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Sep 14, 2007

Free writing critiques? I'm in. When do y'all put up the next prompt?


Sep 14, 2007

In, doing some Danville, CA Country Club Gothic.

Sep 14, 2007

Member's Only

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BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:22 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

Well, it literally can't get worse as far as results go, so with that out of the way

In as a customer.

Sep 14, 2007

Sitting Here posted:

The song. Your character heard it in their dreams, a haunting cascade of unearthly arpeggios. They long to recreate the preternatural beauty of that ephemeral melody. Voidmart has something for even the most discerning audiophile, and features the latest in blessed and cursed instruments.

Chasing the Dragon
1299 words

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:20 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

I'm new here, but sure, here's a crit for you, thunderdome veteran Thranguy

I can dig hard-boiled noir detective fiction, so I'm into this idea. Especially in a place like Voidmart--some pretty interesting things to investigate, including aliens. The problem for me was that it ended up being dry, both in the story details and in the action. The aliens are pretty boring (though I guess they're pulling off a pretty typical noir fiction plot), and the Greek crew doesn't really have as menacing a presence in the story as you say. The Godfather of the Night has bland dialogue for a crime lord.

Ambrose Bloom seems like a bit of a sad sack. Don't really get the sense that he's a great investigator--in fact, I get the opposite sense. Don't know why his business was forced to cater to the local crime syndicate, but I'm guessing it has to do with incompetency. He fails to figure out the alien case, but Voidmart thinks he'll make a good in-house detective for some reason. I guess that's more Voidmart cost-cutting.

You've got the skeleton of something I'd be down to read, but I don't think you went hard enough for the noir style. If the dialogue were more heavily inflected with noir style, it would be stronger. Your action is wacky, but hard to follow at times and slowed down by your description of it; I think the paragraphs in that sequence could do with some restructuring for dramatic effect.

Thranguy posted:


Prompt:You've heard rumors that Voidmart is a front for some sort of alien takeover. We will neither confirm nor deny this accusation, and hopefully, neither will you, if you know what's good for you

1876 Words

The old man was right about one thing: the Voidmart® is lousy with aliens. “Men from Mars or Saturn or who knows where, moving in on our thing,” the Godfather of the Night had said. “You need to find out what they're up to, so we can put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.” That's what I do, these days. Find people for the Greek crew that runs everything crooked in Americatown. People who usually end up getting hurt, or worse. It wasn't always that way. There was a time when nice middle-aged ladies would come to Ambrose Bloom investigations looking to find a lost pedigree cat or learn who their husband was cheating on them with. Now, I'm stalking the aisles of the Voidmart®, trying to figure out what the aliens are up to. This paragraph is unclear--by the end, I can piece together what he's saying, but hard to do so

They're pretty easy to spot. You see someone with pink or light green or light purple skin wearing a starfleet uniform seems pretty obviously alien to me that has three or four strange lumps around the legs and torso didn't understand this who says “Use the fourth fluke, yes?” when someone compliments the getup, it's an alien. I've been coming in for more than a week, watching them. They don't ever eat or drink or sleep as far as I can tell, so watching them is a full-time occupation. I've been racking up the VoidPoints on my Quinte¢ents Card. If I make five more qualifying purchases I'll get a free Hibachi. If I drink three more Golden Bean Espressos I'll get an ulcer. i like this joke

What they do, apart from wander around the Voidmart® and smile at each other, is that every couple of days they'll go up to the front of the store and buy something. Usually it's four huge packs of diapers from Baby Supply. They'll take it out of the store, take the shopping cart as far as they can and then lug them another five blocks until they find an open dumpster, and they just toss their load right in. Then they walk to a bus stop and ride out to one of the bars or gyro joints where we're making book and place some bets. Numbers, local sports, national, whatever. And they always win. They're bleeding us dry. on first read through I had to go back and figure out what you were talking about, until I figured it out--there is a lot of exposition up to this point, and it's not especially clear, which is not great

Yesterday I watched that dumpster all night. It was right near a twenty-four hour Nulgreens, close enough that I could keep an eye through the glass while picking up canned iced coffee and stakeout snacks. It was a waste of time. Nobody went near the thing, nobody picked anything up but the garbage truck. somebody picked up the garbage truck??

So I'm starting from scratch, watching a lavender-skinned Jon Snow tell three different flirty Domegrassi seniors that “Windows is running”, looking confused me--had to reread this a few times to connect this verb back to our dear detective for some clue how they're thought at first this referred to the teens, not the aliens doing it. If someone does have the fix in, not just in our local games but major league sports as well, this problem could be bigger than just our local gang. you're trying to make the stakes bigger, but it's not clear enough to me to make me really feel them The third one bats her eyelashes at him like a pair of Venus flytraps and he flusters and bolts. I follow, at a brisk walk and accidentally slam right into a display of AutoNag Watches, the kind that monitor everything you're doing and make disapproving comments about it. Three of them fall into my coat pockets and start loudly telling me that shoplifting is a crime, which naturally draws the attention of a towering lunk of a goon from Loss Prevention. He starts lumbering my way as I try to empty the watches from my pocket. I'm getting ready to explain things to him when three Dalmatians speed right behind him and the poor sap holding their leash swings around the corner and knocks him right into my hand. My fist, since I have time to ball it up and avoid broken fingers. So he's got a bloody nose and a temperament to match, and I decide that it's time to get out of here, fast. I think this paragraph would benefit from separating out the start of the action sequence

So I turn and run, straight into Round Objects. Whoever's supposed to be managing this part of the floor must be on a break, because a group of kids are going wild tossing oranges, cantaloupes, and old globes with countries that don't exist anymore into the top of the dodge ball tower. Just as I'm about to run by they lob a sack of ball bearings over the top and it bursts, the tiny metal spheres falling between the dodge balls, old worlds, and damaged fruit and out onto the floor in front of me.

I try to keep balanced but fail, falling on my behind, but with enough forward momentum that when I reach the just-cleaned-and-polished area near the drain in the center of the store I keep sliding fast. I'm headed toward Nautical Supplies, which should be a clear path to the exit. I turn back and see the Loss Prevention goon still close behind, and with equally unfriendly-looking friends. I look forward again and gasp: somehow I've drifted way to the left, and am now headed straight into Cutlery. The polished section of floor is ending, and I try to get up before I slide to a complete stop. I lurch forward at the exact same time Voidmart® employee stops sharpening a knife to help someone find the saw blades. His arms juts out and meets my head, taking the left side of my hair off cleanly, leaving me millimeters away from being scalped. I keep running forward, into Sporting And Unsporting Goods.

I begin to think my luck has changed. I used to ride a mean skateboard, and that's not something you forget. I grab a display model from the Sporting side and a handful of caltrops from Unsporting and kick myself forward towards the door. Then something explodes inside my brain. this whole action sequence comes off a bit flat. I think you're sentence constructions are all a little too similar, so the pacing of the writing doesn't increase the tension at all. Your description of it is also a little bit dry

It's a year or so back, when I first started working for the Greek crew. The first bad debt where once I found him I had to keep my eyes on him until the muscle showed up. It wasn't a long wait. They pulled the guy out of the restaurant while his mistress wailed and batted at them. She quieted up with one dirty look and we all went back to the alley. I watched them go at him, bringing pain and damage with their fists and feet. It didn't seem right to set a guy up for something like that and then turn your back as it happened. It made me sick to my stomach. Later on, I figured out how to live with it, decided these guys were degenerates who deserved what they got. A man has to pay their debts, right? And if they don't, there have to be consequences. But I'm back before I worked out those rationalizations, and I'm nauseous and hating myself and wanting to scream. I don't. But three of the people next to me don't have my control and start crying out like the second victim in a slasher flick. unclear why he's having flashbacks--he didn't hit his head, and he just missed the lobotomy a couple grafs up--jarring change without reason

I'm half aware of the real world, mostly blinded with pain but I can hear the Loss Prevention guys coming behind. I kick forward hard and hope, then set my foot down right on top of a caltrop. I must have dropped them all when that vision hit me, and one landed right on the skateboard itself. The pain brings the world into focus, and I can see that I'm careening not toward the exit doors but toward Husbands And Husbandry. The skateboard hits a lump and I go flying, directly towards the manure heap at the center of that department. Then somebody grabs me by the shoulder and spares me from that fate at least. It's not Loss Prevention. It's someone smaller but just as strong-gripped. I'm taken to the basement for a discussion with the head of Strategic Assessments. oh, we're done with the action?

“Just how many times did you go into the Nulgreens?” asks Gabe. He's short and has a face that my eyes refuse to focus on.

“Let's see,” I say. “Two- no, three times.”

“Ah,” he says. “That would do it. Explains everything, in fact.”

“Not to me it doesn't,” I say.

“The Voidmart® Quinte¢ents Card is more than a savings program. It's a loyalty card. It incentivizes loyalty, through probability manipulation,” says Gabe.

“So that's how they were doing it,” I say.

“The Erebesians? Yes. There's supposed to be a mental block to stop people from consciously noticing their lucky streaks after spending. It's all supposed to work on the subliminal level, but of course it was all designed for human psychology. And in your case, when you trigger the disloyalty jinx three times in a row the effects can get too powerful to ignore.”

“So what happens now?” I say. Gabe hasn't said anything about letting me go at all, and I'm starting to get nervous.

“Now?” he says. “Now I send you back to your boss with an offer.”

“One he can't refuse?”

“One he'd be a fool to refuse, at least. He can get things back to where they were, or even better. It's just a matter of loyalty.” says Gabe, leaning back in his chair. “If your organization's bookmakers start buying their supplies at the Voidmart®, their operations will go back to profitability. The Erebesians will keep winning, but they'll more than make up for it on the other side. The same goes for the rest of the organization. Next time you go to the mattresses, if they get them in Sweet Dreams and Dank Memes, things are going to go well for them.”

“I'm sensing a catch,” I say, glancing towards the Loss Prevention goons. They're lurking just behind the table, the one with a big bandage on his nose. He's heard about how it was just dumb bad luck, but he looks like he still has hard feelings left.

“Yes, very astute. Excellent. The catch is you, Mr. Bloom.” I don't say anything, just keep eye contact. “Your leader tried to use you against Voidmart®, and CEO Aqui has a very strict rule about that sort of thing. Tools used against Voidmart®, well, one of two things happen to them. Either they go away, or they end up belonging to Voidmart®.”

“That's not much of a choice,” I say.

“I thought you'd see it that way. You'll have to sell this to the Godfather of the Night, but that shouldn't be a problem. Just make it clear that your contract is a non-negotiable part of the deal.”

“What will I be doing?” I ask. The rumors about the Meat Department spring to my mind unprompted. “Collections?”

“What? No, Mafia-I can use that word, right?”

“Sure,” I said. “It's the Italians that get up in a knot over that.”

“Right. Mafia practices in that area show far too much mercy and compassion for you to be at all suitable for our Collections department. I was thinking Store Detective. We've got three- well, four, but the other three haven't managed to find the fourth one since she went missing. But there's more than enough work to go around.”
this sequence is too long and exposition-y. I don't mind most of the dialogue, but most of it seems unnecessary and isn't really adding character

I shake his hand and promise, both to him and myself, to be the most loyal employee the Voidmart® has ever seen.why?

Sep 14, 2007

I wrote more crits, because I read a lot of these damned stories.

Dr. Kloctopussy

Rules-exist-for-a-reason Abby Upson certainly breaks the rules a lot, and doesn't seem to struggle with it. I don't mind it, but I do think she could have wrestled with these decisions a bit more, if you're going to describe her that way. I do appreciate the childlike earnestness she displays in parts, but I don't know if that fits for an investigator. Or maybe it does and double down on it?

I enjoy this bureaucratic hell version of Voidmart. The lack of concern for paperwork probably doesn't hold up in a longer story, but hey, this isn't a longer story

So, she doesn't find any Unspeakable Horrors? It really was just beetles? I could have used a better punch line, in that case, or otherwise something more interesting with Unspeakable Horrors in play here

The ending is cute, but doesn't really have anything to do with the initial tension or conflict. I could have used more of that stuff.

Crab Destroyer

This went right to the deepest end of Voidmart, that's for sure.


Mark considered this a last gift to his victims.
nice little foreshadowing there, didn't pick that up the first time


The gunshot could not be mistaken for any other sound, but the Human Meats department was empty. Human Meats was almost always empty, and due to a miscalculation by Voidmart Corporate Offices, it was much larger than it needed to be.
seems like you could have built some of this in before so you don't have to explain afterward why nobody heard the shot

Why does this guy kill the butchers? I think somebody else said this, and I agree. He obviously has no problem with cannibalism. How does killing the butcher justify it? Not clear.


I told you some stuff on IRC, but I'm just going to restate the very advice that you gave me on my first story, and then didn't remember in your own story. In short, get to the action. All this other stuff can be simplified, and you can trust your readers to figure some stuff out.


Down the rabbit hole she goes, but, unfortunately, Kevin is no Mad Hatter. I also can't figure out why a robust vegetable is so important to her that she'd go to these lengths.

If you're going wacky adventure quest in a 1300 word story, you've got to really commit to it. Too much time is spent on exposition and uninteresting action at the start of this thing. She could probably start in Voidmart, experiencing wacky crap, and the story would be punchier.

Kevin gets devoured right in front of her, spraying blood all over her, and her reaction is... "Thank God, some real help"? Seems like a pretty violent death to witness while simply looking for vegetables, but yeah, I guess it would be a relief not to have to talk to Kevin anymore

Sep 14, 2007


Sep 14, 2007

Trickle-Down Economics

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BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:24 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

Losing is better than failing. I think.

Sep 14, 2007


Sep 14, 2007

Finn's -- 748 words

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BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:18 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

In, and sure, I'll take a flash rule

Sep 14, 2007

My story got rejected, because it should have been rejected, because it was a crap story about bird crap

Sep 14, 2007

Protect the Future

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BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:16 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

Here's a prompt: I challenge you to a Beef-off

Sep 14, 2007

Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Beef Stroganoff

Erogenous Beef posted:

Bring it. Who shall judge the BeefBQ?

Seems we've got a Beef Sloganoff

Okay serious business here are some crits

Peanut Milk

I like this story, even though it seems fairly inconsequential. There is no real conflict--neither in the present, with him reckoning with this suddenly dredged up memory, or in the past, with his not-quite relationship with Peanut Girl. In the end, he discards her memory pretty flippantly. I think you do a fairly good job of characterization here of Rui (I think that's your protagonist?), particularly in his social nervousness, both with these douchey coworkers and with the girl. Also, is he talking to the milk carton?

The most interesting idea here is the bit you get to with the theme park, and the idea of revisiting old memories, now diminished or even tarnished by the revisiting. Not only that, but like the theme park the interest in future interactions is diminished as well. Those are ideas worth exploring, and I do think this format works well for that.

Don't like the way you've combined these sentences: "You’re probably not that successful, although I am happy to see that you’re gracing the good brand of peanut milk, but you’re almost definitely more successful than me." Consecutive subordinate clauses is weird here. This might be a run-on?

Subject: I love you I’m sorry

I get the idea of your story, but there are some really confusing bits. This could have used another pass to look at some conflicting details. For example, in the last graf, your protag says they are going home to talk to their parents about who they're working with, but then they say they don't know if they can tell their parents about Rachel. A couple grafs before that, the protag says that their dad said "something like", then says they can remember it really well. Which is it?

Also, not giving us any details about your character here makes it hard to identify with him/her.

I don't love the text message device at the start of the story. I don't know that it adds anything except that maybe this person is a total dick, bailing on a girl they say they love without even texting back. I don't think that's what you're going for here, so I might drop it or reframe it.

The incident you describe with Adam is cartoonishly racist, as are your character's parents. I think this would benefit from some more subtlety in that department. Overall, I would say this story fails to make me empathize with the plight of this character, and a lack of realistic details or decision making is part of that.

Deadline Imminent-Please Open Immediately

You've got the seed of an interesting idea here, but the execution left me severely wanting. The details are too extreme across the board. 20 million dollars? Where did he get all that money? Especially since the implication is he's a fairly low level worker.

I don't really know why he kills himself now, as opposed to closer to the manslaughter in question. It's plausible, but you don't give any real reason why he stuck around and just now decided it was time to go.

An autistic man seeking a management position to develop his own social awareness is interesting. Some of the things you're doing format-wise and pacing wise are interesting, in light of his autism. I don't know if an autistic person would call out where his storytelling-style diverges from the norm, however. I also didn't understand why he was so distraught after he successfully carpooled everyone home.

I don't really know why the little girl had to die in this story, other than to drive the plot.

99 Songs Of Revolution

Nice streetlight reference

I'm assuming this is in response to election results? There's not a ton to say here, because it's so short. It's not tremendously original, but originality is overrated. I think the biggest problem I have is a lack of clarity on why this letter is necessary--that is, why does Murphy have to leave? I understand the motivation, but why can't Murphy bring his love along? What danger is there? Are we talking literal wars to come?

Basically, I could have used 100 more words. I don't know if there is a lot beyond that, though.

Sep 14, 2007


Sep 14, 2007

Chili posted:

I gotchu fellas. Here's what I need:

You have up to 2,000 words and until 11/22 10:00PM EDT to write me a story.

In this story, your protagonist must be a vegan. They don't necessarily have to be a bitching and moaning vegan, they can be a super chill vegan, but a vegan they must be. That lifestyle choice must be important to your story.

Toxx it up, and may the best beef be passed on, because meat is murder.

Come at me, Beef. :toxx:

Sep 14, 2007

Chili posted:

Oh and feel free to ask for a flash rule if need be.

Alright flash me

Sep 14, 2007

The Case of the Confounding Fragrance

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BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:14 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

In, 13th century AD

Sep 14, 2007

The Space Between

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:13 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

Can't disagree with that judgment. Good story, Erogenous. I humbly cede the title of King Beef, for now.

Sep 14, 2007

Edit: Erog, I'll return the favor. You'll have a crit tomorrow.

Here's the crit I promised you, Chili

General thoughts:

I understand why thranguy feels as he does about the ending. I like this idea of telling the story through the dirt, and the mostly consistent use of it, but the end doesn't hit like it should. I think some of that has to do with the jungle perspective's voice, which isn't great. I don't really know who is supposed to be telling us this story. You could have gone for a more distinct voice here, like a village storyteller, or not at all.

I also think the punchlessness of the ending has to do with Rohan's motivations and goals. I think you need to set them up earlier, and make them clearer, so that I can have thoughts about whether he failed in his task, because he didn't understand the jungle, or whether him killing the tiger would be a failure, or whatever. If the end is ambiguous, everything else should be really clear.

I am curious what you would have done with the extra 400 words from this prompt. I think there is more to say here, and those 400 words could have fleshed out Rohan and his motivations. You've got a strong core of eternal human stories--coming of age, fighting for independence, wanting to be seen as a man--but I want to know Rohan beyond the foolishness he displays here. I want more about the jungle. It was a pretty quick read, and enjoyable, and the prose is decent, but it left me wanting more. Which can be good, but not in this case.

Good idea, good structure, a couple more passes makes this story pop I think.

Chili posted:

Week CCXXIV: I Wanna Dome You Like An Animal
Tiger - Flash rule: The hunter doesn't know what he's really hunting.

From The Earth - 800 Words

To understand a jungle, look to the ground. Don't know how much this sentence adds. Second sentence tells us this anyway. While there are trees that reach for the heavens, and birds that call out to the gods, any worthwhile story is told amidst the dirt.

The petrified curls of bark that litter the ground tells verb agreement issue--'the curls tell'of a tree overcome with gypsy moths that burrowed, gnawed, and murdered a once proud banyan tree. They will rob i think this should be 'robbed' not only that tree of its life but the lives of the birds nested in its towering limbs.

The corpse of a macaque monkey, by that same tree, tells not only of a chaotic territory dispute that began as a simple misunderstanding but stretched into a bloodbath when one macaque missed a vine and landed in the wrong place. this sentence needs to be reorganized--the structure gets in the way of the story. Does not deliver on the structure established by 'tells not only'

And a brook, cut with a streak of crimson, tells the story of a young boy, desperate to be seen as a man. I agree with thranguy: this is a strong opening section. I like this device.


Rohan bounds forward, leaving shallow imprints, yards apart, in the loose earth of the Kamyaka. The corpse of the macaque and the curls of bark fail to capture his attention as he darts in between the boscage.I like this because it tells me a lot about Rohan, and his level of understanding of the jungle--not great, it would appear He crunches through leaves and squishes through soil; his feet stain brown. good continued emphasis on the ground

There is no mother here to warn him or father to judge him. Rohan is finally free. this graf is a problem because it seems to set up different goals than the rest of the story--isn't he still trying to prove himself to them? should have established his goal here

His feet splash into a creek. He pauses for a moment to drink. He hears a sound off in the distance. It’s faint at first, but it grows in volume and desperation. Rohan recalls a memory of his father identifying such a noise as a gaur’s call. this sentence does not flow well. too choppy for no real reason

Rohan finds purpose. Dripping wet from his break, his toes prune and grip the earth firmly. His purchase improves and he moves faster. And faster. The distant sound draws closer. He will soon be upon his prey. He will soon be returning to his family with a horn. He will soon be considered a man.

Another creek. He spots the gaur downstream. It lies as no beast ever should. As it writhes in the mud, its limbs jut in strange directions. Then, it stops. The gaur dies.

On the balls of his feet, and slowly, Rohan approaches the carcass. This is not his kill, but a kill is not his charge. Returning home with a gaur horn is enough, the details are inconsequential. man, for someone presumably raised in close proximity to the forest, Rohan is not too smart

Sawing a horn off is not easy, especially with a dull knife. Rohan dispatches bad verb choice--dispatch connotes quickness or efficiency, usually the bulk of his remaining strength and focus, and after the better part of an hour, he earns his horn.

Prize in hand, Rohan takes a moment and regards the corpse of the gaur. Slash marks pepper its belly, and a large bite imprint marks the neck of the great beast.seriously, not too smart Not Rohan’s kill, indeed. He places the horn in his satchel and turns on the spot. The sun sets. The air chills. I found this too sudden a change--no clue that the temperature was dropping, or that he hadn't been paying attention

The time to return is a distant memory. It is too cold and too dark for safe travel. Rohan must survive a night in the Kamyaka. Speed and momentum no longer serve Rohan. He must be still. He must be smart. He must find warmth. His environment no longer a whipping image of green and brown blurs, Rohan is lost. The soles of his feet, finally bearing the weight of his stationery body, press into shards of rock. He bleeds. is he moving and looking for shelter? is he standing and looking around? needs better blocking

Tiger notices.

could use some more focus on what's going on with the ground. since that is the device you set up in the beginning, you should maintain it's use throughout


Tiger waits in the brush, her stomach churns, and moans. Her hunting wound under her jaw festers and oozes. She does not know if, upon trying to eat her kill, she will possess the strength to rend the gaur's flesh from its bones. why was she waiting and not already eating the gaur? did the gaur give her the wound?

But this small creature? That is entirely possible. She considers him further. He lies down. This will be easy.

Tiger moves through the creek, and towards the small creature. Her paws numb in the chill of the water. She bows her head. The water soothes her as streaks of crimson color the brook.

Standing again, feeling stronger, Tiger continues to stalk her sleeping target. Within moments, she is upon him. gives more sense of dramatic action than the rest of this graf He lies still as she sniffs his hair and continues down his body until she reaches his blood soaked feet. She laps at them.

Rohan wakes.


The ground tells us what happens next. More blood, of course, but the smaller things: broken branches, shallow trenches in the earth, and a lone dull knife show the story instead of telling it.

Our impulse tells us to seek the details; who lived, and who died? None of that matters in the jungle. For the jungle still lives; it always lives. can probably ditch this

What matters is Rohan came into the wilderness a boy and left, one way or another, as a man.

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 09:40 on Nov 23, 2016

Sep 14, 2007

Kaishai posted:

and BeefSupreme's "The Bear and the Snake" aloud, and the latter especially is a treat.

While I would love the dramatic reading and criticism, that particular story does not belong to me. It belongs to beige, as far as I can tell.

And I'm gonna have to DQ this week--family stuff crowded out my writing time. I'll have something, but it will be late.

Sep 14, 2007

Chili posted:

Beef Supreme requested I line crit this story as opposed to his brawl sub, so here it is.

This is great criticism. Thanks. Get Chili to crit your stuff.

Erogenous Beef posted:

Ok, so, on the whole, this is a decent character-driven piece. I have a few macro-level criticisms to level at it.

This is also great criticism. Thanks.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to give your brawl entry the crit it deserves, though I can offer a few general comments. When I get back from vacation, if you want a legit line-crit, I'll give you one.

Garden Variety

Overall, I quite liked this piece. I love me a good dystopia, so you had me invested right away. This idea of veganism run rampant seems a relevant idea in this era of political extremism. I think the length of this piece fits the potential depth of a dystopia focusing on veganism, however--don't really think there are many more places to go.

My main criticism stems from a lack of clarity of the motivations of your character. It's apparent from the get go that Chelsea is a hipster vegan, which you develop well through tone and the relationship with Verne. However, I felt as if her disgust at the burning of the leather was abrupt. Even though I knew she was in this movement for the cultural cachet, there was no hint that she was not fully committed to the cause. Could have used a line earlier suggesting this, or a line suggesting that perhaps she is surprised by her feelings in that moment.

I also could have used some evidence that Chelsea is secretly a meat lover, or was at one point. The use of color (a la The Giver) is a good device, and it makes sense in the context of the story. But where does the compulsion come from for her? Was she formerly a meat lover? Is it pure instinct? An answer there significantly strengthens Chelsea as a character, in my view.

Good dystopian fiction. Good joke ending. Like Chili said, it's a risk, but it lands.

Sep 14, 2007

I know you were all waiting with bated breath for my return. In. Flash.

Sep 14, 2007

Mean Things

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:11 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

In, and also I'll give someone a line crit for my bounty if someone claims it by tomorrow

Sep 14, 2007

okay widespread you get a crit since you dm'd

widespread posted:

Silver Nitride Is A Hell Of A Thing.
Words: 503.

The smoke rapidly filled the laboratory. Everyone was running away from the room, in various coughing fits. One man in particular fell face first onto the tile ground just as he cleared the doorway. The action here isn't strong enough. We're in the aftermath of a seemingly disastrous event, but it's described blandly. Need more/better imagery

“Jackson! What on Earth has gotten into you?” a voice boomed from inside the lab. “It’s only day one of the experiment, and you’ve hosed everything up!”

“Sorry, professor,” the man on the ground replied. “I must have misread the labels or something.”

A man then stepped out of the smoke which man? the one with the booming voice? confusing attributions, coughing with a cut along his cheek. The cut was fresh, and trickling blood.

“Whatever it may be, it certainly will ban you from any lab experiments for the rest of the semester. And judging from that volatile reaction, this semester’s been cut short!”

Jackson had to look around at his fellow classmates. Some of them had a few cuts on their arms, legs, and faces. One even had a hand over their eye, clutching and rubbing it in pain. I still don't actually know what happened. Did something explode? you never actually tell us anything

“I’m sorry! I couldn’t tell it was ammonia! The label didn’t mention-“

“It’s called studying, Jackson! And you wouldn’t have multiple casualties if you knew not to mess around with the sample!” Did he mess around with the sample? still don't know.

“But it looked similar to the actual testing compound-“

“But nothing. Get out of my sight. And hope that these kids live to see their own graduation!” seriously what the hell happened


Jackson slumped against the bench. He was certain that there needed to be labels in the lab. But no, no labels to designate what was a silver compound and what wasn’t. I agree with him. There should be labels. Am I supposed to blame the school at this point? To make matters worse, his phone was constantly buzzing. Whether it was a news update or texts from his fellow classmates, he knew that this confusion screwed him out of a degree. But then I don't think 'but' is the right choice here--there isn't an apparent relationship between what happens immediately before and after the 'but', an email notification went off. Jackson quickly checked his phone to see who would email him at a time like this. I might think an email would carry more dread than surprise, considering his thoughts and the circumstances

It was an automated message that's cold from the school. And inside, as Jackson found out, was the following message: totally unnecessary

“Due to an unforeseen circumstance, this is bad phrasing--seems as if the unforeseen circumstance is responsible for them regretting to inform him, and not for the expelling. Also, i wouldn't call this an unforeseen circumstance; due to his recent actions or something else we regret to inform you that you have been expelled and barred from applying next semester,” the message started. Seems pretty unlikely they would expel a student the same day (is this the same day?) without any kind of judicial review or something Jackson couldn’t finish the email. The guilt of possibly injuring several students permanently was enough. In a fit of rage, he lobbed his phone far away from him. The phone had don't know why you change tenses here landed right in front of a grounds worker’s moving lawnmower. As soon as the device disappeared under the machine, a series of clanks and thumps resonated throughout the area. Before Jackson knew, his phone was launched from the lawnmower and right at his head.


“… not long after the lab incident, a foreman witnessed what he considered a ‘freak phenomenon’,” the reporter said.

“I didn’t know he threw the phone in my direction,” the foreman spoke. “I tend to listen to music as I work the lawns, plus the phone looked like a rock to me.”

“Doctors report that the victim- one Jackson Palade- suffered instant death through an excess of immediate cranial trauma. Back to you in the studios.” well, that came out of nowhere

Looking back at the prompt, I don't know that this really fulfills it. I never get the sense that Jackson is incompetent or in over his head. He clearly screws up (I think), unless these compounds are actually unlabeled, which is totally not chill in a lab. Again, I don't really know. I don't even know enough about Jackson to draw any meaningful conclusions either way. Part of the problem is I have no idea what actually happened, as I said a couple of times above. Seems like maybe he mixed the wrong two compounds together? A couple of sentences really could have cleared things up.

And if lab work is beyond his capabilities, how did he get in to the lab? An experiment, especially one in which the professor knows this student's name on day one, would seemingly be hard to get into on false pretenses. Why get into this lab? Is it particularly prestigious? I have a lot of questions, and not the good kind.

And why does he die in this story? And it's still not due to any sort of incompetence. It's really just bad, bad luck. It's not an earned death in the framework of this story. And I don't even really care, because, again, I know next to nothing about Jackson.

There is an interesting story in there about someone doing science who should not be doing science, but that is not the story we got.

Sep 14, 2007

Beef-Actual, this is Beef, requesting a flash rule, over.

Sep 14, 2007

A Christmas Feast

Removed. You can still find these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:09 on Jan 3, 2017

Sep 14, 2007

In. I'm ready to Fight Father Time.


Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to let it show. There are all sorts of new procedures and products aimed at waging war against aging. Don’t go down without a fight and keep those youthful good looks as long as you can!

Sep 14, 2007

Chairchucker posted:

Here come (some of?) the last crits of 2016.

Some of is right

Thunderdome 2017teen: Crit more

Crits from The War, On Christmas


Your story does not work, at all. It starts with the fact that it is impossible to tell what is going on. Where are we, when are we, who the hell is talking? What are these character’s names? What in the hell is happening? Is he a time traveler? Is he dreaming? Is he on a spaceship? It’s basically impossible to understand.

I’m also not sure your story actually hits the prompt, which is a war affected by Christmas. Can’t see much of either here, except for the word Christmas twice, and some oblique mentions of war-type things.

In spots, you have good words. The problem is, your words are all jumbled up. I’m pretty sure you ran out of time, but you’ve got to tidy this stuff up.

I think this is supposed to indicate that the mug is sweating OJ, but it is incredibly unclear. "orange-juice-sweating" would help, but I don't know why I care that the mug is sweating OJ.


he drank his orange juice sweating, festive mug

This sentence is bad. You've got an unclear antecedent, since there are technically two possibilities for who chewed away on automatic. Since I know the grandfather is eating, and it's closest to him, I know that it should refer to him; even so, it makes the reader have to do work that you don't need them to. Unless you're intentionally being confusing in this story, which, well, good job. Also, if "at the two portraits" is supposed to give us an idea of what else John looks at, either he looks at the portrait (so say that), or he looks at anything but his grandfather, in which case, tell us some more things.


It was weird and John stared at anything but his grandfather as he chewed away on automatic, at the two portraits sitting on the wall.

Besides the slight but strange tonal detour this story takes right about here, this sentence is bad. I know you're writing it as it might be said out loud, but this is bad dialogue. Strange that he'd say "heck" and "loving" in the same sentence.


Heck, I - I'd let you forget that, do let you forget, so eat your loving cornflakes. I don't need this.

Lol come on man. Six fucks, seven lines. It's not as expressive a word as you seem to think.


"gently caress."

"gently caress."

And after a minute. "gently caress.[...]"

"Fuckit,[...]. loving [...]"


"gently caress."

Final thought: gently caress


I like this story. I think it was one of the stronger entries this week. I’ve got some quibbles with your language in places, which I’ll go through below. Overall, I could have used just a tad more characterization of these guys. I think we’re supposed to root for these guys because Mockwood represents the rich politicians pulling the levers of war, but I don’t think we get enough to actually identify with Rocke and Seet in their coup attempt.

This feels a bit like an alternate timeline WWII set in the US (based on the politician titles), I think you could leverage existing knowledge of the war if you more clearly identified the setting. That could help with establishing the audience’s favor. If it’s NOT supposed to refer to WWII, making clear the conditions of war could, again, help us to sympathize.

Language stuff:

You use this construction twice. There are times when it works, but I don’t like either instance of it here.


their hedges were still trimmed, and the paint on the walls was still pristine, and strings of colorful lights bathed the pathway to the front door in holiday cheer


They hadn’t expected seeing use the infinitive: to see an armed suit

I don’t like this sentence. Starting with “but” feels flat. Maybe “in the process, however,” or incorporate “simultaneously” or something. Anyway, don’t like it as is.


But he took return fire

This next bit happens immediately after that and it feels like it’s missing a piece of blocking. When did they enter the living room? Or are they not in the living room? Immediately after this it’s clear that they are in the living room, but it talks about opening the door, not barricading it.


The pounding on the door started just as they’d finished their makeshift barricade. The cabinet held firm.[quote]

Since I’m pretty sure this story is from Seet’s perspective, this sentence doesn’t quite make sense. How does Seet know what Rocke started to say? I’d say you could use gunfire to literally cut Rocke off, here.
[quote] “We don’t have time for this poo poo,” Rocke started to say.

You repeat this construction twice, but it isn’t significant enough to add anything—in fact, I think it detracts in this case. Either restructure, or use it more (don’t think it’s strong enough for that, though)


Somewhere along the way Rocke bled out on the floor. Somewhere along the way more bullets slammed past him.

That’s all nitpicky stuff, but I think another revision would significantly strengthen this story.


A pattern has emerged in all of your stories: you need to work on your punctuation. Often, you put commas where you need periods, or vice versa; your punctuation in and around dialogue often makes it difficult to read. If you want, for your next story, I’d be willing to give you an edit before you sub.

Overall, I think this particular story suffers from a few big picture issues.

1) There is no conflict, really. Obviously, there is a war going on, but we get no real sense of it. Some imagery here might do the trick. But in the plot of this particular story, no conflict happens for any of the major characters. It might be a function of the warm, fuzzy Christmas feel you’re going for, but it needs something more.
2) Your characters are all flat. They don’t all have to be round, but you need at least one or two. None of your characters, though, are complex in any way. This story needs some context. Who is Walter, and where did he come from? Where are his parents? What have these characters lost, due to the war? Something.
3) In general, we have no sense of the war. Is the ceasefire likely to last? I have no idea, because I have no sense of either side, or the conditions of the war, either in the past or at present. Mostly, we don’t feel the war in any specific way. Makes it hard to feel for the characters, either.

I don’t think this story works as is. The idea of a kid who befriends a group of soldiers getting them gifts is fine, even potentially interesting, but you need more than you’ve got here.


This story is goodish. Not sure it quite hits the prompt (where is the holiday? I guess the soldier letting him run is a Christmas miracle?). The stories I’ve read of yours (not many) all do a good job of establishing specific elements of the characters involved; that is true here. You can feel the refugee’s (?) fear and desperation. You can feel the animalistic nature of the soldier. That’s done with good consistent imagery.

I’m not sure what to make of your verb tenses. Obviously, you’re playing with them on purpose, but I am not sure how I feel about them, whether the future tense adds anything substantive to the story. Maybe it paints a picture of a continuous reality, in which predator hunts prey, or something? Might work. Might not.


This is a nice little story. Maybe a little bit of a stretch, but does a nice job of relating the seriousness with which children take the things they do, the things that happen to them. Overall, I like it.

A couple of problems. One, you’ve got a few typos. Nothing major, but missing letters are distracting (officers, hand).

Two (and I acknowledge that this might be a reader problem), there is a tone shift when your protag gets hit by the rock snowball. Before that, despite the comparisons to real war, the tone is pretty light. The protag is telling a nice little story about the Snowball Wars, with no hint that War Is Hell is coming down the pipe, which you might expect a storyteller to let you know up front.


Story doesn’t work for me. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It kind of just is. The biggest problem for me is that I have no clear sense of what’s going on, and I can’t see a reason that I shouldn’t. Being vague about story details works if the story is generalizable, i.e. it could be about any war. This one is clearly about a specific war, but I don’t know anything about it, except we’re fighting (North?) Korea? I sure know a lot about what these dudes are getting their kids for Christmas, but not why he can’t give him a spaceman figure now. What is the plan? Why are the satellites down?

The ending also really does not work for me. It’s abrupt, and gives no good sense of direction. Obviously he’s going to see if his family is safe. But that line of dialogue is not strong enough to end on. I need something more.

Overall, not enough detail, and not enough anything else to make up for that lacking detail (i.e. Boaz-Jachim’s story). Also, not really an ending.

Benny Profane

At first, I definitely did not get your story. I think now I do? I still think I might be missing the historical context to make this story work better for me. Your language is decent, though stumbles at times. Don’t like this sentence: “The crowd did not part in advance of his approach, but permitted his passage as he slid between their bodies”. Are they moving or not? I’m not sure if that sentence achieves anything, really, which I feel about some of the imagery in general.

To me, it appears this story is about a man unwelcoming to the increasingly inevitable Carthaginian influence (obviously, re: Carthago delenda est), a fact that will be (is?) his downfall. That assumes that the curved golden-handled blade on a purple pillow is particularly Carthaginian, which I don’t know.

Ultimately, I don’t know what to do with your story. It’s too vague in the contextual details, given that the specifics of Roman-Carthaginian conflicts are hardly common knowledge. And ultimately, there’s no real ending here, without having a specific knowledge of the meaning that blade. Which I don’t have.

Lead out in cuffs

Whoa this got dark in a hurry. Anyway, not a bad story. I think in the middle to upper tier for the week, from what I’ve read. Does a good job of setting up important details, decent dialogue, fine pacing. I understand the characters pretty quickly.

John is pretty cartoonishly evil, which I guess is a danger of short stories. The things that his character does are terrible; you’ve got to make us buy that people would stick around him. Maybe it’s just because he can provide for these two women, but to me, he needs some charm or some other magnetic quality. Idk, maybe that’s just me though.

Also put another line breaks between those grafs. You do it for like half the story; do it for all of it.

Baleful Osmium Sea

This is fine. Well realized within the bounds of the world you have set up. Biggest problem I have is the seeming lack of explanation for why Jeohavhai suddenly becomes bloodthirsty and hateful. Isn’t foreshadowed at all and seems fairly out of character for him.

Also, is rabbit hunting a holiday tradition I am unaware of? I know about Wren Day in England, but not something about rabbits. Or perhaps you have invented your own holiday, which would make sense in the context of this story. I’m thinking that’s it.

Sep 14, 2007

Katdicks -- Ashes

Crit for a newbie!

Sitting Here gave you a good crit already, and I generally agree with it. This is an OK story, and compared to my first entry, quite good. Below, I've included some thoughts about specific portions of your story. Here are my general thoughts:

• The story is generally lacking in consequences. Despite it being about a bomb detonation, aside from a collapsed building, everything we encounter survives. Not saying it needs to be a gorefest, but if the consequences are as dire as your protag feels they are, we need to feel it to. I think that would make the ending feel more gratifying, as well.
• Like SH said, your characters are flat. Why are we following THIS guy, and not some other guy? If it’s supposed to be an everyman tale (which, maybe it is, since we don’t get a name), I think you’d need more details to deliver that. We need some specifics about the experience that these characters have. And a couple of times, as I’ll mention below, you have opportunities for that but you decline to use them.
• Pretty decent action choreography, which can be challenging. Never had any real trouble understanding where I was, Though I do think you could fix your initial description of the house in some small ways.


I chased the sound and arrived, panting, at the remains of a home. The second floor had crumbled, and the weight of it had demolished two of the four outside walls.As becomes clear momentarily, it’s not the entire house. be specific: which side of the house? Which walls? I found an entry point through a window in one of the standing walls which one? and heaved myself into what had been a bedroom, mostly intact save for the dangerously warped ceiling. The sounds led me out of the room and to the end of the hallway, where the outside wall stood to my right, the collapsed portion of the house to my left, and straight in front of me, a single small is where I had to flip the house, because earlier you left me to imagine the building but now you give specifics.
• I generally have a hard time buying the sappy, happy ending, but (despite my criticisms above) I do in this case. Overall, this story works.

Specific thoughts:

Pretty heavy with the description of this delicate flower. Too much for me.


My wife gave me a warm embrace, kissed me softly on the cheek, and stepped back from me. Her jaw clenched as she picked up the scuffed white helmet, the mark of my trade, with her delicate hands. Her brows furrowed and she stared up at me with dark, doe eyes.

I don't know how much this prologue does for you, other than introducing the character of his wife and telling us that it is currently holiday. Like SH, I don't love the stuff where the protag sees his wife's face, finds the strength to go on, etc. And this section is pretty clearly only here to provide that character for your protag. I think you could give us a lot of this detail as the protag rides to the bombsite, or as he sits waiting for the alarm. The first advice I received upon arriving in the dome is start your story where it gets interesting. Not sure this is that place. Also, the dialogue could be used here to deliver some of the character description this story is lacking (like SH said), because as is, it is pretty cliché.


“Today there will be peace, right? For the Prophet’s birthday?” We could hear the chatter from the crowds outside beginning to form. Soon there would be raucous chanting to signal the beginning of Mawlid. When I was a child, the noise excited me. Now, it only reminds me of what I could lose.need something here. Has he lost something? Is he afraid of losing his wife? What could he lose? I yearned for the silence and the peace that it indicates. should be indicated, since it apparently no longer indicates that. Also, I am pretty sure "it" refers to the noise, so I'm not clear how noise could indicate silence.

“Yes, and I will celebrate with you, my love,” I swallowed my longing, “after I return from my duty.”

The elegant line of her body slumped, and her head slowly nodded. After a moment, she raised her sad eyes to mine again and smiled.

“Then return safely.”


I met with my fellow White Hats in our rescue center. We talked and ate, all the time dreading the call to action.I think you could stand to show us the ways this manifests. Maybe it affects the way they go about their daily routine, or something. Make us feel it. The sun rose directly above us, and we began our prayers. We prayed aloud for peace and for our love of Mohammad to be shown through our work. In my head, I prayed selfishly to return to my wife. We sat in hopeful silence after the midday prayers.

Then we were called. Good.


The eight of us hurried out of our makeshift ambulance and into the center of the bomb site, marked by a large crater and thick smoke. We quickly surveyed the destruction. waste of words, especially after you describe the bombsite

I think the lack of consequences could be replaced by mention of previously felt consequences, which you allude to here. Maybe give us more, give us a specific memory, something.


The crying stopped, and for a moment I sat motionless, entirely numb and cold. My mind rushed with memories of past failed rescues, of the bodies, the screams.

Sep 14, 2007


Removed. You can still find these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:04 on Jan 3, 2017


Sep 14, 2007

a new study bible! posted:

yeah Djeser's is good too

I'm on this train

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