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Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



Chili posted:

Interprompt WITH A PRIZE

Everyone has from right now, until judgement is rendered, to take up to 500 words and write a story about a black sheep. It can be a literal black sheep if you’re a disphit, but what I’m looking for is a character who just doesn’t fit in with their peers. They should want something and/or try to do something.

Also as a means of inspiration, use this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YplCJukBPI

Space Baby
499 words

After the two boys were marched into Ms. Jeffries’s office and ordered into chairs at opposite ends of the room, they glared at each other. Joey was about to silently mouth “space baby” again, prompting Sam to attack him, but his timing was off- Ms. Jeffries was already entering the office.

She sat and gave both boys a very unpleasant look. Joey just huffed a little and slid down in his chair, but Sam was looking nervous. What a jerk.

“Sam, would you like to tell me what happened?”

“He was calling me names,” Sam began.

“It’s not calling names when it’s the truth!” Joey interjected.

The principal ignored him. “Please continue, Sam.”

“He was calling me names for no reason,” Sam whined. “He just came up to me and Steve and AJ and called me the same stupid thing he always calls me.”

Ms. Jeffries raised an eyebrow at Joey. “What do you call him?”

“The truth!”

Joseph.”

“I call him Space Baby, because is a space baby!” Joey said hotly, then added, “AND he said the f-word.”

“Dude, stop bothering me,” Sam said. “I don’t know why you keep doing this, but STOP IT.”

The principal looked at them both silently, until even Joey started to sweat.

“Joey, what’s a space baby?” Her voice was cool.

He kicked his feet in consternation.

“Tell me what a space baby is.” Her voice was hotter.

“It’s…” Suddenly, Joey didn’t want to say.

“He thinks we’re aliens because of a game we played when we were little,” Sam supplied. “Everyone else grew UP,” he continued pointedly, “But Joey is still pretending, because he’s the real baby!”

“It’s not pretend,” Joey whispered.

“Oh, my god! Yes, it is!” Sam said. “You are such a freak. Grow up.”

Ms. Jeffries held up her hand and stopped him. “Sam, go sit with Mrs. Johansson. I’ll talk to you in a minute.”

After Sam had huffed out of the room, Ms. Jeffries asked quietly, “Joey, when did you last see your dad?”

Something stung behind his eyes. “He’s on a space mission, he’s not coming back for a while,” Joey said haughtily. “He’s thousands of light years away, and he’s very busy, you know.”

The principal looked like she wanted to say something comforting. Joey hated that the most.

Finally, she sighed. “I have to call your mom about this, Joey.”

“Fine!” he said. “Whatever. She won’t pick up,” he added.

Ms. Jeffries sighed and rubbed her forehead. “She might not, actually,” she said. Joey had an odd feeling she wasn’t talking to him.

After she dismissed him, Joey made a horrible face at Sam, who had since been joined by his friends in the office. The other boy didn’t see him, but some older girls did, and they seemed to find it hilarious. Joey ducked his head and swerved into the bathroom. He felt sick.

He had really liked the space baby game. It was the last game they’d played before his father left.

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Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Week 224 Crits: Get Your Smelly Paws Off Me You drat Dirty Domers

N. Senada:
A reasonably interesting setup but I was waiting for the comedic turn to come. Far be it from me to say that what I expected is better than what I didn't expect, but this seemed like the setup to a joke where, through snowballing incompetence, Sniffles comes out on top. As is, you could cut the story at the scene break and basically lose nothing.

Sailor Viy:
The imagery here works really well for me, especially the blending of prehistoric hunting and post-apocalyptic survivalism. I think (unlike certain TDers) that the ending was really good, too. The search for meaning isn't one that ends and the way the bison becomes a labryinth of its own is meaningful without being rote.

Chairchucker:
This is pretty much what I expected from the prompt. As a joke, it's probably longer than it needs to be--you could get this down to 500 words or shorter by condensing it to the archaeologists misinterpreting the question and still getting it right. This does humor a bit better than Senada's, because it keeps changing my expectations with new bits of humor. I expect them to know the riddle, but they don't. Then I expect them to fail at the riddle, but they stumble onto the right answer. Good humor, with a cardboard story to stick it into.

BeefSupreme:
You did a decent job of representing a dog's viewpoint but the story itself isn't that interesting--when the reader can figure out a mystery before the characters do, it's frustrating because they're just left sitting there saying "It's so obvious, it's right there, how do you not get this."

Flerp:
What I like about this is the contrast between the fable-like premise and character naming, and the casual, modern tone. There's parts where the juxtaposition really works, and parts where it's shakier, like the repetition in the list of animals--I think if it was stylistically a bit more modern, it'd be stronger. Was an HM candidate.

Erogenous Beef:
A good scene with good world-building. Perhaps it's on the nose with the allegory, but that's fine because it doesn't get up its own metaphorical rear end. It's one of those things where you get to the end and think about it for a second, and the plot clicks into place and feels good. Was an HM candidate.

a new study bible!:
Appealingly gross with the fungus growing in the pig, but meanders a lot, has a lot of dropped plot threads, and the ending doesn't really make that much sense. Why is she buried there? Who's he been talking to on the phone? Why set up a protection racket and then kill the person instead of just you know, not killing them?

Beige:
I don't know what this is trying to say. It's set up like a fable, and you don't need to cap a fable with a moral like Flerp decided to, but a fable's supposed to say something about the world, and this just says snakes are dicks and sometimes inexplicable violence happens. It's also got a tonal shift about halfway through where apparently you got tired of writing like a fable and just slipped into a more standard modern tone. I'm not upset though, because the pace was plodding under the heavy folksiness.

The Cut of Your Jib:
Good buildup; the back and forth means you can kind of build tension between these two viewpoints. Also, notably, it means that the sudden violent end isn't arbitrary, because we can see the falcon's mind and why it did that. Was an HM candidate.

Baleful Osmium Sea:
I appreciated this for the friendly, casual chemistry between the two gargoyles. I wished that you could have played up the banter a bit between them, a bit like Guiness13's, because that sort of mundane chatter between inhuman entities is good stuff. Other than that, it would have been nice to get some sense that the shadow is hurt by light earlier on--it's a good idea to establish all the rules of your story by the halfway point, so that you can have all the elements come together to a conclusion, rather than having to add in a point like "by the way, the evil can be defeated by sunlight". Doesn't need to be explicit, but if we saw the shadow recoiling from the sun or visibly distressed by it then that might have been stronger.

Guiness13:
The ending to this feels a bit rushed, possibly because it summarizes a lot of time and depends on this character that we really don't know a ton about, in the end. We get a better sense of the chemistry between the two heads--which, by the way, was good. I struggled a little with telling who was who at first, until I took a moment and thought about it and picked up on the way you signal the different ways they speak. I'd still use a few more dialogue tags, as training wheels until the readers get the point.

sparksbloom:
This was pretty, but felt a bit secondary to the prompt--the coyotes are at best a metaphor, but I wasn't sure for what, and weren't that important to the story. If I had to take a stab at it, they're reflecting the inner turmoil of the main character, and the howling at the end over the dead coyote reflects how she's lost this person she loves again. Even though the winner this week was also a metaphor, I felt the presence of the animal and its nature was more strongly tied to the story, where here they're mostly there as a cipher for very human emotions. Was an HM candidate.

llamaguccii:
I'll say this, I was initially on board with this story. I like the concept of someone who's trying to seek out death, but wants to go out in an interesting way, so he puts himself in dangerous situations. It's kind of a fun way of looking at death, and it's an interesting reaction to a death omen to be like "oh, yeah, finally!" Then the story meanders on for too long, and apparently he was the black shuck all along? You get to sit in the Bad Twist Ending corner along with a new study bible!.

Farchanter:
This was good. There's enough physical detail in here to make it seem like an account from someone who's actually worked there, though it could be all made up--what matters is that it's firmly rooted in this place, and that makes the physical struggle more real. That said, it feels like you ran out of space at the end. Not that it's bad, but it just kind of cuts to black without any resolution. Was an HM candidate.

Chili:
I liked this the most out of the fable camp this week, but you got too flowery at points and it ended up bogging down the pace., which is surprising since this story is so short. The ambiguity of the ending is interesting, though I had assumed he'd died given the beginning, so the fact that it ended ambiguously felt strange to me. I'd rework the beginning to make it more obviously ambiguous, and then you could probably close by returning to that image without having to go OH HEY AMBIGUOUS ENDING

widespread:
An interesting interpretation of the prompt, though a little slow in the parts where it's like trying to explain basic processes through the eyes of someone who doesn't know how they work. Generally, that's a bit boring to sit through unless you've got some interesting perspective on it. I generally liked this, but it could have used more work.

Fuubi:
You made it!

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Hey... so, uh, I know this isn't the place for this exactly, but fictionwar finalists are out, and I'm one of them.

Just wanted to say thanks to Thunderdome for making me a better writer and helping me achieve my first paid writing submission.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

a new study bible! posted:

Hey... so, uh, I know this isn't the place for this exactly, but fictionwar finalists are out, and I'm one of them.

Just wanted to say thanks to Thunderdome for making me a better writer and helping me achieve my first paid writing submission.

Congratulations to the finalists! I know we have at least two.

I've been pondering the idea of more things like this, where we "rush" a given publication. I know I'm not the only one who would enjoy something like that. Obviously, this would happen outside of the thread via IRC, email, and Google docs. I'd be happy to wrangle people if there's interest, but it would be cool to have a little help in researching ideal publications for this purpose. Lemme know what you think.

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

Interprompt story

Lucky Streak

469 words

I'm getting a nice early morning drink on when some guy I don't even know walks up to me and hands me an bulging envelope, flashes it open to show the twenty dollar bills inside. I try to push it back at him. “You must be confused,” I say. “It's my big brother who's the assemblyman.”

“No mistake,” the guy says. He turns and walks out of the bar, and I don't follow him. Instead I got to the restroom and count the money. Two thousand bucks, cash.

Whenever I come into extra spending money I head for the racetrack. I have a system. My system is that I bet on dogs, they lose, and I keep from having enough money to go out and do serious damage to my overworked liver. My system works better than most people's.

It isn't working today. I bet on a dog named Boo-Boo. It wins at three to one. I turn it around to One Hit Wonder at two to one, another winner. In the last race there's a three to one shot named Titanic Cruise, and I leave the track sitting on more money than I've ever had to my name. I have to spend almost an hour talking them into paying cash, since I don't do bank accounts.

Must be some people could smell the money on me, since I don't usually have any trouble on the street but this time some toothless geezer pulls a knife on me and asks for all my dough. I'm pulling out my wallet when a pair of beat cops step up and put the guy in cuffs right in front of me. They almost take the money, since walking around with that much is shady as hell, but they see I've got the receipt from the track and don't bother. Instead they give me some bad advice about banks and mattresses.

I get home, put the money in my safe next to my gun. I don't have much in the world more than the old house, and only that because Joe would kill me if I even thought about taking out a mortgage on it. I empty out my pockets and see that there was a note in there too, and a bus ticket to Florida. 'The party's going to run me for the House of Representatives.' It said. 'It'd be best if you weren't where local media can find you. At least for a while.'

Now I haven't had much time for Joe and he hasn't had much time for me, not since he got into politics and I went on worker's comp, but this hit me pretty hard. My own flesh and blood thought me so much of an embarrassment.

Some days a guy just can't catch a single break.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


a new study bible! posted:

Hey... so, uh, I know this isn't the place for this exactly, but fictionwar finalists are out, and I'm one of them.

Just wanted to say thanks to Thunderdome for making me a better writer and helping me achieve my first paid writing submission.

congrats!

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Sitting Here posted:

Lemme know what you think.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Sitting Here posted:

Lemme know what you think.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

So, I've instantly had some good and possibly fun suggestions.

Apex Magazine is running a Valentine's Day-themed contest:

quote:

Every year Apex Magazine hosts a flash fiction contest centered around a holiday. In the past we’ve run contests featuring Halloween and Christmas. While those were both fun, this year we’ve decided to set you all loose on another holiday: Valentine’s Day.
That’s right. Apex is looking for some bad lovin’!
Your story does not have to directly involve Valentine’s Day, but it should imbue the spirit of the holiday in a twisted Apex fashion. Love lost, love won, the holiday itself, Cupid, romance gone horribly, horribly wrong, pining for a mate … the theme for this year’s contest is wide open so have fun with it! Just make sure you give us story that screams love Apex-style in no more than 250 words.

It closes on December 1st, so turnaround will probably be really fast. The word count is 250, so 2 days is more than enough time for thundergoons to come up with something.


Gamut Magazine is another option. They open their submissions on the first of each month and close them after receiving 300 stories. This is something I personally would like a little time to prepare for, so if anyone wants to aim for January 1st, we could make a ~*~goon project~*~ out of it.

quote:

We accept stories from 500 to 2,000 words (flash fiction) and 2,001 to 5,000 words (short fiction). We are focused on the following genres: fantasy, science fiction, horror, crime, neo-noir, magical realism, Southern gothic, and transgressive—all with a literary bent.


Broken Eye Books is doing a cosmic horror/cthulhu/space opera anthology.

quote:

Send us into space, away from earth, and bring the weird! Give us adventure and wonder, spaceships and monsters, tentacles and insanity, determined struggle and starborne terror. Whether sprawling in scope or tightly focused and personal, make sure to give us a taste of the greater universe of your story, such as the culture and politics. Make us long to know more of your universe.

[...]

Stories should also be set within or be inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. We want to see the Mythos continue to grow and evolve, to expand as a shared literary world and not be tied to outdated and limiting sensibilities. We are not interested in stories with bigoted, unbalanced views on race and gender.

Submissions for this anthology close on January 31st.


These are just a few suggestions from fast and helpful goons. I think, for our purposes, contests and anthologies are ideal, but I'm open to anything. If you see something, say something! I wouldn't have known about the Fiction War contest if someone hadn't mentioned it. Thunderdome is a venerable institution and a wonderful practice space/proving ground, but...what can I say, I love you goons, and I want to take things to the next level. If this idea gets enough traction, I think I'll move discussion over to the short fiction publishing thread. Until then, though, TD gets a lot more traffic, so right now I'm encouraging people to post (sincere, not lovely) suggestions for publications to rush (or ways to improve on this idea).

I'm thinking each rush would involve some discussion (tropes to avoid, brainstorming, etc) and some critique. We basically already do this, just not very frequently. So let's do it ummmm more often? Maybe on some kind of loose schedule?

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

WEEK 225 RESULTS

Judging this week was pretty easy, because we had a small number of entrants and because none of the stories were egregiously bad. I had hoped to get a some vivid worldbuilding in a range of historical periods, and I wasn't disappointed. A lot of stories, even many of the no mentions, did a great job of drawing me into their world without sacrificing their narrative backbone, so well done.

Our winner for this week is Okua, offering an original perspective on the well-trodden setting of Viking-era Scandinavia. HMs go to Sitting Here and sebmojo, with very different but equally well-written stories.

We were disappointed with the senseless violence of Guiness13's Colonial horror story, and, conversely, with the essential dullness of Fleta Mcgurn's attempt at Medieval England. These were our DMs for the week. The loss goes to GenJoe, whose Roman prison drama was muddled and unsatisfying.

GenJoe, I feel a bit bad for hitting you with a loss on your very first entry, and I do encourage you to try again. If you put your story in a Google doc and link it here, then I'll give you a line-by-line crit.

Sailor Viy fucked around with this message at Nov 28, 2016 around 22:53

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

WEEK 225 CRITS

Arrangements

First sentence is too long.
At first I thought the protag was an orphan living in an abbey based on the word “ward” but apparently not? (After reading the whole piece, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this fostering arrangement is a real thing. But it did confuse me at the start.)
Would like to know more about what Catherine wants out of her marriage.
OK, I’d have liked to enter the story after she gets given the choice. That’s when the real story begins.
I feel like the whole meat of the story took place in the one paragraph where she thinks about it and decides. Stories that revolve around a decision like this are deceptively hard to pull off and this one mostly fell flat. You need to find a way to dramatise the protagonist’s internal struggle rather than just telling us “She thought about it, and then she decided.”
Maybe I just have a distaste for Medieval Europe because it’s been done so many times, but the worldbuilding in this felt pretty perfunctory. Basically you created the same world that appears in my head when I think “Medieval England”, you didn’t present me with anything new or make me look at it in a new way, and that’s bad.


Journey

Nice opening.
The interspersing of little flashback sentences is good but you went a little too hard on it and it became a bit jarring.
Overall, great. Loved the little details of Norse culture and myth—you clearly did your homework. Asa gives a very original perspective on the culture.

Spirits in the Forest

You are mucking up the tense a bit, e.g. “He had felt their presence in the heat of the summer... He has felt their power, despite what his mother has told him.” These two sentences so close together look messy.
Try to make your sentences shorter by breaking them up. For example, “He could go there and seek help and come back with the strong men who lived in the town who father had gotten to help raise the house and the small barn when they had first come.” It’s far too long because you have tried to jam a bit of backstory in at the end of it.
I like the bit about him pouring hot water onto the soil. Is this a real thing?
OK, where you write “...even at his young age” – that was where I first realised that he is meant to be a kid. Would be much better if you made that clear from the start.
The ending felt flat. After reading it again, I guess the idea is that he abandonded Christ and worshipped the native spirits and because of that, the wolves left him alone? I think there is the germ of a good conflict in there but you should have introduced the main danger (the wolves) sooner, and also played up his guilt about believing in the forest spirits. As it is, I didn’t really understand what you were going for until after the story was over.


The Warrior and the Beast

“He wasn't the first Warrior, but Kuruk was sure that he'd be the last.” – Um, so he’s already assuming that he will fail? I guess this makes sense in a doomed hero sort of way but the way you’ve presented it sounds weird to me.
I really like that the blowhole smells like farts—that’s a detail that I’ve never heard before but sounds perfectly plausible.
The ending was a bit of a letdown. I was getting real amped for a showdown between ice barbarian and killer whale. But I guess the whale was just curious about him? LAME. Would have been very pleased to see him ride to the new world on a decaying whale carcass. Missed opportunity. Still a fairly enjoyable piece of writing.

Squaring the Circle

This is a fairly rich depiction of a time and place, which is what I was hoping to see. There’s not much drive to the narrative and the protagonist doesn’t have much agency, although I suppose that’s the point.
This might actually have been better without the bit at the end about him being exiled, since then you could have focused more on the struggle of whether to recant his beliefs in order to be free. But there is a lot of stuff here that’s underdeveloped, especially the politics between Athens, Sparta and Persia, which I more or less understood but didn’t understand why it was relevant to anything else.
Overall feels like a Thunderdome veteran crapping something out at the last minute.
This story gets the prize for most polarizing – I had it as a no mention, while another judge wanted it to lose and the third was suggesting it for the win.

All The Men Merely Players

First impressions: feels like walking through the town in an Assassin’s Creed game. Enjoying all the little cultural details, but still waiting for the story to start.
Later impression: OK, you were actually setting everything up the whole time. I’m liking it...
Oh dear. You ran out of words, didn’t you? I was really enjoying this up to the last paragraph. Your decision to turn a heartwarming sports story into a grim massacre is questionable, but it could have worked if you’d had more time to sell it. As it stands, it just feels like a “haha, syke!” with a middle finger to any reader who thought a story about race relations could ever end well.

Magistration

So far you are doing well making me interested in a story about a basically unlikeable character. Good job.
OK, I liked the ending. It was a bit of a shaggy dog story but not in a bad way. I think you could have made the comedy work better if the conflicting motives were spelled out more clearly. I understood that the magistrate wanted to have sex with the woman, but it didn’t feel concrete enough, even though you spelled it out pretty clearly. I guess I wasn’t quite convinced that killing her boyfriend would really get him any closer to getting in her pants. Because of this, I spent a lot of the story wondering “where is this going?” which actually works against you because you really want the reader to think “aha, I know where this is going” until the twist comes in.

Listen To Me, Not The Flames

I can tell you had big ideas for this story but you didn’t execute them well or convey them to me appropriately. It just felt like a big jumbled mess of narratives and meta-narratives piled on top of each other. I really can’t tell how the fable is supposed to relate to the frame narrative, and unfortunately I don’t care all that much. The fable does kind of read like an ancient myth, but not one of the good ones, just one of the lame ones that makes no sense and resolves in an arbitrary nonsensical fashion.
As for the frame narrative, I was just left wondering why the hell the father wanted to tell this story to his kid instead of letting him run away? If you’re starting with a conceit like that then you need to actually justify it by the end of the story. If I was that kid I’d be like, “gently caress you dad, stop telling me this nonsensical story and let me go!”

Cut

First impressions: Confusion. I’ve read the first sentence three times and I have no clue what’s going on.
There are a lot of very strange sentences here. “The old man shot his eyes to the floor.” What?
Please give your characters names so you don’t have to refer to them by contrived titles such as “the rat-holder”.
After “He came to” I got really lost trying to figure out if it was present day or flashback. I guess you’re trying to say they are delivering bread to the prisoners inside a ‘hulk of iron’? That seems bizarre to me.
Your use of phonetic speech is really irritating.
Why does Zander have a name but not the protagonist?
The thing about him wanting to shave is kinda cute, but it’s like, a little bit of character-building detail, not something you can build your whole story around.
I have no idea what the last line is supposed to mean.
Overall—this story is a headache to read and doesn’t offer any reward when you get through it. Basically, nothing happens. I guess you were going for “a small accomplishment against the backdrop of larger events”, but even by the standards of small accomplishments, getting to shave his face seems completely trivial.

One and Another

I was looking forward to a Toba Catastrophe story and you gave it to me. Your prose is tight and your story beats come in at a good pace.
I guess if anything I felt like this was a little too by-the-book. I was waiting for something to surprise me. Your description of the ash and the sky were excellent, but they weren’t really anything that didn’t already exist in the vague platonic Toba Catastrophe story in my head.
The one thing that really stood out to me was the stuff about oneness and otherness (I guess it did to you too since you put it in the title). The ending felt a little flat to me because the guy dying was like a random encounter in an RPG. Despite your efforts to characterise him, I felt like he was interchangeable with any other man, so his death didn’t give the ending the punch that it needed. If you wanted to improve this one, I’d suggest bringing in more stuff about ‘oneness’ at the end to give it a sense of closure. Maybe the mother and daughter resolve to be a hermetic unit even after they’ve joined this new tribe?

Where late the sweet birds sang

Love the voice and the historical details here.
The ending was so implausible that I felt certain at once that it was true. After a bit of googling it seems like it’s about this guy? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximinus_Thrax The name is slightly different and he doesn’t appear to have been killed by an elephant, but the other details seem to match up.
Not much to criticise here—if you wanted to tighten it up you could maybe drop a few of the Latin words, which occasionally felt a bit contrived. Do you really need to say ‘pilum’ rather than just ‘spear’?

Roanoke

So far you are just showing me a bunch of people being killed, none of whom have been developed beforehand, so I don’t really care about them.
“Hector’s face was gone. His eyes stared out from barren bone. His jaw opened, and he gurgled before falling to his knees.” Overall, I find this endless violence pretty boring, but this one image I have to admit is metal as gently caress.
This story is like a horror movie with all the character development and rising tension cut out, leaving just a bunch of people dying. It isn’t interesting. Also the monsters themselves are pretty dull; it’s usually scarier if there’s at least a chance of escaping the monsters, rather than just an inevitable slaughterfest.
You could have done better by cutting out most of the deaths and spending more time on the setup. I guess I basically understood that a white man had killed a Croatoan for some reason and that was why they were being punished, but it was presented so perfunctorily. Having the monsters come to avenge a wrong is a classic horror trope and it can be good, but you have to actually set up what the wrong is—not just tell us, make us feel it.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Sailor Viy posted:

WEEK 225 CRITS

I read these in judgemode so I didn't know who wrote what.

Arrangements

All right. Not arresting, but well written at the sentence level… mostly. But the dialog tends towards overly flowery and could use a bit of trimming.

It's more or less structured as a story, but I still have a problem with it. The whole conflict seems very far removed from anything immediate, it stays stays a bit fuzzy and distant throughout, and those involved remain intellectual and philosophical about it, which doesn't really seem to fit the time period. They feel like two time travelers stuck in the middle ages. I have trouble empathizing with the main character or believing her actions.


Journey

What's with the multi-paragraph parentheses? They aren't needed to indicate flashback, it's pretty clear from the writing. But then again, I guess the single paragraphs later would be more confusing. Maybe multiline italics would have been a better effect.

Not a bad melancholy story, but I'm not sure how much the flashbacks really add. Might be better to integrate them into the story in simple linear narrative, or reduce their numbers to one or two so they can get a bit more focus. And it doesn't feel very storylike in its bare bones: guy wants girl he hasn't seen for years, meets her and learns it's impossible, sits down and stares.


Spirits in the Forest

More of a story than the others so far. I feel like the character could have a more defined voice or personality; there's a lot of doing but not much insight into Benjamin's thinking, aside from the prayer. A fully dialogless story is a bit odd for one so small and contained, but it mostly works.


The Warrior and the Beast

Good introduction, sets up the problem and gets you right into the action.

Fairly well-written. I'm not sure how well it holds up as a story, though. Guy is sent on suicide mission, basically as a sacrifice to save his tribe; comes to a whale (should he call it a whale if he's never seen one before?) and decides it's the monster he needs to kill, fails and dies.


Squaring the Circle

This needed an editing pass. A lot of grammar/other errors that harmed understanding. But the story itself did too; it's too florid without enough grounding in the action of the present. I had to reread the ending three times to figure out what was going on (and that's only partly because I was sleep deprived).

You have some interesting images but the whole thing gets kind of mashed together in a jumble of words. Maybe it's trying to be dream logic because it's Anaxagoras's last recollections or something, and that's not inherently disqualifying; dream logic can work! But a lot of these dense, giant paragraphs could stand to be split up and fleshed out more fully. I think you could write well if you take a step back and edit for clarity; this feels like a very rough draft.


All the Men Merely Players

This reads like you tried to cram in every bit of detail from your research. It could work at a novel-length, but at this short size it overwhelms and bogs down the story.

This seems like it should be a solid story; the main character is fairly well-realized, there's good action and it's mostly easy to follow. But something about the ending feels hollow. I'm not sure how to put my finger on it.


Magistration

Parenthetical postscripts in the middle of a description. That's too cutesy outside of a postmodern ironic story.

And it's a joke story. Meh. I don't think the payoff was worth it. Competently told, at least.


Listen to Me, Not the Flames

I don't know about this story. Feels too sentimental without really earning it. It's all told in such a detached style and all the references to events in the present are so vague that it's hard to get drawn in.


Cut

That introductory sentence is kind of a grammatical mess. It's trying to do too much at once, none of them introduction. Two characters, none of them named (except the prisoner, late) and both mostly referred to as "he" (and one as "the man", as if that disambiguated) makes the action in the first half really hard to follow. And only double-spacing to indicate time jumps can be hard to follow, too.

It is kind of confusing at first, but then more things are explained. That ending doesn't seem descriptive enough. This needs real low-level, grammar and usage work to make clear what's happening.


One and Another

Well-structured, evocative and descriptive without overwhelming with details. Nice job.


Where late the sweet birds sang

Not bad. The tone is clear from the start and maintained throughout, and the main character has a consistent voice. The second person narration is accomplished pretty well. It's a slight story, but that's not really a slight against it, I guess.


Roanoke

Not a bad horror story. Well-crafted and the minute-by-minute happenings are explained decently enough. It just feels kind of bland, like everything is being related from a dry history textbook. That's probably not the mood you want for an early colonial New England horror story.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Sailor Viy posted:

GenJoe, I feel a bit bad for hitting you with a loss on your very first entry, and I do encourage you to try again. If you put your story in a Google doc and link it here, then I'll give you a line-by-line crit.

Thanks for the offer to crit, it's super appreciated. I've been wanting to try and improve my writing, and this was a great way to sit down and actually force myself to get some words out there.

Here's a link to the google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13S96S7NMWsMZXTjO5zXOLTQbdz_eI5lCNXCrl7p7Sm4/edit?usp=sharing

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Good.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Thanks for the crits!

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



PPT

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

My Share of the Crits

Arrangements

Notes:
I want things to happen faster. The first 400 words bored me.
You’re using a bunch of adjectives that you don’t seem to need. I’m noticing it especially around dialogue attribution “she said thoughfully”, “she hastily added”, “the abbess’s frank speech”, “she offered meekly”. That’s all in the span of like 150 words. That’s just too much. If you must do it, do it less often so it punches harder.
I don’t like this sentence: “Relief and shame pricked Catherine equally.” That’s an awful lot to tell and not show. I also think you can trust your readers enough to leave that out. I was able to piece together the emotional ramifications myself, your writing made Catherin clear enough that I could’ve gotten there myself.

Overall:
This was a serviceable and nice read but it left me underwhelmed. I’ve found that when an author proposes a dichotomy, choosing one of the available options is never all that satisfying. The real score in the proposal of a dichotomy is choosing something outside of the set of proposed options. By having her stick to the original plan, the story doesn’t end up mattering. I get the “well now she made a choice and that’s all the difference” angle, but gently caress it, why not have her run away? Or maybe demand to meet the guy first so she can make an informed decision? Sure those things might not be possible, but perhaps she gets motivated enough to ask because she finally feels empowered and now your story can take a bold new direction in challenging the status quo.
This is less a story than it is a conversation but it managed to hold my attention and entries like this typically don’t so overall this was good enough, but didn’t do much else for me.

Journey

Notes:
Killer hook. Got me right into things. I’m on board. You start to lose me a bit though when Thorkild’s reminiscing becomes the focus. You promised me growth and missing fingers. I kinda want more of that than him thinking about young love.
The shifting of focus inside the parentheticals became tiresome after a certain point. I’m glad you stopped when you did, but I would have preferred it to stop sooner.

Overall:
Not really sure how to react to this. Nothing really happens. Guy comes home, looking forward to meet girl, girl basically tells him to gently caress off, and he fucks off. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care. You do a decent job of letting us know Thorkild has seen some poo poo, but you generated interest in whatever that poo poo was and then you never capitalize on it. Once he gets home, all of the action that occurs until he finds Asa seems unnecessary to the thrust of your story. Your words may have been better spent showing some more of his trip.
The prose was tight for the most part and this wasn’t a massive failure, but I do think you missed out on some good opportunities.

Spirits in the Forest

Notes:
Another nice hook. You’re setting me up for there to be a solid threat to the house, you better deliver on it.
Some sloppy tense stuff, using “has” and “had” in close proximity to each other makes this a bit clunky. Oy, it only gets worse. I see what you’re doing talking about the present and shifting to Benjamin’s recollection but it happens too much and is kind of a turn off when it comes to flow.
Fair amount of proofing mistakes here, enough to DQ you from the win if your story ends up being deserving of it. Not gonna point them out, go read your story again, you’ll stumble on them.
And now, as the story chugs along, the hook falls down. It no longer matters. I’ll touch on this in the overall…

Overall:
This story let me down. You set me up for an intense “survive the night” scenario where a boy had to fight off spirits in the terrifying darkness of his cabin…
But then everything is OK and it’s morning.
Then you get going with him trying to bury his mother, and suddenly wolves show up….
But then everything is OK and he buries her in silence.
This is a sad, and downtrodden story that offers an awful lot of resolution through essentially no meaningful action. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care about Benjamin apart from the fact that he’s seen poo poo. You set up interesting situations and fail to deliver on them which is one of the worst crimes a story can commit. If it were bad from the outset I wouldn’t have expected more.
I don’t think your character should have ever left the cabin. The setting you started off with, a cabin enshrouded in darkness with a corpse of your MC’s mother and spirits of the forest seeking to claim her… That’s good poo poo. Wish you stuck around there a bit.

The Warrior and the Beast

Notes:
Interesting hook, and I’ve set up stories in a similar way myself. It’s a little on the nose though, you’re clearly telling us that something else is going on, I don’t know if you need to. It’s OK to lean back a little and let us come to that conclusion on our own. And if we can’t that means your story is weak. Haven’t read the rest yet, so we’ll see.
Proofing mistakes. Pernicious and distracting ones at that. Please read your stuff over.
“ a pungent mix of fishiness and farts” that got, what I’m assuming was, an unwanted laugh out of me. There has to be a better word than “farts” here.

Overall:
Guy gets sent on a fool’s errand, which we only know due to the benefit of wisdom the character and his people don’t possess. He then sees a whale. He then wants to kill the whale. Then he doesn’t. Then he dies.
Meh. None of your character’s actions matter. He just sorts goes out and dies. The conflict between him and the whale needed to be more fleshed out and perhaps we didn’t need to know as much about the reasons for him going out since they were silly. He could simply be a warrior on a mission, but now he’s dealing with this whale and that gets more words.
I wanted more out of this.

Squaring the Circle

Notes:
My first impression on this is that it will be whacky as gently caress. I am on board.
I love this: “But that was many pairs of sandals past.”

Overall:
This was great. Of everything I’ve read so far this addresses its century the most effectively. It’s punchy and clever and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Any longer, and I think it may have. I don’t have much else to say really, this stylish and fun and a solid entry.
Definitely and easy HM to me and maybe a pick for the win.

All the Men Merely Players

Notes:
A whole lot of procedural stuff in this story. Stuff just keeps on happening and it’s really difficult for me to find a reason to care. I don’t really understand much about these characters and what drives them personally. There’s just a bunch of hobnobbing and deal doing and it’s not doing a whole lot for my interest.

Overall:

It was an easy and light read and I guess I was sort of interested in what happened, but only just. I see where you’re going with the ending, and I guess you nailed the date as this is all based on historical stuff and such but I’m not sure what to do with this story, not sure why it matters. Just feels kinda empty.
To be fair, this sort of story stands essentially no chance with me, I’m put off by historical tones and things like that.

Magistration

Notes:
“Now downriver - in Eridu or Ur - there they knew how to make a chair you could listen to whiny idiots all day in, and never once have to surreptitiously extract a termite from between your buttocks.” This is clunky.
“One in particular, standing hand in hand with a strapping young man, looked particularly comely.” Take a guess why this particular sentence is bad.

Overall:
Read the rest of this quickly, liked it enough. I’m happy you had the guts to go for the ending you went for but there’s not a whole lot of consequence. We have a magistrate who don’t give a gently caress, we have two sorcerers who are just screwing around and basically troll a proceeding and we have a guy who was fair to accuse them and is now screwed out of three month’s salary. So nothing of major consequence happens to anyone that I cared about.
It was nice and lively to read though, and that redeems it enough.

Listen to Me, Not the Flames

Notes:

The opener grabbed my attention. It’s a dude talking about sand but the fact that he’s addressing his son and the voice of the character struck me as genuine in passing a message along to progeny.
Read the rest easily.

Overall:
I like the everything that surrounds the meat of the story a lot better than the story itself. You lost me pretty quickly when the father really gets into it. And then, coming out of the father’s story going into action and back into the story I definitely got lost. It feels intentional, but it also doesn’t feel like it works. A lot of this pretty and more than any other story thus far, this story calls a lot of attention to a sense of presence. I felt the heat, could see the sand, and the transformations.
So functionally, this works, but I think you did sacrifice some storytelling punch in the name of style and presentation. Probably an OK trade though.

Cut

Notes:
Right off the bat, it’s nearly impossible to tell who is doing/saying what. Characters don’t have names and you’re just using him and his, so this is horribly unclear.
Moving on, referring to the characters as “the man” and “the rat holder” is not doing you any favors. I’m struggling when I should be looking forward to what happens next.

Overall:
I stopped with the notes because, Christ, I just have no idea what’s happening here. It was nearly impossible for me to follow much of the action in this. I can try and parse through this with a more detailed line-by-line but I think this just needed an editing pass pretty badly.

One and Another

Notes:
The opener is pretty but as I’m going through the first several paragraphs, I want to see what you’re describing in my head, but it’s just not landing. This is a lovely crit so pardon my lack of incisiveness but something about the descriptions makes it hard to get a sense of place, I don’t know where these characters are.
Saying Mother and Daughter over and over again is tiresome. It’s unpleasant to read.

Overall:
Your story found its focus and momentum once they start travelling with the man. At that point there’s enough clarity to process the details and enjoy the prose. Interestingly enough I could see it in my head more when there was less description of the place. I guess since it didn’t work for me at first, but it was there, it boxed me out.

I know people aren’t supposed to respond to crits, but can you tell me if any of this made sense to you? I can’t tell if I’m making sense.
Anyway, the story was fine.

Where late the sweet birds sang

Notes:
Well of course that’s a great hook, and you rear end in a top hat, you go right ahead and call it a great hook in the story.
Loving the voice of this, it’s clear as hell who this guy is.

Overall:
This kinda worked, I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. This feels like bar story without a punchline that really lands. You wouldn’t ordinarily need one but as it’s a “shut up and listen have I got a story for you” type of story, you kind of do. Also, and maybe I’m just dumb, but it sure seems like Max dies and then he’s alive and sodomizing his friend? I can’t tell what’s happening. The last line didn’t work for me either, not sure what that has to do with anything and it doesn’t strike me as a way a scene like this would genuinely end.

Roanoke

Notes:
Couldn’t understand what happened in the first scene. I don’t under this:
“You have broken trust,” he said. “We have left. You will face alone.””
There are a couple of places where this doesn’t sing nicely. Things like “ Thomas’s tracks led due south from the village with little deviation. John cursed the man for leading his search with so little effort. Until they found the bodies.

Thomas’s body sat upright against a tree with his head in his lap”

Overall:
Huh? OK, I’m thinking that not understanding the first scene really came back to bite my rear end on enjoying or understanding this at all. I guess there was some kind of transgression that caused there to be some kind of payback but Christ, it just sorta shows up in the end and we don’t get to see how it resolves. This plays like a murder mystery but ends up in a bloodbath/poltergeist type of deal and it just doesn’t feel satisfying.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Chili posted:

My Share of the Crits

I know people aren’t supposed to respond to crits, but can you tell me if any of this made sense to you? I can’t tell if I’m making sense.


Yes it makes sense, thank you for the crit (thank you all judges for fast and good critting)

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


prompt

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Sailor Viy posted:

WEEK 225 RESULTS

Judging this week was pretty easy, because we had a small number of entrants and because none of the stories were egregiously bad. I had hoped to get a some vivid worldbuilding in a range of historical periods, and I wasn't disappointed. A lot of stories, even many of the no mentions, did a great job of drawing me into their world without sacrificing their narrative backbone, so well done.

Our winner for this week is Okua, offering an original perspective on the well-trodden setting of Viking-era Scandinavia. HMs go to Sitting Here and sebmojo, with very different but equally well-written stories.

We were disappointed with the senseless violence of Guiness13's Colonial horror story, and, conversely, with the essential dullness of Fleta Mcgurn's attempt at Medieval England. These were our DMs for the week. The loss goes to GenJoe, whose Roman prison drama was muddled and unsatisfying.

GenJoe, I feel a bit bad for hitting you with a loss on your very first entry, and I do encourage you to try again. If you put your story in a Google doc and link it here, then I'll give you a line-by-line crit.

Hey Okua (if that is your real name), grats and everything but you should really PRRROOOOOOMPT or someone will probably come along and usurp the blood throne

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


prompt

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


prompt

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

WLOTM/new study bible is probated but he asked me to share this with you all:

proooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooompt

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


Sitting Here posted:

WLOTM/new study bible is probated but he asked me to share this with you all:

proooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooompt

oh i thought that a new study bible was a completely different person, haha

also prompt

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


prompt

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


prompt tardy

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


belated

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


prompt

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

imprompt

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


im gay 4 prompts

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


flerp posted:

im gay 4 prompts

Who's to say prompts are male?

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



PRAMPT


guys am I doing Thunderdome right

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



newtestleper posted:

Who's to say prompts are male?

Their preferred pronouns are actually Prompt, Promptself, and Promptzir.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


newtestleper posted:

Who's to say prompt

me

prompt

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Fleta Mcgurn posted:

PRAMPT


guys am I doing Thunderdome right

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



Prompt: What happened to Okua?
Flash rule: Must involve bears and and a can of soda. I will choose which bear. You can choose the soda.

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