Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

In with a :toxx: and a Bowie song if you please, Sitting Here.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Clubbing
1454 Words
Song: Moonage Daydream


Removed for posterity. Seek it in the Archive.

docbeard fucked around with this message at 17:27 on Jan 2, 2017

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Titus82 posted:

Titus." Don't.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

I am a superfan of A FIre Upon The Deep, and thus a superfan of he who bears the name of one of that book's characters. PHAM NUWEN 3:16

The inevitable Ockian victory will, as big Sports victories do, result in a worldwide age of technological and spiritual enlightenment, and while even the wisest among us cannot truly see beyond the Singularity to the bright future that awaits us, we can be pretty sure there will be wormholes and poo poo.

poo poo, certainly.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

In the interest of being part of the solution (cuz I know full well how time can get away from judges):

I am offering three critiques this week. Any T-dome story from 2016 (or hell, December 2015 too) is fair game. Claim them while the getting's good. Reciprocation is appreciated, but not required. A link to the story you want critted is also appreciated (and required).

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Also, I'm in. Hit me with some drama and a stereotype.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Oh, and for whatever nods to a shared universe that happen, my story will also prominently feature the school nurse.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

docbeard posted:

I am offering three critiques this week. Any T-dome story from 2016 (or hell, December 2015 too) is fair game. Claim them while the getting's good. Reciprocation is appreciated, but not required. A link to the story you want critted is also appreciated (and required).

So did anyone want any crits or what

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Outlier
1,450 words
Flash Rules: Stereotype: The snitch (+50 words). Drama: Gross, someone peed in your bag of chips!!! (+100 words).


Removed for posterity. Seek it out in the archive. No, don't.

docbeard fucked around with this message at 17:26 on Jan 2, 2017

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Thank you, Titus, for your critique. And absolutely do not feel like you (this goes for everyone, old guard and newbies alike) don't have anything to offer in the form of criticism. As sebmojo posted earlier, that's why we're all here. Hearing what people, as many different people as possible, have to say about our stories, for good or for ill, is pretty much the only reason to keep doing this week after week.

And speaking of crits, I promised some.

Invisible Fortress - sebmojo

The idea of the person who sees a reality that others cannot, either because he's delusional or because the world is in fact that hosed up is well-tread territory but this is a solid (if not necessarily innovative) take on that premise.

I feel like the idea of the thought fortress needed either to be expanded upon or dropped completely, because as it was it felt like it was just kind of there (and that probably just as an acknowledgement of the prompt). I got that it was meant to be some kind of buffer or coping mechanism between your protagonist and the Infestation but it never quite made it there for me.

Beyond that, though, there really aren't any stakes here that I can see. He briefly flirts with the idea that his delusions aren't real, and then, whoops, lol, yes they are (or no they aren't). I'm a fan of ambiguity in fiction (more so than some in Thunderdome, I think) but, again, I don't think you've committed hard enough to the premise, resulting in what feels to me like a very slight piece.

Playing With Your Food - Djeser

It took me a moment to figure out what you meant by Michael never having seen his house from the floor. Aside from that, you capture the moment-to-moment stuff in this story well; I understand and believe Michael's desperation and fear and pain.

There isn't any real context here, though. A werewolf has attacked Michael, and is toying with him. That's a fine start, but there's nothing especially satisfying to me about leaving it there. I could guess that the werewolf is someone he knows from his job, given that that's the only thing Michael's really thinking about beyond his immediate situation, but there's really nothing to suggest that beyond expediency, and nothing to suggest it would make a difference if it were true.

I did like this, but I would like it better if it were rooted in something.

Bedrock Bottom - Entenzahn

I'm not one to throw around accusations of fanfiction (because I largely don't care, and because the story absolutely stands on its own merits) but goddamn I could see this as a Dwarf Fortress game.

That first sentence is one hell of a load-bearing sentence, and I think breaking it up would make it more effective. You've got three or four distinct ideas in that sentence, and they're all kind of muddled together. (This is a problem I fight a lot myself.)

I don't think you need both "Orik, son of Grimbart" and "Grimbart, father of Orik". You've established the relationship the first time, and while I get that you're using the "name, descriptor" construction as a dwarven thing, it just comes across as awkward here. Your various descriptions of Lobi are a much better use of this device.

Grimbart's arc from revolutionary to tyrant is believable (within the context of the fantasy), and pretty satisfying. If there's one thing I wish, it's that there were more to the other characters than just names and events, but this is Grimbart's story, so fair enough.

It's not the most compelling thing ever, but it's a solid story and I enjoyed reading it.

Point Made - Pantothenate

I did only offer three critiques, but what the hell, I'm home sick today.

A few mechanical issues aside, your prose is good, and I think you sell the idea of knitting as a competitive sport pretty well, even if it does feel a bit like you took a boxing story and did a quick search-and-replace. I think it's fine, just on the right side of classic vs cliche, but I'd have been more satisfied if it were a bit more its own thing.

That is, I think it's fine right up until the end. It's not that Ethan's not a fully fleshed-out character; he's a little thin, a little stock, but he feels well-realized enough. I don't really think you did much to even hint at a "Ethan snaps and murders his opponent" ending, and something like that really cannot come out of nowhere. It can, and arguably should, be a surprise, but it needs to be a surprise that makes sense when you look back, and this really doesn't. Even with Ethan being driven to near violence against his coach, I just don't buy it.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Thanks for the critiques, Twist!

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Thank you all for the critiques.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Nowhere to go but up. Or laterally, I suppose. Or further down is always an option.

Nowhere to go but in a direction.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Lizards Stop Pandering

"Oh my goodness, a talking iguana," said the man.

"You suck and I hate you," said the iguana.

"Well you're hardly going to convince anyone with that attitude," said the man.

"gently caress you," said the iguana.

(This all happened on Twitter so nobody noticed or cared.)

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

In with a :toxx:.

Hit me with a flash song.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Men Over Mission
1,078 Words
E-Bow The Letter


Edited for posterity. Seek it in the Archive.

docbeard fucked around with this message at 17:29 on Jan 2, 2017

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

In.

In light of the horrors I produced the last time I asked you for a flash rule I AM TOTALLY ASKING YOU FOR A FLASH RULE.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

No more entries from me til I post a redemption story for both this week and at least one other week that I've failed.

Also I feel like doing some crits this week. Three for the asking, doesn't have to be this week though I'd prefer something recent. Just link me to the story you want critted.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

newtestleper posted:

Yes please doc! I may be polishing this up to enter in a competition due 30 April.
http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4693&title=Standing+Water.

Mechanically, this is tight. I think the ďitísĒ at the start of your fourth paragraph should probably be ďitĒ, and there are a few places here and there that want commas, but this is otherwise one of those rare pieces where every word choice successfully contributes to the tone youíre establishing.

Itís obviously not a traditional narrative, and there are no characters to speak of, but as a collection of imagery, this works for me. Each of ďyourĒ visions is well-described, though Iím not quite sure whatís going on with the last one. I wish there were more of a through-line though; aside from the loose theme of parents and children and views from pools of liquid, Iím not seeing much of a thematic connection, and if thereís not a connection, Iím not sure what the point is.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

sparksbloom posted:

Would you mind taking a look at this one?

The first piece is simple, sharp, and engaging. Itís always completely clear whatís happening and why. Iíd like a little more nuance to Miriam; though her actions feel real enough given the circumstances, Iíd like more of a sense of whatís going on inside her. Is her matter-of-fact confrontation of Tom a facade? Is she angry? Scared? Miserable? I could believe all of those but Iíd like to see it. Iíd also like (after having read the rest of this) to have seen the dual nature of the panalala be acknowledged here somehow, as I think thatís your hook across the other two stories, though Iíll admit Iím not sure how you manage that without making Tom more of a villain than he appears.

The sharp transition of style in the second piece threw me, and while it unambiguously signals that weíre somewhere new, Iím not sure it otherwise works to your benefit. I love the ending, I love the way you relate exactly what Alekaiís mother did, but the setup of the dual nature of the panalala fruit is a little too much infodump, a little too ďas you know, ProfessorĒ. Again, I think giving us a more personal look at the situation, perhaps through Alekaiís eyes, would make this a much stronger work. As it is, I feel like Iím reading a plot summary for the first half.

The third piece is more personal in exactly this way, and stronger for it. It also does a good job of building off the revelations in the earlier pieces, though Iím not entirely satisfied by the linkages here (more on this in a second). Jaredís only vaguely sketched out, but I think we know everything we need to, and Miyakoís perceptions of him and everything else are really the important thing here, and you sell those well.

So. Three pretty solid tiny stories with a common thread. How do they tie together? Well, as I hinted, I think the links are pretty weak. Thatís not necessarily a bad thing; each of these stories stands well on its own, and if you had to err in a direction, thatís the one to go in. But Iím not sure what Iím meant to take away from these three stories, presented together as they are (except ďdonít eat panalala if you arenít a gambling sortĒ). And thatís not a big deal; each of these stories has a good amount of merit. It just left me dissatisfied.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Critiques For Eurovision Week:

Some general notes before we get started:

For the most part, I didn't consider what ties there were to the video/song in question when evaluating these stories. There's one story, maybe two, where I'll even reference it, but even there it was a minor consideration for me. (One of the perks of being non-head judge is that you don't have to give a poo poo about the prompt.)

I don't think there was a single story this week that didn't have some aspect that I liked, and I don't think there was a single story this week that didn't have something that frustrated the poo poo out of me.

ENDINGS. Always a bit tricky for Thunderdome, and my own entries are no exception, but this week it was a minor miracle when a story even ended rather than just stopping, much less when it ended with something that wasn't just a bizarre non sequitur.

YOU MADE ME DO THIS - Sitting Here

This is one of the times I'm going to reference the song. So you were assigned a performance that just took the piss out of Eurovision, and I was expecting/maybe even hoping for a story that would do the same for Thunderdome. This wasn't (mostly) that story, and that may have been for the best but I'll confess to a bit of wistful consideration of what might have been.

I don't think there's anything blatantly wrong with this story, but I don't think there's much here that makes it noteworthy, either. I did find Maria's spite-driven encouragement of Cillian just interesting enough to engage me. Cillian was kind of a bog-standard Tormented Artist (to the point where I just made myself smile picturing him as Mark Heap's character in Spaced) but Maria had a little more to her, and I appreciated that.

The plot was clear and straightforward, which is not a thing I'll be saying very often this week. The ending was not entirely satisfying to me, which is. Like, I get that Maria's taking Cillian's meltdown as an impetus to get off her own rear end and start working, but I really think it could have hit harder.

REALISM - Toxxupation


So, nothing much happens in this story. I have a fairly loose standard for what constitutes things happening, but really, nothing much happens in this story, and specifically, nothing much changes, not within Ekaterina's flashbacks, not in the present-day framing device of her college orientation, and not really even in the transitions between the two.

Ekaterina is the only thing even resembling a character here, and she's just barely not a cipher. I know she's an introvert (because you tell me) and that she's not sure she wants to make the leap from hobbyist to professional artist (because you tell me), but there's no sense of conflict or drive to her at all that I can see. I added that last qualifier in particular because I feel like there is something buried here, that you had something in mind for her that just didn't quite make it onto the page. I can even make a couple of guesses (her reaction to the loud noise, the reference to her being Georgian that you used as your ending) but there's subtle (which I love) and there's totally requiring your reader to project their own story onto the page (which I do not love),.

As it is, I have no sense of her as a person, no sense of why she went from staying inside drawing pictures of the people around her to traveling halfway across the world to attend college, and ultimately why I should care about any of this.

I did smile at the inevitable SO WHAT'S YOUR MAJOR question being one of the things that propelled her into flashback, though.

THE FINAL LOGS OF DOCTOR OMEGA - Thranguy

I liked this considerably more than either of the other judges did, but it's not without its issues.

Your narrator has a strong voice. Perhaps too strong; you could dial back the bombast and (especially) the technical stuff by about 30-40% without losing anything. I love over-the-top supervillain stuff, though, and you risk losing that portion of your audience that isn't similarly predisposed.

The biggest problem here is The Moment. It's naturally going to be a bit tricky to establish her as both a person and a setting, but I have absolutely no sense of the relationship between her and Doctor Omega, and when your story's climax hinges on that relationship, that's a problem.

In a way, I think you set the trap you ultimately fell into; I get the sense (and the song certainly lends credence to this idea) that he had feelings for The Moment that he wasn't aware of until the last minute, but that's only a guess. There's nothing in his words or his actions to suggest that before the sacrifice, and, again, there's nothing to her at all aside from a vague hint that she's got some kind of personal grudge with Fafnir The Plot Device Dragon Superhero.

You could turn this into something genuinely cool with some effort. It's not there yet.

LOOKING FOR PARADISE - DurianGray

So I don't know if you've heard about these new things called "names", but they're a really good way to make your characters distinct from each other. For a while I thought maybe you were building toward a shock "AND THEIR NAMES WERE ADAM AND EVE AND LIEUTENANT SNAKE SNAKINGTON" ending (thank you for not doing this, at least not blatantly).

I wanted to like this. Your premise has merit, and you stage it pretty well, but the resolution absolutely makes no sense, the characters are flat, and did I mention that the resolution makes no sense? So Armor Goddess is pissed both about the sacrifices and about the lieutenant (sort of) putting a stop to them? Not that I actually have any idea what the lieutenant was doing, or why, or what the significance was of the man who ran away or what happened to him (I guess the Goddess murdered him herself for some reason) or, oh, anything really. It's a story that looks solid enough at the surface level, but if you prod at it at all, it all falls apart.

I would focus most on your characters and their motivations. The lieutenant, in whose head we spend the most time, doesn't really express what she wants or is trying to accomplish. So when she finally acts, it's not as the culmination of something that's been building, it's just a moment of "huh, I guess that happened". Her lover, the priest, the man who runs away, the Goddess, we know even less about them, and we don't really need much, but something that makes them more than a name on a page (had you given them names).

IT'S NOT THE DARK THAT KILLS YOU - CANNIBAL GIRLS

In general, your character interactions ring very true. I believe these are children, and I particularly buy the specific form of childish cruelty that makes the prank that Celine and Goff play on Emmitt. I say "in general" because I have a few bones to pick with your portrayal of Emmitt. The character you show us doesn't really ring with the character whose brother is afraid he'll beat him up.

Your description and use of language is quite good, though you verge a bit too far in the direction of purple prose in places, and I think you could dial it back without losing anything.

While yours is one of the better endings of the week (in that it, you know, exists), it still threw me a bit. Not so much the revelation that Goff might be "the evil one" for his treatment of the moth, but I don't really get your final image of Emmitt joining in the moth's destruction. What is this saying? I can think of a few possibilities (that Emmitt accepts his brother regardless of his nature being the one I find most interesting) but none which have any real support in the rest of the story, so I feel like I'm flailing about here a bit when we're done.

You've got a lot of strong elements here, but they're all just slightly at odds with each other. It feels like this story is at war with itself.

THE DANCE, THE DRESS, THEIR DREAM, AND THE SUN - Carl Killer Miller

I absolutely love your descriptions in this. Absolutely love them. As a collection of imagery, this is excellent, striking work. I want to make that clear because I'm afraid this was otherwise one of my least favorite stories of the week.

I couldn't really connect with the post-apocalyptic vibe you seem to have been going for, and I can't quite see the connections, either narrative or thematic, between, well, the elements you name in your title. Your characters are completely opaque to me. I can see what they're doing (practicing a dance routine, and weaving (!) a ballet costume) but I'm not sure why, or what accomplishing these things means to them beyond somehow (one presumes metaphorically) rejuvenating the sun.

I can see that you were trying to make that final moment a triumphant moment of hope reborn, but there's no real sense of anything at stake up to this point, no chance that either mother or daughter will fail, no sense that it's costing them anything to do this. So all we have is a resounding "...huh".

ATLANTA, 1959 - Quidnose

Right up until the end, your characters seem true to life, and their interaction feels genuine. Charlene's frustration that turns to malice, and Billie's overbearing desire for acceptance both ring through the (it has to be said) utterly wretched rendering of dialect to the point where it almost doesn't gently caress up the story too badly. (But seriously, less is more when it comes to rendering dialect in text. Just hint at it and then get out of the way.)

And then you ruin it all with SHOCK HORROR SUICIDE ENDING. You turn what was, and could have remained, a genuinely moving and disturbing depiction of how callousness can turn to cruelty into a parody of an anti-bullying PSA. If you're committed to the suicide ending, you need to build toward it more convincingly, but I think you'd be better served by, I don't know, showing us Billie heartbroken in a way that Charlene doesn't notice. Something like that.

MEDUSA OR THE LOTUS EATERS - Tyrannosaurus

This is the first story this week that I genuinely liked, rather than just liking an element of. And even here, the ending was your downfall (if to a lesser extent than some of the other entries this week). Once I worked out what was happening, that John was killing himself as a means of reuniting himself with Melissa for real, it felt right, but it threw me for a bit, and I think you'd be well served in making that reunion aspect clearer.

The other part of this that didn't really work for me was Doctor Mitchell. I figured something more was going to come of his intrusions into their dream, and then nothing did.

Otherwise, an excellent story. You captured the weird logic of dreams very well.

BROOD - SurreptitiousMuffin


Not much to say here, really. As a piece of horrifying mythology, it works well, though it feels like it's a fragment of something else. (One of the other judges said that this feels like a story someone would tell within a story, and I can't think of a better way to say it than that.)

As the secret origin of Jedward, it made me smile. On the whole, I didn't really like it initially, but it has since grown on me.

PECULIAR - Ironic Twist

This one opens in a pretty confusing way, and while it all more or less makes sense at the end, it takes a bit of time to get there, and I almost wonder if you wouldn't have been better served opening with Joslyn being confronted by the Werewolf Mafia or whoever, and interspersing bits of Ridley suspicious of, and then bonding with, the kid they're hunting. Or just making him the focus of the whole thing, with Jocelyn and Redhead as a sort of framing device. Right now he comes off as an afterthought, and I find I'm much more interested in his story and motives than in Joslyn's (if only because hers are pretty clear by comparison).

Even so, this is pretty solid and engaging, your action scene is pretty good (even if it does resort to the false cliche of gunshots throwing people back), and it all works. More or less. A layer or two of polish, and you've got something pretty cool here.

SILENCE - Daphnaie


This is an example, for me, where none of the individual elements of the story are that amazing in isolation. Like I wouldn't point to this as a superior example of plotting, or characterization, or setting, or use or imagery, or atmosphere, or whatever, for all that each of those things is pretty good. But they come together almost flawlessly, and that's where the real strength of this story is. Take any of those things out and I think the rest would fall apart, but that's part of its beauty, for me.

This is also the sort of story that's frustrating as hell to try to critique, because it's hard to point at anything and say "hey, fix this", or "hey, you did an amazing job with this particular aspect". Like, you could probably do with an editing pass with an eye toward grammar (but who couldn't), and I could do with a little more attention paid to the reasons behind Ruby's change of heart, but in the end I think the path forward for you with this story involves incremental improvements to everything rather than one grand sweeping change.

And I do think there is room for improvement (though, again, frustratingly, I find it hard to really put my finger on what I wish were different). But it's probably the one story this week that I'll remember later, and it's certainly the one that I cared about the most. Excellent work.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

If you wouldn't mind, I'd like your thoughts and general comments on my piece from last week. I'm thinking about doing some revision and then expanding it.

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4684

There's a lot to like about this. Your style is clear and simple, which works well with the strange world you're writing about. You've balanced clarity with keeping things mysterious until the proper time to reveal them about as well as I've ever seen in Thunderdome, and your world itself is interesting and compelling, and becomes more so the more we discover about it.

The plot is kind of unfocused, and I don't think your ending is especially strong, but it all more-or-less works. I wish Spencer had taken a more active role in things there at the very end, although I guess he tried to. I think it's his general lack of reaction when his single attack against the manager doesn't work that leaves me cold, and it makes his final resolution that he's "done losing friends" fall flat to me. Billy and Christina have some personality to them, but not quite enough to grab me.

Even so, this grabbed my attention early on and kept it the whole way through, and most of my thoughts are of the "how could this pretty good story be made better" variety.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Thunderdome 2017: Write A drat Thing

(Mostly because it wouldn't hurt seeing that in my face for the next year.)

  • Locked thread