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SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


In
And I'll take a Bowie from whomever the first to provide it is.

EDIT:
If SittingHere is promising Bowie I want my song from SittingHere.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Jan 13, 2016 around 08:19

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SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Placeholder For Latepost - Hospital Blocks S/A & Can't Grab Googledoc From Phone For Some Reason

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN WITHDRUM KITS, SAMURAI SWORDS AND MCAT: AT A SEX PARTY WITH BARACK OBAMA IN WILLIAMSBURG

EDIT: Seoul was deemed too tame for my talents, reassigned to Colonial Virginia. Give me a flash-rule for the edit.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Aug 24, 2016 around 20:02

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN: with RUSTPUNK
AND: a Because DNF is not an option...
AND a Flash Rule Because this poo poo is getting a soundtrack.

If Rust-punk is too close to salvage punk in the minds of our astute judges then by all means punish me

EDIT:
I was just informed via IRC that this was last weeks' prompt.
Fuckit, I'll go and submit anyways.

Also gonna try and get some crits in for the week I DNF'd so hard I joined after it was finished...

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Sep 7, 2016 around 02:44

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless



I HAVE NO REGRETS!

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN: With Capricho No. 2: El sí pronuncian y la mano alargan al primero que llega (They say yes and give their hand to the first comer)

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Chili posted:

I gotcha guys. You've got one week to write a story using no more than 1500 words.

Your prompt?

Write a story about con artists. They don't necessarily need to be pulling off a grift in the story, but that's who at least two of your characters are.

Due by noon est, 9/26.

Toxx it up and fight dirty.

I was honestly just about to give this same prompt.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


[b][I'm Still Working On Crits For This Week/b]
Here's the first batch. Apologies if these are a bit enigmatic. Also if you don't like my crit style brawl me. IDK If I go a little too over the top in what struck a chord or didn't land

OVERALL - I LIKED THIS WEEK.
There wasn't a whole lot I found to be inherently bad. Quite a few missed opportunities but nothing that didn't at least show potential. Here's what I thought posted in the order of read.

DAERES - Tooth Fairy:
This would have nailed the "unsettling" aspect of the prompt if it weren't for some flat exposition. I also kind of felt the whole "First Assignment" scene before heading to the gallows was detrimental to the creep factor. Ambiguity has some serious psychological power when used right. "This is just a job to her" steals the drama and the apprehension. Just a little bit more detail and a little bit more emotion could have pushed this closer to the top. First in a long line of great ideas that were underwhelmingly executed.
I really liked that you were aiming for giving some context to the Capricho as opposed to just drawing inspiration from it.
*****No Promise About It Being Done This Week: But I'm going to try and bang out a line crit on this one*****

MY CAT IS NORRIS - Claudia and the Black Wood:
This suffers from some issues with voice. All in all too much there was just too much telling and not enough showing to really stand out. Until the very end things are just "happening" to Claudia without much in the way of her reactions to it. I didn't get the impression that she ever cared about the opinions of anyone in town. She doesn't really react to her changing environment.
SIDE NOTE: You used a lot of similes. Metaphors and analogies exist too. I think remember hearing/reading somewhere that metaphors and analogies have more narrative value than a simile - not that you should never use them, shaking things up keeps things from getting redundant. As a reader I find that a metaphor paints a picture whereas a simile merely draws a comparison, and the latter can take my head out of a story. That's purely opinion on my part, but if anyone can source the Metaphor (usually) > Simile statement to a legitimate authority on the issue I wouldn't mind the
ALSO I REALLY WANTED TO HEAR THE VOICES, or at the very least FEEL them.

SQUIDTENTACLE - Theophagy
The fairytale/folklore direction you went with was a risk worth taking. Not worrying about pressing on the word count was a good move too, the brevity of the story is definitely one of its strong suits. Your story piles on the creep factor with each "Stanza" the first half is composed pretty well.
Only real gripe is that the last couple of paragraphs don't feel like they narratively "fit" with the rest of the story. The reveal is good, but the tone changes a bit too sharply. I wouldn't mind the changes to the Duke/King/Fuckbird being a little bit more verbose over each step, as there's just something about the word-choice on those last 300 or so words that feels like it came from a different place, maybe a little rushed. A good middle of the pack entry.

THRANGUY - Twenty Questions and a Door Slammed Shut:
Suffers from a total lack of dialogue attribution. Makes it very hard to read. Some of the dialogue would be probably be pretty good given context. The lack of a clear perspective character made this story is super hard to follow. I have no empathy for your PoV character, and worse still, even two-thirds of the way through I have only the SCANTEST idea when your PoV character is the one speaking. I didn't have any idea what you were going for because of the nonexistent narrative. Even a script/transcript version of dialogue attribution would have done wonders for the readability.

FLERP - The Owl:
I liked this one when I first read through it but didn't stand out to me at first. Gave it a reread it and found myself much more into it. Only thing that really hit me as out of place was the flashback, and not because it felt inappropriate, it just wasn't distinct enough from the owl. Other than that Djeser's feedback is basically verbatim to my thoughts on it.

CALIGULA KANGAROO - The World Goes Dark, and I Am Afraid:
Clear voice and PoV that doesn't leave room for confusion. One or two typos but I'm pretty forgiving with spelling errors in most cases. flash-fiction with tight deadlines. Strongest story I've read thus far. Could have suffered from a potentially cliche ending but there was enough callback to the action that kept it fresh and disturbing. If I were out of stories this would be my winner, but I've still got a few to go.

BIGPERM - Hush:
Your descriptions of things rule. Your voice rules. I like your curmudgeonly old lady who hates life, and I love that her story ends in a cacophony of emotion for a lady that seemingly has nothing but contempt. I love that her ending doesn't call back to her frustration with a changing world, and I love that it just ENDS. It's chillingly real and sad with a faint optimistic uptick. Legitimately terrifying. I'm glad I don't know anything of this man in black. The is he an "angel of death" or "THE Angel Of Death had me shaken. Could have done without the "And it ended" but not much other than that I'd think to complain about. I'm pretty sure she dies after this, but I'm glad she remembered a time back before she hated everything. Really good, but you were competing with some powerhouse stories for the top slots.

ELECTRIC OWL - And the House is On Fire:
I had high hopes for this one almost immediately. I was ready for a heartbreaking struggle with the protagonist's own body. It's I had empathy for him from the get go, but it was a slow slide into torpid cliches after the apprehension of the first few sentences. I agree with the current feedback that it was a Goon Character doing goon things. My problem is that it was SO CLOSE to being a real tragedy. I think you were going for the idea that we take our mobility for granted and that we assume that a cam-girl couldn't have legitimate affection for some internet goon that pays to see her naked. If that's the case I wanted more reaction. I wanted to see this guy struggle to save himself, I wanted him to make it even though I new he wouldn't. I wanted Goon's cam-girl to show some emotion. The ending came off as lazy. Also the implied pedophilia was a bit off-putting but not in a way that fit with everything else. Unlikable character does nothing likable.
I could be wrong and this is just a lethargic attempt at an arthouse fat-joke though, it's hard to tell.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN:
I have crippling insomnia to thank for what I hope is a brilliant way of tackling the prompt. Hopefully it acts as a means by which I'll actually finish a goddamned story for once.

EDIT:
gently caress it... Add a for good measure. Maybe a deadline will put me to sleep.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Sep 22, 2016 around 02:15

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


CRITPRICHO ROUND 2: The Rest Of Them
QUO PRO QUID - Dinner with the Parents:
It's endearing, a light hearted jab at the inane fears we have about meeting new people and a near-universal human experience pushed to absurdist extremes. I don't have much to say about this one but in a good way. I just really liked it, I actually felt thet wave of relief of your protagonist as he realizes that his apprehensions about interacting with eldritch abomonations washed away. This would be a good read for racists and bigots everywhere. They'd find it legitimately funny, and maybe draw some parallels to their own prejudices. Nailed the "Satirical/Allegorical" aspect of the Caprichos as a whole, not just your's specifically.


Black Glass: loving strong. A story that conveys the growing isolation and misery perfectly. Getting a line crit because I wanna taklk about how loving great everything about this entry is. As of right now this is the clear winner.

quote:

The walls ate up the sky. The sun had less and less room to pass over us and when it did its light struck like fever. We awaited rescue but none came and those who called family out of town said it sounded like they were speaking instead to someone else, standing just over their shoulders. The TV news became fuzzy and warped. The anchors’ faces stretched rodentine by distortion. Their stories were optimistically banal. In mutated cadence they promised long weekends and blue skies and birthday cake. But that didn’t explain why no sound at all emerged from beyond the walls.

Or why all the children had stopped speaking, except with their eyes.

Or the endless rattle and gnash from beneath every cellar.

Or the rime of haze that had eaten the moon.
Even the way it is formatted contributes to the mood. This is the first one that really has a tempo. There's an almost rhythmic quality to the words. Reading this reminded me of how I felt reading Cormack McCarthy's The Road for the first time. Unsafe, uncomfortable, and unprepared for whatever is going to happen.

This is probably the best exposition I've read in a very long time, not just in Thunderstone...

SURREPITIOUS MUFFIN - Firebreak:
Man, this one hurt to read. Your dialogue paints a picture of your main character so completely and eloquently that I can hear him hiding the emotional strain as I read. There's nothing to not like in this one. The story feels like it's being told by an actual person. That last line is just so powerful.

GUINESS 13 - The Guest:
Another legitimately creepy entry, the beginning is paced extremely well, it does a good job conveying a sense of isolation of your protagonist. Still strong but just doesn't stand out as much as the others. Don't get me wrong I REALLY like it, but the ending felt a little rushed compared with the rest of the pacing. I'd have liked it to slow down in the last scene, a little bit of a breather before the big reveal.

SITTING HERE - Helpers:
I like the direction this is going immediately - a good critique of the armchair quarterback bullshit that people like to spew about younger generations starting sometime in their thirties. This hits home for me because I never want to be one of those adults who rolls their eyes and says poo poo like "back in my day" or "that's not how I was raised". This feels like an allegory for life in the mid-to-late twenties. A metaphor for being an adult though not quite knowing how to, yet also seeing the people you grew up with fall into the trap of eternal adolescence.
I like the idea of a kid that wants to learn more and wants to not feel like a burden but is stuck with a brain that literally can't wrap itself around such concepts. It harkens back to "the good 'ol days" before horrible things like "safety regulations" and "child labor laws" ruined childhood for all the pussy millenials out there in a way that is harrowing and dark. There are just so many layers of commentary on the human experience folded into this that to point them all out would take forever. I think this one captures the spirit of the caprichos in a way that even the best so far have missed.
This is definitely the most high concept entry for the week. I feel like anyone reading it would find something to identify with. Loses the battle between concept and exposition though not by much.

LLAMAGUCHI - Ablaze:
Legitimately set back in the pack by spelling errors, which is something I don't care about much when reading. My biggest gripe is that it is violence without any real context or motivation. This one was hindered overall by a lack of a larger statement, there wasn't a critique of some larger aspects of society, nor was there any sense that your PoV character losing something. This one was largely forgettable for me.

CHILI - A Cold Night In Basque Country:
Good, I like the tone and the writing but the dialogue between Amaia and Kisin was a little hard to follow. Maybe a little bit more in the way of exposition in that conversation may have cleared things up. Overall it's pretty good, just lacks a little bit of a buildup to the ending.

THE CUT OF YOUR JIB - The Speaker:
Good but not great. Another one that could have been a contender. Not much to say about it from a negative standpoint. I did like the surrealist imagery of these kids trying to open a lock with a key lashed to a pole. The imagery is good and the ending is arguably the best part. I am saying this in the context of it is actually good writing and a great reveal, not in the sense of being a dick. The gilded cage at the beginning didn't hit me as a bird cage until just before the reveal.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2016 around 05:29

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Terrible Purpose: 1199 Words
A painstakingly chosen ensemble lay neatly at the foot of his bed as Charles prepared for the evening's outing. August had always been a grim month for him. It had been August that impulse had bested self control. It had been in August that he had met her. It had been August that he had doomed a young girl to life as a pariah.

That's not right, He thought, more like eternity. He shuddered as that goddamned children’s rhyme chimed in his head. Just another macabre reminder of his grisly purpose, of a good deed gone horribly wrong.

Charles turned from his ensemble and made way to the closet, ignoring his reflection as he reached for the top shelf. He retrieved the revolver with the kind of confidence one could only hope to achieve with a century of practice.

He thought back to the girl whose life he had ruined, and to the girls whose lives he had taken. More than a few had deserved it. It was the first ones, the innocent ones that stuck with him.

Charles eyed the Webley in his hands with a rare look of affection as he checked the ammunition. One short of a full cylinder. He closed the revolver and closed the closet for what he hoped would be the last time, telling himself the same lie he had so many times before.

This isn't murder, murder is without cause. This; this is-

“Justice…”

The word left his lips not as an emboldened statement of cause but as a bitter greeting of an unwelcome guest.

“Now is that any way to speak to your favorite person?” The question was sarcastic, but the implication not entirely wrong. “What happened to the dashing young lady-killer I met in Whitechapel so many years ago?”

“He died Charles ignored the sleight, assessing his handler with an attention to detail which would have impressed even the most vigilant of investigators he had thwarted.

Combat boots polished to an obsidian shine met an impractically tight pair of jeans at the knee. She wore a white blouse contrasted by a dark Victorian era corset that Charles could swear she had been wearing the first time they’d met. The night I was given purpose, he thought, the night I was doomed to repent for my crimes by repeating them.

The look was completed by a snakeskin jacket. She looked less like a personification of law and order and more like a girl ready for a night on the town. It was not a good sign.

Regardless, Charles forced a grin.

“I like the scales,” he chuckled, “It really captures the reptilian way in which you interpret your namesake.”

“Swift retribution is the fastest road to restitution.”

Charles had never quite figured out what she was, probably some demigod or Fera given life and personality by the ever changing ideals and dreams of humanity.

No, he had known drat well what she was ever since that night in the brothel, probably some sort of demon.

She raised an eyebrow as their eyes met. Charles became aware of his nudity even before she commented on it.

“Get dressed, because you're handsome and all, but I doubt you’ll be getting into the club like that.”

“You know, sometimes I wish you were blind in more than just a metaphorical sense.’

He groaned. It was going to be a very long night.

And So began their annual ritual. Five rightful deaths for the five lives Charles had taken too soon.

Their first target seemed unambitious.

“A drug dealer?” Charles scoffed, “You’re going soft on me Justice.”

“He killed two kids for this corner.” It was enough for Charles.

“Hey, buddy, my Girl and I are kind of lost and we were hoping you could point us towards the freeway.” He flashed a hundred dollar bill, “I’d really appreciate it.”

Their target approached the Benz, drawing a pistol and espousing a threat. “Yeah, you give me your wallet, get out of the car, then-”

The shot cut the target off mid-sentence.

Charles drove off. Killer or not, he hated the envious way the dead looked at the living.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Target number two was the owner of a suburban rub-and-tug. Prostitution didn’t bother Justice, was the sex-trafficking set her blood boiling. There was no telling how many girls had died in shipping crates on the way to these places.
Charles cut the madame’s throat as she entered the room. It was a nearly identical to his first murder. Only this time he felt guilt.

They made two more stops and killed two more people. The heinous acts only noteworthy in that they were two of the last he would ever commit.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It was around midnight that they finally dumped the car, Charles had decided that the port would be a good place to do it, no one really bothered coming to the lakefront at night. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with conviction as he made his way out onto the pier.

“Oooh,” Justice’s curiousity was uncannily earnest, “Are we killing some dockworker that dumps the bodies in the lake? Some corrupt coastie that’s smuggling women through the great lakes maybe?”

“Guess again.”

“That cop you’ve been trying to out as crooked for the past...” Justice’s eyes shifted upward, literally looking for the answer in her head. “Twelve years?” The cheerful tone poked a hole clean through Charles’ resolve.

Does she know?

“Could be, though what would he be doing out here?” He took another deep breath, stumping a demigod was the most fun he had had in years.

“Hiding another body?”

“I’ve never been that lucky.”

“Damnit Charlie, I have to approve of it.” Justice’s spirited veeneer had cracked, frustration pushed its way ever closer to the surface.

Is that her way of saying it won’t work?

“You aren’t used to being oblivious are you?” He reached the end of the pier, looking down at the revolver in his hands.

“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark.” He turned on his heel. For the first time since they had met he took time to look his friend in the eye. This thing that had saved him from the ravages of time and given his impulses a coldly noble purpose was real.

She saw the gun in his hand, yet made no attempt to stop him.

“Tonight, my dear and only friend,” he choked back a tear, realizing that for all her flaws this abstract concept given life had truly been just that. He pressed the muzzle of the pistol against his head. “Tonight we end a reign of terror that spans a hundred years and three continents.”

“Well played sir.”“Tonight we kill Charles Cross, colloquially known as Jack The Ripper. Perpetrator of the Whitechapel Murders, the Borden Killings, and nearly a thousand other violent crimes over the course of his lifetime.”

Tears he’d never thought himself capable of welled in his eyes, “Before I go, thought. Answer me one question.”

“Anything.”

“What are you?”

Once more Justice donned the cocksure expression which had grown so familiar to Charles. With a grin she answered.
“Pull that trigger and you will never find out...

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Thanks for the crits and the new avatar. I'll make sure to put the feedback to good use.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Schneider Heim posted:

Doing 3 crits. Any takers?

I'm down.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2016 around 03:36

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN:

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Blood Of The Moon
The Aegis rocked under the force of a direct hit as Captain Thessalia Anthony surveyed the volunteers assembled in the hangar. Her marines stood in perfect formation resolute in their posture but not making the slightest effort to hide their excitement. Thess had something up her sleeve and they damned well knew it.

Clever bastards, she let slip the faintest of smiles and embarked on her ritual stroll through the ranks. The rapport of her boot heels set a cadence to her words. The echo of each step against the hangar walls resonated in every word as she barked at her comrades with the timbre of a mastiff.

“I asked my Officers for a team of the hardest…”

The whole phalanx nodded at the word.

“Meanest…”

Those that had managed to maintain their cover cracked wry grins as shouts of approval rang out from the rear echelons.

“Baddest motherfuckers serving on this boat...”

Every marine bellowed in agreement. It was the very essence of cameraderie given sound. A cacaphony which somehow managed to drown out the creaks and groans of a failing hull.

It was in moments like this in which Thessalia truly loved her crew. She took in a deep breath, pausing as the roars and cheers washed away all doubt she had about their plan.

The din faded away, spurred on by the enthusiasm of her troops she continued, “Why then, do I find myself in a Hangar full of smirking children? What will those jackboots on the Leviathan think of us if we can't keep a straight face through our own surrender?”

Every marine in the hangar went silent, their joyous expressions turned wooden. Whether she had seized their attention or lost their trust Thessalia couldn't be sure. Her words carried through the ranks once more.

“There's no denying we're scuttled. Even if we came out on top of this fight there's no way this tub would get us home.”

The hangar doors parted behind the captain, washing the room with in the ruby glow of an alien moon. Thessalia gestured to the silhouette of the Leviathan seemingly cut from its center.

“Whether it’s in body-bags, the brig, or on the bridge… that's our ride home. Personally I think that last option is worth taking a look at.” Her marines smiled again, and she knew she could ask them to follow her into the heart of the abyss without a single word of protest. Right now she would settle for leading them across a thousand meters of empty space. “Stratego Norris will give you the details on this batshit new method of getting ourselves killed.” A heartfelt chuckle came from the troops. “So if you’ll excuse me I have to go convince those bastards that we are the ones waving the white flags this time. Jenkins,” The lieutenant's heels clacked sharply as she snapped to attention.”

“Sir!” Jenkins’ response came in the same dutiful pitch it had a thousand times before. Maura was real navy, discharged for reasons she would never say, Thessalia wasn't the type to press for answers.

“You're with me.”

“Always sir.”

Thessalia made for the bridge, Lieutenant Maura Jenkins in step close behind.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The shelling had stopped long before Thessalia and Maura had returned to the bridge. The Leviathan had taken the call for a ceasefire at face value. The bridge crew of the Aegis snapped to attention as her captain and first officer crossed the threshold of the command deck. The ship’s communications engineer addressed the Thessalia as she plopped down into her seat.

“Captain, The Leviathan is demanding we make visual contact.” His tone grew cold. “If they don’t have you on their viewers in two minutes they’re threatening to resume fire.”

“Tell them I’m en-route to the bridge, they’ll have me in ninety seconds.”

“Aye sir.” He said, repeating the lie into his comm station.

“Maura, what do you remember about the captain of the Leviathan?” Thessalia’s words came as more order than question.

“Yamamoto Katsu.” Maura replied. “She’s not just real navy, it’s in her blood. She’s got a chip on her shoulder and a stick up her rear end for sure. Rumor has it Fleet Admiral Daddy and Brigadier General Mom aren’t pleased with how long it’s taking their daughter to make rear...”

“Well I dare say scuttling one of the most notorious ships of the rebellion would be enough to earn a star on her lapel. What else you got?”

“Pomp and circumstance are everything to her. She hangs her hat on old naval customs. She’ll want to make a show of our surrender.” Maura wasn’t speaking in the cold matter-of-fact tone Thessalia had grown so accustomed to over the past year, there was bitterness in her words.

“Anything else?” The captain let the question linger in the air, her way of letting Maura know that she didn’t expect an answer.

“She’s the worthless piece of poo poo that ended my career. The only thing she hates more than people who play dirty is getting caught doing it herself.” Maura spat the words out as if they were spoiled rations.

“I think I can work with that.” Thessalia gestured to her communications officer. The bridge of the Leviathan came into view on the screen.

“Congratulations, Captain Yamamoto,” Thessalia tried her damnedest to feign sincerity, “I’d love to have you aboard to talk terms of surrender, but I’m afraid this tub doesn’t have long before it tears itself apart.”

Her enemy’s reply dripped wet with ego, “No congratulations needed, I must say I’m surprised. I guess the tenacity of the Aegis and her marines were overstated.”

Thessalia bit her tongue, their success hinged on a level of humility she didn’t think herself capable of. “Well, you know how the enlisted folk are. If they aren’t talking up their victories they’re making grandiose excuses for their defeat.”

“Quite true.” Captain Yamamoto continued, “How would you like to handle the surrender then?”

“We’ve got no shuttles and our docking clamps are fused shut. Our only remaining point of egress is the shuttle bay.”

“Very well, I’ll have our helmsman pull abreast.” Yamamoto signaled to someone off screen, “Is there anything else you require before the change of command?”

“No Sir, three hots and a cot should do fine until our tribunal.”

“Very well. Leviathan out.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All Thessalia could hear was her own breathing as the Leviathan grew larger before her. The silouhettes of Captain Yamamoto and her crew looking like row of jagged teeth in the maw of some ancient beast. Thessalia flipped a switch on the wrist of her Vac-Suit, her voice echoed throughout the ship.

“No matter how this ends I want you all to know it’s been an honor serving with you. I know you’re all probably expecting one of my flowery pep-talks, so I’m sorry that this is all I have to say.”

Somewhere behind her Stratego Norris’s harsh alto belted out. “THIRTY SECONDS!”

The captain let out a heartfelt sigh, “If you decide that today is the day that you’re going to die, then at least try to do it with a smile on your face. If I die, then I’m glad I died for you.” She flipped the switch again, putting her on a private channel with her second in command. “Are you ready for this Maura?”

“As always sir.” The two broke into a sprint, sinking every ounce of faith and courage into one mighty leap at their target.

The creaks and groans of their scuttled vessel vanishing as their bodies crossed into the soundless void between ships.

For an eternity they fell towards the open flight deck of the Leviathan. Any sense of doubt Thessalia had was left back on the Aegis. The vapor trail of rockets cut a swath through the inky blackness around them. Four missiles struck true against the Leviathan’s doors, welding them so fully they may well never close.

Thessalia and Maura’s feet touched down on the flight deck a second volley of rockets found purchase against the hull of a shuttle. The blast pulled their attention back to the chaos before them.

The Leviathan had been expecting a surrender, not a boarding party. It was error in judgement that they paid for with the lives of a dozen woefully unprepared hands. In one motion Thessalia drew her sword and flipped the switch to put her back on the party channel.

“On me!” she cried.

Wave upon wave of marines breached the flight deck, a rolling tide of fire and steel and rage. Small arms fire echoed tore through the hangar as deafening and bright as it was devastating. In just short of a minute they had established their beach head. The crew of the Leviathan left with no recourse but to regroup deep within the bowels of their ship.

Thessalia wasn’t sure when it had happened, but she had lost sight of Yamamoto. Unabated she led her soldiers ever deeper into the belly of the whale. What had started as textbook shock-and-awe had become a deadly knife chase. We may not be home yet she thought but at least we’re still breathing. She looked to her first officer.“Jenkins.”

“Sir!”

“How well do you know this ship?”

“I’d hope intimately, seeing as she used to be mine.”

“You’re with me then.” The captain’s reply verged on jovial. “Everyone else, check your fire and don’t move to the next deck until you’re certain the one you’re on is clear. We regroup on the bridge. Now move out.

“Aye sir!” The voices of her crew rang in unison, an electric affirmation of cause that caused Thessalia’s hair to stand on end.

Thessalia and Maura found their way to the bridge, largely unharassed save for a handful of Leviathan crewmen offering their surrender. It was an offer she was happy to oblige. Their captives were rounded up and sent to the brig with nary a complaint amongst them.

Within thirty minutes the two found themselves at the bridge. They found it occupied only by the ship’s captain, her whole body quaking with anger save for the hand which kept a pistol drawn on them.

“You are a disgrace to the title of captain!” Yamamoto growled. “You came to discuss terms of surrender.”

“I’m sorry, my phrasing was a bit ambiguous. Was it not clear that we were discussing your surrender?” Thessalia regretted the quip as a slug tore into her shoulder.

“And you!” Maura found herself staring down the barrel of the gun as Yamamoto fumed, “If you weren’t a traitor when I had you courtmartialed you definitely are now.”

“I find that the pirate’s life suits me better,” Maura replied. “You’re not as likely to get stepped on by someone trying to climb the ladder with shoes so big she’ll never fill them.”

The lieutenant paid for her insolence with two rounds pumped into her thigh. Yamamoto stood above the two. Pistol pressed firmly at the back of Thessalia’s head. “I won’t let you take my ship.”

Thessalia heard the crack of the gun going off but didn’t feel anything indicating that she was dead. If the heartbeat pounding in her ears was to be believed, she was actually very much alive. She risked a look back at her assailant, finding the former captain of the Leviathan slumped against a wall with a hole in her chest and a face devoid of expression. She was still breathing, but without a medic she wouldn’t be able to keep it up much longer. Thessalia looked up to find their savior standing on the other side of the room. Stratego Norris and a squad of marines had reached the bridge at the defining moment. An arrival which had saved them from a hollow victory.

“Good work stratego.” Thessalia groaned, “Jenkins.”

“Sir!” Maura’s voice came back as dutifully as always.

“You used to captain this bucket of bolts. Take us home.”

“Aye Sir!.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Blood Of The Moon:
2000 Words
The Aegis rocked under the force of a direct hit as Captain Thessalia Anthony surveyed the volunteers assembled in the hangar. Her marines stood in perfect formation resolute in their posture but not making the slightest effort to hide their excitement. Thess had something up her sleeve and they damned well knew it.

Clever bastards, she let slip the faintest of smiles and embarked on her ritual stroll through the ranks. The rapport of her boot heels set a cadence to her words. The echo of each step against the hangar walls resonated in every word as she barked at her comrades with the timbre of a mastiff.

“I asked my Officers for a team of the hardest…”

The whole phalanx nodded at the word.

“Meanest…”

Those that had managed to maintain their cover cracked wry grins as shouts of approval rang out from the rear echelons.

“Baddest motherfuckers serving on this boat...”

Every marine bellowed in agreement. It was the very essence of cameraderie given sound. A cacaphony which somehow managed to drown out the creaks and groans of a failing hull.

It was in moments like this in which Thessalia truly loved her crew. She took in a deep breath, pausing as the roars and cheers washed away all doubt she had about their plan.

The din faded away, spurred on by the enthusiasm of her troops she continued, “Why then, do I find myself in a Hangar full of smirking children? What will those jackboots on the Leviathan think of us if we can't keep a straight face through our own surrender?”

Every marine in the hangar went silent, their joyous expressions turned wooden. Whether she had seized their attention or lost their trust Thessalia couldn't be sure. Her words carried through the ranks once more.

“There's no denying we're scuttled. Even if we came out on top of this fight there's no way this tub would get us home.”

The hangar doors parted behind the captain, washing the room with in the ruby glow of an alien moon. Thessalia gestured to the silhouette of the Leviathan seemingly cut from its center.

“Whether it’s in body-bags, the brig, or on the bridge… that's our ride home. Personally I think that last option is worth taking a look at.” Her marines smiled again, and she knew she could ask them to follow her into the heart of the abyss without a single word of protest. Right now she would settle for leading them across a thousand meters of empty space. “Stratego Norris will give you the details on this batshit new method of getting ourselves killed.” A heartfelt chuckle came from the troops. “So if you’ll excuse me I have to go convince those bastards that we are the ones waving the white flags this time. Jenkins,” The lieutenant's heels clacked sharply as she snapped to attention.”

“Sir!” Jenkins’ response belied not an ounce of the sororal bond they had formed over the course of this rebellion. Maura was Real Navy, discharged for reasons she would never say, Thessalia wasn't the type to press for answers.

“You're with me.”

“Always sir.”

Thessalia made for the bridge, Lieutenant Maura Jenkins in step close behind. Norris’ briefing followed them into the lift.

The shelling had stopped long before Thessalia and Maura had returned to the bridge. The Leviathan had taken the call for a ceasefire at face value. The bridge crew of the Aegis snapped to attention as her captain and first officer crossed the threshold of the command deck. The ship’s communications engineer addressed the Thessalia as she plopped down into her seat.

“Captain, The Leviathan is demanding we make visual contact.” His tone grew cold. “If they don’t have you on their viewers in two minutes they’re threatening to resume fire.”

“Tell them I’m en-route to the bridge, they’ll have me in ninety seconds.”

“Aye sir.” He said, repeating the lie into his comm station.

“Maura, what do you remember about the captain of the Leviathan?” Thessalia’s words came as more order than question.

“Yamamoto Katsu.” Maura replied. “She’s not just real navy, it’s in her blood. She’s got a chip on her shoulder and a stick up her rear end for sure. Rumor has it Fleet Admiral Daddy and Brigadier General Mom aren’t pleased with how long it’s taking their daughter to make rear...”

“Well I dare say scuttling one of the most notorious ships of the rebellion would be enough to earn a star on her lapel. What else you got?”

“Pomp and circumstance are everything to her. She hangs her hat on old naval customs. She’ll want to make a show of our surrender.” Maura wasn’t speaking in the cold matter-of-fact tone Thessalia had grown so accustomed to over the past year, there was bitterness in her words.

“Anything else?” The captain let the question linger in the air, her way of letting Maura know that she didn’t expect an answer.

“She’s the worthless piece of poo poo that ended my career. The only thing she hates more than people who play dirty is getting caught doing it herself.” Maura spat the words out as if they were spoiled rations.

“I think I can work with that.” Thessalia gestured to her communications officer. The bridge of the Leviathan came into view on the screen.

“Congratulations, Captain Yamamoto,” Thessalia tried her damnedest to feign sincerity, “I’d love to have you aboard to talk terms of surrender, but I’m afraid this tub doesn’t have long before it tears itself apart.”

Her enemy’s reply dripped wet with ego, “No congratulations needed, I must say I’m surprised. I guess the tenacity of the Aegis and her marines were overstated.”

Thessalia bit her tongue, their success hinged on a level of humility she didn’t think herself capable of. “Well, you know how the enlisted folk are. If they aren’t talking up their victories they’re making grandiose excuses for their defeat.”

“Quite true.” Captain Yamamoto continued, “How would you like to handle the surrender then?”

“We’ve got no shuttles and our docking clamps are fused shut. Our only remaining point of egress is the shuttle bay.”

“Very well, I’ll have our helmsman pull abreast.” Yamamoto signaled to someone off screen, “Is there anything else you require before the change of command?”

“No Sir, three hots and a cot should do fine until our tribunal.”

“Very well. Leviathan out.”

All Thessalia could hear was her own breathing as the Leviathan grew larger before her. The silouhettes of Captain Yamamoto and her crew looking like row of jagged teeth in the maw of some ancient beast. Thessalia flipped a switch on the wrist of her Vac-Suit, her voice echoed throughout the ship.

“No matter how this ends I want you all to know it’s been an honor serving with you. I know you’re all probably expecting one of my flowery pep-talks, so I’m sorry that this is all I have to say.”

Somewhere behind her Stratego Norris’s harsh alto belted out. “THIRTY SECONDS!”

The captain let out a heartfelt sigh, “If you decide that today is the day that you’re going to die, then at least try to do it with a smile on your face. If I die, then I’m glad I died for you.” She flipped the switch again, putting her on a private channel with her second in command. “Are you ready for this Maura?”

“As always sir.” The two broke into a sprint, sinking every ounce of faith and courage into one mighty leap at their target.

The creaks and groans of their scuttled vessel vanishing as their bodies crossed into the soundless void between ships.

For an eternity they fell towards the open flight deck of the Leviathan. Any sense of doubt Thessalia had was left back on the Aegis. The vapor trail of rockets cut a swath through the inky blackness around them. Four missiles struck true against the Leviathan’s doors, welding them so fully they may well never close.

Thessalia and Maura’s feet touched down on the flight deck a second volley of rockets found purchase against the hull of a shuttle. The blast pulled their attention back to the chaos before them.

The Leviathan had been expecting a surrender, not a boarding party. It was error in judgement that they paid for with the lives of a dozen woefully unprepared hands. In one motion Thessalia drew her sword and flipped the switch to put her back on the party channel.

“On me!” she cried.

Wave upon wave of marines breached the flight deck, a rolling tide of fire and steel and rage. Small arms fire echoed tore through the hangar as deafening and bright as it was devastating. In just short of a minute they had established their beach head. The crew of the Leviathan left with no recourse but to regroup deep within the bowels of their ship.

Thessalia wasn’t sure when it had happened, but she had lost sight of Yamamoto. Unabated she led her soldiers ever deeper into the belly of the whale. What had started as textbook shock-and-awe had become a deadly knife chase. We may not be home yet she thought but at least we’re still breathing. She looked to her first officer.“Jenkins.”

“Sir!”

“How well do you know this ship?”

“I’d hope intimately, seeing as she used to be mine.”

“You’re with me then.” The captain’s reply verged on jovial. “Everyone else, check your fire and don’t move to the next deck until you’re certain the one you’re on is clear. We regroup on the bridge. Now move out.

“Aye sir!” The voices of her crew rang in unison, an electric affirmation of cause that caused Thessalia’s hair to stand on end.

Thessalia and Maura found their way to the bridge, largely unharassed save for a handful of Leviathan crewmen offering their surrender. It was an offer she was happy to oblige. Their captives were rounded up and sent to the brig with nary a complaint amongst them.

Within thirty minutes the two found themselves at the bridge. They found it occupied only by the ship’s captain, her whole body quaking with anger save for the hand which kept a pistol drawn on them.

“You are a disgrace to the title of captain!” Yamamoto growled. “You came to discuss terms of surrender.”

“I’m sorry, my phrasing was a bit ambiguous. Was it not clear that we were discussing your surrender?” Thessalia regretted the quip as a slug tore into her shoulder.

“And you!” Maura found herself staring down the barrel of the gun as Yamamoto fumed, “If you weren’t a traitor when I had you courtmartialed you definitely are now.”

“I find that the pirate’s life suits me better,” Maura replied. “You’re not as likely to get stepped on by someone trying to climb the ladder with shoes so big she’ll never fill them.”

The lieutenant paid for her insolence with two rounds pumped into her thigh. Yamamoto stood above the two. Pistol pressed firmly at the back of Thessalia’s head. “I won’t let you take my ship.”

Thessalia heard the crack of the gun going off but didn’t feel anything indicating that she was dead. If the heartbeat pounding in her ears was to be believed, she was actually very much alive. She risked a look back at her assailant, finding the former captain of the Leviathan slumped against a wall with a hole in her chest and a face devoid of expression. She was still breathing, but without a medic she wouldn’t be able to keep it up much longer. Thessalia looked up to find their savior standing on the other side of the room. Stratego Norris and a squad of marines had reached the bridge at the defining moment. An arrival which had saved them from a hollow victory.

“Good work stratego.” Thessalia groaned, “Jenkins.”

“Sir!” Maura’s voice came back as dutifully as always.

“You used to captain this bucket of bolts. Take us home.”

“Aye Sir!.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


I'm doing crits on everything this week and working my way back to next week. Return the favor if you feel so inclined.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


llamaguccii posted:

*** Submission for LOSERBRAWL ***

Take What I Have, You Gluttons

Word Count: 450

There isn’t a single thing he hasn’t already written worth submitting. He stretches. His fingers pull one another taut as he extends his wrists up over his head. He knows it’s bullshit, but it’s a consistent lie. It’s a lie that he can swallow down with the whiskey. Jameson. He mulls over if the name would work for the rugged character he’s been contemplating. He decides it can’t. Or more, it could, but he simply can’t write the character. And he can’t give a bullshit character a bullshit name any more than he can write a drat story. He used to be able to write a story, but that was when he had something to say that mattered. Or at least was interesting. Or revolting. Hell, anything that deserved more than a quick skim.

He’d never had the capacity to write anything worth remembering, but people had read him at the airport, maybe, on a long flight when they’d ran out of peanuts. Or in the shitter, at least, while they waited for a sympathetic roommate to replenish the toilet paper from the hall supply closet.

He writes the date on the top of the page like this is a loving journal entry, and he’s a fourteen-year-old girl, and somehow spilling out his emotions on the page is going to amount to something.

October 3rd

Today is a lovely day. I hate life.


He laughs, takes another drink. He doesn’t hate life. But he hates the day he optimistically joined their ranks of writers. The day he decided to give more of a poo poo about the words than the people that read them. The day he split his soul between the devil of diction and the god of syntax, and only got a handful of lukewarm critiques in return. It wasn’t a lovely life. It was a lovely occupation.

He changes his entry.

Every day is lovely because I hate writing.

He lights a joint. It was more accurate, but still not completely true. He didn’t depend on writing for his livelihood, yet he couldn’t seem to survive without it. He was an addict, lusting for a fix even when he knew what the brutal end result would be. Writing was his dirty little call girl. His subconscious routinely slipped her a key when all his mind really wanted was some loving peace and quiet.

He inhales, erases the entry. The blank page and the viewers beyond mock him. A crossfaded passion of contempt and unrequited respect creeps into his fingers as he strikes the keys, annihilating the page.

gently caress the readers, and gently caress you, too.

He hits submit and doesn’t feel the need to gratify them again until Sunday.

Brutal.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


INto this prompt.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Chili posted:

Oy vey. Turns out that my system of critting things as I read them is the only way for me to come up with anything resembling something useful. I did that for the first two submissions this week, but the rest I just commented on and returned to now, it's way harder to read these with patience and a careful eye now. This may also be due to the fact that I wasn't a massive fan of

Terrible Purpose - I didn't have quite the hate-on for this story as my fellow main judge, but his gripe was totally justified. This was a mess and it didn't quite click. Quick little throwaway advice, because you've already gotten better than I can tender, let us know who's talking? Sometimes you don't do that and it fucks with the clarity of your story pretty nicely.

Thanks Chili. Lack of dialogue attribution is something that definitely irks me that I can't stop doing the thing that drives me nuts when reading.

Crits - Roughly Half of Them:
THE CUT OF YOUR JIB: Why Chrome Is Home

quote:

There’s nothing like feeling the crunch of skullbone under steel-reinforced wheel through a thousand pounds of chrome-plated hog as you slam a man-ghoul into paste after being launched from the converted missile tube of a nuclear submarine a mile off the coast.
I love this sentence so much. It's a long-con duping us all with a sense of nonsensical brutality that we'll be expecting to get for the rest of the story. At this point I'm hoping for some insane moto-kata and I get just enough air-cooled mayhem to create real stakes. Then you go and make it sad, legitimately sad. Your characters had real emotion and this felt like a scene from one of those rare indie action flicks that doesn't suck while also not going full sexploitation. You didn't eschew sexuality in a world without men and you did so tastefully. I want this as a movie. Without a doubt the clear winner this week.
Being that when I'm not working I'm mainlining pop-culture at near lethal dosages "Roz" had me thinking of Roz Doyle from Frasier. I don't know if that makes this more or less awesome... This is Suckerpunch Zack Snyder but with more direction.

DAERES: Cataphract

quote:

It was dark in the transport’s hold. That suited Aithon, being cut off from the rest of the world kept him calm. He hadn’t so much as whinnied since they’d had taken off.
This line made the rest of the story a bit frustrating to get through, I had trouble remembering that the horse is not the PoV character. I'm willing to wager that I'm the only one that had this problem though, because my brain is stupid. It did make me laugh though, because a horse is not a Cis-White-Male, and almost hope this would an absurdist way of nose thumbing the prompt.

quote:

“Ten seconds until drop.” said Kavak. He cleared his throat. Amaria knew what was coming next, and made no move to stop him.
“Ohrmazd, firm among firm, wise ruler of the cosmos, bless this child Amaria Apion, daughter of Rome and Persia, fill her with your truth and your fire, protect her from harm. Activating gravity chute!”
I'm guessing your character is an atheist/skeptic in a highly religious society. I would have liked a bit more allusion to that I guess?
Overall I like the action but it feels a little choppy. If I had to put my finger on what's lacking in this story I'd argue it's character. I don't know what the automatons are outside of robots or why they've risen against humans. Is Amaria on a horse because her car got sick of her poo poo and joined the rebellion? Some of the imagery is pretty badass but I don't really get why she enjoys battle as much as she apparently does.

HAWKLAD: The Path
This isn't inherently bad, just underwhelming. I like that it circles back to the beginning but unfortunately the opening line is a weak one to return to. Not atrocious by any means, definitely pretty solid for a first entry and it shows promise. Keep at it.

quote:

So long this moment had eluded her. So long she pictured it in her mind, fantasizing the possibilities within the bladesong, the cuts and slashes, the false attacks and parries, prelude to the killing blow. But always her imagination would falter before that conclusive strike, distracted by the choices, the skill she would need, the overwhelming options. The picture would fade into indecision. This was her fear, her despair. How could she win if she couldn't even find a clear path to victory within her mind?
I'd argue that the "This was her fear" could do without the italics.

LLAMAGUCHI: Generations Of Squander
Doesn't really fit the prompt, I don't really get a metal vibe. You've got some really good descriptions of things here but at the same time the story is a meandering mess. I think I kind of get what you were going for but didn't really go anywhere. This would also do well for some proofreading.
Real Talk though: That loserbrawl post was loving incredible. Like holy poo poo that was some classy throwback angst. Holy gently caress definitely top three things I remember reading in TD. This poo poo puts the META in METAL.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Oct 5, 2016 around 03:29

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


The Art Of War: 860 Words
“Daaaaaamn!” Merf’s enthusiasm did nothing to quell the rage boiling up inside of Fist.

“You you wouldn’t be so hype if someone bit on you like this.” Fist’s reply was accompanied by a sweeping gesture to the source of his frustration. The wall behind him, previously home to one of the oldest and best murals in the city was now painted black. The name NOPE! emblazoned in white and gold straight letter.

“Nah unk, you ain’t even got bit on,” Zorro chimed in as he lit up a smoke, “You got mauled. Don’t even try to act like that ain’t a burner.”

“Who the gently caress is Nope anyways?” Fist was indignant, “I haven’t seen this clown up anywhere else in the city. Who the gently caress is he to step to me like this?”

“Who the gently caress is you to complain about it?” Merf interjected, “Now is we out here to bitch or is we out here to bomb?”

“Yeah, let’s get to it.” Fist sighed, “It’s one just one piece and we’re all-city. I ain’t gonna let some toy get under my skin.”

The vandal squad made their way into the night. The rattle of spray cans foretold their arrival at every new spot. The hiss of aerosol preceded their swift departure. For hours they walked up and down the streets of Cream City. Leaving their names on every choice wall, bus shelter and mailbox they passed.

“Alright, I’m packing it in.” Fist said through a yawn. “I got work in like 8 hours.”

“You sure you don’t wanna hit one more spot,” Merf pointed at a billboard and smirked, “You gonna bite back or nope?”

Fist didn’t have the energy or willpower to resist the offer. Like a beacon of opportunity he saw NOPE! sprayed in block letters on the forehead of some smug local politician. Pulling himself up the ladder with a backpack full of paint was no mean feat. He took a moment to catch his breath as he reached the platform. Fist carefully wrote his name over this new rival’s, adding a crown to the head of his piece and the politician for good measure. He stepped back, making certain that anyone who saw his work would also be able to read the name below as well.

“That poo poo’s hot yo!” Zorro yelled from somewhere below.

“I ain’t done yet.” Fist said as he pulled out an ink mop. In dripping red letters he scrawled Don’t start none, won’t be none!” just before sliding down the ladder and calling it a night.

It was on the bus to work that afternoon that Fist knew he had made an enemy. The gold-line was his turf. It had been for nearly as long as he’d been bombing. Every tag he’d made had gone over. An endless stream of taunts mocking him for a night of work now wasted.

The call box on State & Hawley; NOPE!

The bridge on Harmonee & Harwood; NOPE!

The bus shelter outside the zoo on Bluemound; NOPE!

The amount of damage his invisible enemy had done was absolutely astonishing. Most of it had to have been in broad daylight two. Fist knew what he had to do. He was going to have to fight for each and every spot in his city.

The months that followed were a war of attrition. The proliferation of graffiti in the city was driven by FIST and NOPE, but their public war inspired dozens of others to donate art to the public forum. Fist had had enough when he found another of his best pieces replaced by that all familiar NOPE! painted into the sole of a boot. He wasn’t about to let that first sleight slide any longer.

Fist found himself alone at the place where it all began. He snapped a couple pictures of the piece he was about to write over. Zorro was right, he thought, it is a straight burner. Whatever… Time to do some damage. The rattle of the paint can broke the silence as he stepped up to the wall.

“What in the gently caress do you think you’re doing mate?” The voice was unfamiliar, female, distinctly Australian. Fist turned to put a face to it.

“Eh, I’m just painting this wall. Is that not a thing where you’re from?” He wasn’t quite sure why he’d phrased it that way.

“Nah mate, it definitely is, and that’s my wall.” The words confirmed what Fist already suspected. So this was NOPE...

“Must not have the same rules from back on your penal colony then.” He said, voice dripping in snark. “Cause I was up on this longer than you’ve been in this country.”

“Fist?” His nemesis asked.

“Nope?” Fist laughed at the unintended meaning.

“poo poo, this was a black wall when I hit it. If I’d have known.” Her tone was sincerely apologetic.”

“Oh gently caress, that means I went over you for like… no reason.” Fist choked back his pride. “poo poo, I’m sorry.”

“Eh, I can’t say it ain’t been fun.” Nope replied.

“Hell, this is awkward,” Fist tossed a can to the stranger, “I’m not good at apologies, so gently caress it. Wanna go bombing?”

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Thanks for the crits everyone:

IN: Milwaukee/Cream City/Brewtown

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Thanks for the crits everyone:

IN: Milwaukee/Cream City/Brewtown
With Flash Rule #1

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Sitting Here posted:



feel free to have wrong opinions about this book, I will be happy to help you correct them come 11/11

Suspicions confirmed:
Sitting Here is a Bene Gesserit witch...

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


The Slow Death Of The Suburbs: Or Milwaukee Gothic
1419 Words

“I just woke up like this.” I stated with as level a tone as I could muster. It isn’t every day a guy wakes up dead. Still, poise was warranted. I had tried to make a meal of my host not more than an hour ago. “Well, I woke up hungry too. Thanks for the assist on that by the way.” I toasted her, the mug of blood still warm with the heat from the teapot.

“Think nothing of it.” She’d introduced herself as Olivia. She was sweet, charitable and infinitely loving patient with me for some reason. I hoped all vampires were like her. “Hospitality is something my family takes great pride in.”

“So is it true that I’m immortal now?” This revelation was a hard one to grasp. “How old are you then?” I drat near choked on the apology that spilled haphazardly out of my mouth. Olivia didn’t seem to care.

“It’s perfectly fine.” She smiled lightly. “I’m fairly young as far as our lot are concerned. It’s only been,” She looked up as if to find the answer inside her own head, “two hundred or so years since I turned. But no, we are not immortal.” She sipped from her own mug. “Not by any stretch of the imagination. We are, however, very durable as I demonstrated to you earlier.”

I clutched my chest, reminded of the agony that had left me unable to move. I looked at that pain as a blessing.

“Thank you for that as well.” I added with a clink of my mug against hers.

“Not many would be so gracious about taking a stake to the heart…” She said between tips.

I laughed, “Not many would invite their would-be assassin in for a nightcap.” I finished the glass I had been offered as I rose to my feet. I hadn’t been dead long enough to lose the warmth of life. It made the icy grasp of Olivia’s hand as I shook it all the more shocking. “I should probably be getting home though, I definitely have some stuff figure out.”

She smiled a broad genuine smile, “It’s been nice meeting you Garrett, I hope to see you around.”

“Likewise.”

Olivia gave me a serious look as she led me to the door. “Be wary of anyone who knows what you are. Some breathers know that vampires exist outside of folklore. Most of them are good people.” She paused as her expression turned pensive, “It doesn’t matter how nice you are to them. They’re unable to see you as anything more than a monster.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I promised her.

“You seem a decent ghoul so I don’t want you to die twice in a night.” She chirped as I crossed the threshold onto the street.

It was a long bus ride and a short walk from Olivia’s lakeside mansion to the lifeless cul-de-sac I called home. Despite being medically dead I found my senses were more alive than they had ever been in my nights spent breathing.

The bus let me off in Walker’s Point. I’d always loved that part of town. An amalgamation of immigrants and bohemian types forged into one of the strongest and most culturally diverse neighborhoods in an otherwise segregated city. It was a shining example of everything the city should be, and it was where I had grown up. My heightened awareness gave me new appreciation for the simple joy of it all.

Even for Saturday night National Avenue was extremely busy. The peppery aroma of authentic Mexican cuisine hung thick in the air. Mixed in were the sounds of at least a dozen local bands playing every bar on the block with a stage.

A few people gave me nods of recognition. One even offered to be a steady source of sustenance if need be. It was endearing, really, to know that even though so much about me had changed my city would still have me.

The scent of restaurants and bars faded as I walked through the night, replaced by… well nothing really. It was the same with the sounds. Even with senses set afire I found nothing of interest in the sterile streets of Saint Francis.

I let out a laugh. I’d always joked with my friends from the inner city that I was dying the slow death of the suburbs. Now here I was, living that expression damned near literally. I was about a block away from my house when my fantasies of a normal unlife were stripped from me.

“Where are you going leech?” The question came from somewhere behind me. Not realizing the question was pointed at me I kept walking.

“I’m talking to you!” The statement was punctuated by the business end of a wooden stake announcing it’s arrival between my shoulder blades. “Kind of suspicious that you’re in this neighborhood at this time of night.”

A wave of animosity washed over me. The blood in my veins brought to a boil by the contempt burning white-hot in the pit of my stomach. I probably would have killed the bastard right then and there had it not been for Olivia’s disembodied voice ringing between my ears.

They’re unable to see you as anything more than a monster.

I inhaled deeply. It was a vestigial action, but for some reason the cold air that filled my lungs reminded me that I was still a person. I wouldn’t let this bastard’s prejudices be justified by my actions.

“I’m just trying to get home before the sun comes up.” I buried my frustration beneath a thin veneer of placidity. “I’m not doing anything wrong so can I please just go?”

“You sure about that?” He asked, “You’ve got blood on your shirt and your clothes are all torn up.”

“Yeah, that tends to happen when you get the poo poo beaten out of you.” I took another breath to find that it wasn’t nearly as helpful as the previous one.

“What happened? Did you bite off more than you could chew?” He said. I’d had enough of this poo poo, so I stepped forward.

“Must be hard, having your meals fight back.” A new voice added as it’s owner emerged from behind a van with a compound bow at full draw, stopping me dead in my tracks. I wasn’t sure what I found more fighting; the arrow leveled at my chest, or magenta band slowly filling the black sky above me.

“It was another vampire.” I regretted the words even before I’d finished my sentence.

“Pathetic,” the voice behind me dripped wet with enmity, “It’s a wonder you monsters have time to ruin our communities when you spend so much time fighting amongst yourselves.”

“I really haven’t done anything to you so can I please just get home?” I was astonished I could even speak. The mounting terror inside me had shackled my feet where I stood but for now it had spared my voice.

“If you really haven’t done anything wrong then we shouldn’t be too much longer here.” The man with the bow said in a mocking tone. “If you really live around here you should get home no problem. I hear that celerity is a forte among your kind.”
“Please, just let me go.” My voice cracked, I must have looked pitiful. A beast straight out of humanity’s collective nightmare on the verge of tears. A goddamned monster at the mercy of a couple of squishy humans.

“What do you think?” The voice from behind asked the man in front.

“I don’t think anyone this miserable is anything but harmless. Get out of here, and don’t let us catch you on this street again.” The sharp point of the stake finally vanishing from my back. I drew in another useless breath. My body shaking nearly as fast as the band of red rising in the east. The sun would be up any minute now.

Any sense of composure I had held onto was abandoned as I fled my tormentors. I reached my front door just as the first sliver of gold crested the horizon. I felt my skin blister as I fumbled with the lock. I smelt my own flesh burning as the sun bathed it in light. I heard it crackle as I made for the basement.

I felt nothing as I slammed the door behind me.

No sadness, no fear, no relief.

Nothing.

This may be my house, but it sure as hell isn’t home anymore.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN: With A Confession & Apology:
My original application for employment was a ruse designed to gain executive level access to Voidmart™ in an attempt to steal the secrets of its absurdly high employee and customer satisfaction rates. I'm not saying I was wrong to do so, I'm saying I could never betray this wonderful place to talentless poachers.

As recompense I present the foundation of the 2016 VOIDMART™ EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK: Which I've deliberately created an incorrect hyperlink for, as it can only be obtained on our secure company chat line.

I am willing to step down from whatever my position in this store was in penance. But if I was sent to steal our secrets there will doubtlessly be more behind me. I wish to retain my employment at the mercy of the C.E.O. and will accept whatever department she finds to be a most fitting punishment or best suited for my skills.

I included a copy of the document with which I have so throughly dishonored myself as an open sign of honesty.

Sincerely,
Clive


quote:

VOIDMART
5150 Fountainhead Crossing
Libertyville, IL 60048
ATTN CEO/HUMAN RESOURCES
Care of: Sitting Here


Greetings,

My name is redacted I will be working at VoidmartTM for the next few months. This was arranged by the board of directors of Voidmart's parent company for reasons I am not at liberty to discuss. It is my firm belief that my life experiences make me an ideal candidate for several departments within your company. My work history is a checkered one, and many of the positions I have held are not of a nature one would discuss in polite company. Needless to say my previous employers equipped me with a diverse skill set with which your company could make good use of. I have strict non-disclosure agreements with the companies, syndicates, and governments I have contracted for in the past and thus am unable to disclose the traditional applicant questions regarding: problems I have had with customers or coworkers, and times I was put in charge of an operation. In regards to my skills however, please note that I:

Am Fluent in 6 Foreign Languages (Portuguese, Russian, Persian, Pashtu, French, and Korean).
Have a working knowledge of network security and information systems and I am competent in the field of digital intrusion.
Trained in several martial arts disciplines and am EMT certified in the State of Illinois.
Have experience in high-risk negotiations and financial transactions.
Am familiar with the Material Safety Data Sheets of all commercially available chemicals, as well as their chemical interactions.
Have experience in physical security and surveillance systems and am familiar with their deployment.
Highly skilled in printing and graphical design. (Please notice that I have duplicated the Voidmart/i]TM confidential internal-use-only letterhead for this correspondence)

You will notice that I did not include the standard application or resume. Please do not construe this as contempt for your application process. My work history demands anonymity, a virtue I believe you as the CEO of VoidmartTM can both appreciate and respect. I will be waiting for you in your office before start of business Monday to discuss my start date and payment requirements. I look forward to meeting you.

I have no reservations regarding department, as I am sure you will place me where my skills will be put to the best use. Therefore consider me

IN

Regards
[i]Redacted

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


It's kind of a dick move to require IRC access to get the 2016 VOIDMART™ Employee Handbook so I'll risk posting it here in earnest. EXECUTIVE LEVEL STAFF IS FORBIDDEN FROM VIEWING THIS DOCUMENT UNTIL IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE UFCW LOCAL 51200

EDIT: First person to get the pop-culture reference in our union designation gets a new avatar. I'll that promise, to be paid out by 10/29/2016.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Oct 18, 2016 around 20:38

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


DEAD STOCK: HARDLINES
1995 Words

I’d been waiting for the better part of an hour when Tariq crossed the threshold into the Golden Bean. I’d been on this Voidmart™ job for a little more than a year now. Even though my loyalties had changed it was still nice to see an old friend.

“Clive!” He bellowed. A warm smile barely visible behind his beard. “How does this place treat you my friend?”

“Better than your barber has,” I laughed as he pulled me into a warm hug, “I swear the only thing thicker than your accent these days is your facial hair.”

“And the only thing deeper than your cover is the amount of poo poo you are in.” His smile melted he pulled back from our embrace. “There hasn’t been word from you in months.”

“Sit down Tariq,” I said taking my own, “Coffee is on me.” We hadn’t so much as settled into the sofa before Riley set down two small cups on the table before us.

“Qahwa seasoned with cardamom, ginger, and saffron.” I struggled to decide whether her learning Pashto or finding saffron was more impressive as she poured two cups, “Kha sehat walary shaghly.”

“Who do you think you are ndzhelkei,” Tariq chuckled, “that you would butcher the tongue of my people just to serve me coffee?”

“I'm so sorry sir.” Riley stumbled over her words as Tariq took a sip in an attempt to hide his grin.

“Relax ndzhelkei I am only joking. The only thing more flawless than your Pashto is this qahwa.” Tariq smiled through another sip as he looked to me. “I now see why you were so quick to go native.”

“Yeah, I've got a good thing going here.” I inhaled deeply. “Besides, I’ve always had a habit of siding with underdogs.” The warm blend of coffee and spice instantly transporting me back to the caves of Panjshir province. Caves filled with the hearty laughter of the insurgents I was there to support. The fact that I considered the Soviet-Afghan War to be ‘simpler times’ probably spoke volumes to my personality

“The Mujahideen were not underdogs my friend.” Tariq was terse reply, “To business; I came here as a courtesy. Nulgreens has decided to scrap the spy games. They intend to take this place over and they intend to do so tonight.”

“Why tell me this?” I asked, thankful that Tariq owed me his life several times over.

“You can thank your cheerful little barista.” He stated dryly, “It pains me to imagine a future without another cup of such delicious qahwa.”

“So I’m on my own then?” I questioned, “You’ve never been much of a spectator.”

“I assure you old friend I want nothing to do with this fight.” Tariq placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. “I just want to see you come through this in as few pieces as possible.” He downed his drink and made for the door.

I had work to do…

The fortunate thing about working in a big box store is that there is no limit to the destruction you are capable of. Given a colorful imagination and carte-blanche appropriation of products for in-store-use even an otherwise hopeless person can be made into a formidable opponent.

With a skull full of bad ideas and a shopping list that would land me in several government databases I set to work preparing for the coming siege. Any operative with half a brain knows that rope can save your life in more ways than you can imagine, so I decided sporting goods should be my first stop.

I found the last bit we had being eyed pensively by some forgettable looking customer. Normally I was all about the Customer First ethos Voidmart™ made a fuss about. This was an issue of store security though, so without hesitating I snatched the last bundle of paracord from the shelf.

The stare that terrifying bastard gave me stopped me dead in my tracks. A blank expression that seemed to retell every horror story I had from my years of service with the Agency. For what felt like minutes I stared into the eyes of this customer; only faintly aware of the terrified scream spilling out of my chest.

“I’ll do without it.” I told the customer with the last bit of breath in my lungs, “You obviously need this more than I do.”

The rest of my shopping spree was fairly uneventful. Even with the unreasonable influx of customers I managed to build myself a happy little arsenal of homebrew mayhem. OSHA wouldn’t be happy about my appropriation of fire extinguishers or the precariously balanced stacks of air conditioners placed at every point of egress, but I didn’t plan on living to see the consequences.

It was five minutes past the hour when I saw the convoy roll into the parking lot. Six obsidian black cargo vans peeled from their formation in an attempt to cover all the exits. The first team filtered through the main entrance.

Of the five man breaching team only two managed to escape the tumbling pile of air conditioners that came down on their heads as they burst into the store. I greeted the first of them with a cheerful “Welcome to Voidmart” and a swift knee to the face. His body went slack with the impact but not before shielding me from the barbs comrade’s taser.

I could hear another team charging up from the rear. Outnumbered I bolted for the break room, three of the invaders hot on my tail. The closest catching my collar with a single finger as we crossed the threshold.

The stragglers drenched in a mix of vegetable oil and Voidmart™ Genetically Enhanced Fury-Peppers propelled by a dozen or so fire-extinguishers rigged to the door. Cries of agony at being maced with the hottest peppers our corporate geneticists could legally sell drowned out my own as I caught a stun-baton to the kneecap.

I couldn’t help but think that I was done for as my attacker raised his baton above his head. I was calmed by a faint breeze from somewhere behind me. Reality hit me just before my attacker’s baton. I grabbed his wrist and threw him over my shoulder.

THWUMP

He let out a Wilhelm scream as he was pulled into the tube leading deep into the catacombs below the store. The other two were too busy tripping over themselves in a genetically modified inferno of capsaicin. Only a handful left. I thought returning to the sales floor.

My emergence was met by two more Nulgreens goons with tasers drawn shouting commands to halt. Having previously experienced a couple million volts shooting through me I obliged.

“You got me, the Jig is up.” Disappointment clear in my voice I continued, “I’ll comply with anything you ask. For the love of God though please don’t tase me bros.”

“They won’t,” a thick Afghan accent chimed in somewhere behind me, “Turn to face me traitor.”

Again I complied, dismayed to see Tariq standing with a shotgun aimed just a few feet from my face.

“Seems like you’ve lost the high-ground spinay.”

“Why do you keep calling me ‘white-boy’ Tariq?” I’d dropped our previous cordial tone, “Wasn’t you who made declared me an honorary Pashtun all those years ago?”

“Things change old friend?” He shook the barrel of the shotgun as if to move me out of the way. “Now kiss the dirt and pray to Allah for a swift death.”

I covered my head with my hands as I went prone. No sooner had I buried my face in the linoleum before two loud blasts shook me to the core. I argued with the thought of whether a dead-man could flinch before mustering enough courage to look up.

“So I guess that’s that for not getting involved in this.” I sighed. Nulgreens’ goons lay on the ground, the unfortunate victims of bean-bag rounds to the stomach.

“You do not then understand how rare good qahwa is in this part of the world then.” Tariq joked as he pulled me to my feet. “Now assess me as to the situation.”

“Twenty-five hostiles. Five unconscious, two incapacitated.” One of my attackers groaned. Tariq knocked him out with the butt of his shotgun.

“Fine. Six incapacitated.” I laughed as I ran a checksum on my statement, “Oh and one more thwumped.”

Tariq raised an eyebrow at the addendum.

“I honestly don’t know what it does outside of the sound it makes.” I told him. My statement was puzzled as his expression.

“So should we need to make a stand...where would you suggest we do so?” Tariq asked.

“Lawn And Garden is a safe bet.” I replied, “Though ‘safe’ is relative. I avoid that department like the plague.”

“Clive Barton afraid of some harmless foliage?” My comrade joked.

“Harmless is not the word I would use buddy.” He saw my sincerity instantly, “If you buy a plant at Voidmart odds are it is deadly toxic.”

“I see…”

“Or insatiably carnivorous…”

“Lets not see for ourselves then.” He told me as if it had been his plan all along.

Most of Nulgreens’ invasion force was routed without much effort. It was only in the clearance aisle of hardlines that we met real resitance. Crounching behind dead-stock doomed to collect dust in this retail purgatory I found myself praying to the CEO and Allah to spare me a similar fate.

An explosion roared above us. All manner of useless and forgotten goods cascaded down upon us.

“It appears that our former colleagues no longer intend to play nice.” He chuckled. “Which is a shame, because I am all out of ammunition.” Tariq punctuated his statement by pumping his shotgun and pulling the trigger.

I nearly went deaf from the following blast.

“I apologize old friend,” He said through a laugh that belied premeditiation. “NOW I am out of ammunition!”

Are you a former spy pinned down by rocket fire in an aisle of useless product? Voidmart™ asked us from on high.

Tariq’s cackling grew louder, “Your PA is...”

Then check out our selection of overstock PVC and camping accessories for all your DIY rocket launcher needs.

“Oddly specific,” he said surveying the merchandise around us, “but at least she is extremely helpful!”

Six feet of plastic tubing and a dozen propane tanks later we were ready to fight back.

“So you wanna play this Tariq?” I inquired.

“Jalalabad is coming to mind.” He responded, hefting a PVC tube onto his shoulder.

“Goddamn I’ve missed you.” I declared with a slap of his shoulder.

Jamming a steel kabab into the valve of the first tank I shouted “Clear” before slamming a pipe cap over the back end of of our DIY bazooka.

THUNK

The first rocket missed by just enough to save us. The tank ignited an endcap of fireworks, illuminating the area in a shower of brilliant white sparks.

THUNK

The second struck true, ravaging an endcap of Promethium brand lighter fluid and making hellfire of everything in the immediate area.

THUNK

The third found purchase in bulk foods and restaurant supplies. Immediately tearing a hole in an industrial sized barrel of peanut oil and setting half of the store alight.

Any of the invaders not fleeing from embarrassment could be heard barking orders for their colleagues to do so. Voidmart™ had survived its first hostile takeover.

“Just like Jalalabad.” I said. Smug satisfaction carved into my features I looked to my old spy buddy. “I’m guessing you’re in the market for a new job then?”

“I am not a betting man.” Tariq responded, “But on that I would be willing to wager.”

“If you’re interested I could probably pull some strings and land you a gig here.”

“That depends spinay.” his face was deadpan. It was that poker face that made me glad Islam counted gambling as one of its greater sins.

“On what?”

“What would be my discount on that fantastic qahwa?”

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Will be critting as much as I can before 7:00 AM Central.
Will attempt to continue critting tomorrow evening.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN:
With a flash rule should you see fit because late sub last week. Winner says no...
With a cause I used the kicker to my word count in said late sub
rdonalddesjardin@gmail.com If you wanna bounce ideas off one another pre-crit style via hangouts when I'm not actively in RMC...

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Oct 26, 2016 around 10:48

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


HERE IS THE FIRST OF 33 GODDAMNED CRITS*:
Between low-ceiling prompt and a DQ with IMO the best thing I've written yet I'm going to crit (not line crit) every goddamned entry this week.

MOXIE - The Secret Edge LINE CRITS UNTIL I RUN OUT OF STEAM
The opening feels a bit disjointed and doesn't really jive with the rest of the narrative. You're telling me things that should become apparent through the narrative.

quote:

"Jeff!" My supervisor's voice startled me a bit as I was in the midst of admiring a particularly shiny item. "Get out of the Throwing Aisle. You're assigned to the wedding registry today." By far our biggest seller: sets of 8-67 stainless steel blades accompanied by blocks of wood to store them, blades hidden. Unfortunately, this was a situation where popularity didn't equate to prestige. Mr. Smith really had it out for me despite my alertness; I found myself assigned to selling knife sets nearly every day.

This feels erroneous. Again make it clear that this is the case outside. Show us how much work you've got ahead of us.

quote:

"Who the... Don't name the merchandise and get to your station!" I smiled and nodded as I walked six aisles further away from Katanas.
I could stand to see some separation from your supervisor's chastisement and your aquiescense. So far I like the playful approach your character carries into his work.

quote:

"Howdy, Magnus," I whispered. "What's up, Sinbad?" Naturally, Sinbad said nothing; blades can’t talk. I loved the weapons, but they weren't people. Just unique and beautiful pieces of merchandise. I dodged into the Gladius and Dirk Aisle as a customer's handicapable cart rolled by at top speed. Julius sparkled as he reflected the light from her silver hair. "Good one Julius," I giggled. He was good for one of those a shift. No time for him now though.
I'm glad the talking to knives thing isn't just a one-off gimmick, and at this point I was really hoping it carried through and advanced the plot some way.
*the weapons seems redundant. "Them" or some other moniker could probably just as effective.
**rolled feels like WAAAY too passive of a verb to come before "top speed"
***handicapable cart just reads clumsily.
****dodged is an awkward verb. 'ducked' 'stealthed' or something similar would convey intent better.
On the whole this paragraph is just a little verbose while being far too blase in tone to justify its girth.

quote:

"Excuse me, can you point me to the saw blades?" Wonderful things, to be sure, but for whatever reason they are secreted in the Tools quadrant. Sorry, sir.
This and the stuff that follows reads a bit sloppy. Your character seems like the kind of person who is willing to openly state all the bizarre things that come to their head. Bring that into the dialogue and things will be a lot stronger.
*Also your tense feels like it jumps around inappropriately. I'm not an authority on this though. I recently found out there are thirteen tenses in the english language so the most I'm willing to state is that it seems like it's changing where it shouldn't. IE: "Blades do not chop in my opinion" reads as a very 'current' thought.
**I think a part of the problem is there isn't enough separation between your intrusive narrator and your actual first person action.

quote:

Not a single edge on the poor girl, unfortunately..
One more or one less period here. Conservatively one less. That comes from someone who abuses ellipses like hard drugs.
*The "Not a single edge on the poor girl." was the first sincere laugh I've had at this point.
**Your dialogue works to a point because Jeff is a single minded simpleton. It does get a bit tiresome.
***Don't fall into another one of my mistakes: Don't be afraid of dialogue attribution.

quote:

"This is the new Carvington Elite Collection Atomic Edition." Instead of a plain wood block with a crowd of desperately jutting handles, he presented a humming black cube with only three beckoning new friends. "It has three carbon nanoblades kept suspended in a magnetic field." He pulled out the largest of the set. It was so dark, except for the edge. When it caught the flourescents, it drew a thin crescent of light across my retina. I felt like it was telling me a secret. "You must never touch it!" My jaw dropped. When Mr. Smith resheathed the atomic edge, I finally was able to turn my gaping expression towards him. "Do you have any idea how dangerous this is?"
Again one of the high points in the story suffers from a passive description. I want you to make me as awestruck by these blades as Jeff is. I've actually started writing in first person in TD for specifically this point. Onomatopoeia is a cheap and easy way to bring the readers senses into the story. IMO the line of demarcation between First person narrative that is 'meh' and first person narrative that is 'great' falls squarely on how well the prose conveys physical sensation or emotion.

quote:

I paced around cutlery, neck hurting from keeping my gaze pointed directly at the atomic set. I could still see the brilliant afterimage of its secret. He had sliced my ocular nerve from three yards away! I hoped it was permanent. I jumped again as a tiny voice said my name from the artery.
Using anatomy as an allegory for the store is a smart move but it could have definitely been executed with more finesse.

quote:

It was Martha. She presented me a sandwich of thinly sliced meats, which I accepted graciously. That would be for later. Who could think of food at a time like this?

"Thanks Marth. When do you get off?"

"Ah, I was off at three. I'm just going head over to Sleep... are you okay?"

The secret of the atomic edge finally became clear. I knew Martha liked me as a man likes a blade; I could never put my finger on why until now, not that I would put a finger on that atomic edge. The afterimage gave Martha an edge of her own, and I fear my gaze may have lingered a bit hungrily. She was beautiful too!
This block of text is cumbersome. Try breaking your dialogue up with action and see how that jives.
Other than that the end feels rushed.
Jeff just proposes to Martha out of thin air?
The ending is just super super rushed.
"YOU WANT TO MARRY A HUMAN WOMAN" <- I could have stood to see this joke played up more. Comedy happens in threes. Either more allusions to Jeff's lack of sexual interests earlier in the story could have served well or you could have expaned on the department manager's disbelief a little more.
"You want to marry martha"/Yes <reaction>/"A woman"/<intrusive narrator/more reaction>"Uh huh"/An ACTUAL HUMAN WOMAN/Yuppp/ ->Congratulations!

quote:

"Congratulations, Jeff," Mr. Smith said later. "You've reached your quota."

"And I get the knives!"

"Not a chance in hell."

I honestly like the last three lines of your story, but the time that passes takes away from the impact.
//Final Thoughts\\
Yeah this is a goofy flash fiction thread but it's a great place to try things and see what you're doing wrong. The community is great and if you just want to use it as an excuse to read fun stories and make rad internet friends that's cool by me but I'm not a veteran. I don't get the impression that you were just dicking around but you had a neat concept but just sort of phoned it in when it came to the actual words conveying that concept.
Biggest Gripe: You submitted 48 hours early. Don't treat the dome as a place to throw a first draft at the wall and see what sticks. Launch the very loving best you can manage into the crucible every week and forge that poo poo in the fires of harsh criticism and bold risks. Seeing and fixing obvious mistakes is nowhere near as satisfying as taking feedback to heart and pushing out better and better words every week. I say this as someone who up until VERY recently went into these prompts way too casually. The only way to really improve is to push yourself. I say this as someone who up until VERY recently went into these prompts way too casually. I'd like to think I've done pretty well these past few subs. It's not impossible to seriously write a silly story.

Chili - PROTOCOL GAMMA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAdf8bBHPY4<- Irrelevant link to crit music...
I don't have much bad to say about this story. I'm a big fan of your man vs. machine struggle. The setup feels a bit too long for my tastes, but I love that Voidmart™ opts for the nuclear option when it comes to gaming.

quote:

I couldn’t believe it. I checked my stream but found that it had mysteriously disconnected. I went to take a screencap of my victory score, but as I did, the phone’s screen went black, and then, two words popped up in block-white font USER DELETED.
I feel like there could have been a line break before the "USER DELETED"
How to do so is up in the air. I think an ellipse best suits the sense of incredulity and existential agony losing such an achievement to the void would bring me personally.

quote:

I couldn’t believe it. I checked my stream but found that it had mysteriously disconnected. I went to take a screencap of my victory score, but as I did, the phone’s screen went black, and then, two words popped up in block-white font...

USER DELETED.

I couldn’t believe it. I checked my stream but found that it had mysteriously disconnected. I went to take a screencap of my victory score, but as I did, the phone’s screen went black, and then, two words popped up in block-white font USER DELETED.
*That said I'm objectively loving awful when it comes to punctuation. Something deep inside me wants to say a colon would be more correct. Defer to the wisdom of good writers on this. [spoiler]I really need to loving reread how punctuation works.[/quote]
ON SECOND NOTE: Querying Good writers - which is more-better in this situation?

quote:

Professional Voidball players hated going to Voidmart. It was big, crazy, and ultimately a distraction from the prize of victory. But sometimes, the phones needed support, and Voidmart remained resolute in exclusively providing support for their Capti editions in-store. And so, after a 20-minute walk inside the store, I stepped up to my Voidphone Wizard. Today, I would be privileged to be looked after by a gentleman named Yori.
You hate going to Voidmart™ and that is what the focus should be. I don't even so much give a poo poo that you dread going to Voidmart™ so much as why you find the place so loathsome.
*NOT WORTH QUOTING: Italicise The Back to emphasize that it is a proper noun as opposed to a typo? Again, defer to actual good writers on that one before taking my advice. Mayhaps single quotes? The idea of 'The Back' needs to be stressed as not just a place but an abstract concept. Maybe not important in dialouge so much as with the following mentions that take place within the narrative.
[quote]-----
I got yelled at for this poo poo and it subtracted points from what was undoubtedly the strongest thing I've not only subbed but also written. Don't do that!
//backtracking\\
Even though my phone was defunct, it was painful handing it to him.
LET ME BE A PROXY FOR THE ANXIETY YOU FEEL AT HAVING TO RELEASE THE OBJECT WHICH GIVES YOUR EXISTENCE MEANING!

quote:

I took the binoculars and Yori crossed over the threshold. I watched him walk for about 5 minutes or so; his headlamp bobbed with each step. Suddenly, I saw his light drop. I brought the binoculars up to my eyes and watched as Yori fiddled with a small contraption on the floor. He was placing my Capti in a mount of some kind.
Good imagery here, though I want more emotion. Your beloved phone is entering the void, give the readers some of that suspense your PoV is feeling.

quote:

I felt a smooth, pulsing vibration through the soles of my shoes. I looked down, but Yori grabbed my hair and pulled my head back upward.
More good imagery even though I felt a is passive without clear reason for being so. "Things happened to me, I had no outward reaction to these stimuli." is what I'm getting here. I wanna feel those vibrations work their way up into your chest, I want my breathing to hasten with yours. There's a disappointing lack of emotion despite your character being separated from their most prized possession that leaves a lot of otherwise great imagery falling flat.

quote:

And I watched as my phone grew.
This is a good application of passive verbage in my reading. This is literally a thing that is happening. It is a thing that your character isn't otherwise expecting to happen or prepared to react to.

quote:

It was so far away, but I could now see it. My Capti had already increased tenfold, but it didn’t stop there. It expanded and grew further and further until it resembled a skyscraper.[/u]
I like the imagery but I wish you would have gone with a more powerful comparison. 'Skyscraper' doesn't fit the Proto-Cyberpunk tech-worship
you've conveyed so far. An allusion could have been really powerful here.
/////FINAL THOUGHTS\\\\\
A really neat concept got washed away by passive verbage and a lack of reaction from your PoV character. Flat prose dulled what was otherwise really interesting visual descriptions.

Hawklad - Russel Saves Voidmart

quote:

My name is Russell Rabin, and I single-handedly saved Voidmart. I've never gotten any credit, but believe me. It happened.
You aren't the first person to do this and I don't like it any better the second time. This is just a thing that sort of peeves me. These "Happy Gilmore" introductions almost never introduce important information or set things in motion. They're nearly always just a redundant introduction to the events about to unfold.

quote:

So it starts with this new kid working in the Box Department named Enos. Or maybe he's been here the whole time? It's hard to tell. I know that sounds strange—or maybe not because this is Voidmart we're talking about.
I'm a fan of the casual "bar-after-work" fish tale tone you're taking. As with the first entry I hope it's consistent throughout. There's a lot of room to make damned good use of the tools an intrusive narrator provides taking this route because it is all intrusive narrator. I like this as an example of the two approaches first-person stories generally take. Whereas there's the matter-of-fact "This happened to me!" that shoot-the-poo poo style is almost an always refreshing "You ain't gonna believe the poo poo that happened to me!"
Your interjections are smart and clean and your formatting is on point. Your tone is impeccable and I don't ever find myself off-put by sudden changes in voice or apparent perspective.

quote:

Funny thing is that a couple of the bosses are always down here talking to this kid. They've got a real hard on for him. Up and down the stairs all day long, these bosses go straight to his desk and give him packages like he's a loving UPS. What he does with them I don't know. But I'll bet you my next paycheck it has something to do with those weird boxes he makes.
^^^This was a really really smart way to not only reinforce that break-room PoV but also hint at the weirdness of Voidmart without beating us over the head with it. It's just far enough outside the realm of normal to set the imagination going. You're leveraging the inherent weirdness of Voidmart against the readers expectations in a way that really gets the speculative ticks in my head going. I dig it.
It doesn't finish as strong as the first half but that isn't by any means an insult. Really liked pretty much everything about this story. You tie into other stories and the established metaplot really well. All in all I dig it.
The transition into 'traditional' dialogue pulled me out of the story pretty hard honestly:
Compared to the riffing you do up until that point it just doesn't fit.
/////FINAL THOUGHTS\\\\\
THIS IS ONLY YOUR THIRD SUBMISSION?!?!?! You've either obviously been writing (and writing seriously) for quite some time based on this entry. Either that your you're just naturally talented. Either way a solid loving entry.
You used a lot of commas. Honestly though, it just sort of helped set the pace for the story.
All in all I really liked this one. Can't say much more good or bad about it.

Widespread - SECRETS OF A SMALL FAMILY:

quote:

God bless his soul and all, but I swear my son has something to hide. Every day I see him, he looks or feels cloudy. Everyone’s saying he’s on drugs, and I’m inclined to believe that.But Every time I ask him, he just says that he isn’t. It’s worrying at this point. He’s my son, and he could be close to death for all any of us know. We considered searching his room high and low for any paraphernalia, but my wife suggested that we encourage him away from drugs via hobbies. While I love my wife and all, sometimes her methods are questionable. However, I am inclined to agree that maybe our son needs a hobby besides work. This place they call VoidMart seems to be a good start, even if I’ve no recollection of entering this place in my life.
I like the voice. I feel like it's my mom talking but the punctuation is all over the place.

quote:

Sipping on some coffee, I ponder over what my son could be into. At his age, there’s quite a lot he can try. My phone was buzzing from the back-and-forth texts I keep sending my wife. All the texts were of hobbies our son could try. Eventually, we both settled on collecting. After all, if he spent money on one thing, he can’t get his fix most likely. However, there are many things to base collections on. It’s not going to be easy, but I figured I’d find something that’d catch his eye. Downing the coffee, my adventure started. For the sake of my son, I hope there’s something in this strange place to catch his eye.
You're bouncing between simple and progressive tenses and the narrative suffers for it. It doesn't feel natural as I read.

quote:

As I explored, I realized that VoidMart was a very strange place.
At the risk of sounding like the jaded dome veterans: No loving poo poo

quote:

Lots of things lined shelves, including things I almost know are illegal.

Sorry again for being curmudgeonly, but this line is so weak it just got bullied out of its lunch money.

quote:

It was then I happened upon a sinister section, one that held an assortment of ancient artifacts. Any thought I had of helping my son soon dissipated, with feelings of uneasiness setting in. Sure enough, I see a handle. It was placed between two ancient books, which I considered odd. Then again, this whole section was odd. But if it was an interesting sight, maybe it’ll be interesting for my son. Pulling the handle ever so gently, I saw the wicked blade attached. The craftsmanship was ornate, with bits of filigree lining both handle and blade. But as I stared, I felt my heart race. My mind wanted to yell as I stared. This dagger wasn’t normal, I assumed. It took a fair amount of willpower to remove the blade from the section, but I considered it a feat to even find it.
The things with the tense are happening again. This sucks because you have a legitimately interesting concept.
Show me the things that make it not normal. You're writing in first person so as far as my brain is concerned I am your PoV character.
I assumed is a super super super stiff suffix to have attached to this line.

quote:

The craftsmanship was ornate, with bits of filigree lining both handle and blade.
I'm not sure what's going on but your phrasing is all thumbs in some places. The blade/knife is ornate moreso than the craftsmanship. The blade was ornately crafted. rolls off the brain-tongue a bit more smoothly.

quote:

But as I stared, I felt my heart race. My mind wanted to yell as I stared. This dagger wasn’t normal, I assumed. It took a fair amount of willpower to remove the blade from the section, but I considered it a feat to even find it.
This is much better. It could still use a bit of tooling but MUCH MUCH better.

quote:

Later that evening, my wife and I perused my recent purchase. She agreed that this knife was unnerving for some reason, but neither of us knew why. Thankfully, our son had just arrived from his job. We could just hand this thing off and be done with it. The front door opened, pleasantries were exchanged, and we sat our son down at the table.
"Later that evening" is a bit cliche as far as segues are concerned but this is overall forgivable.
*"Perused" is DEFINITELY 100% NOT THE RIGHT WORD TO USE. Purused carries the connotation of multiple objects and no clear direction. Don't be afraid of small words.
**I want to see your wife's disagreement either in dialogue or in a summary of her thoughts. She agreed has no power behind it. And again I'm left to half-assedly wonder what's so unnerving about this knife.
The dialogue afterwards doesn't communicate in a way that feels natural.

quote:

EXAMPLE:
“Now son, your mom and I love you very much.” I said. “But we feel that maybe you need something to think about besides work.”

“Yes. That’s why we got you this.” My wife chimed in, handing him the dagger as carefully as she could. Her hands were trembling.

“Ooh. This blade looks fancy.” My son spoke.
The dad's line is flat and doesn't sell the relationship to me as a reader. The mom doesn't have a distinct voice from the father and it doesn't feel like that decision was intentional.
*Nitpicking but possibly helpful edit: My son spoke, "Ooh. This blade looks fancy.'

quote:

But as he swung the knife, I could hear a faint female voice.

“Tell her about me…” the voice whispered. “You can’t hide our time forever…”

It was enough to send a shiver down my spine. I hadn’t thought of that woman in a few weeks, and it was as if her spirit was in our son’s gift. With a glance over to my wife, I noticed her face was mortified for reasons unbeknownst to me at that time.
Your story gets legitimately interesting here. I wish soooo badly there were some foreshadowing as to the nature of this knife's supernatural properties. A snide question at the checkout counter, an evil revilation as it was wrapped by the bagger, a disjointed set of mumbles that your PoV character isn't sure are real as it bounces around in the back seat on the drive home.

quote:

“You heard her too… didn’t you?” I whispered.

“No. Did you hear him, though?” She replied.

“I didn’t. Mine was a woman’s voice.”

“Weird. But…” She fidgeted in her seat a bit. ”Listen… I need to tell you something.”

“I know. You cheated on me. I did the same thing.”

“Was it some weeks ago?”

“Yes. With a co-worker of mine, I’m afraid to admit.”

“I slept with the local lifeguard round that time, too.”

“Okay then.”

The next few minutes slogged on for ages, it seemed. Dead silence, save for our son adjusting his room to place that cursed dagger. Guilt was washing over my body, with my heart wanting to drop like a stone.

“I think we need to see the therapist again.” The wife whispered.
The exchange between the wife and your PoV is just so devoid of any depth or emotion that any little bit of empathy I had with them is lost to the void.
/////FINAL THOUGHTS\\\\\
THAT IDEA OF 'A KNIFE THAT CUTS THROUGH LIES' is so goddamned fresh and interesting. Unfortunately you flipped the script and used the withdrawn behavior of your PoV's son as the motivation and main instigator of your conflict instead of this GODDAMNED AMAZING HOMEWRECKING KNIFE THAT-HOLY poo poo-KILLS MARRIAGES AND CAREERS.
Your storytelling was on the whole your biggest failing. Even the son's withdrawn behavior doesn't get resolved as an issue and that's what sets the events of the story in motion.
There's SO MUCH POTENTIAL for compelling narrative here it's brutal to think about. This could have gone tragedy, horror, supernatural thriller, road to redemption - any of a billion genres - based solely on how awesome of a concept that knife is as a plot hook.
SERIOUSLY KEEP AT IT:
Fresh ideas are rare. With how stoked I am on your idea it would only take [i]passable
writing to make me all about this story.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Oct 26, 2016 around 11:44

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


[b[The Peacock And The Raven:[/b] Proof Of Submission
245 Words

Megan was a raven; sleek and stylish and cunning. I’ll never understand what motivated her to peck around the zoo with a dopey peacock like me, but I’m glad she did. Every time she came by I felt a desire to learn, to be smarter. I was as eager to tell her of the mysteries I’d unraveled as I was to hear of the world beyond my zoo. It hadn't been long since she left. She’d heard of the wonders outside the city and needed to see them for herself.

This zoo now feels to me as the city must have felt to her: too small for my ambitions, too familiar to sate my curiosity.

I hop to the roof where this all started and wait. My feathers ruffling with anticipation as the truck below me roars to life.

I take a running leap; landing on the truck with a graceful click as my talons make contact with the roof. It’s hard to stay balanced on such a smooth surface. Each bump in the road threatens to throw me from my perch.

The gate isn't far now. I can see it open as we draw nearer.

A warm thermal of freedom billows underneath my wings as I cross into the world beyond.

I don’t look back. There’s world ahead of me is too new.

I don’t know where I’m headed, but for the first time in my life I feel like I can go anywhere.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Tweet squawk, Chirp squawk

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


sebmojo posted:

to do these in 48 hours

If newbies don't get back to you hearing something about my DQ from Voidmart would be nice.
I'm 100% willing to cede my crit to new-blood that wants it though.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


sebmojo posted:

This was really pretty extremely bad and would probably have lost/DMd (maybe it did, idk). the core of the story, dude is visited by old buddy on other side, fight occurs, old buddy swaps side, is adequate if agonisingly cliche but you don't come close to pulling it off. A few nice lines in there, and I like some of the images.

Thanks for the crit Seb.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Nov 4, 2016 around 02:29

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


The Federal Bureau of Insomniacs
400ish words: off prompt

A man in a suit sits in the basement of the FBI headquarters at Quantico, Virginia. Skimming through reams of hard copy as he bathes in the glow of an Edison bulb. His sigh echoes through the evidence locker as he files away another crate of documents. There were a thousand before it and there's be a thousand to follow at least. One more box of nothing added to the growing body of nothing the agent had been solely tasked to index. He returns to his desk, noting for the briefest of moments that even the jaundiced yellow of his lamp is incapable of washing the pallid color of death from his skin.

He casts a sideways glance at the mountains of evidence he's yet to comb through; finding a macabre comfort at the sight of a revolver sitting atop a stack of folders. For what feels like both the first and thousandth time he checks the cylinder. One round; more than enough.

"No," he shouts to the darkness around him. The words are feeble; only just carrying enough volume to pass his lips. He hasn't had reason to speak since God knows when; hasn't had anyone to speak to in longer. It's been at least a week since he's seen the sun. The bureau doesn't afford such luxuries to the digital forensics unit. Hell even computers are considered a security risk. So he sits, and he sighs, and he sifts.

Another eternity later he checks that his sidearm is still loaded. In boldface font he sees the word 'OUTDATED' stamped red on the folder exactly where the revolver had been. The irony is lost on him. He replaces the gun and continues his slog through the quagmire of banality that is the Clinton Emails.

Beside himself the agent plays architect. Stacking twenty-pound copy paper nearly as high as a man is tall. Perfectly square and arrow straight it stands without stamp or label. The agent knows that the documents of this pile are as many as they are irrelevant. An unremarkable white tower stained ivory by the antiquated lamp of political bias.

The agent affords himself the briefest of chuckles as he eyes the revolver one last time; finally appreciating how useless it would be to him.

He loosens his tie and gets back to his task. Clearing his throat before adding another level to the monolith he speaks into the eternal night he has become a part of.

"Five hundred and fifty three thousand emails to go," he declares for anyone and no one but himself.

Finally he felt like progress was being made.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Nov 7, 2016 around 22:38

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Sitting Here posted:

***

Scene breaks are a little more tricky. There is no Thunderdome standard for indicating gaps in time in you story. Some people simply triple space, others like to use some sort of symbol. The important thing is that it's clear and consistent throughout your piece. In this example, I've used three asterisks, with double spacing before and after. This is an effortless visual cue that the story is making some sort of jump forward. Usually, you want to be minimalistic about it. You don't need forty dashes in a huge, distracting line across the middle of your piece. You also don't want to be so subtle about it that the reader doesn't notice. If you're new and unsure, feel free to do it exactly as I have in this post.

***
I finally stopped doing this.

ZeBourgeoisie posted:



Also, friendly note, gdocs keeps doing this stupid thing where, if you copy+paste your story from there into SA directly, it'll randomly add an extra space between your line breaks. Both SH and I have experienced this and it seems to happen whenever google feels like loving with somebody, so watch out for it.

A GOON MADE THIS AND IT WORKS...

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Nov 7, 2016 around 22:51

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


IN:
If you want to give me a flash rule I want it to be a brutal and unforgiving OG Thunderdome one.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


sebmojo posted:

i will read and do a soundtrack for one story this week, first person to grab it gets it. to have it done by the following prompt's submission close.

e: g.: sitting here poem

I would start throwing my talents into the fold but all I've got at the moment is writing and my writing is pretty bad.

Three crits this week.

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SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


quote:

Dear Richard --
Thank you again for your submission to Flash Frontier. We had a record number of submissions this month and needed to take more time to assess them all. We are sorry to inform you that your story was not selected. It did, however, get several reads and a great deal of scrutiny and consideration. We look forward to seeing more from you. It was pretty boring but not so irredeemably boring that we trashed it immediately.

Best wishes,
FLASH FRONTIER PEOPLE
10/10 looking forward to future rejections.

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