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a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Count me in but this is my first Thunderdome (curse my husband for throwing me in) so I am requesting a story to invert.


a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

A Virtue

Word Count: 888


Theme from original: desperate questioning of identity

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 00:57 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Thank you for the critique, Thranguy!

I really enjoyed your story too, ironic twist.

In this week with
Molten copper vs popcorn

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Gives No Shelter

Word Count: 1349

Inspiration: Molten Copper vs Popcorn

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 01:00 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

One's a diminutive, Russian spy with no country the other's a two faced god from a forgotten Amazonian tribe.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Wunza: One's a diminutive, Russian spy with no country. The other's a two faced god from a forgotten Amazonian tribe.

You have to get in to get out

Word Count: 1177

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 01:05 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Sitting Here posted:


Hear, hear!

While all of you Greek gods strut around throwing lightning bolts and tidal waves at each other, some of us mortals just want to bash each other's skulls in with rocks. If that's not too much to ask.

In for this week's prompt.

Also, thanks to those who write the crits. You all are the true epic heroes.

Edit: :downsgun:

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 00:37 on May 26, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Word Count: 989

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 01:09 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Guess I'm in for Tuesday.

Thanks for the quick crits, all.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Man agonizes over potato - Tuesday Rule
Words: eclectic, gestalt

Still Life

Word Count: 1058

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 01:14 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Chernabog posted:

Tuesday words:

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

A very potato miracle - 1197 words.

This reads like a bad holiday movie. Iím sure you meant the holiday movie part, what with the title and all, but Iím also sure you didnít want it to be bad. It might be worse than bad though because in bad holiday movies, the protagonist usually learns a lesson while also triumphing over the hubristic antagonist albeit in a ham-fisted way. Your main character doesnít go through any growth or have any change at all.

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

Your story needs better obstacles than the ones you have set up and they need to actually feel real. All of the problems you set up for your character are either unbelievable or easily overcome. All of your characters are flat. Asher shows no emotion, even when he wins and Boris doesnít. His humility at the end is meaningless since it juxtaposes nothing. His lack of concern for two people who died, including someone he actually knew, in fact points to him as likely having no feelings whatsoever.

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

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


QuoProQuid posted:

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

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

There is a lot of tension in your story which makes it compelling. The need for the action to take place in the span of a breath gives it an element of time crunch. But thereís also the opposing male figures. Immediately the reader canít help but hope (along with Tabby) that her teacher will be a foil to the father. But at the same time, the brain strays to the other possibility and is dreading it.

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

Similar to the point of your story, you use negative space to say a lot. I canít say that I understand all of what youíre trying to say. Like the paragraph after she receives her paper back.

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

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

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

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

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Aw poo poo, is it Friday?

In with

Also, thanks for the words, Sitting Here and Titus.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Word Count: 737

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 01:26 on Aug 29, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

QuoProQuid posted:

Week 201 Critiques, Part I

  • Author: a friendly penguin
  • Plot: I think some humans are plotting against a monster?
  • Thoughts: I can appreciate unconventional storytelling, but, lol, I had to read your story four times to understand what you were going for. Having understood that, I do like your piece. It has some really awful clarity issues but once you understand that this is a monologue/warning/story being told to a child, your intention becomes much clearer. Tone is nice. There is a sense of menace that pervades your sentences. Again, though, Iím not sure how to interpret certain segments. Is the monster magical? Does it reside within people? I think it is snatching up and eating children but Iím not sure.

    Okay, phew. A section break. Hopefully you can wrap matters up and clarify.

    Ehhh, I think you wrote yourself into a hole in the first part and realized there was no way to resolve the central conflict using the perspective used. The sudden shift to the monster comes off as really jarring. Nonetheless, thereís some lovely prose here and I have a slightly clearer sense of what is happening through the next few paragraphs. Unfortunately, I quickly lose that clarity by ďThe day grows late.Ē I think the monster is being hunted at the end, though, so I guess itís technically a happy ending?
  • Story Elements to Improve Upon: UhhhÖ clarity. I have no idea how to interpret large segments of this story.
  • Recommended Reading: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner might be helpful if you really want to pursue unconventional story structure. (my mother is a fish.)
  • Rating: 4/10

You have no idea how helpful of a critique this is. Thank you!

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Word Count: 1171

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 04:06 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

In with

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Magical Realism Bot: A witch is chewing gum in a golden meadow."


Word count: 908

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 04:01 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

A roadie wants to save the world.

Benefit Concert

Word Count: 993

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 03:58 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

I have yet to ascend so far up TD as to be a judge, so I donít owe any crits. I just chose a couple uncritiqued stories at random (seriously) and wrote my thoughts. Iím not sure if either of these posters will care anyway.

Empty Glass by Impermanent

The problem with writing about the profundity of religion is that if you donít actually say something new and interesting regarding that belief system you really should say something profound about the people doing the talking. You donít manage either.

It is something that manic people do is they get super into things to the point of being over the top interested and there are roommates who get totally sick of the bullshit, but you tell us all of that without letting us see it. You tell us Coreyís manic, you tell us exactly what he does when heís manic and you tell us how John felt about it. But you donít tell us what happened at the end.

The final paragraph feels like itís from a different story entirely. We donít know what it means that Coreyís car is still iced over. There are too many projections that the reader can make with that fact and none of them really show us that he deserved whatever it was.

Itís an inoffensive story about young people learning about themselves and the world, but it doesnít manage anything exciting, new, gripping or emotionally connecting. And every story in order to be good needs something special. (And it feels hypocritical of me to say this because this is something I struggle with as well.)

The Turning of the Wheel by V for Vegas

I apparently have a knack for finding the Buddhist stories and perhaps I know too much to make that a good thing. AnywayÖ

I like the idea of a modified Buddhism wherein people unwittingly make offerings that cause them to be reborn in bodies that result in Earth shattering conflicts and internal angst and eventually self-transformation/enlightenment within a single, harrowing lifetime. However, that is a much, much longer story than this. I think this is definitely a first chapter and not a short story.

A lot happens and a lot of it is interesting, but it doesnít follow a complete story arch. Nor do we get enough character building in any of the characters or a setup of how they got here and what they were planning to do if all went accordingly. Some of your visuals are good and a bit much (crying blood) but generally they set a good scene. I feel like the dialogue is too wordy (or not wordy enough if you were going for a verbose villain).

Good set up, could go somewhere if you took the time to develop it a lot.

Oh yeah and guess Iím in.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Word Count: 555

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Kaishai posted:

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

a friendly penguin, "February"

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

Huh, I'm a hack without even knowing it. I've only read King's short stuff. But now I might have to read that... though I don't need to read about sewer gangbangs. Thanks for critiquing!

Jitzu_the_monk posted:


Also, thank you, sir.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

For some reason I really hate the idea that there are stories submitted to TD that havenít been critiqued. Because, honestly, if someone didnít want some feedback, there is no reason to suffer the pain of ThunderdomeÖ unless theyíre just some weird person who likes pain.

Anyway, so Iíll be doing critiques over a few days here for people who probably donít care. Deal with walls of text!

Round 1: Zero Year by Canadian Surf Club

While this is definitely better than Rose Wreckís story, who you were brawling against in round 1 of this week, itís still not a great story. First of all, thereís not much in the way of character building and second of all, your grammar and flow go to hell when you start the action sequence. Itís as if you got caught up in the excitement yourself and failed to read your sentences.

ďThe brute wasn't done, closing the distant and thrashing like something primal had opened up within him, his face set stern but his beady eyes open wide and wild.Ē

Beside the distant/distance problem, the opening half of the sentence doesnít go with the second half. And your noir inspired similes donít quite sound natural. I donít believe that theyíre coming from the point of view of a hard bitten PI.

You were obviously limited by story length here and the amount of time you had to write it, but this story is much bigger than 840 words can hold and because of that, we get very little character growth and little explanation of exactly who is who and what they mean in relation to everyone else.

And even though all of this is critical, I think it started off really well. Youíve got just the right amount of cynical reflection and story progressing information to get the reader interested. Just wish you had more space to spread out.

As Gouda Title as Any by Jeza

500 words, had to be amusing and contain cheese in some way: this is a hard prompt. I must admit that I smiled at the really bad Camembert pun (I really, really like puns, even ones that donít quite qualify) but that was about it. Comedy is hard.

I can see this being funny with some visual comedy, some ironic twists to your descriptions of ďman with rakeĒ and so on, but you are working with words here. Because you donít have time to characterize any of the people in your work, theyíre all stock characters and you rely too much on stereotypes to be amusing. But thatís not going to be too amusing with this audience. LOL, British people talk funny isnít going to take you very far.

I think with such a short word count, you needed to choose one aspect of the news story to really delve into for the humor. Thereís probably a ton of comedy gold in a cheese factory explosion that you didnít even touch because you went straight to interviews. It would have been better to do one thing to the point of absurdism than try to cover so many different angles: blaming a misunderstanding of the volatility of American cows vs British cows and using that to delve into the cultural differences of the people might have been interesting and amusing if done right. Not that I could do it right either, but it has potential.

Regardless, I think you tried to do too much with too few words and your story and audience suffered for it.

Coyote Country by Space Godzilla

I think it was a genius idea to write this story from the point of view of Coyote. I would never have thought that way from the prompt, but it works extremely well.

ďIt is I, Coyote, and it seems youíve caught me. For that, I will briefly reward you with my attention.Ē

Pure Coyote! And I love it. I think youíve almost nailed Coyoteís self-indulgent attitude, his pseudo-promises and his greatness. Itís all very succinct and moves the story right along.

Your opening and closing paragraphs are what need work. In coyote stories there usually is a bit of an introduction, but it really only works if you know what kind of story it is ahead of time. Here though, itís almost boring to the reader. I wish you had spent a little more time with the coyotes mauling the woman. This action seems too abrupt and insignificant. Whereas it should have more meaning.

Your folk singer needed to have a little more character to her as well if you wanted her death to have an impact or to make this the ďsad taleĒ you claim it is in your second sentence. We feel as remote from her as Coyote does and so there is no emotion associated with her death.

Your last line is no good. At least I didnít like it and think it was completely extraneous. Overall, amusing and a great idea but needs a bit more detail.

Fat Cat by Bug Bill Murray

I donít get it.
I wouldnít take that as a damning critique because Iím fairly thick when it comes to narratives that arenít straightforward. You set a very good tone and your scene setting is great. I definitely feel as if I am in their house.

But it took me way too long to figure out that this was from the point of view of Langley and I have no idea why he acts the way he does. I did not read the Wikipedia article about the death. I only read the snippet attached to your story. And that should be all I need to get something out of the story. Iím just confused and the descriptions, though engrossing, donít grow the story. In the end, the action is very simple. So youíre resting on your tone a lot.

Your last paragraph changes in tone though. That might have been intentional since the character has entered into a different state of mind, but it doesnít seem to flow naturally.

All of my comments are just disjointed observations since I canít really form a coherent understanding of your story. So take them or leave them.

Thinking Manís End by Manouverable

I think you chose the wrong person to tell this story. In this instance, the person who died was pretty passive in the whole affair. As opposed to some of the other deaths in this prompt where you have to wonder, ďjust what were they thinkingĒ with this death, youíre left with someone just thinking all of the usual things that one would think in this situation. Which makes for a pretty boring story.

It had the potential to be an interesting story told from Chapmanís perspective as long as you did a decent job of juxtaposing his thoughts versus what was about to happen to him. Where the audience knows that he is mere minutes away from the death event, but yet all he can do is think about getting to first base or getting back to his wife. That could have worked. But because thereís no indication that he is about to die (yes, we know he is from the prompt) his thoughts have no weight to them.

Had you told a similar story from the perspective of someone who survived, like the ump or the pitcher, it would have been much easier to make for an interesting narrative. Because they have the luxury of having an after and being able to look back on the occasion.

Your actual prose is fine and works with the quick changing of circumstances and split second decision making. I donít quite buy his thought pattern after getting hit in the head though. I would expect him to be way more confused, both as to what happened and why his body doesnít seem to be functioning normally. Basically, his thought pattern should change at that point rather than stay the same. Dude was just hit in the head such that he is going to die. A change would have made sense here.

The Deactivation of Robot Williams by Truman Sticks

Falls flat and predictable ending. But itís a mostly harmless story. Itís also a concept thatís been tried many times and therefore you have to do something different with it in order for there to be any interest.

It also only slightly addresses the prompt. In fact, if you had spent more time with the robotís account of the killing of Robert Williams and his transfer thereafter, this might have been more compelling. Because the robot seems to remember his life as a C-7000, I think the audience would be more interested in some back story of that, then spend some time on the day of the killing, then his life after transfer.

Instead what you have now is a rudimentary robot plan to go to New York for some reason. Why would a robot want to be in New York just because itís got ďenergy and dynamismĒ? Iím truly interested in that? What makes a robot crave those things moreso than routine work? Why does the robot like art so much? Delving into the preferences of robots might have led in fun directions as well, especially when comparing them to a human who did not like art.

It seems like you could have gotten more value for the words you spent but instead you told the easy story.

Captain Moonlite and the Blue Forest Dragon by Wrageowrapper

Your representation of the Australian accent is too over the top. 1920s 16-year-old playing pretend is a bit of a stretch, though I do like stories of kids just being kids. And after finishing, meh, I just donít believe it. Neither is the narrative from beyond the grave explained.

A mid-teens kid acting like he is 10 or 11, using words like eviscerated, but talking in a slang that isnít consistent. The idea is a good explanation as to why anyone would attack a cassowary with a club. You definitely didnít need 1300 words to tell this story though. Thereís not much conflict before the bird appears either. Itís a lot of words based on pretend fighting that doesnít actually contribute to the narrative. At least in no way that I can see.

Iím sorry I donít have more to say about this, but I donít find your prose worth examining since itís in a pseudo-dialect and I donít like but donít want to judge because I am not Australian.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

More crits:

How it stands there by Horrible Butts

This story sounds (at least after the first few paragraphs) as if itís trying to be poetic and have a rhythm. I canít quite pin the rhythm down though. And the images you try to elicit are at once both specific and yet unhelpful in telling the story. Iím not even sure I can tell what sort of plot this story is trying to have.

I wouldnít say that every story needs a plot, but without one itís very easy for someone to read it and ask, ďwhatís the point?Ē And that is what I find myself asking with this. I donít get a clear sketch of a character or action and even the setting, though obvious, is still pretty generic.

I got lost in several places and itís not a long piece, so that takes talent. I want to like some of your sentences. I want to get lost in the sound of your story, but none of them actually work with one another. Some of them look like they might go somewhere, but when you put them all together, they donít make a cohesive whole. I think reading this out loud would have gone a long way toward helping you see this. And that works for all types of writing.

The first few paragraphs, though they arenít that great either, at least were cohesive and I thought I could count on them to carry me through the story, but unfortunately the rest of it does not match. The narrative type changes and though that might be due to the characterís possible death (multiple deaths?) Iím not positive on that, so itís difficult to understand that as an argument.

The Book of Kevin by Overwined

Where do I start? I didnít like this at all. You obviously werenít going for complete biblical verbiage, but it was still jarring the first few times that you broke from it. And itís still inconsistent. None of your internal objectives are met, not even the counseling part. I donít really appreciate any of the characterization in the story and definitely didnít need to read about someone making GBS threads in a barís bathroom in order to know more about them (especially since I donít think it works toward a particular sin).

And you miss the biggest goal of all, which was to write a fable that teaches a moral lesson. What even was it supposed to be? There is no way that this story is going to teach anyone to be virtuous. In the story or out of the story. Not only because without the word of God directly speaking to Kevin, no oneís ever going to realize that God is responsible for the punishment but also because even though he's pretty far up on the heavenly totem pole, Lotís still not that pious a dude, though God seems to be okay with him.

Sometimes I get irrationally irritated at stories and then I critique far harder than is probably necessary. This is likely one of those times. Really didnít like it. The format was probably a good idea but execution was a 0.

The Crescent of Fate by Black Griffon

Well, thank you for not making me slog through 1500 words like the last guy. I actually like this better than The Book of Kevin. In less than 70 words you are already teaching people a lesson about time management. Sins come in many different forms and donít necessarily have to be done in contrast to anyoneís dictates but our own. And you can tell that this submission had merit because it didnít lose, nor did it DM.


Exile by HaitianDivorce

Improper use of a colon in your second sentence. ďask [for] a better companionĒ in 3rd paragraph. Sentences are stilted. No flow. Iím halfway (I think) through this and I have no idea where I am or how I got here (probably similar to your main character). There is already so much wrong with this. I donít think you thought this story out in its entirety. Time just disappears, food and water appear, nothing is happening physically or mentally with this character.

Lots of improper colon use. What do you think a colon is for? What is even happening? You gloss over all of the interesting parts that could possibly be in this storyÖ

Okay, those were thoughts in the midst of reading. Now that Iíve finishedÖ
Learn how to use colons!
What is the sin? What is the lesson? What has anyone learned here?
There could have been action in this story. There could have been introspection in this story. There could have been any sort of conflict at all. But there wasnít.
Only after having read the losing story from this week can I understand why this one didnít lose. It at least made an attempt at originality.

This story is mostly frustrating because you could have taken it in so many directions. You could have developed so many different aspects. You could have told us even one piece of backstory and it would have been much better. But you didnít. Itís a shell of a story.

Gravitation by Chexoid

This story is definitely more what I was expecting for the stories after reading this weekís prompt, so thank you for that. Your story is charming and simply told in the way that fables are, with readers not questioning the basic premise of the story. Your set up is good. You give the reader everything they need in order to know where they are in the story. They know the players, the rules and you take it from there.

After that itís all in the execution which could have been better. Your sentences are a little clunky. You could streamline them a lot and I think that would fit the mode of this story better. Youíre missing apostrophes in a few places and mix up a pronoun or two. Proofreading and reading aloud will help you with these things.

Finally, your moral is spelled out in a way that makes it lose efficacy. Fables are usually pretty blunt about their point, but for some reason this seems almost too much of a lecture. I think a little more time with this and it could be a usable entry in an anthology of fables.

The Horse, the Worm and, the Sloth by Mike Works

I have questions after reading this story. Good questions like ďwho am I that I am nothing like Philip Rain?Ē and ďwhat exactly is the relationship between the two stories sandwiched around one another?Ē

You set a very simple scene but yet itís bursting with meaning and works very well for your narrative. Basically everything is simple except for the concepts behind all of the simplicity. Iím still thinking through everything. Iíve even reread some parts and am making new connections.

Iím sorry that you didnít get more critiques at the time of your writing, especially since this received an HM. But it didnít win which means that there are ways to improve. I can only give you the few things that I can see in that vein though. There were a few typos that would be caught on another read through. And there are a few aspects of your world that might have needed to be included for it to feel whole: the possible lives of others who are like Philip Rain, a little more background in the parenthetical story, and perhaps a little more explanation of this world of grey and white.

But I really appreciate this story.

A Girlís Best Friend by monkeyboydc

Your story tries too hard to explain itself. Itís almost as if you were telling your story and then the further you got along you realized that it wasnít very obvious what ďsinĒ there was in this story so you tried to explain it with a lot of extra words rather than weaving it throughout the story in many tiny ways. And you could easily have done that too. You created another world with several interactable characters (though none of the characters have any character to them) and these interactions could and should have done the explaining.

Iím not quite lured into suspension of disbelief here. I am happy to go along with you into forests and other worlds inside of an abandoned house. I am happy for Claire to age on her journey. But for some reason Iím not willing to go so far as to believe she didnít need food and drink and to go piss. But that may just be me. And had details been different I might not have noticed that even.

I think itís good that you set up the mystery of the mysterious bird/woman at the beginning and then told the story of how it got there afterward, but your break needed something to make a connection. Initially it just felt like you started a second story. Eventually it became clear that they were related, but it was still jarring.

I also donít think that this story is relatable to modern day humans in the world in which we live. There is no lesson here that we can take with us through life. Thereís no didactic moment. And thatís what works the least about this story.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Labour Day (May 1 in the civilized world) vs Labor Day (some other drat day for no good reason in the outlands)

Word limit: 300

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

And here I thought I was going to be so fast at posting my crits, instead I'm last. Serves me right for going to work today.

If anyone wants to chat about their story and the critiques I give, hit me up with a PM or grab me over in IRC. I love learning more about people's writing processes.

Sailor Viy Left for Dead

This reads like a revenge story set in a city for the dead with ectoplasm thrown in. Although ectoplasm doesnít have to be of any importance to the story, its importance to the setting should be obvious. In this, from what I gather, youíve basically correlated it to oil, at least in how it is collected, but the reader doesnít get any sense that it serves a purpose. And really, the functioning of this world should depend on your punk in some way. What does it do in the Night City? What does it do in the Day City? And actually why does it need mined at allÖ doesnít ectoplasm come from ghostsÖ?

Onto the actual story. Your sentence construction and mechanics are mostly fine (though some comma usage made me raise my eyebrow). You have a clear story arc and you use the elements that you introduce to good effect.

The problem with this story is the mechanics of a city of death being alongside a city of living and how they interplay with each other. Thereís a lot of interesting potential here and I think youíve got a few good ideas with the medium character. However, youíre inconsistent and it makes me question what I actually know about the character. You explicitly state that he couldnít die in the Night City but yet heíd rather ďdie againĒ than see someone get to paradise. If heís a medium who can go between living and dead then why canít he procure the gun himself? What possible resources could a clay servant have that Ali does not? I wish there were more time for you to go into what being a medium meant in this world since the first time Ali makes that switch itís a little jarring. And ultimately the whole revenge plot seems a little flat since we donít actually spend that much time getting to know the characters or even the departed character that he loved (dead/living love pairÖ interesting).

And in the end itís moot and the poor shabti are only buying time until the next attempt to kill their city.

Schneider Heim Test Flight

This is the beginning of a story. Whether it would be a good or a bad story would depend on you, but this is not a very good start. I think you know itís the start of a story because even your last line feels like it will be followed up by another sentence. Thereís no finality in it at all.

Youíve got some grammatical errors and your phrasing doesnít flow. If youíre going to use ďtheirĒ as the pronoun for Noa and the mech, you need to state that the first time you use it, otherwise it just comes off as an error in number agreement. But I can see where making them a plural can actually lead to some human interest in this story.

Because, as of right now there is none. I can see where if you had compared ďNoa and the mech merging as one to be an ultimate fighting duo and save humanityĒ to ďCybernetically modified Devil Blue who is the best mech pilot for the federation because heís half mech himself and therefore isnít representative of humanity at allĒ then you get a blending of perspectives when they ultimate come together to understand how humans and mech combinations can actually help save the earth after allÖ itís not a completely formed idea for me either, but that idea is one that could connect with readers (who at this point in history are still mostly human) and make them care about what happens to Noa and Devil Blue and what this might mean for our existence.

Right now, youíve got no emotion in the story, undescribed antagonists, a faceless governmental entity and actually no other humans appear to actually be saved. Needs more backstory too. A lot of issues on a basic level.

Daeres One Hundred and Twenty One Again

Half of your story is spent in exposition mode yet I donít feel like I get a sense of what this future is like at all. What about solar power means that everything in the future must be handcrafted? If anything, solar power just means that we can justify making more products via machine since weíre using renewable energy without all of the hubbub about pollution and global warming, etc.

Xavier or Xaxier? You used Xavier four times. Proofreading would catch these and a few other grammatical issues.

As for your story, you waste half of your words by having nothing happen and then when something does happen, the plot is unraveled in less than 100 words. The threat was incredibly flimsy at least to a modern day human and obviously to ďRodĒ. And if that was what you were trying to achieve, then you needed to emphasize that this future is one in which situations like this are so infrequent that humanity has lost the ability to problem solve. Iíd be more interested in hearing about the process for coming out of cryogenesis since you say that there are guides and it has happened successfully many times. However, the story also makes it feel as if this might be one of the early attempts with how worried the doctor and nurse are for making sure his memory is okay and the trauma doesnít happen.

Why were he and others put into cryogenesis in the first place? How did we get to now? This might just be a personal taste thing, but for the ďpunkĒ genres, I think it works better for everyone operating in the world to be familiar with it and getting the action going early. Though with this you get to introduce a new character (and the reader) to the world, which in theory is an easy way to describe your setting pretty bluntly. But at the end of it all, I donít have a good sense of this solarpunk era.

Some Strange Flea SchrŲdinger's Fifth

I love how very quickly you brought me into this world and how quickly I understood it. That was storytelling perfection. I donít like the heavy handed ending though. You manage to make clear quantum cities and peoples and what that has done to societies and what can be done in societies very elegantly and with some great imagery. But in revealing what sinister uses it can also have you start to lose the beauty of prose with which you began. You had more words and I think you could have used them here instead of the blunt final sentence we get.

On the other hand, this could very easily turn into a much longer piece describing the war and the life of the lower classes of ones and twos. And it almost deserves that. Iím not entirely sure that as is it has a complete story arc and there are only the beginnings of quantum character building but it could very easily get there with more time. Itís a big concept to have to stuff into less than 2000 words but your entry manages the setting extremely well and I can feel the other pieces are ready and waiting in the wings.

Flerp Black Fire

Your story took me a couple reads to appreciate. You paint a decent picture of a city of gold, with sleek cars and posh attitudes. And I can see where that would annoy someone. However, itís not really explained as to why Damien is so fed up with the city. If he was born there, it becomes harder to understand why he would be so disaffected with the place. Especially since we have no idea what sort of work he does. It might be inferred that heís a historian of sorts and perhaps he longs for things long past which could explain it. But I donít know that.

I like that Damien goes back and forth between wanting to say something or make a difference or be heard and thinking that maybe heís just an rear end in a top hat. This fact points to contemporary concerns about whether people have valid opinions and whoís allowed to have them or whether theyíre just being contrary and how that affects society. I like that he almost loses himself in meditative absorption when he walks up to the white wall. And Iím actually kind of sad that he didnít choose to paint it white again.

You have a few typos that should have been caught on a proofread. I wish youíd spent more time normalizing the reader to what the utopian vision of this city was supposed to be since all we see is Damienís POV and a bit of Maraís who in certain ways agrees with him.

Pale Spectres Sedna

I was looking forward to mythpunk since I enjoy Catherynne Valenteís work. Your story is definitely not what I was expecting, but itís not bad either. You tell a good story of hardship and primal need. Youíve set a beautiful and mythical scene. And after reading about the Inuit goddess Sedna I can see that influence here quite easily. I love how itís told and I love your language, but in the end, it feels more like a retelling of the myth rather than a subversion or something new.

I wish Nuliayuk had had more agency, more action, more overt choices in what was happening. I donít get much feeling at all for what sheís thinking or feeling. Her interaction with the landscape and the other characters leads me to believe that she truly loves her environment but that she also wishes that nothing had changed from when they first arrived. Even some action toward restoring that hope and strength could have led your character into some good interactions.


Donít edit your posts.

You were committed to your topic, thatís for sure and I think you did a decent job of pulling off some action. I hate to see a word count thatís so close to the limit because that usually indicates that you were deleting words until it fit. There were easily some places where you could have cut down, but I can also see where this story was just too big for the word count. Itís a shame that you have to end it where you do. The reader can get a sense of whatís going to happen, but I donít think the reader can quite believe that the plan has gone perfectly and thatíll be the end of the job.

This is a gritty punk world which is something that Iíve been wanting more of in the stories so far, so thank you for that. You spent too many words on setting your scene though. The bit with the digital camera should have been nixed. You can convey their hopes in other ways.

Itís not an elegantly told story and it doesnít have to be, nor should it be, given that this world is not one of cleanliness. However, sometimes it sounds as if youíre trying to use more descriptive and beautifully flowy language. And it just doesnít fit. With some serious tweaking, I can see this developing into a hardcore, action, Mad Max style story.

Ironic Twist Ghosts in a Churchyard

There is so much I donít understand about this story. I feel like Iím on the edges of it though. As soon as I start to get a handle on whatís going on in a particular scene though, you add another element to ponder. Your opening paragraph is phenomenal. It did take a couple of read-throughs but it sets a very good scene. And though I comprehend whatís happening in the rest of the story, none of it coalesces into understanding.

I donít get whatís between Kane and Quinn. Iím certain it has to do with the Kings and Queens of chess. I donít quite get the dynamic of what happens between black and white territories but thereís obviously danger when youíre in enemy territory.

You had an idea of where you were going, I just wish it were clearer from my side. Sentence construction and grammar are all good.

Entenzahn Carter's Lucky Streak

This is fun and you your concept works. But your execution is slightly off. It has to do with your analogies and imagery. It either sounds almost clichť or itís really specific. I never know whether youíre being sincere with them or trying to get a smile from the reader. All-you-can-eat buffet articles is one. Articles is an odd choice of noun.

Your story is pretty generic casino boss out to protect his interests. I would have liked to see a different approach in Nu Vegas. Otherwise itís just like regular Vegas. You definitely made the dice a part of everyday reality with its inclusion for getting bus fare and groceries, but then the rest of the story is about regular old gambling.

You have a few typos in your story. And for some reason I just keep imagining the purple suit on your avatar of Darkwing Duck.

Boaz-Jachim How I Got My Dad To Stop Worrying And Love Tolerate Rugby

It reminds me of a story that you could tell now on Family TV except instead of prosthetic legs, theyíre animal, what a weird twist! Not really. I donít like the part about shaving her legs. I think shaving bison legs would not help make her legs indistinguishable from human legs. Do bison legs even have ankles?
Were the gene splices optional? It seems like there are options at least when dadís talking about what he could have done to make her be normal. But Iím of the opinion that if gene splicing isnít already normal/pervasive then itís not really punk. Itís just new tech sci-fi.

There are just a lot of little things that I donít think work for the story more than any plot problems or anything. Needed more thought.

Cut of Your Jib Playthings Outgrown

Filled with action, charming, a bit too convoluted for the word count but pretty satisfying. This is the perfect beginning to a YA novel that could easily sell in the current market. I am basing this on all of the teen lit that Iíve seen rolling through.

On a second reading I like it even more. Your first paragraph scene section is wonderful. Itís filled with action and imagery and the perfect setup. I think the only reason this didnít win is itís clearly the first chapter of a novel. Thereís just way too much to explore here. Itís both wonderful but also disappointing because thereís no clear satisfaction in that last line.

CaligulaKangaroo BlazinTrees.exe

I chose this for the loss. After my first reading I was incredibly confused. Nothing was clear and I was lost. After a second read through I understand what happened much better, but I still donít understand why. Your shifts from VR to real life to AR are unclear. Changes happen abruptly and the reader is never given a chance to settle into any of them before thereís more to take in. Grammar errors.

Thereís definitely a change in behavior of your main character going from an indifferent dude just trying to get by however he can to someone who decides to take a stand in this movement that he knows nothing about even after burning down a library. Does he do it because he believes in the cause or because he wants to have a social group? I sure donít know. The cause appears to be ego death. But is it for everyone? Is it only for the uppers and not the lowers?

You needed to answer a lot of basic questions about your setting and protagonist and plot before writing this story. Instead the reader has little faith that thereís anything behind the cardboard cutouts you set up as your backdrop and characters.

Sitting Here Of the River

This is a good story. Interactions between characters feel right. Pacing is right. Your idea is great. The character growth is subtle but noticeable. Her motivation is there. The fatherís actions are consistent. This story had so much in it that appealed to me as an individual. But unfortunately there were simple things that kept it from being perfect.

Similar to Thranguy, I was also taken out of the story by some of your word choices. They just didnít seem to fit. Like masticate. I also thought there was a huge leap between the Riverís description of the Internet and Morgan making that connection immediately. Itís possible Morgan was catching extra vibes since she is of the special clan, but from a readerís perspective, there needed to be at least a little puzzling out of the meaning of a river that flows between the domiciles of men. It doesnít have to go on for long, but at least a ďMorgan thought for a moment about those wordsÖĒ or something of that nature.

Also, naming her Morgan is a bit too on the money for Irish mythology in my book. But that was a personal roll eyes and nothing that docked your points or anything. I would like to read this as a longer work since I definitely wants to know what happens when the elves start coming out of the woodwork.

Quo Pro Quid Hard-boiled Intern Fiction

By virtue of your punk you are locked into a world of perpetual ephemera. And even as much as your references and the actions of your characters make me cringe for humanity, I donít think you take it far enough. If Cassy had really been a Republican from now she would have denied Michaelís evidence whole hog, clinging even tighter to her contrary beliefs. But sheís clearly not actually a Republican.

During my first read I had assumed that they were college students, but upon reread it seems that theyíre high school students or at least recently graduated. I find that pretty unbelievable for many of their actions and opinions. Neither of them are particularly likable characters but perhaps that is nowest of all the nows in this story.

If Cassy isnít a diehard Republican believer, then it especially doesnít make sense that she would feel like she deserved revenge for the betrayal, making the ending not natural to the character. But from your early descriptions it sounds as if sheís just in it for the recommendation but then again she went to political functions but again also took her known liberal boyfriend. Basically your main character comes across as inconsistent which doesnít do much for the story even if we are all political hypocrites in tyool 2016.

Chili Plain White Brain

This could have gone so many other and better places. I canít help but think that a more satisfying ending to this would be that Dewey became so rich that he started purchasing dreams from the same company that he was selling them to making it all one ironic circle making the company rich.

I had to read this out loud in order to get a sense of the flow since it wasnít sounding right in my head. This didnít help. All of the dialogues comes off as unnatural and without emotion. And itís the same with most of the story. Itís all cursory. Thereís no depth to the world. I think if you had fleshed out the world more in your head at the beginning, it could have added to it overall even if you didnít include all of the details in the story.

I just donít get a sense that thereís been more thought to this than what Iím seeing in the actual story. Iíd like to know a bit more about why he has to take meds to keep his brain from deteriorating or that Dewey actually missed his special dreams sometimes. I like the detail about hugs at Imagicorp, that was good, but it needs to have support for something as quirky as that. Chase after the quirky. See where that takes you.

Karia Mushrooms in London

You clearly have a story here, too much story. You have all of the details worked out which is good, but you include them all, awkwardly, in your story, which is bad. Your story ends where it might actually get interesting. Almost all of your story is prelude. And the psilocybins could go places but instead itís just ďLOL drugsĒ and thatís the punchline. It might be more interesting to see what happens if you grow a different type of mushrooms or even if the effects of these new mushrooms on people effect the amount of glucose that they need to operate or if planting them amidst other crops leads to improved growing and therefore ups production in London. Anythingís possible!

Though your first three paragraphs are incredibly tedious as the other two judges have said, I think they could have worked if you gave them more of a voice. I can easily see describing the picturesque landscapes of California and then bluntly crash landing the reader into the dingy back alleys of London instead. It could work.

I think you needed to take a step back from this. But itís hard to do in less than a week. But it might be interesting for you to come back to this.

The Saddest Rhino The Legend of Makoa Kalawaiía, Daughter of the Ocean, She of Oahu

Love this. Itís the perfect blend of myth, grungy future tech, and creativity. It suffers a little for the Lovecraftian adjectives since I think you were doing a good enough job of describing the horror that is the Brits without them and it definitely didnít fit in with the storytelling tone that you began with. But it ticked off all of my boxes. Itís more of wish I had gotten with mythpunk. Definitely my choice for the win because it flowed well, it was clear from the first and I wanted to know what happened. There could probably be more developed in the mother-daughter relationship and more character growth (perhaps just a hint of humility after the lightning strike before the ultimate triumph) but these are minor quibbles. Thank you for this story.

Llamaguchi Stream of Consciousness

Good atmosphere. I was right there in the room, feeling the bass of the music with your words. Good setup with just enough detail outside the present situation. But where does it go? Whatís the reason for all of it? I donít really understand the backstory, why he invites her for an interview, who he is, what precisely is going on and whatís about to happen. This might have a lot to do with the fact that I know very little about music production and the scene and all of that.

But I want to know whatís going on here. I like the idea of music death being an epidemic. I am intrigued by the emergence of someone from an older musical generation leading this revolution but itís all lost on me as an outsider. But then again the interviewer seems like an outsider too, Cardinal Cain (and Iím sure this name should mean something) even calls her such. I wanted so much to understand because you made it feel cool to do so. But Iím afraid I just didnít.

SurreptitiousMuffin 四君子 - salt, shore, sea, stone

I donít think I understood what was meant by Cantopunk initially because this was unexpected. Canto, to me means a portion of a poem or a song but this is Cantonese, I think. Unless itís both and this is also a section of a larger piece which would be amazing but difficult to convey in a 2000 word short story. I would be interested to hear if this was your intention.

As it is, I found the story compelling which is always what I look for in my first read through and in my second I try to narrow down what worked and what didnít work. All of this worked, but at the same time Iím left feeling about as passive as Chen. And I think thatís the problem. Your main character doesnít have much action to contribute, her POV is mainly that of knowing the place and time, what came before and what should be. And that is perfect to help the reader into the world. It also allows you to allude to the possibilities of what may happen after this scene.

But unfortunately this scene is what we get and it didnít allow her to be fully present in a way that truly grips the reader.

Bad Seafood The Bottle

I didnít like this. It seemed like it was going for some Oliver Twist grungy charm, but all I got was creepy stranger vibe. We donít get to know Kirklund at all. And though there should be some mystery to a man who falls through a ceiling, Sasha is given no reason to trust him or shelter him or even pay him any attention, but she does anyway. If life is so dire for war orphans, it makes little sense to trust a complete stranger. Even if that reason is he makes her laugh or promises her a world free of monotony. Something.

I can see your world but itís just a backdrop. And tends more toward what I know of steampunk with little to differentiate it as diesel. You have several typos and this

"Tis a sad man what keeps his medicine under lock and key. A good drink's meant to be shared in good company, or don't ya agree?"

Bothered me from the beginning. Alcohol can be compared to many things but referring to it as medicine and as a social beverage in the same breath just reads wrong. Kirklundís whole manner of speaking isnít completely consistent either. And with only two other characters to compare him to, he seems like a clown or a jester to me rather than a street wise cockney or whatever.

The ending is too simple and the number of questions as to what comes after are too great to make this satisfying.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Opera in Africa to help the most underserved.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

A Time to Sing, a Time to Talk, a Time to Dance
Word Count: 1023

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 03:46 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

In with Appalachian Gothic and flash rule #1.

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Above and Below
Appalachian Gothic, Flash Rule 1
Word count: 1452

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 03:30 on Dec 15, 2016

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Passenger Pigeons

Wordcount: 236

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Dec 15, 2016


a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

In case anyone wants proof.


a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 12:42 on Jan 4, 2017

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