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  • Locked thread
Dec 15, 2006

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In with a :toxx: for my last failure. GP, if you would do me the honor of assigning a bug fix, I would be much obliged.


Dec 15, 2006

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Thunderdome 2016teen: Blood in the Blood Notebook

Dec 15, 2006

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curlingiron fucked around with this message at 00:55 on Jan 1, 2017

Dec 15, 2006

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HellishWhiskers posted:

IN, songify me, curlingiron.

Dec 15, 2006

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Likewise, if you want a song but aren't feeling the Bowie angle, here are two that I like:

Dec 15, 2006

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Dec 15, 2006

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I will do a sports.

Dec 15, 2006

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I have a sport, but I would like a flash rule, please, okay thank you.

E: also, I don't want to specifically kick Djeser's rear end, I just said he's dumb and I would win, also Digimon is bad

Dec 15, 2006

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I want the words

Let's be clear: Djeser is so good at doing robot voices in readings because he is incapable of feeling or expressing human emotion. Which is cool when you're reading Garfield erotic fiction, or salvaging a newbie's I, Robot fanfic, but his writing is so mechanical and flavorless that Acoustic Kitty (an actual robot) churns out realer poo poo on a regular basis. His sole win only happened because someone else stepped in to salvage his pathetic drivel.

Team Ock is going to win because Team Mer is a bunch of feel-good hug-boxers, who are too busy jerking off and flirting with the people they're supposed to be fighting to write anything of substance or merit. Enough said.

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 05:19 on Jan 24, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

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The Dark that Makes the Stars Shine Brighter
1268 words
(1200 + 68 from saying mean things about Djeser)

“Why is it that you’re never where you’re supposed to be when we skate?” Celia was coming back towards where Aaron was standing sheepishly, having once again failed to grab on to her at the appropriate moment. The move was supposed to signal the finale of their routine, but to Celia’s mind it was just another underscore in their incompatibility.

“I don’t know,” Aaron said. “I’ve never had this problem before.”

“Oh, so it’s my fault, then?” Celia laughed humorlessly.

“That’s not what I-”

“It doesn’t matter,” Celia said, cutting him off. “Look, let’s just try again. We’ve got a meet in two weeks. Pay attention this time, okay?”


“I don’t think that this partner thing is going to work out,” Celia said to James after yet another disastrous practice. “There’s just not enough time before the competition to make the routine any good.”

“Why don’t you let me worry about that. That’s what coaches are for, right?” James turned away.

“Why can’t I just go back to the solo routine I was working on?” Celia said, unwilling to let it drop.

“Look,” James said, meeting her eyes, “Celia, I like you. You’re a hard worker, and I know how much skating means to you. But you’re not a competitive solo skater.”

Celia felt the bottom of her stomach drop out beneath her.

“I wanted to try you at pairs skating to give you a chance to stay on the team. Aaron’s the only one who doesn’t have a partner right now, so if you can’t work with him, I don’t think that there’s a place for you here.”

“But you can’t do that to me!” she said, the blood rising to her face and tears forming unbidden in her eyes. “This is all that I’ve wanted my whole life! Please, I can get better, just let me-”

“I’m sorry, Celia, it’s not really up for discussion.”

Celia sat heavily down on a bench as James walked away from her. The cold of the rink, which she rarely noticed, suddenly seemed intense; it felt as though all the warmth in the world was being leeched away by James’ words.

Her teeth began to chatter uncontrollably, and she shook all over. What else was there for her to do? She had worked hard her whole life, perfecting her technique, driving towards her goal, and now it could just disappear in a day? What would be left of her if she didn’t have this?

She surged to her feet, fumbling for her bag, and made her way blindly to her car. She turned on the heater, but nothing seemed to chase the chill away from her bones. The tears that she had been tamping down began to trickle out of her, slowly at first, and then faster and faster, until her body was struggling to draw breath through her sobs.

There was a tap on her window, and Celia looked up sharply, a deep misery and embarrassment suffusing her at being caught crying.

Aaron was standing outside her passenger side window, staring at her. “Are you okay?”

Celia fumbled in her bag for tissues, hurriedly wiping her face, trying to deny the obvious fact of her emotional state. “I’m fine. I’m fine, don’t worry about it.”

“Well… If there’s anything that I can do to help, just let me know, okay?”

She gave a tight smile and put the car in reverse. “I’ll let you know, Aaron. See you later.”


Celia didn’t go to the rink the next day. She sent James a text saying that she was feeling under the weather, and that she’d be back tomorrow. Aaron called, but she sent it to voicemail.

She knew that she was sulking, but she didn’t care. She’d go back to being a responsible adult tomorrow. Today she just wanted to watch clips of past Olympic performances on Youtube and feel sorry for herself.

A few hours after practice was over, she got an email from James. I thought this might be helpful. Don’t give up just yet, okay? --James

She clicked on the attachment, and watched as a video popped up on her screen. She recognized herself right away, and after a few moments realized the skater beside her was Aaron.

It was strange seeing the routine from the outside. For her, skating was a ritual, a prayer released to the gods of the rink; every movement was as calculated and precise as a move in chess.

Aaron’s style was shockingly, jarringly different, so much so that she hadn’t seen herself skating besides him, she wouldn’t have recognized the routine. His style was technically good, but his movements were exaggerated and stylized, loose in ways that she found almost sacrilegious.

She felt annoyance rise in her, filling her chest with bile. This wasn’t going to work at all. She watched his movements, trying to see how she could possibly make herself fit into this haze of wild energy. It seemed impossible that there would be any way for her to come anywhere near him without her very being catching fire.

She closed her laptop and went to bed, feeling even more disheartened than before.


Aaron was waiting for her at the rink when she got there in the morning. “Hey. Um, I was wondering if I could talk to you before we start for the day.”

“What do you want?”

“Well… Ah, sorry. I just wanted to say that I think you’re a really great skater, and I’m sorry that I’ve been screwing up so much lately. I was… I was really excited when James told me that we were going to get to do a routine together, and I’m just sorry that it’s been so stressful for you.”

Celia sighed and looked up at him. “I’m sorry, too, Aaron, but I don’t think that this is going to work. Our styles are way too different.”

“But that’s what I think is so great about it!” he said, his face suddenly flushing. “Different styles coming together is one of the most interesting things about art! I really think that we can make this into something amazing, if you’ll give it a try.”

“I don’t-”

“Please, Celia, can we just try? One more time?”

“I… Fine.”

She felt a strange apprehension in her chest as she strapped on her skates. She had come in to the rink basically resigned to the fact that her time on the team was over, knowing that her last shot at this was going to end in total failure. But Aaron had rekindled some strange sense of hope in her.

They made their way out on to the ice, and Aaron smiled at her.

“Are you ready?”

She nodded, and they began.

It was a strange sensation, as though she were learning to skate again for the first time. Her motions were awkward at first, and she almost missed the first grab, but his hand caught hers in a solid grip that seemed to ignite her bones.

It was easier then, even if she felt her usual calm falling away, melting against Aaron’s flame. Her pulse raced, and she couldn’t tell if it were fear or excitement. She was caught up in the moment and miles away, somewhere between what she knew and what she had thought impossible.

When she landed the last jump, it was like a meteor impact. Aaron spun her out, and suddenly she was back, staring as if she had never seen him, never seen anything before.

“That… was better,” Aaron said.

“...It was,” she said, and knew it would be alright.

Dec 15, 2006

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Dec 15, 2006

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Ironic Twist posted:

In addition:

:toxx:ing right now to have crits for Week 180 and Week 182 done before Week 183's results post.


Dec 15, 2006

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In to make crabrock sad.

Dec 15, 2006

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MazeWeek 180 Crits Part 1

Titus82 - The Rondeau.

This kind of reads like neckbeard.txt, tbh. I thought that the code bit was clever, but I’m not sure that it’s… uh… accurate? I’m not sure how to describe it, but for some reason it didn’t make sense to be from a coding perspective. That’s only barely relevant, though.

Long story short: I didn’t like your character. I didn’t understand anything that he did (that poem! who would think that was a good idea in any universe????), and I was sort of hoping that Kelly would tell him to gently caress off forever and he would without further incident. The fact that she didn’t made me dislike her as well.

I think longer fiction is more forgiving of terrible characters that eventually redeem themselves, but it take a LOT of skill to pull them off in flash, especially with the kind of piece you seemed to be trying to go for.

Favorite part: The part about Windows XP versus Vista.

Least favorite part: THE POEM. For real, what was the reasoning behind this? It’s bizarre.

Beusman - Smitten

So, first off, sorry for assuming that your main character was a woman. (Burn the Patriarchy, etc.) As far as content goes, this one was interesting inasmuch as you had a cool/creepy vibe going on here, which I really dug, but it kind of feels like a horror story that lost its boner before it could seal the deal. I mean, you have this neat setup where they go into a creepy building and start finding weird stuff, then discover that they can’t get out, and then… they do get out? And see themselves on TV, acting perfectly normally? And never see each other again or something???? IDK, it felt like it was missing the second half where Eli comes back to find the MC, all disheveled and crazy, grabs him and yells “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!”

Favorite part: The creepy footage on the tv in the basement. That did it for me.

Least favorite part: The blue balls I was left with at the end.

Pantothenate - Saviour Machine

You, my friend, really danced around a DQ for fanfic here. Asimov’s three laws, Robbie the Robot, AND a Susan?? I warmed up to it enough by the end that I wasn’t too mad, but for real, you probably owe Djeser for doing such a great reading. I don’t think that this was quite as strong as the other two HMs, but it was still good, so gj on that. I would like to see you not have to rely on other peoples’ tropes in the future, though.

Favorite part: Probably the ending.

Least favorite part: A tie between your semi-stereotypical child and the reference to harming cats. :catstare: Nah, just kidding; it’s totes the kid.

Amused Frog - Labyrynthitis

The first of the amnesia stories! We touched on this briefly during the livecrits, but when your main character starts off with amnesia, it really puts you at a disadvantage, especially in flash fiction, since you have to essentially start from scratch with character development; it’s hard to get a sense of who a character is when even they don’t know.

I didn’t understand what was happening here, either. Had the doctors made him forget what he had done somehow, only to experiment with memory retrieval? Why had all of the other prisoners lost their memories as well? Why did EVERYONE THERE HAVE AMNESIA???? Ultimately, I felt that this left the reader with more questions than it really answered, and while I know that can work in some very specific cases, I don’t think that I did here.

Favorite part: I thought the idea of research prisons was pretty cool.

Least favorite part: the fact that I was never entirely clear on whether Grey’s “recovered” memories were even real or not, although I guess that could be a selling point for some people.

God Over Djinn - A way not to be lost forever.

I thought that it was interesting that both the winner and the loser of this week had a child in a corn maze, but the way that you used the idea was (obviously) very different. I know that I just got done saying that any character that started without memory was at a disadvantage this week, but I think that this story works because even though your main character is clearly losing his memory, he does remember SOME things, and they work as the basis for your story. I thought that the sense of childlike terror at being lost in a maze was really well-done; it seems like something that would absolutely freak a kid out, and I had some very specific nightmares as a child about being lost in a maze, so this really resonated with me. The connection between the main character's current self and his child-self really emphasized the themes of memory and uncertainty, and I loved the way that you tied them together here. I think, to me, your character was proving to himself that he was still alive, still the same person, even if he had to ask for help to complete his journey (either from his father when he was a child, or from the nurse as an old man). This was a well-deserved win, and I hope that you manage to find a larger (or simply another) audience for this somewhere.

Favorite part: the nice feeling I had after reading this.

Least favorite part: the fact that I can’t read it again.

CaligulaKangaroo - The Woman in the 73-Market

Man, this story had a LOT of stuff going on - so much stuff, in fact, that almost none of it managed to land, I’m sorry to say. The sectors, the super-soldiers, the rigid hierarchies, the totalitarian government, and, of course, the black market. Without going back and reading this again, I can tell you that the only things I remember about the story is that it’s about a dude who goes to a black market and gets saved by a woman, and I have a drat good memory, so if that’s all that stuck with me, that’s probably a bad sign.

Okay, on rereading, I can pick out a few other major problems (aside from the massive info dump you’re giving your reader): one, your character’s motivation (getting out of the city/fortress/what have you) isn’t made completely clear until almost the end of the story. Two - your ending…. isn’t. Instead of getting out of the place he’s trying to escape from, your main character…. goes to a bar and listens to music? I don’t know, maybe he joins up with The Rebellion there, but that’s still not an ending, that’s a beginning. It’s okay to do that in flash, I suppose, but you should at least try to make the eventual results of that meeting clear. As it is it just seems like you were trying to write the intro to a longer novel as a flash piece, and it didn’t work.

Favorite part: I think that you had some good root ideas here, but they didn’t really have enough breathing room.

Least favorite part: Probably the disappointing ending.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! - The Delivery

Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of this one. It had a lot of weird deus-ex-machina parts, and several places where things just happened Because They Did. We didn’t really need the whole trying-to-get-back-to-her-house part, except that was the part of the story that fit the prompt, so it felt forced and dissatisfying. I really didn’t care for Camille; she seemed really stupid and self-absorbed to my mind. I was also frustrated with her actions in the ending, since her disregard for her (presumably) future child’s stated feelings points to her being a bad future mother. I also didn’t believe that Barron was the type of person to settle down and be a good dad, given his age and propensity for Jungle Juice, but maybe that’s my own bias. SH mentioned that the fetus was also kind of a dick, so this made pretty much everyone in your story unlikable, which is bad, imo. I dunno, I think this might be able to work with some pretty major revisions, and some frank reassessment of how you portray your characters, but as it stands, I did not care for this at all.

Favorite part: I liked the idea of the fetus not wanting to be born.

Least favorite part: Probably the maze itself. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and seemed unnecessary to the story.

Pham Nuwen - Remember

Another amnesia story! Hooray! I thought that this one worked pretty well for what it was, but it still would have been better if you hadn’t had to start entirely from scratch at the beginning of the story. I didn’t get a huge sense of who Mark was during the course of your story, and for some reason I didn’t really care for Sarah much at all (she seemed sort of whiny and stuck in her ways, but that may just be me). I actually thought that you pulled this one off pretty well, despite the amnesia disadvantage. But it still didn’t resonate with me as much as I think you wanted it to. I didn’t care too much whether or not the little community in the purgatory maze kept going or not, so your narrator’s decision to leave didn’t quite hit the note that it wanted to. Otherwise pretty solid; this was a good effort, and with a little more polish I think it could do pretty well for itself.

Favorite part: The description of the remembering sessions

Least favorite part: did you REALLY have to name the place Memento?

Thranguy - An Escape Velocity Needs Both Speed and Direction

Hmm, yeah, I did not care for this one much at all. This was another one of those stories that had a lot of interesting ideas, but didn’t really have enough space to let all of them breathe on their own. The idea that the kids wanted to be alone was cool, and I thought the idea behind setting the nav system to take the most circuitous route possible was interesting, but it sort of spiraled out of control from there. You seem to have a very clear idea about the world you’re describing, but you’re throwing too many references in too short a time, and they just jumble together into a near-comical pile of asides. Probably the biggest example of this was the mention of the motorcycle gang that set up the ending. It was thrown in with so many things, I didn’t think it was that important, which made them showing up at the ending seem really out of left field; if you had given them a little more space of their own, I think that the ending wouldn’t have seemed so forced. Although, to be fair, Jasmine’s sudden sense of reassurance at the fact that the gang exists will probably still seem strange. I dunno, there’s quite a few things that need to be worked out here.

Favorite part: “commuter-coffin routes and autotruck arteries that circled and crossed the city” was a nice description, imo.

Least favorite part: Probably all of the references. I know it was part of the characters you were trying to build, but it came off as a little show-offy to me, somehow.

Killer of Lawyers - [Triplicate Four(4) out of Three(Ⅲ)]

I thought that the tone of this one was great. It was really fun to read aloud, and I enjoyed rereading it as well, which is always a good sign. Unfortunately, the plot itself was a little lackluster; you had an interesting character with a good voice, but she didn’t really do anything or change over the course of the story, so it became a bit of a one-note joke. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a GOOD joke, just not really so much of a story. :/ I think that you could take this character and world and probably go some cool places with it, though. I would totally read the adventures of this character in cyberbureaucracy dystopia. Please make that happen, kthxbye.

Favorite part: Smith. :3: I would also marry that robot.

Least favorite part: the lack of a plot. :(

Dec 15, 2006

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curlingiron fucked around with this message at 01:51 on Dec 12, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

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Mazeweek Crits Part 2

HellishWhiskers - Closed Circle

I think that this story had the potential to be good if you either cut out maybe the first half or so, OR you added quite a bit on to the ending to tie the two parts back together. I liked the part with the conversation between the chef and the kid; you had some good stuff in there, but none of it quite managed to make up for the strange mishmash that was happening in the beginning, and since you never brought any of that back (aside from some oblique references to the dad being abusive), it didn’t really work. I feel maybe a little responsible for that, since I see how the flash rule that I gave you influenced the choices that you made here, but I do think that you have some ideas here that could work themselves into a decent piece.

Favorite part: the interactions between Mark and the little boy. I actually think that this was one of the more likable children that I’ve read in TD.

Least favorite part: most of Mark’s interactions with the Fieldses, Mrs. Fields in particular. I dunno, she just seemed really odd to me.

Entenzahn - The Monster at the End of Infinity

I was getting a serious Alice in Wonderland vibe off of this one, which I really dug. I also liked how all of the new ideas that you introduced over the course of the story actually mattered and had their own place and reason for being there. I think everyone who struggled with an overabundance of ideas this week should read this story to see a good example of incorporating big ideas about a world into a story well. There was a real sense of cohesion to the world you presented here; I didn’t get the sense that anything was there just for the sake of being there. GOOD JOB.

Favorite part: hard to pick, but maybe the ending. A good wrap-up to a good story.

Least favorite part: uhhhh, idk, the pig mask made me think of The Shining for some reason, which was kind of bad, I guess? I don’t think I actually had a least favorite part of this.

Broenheim - Halfway for Too Long

I actually really liked this story. In a week that was slightly less strong, this would have been an easy HM, if not a win, imo. Unfortunately for you, there were several other stories that were slightly stronger. I think maybe the weakest part of this was the time jumps, but there was a part of me that also liked them? I dunno, sorry that’s not very helpful. Anyway, please write more stuff like this, because I liked it a lot.

Favorite part: “No point in starting a maze if you’re not gonna finish it.”

Least favorite part: how sad imagining what life was like for Cynthia made me. :smith:

docbeard - Clubbing

Twist mentioned this in his results post, but I appreciate the levity that you interjected into this week. There was a lot of dark poo poo happening, and it was nice to read a story about a guy and a girl who like each other and have their personal information stolen.

I’m not sure what it was about this story that didn’t appeal to me. Somehow, I was expecting Paul to show up and Sophie to not even be into him. I dunno. The parts didn’t quite fit together for me, but I enjoyed the ride. This wasn’t my pick for HM, but I was okay with it getting one, so good job. It’s not your strongest story, but it accomplished what it set out to do, which I appreciated.

Favorite part: the bit about the phones. It was a recurring joke that actually worked, which I feel is somewhat rare in TD. Actually, jokes that work at all in TD are fairly rare.

Least favorite part: I thought Paul was kind of a sadsack.

sebmojo - Invisible Fortress

...and it turned out he wasn’t crazy after all! Yeah, this one fell flat for me. I actually think it was edging on DM territory, but my co-judges didn’t seem to share my distaste. You have the style and the ability to pull off these short-yet-bizarre pieces better than anyone else in the ‘dome, but I think this was one of the weaker stories I’ve seen from you. This felt tired and clichéd, and I didn’t care about your character or anything that happened to him. The crazy voice that you’re so good at didn’t work for me here, because I didn’t actually give a poo poo whether he was right or not.

Favorite part: “A glaring light was on me, picking out the thousands of rain drops, each one a universe.”

Least favorite part: Definitely the ending.

Ceighk - Weekend of Lights

So, funny story; my boyfriend was in the room for part of live crits, and he REALLY wanted this to lose. I’m not sure what exactly it was about your “dude where’s my tent???” tale of male bonding that set him off so bad, but I’ve never actually heard him voice an opinion about any of the stories before now.

Anyway, on to actual constructive criticism (what’s that???): I didn’t feel like I knew Craig well enough to care about his emotional catharsis at the end of your story, and that’s probably the reason why nothing else hung together. Josh seemed thrown into the story almost as an afterthought, someone to serve as an ear for Craig to dump his emotions into. Nothing about the festival actually mattered, nothing about not being able to find their tent actually mattered, and none of the “conflict” with Stella was actually resolved at the end. The reason that I say “conflict” there is that when your main character is just sitting around passively waiting for something that never happens, and that they can logically do nothing about, that’s a bad conflict. Next time please choose a thing for your character to want that they can do something about, and at the same time manages to provide actual tension to the story. Some dude waiting for his ex to text him back, but, dude, he totally KNOWS that she saw his message, ‘cause fb’s read receipt totally said so, has all of the suspense and drama of watching paint dry.

Favorite part: I guess the part where you allowed your Frat Bro male character to cry without being “a pussy.”

Least favorite part: sleeping on the couch after I didn’t push hard enough for this story to lose.

BadSeafood - Land of the Lost

This story was frustrating for me, because I felt like there was a lot going on behind the scenes that I was just totally failing to pick up on. Re-reading it, and also reading SH’s guesses, it seems like I was right in thinking that. I mean, sure, I feel dumb, but I also feel like it’s the writer’s responsibility to make their meaning clear to the reader.

One of the problems that I had with this story was that I kept getting your characters mixed up. I almost feel like you could have cut Caspar out entirely and it would have been a little more comprehensible; most of the interaction was between Enrico and Kerklund, and I had trouble remembering who did what for some reason. The whole thing had a real Waiting for Godot feel to it, which I appreciated, but I also felt that there wasn’t quite enough there for me to really connect with it in a meaningful way.

You definitely have some good elements here, and I’d love to see a revision of this that had a little more room to breathe (and maybe explain itself, but I may also just be dumb).

Favorite part: the holes in the characters. That stuck with me as a really cool image.

Least favorite part: the fact that I kept forgetting who had done what. :/

Julias - Corn!

I… love this story. I love it. If it doesn’t get put in the Classics section of the archive, I swear I am going to throw the biggest poo poo-fit TD has ever seen.

So you mentioned in-thread that you sort of ran out of steam at the end of this story, and, well, it shows. The abrupt tonal shift between “elementary school romance” and “American History X” was out of left field, and made what was a somewhat tedious story about 11 year olds trying to stake their claim over a girl into maybe the most hilarious TD story I’ve ever read.

Sorry, I don’t think that’s very helpful, but I do sincerely hope that you come back and compete again. It takes time to become good at writing, and would like to see you work on your craft and give yourself enough time that you don’t feel the need to kill all of your characters as a means of resolution. This was a very “rocks fall, everyone dies” ending, and while I did find it amusing, it doesn’t make for a very good story.

As an added incentive to come back and try again, :siren: I will personally pledge to pre-crit your next TD story. :siren:

Favorite part: “It was a shotgun. Cool.”

Least favorite part: The part where my drink almost came out my nose.

crabrock - Sounds in the Forest Portend Evil Within

I know you didn’t like this one, but I honestly have no idea why. Maybe you’d just been working on it for too long to be able to appreciate it for what it was - I’ve had stories like that before.

I think my favorite part about this story was the consistent voice and tone that you gave the setting. I felt like I could picture exactly where this took place based on the vernacular alone.

Also, good job getting an HM without writing about dicks for once!

Favorite part: “Pathetic flowers, roses, the mainstay of the unimaginative. Disgust disguised by a sweet scent. Give me an orchid. I will protect and care for its frailness; I am strong.”

Least favorite part: the complete lack of penises. I couldn’t even tell I was reading a crabrock story. :mad:

Chairchucker - Had to go Somewhere so we Crashed Into You

This story mostly seemed to be a vehicle for David Bowie references, most of which went over my head. There wasn’t much of a story here, but I think that’s kind of your style, esp. when you’re submitting after deadline. Sorry, not much else to say.

Favorite part: navigation by aesthetic appeal.

Least favorite part: the “oh well” sort of feeling of the entire piece.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p


In the spirit of Middle School, I am giving you all Standards-Based Crits. Below is the rubric that I used to assess different aspects of your story. It should be noted that for some scores, not every part of the description will fit your story; however, in the case of the ones scores, any single part of the description being applicable to your story was enough to drop your score to a one for that category. If you have any questions about why you received the score that you did, I would be happy to answer them either on IRC or by PM.

Characters: Did I like your characters? Did they change or grow in some meaningful way? Were they distinct individuals? Were they defined beyond some stereotype or single trait?

4 -
All of your characters were likeable, distinct individuals, with their own voices and needs, and their personalities went beyond simple stereotypes.

3 - Most of your characters were distinct individuals who didn’t adhere to stereotypes. Some characters may have been a little flat, or I may not have liked some of them.

2 - Some of your characters were distinct individuals. One or more of your characters felt solely like a tired stereotype, and there was no effort to move them past that point.

1 - Most or all of your characters were not distinct, interesting, or anything other than stereotypes. I actively disliked characters that I was supposed to be rooting for.

Plot: Did your story go somewhere? Did your characters want things, and did they subsequently do things to achieve them? Was anything different at the end of the story than it was at the beginning?

4 -
Characters grew and changed throughout the course of the story in a way that was emotionally satisfying for the reader (or at least left them with a sense of closure/catharsis). Story contained a definitive ending; things were different at the end than they were at the beginning.

3 - Characters grew or changed throughout the course of the story, but the ending may not have been completely satisfying. Story contained a definitive ending; things were different at the end than they were at the beginning.

2 - Some characters changed over the course of the story, but it may not have been satisfying. Story contained an ending, but it was unclear and may have seemed forced or rushed.

1 -
Most characters did not grow or change throughout the story. Circumstances at the beginning were the same as the circumstances at the end. Story ended abruptly and/or did not contain an ending.

Tone: Did your language fit the characters and the setting? Did you have a cohesive tone, and did your word choice fit the themes?

4 -
The language used in the story was evocative and served to further the other elements of the story. Word choice was carefully considered and helped to set the scene.

3 - The language used in the story was consistent in tone, and served to set the scene.

2 - The language used in the story was fairly consistent, with one or two incongruous pieces. There may have been some instances of overly-florid language, aka “purple prose.”

1 - The language in the story was inconsistent, switching between emotions and genres seemingly at random. Word choice did not seem to have been considered, and actively detracted from reader’s enjoyment of the story. Language was overwrought and/or distracting.

Middle School Factor: This is probably the weirdest category, because middle school voice is hard to get right. Sometimes you can start to see a glimmer of actual human behavior in there, and sometimes they are firmly stuck in the Uncanny Valley of Sentience. Most middle schoolers are dumb as hell in one way or another, but a lot of them are also clever and funny and deep (sometimes even to other people!).

4 -
Story could only have taken place in a middle school. Student characters were stupid or clever in appropriate ways for their age bracket. Mistakes were made. Penises may have been drawn.

3 - Middle school vibe was there, but somewhat inconsistent. Setting could probably have been replaced with a high school or elementary school with only minor changes.

2 - Middle school setting could easily have been replaced by another age group without changing anything about the story.

1 - Characters acted like either miniature adults or very young children. The story did not seem to have a good grasp on what a middle school was or how it worked.

Dicking Around - 2, 2, 3, 4
Teacher’s notes: I enjoyed this story a lot, but it was a bit too much of a one-note joke to merit an HM. Sorry!

New Year, New Life - 1, 2, 1, 1
Teacher’s notes: This was fairly weak for a lot of reasons already stated in livecrits. You have a good germ here, but the execution was sloppy.

A Photo of Mr. Kellogg - 3, 2, 2, 3
Teacher’s notes: I wanted to like this story more than I did. Unfortunately the lack of tension in the story robbed you of an HM. I loved the ideas that were present here, and I’d love to see another more-polished version of this.

Re: Teacher’s Lounge Biohazard Incident - 2, 1, 3, 2
Teacher’s notes: We already knew the outcome of this story (somebody pooped, lol), and since no one got punished in the end, the whole thing seemed pointless. I liked your characters’ discussions over IMs, though.

Don’t Be Too Smart
- 2, 1, 2, 3
Teacher’s notes: Another story that seriously suffered from a lack of tension. I liked the idea of the chillbro principal, but I didn’t care very much for him in practice.

The Finger - 1, 1, 1, 2
Teacher’s notes: Man, this was… not great. Unlikable characters, preachy dialogue, and the whole conflict struck me as more of a high school issue than a middle school one.

“so it’s gonna be forever…” - 3, 3, 3, 2
Teacher’s notes: I actually thought this one was very sweet. The silly concept of the cyclops worked for me, for the most part, although Mikey’s reaction seemed a little odd given the eventual outcome.

Outlier - 1, 1, 1, 1
Teacher’s notes: Oof. This was rough, man. Pee chips forever.

Don’t Let Your Star Go Out - 2, 2, 3, 3
Teacher’s notes: Personal biases/phobias aside, I didn’t think this was a bad piece at all. You had some really good character stuff in here, but I think if anything you needed to make Oscar’s interest in Mr. What’shisname clearer earlier in the story. I spent maybe the first quarter of this thinking the guy had given him a magic pen.

The Girl with the Dead Mom - 2, 2, 1, 3
Teacher’s notes: The tone seemed to switch around a little too much for me here. Different parts of this gave me very different impressions of your character. Was she a tough girl or was she sensitive and nice? I’m not saying you can’t be both, but the pieces needed to be blended together a little better for this to work.

The Little Bird Don’t Sing No More - 2, 1, 4, 2
Teacher’s notes: I know you know what I’m going to say about this. Beautiful prose, no ending. I, too, felt like I was reaching for a pile of feathers that was not there.

The Case of the Shy Ghost - 2, 2, 3, 2
Teacher’s notes: First of all, I’d like to sincerely apologize to you for what happened during the live reading of your story. You didn’t deserve that, and neither did this piece. That having been said, the parts of this didn’t entirely click for me. I liked the idea, but I didn’t quite understand what was happening to Violet at the end, so the emotional parts didn’t land as well as they should have. I also thought the “soul being captured by the camera thing” was a little silly.

The First Last Road Show - 4, 2, 3, 4
Teacher’s notes: I loved the character details here, and it was VERY middle school. I wish that your story hadn’t been 80% flashback, but that’s really my only gripe.

Liberation - 4, 4, 4, 3
Teacher’s notes: Excellent tone, great characters, solid conflict. I’d really like to do a live reading of this one eventually, since it seems like it would be really fun to act out.

Pray to Dionysus - 2, 3, 3, 0
Teacher’s notes: I should probably mention that a score of zero is not normally possible in standards-based grading unless a student fails to do anything whatsoever. However, I chose to make an exception in your case because YOU EXPLICITLY WROTE ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL FOR A MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPT WEEK. I probably should have moved to DQ this story, but I didn’t think it was bad, other than flying directly in the face of the stated prompt.

Dec 15, 2006

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Hell yeah I'm in.

Dec 15, 2006

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Ironic Twist posted:

:siren: SPECIAL ONE-TIME OFFER :siren:

In front of you:

Door #1
Door #2
Door #3

There's a song behind each door. Sign up, pick one, you get 200 extra words. I'm not promising these songs will be easy. First come, first served.

Question: can we pick a door if we already signed up?

Dec 15, 2006

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If so I want door 3


E: Door 1, I guess.

Dec 15, 2006

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I love a good door number 3. I can stick with my original song if Twist or others object. I have an idea, I just appreciate Let's Make A Deal.

Same, except I love the Monty Hall Problem. (You are the goat in this scenario.)

Dec 15, 2006

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Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week. :3:

Dec 15, 2006

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Night Drive
682 words

She asks me not to go for the last time. We both know that I’m not going to change my mind, but she is asking anyway, more for her sake than mine. I take her in my arms, hold her tightly. Then it’s time to go. I’m done waiting. The others will be there to comfort her if I don’t come back.

I probably won’t.

The city is as I remember it. The feeling of fresh air on my face after so long makes the hair on my arms stand up just as much as the cold or the fear. I pull my leather jacket tighter around me and make my way through the dark streets.

The streets are empty of human life, silent as a cathedral. The streetlights barely touch the darkness, which presses in on all sides. Neon lights flicker in windows, advertising products no one will ever buy again, their color leeched and verging towards monochromatic in the endless night.

I get lucky; the first car I try yields to me, the odd skills of my old like allowing me to start it without difficulty. Half a tank, too. A good omen when I needed one.

I drive towards the edge of the city, in pursuit of an escape I know is half-dream at best. Creatures loom out of the blackness that surrounds me, strange sparkling figures like television static on a dying set. Their mouths yawn wide in screams I cannot hear, and they stumble towards me. I swerve to avoid hitting one, only to pass straight through another. For a moment it is there with me in the quiet sanctuary of the car, reaching for me, and I can hear its howling, gibbering plea for release, and then it is gone, like it never existed.

The hills to the south of the city are ahead of me, then, and like a receding tide the creatures fall away. What feels like real hope begins to well within me, a dim light that I do my best to tamp down. I drive through the hills, ascending past the sprawling houses with their empty eyes, towards the starless sky above.

There is a man in the rearview mirror as I near the top, lounging in the backseat, his eyes the same static as the specters in the city streets. He meets my gaze, any my chest is full of writing fire as my heart tries to flee its cage.

You cannot leave this place, he says. I don't respond, and he says no more, although he does not take his eyes off me.

And then we are above it all, a sea of midnight below us, and the real night above. I step out of the car and look around me, wondering at the color and sound of everything. The stars are a shock, like pinpricks on my eyes, and I can barely look at them after so much time in the dark.

The dawn is coming, says the man, exiting the backseat, and I can see the halo of light pushing against the horizon. If you turn back now, there is still time.

I think of her, waiting for me in the rooms we shared, hoping despite herself. The others will have left by now, back to their own hovels, wanting to respect her desire for space. We were safe there, in hiding, living like animals underground; subsisting on scraps and surviving. In my mind I am walking back through the door, and she runs to me. We are together, we are safe. I will never see the stars again.

I can’t go back, I say, not taking my eyes from the horizon. There is no reply, and I know the man is gone.

The sun begins to rise, and I watch it with eyes like television static on a dying set. Light blooms along the horizon, and my body begins to dissipate. The static spreads through me, cutting through all that I was. I let my body go, and dissolve in the dawn above the city of night.

m83 - Midnight City

Dec 15, 2006

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This sounds fun. In, and I'd like a flash rule.

Dec 15, 2006

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Carl Killer Miller posted:

Oh my god can you suck worse

I mean, he could be you.

Dec 15, 2006

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sebmojo posted:

In, flash, :toxx:


Dec 15, 2006

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can this be like Wizard Week pt 2 except instead of 5 judges it's just sh reading 80 goon attempts at magical realism by herself and crying into her box wine

Dec 15, 2006

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flerp posted:

only if u help by going in

way to read the thread, plebe :rolleyes:

Dec 15, 2006

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curlingiron fucked around with this message at 01:53 on Dec 12, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

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I wasn't gonna enter since I turn 30 on Friday and some weirdos from the internet are coming to visit this weekend, but I loving love Fiasco, so gently caress it, in.

Dec 15, 2006

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Hi this is your high school Algebra/Geometry/Trig teacher reminding you that you are exactly as stupid and inept as my class made you feel. Megabrawl me.

Dec 15, 2006

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Not now, Honey, the adults are talking.

Dec 15, 2006

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Djeser posted:

baudolino is real and he is strong and he is my friend

Dec 15, 2006

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In, so I can be Friday the 13th.

Dec 15, 2006

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Family Time
977 words

Flash rule: Diffident

“Alright, just you and your ol’ Dad doing science stuff together!” James set the kit down on the newly-cleared dining room table and looked over at his daughter, Mandy, who was still standing in the doorway. The expression of skepticism she wore didn’t seem like it could belong to a twelve-year-old, but was her default state in her presence.

“What?” he said. “This will be fun! Didn’t you say that you wanted to enter the science fair?”

“With a potato clock?” Her disdain would make the most acidic teen-movie mean girl proud, but James wasn’t going to let it deter him.

“Sure, why not? I made one of these with your grandfather when I was a kid. You’ll see, it’s gonna be great.” He started to unpack the kit as Mandy begrudgingly pulled up a chair next to him.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a potato involved in this?” she said.

“Oh, huh, I guess it doesn’t come with the kit. You want to grab a couple of potatoes for us? I think there’s some in the refrigerator.”

“Dad, potatoes aren’t even supposed to go in the fridge.” Mandy walked to the kitchen with a practiced eye-roll, and he heard the sound of the refrigerator door. “You really need to start keeping more food around the house, you know,” she said, reappearing. “Just because you’re a bachelor again doesn’t mean that you can live off of cereal and pizza forever.”

“Haha, you got me,” James said, taking a potato from his daughter’s hand, and trying not to smart at the word ‘bachelor.’ “Don’t worry, we’ll go out somewhere nice for dinner. Here, you can start putting the leads in like this, and then we’ll attach the wires.” He stuck a copper spike into his potato and handed it back to her.

They sat in silence for a while, Mandy stabbing copper and iron leads into potatoes with a little more enthusiasm than necessary, and James poring over the instructions.

“Okay, I think it’s time to attach these - ouch!” James stuck his thumb in his mouth and tasted blood where one of the wires had managed to jab into him.

“Did you cut yourself?” Mandy said sitting up. “Let me see! Why would you stick a cut in your mouth? That’s how you get infections, Dad!”

“It’s fine, it’s fine, I’ll go wash it off and it’ll be okay.” James walked into the kitchen and ran his thumb under water from the tap.

“Do you have soap in there?” Mandy had followed him into the kitchen. “Dish-washing soap isn’t the same thing as hand soap! Where’s your first-aid kit, Dad?”

“Oh, sorry, sweetie,” James said, squeezing soap over his thumb and rubbing the cut. “I haven’t had a chance to pick up a first-aid kit yet. Maybe we-”

“Why don’t you have one yet? Dad, that’s so important! Do you even have a fire extinguisher? Have you checked your smoke alarms? I can’t believe you would be so stupid - “

Mandy. That’s enough.” James glared at his daughter, who looked like she had been slapped in the face.

“But you-”

“I am an adult, and this is my house. Go back to the table. I’m going to finish washing this, and then we’re going to make a potato clock.” He turned away and waited, leaving the water running for several minutes more than he really needed to. By the time he dried his hands, his thumb wasn’t even bleeding any more. He examined the cut for a minute before deciding it probably didn’t need a band-aid after all, and then took another couple of minutes to think before he went back to where his daughter was waiting for him.

She looked small, sitting there alone at the table, and somehow younger than James was used to thinking of her as.

He sat down next to her. He started to reach out to her, but pulled back; he wasn’t always sure what gestures of affection were going to be rebuffed. It had been so much easier when she was younger.

Of course, he also hadn’t been trying to figure things out alone, then.

“I’m sorry that I snapped at you,” he said, finally.

“I know,” Mandy said in a small voice. “I’m sorry I called you stupid.” There was a pause, and James struggled to think of something else to say.

“Is there something bothering you?”

“I just… I dunno. It’s really weird seeing you on your own like this.” Her head was bowed, slightly, staring at the table, and her hair fell in front of her eyes.

James laughed sadly. “It’s a little weird being on my own, too,” he said, and immediately cursed himself for saying it. Silence hung between them again.

“Mom’s worried about you, you know,” Mandy said in a diffident voice.

James bit back the first two or three things that came to mind, and took a slow breath. “I know that your mom is probably worried about me… I know that you’re probably worried about me, too.” He reached out again, a little more sure of himself, and put his hand on her back. “I know I’m not a great housekeeper, and I forget things, and make a mess. You and your mom have always been the organized ones. But believe it or not, I did live for several years on my own before I met your mom, and I took care of myself well enough.”

He pulled her into a hug, and as she leaned against him something loosened in his chest.

“It’s gonna be okay, honey. I’m gonna be okay, and you’re gonna be okay. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Mandy said, her voice quiet. “Um...”

“What is it, sweetie?”

“Do you think the potato clock will still work if the potatoes are moldy?”

“I guess we’ll find out!”

Dec 15, 2006

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INTERPROMPT: Potatomen versus the Yam People. 150 words

Dec 15, 2006

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curlingiron fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Dec 12, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

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Dec 15, 2006

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Megabrawl vs. Ent -- Love is Blind

Love Letter
910 Words

Dear Mama,

I know that you’re worried about me, but I promise you that I’m fine. In fact, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been! I know that you’re nervous because of the trouble I’ve gotten myself into before, but this is nothing like that - this time it’s real. Your little girl is in love!

I can’t wait for you to meet him, Mama, I just know that you’ll be as much in love with him as I am. Kyle is the kindest, gentlest, soul that I ever met, and I can tell that he’s as crazy about me as I am about him. I know you’re always saying that I’m too much of a romantic for my own good, but he’s even more of one! He treats me like a princess, Mama. In fact, after our first date he sent a dozen roses to me at work! You should have seen all of the other girls in the office, they were so jealous! He’s always doing little things like that, to make me feel special. Everyone tells me how lucky I am to be with him, and I really feel blessed that he chose me.

Oh, and he’s such a gentleman, Mama, even Gram would approve! He likes to say how old-fashioned he is, and it’s true! He’s always holding doors open for me and giving my order to the waiter when we go out to eat. He even insisted that I quit my job, since he wants to be the one to take care of me. He says that I’m his most precious treasure, and he doesn’t want to share me with anyone else! I know that I always said that I wanted a career, but I love being a homemaker so much now that I have the chance to do it!

I know you’re probably worried that he’s another hoodlum or layabout like those boys I dated before, but Mama, Kyle’s not like that at all! He’s got a real good job, and he’s such a hard worker! Most days when he gets home, he’s so worn out that it’s all he can do to just sit on the couch and watch some TV to relax. I don’t mind, though! I like to take care of him, and I’m grateful for all the hard work that he does. He puts so much pressure on himself, it’s no wonder he gets a little cranky after work! The people at his shop don’t appreciate him like they should, but he’s the one running the place, really. He’s looking for an even better job right now, and boy won’t they all be sorry when he quits!

One of the sweetest things about him is how vulnerable he is - he broke down and cried once when we were having some dumb argument! I don’t even remember what it was about now - it was probably some silly little thing that I got upset over, you know how we women can be. He’s been hurt in the past, and I can tell that it really scares him how much he cares about me, and that makes it hard for him sometimes. But I know just how wonderful he is, and I know that I can show him that he can trust me. I wish I could meet those girls who done him wrong, Mama, I really do!

I can tell that Kyle makes me a better person every day. He helps me to be my best self, to be a nicer, more considerate person, to be sensitive to the needs of others, to be more feminine, and to be humble. There were so many things that I used to do that I never even thought about, but Kyle showed me how unkind I was really being! I know that you think that I see the world through rose-colored glasses, Mama, and I know that relationships take work and dedication, but I want to be there for Kyle, to be there for him and be what he needs.

But Mama, can you do me a favor? Marcus called a few times, you know Marcus. And I told Kyle that there was nothing going on between us, that he and I have been friends since we were kids, but he got pretty jealous. You know how I said that he’d been hurt before, and I wouldn’t ever want to do anything to hurt Kyle, so I told Marcus that maybe he shouldn’t call anymore. Kyle was so upset last time he punched a hole in the wall, and I know that he was just worried about things, but he has really mad. If you could tell Marcus that I’m sorry, and we can get together again just as soon as I’ve shown Kyle that he can trust me. He really is a sweetheart, and I know once he understands just how much I love him he won’t get so jealous anymore.

I can’t wait for you to meet him, Mama, I know you’re going to love him. I’m so sorry we got married without telling anybody, but money is tight, and neither of us wanted to wait. We’re saving up now, and as soon as we can we’re gonna have a giant ceremony, so you and Papa and Gram can all come and see how happy we are together! I know you’ll all love him just as much as I do.

(In) Love!


Dec 15, 2006

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gently caress yeah, in.

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