIPTOUS MIFFIN

Balance (Oorlog, Winter)
1000 words exactly

The first bomb missed. GREAT OPENER of course. The only warning was a low whistle, then the blast tore chunks of dirt and withered potatoes [nothing else? Just dirt an taters? So you're really going with forcing the potatoes thing right into the opening lines?] from the frozen earth and hurled them skyward. Bombs don’t go bang up close, they roar. To hear a bomb is a whole-body experience[To experience a bomb.... To hear a bomb is a ear experience... just nitpicking like hell on your stuff.]: it grabs you by the guts and rattles is [ITS I win you made a typo here.] tremolo across every bone. The second bomb missed too, but the shockwave knocked Geert on his rear end.[great line, gives me name of main character without being obvious. I loathe/envy lines like that.] The Germans probably weren’t even aiming for him - maybe the spotter saw movement in the farmhouse and thought it was an American fleeing from Arnhem. Not that it mattered - bombs are bombs.

He pushed himself to his feet, staggered. The world whirled [cool af onomotopaiea alliteration words], as if he were struck by an attack of lowland vertigo. He shouted for it to stop, but it -- kut. Fok. [Okay, you do this through the story, and it gets too distracting after awhile. I get it, he's talking German, but the jump from english to german by the fourth time is overkill.[ His tongue and lips made the shapes, but the sounds coming out of his mouth were murky, as if from far away. Stop stop stop niet meer meer. He fell, smashing his face against the hard ground. He tasted iron - a mingling of his blood and his earth [fantastic line -- just fantastic.]. Another bomb landed nearby - he couldn’t see it and barely hear [[heard?]] it, but a patter of loose dirt fell across his back, and its monstrous vibration shook his body.

As quickly as the storm came, it passed. It didn’t matter whether the spotter saw Geert and called off the strike or whether (at this sunset point in the war) the Wehrmacht were just running low on ammo. Running low, hah! Running low on ammo, on warm winter coats, on food. When the first American planes had come overhead, the Wehrmacht had sent men to every farm in the region and taken everything they could carry. They’d left only the most shrunken, withered and rotten crops[now THIS would've been a good spot to mention a rotten tater]. Now, they’d taken even that. Geert lay on his back, covered in frozen chunks of dirt, and he laughed. The sound of his own laughter was distorted - it sounded as if another man were laughing at him from far away. [I like this an don't like it... like it's cliche but upon second reading, it's fresh; if that makes sense.]

Suddenly, an image came upon him of a badger. ["Came TO him" is just too unliterary? Upon is too stilted for me.] A badger is a funny animal - a bumbling, beautiful thing. You’d think a badger would be the merriest forest creature, [To be honest, I don't think anyone thinks badgers are merry forest creatures now, thanks to the Honey Badger videoclips but okay, this is WWI or II, so, okay, don't nitpick.] until you put one in a corner. Then you’d see the claws - made for smashing apart frozen earth - and the teeth - for crushing the bones of smaller, more vulnerable animals. What’s the point of this? The machine of war, vriend - the machine of war was a funny thing. Was that it? Or was it about tenacity? About grit, which was another name for dirt. A call to arms. Hah! Geert dug his elbows into the ground, and pushed himself up. The nausea came again - the earth twisted beneath him - threatened to swallow him up. He flopped onto his back, and did not vomit, but only because there was not enough food in his stomach. [Killer line. This is the stuff that amazes me - says so much with just so little, drat you.]

“Een das,” said Geert. A badger. He laughed. “Ik ben een das.”

The words didn’t sound like his. Something trickled out of his ear, and the smell of blood filled him from the inside - not healthy blood, but a clotted, polluted reek. He spat. He was hungry - he’d been starving before the bombs hit, but now he was starving. There was food inside the house - it may as well have been in Amsterdam. What would a badger do? Such a ridiculous picture to call to mind, but dying minds were never sensible. A hungry badger - a badger would dig. Geert pawed at the ground beneath him. It had been too hard to break apart with a shovel, but the German bomb had done the hard work for him. Beneath the frozen surface, the earth was soft and loamy - ready for spring, if the Germans hadn’t already been through and torn up every plant for themselves. Geert’s stomach growled - his ruined eardrums gave [[mmmmmm not really the right word but I get it, or it IS the right word but in lofty artsy fartsty literary circles so I don’t know.]] the noise a curious distance: it sounded some manic, starving beast of the forest closing in. A beast of iron, of of [[too many OFs yeah I’m tearing you to shreds.]] flesh, or a soft buzzing that threatened to swallow the world or of – FOK. It was – it was

Dig dig, a badger would dig. Dig, vriend. Dig or die. Dig down to hell if you must, but dig or die. [but, why exactly? bomb hits and he thinks of a badger, and then he starts to dig into the dirt? WHy? to escape the bombs? Or just because he's gone nuts?]

Geert dug as much as he could - crabbed his hands into the soft belly of the empty earth. Tried to push himself up again, and was struck by an even greater wave of nausea - the whole drat world rumbled and shook beneath him - twisted, tilted- refused to stay still. He took a single step, then another, then collapsed into the hole left by the third bomb. He was further away from his house than he’d started - his ruined ears had turned him all the way around.

He lay on his face, with his arms bent at the elbows and his palms down in the soil. “Een das,” he said. Dirt filled his mouth. The words were barely there any more - the buzzing in his ears was louder now, threatening to swallow all other sound. He coughed, then he pushed his fingers into the loose earth and dragged then backwards.Dig, vriend.

Geert dug. He could not stand, nor could he hear himself weeping – he understood both things acutely in their absence. He made himself filthy, getting lower and lower into the guts of the ground. He laughed, and his own laughter came back to him as if from a great distance. Blood, tears and dirt filled his mouth. He dug, and dug, and –

His left hand brushed against something solid. Not a rock - something warmer than that, with rough skin. For a mad moment, he thought it was a dead body. He gripped it, and pulled. It was a potato - a healthy, firm potato.

Geert laughed, and the sound was clear - as if from his own mouth. As his hearing returned, he held the potato up into the frigid air.

“I’m alive,” he said.

The words were his own.

Primary Sense: Hearing
Secondary Sense: Equilibrioception
FIGHTING RHINO

Okay. Line-by-line crits are annoying so I stopped them. Basically, your story is this: Bombs fall, Geert freaks out, understandably. Thinks of a badger, digs into the dirt, finds potatoes, and says "I'm alive."

It's one of those philosophical stories that I like, but don't exactly get... kind of like the ending to No Country For Old Men. I feel like I need to appreciate the tale, but I'm not exactly sure why... kind of like when some jazz guitarist goes into a nickelodeon scale over a suspended major chord, because he can. Like - it's incredible writing, it says something about the human spirit, I guess, but I'm not sure how much is smoke and mirrors vs. how much is actually just story with conflict or character arc, plot, etc.

Then again, I feel the same way about Hemingway, so, take that with a grain of "Goddamn That's Better Than I Could Do, Way To Go."

Final Score: Julienne Fries and two tater tots.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

ZeBourgeoisie

Casual language but an adequate starter paragraph. I can anticipate Something happening.

The prose was working for me (I'm exceptionally weary right now), but you've tripped me up with "Mel". Isn't the protagonist speaking? Tom's the only other person I'm aware of. Mel doesn't sound like a nickname. I'm stumbling instead of reading.

Is there a third person here? You haven't introduced them so I'm entirely lost with regard to who's speaking to whom.

There's some tension in the Russian Roulette scene, as I'm also counting bullets. Then they shoot at ??? for ??? reasons and are shot back at.

The prose is alright but because I don't know the characters' motivations (why are they doing that and under what conditions) the tension lacks weight. Also I'm not sure how the potatoes are central to the agony. I'm not motivated to study this one further.

Ziji

I like the title.

That's a wonderful first paragraph and I have some delightful ideas as to how this man might agonize over potatoes, although I wouldn't have this were the story outside the context of the 'dome.

Dunno how I feel about the lack of line breaks around dialogue. It's nonstandard, but it might not prove confusing.

I'm really empathizing a lot with your protagonist even though I have no direct experience with PTSD. Way to tap into shared expectations.

So I read the rest of it, and there's a bit of a conundrum. I really enjoy knowing that he's somehow going to freak out with regard to potatoes, and you certainly nailed that part. But part of why I know that is because of the prompt, so I can't take that delight into account as a feature of the story itself; I don't think metafiction was deliberately employed. The explanation of why he has P-PTSD is passable, but it interrupts my anticipation of the climax. Also, though I like the thought of the setup, I don't really feel it (you've Told me how bad Sergeant Soldier is, but I didn't experience it) and I don't buy it as a cause of this level of PTSD.

If somehow you could establish the PTSD around potatoes in advance of the opening paragraph without relying on the context of the thread, I think this would've been great as a much shorter story. I have nothing against one-note punch-line stories as long as they go all in. But I'm not exactly sure how to accomplish that, so what I'm left with are conflicting feelings.

Chili

I'm not with you (and maybe a little against you) at the end of the first paragraph. That's a no-no. You've got some office worker with an overactive whiny imagination? Boo-hoo. I hope that the world is actually changing based on his mood or something more interesting.

You've got some tense changes that I don't think are intentional (The shadow was / So here I am). And some capitalization issues ("Harv, when are you coming home?" my wife asks.) I probably won't mention these further unless they're particularly egregious. (There's another.)

Not waiting for the response is fine, but predicting what the response will be has the opposite of the (I imagine) intended effect, as now I fully expect something to go wrong because of that line. Also I'm not sympathetic to someone who hasn't figured out how to manage his workload.

Why the heck is he sabotaging someone else's work now? You list his rationale, but I don't swallow it. I can't conceive of this being a real fellow. Also I make computer games from time to time and work in an office.

Why are you saying why so much? It has overstayed its welcome.

There's a glimmer of satisfaction in that he actually does see the smiling family at the end (especially since I'd mis-predicted the trajectory), but there were way too many roadblocks for me to enjoy this story. It didn't resonate with me. None of the actions or motivations or descriptions made sense -- I'm not sure if that's because of how similar a situation I've been in or in spite of it. The mental breakdown is underplayed and a bit irritating in style. Ham it up a little more -- spend less time on the encyclopedic parts (which even I glazed over, though I've never been fond of doing assets) and more time on the fun stuff: the flipping out, the discrepancies in working conditions, and an external sense of pressure instead of the bizarrely self-inflicted one.

a friendly penguin

I'm neither with you nor against you for the first few lines. I don't dislike anything about it but I'm not convinced it will go anywhere interesting, either. Mild amounts of amusement about the doodling (that's easy to relate to), but then a brief hiccup of confusion when Andre responds with "A masterpiece." I had no reason to assume he was looking at Eddie's drawings. I do like that Andre is trying to sell pear sketches to pass as potato sketches. That feels real.

The first paragraph of Tuesday is a good one. It conveys a sense of tension and apathy. The banter's better on this day as well.

Heh, Bob Ross. The structure and especially the opening paragraphs of each day does convey a sense of progression, but I'm losing interest. They're agreeable characters, but I don't have enough reason to care about them specifically. Something's up with their mom, I guess.

Ah, there's some interest in the characters with Andre's outburst. It's set up such that it makes sense in the context, and it's human enough to garner my empathy. For Andre.

I feel Eddie's sense of excitement at the potato's growth although I can't comprehend how he wouldn't know how a potato worked.

Why is Andre thanking Eddie?

I also don't know what Mr. Ashi meant, so the ending jest misses its mark.

This story had a few moments of interest, but I'm going to forget about it quickly. Also, don't edit your submissions!

Black Griffon

I'm up to the first separator, and I'm not feeling much of anything. She's looking for someone who isn't there in a warzone, which should be a little more gripping, but it's not doing it for me. I think the prose is a little to calm for me to feel a sense of urgency, so instead of getting the associations with chaos, confusion, and loss, instead I get a sense of forlorn but perpetual wandering. Not in a poignant way, just not in a way that makes me feel for the protagonist.

There should be horror when the solder gets eaten but there just is not enough tension in the prose. It's sort of meditative and now there's a monster. But also I don't care about any of the characters, so predominantly I feel relaxed.

Your verbs aren't punchy enough to convey a sense of urgency or danger. "The dust fills the room as Anja shakes the journal, giving birth to beams of light in the haze by the window." That's generally peaceful. "Anja shakes a layer of dust from the journal." That's more immediate. I'm not sure what purpose the other descriptions serve but it strikes me as contradictory with regard to tone.

Now you're changing scenes too quickly. The creepy science fiction horror didn't stick to me; again the sentences are too passive and ponderous and reminiscent. Though it's in present tense, the tone makes me feel like the events are being recollected calmly, so the conclusion can't be that dramatic.

Too many passive sentences. Or, if you're going for sad, you're not hitting it.

The concept here is all right but the execution doesn't do it for me. You're the second person to edit their submission -- that's a big no-no!

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


LATE CRITS FROM ASSORTED WEEKS

Because I try to be a man of my word, even if I'm not particularly punctual about it.

Heavy Lies the CROWN OF BLOOD by Curlingiron

I selected this story to win its week, and reading it again reminded me why. Your characters all manage to fill specific roles without being bound to or solely defined by them, most impressively the dark spirit inhabiting the Crown of Blood which was more or less exactly what I wanted from the flash rule I gave you. It's only technical downside is it follows a very well-worn arc (but then again, so did my story this week) without too many surprises: someone new is introduced but their character/credentials are doubted, they prove themselves and win the begrudging respect/admiration of their naysayers. Regardless, you wrote a fun story about characters I enjoyed spending time with. Good show.

Free Skate by Kaishai

First off, you do an absolutely wonderful job setting the scene and drawing out the atmosphere in this story. You were given the 80s to work with and this feels 80s. What's more, you manage to walk this thin line between being vague and specific, which gives the whole story this dream-like quality without sacrificing the realness of what's transpiring. Your protagonist is tempted and resists, and must fight for her soul - metaphorically, of course, but with a kind of surprisingly sinister undercurrent that makes it feel like more's at stake. In he end she wins, and we're glad of it. One hopes she'll be able to win every time.

Psalm 130 by QuoProQuid

While it's true I owe quite a few crits spread out over quite a few weeks, this was never one of the weeks I ever intended to revisit for one big reason: most of these submissions were never going to be able to stand on their own merits, divorced from the proceedings which created them. This one is no different. As a piece of the larger "Puzzle" it fits in about as well as the majority of its contemporaries, but on its own it lacks a certain substance. Your protagonist is definied more by her "Job" than who she is as a person; she has an objective, stumbles upon something she thinks will help her achieve it, then exits stage right. There's just not a whole lot going on here beneath all the words. Sorry.

Wish You were Here by Kaishai

It's been long enough since I last read this that I completely forgot the "Twist." It's a good twist, and a nice take on the week's theme. Although this was already covered by the prompt then, I'm glad you don't waste time spelling out the hows and whys behind the letters; they just work, because that's how it goes. The characters have a familiar warmth to them and an intimately knowable relationship, which works well even if it is a bit well-trodden path.

Saving Daylight by Chairchucker

So I really liked this story. You slowly sketched out what exactly was going on in a really satisfying way, and while you only really have one character she's got a lot of it - character, I mean. The tone is a little wonky, sometimes solemn, sometimes snarky, but it works more than it doesn't since it suggests a certain sort of narrator, and our protagonist is the narrator. The bittersweet ending was well-considered as well. I'd enjoy seeing more stuff like this from you, Chair.

Four of Five Come Down Vesh Mountain, Carrying with them Divine-Ordained Change by Thranguy

A bunch of people talking about stuff I don't understand or care about, followed by a cluttered action sequence I don't care about, followed by a bunch of exposition about a several plot details I now understand but still don't care about. You spend a lot of time trying to "Suggest" your world rather than spell it out, which would be good if it weren't so reliant on referring off-handedly to labeled concepts and events we couldn't possible know, but your characters lack anything to really draw me in. I'd rather have interesting characters in a bland setting than bland characters in an interesting setting, which was the whole point of this "Fantasy RPG party" exercise. Apply yourself.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Hammer Bro. posted:

Tipua (1000 words)

The big problem with this story is that I have no loving clue what anything means. Like, I can see the individual actions/occurrences, but their significance is a complete mystery. It makes it hard for me to find anything else to crit, honestly. I'm sad, because I feel like there is a cool world underlying all this, but I can't get a handle on it. It's okay for one thing to be of unclear significance until the end (though it's still not my favorite), but I can't really understand what any of it means even at the end.

quote:

The Waka drifted to a stop half a league from harbor. Its sails were tattered, its hold depleted, and its crew exsanguinated. No one knew why Tangaroa sent the boats back. was exsanguinated a word you had to use? B/C that means drained of blood, and I have no idea what that means (assuming it's a metaphor).

Sonorous bells gathered the townsfolk -- everyone over sixteen assembled under threat of drowning. The Chosen died the real death, but The Drowned came back vengeful. Avaricious. Silent. no clue what's going on still, and at this point, I'd usually only read one more paragraph to try to figure it out, then give up. What (who?) is Tangaroa, what are The Chosen? I can guess that people who drown are The Drowned, so that's why the threat of drowning was used, at least.

Rongo suppressed a shudder as he reached into the cauldron. The cold ivory of washed-up bones slid between his fingers until one found purchase. He closed his hand around it and reverently, gingerly removed it. WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS MEAN??? I understand the action, but not its relevance. Is this in front of the townsfolk? somewhere else all together? Who is Rongo?? How does this relate to the ship?

All eyes bore down on his fist. Rongo took a ragged breath and opened his hand: the black bone.

The crowd erupted, quivered, and departed. Rongo remained rooted to that very spot, as though he could escape his fate by melding into the earth. The fallen bones intermingled with the seawrack at his feet. His empty hand remained open. During the hours of his catatonia, kūmara vines visibly encroached upon the town square. Someone would have to fight them back before the next assembly, but that someone would not be Rongo. Noooooooo. Whhaaaaaat is happening?

He was freed from all duties but one. at least i can guess this probably means death? a rock in a storm

---

Raw fingertips scratched angry red welts in his whiskers. wait, who the gently caress is this?

"Another?" my question exactly

Toi had been an irascible chatterbox in life, though many years of death had mellowed him out considerably.

Rongo ran his tongue across the coarse plaque of his remaining teeth. "Stronger." I thought Rongo just had to die.

Toi shrugged, knocked the neck off of a particularly grimy bottle, and tilted it over Rongo's cup. wait, i thought Toi was dead, too. Are these people the Drowned chilling under the ocean and somehow still able to pour drinks? what is happening to me?

Rongo tossed it back in one quick motion and luxuriated as its toxic fires deadened nerve cells throughout his body. He didn't care if the numbness was permanent. The captain got free waipiro for a reason.

---

A week later The Waka had been refitted and it was time to go. He had enlisted one crewman and coerced two others. He who, because if this is Rongo, why are Enforces forcing him on board in the next paragraph??

Two Enforcers, naked and hairless, wrapped their massive hands around him. One on each bicep. The sudden change in blood pressure intensified the throbbing in his head; Rongo giggled at the sensation.

His crew openly traded glances of fear and disgust. Their captain wasn't a coward, he was just too drunk to board.

The Enforcers dropped Rongo off at the wheel, saluted, and returned to shore.

"Fffirst mate Rātā!" Rongo bellowed.

"Yes, captain?"

"Have we got the grog?"

"Aye."

"And the moonshine?"

"Aye."

"And the waipiro? Three barrels of waipiro?"

"Aye."

"Then let us be off!"

"Aye-aye," Rātā responded. The crew shuffled to their stations. Okay, wanting a bunch of booze is something I can understand.

---

For three days they sailed in darkness, for none had the heart to set the day-lights. During this time the captain hardly drank a drop. The crew was encouraged. During this time the captain ate none of his kūmara. The crew was disheartened. OKay, I am happy b/c I understand the first 3 sentences of this paragraph. No idea what the significance of the last two are.

The South Island materialized in the distance, and adrenaline galvanized the crew. The band of ogres that roamed this island had been raiding the mainland with increasing savagery. Already Rongo's town had more dead than living. But at least the ogres hadn't invaded since the town started mobilizing against them. I understand this, but I don't know what it has to do with the original return of the boat. Still not clear if that crew returned literally exsanguinated.

They docked quietly, and Rongo put his finger to his lips. He hadn't shared his plans and the crew was too afraid to ask, but follow-the-captain seemed as reasonable a strategy as any. Rongo pointed at the gangway, and the crew lowered it as somberly as a casket. Rongo pointed at a barrel of spirits then upward, and two crewman lifted the barrel. He tiptoed down the gangway and motioned over his shoulder, and they followed.

Rongo led them two cables inland, then pointed to a glistening patch of loam. His crewmen planted their barrel. Without a word of explanation, Rongo returned to the ship.

They repeated this process until every keg was packed in a tight circle on the marshy soil. Exhaustion blunted the crew's apprehension, though Rātā my computer is rendering this guys name hilariously wrong, but that's not a problem remained chary. Rongo returned to the ship for his uneaten kūmara, then trekked back to their circle of casks.

Rongo upended his burden while the crew watched silently. They returned to the ship, and Rongo raised the gangway. He crept back to the helm, pointed at stations, and gave the signal to depart.

Rātā's eyes bulged as he gasped. Here was an act of clear cowardice in premeditated sobriety. "An offering? You cannot placate--"

Rongo backhanded Rātā so hard that the first mate nearly crumpled. Recovering, Rātā turned to Rongo and drew another breath.

Rongo shoved his hand on Rātā's mouth and thrust his gaze down to the primal part of Rātā's brain which demanded animal obedience. Rātā deflated.

Gesturing northward, they sailed away from the island in silence. Once they had passed a comfortable distance, Rātā asked, "Why are we fleeing? We cannot return home except through victory."

"And victory we shall have," Rongo said. "Once that island is out of sight, drop anchor. There we shall wait for two cycles." You've got a lot of random terms for measurements in here, that takes away from the story b/c I have no idea what they mean. I originally thought cycles meant weeks or months, but down below you say days. So just say days here. I already had to give up trying to figure how long a "cable" was.

"But we'll starve!"

"Obey me in this, or captain your own fate." Rongo crossed his arms and looked away; the conversation was over. Did they have to abandon all the alcohol? Problem: who is asking this question? The narrator, apparently?

---

Two days with no food and limited water left the crew feeble and desperate. They would have mutinied if there were even a glimmer of hope, but the ogres would kill them on sight, and at this point so would their townsmen. Sprawled across the deck, Rongo croaked, "Cut anchor and sail southward."

The crew struggled to obey, and the instant they were in motion everyone collapsed back into prostration. An hour passed in agony, then the ship ran aground with a terrible roar. They could hide no longer; this was the end.

Rātā slumped his torso over the railing so he could face his demise head-on. Demise was not what he saw.

The island was inundated with kūmara. Gargantuan ogres, normally so fierce and facile I do not think you know what this word means, stumbled about and tripped over the vines.

"What?" Rātā asked.

Rongo broke into a gap-toothed grin. "Gentlemen, tonight we feast! Kūmara 'til you vomit, and waipiro if you find some. But not too much." Okay, I guess they have achieved some sort of victory, but uh... how the hell did it happen? didn't they sacrifice the Mara to the Ogres, or something? Why is there suddenly tons of it? None of this ever became clear enough to me >:-[

Man agonizes over potatoes. Drunk captain of a warship. Touch and thirst.

quote:

fac·ile
ˈfasəl
adjective
1. (especially of a theory or argument) appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial. (of a person) having a superficial or simplistic knowledge or approach. "a man of facile and shallow intellect"
synonyms: simplistic, superficial, oversimplified;
2. (of success, especially in sports) easily achieved; effortless. "a facile victory"
synonyms: effortless, easy, undemanding, unexacting, painless, trouble-free "he achieved a facile victory"

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


WEEK NO. 102 REDEMPTION



Blessed (821 words)

The roof of the cave was a tangled network of roots. The old man found a sturdy one, testing its strength; he hung his lantern. Bathed in the light of a strange blue flame, strange shapes churned in the shadows of the ceiling.

In the corner sat the girl. In her arms was his dog. The dog’s breath came in short, haggard bursts, his foreleg wrapped in provisional bandages. The girl had applied them herself, tearing her skirt, pulling it taught. The old man looked to the mouth of the cave. Beyond beat the rain, harsh and unrelenting.

Track her down. Bring her back. The old man’s instructions lingered in his mind.

She was a girl with plain, solemn features and dull and distant eyes. Marking her forehead were twin nubs that had once been horns. Beautiful horns more analogous to antlers. They’d been found sawn off, left behind in her bed.

The old man sat across from her, his face half in shadow. He raised a hand and felt his budding whiskers. The flame in the lantern flickered and danced.

“Will he live?” he asked, though he knew the answer.

“He will,” said the girl. Her words were absolute.

A hunter’s trap, poised and ready, lay hidden in the undergrowth. An arrow coated in poison. The dog barked, the girl ran, and the dog chased dutifully after. The girl tripped the snare, but the dog took the arrow.

The old man drummed his fingers against the stock of his rifle. Trapped in this cave, isolated by the rain, they were like the last survivors of some great cataclysm. He looked to the girl and the dog. This cave was their ark.

The girl held the dog’s leg in her hands. She caressed his wound with a gentle, knowing touch. It was the same touch she used in the village square. She reached out, as though plucking ephemerals threads from the air. She whispered words that had never been written. The dog’s breathing settled. He welcomed sleep. She let out a sigh, a finger to her temple.

“Mother always told me anyone who lives their life for another is blessed beyond measure. I don’t know whether I believe that or not, but I’d like to believe it. I’d like to think it’s true. You and your dog,” she scratched behind its ear, “As far back as I can remember you made the rounds, kept us safe. Did you feel blessed? ”

The old man halted his drumming.

“Not especially,” he said. The drumming continued.

“I see.” The girl looked to the mouth of the cave. For awhile there was silence. Then the man spoke.

“I take it you didn’t?”

“Not especially,” she returned his words.

“Is that why you ran?”

“I’d think anyone would.”

“You didn’t feel needed?”

“They don’t need me.”

“You’re an essential part of the village.”

“They don’t even know my name.”

She looked to the old man.

“Do you know my name?”

The old man didn’t answer. He didn’t need to.

The spell of the lantern’s sway continued into the night. The gulf of silence between the girl and the old man grew, until they could be no further apart. The old man inspected his rifle. He took it apart, piece by piece. Each piece he studied in the pale blue light. He put it back together under the girl’s watchful eye.

“Why did you stop to save my dog?”

The girl blinked, her expression uncertain.

“Excuse me?”

“Why did you stop? You could’ve easily made your escape.”

“The fault was mine. I’ll not be used, but I’ll not leave debts.”

The old man scratched his chin. “Go to sleep,” he said.

The morning brought with it the strength of the sun, the dwindling sea subject to its whims. The old man stepped out and shielded his eyes. The girl followed after, and with her the dog.

“I suppose we’re going back then,” she said.

“We’re not,” said the man. He whistled, and in an instant his dog was at his side. He bent down and undid the bandage, the torn skirt now stained dark red with died blood. The dog stood tenderly on his leg. At a glance he bore no trace of a cut. The old man gripped the fabric tightly. “After weathering the storm, this is what we found.”

The girl watched him disappear into the distance, rifle at his shoulder, his dog at his heels. In time he was naught but a memory. In time so was she. Beyond the forest there ran an old road, a vein for commerce and families on foot. In the distance was a city. The girl stepped toward it.

“Well now, what’s all this?” The speaker was a young woman smoking a pipe. She drove a horse and cart. She appraised the girl. “What’s your name, forest child?”

The girl smiled softly. “I’m glad you asked.”

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Good news! quoproquid has been chosen to post week 201's prompt while GP goes on his vision quest or whatever. The next prompt should be up bright and early.

(If you're confused, what's happening is: Grizzled Patriarch won week 199. Since week 200hundred was a special 'takeover' week, GP was technically slotted to just week 201. He's going out of town, and agreed that QPQ could take his place. The winner of week 200 will get some sort of prize in lieu of judging, though I'm sure QPQ would welcome the help if they wanted to step up and co-judge week 201)

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Thunderdome Week CCI: Old Russian Joke



That's right, kids. I'm taking over! The blood throne has been abolished. Long live the Thunderdome dictatorship of the proletariat!

One of my favourite historical periods is early 20th century Russia. In the lead up to the 1917 Revolutions, Russians produced a slew of art, fiction, and journalism. And much of it has a sense of manic desperation about it. I’ve collected some of my favourite pieces here: http://imgur.com/a/dAzDY/all

When you sign up this week, pick a picture from the above gallery and write a story about it. (Also put your picture in [TIMG][/TIMG] tags because some are kind of big.) I don’t expect (or necessarily want) historical fiction or a one-to-one translation of your picture, but your story should be in some way inspired by what you pick. Be as literal or as abstract with your pick as you want.

If you don't feel like scrolling through that album, you can also ask one of the judges to pick an image for you.

Oh, and one more thing. I’m tired of reading a bunch of sad stories about sad people. Regardless of what you pick, your story must have a happy ending. If I don’t see some positive, forward movement by the end, you will be sent to the gulag.

Judges
QuoProQuid, General-Secretary of the Supreme Thunderdome Soviet
Sparksbloom, Chairman of the Council of Judging Commissars
Kaishai, First Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Thunderdome Soviet

Final Sign-Up Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST on Friday, 10 June 2016
Submission Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST on Sunday, 12 June 2016

Word Count: 1200 words

Sign-Ups:
1. Fuubi
2. Chili
3. Carcer
4. Marshmallow Blue
5. ZeBourgeoisie
6. Chernabog
7. flerp
8. skwidmonster
9. Paladinus
10. Mr. Gentleman
11. Ibexaz
12. Bad Seafood
13. astrofig
14. Screaming Idiot
15. Benny Profane
16. Thranguy
17. a friendly penguin
18. magnificent7
19. Black Griffon
20. Entenzahn
21. Tyrannosaurus

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Jun 11, 2016 around 02:00

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Hell, last week was a disaster. This week I'm in for a catastrophe!

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

I'm in.

And thanks for the crit, Hammer Bro!

Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


In.

Wringing a happy ending out of those pictures, though...

edit: to claim the picture.

Carcer fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2016 around 14:03

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

I feel like kind of a wuss for not picking up any flashrules for the 200th. Can I request that I get assigned a picture?

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Chili posted:

I feel like kind of a wuss for not picking up any flashrules for the 200th. Can I request that I get assigned a picture?

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Thank you sir.

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


In it not not lose it.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER




In.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Critiquing:

Chernabog posted:

Tuesday words:
perspicacious
mellifluous
ambrosia
juxtapose

Flash rule: A person gets crushed by an avalanche of ironic consumer goods.

A very potato miracle - 1197 words.


This reads like a bad holiday movie. I’m sure you meant the holiday movie part, what with the title and all, but I’m also sure you didn’t want it to be bad. It might be worse than bad though because in bad holiday movies, the protagonist usually learns a lesson while also triumphing over the hubristic antagonist albeit in a ham-fisted way. Your main character doesn’t go through any growth or have any change at all.

I also have a hard time believing much of what happens in the story. The likelihood that his wife would use his prized potatoes without a second thought but also be willing to sabotage someone else’s entry is low. The time constraints you put on Asher to not be able to find russet potatoes at a different store but yet he has time to answer all of the police questions in a double homicide doesn’t work either. The possibility that two men are actually killed by falling safety equipment (oh the irony) in a shopping center is so outside the realm of belief, that my interest also died right there. (I know it was a flash rule, but… meh.)

Your story needs better obstacles than the ones you have set up and they need to actually feel real. All of the problems you set up for your character are either unbelievable or easily overcome. All of your characters are flat. Asher shows no emotion, even when he wins and Boris doesn’t. His humility at the end is meaningless since it juxtaposes nothing. His lack of concern for two people who died, including someone he actually knew, in fact points to him as likely having no feelings whatsoever.

But I think I’m putting more thought into this than you did. It is a story, there is a beginning, middle and end. There are characters. But those two things are where you stopped. You need to go a little further in developing your whole work. Asking some basic questions like: What does this story show? Who would my characters be in other situations? What do I want to accomplish with this story and have I done it?

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



a friendly penguin posted:

Critiquing:


This reads like a bad holiday movie. I’m sure you meant the holiday movie part, what with the title and all, but I’m also sure you didn’t want it to be bad. It might be worse than bad though because in bad holiday movies, the protagonist usually learns a lesson while also triumphing over the hubristic antagonist albeit in a ham-fisted way. Your main character doesn’t go through any growth or have any change at all.

I also have a hard time believing much of what happens in the story. The likelihood that his wife would use his prized potatoes without a second thought but also be willing to sabotage someone else’s entry is low. The time constraints you put on Asher to not be able to find russet potatoes at a different store but yet he has time to answer all of the police questions in a double homicide doesn’t work either. The possibility that two men are actually killed by falling safety equipment (oh the irony) in a shopping center is so outside the realm of belief, that my interest also died right there. (I know it was a flash rule, but… meh.)

Your story needs better obstacles than the ones you have set up and they need to actually feel real. All of the problems you set up for your character are either unbelievable or easily overcome. All of your characters are flat. Asher shows no emotion, even when he wins and Boris doesn’t. His humility at the end is meaningless since it juxtaposes nothing. His lack of concern for two people who died, including someone he actually knew, in fact points to him as likely having no feelings whatsoever.

But I think I’m putting more thought into this than you did. It is a story, there is a beginning, middle and end. There are characters. But those two things are where you stopped. You need to go a little further in developing your whole work. Asking some basic questions like: What does this story show? Who would my characters be in other situations? What do I want to accomplish with this story and have I done it?
oh well.... maybe next time. Thanks for the crit.



IN with

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

These pictures are making me sad you guys.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Critiquing:

QuoProQuid posted:

Negative Space
948 words
Monday Flash Rule: Don't feel like writing about potatoes? Your man can now agonize over whatever his heart desires.
Flash Rule: Man agonizes over his paseo
Flash Rule: Story takes place between breaths



I am a bad writer and also a bad reader, so I thought it would be helpful for me if I tried to analyze a better writer. Hope you get something out of it too.

There is a lot of tension in your story which makes it compelling. The need for the action to take place in the span of a breath gives it an element of time crunch. But there’s also the opposing male figures. Immediately the reader can’t help but hope (along with Tabby) that her teacher will be a foil to the father. But at the same time, the brain strays to the other possibility and is dreading it.

It’s well paced. I can see that in the way you set up the previously mentioned question but without it feeling as if the reader has to wade through the entire story to find out the answer.

Similar to the point of your story, you use negative space to say a lot. I can’t say that I understand all of what you’re trying to say. Like the paragraph after she receives her paper back.

“She pretended not to see the smug, pitiless glances of the other girls. She tried to ignore the graffiti in the bathroom, the leering boys in the hallways, and the giggling whispers that were always just loud enough to hear.”

What exactly could they know? Or perhaps that they know is all in her head. She just perceives that all of their looks and sneers are directed at her. But it does get me thinking.

However, I think this story could use even more negative space. In the sparse style you’ve already created, you’ve almost got too much description of the father’s lusty actions. Even your descriptions of the English teacher could use some trimming.

Your story is relatable, compelling and plunges depths of the human mind and human behavior.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in and give me a pic tia

skwidmonster
Mar 31, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER


IN for Mother Russia.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


a friendly penguin posted:

Critiquing:


I am a bad writer and also a bad reader, so I thought it would be helpful for me if I tried to analyze a better writer. Hope you get something out of it too.

There is a lot of tension in your story which makes it compelling. The need for the action to take place in the span of a breath gives it an element of time crunch. But there’s also the opposing male figures. Immediately the reader can’t help but hope (along with Tabby) that her teacher will be a foil to the father. But at the same time, the brain strays to the other possibility and is dreading it.

It’s well paced. I can see that in the way you set up the previously mentioned question but without it feeling as if the reader has to wade through the entire story to find out the answer.

Similar to the point of your story, you use negative space to say a lot. I can’t say that I understand all of what you’re trying to say. Like the paragraph after she receives her paper back.

“She pretended not to see the smug, pitiless glances of the other girls. She tried to ignore the graffiti in the bathroom, the leering boys in the hallways, and the giggling whispers that were always just loud enough to hear.”

What exactly could they know? Or perhaps that they know is all in her head. She just perceives that all of their looks and sneers are directed at her. But it does get me thinking.

However, I think this story could use even more negative space. In the sparse style you’ve already created, you’ve almost got too much description of the father’s lusty actions. Even your descriptions of the English teacher could use some trimming.

Your story is relatable, compelling and plunges depths of the human mind and human behavior.

Thank you. This is very helpful.


flerp posted:

in and give me a pic tia

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

A time-invested line-crit.

Thanks for the crit; it was illuminating and informative.

Yes, I did mean exsanguinated literally.

Also thanks Tyrannosaurus for the crit a few weeks back. Also educational.

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London



In and flip me a pic please

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London



Tyrannosaurus posted:

Week 199: Buddyweek Buddycrits


Thanks and yeah, pretty much!

Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014



Thanks for the crit, flerp!

Can I get my losertar now?

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Paladinus posted:

Thanks for the crit, flerp!

Can I get my losertar now?

i think ur safe buddy

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