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  • Locked thread
Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


Looks like the ban washed my loser tar away just like rain washes tainted souls. I am reborn a new man and will not lose again.

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Paladinus
Jan 11, 2014



^^^ lol

flerp posted:

i think ur safe buddy

Well, gently caress.

I'm in for this week then. Give me the image, господинъ QuoProQuid.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Here's the promised linecrit for QuidProQuid's week 199 story:

quote:

As my brother rises to his feet, I find the stench of his psychiatric hospital suddenly overpowering. Gone is the smell of disinfectant and death and deodorized air fresheners. In its place is urine and blood. The odor of something senselessly alive. Something that refuses to die. watch the adverbs. they show a lack of confidence in your ability to convey meaning. trust your story and your voice. first sentence is snappier without “suddenly” and probably “psychiatric” too; “senselessly” adds ambiguity and muddles the punchy impact of the fragments.

He grabs me, smearing his oily hands across my face. the blocking of this sentence is odd. unless he’s grabbing the protagonist’s face, it doesn’t make much sense. As his lips curl backward, I see the gaps where yellowed teeth used to be. He is on top of me, all spittle and nails. these lines are good and evocative I bring my hands up, but the nurses are already pulling him off. They curse as the living quarters descends this is technically correct but i’d find a different word than “living quarters” into pandemonium.

“YOU DID THIS. YOU DID THIS,” all caps dialogue is never a good idea. it’s clear from the words and the rest of the sentence he’s angry and agitated he screams, writhing and smashing against the blue scrubs. He jams his elbow into a nurse’s eye and she lets loose a guttural howl. that’s some very dramatic phrasing for what’s basically a throwaway moment; it draws a lot of attention to the nurse and I don’t think that’s what you’ve meant to do The other patients are pushed by another group of nurses out a side door, all weeping and screaming. ambiguous modifier there – who’s weeping and screaming? the other patients or the nurses or everyone? “YOU’RE KILLING ME.”

I am forced to look away by a heavy hand on my shoulder. this would work better in active voice A doctor leads me towards the nurse’s station. I realize that I’m bleeding.

“Don’t worry, he says with a sympathetic but mechanical smile. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying. It’s the illness talking. We’ll take a look at his medications.”

*((*))*

Before the Haldol and Thorazine, my brother and I did pot in his van. ”smoked pot” or something – no one says “did pot.” We sat, windows sealed, giggling and coughing. Passing the joint to one another and admiring the white wisps as they curled and spiraled in the darkness. again, this is dramatic phrasing for something that you don’t want to draw a lot of attention to.

“You know they’re stealing from me,” he said between inhales. ”puffs” or “hits” On some days, he remembered to shower. this is a good detail On others, he smelled exotic this word doesn’t mesh at all with the examples you give, like curdled milk and old fast food wrappers. “They want my money, but I won’t let them have it. I won’t do it.”

I giggled as he leaned his head against the passenger’s side window. Sometimes, he would let me sit in the driver’s seat and watch as I tightened my hands on the steering wheel. The foam felt good, strong and elastic.

“Yeah, I dunno,” I said, feeling guilt creep and excitement creep into my face. It was wrong to indulge his fantasies. It was worse to bad-mouth our parents. After the diagnosis, after dropping out of college, they had bought him a small apartment a few blocks from our house. Every month they would pay the rent and buy him groceries. Every week, we would visit and, ignoring the heavy foreign smells, clean the apartment from top to bottom. Then, sneaking back after dark, i’m assuming the narrator is sneaking back into his brother’s apartment but it’s really unclear. you’ve gotta watch these modifiers he would whisper dark conspiracies into my ear.

Our father had seduced his high-school girlfriend.

Our mother had hired a private detective to follow him around.

His college roommate had drilled holes in his head. the roommate’s head or the brother’s? unclear

But he never had any conspiracies involving me. ”but his conspiracies never involved me” would be a less awkward way of saying this He knew where we stood. He went crazy and got people to take care of him. I was only neurotic. I would have to get into the best schools. I would have to work. I would have to make sure that we stopped being the family that people talked about in hushed tones. They didn’t say it, but our parents had poured all their hopes into me. And that weight was immense. these are good character details, but I wonder if they might work better moved up a few paragraphs

He inhaled and looked over to me. “I should tell them, y’know. We should tell them that we won’t be their sick puppets anymore.”

I was struck suddenly with an idea. A self-destructive but liberating idea. I turned the car keys and squeezed the steering wheel. nice echo My brother looked at me, his yellow teeth shining against the darkness. yellow teeth don’t shine

“Why don’t we tell them, then,” I said.

*((*))*

I decide not to come back until the bruise heals. When I do, I’m led to my brother’s room by a small woman. She’s no Nurse Ratched but she feels imposing. Malignant. this is good

“Vegetative symptoms,” whispers the nurse. She creeks creaks open his door. I see him slumped in a chair with his eyes glazed. “He’s been like this since we changed his dosage. After he…”

The silence between us could fill the Grand Canyon. this isn’t good I nod and she turns away. When her footsteps finally dissipate, he cracks a smile. He scoops two bright blue pills out from under his tongue and puts them on his knee. Saliva oozes over them. I sit across from him.

He leans toward me, cracking his disused joints. His tongue runs over the gaps in his teeth. “No one ever cared about you. Not even Mom and Dad. You were an accident. A mistake.”

I say nothing.

“The nurses talk about you after you leave. They know what you’ve done. They want to put you in here with me. They wanna box you up, box you up like a Christmas present.”

A hot sickness rises up in me. I want to grab his face in my hands and scream. I know he’s looking for a reaction, but I can’t stop myself. “You’re sick. You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“Is that so? Is that so?” He giggles. “If I’m sick, what does that make you?” this conversation is my favorite part of the story and it would make a good ending


*((*))*

We never made it home. We never even made it two blocks. As I roared down the road, feeling powerful with the steering wheel tight beneath my fingers, something had skirted into the road. Something small and delicate, now smeared across the road with bright flowers blooming from her head. I felt my future obliterate. if there’s anywhere in this story for punchy, short sentence and fragments, it’s here. there’s no sense of urgency and horror here and that makes this section feel like an afterthought

“It wasn’t my fault,” I said, as my brother opened the car side door and rushed towards the small, ruined thing. He was on top of her, his eyes wide in surprise. “It wasn’t my fault.”

“But did it have to be your fault?” Whispered a small, conspiratorial voice in my ear. After all, it was his car. Everyone know's he sick and broken. Iit’s not like he would care. He’s never going to have a future anyway. All you have to do is run home before the cops show up. even without the mechanical errors all over this section, it’s unnecessary; given what we know about the main character, the motivation for his decision is already clear

From the road, my brother looked at me, already knowing the decision I would make.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

another recap post

Hello goons, here are some more recaps. First up are weeks 186 and 187: Ignoble Prizes and Lost in Translation.

Archive links

This was a rerecording because, as it turns out, even I have standards for how clunky these recordings are allowed to be.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE

Up next are weeks 190 and 191: Three-Course Tale and We Talk Good.

Archive links!!

As always, we discuss the prompts, what worked, and what really, really did not work, along with dramatic readings for your pleasure.

Thank you for listening! And to Kaishai, Djeser, and Ironic Twist

More fun (thanks kai!):

pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 180:  Maybe I'm a Maze					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 181:  We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 182:  Domegrassi						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood
Week 183:  Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots			Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock
Week 184:  The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 98:  Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 185:  Music of the Night, Vol. II				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 188:  Insomniac Olympics					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 189:  knight time						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jun 7, 2016 around 19:25

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Paladinus posted:

^^^ lol


Well, gently caress.

I'm in for this week then. Give me the image, господинъ QuoProQuid.




sparksbloom posted:

Here's the promised linecrit for QuidProQuid's week 199 story:

Also very helpful. I appreciate the line-by-line sparksbloom. You touched on a lot of issues that I agree with and I will make sure to keep your crit in mind going forward.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Mr Gentleman posted:

In and flip me a pic please

Ibexaz
Jul 23, 2013


In for my first ever Thunderdome piece, and my first piece of fiction in over five years. Let's hope I don't royally gently caress up!

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

42 Sentences about 42 Stories

So, I've read or skimmed just about everything in the course of following the livecrits, so..

1 ZeBourgeoisie Steak and Baked Potatoes
A good start to the week, although the version of Russian Roulette in which the chamber is spun between each round works better as a game, since you avoid the round six problem.

2 Ziji Full Metal Applebee's
An exercise in tonal mismatch, mixing not-quite-funny absurdism with serious themes taken not-quite-seriously and landing nowhere near the dark humor zone that's the only place this story could have succeeded.

3 Chili "potatos.jpg"
I'm not sure why anything that happens in this story happens, and also don't know that this guy would recognize the above-ground part of a potato plant or expect potatos.jpg to be a picture of that asset, let alone the fact that a CGI render is not going to story 3D assets in a jpg file at all.

4 a friendly penguin Still Life
Harmless and charming little story with a stray quotation mark in the last line.

5 Black Griffon Damien
This one didn't really stay with me, although I do like the mixture of desperation and decadence in the setting.

6 Chernabog A very potato miracle
I don't really buy the inciting incident here, that Rivkah would mash his contest potatoes so casually without a level of cruelty that just isn't present in the whole story.

7 Guiness13 Hope Takes Root
Effective at what it does, but why would you want to do that?

8 Hammer Bro. Tipua
Less of a story tan an incident in a larger narrative, but reasonably entertaining.

9 Screaming Idiot Small Potatoes
Think you could have trimmed a bit of the stilted dialog to spend more words on the action parts of the story.

10 sparksbloom When Life Gives You Potatoes
Weird and sweet, but I'm not sure that enough potatoes are being generated fast enough to make making Vodka practical (17 lbs per bottle)

11 dmboogie A Plague a' Your Thatched-Roof Cottages
Just the right amount of dialect, although the one in the title doesn't quite match the one in the story.

12 Carcer Stay Warm.
I think it was probably a mistake to keep Andy out of the conversation; that a story in which a silver-tongued nihilist actually directly convinces Andy to do what he does has more potential to be interesting and actually earn the ending you picked.

13 Pippin It's Not Always Black and White
Another charming and harmless little story, pulling off a low-self-esteem viewpoint character better than most dome stories that try.

14 Mercedes BATTLE OF THE HASHBROWN
A nice, light and fluffy potato puncake.

15 QuoProQuid Negative Space
Effective if depressing take on difficult and dark material.

16 Entenzahn The Green on the Other Side
I don't understand the last line, whether it's a literal crib for a baby not yet mentioned or just slang for house.

17 Benny Profane Benthos
Good imagery and prose, but the parts don't really properly pull together.

18 Chainmail Onesie Pursuit
Using 'Eva' in a mecha story seems a bit unimaginative.

19 Titus82 To Understand the Moon
I'm not sure what to make of the ending bit: a dream, an afterlife, a rescue by the actual, somehow not-dead Josephine?

20 Fuschia tude The Pits
This kind of story lives and dies on the strength of its voice, and this one almost has enough to live.

21 Tyrannosaurus A Bad Man for a Good Cause
A mighty fine seinen feinen story, that.

22 Ironic Twist Unknown
Did such a good job making the Tuesday words blend in that on first reading I thought you'd ignored that part of the prompt as well as the wordcount, far better than every other Tuesday person but you did have the unfair advantage of having more space to hide them.

23 magnificent7 Title: BLUESDADS DON'T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.
The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, since the protagonist really didn't have all that much agency in making it happen.

24 flerp Spudipus Complex
That title makes even less sense with this story than with the original, and I feel like you ought to be capitalizing 'You' when referring to God although that rule may not be as strong as it is for 'He'.

25 SurreptitiousMuffin Balance (Oorlog, Winter)
I disagree with sh's take: potatoes usually come In fields, and if he's found one he'll probably find enough to save him.

26 mistaya The World's Largest Potato
One of my favorite opening lines from the week, but I'll say that this one could do with a few more uses of 'said' over other dialog word choices.

27 Obliterati Galvanised
Would have done worse in the original potato week when the judges wanted the potatoes to be super-important in the stories.

28 Mr Gentleman The Curious Matter of the Nattily-Dressed Man
If I'd issued that flashrule, I wouldn't be satisfied by putting celebrity names on dimestore imitation Sherlock Holmeses.

29 spectres of autism Artemis
A pretty cool story, but slice of life it surely isn't.

30 Killer-of-Lawyers The Starch that Binds Me
This is needs more character and a strong voice to be less of a not-all-that-interesting essay and more of a story.

31 skwidmonster Losing
Sweet, almost but not quite too sweet.

32 The Saddest Rhino What We Say to Each Other When We Can No Longer Talk
I feel like this is too complicated an idea to fit into a 1000 word story and still properly have room for the story itself.

33 Boaz-Jachim By the Grace of God grow Potatoes
Why didn't he just eat some fish?

34 Noah Metaballphosis
Introducing a dead father in the last sentence is a bit cheap, no?

35 curlingiron Family Time
See, now this is a good slice-of-life story, very charming.

36 Kaishai For Life
Reminds me of the story you did for Black Sunshine week, another effective short horror piece about murderous vegetables that leaves me wanting more, wanting to see this kind of thing in a context where people actually have to deal with the monster in some way other than being killed by it.

37 Paladinus Four Holy Spuds
'Cloudy' is an odd choice of generic curse word for a society living in the clouds.

38 Dr. Kloctopussy Collapse
Competently written, but the characters are both too unlikable to really hold the story together.

39 Thranguy Mashed Potatoes and Stuff Like That
[Redacted]

40 Fuubi Perfect Art
The point of this week (well, Tuesday to Friday), I think, is to come up with interesting and compelling reasons for characters to care enough about spuds to agaonize over them, not to just insert bizarre potato-motivations without explanation.

41 Bad Seafood A Starchy Situation
I think that last minute flash word did more harm than you thought it did.

42 Capntastic A Man Agonizes Over His Potatoes, 2.0
POTATOES DO NOT GROW FROM SEEDS

43 Marshmellow Blue King of Starch
The dialect is problematic and gets in the way of the story, and you've got a 'you're'/'your' error in there.

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



Ibexaz posted:

In for my first ever Thunderdome piece, and my first piece of fiction in over five years. Let's hope I don't royally gently caress up!



Don't worry, if you do you can get a sick avatar like this one.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.




In.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Thranguy posted:

42 Sentences about 42 Stories

So, I've read or skimmed just about everything in the course of following the livecrits, so..

1 ZeBourgeoisie Steak and Baked Potatoes
A good start to the week, although the version of Russian Roulette in which the chamber is spun between each round works better as a game, since you avoid the round six problem.

2 Ziji Full Metal Applebee's
An exercise in tonal mismatch, mixing not-quite-funny absurdism with serious themes taken not-quite-seriously and landing nowhere near the dark humor zone that's the only place this story could have succeeded.

3 Chili "potatos.jpg"
I'm not sure why anything that happens in this story happens, and also don't know that this guy would recognize the above-ground part of a potato plant or expect potatos.jpg to be a picture of that asset, let alone the fact that a CGI render is not going to story 3D assets in a jpg file at all.

4 a friendly penguin Still Life
Harmless and charming little story with a stray quotation mark in the last line.

5 Black Griffon Damien
This one didn't really stay with me, although I do like the mixture of desperation and decadence in the setting.

6 Chernabog A very potato miracle
I don't really buy the inciting incident here, that Rivkah would mash his contest potatoes so casually without a level of cruelty that just isn't present in the whole story.

7 Guiness13 Hope Takes Root
Effective at what it does, but why would you want to do that?

8 Hammer Bro. Tipua
Less of a story tan an incident in a larger narrative, but reasonably entertaining.

9 Screaming Idiot Small Potatoes
Think you could have trimmed a bit of the stilted dialog to spend more words on the action parts of the story.

10 sparksbloom When Life Gives You Potatoes
Weird and sweet, but I'm not sure that enough potatoes are being generated fast enough to make making Vodka practical (17 lbs per bottle)

11 dmboogie A Plague a' Your Thatched-Roof Cottages
Just the right amount of dialect, although the one in the title doesn't quite match the one in the story.

12 Carcer Stay Warm.
I think it was probably a mistake to keep Andy out of the conversation; that a story in which a silver-tongued nihilist actually directly convinces Andy to do what he does has more potential to be interesting and actually earn the ending you picked.

13 Pippin It's Not Always Black and White
Another charming and harmless little story, pulling off a low-self-esteem viewpoint character better than most dome stories that try.

14 Mercedes BATTLE OF THE HASHBROWN
A nice, light and fluffy potato puncake.

15 QuoProQuid Negative Space
Effective if depressing take on difficult and dark material.

16 Entenzahn The Green on the Other Side
I don't understand the last line, whether it's a literal crib for a baby not yet mentioned or just slang for house.

17 Benny Profane Benthos
Good imagery and prose, but the parts don't really properly pull together.

18 Chainmail Onesie Pursuit
Using 'Eva' in a mecha story seems a bit unimaginative.

19 Titus82 To Understand the Moon
I'm not sure what to make of the ending bit: a dream, an afterlife, a rescue by the actual, somehow not-dead Josephine?

20 Fuschia tude The Pits
This kind of story lives and dies on the strength of its voice, and this one almost has enough to live.

21 Tyrannosaurus A Bad Man for a Good Cause
A mighty fine seinen feinen story, that.

22 Ironic Twist Unknown
Did such a good job making the Tuesday words blend in that on first reading I thought you'd ignored that part of the prompt as well as the wordcount, far better than every other Tuesday person but you did have the unfair advantage of having more space to hide them.

23 magnificent7 Title: BLUESDADS DON'T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.
The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, since the protagonist really didn't have all that much agency in making it happen.

24 flerp Spudipus Complex
That title makes even less sense with this story than with the original, and I feel like you ought to be capitalizing 'You' when referring to God although that rule may not be as strong as it is for 'He'.

25 SurreptitiousMuffin Balance (Oorlog, Winter)
I disagree with sh's take: potatoes usually come In fields, and if he's found one he'll probably find enough to save him.

26 mistaya The World's Largest Potato
One of my favorite opening lines from the week, but I'll say that this one could do with a few more uses of 'said' over other dialog word choices.

27 Obliterati Galvanised
Would have done worse in the original potato week when the judges wanted the potatoes to be super-important in the stories.

28 Mr Gentleman The Curious Matter of the Nattily-Dressed Man
If I'd issued that flashrule, I wouldn't be satisfied by putting celebrity names on dimestore imitation Sherlock Holmeses.

29 spectres of autism Artemis
A pretty cool story, but slice of life it surely isn't.

30 Killer-of-Lawyers The Starch that Binds Me
This is needs more character and a strong voice to be less of a not-all-that-interesting essay and more of a story.

31 skwidmonster Losing
Sweet, almost but not quite too sweet.

32 The Saddest Rhino What We Say to Each Other When We Can No Longer Talk
I feel like this is too complicated an idea to fit into a 1000 word story and still properly have room for the story itself.

33 Boaz-Jachim By the Grace of God grow Potatoes
Why didn't he just eat some fish?

34 Noah Metaballphosis
Introducing a dead father in the last sentence is a bit cheap, no?

35 curlingiron Family Time
See, now this is a good slice-of-life story, very charming.

36 Kaishai For Life
Reminds me of the story you did for Black Sunshine week, another effective short horror piece about murderous vegetables that leaves me wanting more, wanting to see this kind of thing in a context where people actually have to deal with the monster in some way other than being killed by it.

37 Paladinus Four Holy Spuds
'Cloudy' is an odd choice of generic curse word for a society living in the clouds.

38 Dr. Kloctopussy Collapse
Competently written, but the characters are both too unlikable to really hold the story together.

39 Thranguy Mashed Potatoes and Stuff Like That
[Redacted]

40 Fuubi Perfect Art
The point of this week (well, Tuesday to Friday), I think, is to come up with interesting and compelling reasons for characters to care enough about spuds to agaonize over them, not to just insert bizarre potato-motivations without explanation.

41 Bad Seafood A Starchy Situation
I think that last minute flash word did more harm than you thought it did.

42 Capntastic A Man Agonizes Over His Potatoes, 2.0
POTATOES DO NOT GROW FROM SEEDS

43 Marshmellow Blue King of Starch
The dialect is problematic and gets in the way of the story, and you've got a 'you're'/'your' error in there.

Thabks for the crit! Good points.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Thanks for the crit thranguy!

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER




Thranks!

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



WEEK 199 CRITS

These aren't the crits you're looking for right now, but here's the last chunk of them anyway.

Demons

Catastrophe: A single bullet.

I like the gist of this story, but I feel like it ultimately falls flat. Your prose is pretty, but kinda stilted. Your sentence structure breaks into a bunch of short sentences a few times, like the second paragraph, and it breaks up the flow of your words too much, imo.

Lauren’s biggest character trait seems to be that she’s completely devoted to The Saint, but since there isn’t really much to the Saint other than him being basically Jesus, it leaves her feeling pretty flat. You do have some nice details, like the flower crown and the singing, but it still isn’t enough for me to get a solid read on anyone. For a story centered around Lauren’s emotions, the fact that she’s monologuing after the fact puts too much distance from everything for any of it to really hit. The ending fits the story well, but I couldn’t really take the “but I’m not loving saint” line seriously. Mid-pile.

How hosed: I don’t think your messiah wanted a martyr.

The Shape Of Human Hearts

Catastrophe: Shining brightly.

I feel like this story showcases the best way to handle sci-fi in flash fiction. There are enough details about the setting (the ration chute, the translation collars) to give us a good picture of what things are like without every getting bogged down in technobabble or other exposition, and none of it takes the focus away from what’s ultimately a very basic, human conflict. The relationship between Hamid and Connie is incredibly sweet, as is the way they deal with their communication breakdown.

My only real complaint is that for a world-ending disaster, the wall of light isn’t very present in the story. It’s effectively introduced in the first paragraph, but because it’s not mentioned again until the second-to-last paragraph I had to go back and reread to remember what you were talking about. You had about 200 words to spare, I feel like it would have been best to sprinkle in a couple more references to the light in the main body of your story.

How hosed: Soon they’ll just be silhouettes.

A Plea to the Little Bird

Catastrophe: Barely present.

More of a prose poem than a story, but your prose is beautiful so I don’t really care. The image of a musician sitting a campfire, scribbling down song lyrics to try and hold onto as much of their passion as possible is strong and absolutely fits the spirit of the prompt, if not the letter. Still, I really would have preferred if you had made the catastrophe more present. The single line hinting at it is effective, but also easily missed on a first read.

How hosed: Hell if I know. There’s wolves nearby, I guess.

Poor Little Terry

Catastrophe: Ship’s gone down.

Gotta admit, your first paragraph made me until I read further on and realized what you were going for. You took a big risk in that this sort of story sinks or swims depending on how well you can pull off the style, and the consistent capitalizations and repetitions give poor little terry a strong enough voice to carry the story, even if the substance is a bit lacking.

I liked the last section on its own merits, but I don’t know how necessary it was in the greater scheme of the story? It doesn’t give us any new information except for further hammering in how far gone Terry is, which the rest of the story never exactly left in doubt. Mid-high pile.

How hosed: Death cometh in the end for all (of course). But how it happens is all the difference (of course).

In the highways, in the hedges

Catastrophe: Rapture.

It was nice to read something mostly light-hearted this week! I appreciated this piece’s sense of humor, and the banter between the siblings makes their relationship very believable. I like the way you flesh out the god-hosed setting with casual references to goatmen and fallen skyscrapers, and the ending’s a complete punch in the gut. I don’t have much else to say, really, this was a pretty close candidate for winner.

How hosed: If the weather ever withers up your vine, Jacob knows a ladder you can climb.


On Soft, Dark Wings

Catastrophe: A butterfly’s effect.

drat, this one hurt. The idealized, picture-esque first half of the story was so pleasant that I forgot to watch out for the second shoe to drop, and drop it did. The transition to the bad times half of the story was incredibly jarring and effective, especially when you go back and catch the foreshadowing. Ian was a well-characterized kid, especially his confused crying after tearing up the butterfly.

How hosed: Too many for one boy to catch and out of his reach far too late.

Emergence

Catastrophe: Fire, fire.

Apparently you wrote this in like two hours so I’m just gonna acknowledge the proofreading elephant in the room this once and then move on. I do like Henry’s characterization, especially his last words to Priscilla, and his relationship with Janet is a promising start for something interesting. Unfortunately, while I was lenient with the prompt for a lot of entries this week, this story is actually the opposite of the prompt, which I can’t really ignore. There’s never any real sense of danger from the fire and Henry is actually better off at the end of the story than he was before. It did manage to keep my attention the entire way through, so props for that. Mid-pile.

How hosed: I mean, I assume they’ll have dinner first.

Legion

Catastrophe: War, what is it good for.

I like a lot of the concepts you’ve put down here, but none of it is really fleshed out at all. A bandit who’s been press-ganged into military service is a cool idea for a protagonist, but Brooke has literally one line of dialogue. She apparently did something cool to a gryphon, according to one of the nameless, generic knights who don’t really matter to the story at all, but as that was offscreen Brooke’s basically a complete blank slate. The rest of the problems basically follow from that: sure, fighting an eternal war against the legions of hell is a pretty metal concept, but when you’re seeing it through the eyes of a complete cipher there’s no weight to anything.

You’ve got a lot of proofreading errors, too. You switch between past and present tense a couple times, and you’re inconsistent with the way you punctuate dialogue, too. Some advice: when you’re writing flash fiction, focus on your characters first, not the setting. 1000 words isn’t a lot at all, and no matter how cool an idea for a world you have, it won’t count for much if there isn’t a reason for us to care. A good character will carry a short piece much further than anything but the best world-building. Low-pile.

How hosed: And what will happen? Will I dream? I am too scared to close my eyes.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Thank you all for the crits on my terrible story for potato week!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Potato Crits for Carcer and Pippin


Carcer, "Stay Warm."

"Seemed to cause"? Andy is the perspective character. There should be no doubt regarding whether his shoulders are dropping or not. You have another "seemed" clause in the second paragraph. As much as I like that word in something like a crit, where it acknowledges the possibility of misconception, it's often piffle in fiction. Nothing else has come of Andy's drinking jaunt at this point in the story. There's no seem about it.

Your mechanics need work all around. You don't punctuate dialogue correctly; you should spell out numbers below one hundred; the plural of potato isn't potato's. The first two are common errors from inexperienced writers. The last is atrocious, so cut that out!

How does Dave know the word "piscatorial"?

This entry is heavy on talking and light on everything else. Granted, that's Bad Seafood's fault almost as much as yours. No matter who's to blame, it's unfortunate; the would-be-philosophical blathering goes on and on and dulls a story that didn't shine to begin with. You hit sebmojo's flash rule, more or less: Andy's money problem is more like one secret than two even with multiple contributing factors, but it's close enough for horseshoes. You skipped the anime-genre requirement for Thursday. Did you think Seafood's rule canceled it out? That would be easy enough to do that I'm not inclined to hold it against you.

What I do begrudge is Andy setting his whole family on fire out of nowhere. That's bizarre rather than dark and dramatic. Suicide I would have bought, but murder is over the top, and pointing to the prompt in the last paragraph is one more pound of salt on the ground.

**************** *************** ******************** * ******************** ***************

Pippin, "It's Not Always Black and White"

The final beat is so sweet that it nearly makes up for the fact that I just read nearly a thousand words of painstaking description of the setup of a domino chain, but this is still too long for what it is, and what it is isn't much beyond that gentle twist ending. You don't have a lot in the way of story here. A man fussing over dominoes isn't interesting enough in its own right to carry this length. You could cut it down easily--why did there need to be a cat, for example?--and it would probably be sweeter for being shorter.

It wouldn't hurt if more happened; Ray spends most of the story checking on dominoes. You could change the focus slightly to show him arranging that chain. Maybe add a conflict: what if Kayleigh called to tell him she was coming home early and he had to race the clock?

While I'll be surprised if such a slight entry puts you above the middle of the pack, it's written well enough and has enough charm that I'll also be surprised if you land in the low end.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Jun 8, 2016 around 03:44

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London



dmboogie posted:

WEEK 199 CRITS

hello, thanks!

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


more crits

Zeb

quote:

I leaned back in my chair and Tom lit himself a cigar. A revolver laid on the table, and in the cabin’s dim light it gleamed like a cursed jewel second half of this sentence is passive. "it gleamed like a cursed jewel in the cabin's dim light" is more active and i would even think about cutting the dim light part. Grabbing the bottle of vodka I’d brought, I poured myself a shot idk if this is technically passive but it feels passive. "I grabbed the bottle of vodka and poured myself a shot works better imho (you dont need to have I'd brought because if he a bottle of vodka of course it was brought).

-if you shorten them to em, it should be spelt like 'em.
-im not really seeing a point? there's a revolver so i was expecting like, some action or crazy poo poo, but theyre just talking about what they had for dinner or whatever? seems like a waste
-couldve gotten to the russian roulete a lot faster i think. that stuff's more interesting. i think you were trying to get some character in before then but idk i think you can show that better through the plot or at least do it in a more interesting manner.
-idk somebody about this prose just isnt quite working for me. im not quite sure what it is, but there's just something odd about it that it feels kind of stilted.
-i didnt really feel like i read 900 words which i guess is a good thing but also i didnt really feel like you took full advantage of the words. the ending could have been affecting but it just doesnt land well because i dont really care about these characters.

sparks

-ugh vague pronoun in the opening line. jfc.
-also do warts show up on your backs? i only ever got them on my hands. i guess so.
-eh idk about this prose. it just feels a little too tongue-in-cheek for me.

quote:

And I’ve lost my appetite for them, too, which I suppose is a fringe benefit, since I’d really don’t need the carbs.

kill your babies
-"sort-of." c'mon sparks. you know better than that. using these vague words SUCK
-i just... ok, i just hate it when people do things like that "surprise." like, it wouldve been fine if you said no surprise, but that like breaking up of surprise just gets an eye roll from me because its like that kind of wacky movie where the character goes "surprise" and it's just like oh nice cliche you got there.

quote:

– everyone knows sweet potatoes are much more hip than regular old potatoes

kill you are babies (like seriously you dont need this. potatoes people next to each other are obv gonna be competitors i dont give a poo poo if sweet potatoes are hip or w/e)

-dialogue's p okay

quote:

I frowned, feeling more alone that ever. Emma's affliction was obviously the better deal. What’s a pockmarked schlub hemorrhaging potatoes to a beautiful woman blossoming with sweet potato shoots? I’d take a little pain if it meant I didn’t have to feel so gross all the time.

i dont get this at all. i just... wow your character is apparently before very stupid and kind of an rear end. "man im so jealous of this lady having to constantly experience pain because she likes it more?" i feel like your making a statement here but idk what it is.
-i dont think labeling your potatoes as supernatural is a v good idea but your character is an idiot so i believe hed do that.
-too much talking get on with it
-you see what i liked about this earlier was how you were like "yeah w/e my character has potatoes fall out of her body nbd" but now your being like "LOOK HOW WACKY THIS IS" and im just like ughhhhh
-that ending sucks.
-also what was the point? like, it's wacky but doesn't hit full comedy but it's almost like you were just betting on me being like "oh man someone has potatoes falling out of them lol" but like, that's not funny? and nothing relaly happens tbh. like the character doesnt do anything and i guess maybe the fact that he decides to go and make vodka makes him like change and go out more but like i thought you were setting up a love story and then you didnt and tbh i was kind of disappointed (at least based on the ending). i think the issue was primarily that you need to kill your babies in this story. like the beginning intro. dont care. guy excretes potatoes. establish that a lot quicker. get to your story.

dmboogie

-"of course" stop guys please. you dont need those words. they are crutches. cut cut cut.
-ok first paragraph is fun though and that last line in the first paragraph made me giggle.
-"strangely" plz guys. stop w/ adverbs. and strangely is such a bad adverb.
-adverbs are bad. how many times do i have to say that. adverbs bad.
-oh ok girl is strong enought o life a full grown dude and crate. thats uh a little odd.
-adverbs. dear god the adverbs.
-i do love gods that are just assholes and also p dumb. its fun.
-that second paragraph in the second scene. good. funny. cut the last line. it's too "THIS IS A JOKE HEY GUYS DID YOU NTOICE THIS IS A JOKE"
-idk why but the "the lord of storm, stormlord" made me giggle.
-NOOOOOOOOO ALL CAPS DIALOGUE. why
-oh the conflict's over. that was easy. yeah you were obviously hit by the word count and then was just like eh gotta finish this up. kinda lame imho.
-ok the ending line made me laugh though.
-the humor worked for me and the story didnt revolve around it though. i think this needs to be expanded though. the ending was too easy.

Boaz

-before i start thank Kai, she told me to crit this
-by "his werewolf" i think of it as like his dog. also i like the casual "yeah its a werewolf nbd"
-its weird that you call him the werewolf for the first two times (the second time being after the name drop) and then you shift to his name. maybe just change the werewolf to thomas (and in the beginning just be like Thomas, a werewolf or w/e)
-bitter's a taste. how is a rumble bitter?
-ugh this action isnt interesting. i dont really care.
-im just skimming the action tbh. its not terrible but i just dont care enough.
-that's it? really?
-idgi
-i mean i know what happened but like... that's it? that's all you got for me. "monk beats up a werewolf for a little bit" and that's all you got for me? and like him getting beat up makes the werewolf change his whole entire nature or something? idk. that doesn't make sense. i was hoping for something more, but this a scene. i thought there'd be some more substantive in this but there really doesnt feel like there is anything. its just action and not much else and that's not really my jam. i want something bigger than just people fighting each other. something meaningful. this feels close to meaningful, but not there.

flerp fucked around with this message at Jun 8, 2016 around 04:30

Astrofig
Oct 26, 2009


Never done this before but I wanna play. Hit me with an image!

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Astrofig posted:

Never done this before but I wanna play. Hit me with an image!

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

In! Hit me with an image I can use to write a disappointing story.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Screaming Idiot posted:

In! Hit me with an image I can use to write a disappointing story.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk


me burning all the terrible stories this week with my mind

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


Oh, QuoProQuid since you don't want to look up Grawlix, it's that stupid using "#%%%!" for swears. Also, I want to thank you again for the inline crit as it really helped my story this week.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Thanks for the crit, flerp!

Also thanks Ent for the brawl line-by-line.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


A line-by-line for Carcer. Hope this helps.

Carcer posted:

Thursday Group Prompt: A man agonizes over potatoes.

Sebmojo Flashrule: Three characters, two secrets, one crime

Bad Seafood KING OF ANIME Flashrule: Two of your characters are engaged in an protracted, ongoing philosophical discussion. They must still feel like people and not just mouthpieces for the views they espouse.

_____________________________________________________

Stay Warm.

Length: 1298

Andy flipped through the thick stack of papers in front of him, most having ACCOUNT IN ARREARS or AMOUNT DUE NOW printed on them in large, intimidatingly don't use adverbs if you can avoid them. they muddle the flow and show a lack of confidence in your ability to set a scene. red letters. Each bill that Andy scanned through seemed to if you're describing a viewpoint character's actions, things don't "seem to" happen. they do or they don't. "seem to" makes you seem uncertain about what you are writing. cause his broad shoulders to droop further and further until he was practically delete adverb. collapsed on the table.

He sat back in his seat and reached for his pint, looking up at the brown and white speckled ceiling through the cigarette and pipe smoke laden air of the King William Ale House. He’d hoped this familiar place would relax him and help him think, but so far nothing but a growing bar tab and deepening sense of desperation seemed to come of it.

“Andy! ‘Aven’t seen you in a while mate!” Said a familiar voice from the door, drawing Andy’s gaze toward a pair of men pulling off gloves and overcoats as they came in out of the cold. sentence here is a little too long and awkward for my taste. i would have personally divided it up, breaking the familiar voice from andy seeing the arrivals.

“Been a couple of weeks at least. What’s all this then, Andy?” Said the larger of the two, a portly but strongly built man. Both of the men ambled towards the booth where Andy sat.

“Oh, Jim, Dave, er,” Andy almost spluttered out, franticly grabbing the papers and hiding them under the table. “Its noth-, uh, nothing. Just some mail that piled up a bit.” the overreaction seems a little incongruent with the subdued attitude that you give andy in the opening. i can understand him wanting to hide his financial troubles, but i can't imagine anyone being this bad at hiding his troubles. his dialogue here almost seems to be inviting his friends to ask questions.

“Andy, you need anythin’?” Dave asked while pointing towards the bar. Andy, momentarily too stunned to speak, awkwardly motioned at his beer. why is he stunned? why wouldnt he see these two guys here? he's doing his taxes in public at a bar, what reason would there be for him to expect privacy?

“Two pints of bitter, love!” Dave called to the barmaid, might be local slang but i've never heard anyone call a female bartender a "barmaid" outside of a high fantasy novel. seems a little anachronistic. then cursing her under his breath for not hearing him i could have done without this detail. muddles the flow of the scene. would like to get to the point. and walking up to it. Jim seated himself sat with a thump and began to rub rubbed his hands together to excise the cold. you have a lot of dead space in your writing. people are always "starting to" or "trying to" do things. it indicates uncertainty or a lack of conviction. when you write in the future, i would advise you to reread and get rid of these bits. also, try to "show don't tell." if it's cold, i should be able to infer that from the scene. don't tell me why he's rubbing his hands together.

Andy’s mind began to race. again with the uncertainty. and this feels like a false conflict. andy seems desperate to hide something, but if he's that nervous why bring these bills to the bar anyway? Surely they had seen the bills or heard the gossip from the other farmers. It wasn’t his fault that 3 write out numbers less than ten. of his fields had flooded, or that that bloke from the GMO companies had turned out to be fraudster and sold him 4th fourth rate seed potato’s watch spelling and grammar. it's potatoes, not potato's. you've been hit over the head enough with the potato seed thing, so i won't rehash that. that not even a starving Irishman would buy. Would they laugh and jeer, or just quietly say “there there” and then pretend his life wasn’t unravelling in front of his eyes, or- punctuation mark.

okay, so my understanding of the story so far is this: andy is a farmer who spent all his cash on a get-rich-quick scheme and lost. he's in deep debt and is trying to drink his sorrows away. this story might be fine if andy was an interesting character or had interesting relationships but his only defining character trait is his depression and anxiety. whenever he talks, i get the sense that you're using him as a marionette to move the plot forward. i don't get a sense of him as a person.

and struggling to write characters is fine. we all struggle with it, myself especially. i would just urge you to find ways to supplement character drama if you aren't good at defining it. one possible way to go about this story would have been to focus on action. maybe write about andy trying to get his money back. i am kind of interested, against my better judgement, in whatever GMO conspiracy you had in the back of your head.


“You ok, Andy? You seem a bit distant.” Jim asked, his broad mouth creased into a concerned frown. as he searched for a lighter in his front pocket while already having A cigarette dangled from the corner of his mouth show don't tell. be aware of proper grammar and punctuation. avoid unnecessary or tangential details.

“Huh? Oh, just a lot on my mind, Jim.” Andy said, blinking a few time to try and get rid of the cobwebs behind his eyes. i don't know what this saying means. and i could really use some non-mechanical responses from andy. he seems to swing between overreaction and obfuscation.

“Ah, say no more. With harvest season round the corner we all got a lot on our plates. ‘Ere, Dave, where are those beers at?” i hate to tell you not to write phonetically, but please don't write phonetically unless you think you can pull it off. Jim replied knowingly avoid adbverbs. they add very little and obfuscate. before raising his voice at Dave was he yelling at dave? who was having a small problem trying struggling to carry two mugs of beer while pocketing his change, inevitably spilling a little on the already slightly damp floor. Beer spilled across the floor. aim for active voice whenever possible.

“You can go get yer own pint next time if yer that impatient.” see previous comment on writing accents. Dave said coarsely as he set the drinks down with a thump, spilling even more. Jim shot Dave a look, who rolled his eyes and got back up to fetch some napkins to clean up the mess on the table before settling down himself.

“Now that we’re all settled in,” Dave said, wiping some errant foam away from his mouth “Shall we continue where we left off last week?” improper punctuation for dialogue attribution.

“Oh, not this rot again.” Jim scoffed, waving his cigarette encumbered hand dismissively. Andy just stared into his own half-finished beer.

“A well rounded man is a learned man, or so my Beth says. Its important that a man has considered these phiso-, philolig-, piscatorial...”

“Philosophical.” Andy said flatly. yeah, this is a bit much for me. i've interacted with a lot of really pleasant but unacademic people and it's difficult to believe someone not knowing the word "philosophical." these are grown men and i just don't believe that they are that dense. andy is presented like a bored schoolteacher and it's a little grating.

“Thank ye Andy, philosophical issues.” Dave finished triumphantly, his inability to say the word already forgotten.

“Only thing rounded about you is your waist. All this life and death, good and evil, seems a bit heavy and grim for something to talk about at a pub with your mates…” Jim trailed off, his face showing his discomfort with the subject matter.

“Ah, but that’s it, life’s a grim thing. Yer strugglin’ from the day yer born till the day they lay yer in the ground. Nothin’ comes easy, even to successful men such as ourselves.” Dave said punctuating his point with a swing of his beer mug and making an even greater mess. Andy grunted in resentment at being called successful, though Dave mistook it for agreeance not a word. agreement. and smiled slightly through his thick beard.

“Ah, but a worthwhile struggle surely. I mean, you grow up, make friends, meet the women to be your wife, have children you love. All of that’s got to be worth hardships you’ll face.”

“Theres the rub, Jim. Talkin’ hippo- hypopo-“Jim struggled, looking more annoyed the more confused he got.

“Hypothetically.” Andy muttered

okay, so our central conflict is andy hiding his financial situation from these guys. instead of having any tension about whether they know or not, we get an extended back-and-forth between jim and dave about philosophy. the conversation gives me a better sense of their personalities, but i feel like we are getting off track. there's no urgency to the situation and it feels like the story is spinning its wheels.

worse yet, andy's one word responses don't give me a good sense of his character. it just doubles down on his depressed attitude. i'd like to get a better sense of this man, who you decided was interesting enough to be a viewpoint character.


“Hypothetically, those friends will never really know what yer’ problems are, or care even if they did.”

Andy’s despair seized on this point, growing like a fire blazing out of control. ugh. this prose is just a wee bit overwrought. andy goes from cold to hot in two seconds flat. i think there might be a katy perry song about him. Jim and Dave would never really be able to understand Andy’s problems, especially about those damned potatoes. One of them, probably Jim, would make a joke like “Well, yer just stick ‘em in the ground and wait, right?” then laugh and go back to talking about something insipid. again, you're spending a lot of time telling me the issue instead of showing it. instead of this paragraph, you could have had andy engage in an extended back-and-forth with his friends in a way that slowly revealed his feelings. have his lack of confidence in his friends expressed through their dialogue.

“Or a wife that takes everythin’ out of context and blames ye for all the worlds ills?” Jim continued, blind to the turmoil he was causing Andy.

Andy’s heart skipped a beat. His wife. He hadn’t told her about the problems, always sure he’d find a way out. What would she say? What would she do? Would she leave him and take the kids, or would she stay and just hate him forever? He wanted the earth to swallow him up. see my above comment. you have all this turmoil happening off-screen when your reader would benefit greatly from seeing it play out. have a flashback. a montage. some dialogue. i dont care. just listing andy's problems makes this a dull read.

“And kids always have it the hardest, never bien’ the cause of the problem but sufferin’ the most.” Jim finished shaking his head, his melancholy words beginning to get to even himself.

The kids. Oh god, the kids. It took all Andy had not to scream and curse how unfair everything was. and to add on the above point, characters who wallow in their sorrow are not usually interesting to read about. they have to DO something. they have to have agency. have andy fight back in this conversation, at the very least. it might not make him likeable, but it will make him more memorable than the emotional slug you are portraying him as.

“That’s laying it on a bit thick, Dave.” Jim replied dourly, face pressed into his mug and spirit momentarily depressed.

“A man has ta’ face this sort of thing, Jim. Ask most people at the end of it all and they’ll say it wasn’t worth the sufferin’.” Dave said while shrugging to emphasis his point, leaving the three in silence as they contemplated the discussion.

Andy stood up suddenly, mind set and eyes glazed over. emotions don't turn on a dime and neither should your characters. there's really no foreshadowing to whatever revelation andy is about to have. i, as your reader, am mystified as to what is about to happen. Jim nearly dropped his mug in surprise.

“Got somewhere to be andy?” Dave asked as Andy paid his tab at the counter before quickly turning to leave the pub. watch your grammar.

“Yeah, have to take care of something. Oh, borrow your lighter? I’ll have need of it." Andy answered as he gathered up his papers. oh god, please don't have andy self-immolate and/or kill his family. i have such good will for what you are trying to do. don't have him inexplicably commit murder suicide because you couldn't think of a satisfying ending.

“Sure Andy, stay warm out there, chilly tonight.” this dialogue doesn't seem to match the request.

“I intend to.”


***


“Bloody terrible thing.” The pub barkeep says to no one in particular, pushing aside his paper. he killed his family, didn't he.

“Mhhm.” The barmaid hums in response, too busy to pay him any actual attention. oh hell. please don't.

“Man sets locks himself and his family into their house, sets it alight with them all inside.” The barkeep continues. murder-suicide endings indicate that you wrote your way into a whole and couldn't think of a satisfying way to end your story. if you ever start writing and notice your story moving in this direction again, it means there is something seriously wrong with your plotting.

“How awful.” The barmaid replies, too busy trying to juggle the current flood of orders to care.

“You know, I think I saw him in here the other night, sat alone over there trying to drink his sorrows away. I could see something was wrong, but god almighty, what would a man have to be agonizing over to drive him that far.” He said mostly to himself as he shook his head in disgust before taking his paper back up and reading the sport section.
__________________________________________________________

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Ok, I decided to scroll through the stories that hadn’t been critiqued in depth and pick one at random. I picked Ironic Twist’s Unknown.


gently caress.

I really enjoyed the first bit, especially the first line. It hooked me and set a nice anticipatory mood. The image of the jumbotrons really set an imposing image, almost menacing. The reveal of Audrina was well done, but I felt robbed when it all turned out to be a glorified MC gig. Total anti-climax.

Also, I know BPM stands for the Beatific Presence Monolith, but every goddamn time I read it as beats per minute. Maybe that was intentional, since the heart-beats of the ranked seems to play a role in the whole thing, but I found it distracting.

Once I got past that, though, the slow build to Audrina jumping ship after Unknown made #1 worked. Her mental breakdown and escape at the end was a bit muddled, though. It took a couple read-throughs before I really got a sense of what was going on, and even then I wasn’t positive until I followed it with the final scene again. Of course, that might just be me being a dumbass.

You definitely skirted around on the “can’t be depressing” part of your flashrule. (The two souls part is a bit of a stretch, too.) A large part of it, the hangers on, the desperate clinging to celebrity, the slow breakdown as it all slipped away, was pretty grim. It did end on a hopeful note, but she still seems a bit broken.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The dream sequences were fun, and I barely noticed the massive word-count once I got over my initial reaction of “Oh, gently caress this.”

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

Thanks for the crits, Thranguy. I agree with what you about my dialogue. And thank you for the badass picture, QuoProQuid.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry



The judges have sifted through a mound of forty-three slippery, slimy, rotten potatoes and I'm not certain we'll ever be able to look at starch the same way ever again.

First up! We have some matchups to settle for the Wednesday goons. Winning a matchup doesn't count as a mention of any kind, but you can feel good about yourself!

Sight
Titus82 - Equilibrioception v Fuschia Tude - pain

WINNER: Titus82, whose story had a stronger emotional core and did a more elegant job of conveying the senses.

Smell
Guiness13 - Hunger v Ziji - Time

WINNER: Guiness13, who conveyed their senses well even if it was at the expense of any real plot.

Taste
Obliterati - Magnetoception v Boaz-Jachim - Hunger

WINNER: Boaz-Jachim, by a hair. Both stories were compelling, but Boaz wins out just slightly because their plot was more directly tied to their senses.

Touch
Hammer Bro - Thirst v Mr Gentleman - Time

WINNER: Mr Gentleman, for amusing the gently caress out of Sebmojo

Hearing
The Saddest Rhino - Proprioception v Muffin - Equilibrioception

WINNER: This was tough because you're both good writers. Muffin takes it by an inch, for a story-like vignette that wove its flashrules into a realistic and horrifying scenario.


Thanks again, Wednesday writers!


Now, onto your dishonorable mentions for the week:

Believe it or not, the majority of these stories were not a pain to read. Some of them went over like a falling sack of potatoes *pauses for laugh track*. Okay anyway, Screaming Idiot, you cop a DM for being way too derivative when I specifically asked goons to use anime tropes in a credible work of literature. Chili, your story started off like some sort of boring office creepypasta but turned out to be banal as gently caress. Chernabog, you get a DM for too many characters, cartoon antics, and an ending so saccharine I wrinkled my nose.

Your LOSER of the week made the curious choice to write a story inspired by the ecchi anime genre, which wasn't technically against the rules, but how well did you really think that was going to go over? Fuubi, your entry was less a sincere story and more misguided parody. And even calling it a 'parody' is generous, since your use of anime tropes bled over into a straight of caricature of Japanese characters. Please come back and try again, though! I knew what I was getting into when I assigned anime as a prompt, so I'd love to see what you do in a more sincere attempt.

On to happier things!

We had a lot of trouble narrowing down the honorable mentions for this week, because there was something for everyone. I even had to call in a backup judge to pare the list down from roughly ten choices.

Skwidmonster, you get an HM for tugging at the judge's heartstrings. Mr Gentleman, you squeak by with an HM for tickling Sebmojo's fancy. Boaz-Jachim, your story was flawed, but well written, so you get an HM. Spectres of Autism, get yer HM. Your story was fun, and you did a pretty good job with a bunch of crazy flashrules (Yes, this is like the five millionth HM I'm giving you but whatever I like your style so deal with it). Surreptitious Muffin, you get an HM for painting a vivid and visceral picture of a small triumph in a futile situation.

EVERY HM GETS A BOON OF 500 WORDS TO USE WHENEVER THEY WISH You need only cite this post whenever you decide to use them.

There were a bunch of other stories I wanted to HM, but I've been informed this is not hugdome, so you'll all just have to pat yourselves on the back.

Finally, we get to the winners. Sebmojo told me NO SH ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THIS but there were two stories that I thought stood out enough for the win, and after talking it over with my heart of hearts, I must do what I think is right.

Noah! Your story had too many quotable lines to recount, and was a weird and fun and grotesque read. Seriously, goons, if you want to know how to do the grotesque/absurd without being gratuitous, go give Noah's story a read. As your boon, you get 1000 extra words whenever you next grace the Thunderdome with your presence. You can use them at any time! Simply cite this post when you do.

Kaishai! Your ruthless effectiveness is showing again. Since I know you don't need extra words to show us all up, you are entitled to the first and only piece of Thunderdome swag! Crabrock has been working on a special surprise for the winner of week 200. I'll let him unveil it when it's ready, but suffice to say it is a fabulous prize indeed.

And that's week 200! Thank you to everyone who participated, and especially those of who who did crits while the judges deliberated. I will post my 9500 words of notes shortly

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jun 9, 2016 around 03:23

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Death Waltz Brawl Results

Both stories had really vivid and evocative language, and both of them had their protagonists sort of shy away at the last moment from taking action. Once I understood the connection with the prompt in SH’s story, I enjoyed it twice as much, while Ent took more of the expected route in terms of constructing his story.

Ultimately, Sitting Here wins, because I feel like the story left a longer impression on me after reading it, and it had more of a humanity to it in the end. The main character felt more like a character and she saw the world in ways that intrigued me, whereas Ent’s character, as in the story, was outshone by the piano, which was a more interesting presence. SH’s story was more open-ended than Ent’s, but in this case it worked in her favor.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Climbing the ladder, bottom of the barrel to DM aw yiss.

Ziji
Oct 20, 2010
Yossarian lives!

I may have lost the brawl, but I had a lot of fun. Can't wait for my next foray into the Dome.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Ziji

quote:

Marvin Grouse may have been physically sitting in a booth at Applebee’s, but in his mind he never left the jungle "Marvin Grous was in the jungle even though he was sitting in a booth at Applebee's." That sentence you have is awkward, and the use of physically always stands out of me as a dumb word. like, of course he's physically sitting somewhere, we're almost always doing something physically. anyways, i feel like this sentence could be cut down and i think the jungle is more interesting to start with than the applebee's. He sat silently, alone, browsing the menu. Marvin removed his Vietnam Veteran hat and scratched the only spot not covered in thick gray hair. Tracing the scar with his finger, he remembered the blood trickling down his ear and the heat from the machine guns being fired next to him nice details. He remembered the nurses at the field hospital, how he promised to marry the brunette is the brunette the nurse?, but she never wrote him back. Memories were all he had left, of his youth spent in that humid hell and of his brothers-in-arms who were all too busy to join him at the neighborhood’s bar and grill i dont like this last bit. it's just like, too cheesy? like it's trying to be funny but vietnam vet having flash backs isnt a good place to try and put some humor in imho.

Lost in thought, Marvin didn’t even notice his waitress return to the table ready to take his order i have a huge pet peeve with people not noticing things. like, jsut have him notice her. it's nbd and it doesnt waste words and it makes things happen.

i like a line break here. it separates Marvin's and the waitress's actionsWell sir, have you made your decision?” the young girl asked, pulling a pocketbook and pen from her apron. it's good to add details in dialogue but it needs to be meaningful not this useless crap.

line break here is 100% necessary“Yeah… I, uh, I’ll have the steak. Rare..” Marvin grunted said's a good word, handing her the menu.

“You get a side with that,” the waitress continued on, “coleslaw, mac and cheese, onion rings, steak fries, a baked potato, or mixed vegetables.”

Marvin was caught off guard this is kinda weird. vietnam vet gets blindsided by a choice of sides???, he didn’t think he had that many options for a side dish. “Baked potato,” he answered in a panic.

Before he knew what he had said it was too late, she was already gone. Baked potato? What was he thinking? Marvin held his head in his hands and wiped down on his face. His hands began to tremble and he knew what would happen but felt powerless to stop it. this is an extreme reaction to seeing you got the wrong side. i mean he could just ask the waitress when she came back to give him a new side or someting. He grabbed the neck of his beer and took a swig, wiping his mouth with his jacket and slamming the bottle back on the table with a loud thud. Marvin stared intently ADVERBS across the booth at the empty seat, his hands trembling.

“Deep breath Marvin”, he repeated to himself, “just breathe like the docs said and you’ll be fine.” i guess this is like, he's having PTSD because of potatoes, but it's like... odd? like im no expert on PTSD but i dont rly think this works. ok i read the rest of this so this makes a little more sense but ehhhhh im still not feeling it. He let out a healthy sigh and felt his muscles loosened. He could do this, he didn’t need his war buddies or court appointed therapists to help him. there's no action so far. it's just the dude being like fuckkkkk i ordered the wrong sides Marvin knew if he stayed focused he could make it through this dinner unharmed, and without harming anyone. what. he's gonna hurt dudes now? what???

Marvin knew he was dead wrong the minute he smelled that baked potato. It all went to poo poo the minute he saw the gentleman bringing him his food. i hate these sentences. it's like, here's the action, it's about to start! but it's like, just get to the action. also after finishing this story, why is the smell of a baked potato triggering the PTSD. like maybe the sight or the texture of it would, but i dont think the smell would imho. Within seconds Marvin was upon him, dashing out of his booth and slamming his shoulder into the poor man’s chest. The waitress who took his order screamed as the two men fell to the ground, Marvin quickly scrambling on top of the stunned waiter. As soon as he smelled that potato, he was back in Vietnam.

# add a scene break here imho

“Private Grouse get the gently caress over here!” Sergeant First Class Soldid shouted, the veins in his neck popping out like engorged leeches. now, veins popping out are a bit cliche but the metaphor is actually p cool so im gonna say that this one was a wash

Marvin Grouse dropped his cards and ran out of the tent. “Yes Sergeant?!” Marvin asked, standing at a half-assed parade rest while trying to catch his breath.

“We just got a shipment of potatoes in,” SFC Soldid explained, his smile widening with each word, “and I want you to peel’em.” He handed Marvin a potato peeler, the sun reflecting off its stainless steel finish right into Marvin’s eyes, wide with horror run-on right here. A brand new potato peeler meant only one thing. Turning to his left, his suspicions were confirmed: the Marvin saw a truck was filled to the brim with boxes of thousands and thousands of potatoes. i've found in my own writing that one of the best ways to keep things immediate and interesting is to avoid the verbs was/are/is/etc. because like in this sentece "Marvin saw the truck was filled with potatoes" versus "Marvin saw a truck filled with potatoes" the second one both has one less word and also makes it more immediate. you can't always get rid of was but it's a good way to start checking your sentences to make sure you avoid making them too passive.

For three days and three nights this feels unintentionally biblical, Marvin peeled potatoes. He didn’t sleep, he didn’t take breaks, he simply peeled. Eating wasn’t even welcomed, as he was instructed that his only meals would be potatoes. He peeled until his hands started to bleed, then he bandaged them up and peeled some more. 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 this feels very tangential, like why are you saying this know? also this is super contrived. Private Grouse feared him in Vietnam, and Manual Noriega i'm unlearned so idk who this is learned to fear him in Panama.

On the third night of his continued peeling, running on pure adrenaline and hatred of the potato, their forward operating base was attacked. Mortar fire rained down on the US soldiers who all scurried to their positions this last part of this phrase is just very weak and doesn't really convey the action of WE ARE UNDER ATTACK. id imagine there's more panic but i dont feel it here, firing wildly into the dark jungle surrounding them. Officers shouted out orders and NCOs shouted out contradictions, adding fuel to the fire of confusion that the defenders found themselves in id just cut this whole things, it's awkward, and if anything, you could just make it "adding to the confusion" (side note: "adding fuel to the fire" is cliche and cliches should be avoided as much as possible.

Through all this, Marvin continued to peel potatoes. wtf His third therapist, Dr. Hubert Linsford, would argue that he had simply had a mental breakdown from all the potato peeling. Marvin would argue back that Dr. Linsford had never met SFC Soldid, and if he had then he would have known that dying was preferable to disobeying an order. see i dont like these things in your story. it's like a cut away from the action, and it's just annoying. like, just tell the story and dont give me these little tangents

Amid the chaos, one lone Viet Cong fighter snuck his way into the mess tent. His intent was perhaps to sabotage their food stores, or maybe even just sneak around to attack from within the base. No one knows for certain, as you do not need this at all he tripped on a rogue potato and fell into Marvin. Although caught by surprise, Marvin acted on pure instinct and pounced on the enemy;, that's bad use of a semicolon right there slamming his potato peeler into this throat. Blood began to dont use began or started or w/e poured out of the wound, but. Marvin began choked him anyway, screaming as he slammed his this pronoun makes me think marvin slammed his own head into the ground which uhhhh i dont think happened head against the ground.

#

Before he knew what was happening, two men who had been sitting at the bar pulled Marvin off of the unconscious waiter. Marvin stumbled backward, and was thrown into his booth by the quick acting bystanders. The waitress rushed to the waiter’s side while the manager tried to called emergency services. oh yeah ty for reminding that tried to is also p bad

“It was the loving potatoes!” Marvin screamed, his bulging eyes still glazed over and saliva spewing from his mouth with each word. “It’s always the loving potatoes!”

ok obv there's some problems with the prose but it's not like super bad just amateur stuff that youll get out of over time. one of the biggest things i can advocate for is CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT just keep cutting. if you dont need something cut cut cut.

the story itself is kinda lame though. like the first half is basically "oh no i ordered the wrong thing" and if it was a look into the PTSD of a vietnam vet I just didnt feel like it was accurate or realistic. it also felt distant to me and i wasnt feeling the desperation or the onset of the panic or craziness like you were telling me was. also nothing really happens for a majority of this part so the pacing is slow and boring and if i was a normal reader i wouldve stopped reading probably.

then the second part happens and it goes like, into a normal military story that just reaches absurdity but im not really sure you intended for it feel absurd but kind of wacky or silly? idk. and im not sure why you wanted it to be silly. like PTSD and war are Very Serious Things but you can make them funny if you have a subtle hand. the issue is, i'm not sure if you were trying to be funny or if you were trying to tell a serious story about PTSD. maybe you were trying to mix the two? if so, im not feeling it. it feels awkward and stilted and im not sure what your intention is here.

yeah i just think you need to be like more clear in what youre trying to say.

also plz learn how to use line breaks tia.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



round one: vs Maugrim

just another rc

992 words

As Shon watches, people become angels.

Translucent wings unfold from their backs like swans taking flight. They soak and burst in the sun’s light, showering everything with knives of radiance. Their skin is patterned with whorls and slashes of dancing colour now, like the sun filtered through a kaleidoscope.

It’s been half an hour since they dosed. He looks at Elias. Elias looks the same. He catches Shon looking at him and gives him a rueful look. “People on the drug don’t change. I don’t know how that works. Kind of unscientific, right?” He hands Shon the water bottle.

Shon takes it. It’s hot on the boardwalk. He turns back to the metamorphosis. It’s the people walking together that look the best. Where the wings cross each other they explode into beams and waves of light that hit his eyes like he’s awake in heaven. He can’t make out details, now, just prismatic shapes and silhouettes. The people are just lights, lights with skin, and the skin is just paper.

“We need to make it to the pier,” Elias says.

“Just a second,” Shon says. “I want to stop and look.”

“The pier,” Elias says again, and pulls Shon forward.

He doesn’t fight it; he wants to, and doesn’t want to, and doesn’t have the energy. It takes all of him just to keep watching the angels. There angels are walking a furred lower life form. There one is hula hooping, a halo of red light around her waist. There one is taking a drink from a tall can. What do angels drink? Light? Fire? He can’t see. But he swears the angel’s glowing even more, like he’s left the material behind in the can’s emptiness.

He checks his own skin. He’s still normal, like Elias. Despair, but after short moments he’d rather stare at angels than his own pallid flesh and he looks up again. They’re grouping, talking to each other. In clusters they almost lose their shape completely. It’s like they’re melding with each other, like angels skip awkward groping and move straight to fusing their totalities. Streaming together they’re so beautiful that it takes Shon time to register that they’re talking.

Their voices blur together in the same way their bodies do. They don’t sound remotely human. They sound like if someone dunked a scorching frying pan into a mountain river. Like steam hissing and rising, but more like smoke trying to make it to God. The wind is diffusing it, setting it against each other, pulling in all directions. But the smoke is clinging to the breaths and drafts and spirals and climbs and never lets go.

And there’s a buzz, too, a crackle, high notes, his ear, crashing through until it reaches his brain, drowning out everything. Elias’ lips are moving but Shon can’t make him out. It’s just heat and static now. Elias stops trying but keeps guiding him forward, step by step on the boardwalk. Then Shon hits separation in the boards and goes over.

He doesn’t pay attention to his fall. He hits the ground, skidding, his forearms burning on the splintered wood. The dirty boards fill his field of vision and he has to get away. He gets to his knees, looks back up at the angels, and that’s when he sees it. They’re all watching. He can’t look them in the eyes. Whenever he strays in that direction he starts to feel something cloying, something honeyed, but there’s pain underneath. The sun is beating down. They’re gesturing, waving arms in strange geometric patterns, like divine language. But the limbs end up pointed at him, and his heart feels like it’s submerged in cold water.

I’m not like them, he thinks. I’m not pure. I know sin. I’m still of this earth, my skin and bones are of the earth’s clay. My muscles move me to fear, to death, closer each day to stillness.

Elias is helping him up. The angels begin to look away. They have themselves, he thinks, to look at; I stand out only because I’m tainted.

Elias is saying something. The horizon has opened up.

The sea is before them. It’s unchanged by the drug but still vast, barely fitting into the real. It’s at the end of the pier which is sprinkled with angels, moving slowly, the ones that are moving at all. Silence has fallen.

“We should try to find more angels,” Shon says.

“No,” Elias says. “We’re about to come down.”

The angels are all staring out to sea. The very end of the pier is empty save for one, whose wings move back and forth rhythmically. Elias guides Shon down until the two of them are sitting on the edge, their feet swaying above their severed reflections.

“Keep staring out,” Elias says. “You don’t want to see angels turn back into people.” He spits, a long thread leaving his mouth, spooling into the ocean.

Shon wants to turn back. One final look. But something in him is caught by Elias’ voice. Thermals catching smoke.

So he keeps watching, seeing the birds wing out over the sea, small and fragile. They don’t stay high for long.

He turns to Elias. “What’s this called?”.

“It doesn’t matter,” Elias says. “It’s just another R.C.”

“Of course it matters!” Shon says. He’s forgotten himself. The sea carries his voice away. “I need to know what it is, so I can do more.”

Elias takes his shoulder.

“I do this every day,” Elias says. “Long term users have short life-spans. Slow deaths. Blood filling my lungs. You get me?” He’s somber for a second, trying to breathe in the salted air.

“I’m weak,” he says. “Everyday because I forget. You can’t be like me. You can’t forget. People are angels.”

Elias exists, Shon thinks, looking at him. Tragic. Beautiful, even. Dying, like we all die. Even angels.

But search engines exist too. Maybe I have another high in me.

Ziji
Oct 20, 2010
Yossarian lives!

flerp posted:

Good crit here

Thanks for the crit, I'll make sure to ref this post next time I sit down to write!

Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


QuoProQuid posted:

A line-by-line for Carcer. Hope this helps.

Thank you for the crit, it does help. I've never had any real critical assessment of my writing so this should go a long way to (eventually) improving my work.

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London



Ziji posted:

Thanks for the crit, I'll make sure to ref this post next time I sit down to write!

for what it's worth (won't do a line-by-line like the others but having read through flerp's line-by-line):

I found the prose from your story quite interesting -- I think you purposively took on the style of something like catch-22 or pynchon or neal stephenson? (the way you phrased things felt very familiar but I haven't put my finger on it. also little things like the mini-tangents and flashforwards which I enjoyed.) it also seems to have that slightly crisp/manic surrealism or absurdity and the half-joking/half-not-joking feel (and resultant ambiguity/duality) from that sort of stuff.

anyways hopefully I'm not going out on too much of a limb. but if that's right, I think that was a tricky place to be in although at the same time a really interesting and challenging thing to tackle (especially because it's either going to click or not). I think ultimately for me it didn't quite click at the edges, but I thought there was good stuff like the Soldid/Noriega line and the closing bit!

Mr Gentleman fucked around with this message at Jun 9, 2016 around 10:38

Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003
the Educated Villain of London




hell I'm glad at least sebmojo enjoyed it after that drat celebrity flashrule torpedoed me -- I promise I meant more than just a gag about kardashians-being-dumb-but-what-if-they-weren't!

Mr Gentleman fucked around with this message at Jun 9, 2016 around 14:45

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Sitting Here posted:


Your LOSER of the week made the curious choice to write a story inspired by the ecchi anime genre, which wasn't technically against the rules, but how well did you really think that was going to go over? Fuubi, your entry was less a sincere story and more misguided parody. And even calling it a 'parody' is generous, since your use of anime tropes bled over into a straight of caricature of Japanese characters. Please come back and try again, though! I knew what I was getting into when I assigned anime as a prompt, so I'd love to see what you do in a more sincere attempt.

Thanks! Yeah I felt I'd be somewhere in the bottom with this story...

...but don't worry! I'm halfway through the next one and it's completely not as bad as this one! (no promises)

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Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



In with this uplifting little sparkle of joy:

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