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  • Locked thread
Sep 22, 2005

In, because I want to write, I burn to write.

This video is beautiful


Sep 22, 2005


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

btw Arivia by comparison to some of the other losers, you are a genius literary master. For shits, here are some of the classics:

gently caress YES I'M IN THIS LIST. Kind of sad it wasn't my awesome Dancer's Death By Coat Hanger story.

Oh - also - I'd SAY I'm in but I've failed consistently to turn anything in. I'll write the story before midnight tonight, (so I'll have the weekend to fix it). IF I get it written by midnight I'll say I'm in. That's my new rule to myself. Anybody okay with that?

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 19:07 on Jun 3, 2016

Sep 22, 2005


crabrock posted:

some people do this already. it's fine. just get in before signups close.
But there's flashrules and poo poo. Should I just trudge forward and force my flashrule into the story after the fact? (Which I of course NEVER EVER do.)

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 20:04 on Jun 3, 2016

Sep 22, 2005

Okay I am in.

As long as my prompt isn't something impossible to encompass in 1,000 words, like, "Young whippersnapper proves old farts wrong and changes the world with his rocking, grows old and overdoses on Fentanyl."

Sep 22, 2005


sebmojo posted:

:siren:flash rule: :siren: must contain any two of: young whippersnapper, proving old farts wrong, changing the world, rocking, growing old, overdoses, Fentanyl.

Sep 22, 2005

Man agonizes over poo poo.

TUESDAY: Options: Use 4 of these words: Euphoric, Diffident, Eclectic, Lackadaisical, Crapulous, juxtapose,

WEDNESDAY: SECOND CHOICE: You will quote this post and choose one of the five senses (Smell, sight, taste, touch, sound).
PLUS ANOTHER ONE: Proprioception


I didn't set out to hit every day's prompt, but they kind of started to fit.

MAG7'S FLASH RULE: must contain any two of: young whippersnapper, proving old farts wrong, changing the world, rocking, growing old, overdoses, Fentanyl.

Words: 1300.

Every gig began with a fight.

"Can't you stick around a bit?" She said. "Wait 'til the movie ends?"

James paused, one hand on the doorknob, the other slowly losing grip on a guitar case, a mic stand, guitar cables and a tiny ziplock baggie.

Maybe Lucy thought he was too old. Maybe she was embarrassed for him because he didn't get it.

"For twenty minutes you've watched me drag poo poo to the car, tracking down guitar strings and picks, right?"

"Don't forget this one daddy!" His four-year-old ran up with an orange guitar pick, extended like a sword.

He tousled the boy's hair. "Thanks Randy, I'll bring it back when I'm done."

Lucy frowned. "Can't you at least wait 'til Marlin finds Nemo?"

This was all part of their routine.

After checking his nose in the rearview mirror, he punched the key in the ignition and drove to Chet's.

"You know we start in fifteen minutes right?" Chet said, digging his own key into the ziplock baggie.

"We'll make it." James pinched his nostrils and snorted. Chet did the same.

Twenty minutes later, guitar cases in each hand, they wove through the thin crowd of regulars. Behind the bar, Carl had two beers waiting. "Glad you boys could make it."

Solomon was already behind his drums. He tapped his nose then pointed at James. "Not hiding it too well."

James rubbed his nose, saw the white powder on his finger and licked it off.

To Chet he said, "Could've said something in the car asshat."

Solomon resumed fiddling with a drum, not looking up. "You guys see Dave back there?Asked if he could get up and do a tune or two. If it's cool with you."

"You still play in his band?" James said.

The drummer shrugged. "It's not so bad. He's about to sign a deal. Chet plays with him too."

"You think it's right? Playing my stuff, as well as his eclectic poo poo?"

Chet laughed. "Whatever gets you there, right?"

"There's principles man. Principles."

James emptied the beer, tapped the live mic with the empty bottle until Carl looked over. "Another one?"

Carl nodded. "Soon as you guys start playing."

In the bathroom, it was Chet's turn with the baggie while James checked his nose in the mirror.

"You think this poo poo annoys Solomon, now that he's clean?"

Chet snorted. "He knew us before he got clean. We're the only ones didn't judge him before it all went down, and he won't judge us for staying true to who we are, right?"

"He said that?"

Chet shrugged. "Not in so many words."

"Like, not in any words at all, I'm guessing?"

Chet laughed and handed the key and the baggie to James. "Does it matter? Would you quit if you knew it bugged him?"

"Hey I don't have a problem with this poo poo. Never did. I just like the way it smells."

James went the long way around the bar, sneaking up behind Dave who was deep in conversation with Carl.

"It's cool that he still plays out," Dave said. "I love bluesdads who keep it going."

"A bluesdad? That's what you call him?"

"You know what I mean. Old guy like that, still gigging. It takes a lot, you know?"

"Your mom doesn't call me old." James said, his grin taking a little more effort.

"Great to see you James!"

"Wanna play a couple towards the end of this set?"

"That'd be great James! If you're okay with it."

Dave's smile was so genuine it had to be fake.

A shot was beside the mic stand and Chet was downing an identical one. "From Dave," Solomon said.

"Is he like that in rehearsals? Just so goddamn nice?"

More shots came during the set, James chased each with a beer. His nose ran, leaving white crusty streaks on his microphone, which made Chet laugh, which made Solomon roll his eyes.

Solomon's lackadaisical demeanor—on the verge of a nap—juxtaposed his monsterful playing. He was a clock whose ability to lock in with Chet's bass allowed James to forget everything else.

It was euphoric moments like this where everything fell away.

His fingers autonomously found their way, thick callouses pushing into strings with a muscle memory developed from decades of playing.

He forgot the crippling diffidence, buried under narcissism, buried under feigned humility.

He forgot the corkscrew, needling nerves at the base of his spine from years of playing for hours with twelve-pound guitars, the ringing in his ears. And that goddamn punkass little poo poo who was everything he was twenty years ago except maybe better at hiding his disgust of the people who knew he's nowhere near as good as he thinks he'll ever get.

The song ended. Drunks ordered more rounds.

He asked Dave to come up and play.

Alone in the bathroom, he collected the remaining contents of the baggie with his key. The shots calmed him down, the powder brought him up. He was always chasing the perfect balance.

Before the last snort, he laughed at two blurred reflections in the mirror. Once the keys were back in his pocket, he puked into the toilet.

The band, fronted by the kid with the pretty voice and ripped off licks, pounded in his ears.

"Am I that loud?" He asked between retches, and then puked two more times, gripping the poo poo-stained toilet for balance.

Regarding his faces in the mirror, he laughed, wiping snot and bile hanging from his nose.

He raised his phone to speed dial the cab outside the bar. The lock screen had a text message.


Everything blurred. He smiled. The rush was returning. He wiped his mouth. "I just gotta get out of here, get the cab," he wheezed. "Get my car tomorrow."

His smile faltered as the two crapulous reflections said, "Your name is on the goddamn marquee outside."

During the third set, gasping for air between lyrics, he wondered if he'd overdone it on the coke. Overplaying was one thing, dropping dead onstage from an overdose was another.

For a split second, he thought, wouldn't be the worst thing for my music career. The thought was just as quickly driven away by the pulsing in his head.

From the stage James watched Carl and Dave disappear into the office behind the bar, probably to talk poo poo about him, maybe the kid would try and snag his weekly gig. The greedy little gently caress even smiled at James on his way out of the bar.

Once the lights were up and the drunks were gone, Carl counted the band's money onto a table.

"Dave and I were talking," he said.

"Oh yeah? What about?" James grinned, trying to casually examine his car keys, small white flecks still deep in the grooves.

Jesus, he was tired of being pleasant. The speed and had worn off. His hearing muffled by an unending high whine, the pain in his back was the only thing keeping him awake at this point, and all he could smell was piss-filled ashtrays.

If the kid wanted this gig, gently caress it. Let him. It's not as easy as it looks, and when people ask the kid what happened to James and that smug little fucker'd have to make up some story or maybe they'd all laugh because the old bastard should've given up sooner—

"Dave's going on tour, wants you to have his remaining gigs here, if you want 'em. Unless you don't."

His phone vibrated. Text from Lucy. "PLZ DONT STAY OUT ALL NITE LUV U."

He tucked the phone into his pocket, fingertips nudging the empty baggie.

"He said that?"


He'd need another baggie or two.

"I can do it. Sure."

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 05:11 on Jun 6, 2016

Sep 22, 2005



“Man agonizes over his potatoes.”

1000 words. No bullshit.

Ha ha just kidding it wouldn’t be Thunderdome without bullshit. In that spirit, here is a bunch of complicated and unfair bullshit and you assholes are going to sign up and enjoy every minute of it.
Goddammit I saw that as "haha just kidding not really potatoes, but all this other poo poo instead." until I see every other goddamn story mentions potatoes. So. Yay, attention to detail.

Sep 22, 2005


Sitting Here posted:

:siren: judging could take a while and crits even longer, so it would be awesome if everyone could crit at least one story :siren:

it's not a requirement, and there's no punishment if you don't, but we did this in wizard week and it resulted in tons of feedback for everyone.

Week 201 will be up as soon as we figure out who's running it, since Grizzled Patriarch is about to disappear into the wilderness or something.

Do we just pick one at random to crit, or is somebody sorting that mess out. I'll crit.

Sep 22, 2005

CRIT: Serreptitious Murfflin.

His/her? work always humbles me, makes me realize there is a huge distance between my poo poo scrawls and Literature. I get the feeling He/She has spent time in college studying writing, so I wanted to do a crit of his work, as a low-life uneducated writer who is actually a student of his incredible feedback. So, for whatever that's worth, this is my crit of that person's work. May you all forgive me for staring into the sun. Or some other literary grand statement of poo poo.

FIRST NOTE: I read the whole thing, only adding a few notes here and there for the few odd typos I was delighted to find. Summary at the end.
SECOND NOTE: My D key is a moody bitch so it's likely you'll find wors without the D in there. Like that one. Goddamn this laptop.

smuffin posted:


Balance (Oorlog, Winter)
1000 words exactly

The first bomb missed. GREAT OPENER of course. The only warning was a low whistle, then the blast tore chunks of dirt and withered potatoes [nothing else? Just dirt an taters? So you're really going with forcing the potatoes thing right into the opening lines?] from the frozen earth and hurled them skyward. Bombs don’t go bang up close, they roar. To hear a bomb is a whole-body experience[To experience a bomb.... To hear a bomb is a ear experience... just nitpicking like hell on your stuff.]: it grabs you by the guts and rattles is [ITS I win you made a typo here.] tremolo across every bone. The second bomb missed too, but the shockwave knocked Geert on his rear end.[great line, gives me name of main character without being obvious. I loathe/envy lines like that.] The Germans probably weren’t even aiming for him - maybe the spotter saw movement in the farmhouse and thought it was an American fleeing from Arnhem. Not that it mattered - bombs are bombs.

He pushed himself to his feet, staggered. The world whirled [cool af onomotopaiea alliteration words], as if he were struck by an attack of lowland vertigo. He shouted for it to stop, but it -- kut. Fok. [Okay, you do this through the story, and it gets too distracting after awhile. I get it, he's talking German, but the jump from english to german by the fourth time is overkill.[ His tongue and lips made the shapes, but the sounds coming out of his mouth were murky, as if from far away. Stop stop stop niet meer meer. He fell, smashing his face against the hard ground. He tasted iron - a mingling of his blood and his earth [fantastic line -- just fantastic.]. Another bomb landed nearby - he couldn’t see it and barely hear [[heard?]] it, but a patter of loose dirt fell across his back, and its monstrous vibration shook his body.

As quickly as the storm came, it passed. It didn’t matter whether the spotter saw Geert and called off the strike or whether (at this sunset point in the war) the Wehrmacht were just running low on ammo. Running low, hah! Running low on ammo, on warm winter coats, on food. When the first American planes had come overhead, the Wehrmacht had sent men to every farm in the region and taken everything they could carry. They’d left only the most shrunken, withered and rotten crops[now THIS would've been a good spot to mention a rotten tater]. Now, they’d taken even that. Geert lay on his back, covered in frozen chunks of dirt, and he laughed. The sound of his own laughter was distorted - it sounded as if another man were laughing at him from far away. [I like this an don't like it... like it's cliche but upon second reading, it's fresh; if that makes sense.]

Suddenly, an image came upon him of a badger. ["Came TO him" is just too unliterary? Upon is too stilted for me.] A badger is a funny animal - a bumbling, beautiful thing. You’d think a badger would be the merriest forest creature, [To be honest, I don't think anyone thinks badgers are merry forest creatures now, thanks to the Honey Badger videoclips but okay, this is WWI or II, so, okay, don't nitpick.] until you put one in a corner. Then you’d see the claws - made for smashing apart frozen earth - and the teeth - for crushing the bones of smaller, more vulnerable animals. What’s the point of this? The machine of war, vriend - the machine of war was a funny thing. Was that it? Or was it about tenacity? About grit, which was another name for dirt. A call to arms. Hah! Geert dug his elbows into the ground, and pushed himself up. The nausea came again - the earth twisted beneath him - threatened to swallow him up. He flopped onto his back, and did not vomit, but only because there was not enough food in his stomach. [Killer line. This is the stuff that amazes me - says so much with just so little, drat you.]

“Een das,” said Geert. A badger. He laughed. “Ik ben een das.”

The words didn’t sound like his. Something trickled out of his ear, and the smell of blood filled him from the inside - not healthy blood, but a clotted, polluted reek. He spat. He was hungry - he’d been starving before the bombs hit, but now he was starving. There was food inside the house - it may as well have been in Amsterdam. What would a badger do? Such a ridiculous picture to call to mind, but dying minds were never sensible. A hungry badger - a badger would dig. Geert pawed at the ground beneath him. It had been too hard to break apart with a shovel, but the German bomb had done the hard work for him. Beneath the frozen surface, the earth was soft and loamy - ready for spring, if the Germans hadn’t already been through and torn up every plant for themselves. Geert’s stomach growled - his ruined eardrums gave [[mmmmmm not really the right word but I get it, or it IS the right word but in lofty artsy fartsty literary circles so I don’t know.]] the noise a curious distance: it sounded some manic, starving beast of the forest closing in. A beast of iron, of of [[too many OFs yeah I’m tearing you to shreds.]] flesh, or a soft buzzing that threatened to swallow the world or of – FOK. It was – it was

Dig dig, a badger would dig. Dig, vriend. Dig or die. Dig down to hell if you must, but dig or die. [but, why exactly? bomb hits and he thinks of a badger, and then he starts to dig into the dirt? WHy? to escape the bombs? Or just because he's gone nuts?]

Geert dug as much as he could - crabbed his hands into the soft belly of the empty earth. Tried to push himself up again, and was struck by an even greater wave of nausea - the whole drat world rumbled and shook beneath him - twisted, tilted- refused to stay still. He took a single step, then another, then collapsed into the hole left by the third bomb. He was further away from his house than he’d started - his ruined ears had turned him all the way around.

He lay on his face, with his arms bent at the elbows and his palms down in the soil. “Een das,” he said. Dirt filled his mouth. The words were barely there any more - the buzzing in his ears was louder now, threatening to swallow all other sound. He coughed, then he pushed his fingers into the loose earth and dragged then backwards.Dig, vriend.

Geert dug. He could not stand, nor could he hear himself weeping – he understood both things acutely in their absence. He made himself filthy, getting lower and lower into the guts of the ground. He laughed, and his own laughter came back to him as if from a great distance. Blood, tears and dirt filled his mouth. He dug, and dug, and –

His left hand brushed against something solid. Not a rock - something warmer than that, with rough skin. For a mad moment, he thought it was a dead body. He gripped it, and pulled. It was a potato - a healthy, firm potato.

Geert laughed, and the sound was clear - as if from his own mouth. As his hearing returned, he held the potato up into the frigid air.

“I’m alive,” he said.

The words were his own.

Primary Sense: Hearing
Secondary Sense: Equilibrioception

Okay. Line-by-line crits are annoying so I stopped them. Basically, your story is this: Bombs fall, Geert freaks out, understandably. Thinks of a badger, digs into the dirt, finds potatoes, and says "I'm alive."

It's one of those philosophical stories that I like, but don't exactly get... kind of like the ending to No Country For Old Men. I feel like I need to appreciate the tale, but I'm not exactly sure why... kind of like when some jazz guitarist goes into a nickelodeon scale over a suspended major chord, because he can. Like - it's incredible writing, it says something about the human spirit, I guess, but I'm not sure how much is smoke and mirrors vs. how much is actually just story with conflict or character arc, plot, etc.

Then again, I feel the same way about Hemingway, so, take that with a grain of "Goddamn That's Better Than I Could Do, Way To Go."

Final Score: Julienne Fries and two tater tots.

Sep 22, 2005


Thranguy posted:

42 Sentences about 42 Stories

So, I've read or skimmed just about everything in the course of following the livecrits, so..

1 ZeBourgeoisie Steak and Baked Potatoes
A good start to the week, although the version of Russian Roulette in which the chamber is spun between each round works better as a game, since you avoid the round six problem.

2 Ziji Full Metal Applebee's
An exercise in tonal mismatch, mixing not-quite-funny absurdism with serious themes taken not-quite-seriously and landing nowhere near the dark humor zone that's the only place this story could have succeeded.

3 Chili "potatos.jpg"
I'm not sure why anything that happens in this story happens, and also don't know that this guy would recognize the above-ground part of a potato plant or expect potatos.jpg to be a picture of that asset, let alone the fact that a CGI render is not going to story 3D assets in a jpg file at all.

4 a friendly penguin Still Life
Harmless and charming little story with a stray quotation mark in the last line.

5 Black Griffon Damien
This one didn't really stay with me, although I do like the mixture of desperation and decadence in the setting.

6 Chernabog A very potato miracle
I don't really buy the inciting incident here, that Rivkah would mash his contest potatoes so casually without a level of cruelty that just isn't present in the whole story.

7 Guiness13 Hope Takes Root
Effective at what it does, but why would you want to do that?

8 Hammer Bro. Tipua
Less of a story tan an incident in a larger narrative, but reasonably entertaining.

9 Screaming Idiot Small Potatoes
Think you could have trimmed a bit of the stilted dialog to spend more words on the action parts of the story.

10 sparksbloom When Life Gives You Potatoes
Weird and sweet, but I'm not sure that enough potatoes are being generated fast enough to make making Vodka practical (17 lbs per bottle)

11 dmboogie A Plague a' Your Thatched-Roof Cottages
Just the right amount of dialect, although the one in the title doesn't quite match the one in the story.

12 Carcer Stay Warm.
I think it was probably a mistake to keep Andy out of the conversation; that a story in which a silver-tongued nihilist actually directly convinces Andy to do what he does has more potential to be interesting and actually earn the ending you picked.

13 Pippin It's Not Always Black and White
Another charming and harmless little story, pulling off a low-self-esteem viewpoint character better than most dome stories that try.

A nice, light and fluffy potato puncake.

15 QuoProQuid Negative Space
Effective if depressing take on difficult and dark material.

16 Entenzahn The Green on the Other Side
I don't understand the last line, whether it's a literal crib for a baby not yet mentioned or just slang for house.

17 Benny Profane Benthos
Good imagery and prose, but the parts don't really properly pull together.

18 Chainmail Onesie Pursuit
Using 'Eva' in a mecha story seems a bit unimaginative.

19 Titus82 To Understand the Moon
I'm not sure what to make of the ending bit: a dream, an afterlife, a rescue by the actual, somehow not-dead Josephine?

20 Fuschia tude The Pits
This kind of story lives and dies on the strength of its voice, and this one almost has enough to live.

21 Tyrannosaurus A Bad Man for a Good Cause
A mighty fine seinen feinen story, that.

22 Ironic Twist Unknown
Did such a good job making the Tuesday words blend in that on first reading I thought you'd ignored that part of the prompt as well as the wordcount, far better than every other Tuesday person but you did have the unfair advantage of having more space to hide them.

23 magnificent7 Title: BLUESDADS DON'T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.
The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, since the protagonist really didn't have all that much agency in making it happen.

24 flerp Spudipus Complex
That title makes even less sense with this story than with the original, and I feel like you ought to be capitalizing 'You' when referring to God although that rule may not be as strong as it is for 'He'.

25 SurreptitiousMuffin Balance (Oorlog, Winter)
I disagree with sh's take: potatoes usually come In fields, and if he's found one he'll probably find enough to save him.

26 mistaya The World's Largest Potato
One of my favorite opening lines from the week, but I'll say that this one could do with a few more uses of 'said' over other dialog word choices.

27 Obliterati Galvanised
Would have done worse in the original potato week when the judges wanted the potatoes to be super-important in the stories.

28 Mr Gentleman The Curious Matter of the Nattily-Dressed Man
If I'd issued that flashrule, I wouldn't be satisfied by putting celebrity names on dimestore imitation Sherlock Holmeses.

29 spectres of autism Artemis
A pretty cool story, but slice of life it surely isn't.

30 Killer-of-Lawyers The Starch that Binds Me
This is needs more character and a strong voice to be less of a not-all-that-interesting essay and more of a story.

31 skwidmonster Losing
Sweet, almost but not quite too sweet.

32 The Saddest Rhino What We Say to Each Other When We Can No Longer Talk
I feel like this is too complicated an idea to fit into a 1000 word story and still properly have room for the story itself.

33 Boaz-Jachim By the Grace of God grow Potatoes
Why didn't he just eat some fish?

34 Noah Metaballphosis
Introducing a dead father in the last sentence is a bit cheap, no?

35 curlingiron Family Time
See, now this is a good slice-of-life story, very charming.

36 Kaishai For Life
Reminds me of the story you did for Black Sunshine week, another effective short horror piece about murderous vegetables that leaves me wanting more, wanting to see this kind of thing in a context where people actually have to deal with the monster in some way other than being killed by it.

37 Paladinus Four Holy Spuds
'Cloudy' is an odd choice of generic curse word for a society living in the clouds.

38 Dr. Kloctopussy Collapse
Competently written, but the characters are both too unlikable to really hold the story together.

39 Thranguy Mashed Potatoes and Stuff Like That

40 Fuubi Perfect Art
The point of this week (well, Tuesday to Friday), I think, is to come up with interesting and compelling reasons for characters to care enough about spuds to agaonize over them, not to just insert bizarre potato-motivations without explanation.

41 Bad Seafood A Starchy Situation
I think that last minute flash word did more harm than you thought it did.

42 Capntastic A Man Agonizes Over His Potatoes, 2.0

43 Marshmellow Blue King of Starch
The dialect is problematic and gets in the way of the story, and you've got a 'you're'/'your' error in there.

Thabks for the crit! Good points.

Sep 22, 2005

I got no line by line crit on my story but I'll take that over a DM. Yes. I'll take forgettable over memorably bad... that too is an improvement I suppose.

Sep 22, 2005

Thanks for your time! Crit appreciated, glad you caught the crap I meant to hint at... sad I muddied up the other crap.

Sep 22, 2005

In, with this illustration of a Russian vagina circa 1902.

Thranguy posted:

42 Sentences about 42 Stories
23 magnificent7 Title: BLUESDADS DON'T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.
The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, since the protagonist really didn't have all that much agency in making it happen.
And thanks for the crit! - sorry I missed it on the previous page. I don't understand Agency so much, so I'm reading up on it and posting about it over in Discuss Fiction thread, as it's an important part of a story.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 13:24 on Jun 10, 2016

Sep 22, 2005

gently caress this world. 800 words or so inspired by Abbot And Costello and Orlando FL.

I want to write a book.

Who doesn't like a good book.

No, I mean, I want to write something huge, iconic. Something where I tell people not to hurt each other. Something simple.

Sounds good. Should be pretty easy. Just tell them not to fight. Tell them to be peaceful, to allow people to have their own beliefs.

Exactly. We're all different, I'll include that in there… something like, "You be you, I'll be me, and don't fight."

I like it. But there's crazy folks in the world nowadays, folks who'll use that rule to just beat the poo poo out of your readers. Maybe you should tell them something like, fighting is bad, killing is bad, and let other people believe whatever they want, unless they want to hurt you.

So, tell them there's times that it's okay to fight, even though I said don't fight?

Exactly. But only if people want to hurt you, or make you stop believing in our book.

Our book? I thought it's going to be my book.

Oh it is. I'm just helping you think it through so I can share it with everybody.

Sounds good I suppose. Okay, so in my book, I'll write something like, "Hey don't fight, even if somebody hates you. Unless they are harming you." Does that sound good?

Yes! It's nice and quite specific. If somebody wants to hurt you, then it's okay to hurt them first.

No, that's not what I said. I said if they are hurting you, then fight. You know. Defend yourself.

But that's kind of a little late, isn't it? It's better to fight when you know they're going to fight you. Best defense is a good offense, right?

I don't know, that's getting a little vague, don't you think? Somebody might read that as, "It's okay to hurt somebody because they don't like you." In fact, if I write that it's okay to hurt somebody when you feel threatened, what if somebody interprets that as, "It's okay to hurt any one who doesn't like what you believe." That seems a little dangerous.

No, not at all. I like that it could be interpreted to say, "hurt anybody who doesn't like our book, because those people are probably going to hurt us just because they don't like what we like."

But I already said it's okay for people to have different beliefs.

Sure you did, but you didn't say it right here, next to this part about killing non-believers to protect your religion.

What? I didn't say that.

Sure you did. You said, "Protect our beliefs at any price, even death, because if they might hurt you, it's okay to hurt them first."

The gently caress are you talking about? I never said that.

I'm pretty sure you did.

Why would anybody agree with my book about not fighting, if I include something about killing anybody who doesn't agree with my book? That's the exact opposite of what I'm trying to do.

Sure, but, telling our readers that we're in this together, and that everybody else is out to get us, that's—well— look. Don't you think that's a more powerful message, and it'll carry your other ideas farther? Set us up as a lone institution instead of part of a world of differing ideas? It just feels better.

No it doesn't. It feels like some people could ignore my message of peace and acceptance and jump straight to the conclusion that I want people to kill anybody who doesn't like my book. That's not at all what I wanted to write about. I don't know about this book idea now.

That's a shame. It's already sold millions of copies, and there are people who'll die to protect your message.

Seems kind of opposite to what I had in mind. The world was already violent enough in 632A.D. I thought that maybe if I told folks to be tolerant, to not fight unless somebody was fighting you, I thought that could create a world where nobody would fight.

Oh it will, just as soon as we get rid of everybody who doesn't like your book.

No, that's not my idea at all.

I'm pretty sure it is. I've memorized your book, I've taught it to everyone I know, I've gathered millions to memorize your book, and while most of us really like the non-violent-accept-everybody-for-being-different parts, there still needs to be those of us who are going to protect the rest of the true believers from those who intend to harm all of us.

I really think you've got this all wrong. I'm pretty sure you want to go fight because you're just inclined to fight. I knew a kid like you in third grade. You don't need a book or a reason to fight, it just makes it easier to shift responsibility for your batshit crazy actions.

Finally we agree on something.

Hey, also, I really like this drawing of a pink room with creepy fucks holding odd objects don't you?

What the gently caress are you talking about.

Sep 22, 2005

YES I KNOW THIS IS poo poo. Too goddamn distracted to do anything else but goddammit I submitted something.

Sep 22, 2005

It's a goddamn step.

Sep 22, 2005


QuoProQuid posted:

Luckily, I can appreciate effort. You both tried to produce something, which is more than can be said of the Loser, magnificent7. Mag, you very clearly did not care about this week. Your submission is barely a story, much less appropriate for the prompt. Congratulations on earning the literary equivalent of an ice-pick in the skull.
I want to apologize to anyone who suffered through my slimy turd of a submission, but I gladly accept LOSING over failing to submit; which has been my predictable finish for about a year now. It's better to suck worse than any other submission, than to give up. So let my horrible poo poo stain of a skid mark be a lesson to those of you who didn't even turn in poo poo. I'm better than you!

this is how I cope in life, in general.

Now I challenge you non-finishers. TAKE MY TITLE FROM ME, I dare you.

Sep 22, 2005

I'm going to have to go with FRANKENBERRY, with 130 calories. I WOULDA taken Freakies cereal, but apparently they didn't count calories in the early seventies. Goddamn hippies.

Sep 22, 2005

Hey I'm probably out this week, bad news in the family.

Sep 22, 2005

To make up for no sub this week, I'm happy to do four crits if anybody's up for it.

Sep 22, 2005

First of all. I like that this is written by Shel Silverstein as Jonathan Doe from SE7EN.

Entenzahn posted:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch (aka Cini Minis, Curiously Cinnamon). 130 cal

Cereal Week Presents: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
996 words

They're tiny rectangular crackers with a rigid crunch, with a rough texture and swirls of cinnamon on both sides, coated in a sweetly, crunchy layer of sugar and cinnamon. Sugar and cinnamon and cracker, rough texture and a crispy mouthfeel. With cold milk. Cold, smooth milk and crunchy, sugary cinnamon. Milk and sugar and cinnamon and crisp. I could eat them all day. Crispy toast (rice) cracker and cinnamon and sugar.

I eat them all day.

By the spoon and by the heap, I eat them all day. Until my milk runs dry. Until my belly is full. I eat them and then when I’m done and I am bloated with sweetness and spice and crunchy bits, when my belly is filled with cinnamon and sugar and toast crunch and I can’t take anymore, I take more out of the box and and TOO MANY ANDS BUT THEN AGAIN IT FITS I put them on the table and then I get my pestle and mash them into a crunchy sugary powder and I inhale the Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder just snort it up my nose because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I’m not there yet. I’m not full. I’m out of milk but that’s ok. The Cinnamon Challenge is when you take a teaspoon of cinnamon and swallow it, no drinking no water no milk just the teaspoon of cinnamon and if you can hold it in for sixty seconds you win but it dries up your throat and it makes you inhale cinnamon and if you don’t watch out the cinnamon gets into your lungs and it kills you. That’s right it loving kills you. A four year old tried it in Kentucky and he died, it’s no joke.

But me, cinnamon, gotta catch them all, that’s how I see it. No milk no problem, take a bag of ground cinnamon and put in in a bowl and eat the Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of the bowl with the ground cinnamon (the breakfast of gangsters). Some people say I go overboard with the cinnamon but I think I go underboard, just dig in, dig myself in, Cinnamon and Toast and Crunch, and cinnamon.

There are many boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my house, enough to fill a cupboard, or two, enough for a week of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, at least fifteen boxes, no wait, actually eight, I’ve already eaten the others. Actually, I think I got kind of ahead of myself. Let me check--

I’m out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I’ve run out of milk a long time ago but running out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is bad. I need the Crunch. I crave the Crunch. I toast myself some toast and then I dip it in the bowl with the cinnamon and then five things happen sequentially:

1. I smell the cinnamon toast (crisp, burnt, bready, lack of sweetness).

2. I put sugar on the toast; it sticks.

3. I bite into the toast (crunch, 10% crust and 90% soft spongy bread).

4. I chew (the toast gets soggy with saliva and the taste of cinnamon overpowers everything)

5. I spit.


I drive to the grocery store and I hold on to the steering wheel because it’s the only thing that keeps my hands from shaking because I have to buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I look forward to buying Cinnamon Toast Crunch so much and I also haven’t eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch in over an hour and that makes me shake even more because I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I need to get more Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

The store is closed.



It doesn’t say why. I throw a brick through the window.

Somewhere something noisy goes off but I already know where to go and I run down the aisle with the cereals in them and I rip the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch off their shelves, rip them off and rip them open, just right here and now, because I need my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I dive head-first into the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A sea of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Crunchy little pockets of sugar and cinnamon, I dig right in, I go underground, I live in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’m living the dream, all the Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the world.

Open, empty mouth
Awaits Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Heaped up in my hands

I hurry up with the eating because the sirens are coming but also because I really like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but also because the police is coming and they will take the Cinnamon Toast Crunch away from me, take me away and shove me in a prison where there is no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, only water and bread and no cinnamon on the bread, and I should really leave a fiver on the counter for all the boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch I am eating, but I am not sure, is that how much they cost? I throw my wallet down the aisle. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I don’t need milk or cinnamon, I just eat them as they are, rip the boxes up and shove the Cinnamon Toast Crunch down my mouth and then I lick my fingers because my fingers are sticky with the sugar and cinnamon and then inbetween YOU NEED A SPACE IN BETWEEN INBETWEEN but then again, it fits. all the crunchy, sweet goodness I get an extra kick of sweet and cinnamon and then I go back to the eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch. My stomach bulges under the load and heavy steps come through the door and someone shouts “Over here,” but most importantly I am starting to feel full, I am bloated, my stomach churns under the weight of many Daily Values’ worth of delicious sweet Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I am not done yet, I am not done, oh no there are so many boxes still so many boxes and the police is coming and I grind down the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and rip myself off a piece of cardboard and I get ready to snort--

So. Sure, the writing is crazy sloppy by design, so any errors can be disregarded as "totally meant to do that." except that reading all this starts to get a little exhausting. So I'm glad it's less than 1,000 words. I like the oddity of the story, your writing never really took me out of the story, but then again, that's probably because your writing WAS part of the story. Kind of like saying punk rock isn't slickly produced on purpose.

And it's definitely a story about cereal. So as far as following the rules, you nailed it; write a story about a cereal in less words than 10X the calories. Because the narrator is batshit insane, you get to slide on the necessities like the elements of style. Good job, I liked it.

Sep 22, 2005

Cereal: Cracklin' Oat Bran (197 calories)

Top Shelf
815 words

Jake sits across from Ian at the table, and to Jake it seems like they’re miles apart. Ian’s house feels oppressive and cavernous; all space feels like distance in a house this large. There is no intimacy in a house big enough for a spiral staircase. ----- NICE WAY TO SET THE SETTING AS WELL AS MC’s POV

They’re eating bowls of Cracklin’ Oat Bran, which, in Jake’s opinion, is the best cereal he’s ever tasted. It’s sweet and delicious, but like everything in this house, it’s ephemeral. Like it could be snatched away at any moment. ------ NOT ENTIRELY SURE ABOUT ‘EPHEMERAL’ for this, but I’ll keep reading, maybe the entire house is on top of a tightrope. And drat you for making me look up ephemeral.

Between mouthfuls of cereal, Ian talks about his ambitions to run for office. He speaks with these forceful hand gestures, his eyes glinting, gushing about his favorite amendments to the Constitution, while Jake tries to convince himself that he’s interested. He strains to think of something to say. Because if he doesn’t think of the right words, Ian’s going to decide that Jake’s not worth the attention, not worth the invitation into this world. --- GOOD, you show me that one guy is sucking up to the other, hope you show or tell me why.

When they’re finished eating, Ian walks over to Jake and kisses him again. He tastes like cinnamon, and that’s good enough for now.Your POV doesn’t shift, but because you don’t name who tastes like cinnamon, I wasn’t entirely clued in that Jake was thinking this. But Ian insists that Jake has to leave before Ian’s parents come home, and as Jake’s biking home, the last few hours refuse to coalesce. It’s some weird fever dream. It’s not reality. --- that’s a big rear end time jump in mid sentence but okay keep going.


Jake asks his mom if she can pick up some Cracklin’ Oat Bran at the store.

“No one needs to pay five dollars for a box of cereal,” she says.

“It’s what my friend’s family eats.”

She snorts. “Well, when we move into a three-story house, you can eat your expensive cereal. Until then, the Aldi Mini-Wheats are just fine.”

Jake’s disappointed, but he accepts it. Until a year or two ago, they were a Stop and Shop Cheerios kind of family. But then Jake’s mom had gotten GOT the promotion, and they’d built a cheaper grocery market within driving distance, and now they were an Aldi Mini-Wheats kind of family. They were moving up in the world, and Jake, though he’s only fifteen, knows that sort of mobility is something you don’t take for granted.

He also knows that, barring a miracle, they’ll never be a brand-name family.


There is no miracle.


Ian doesn’t want to be seen with Jake in public. Jake resents it but doesn’t push it, because he understands. It’d only draw unwanted attention, Ian insists, and while Jake yearns to be noticed and seen, he’s aware that not all attention is good.

Instead they still have the spare hours after school. Ian tells his parents he’s studying with his brand-name friends at the library. But instead he picks up Jake in his Mercedes, drives a couple towns away, and they sit, talk, and touch in the parking lot of a state park.

When the sun starts dipping, it’s time to go home, and Ian drives Jake to a Subway just A couple of blocks from Jake’s house. They don’t kiss goodbye, because someone might be watching.


They’re parked in front of the lake one April evening when Ian tells Jake that he heard a rumor. It turns out that Shane, on the lacrosse team, might be gay.

Jake doesn’t know Shane. But he’s on the lacrosse team. And you don’t play lacrosse unless you’re from a brand-name family.

Jake’s clothes feel uncomfortable and thin just then, this is one of those oddball present/past-tense things that are honestly who could care less I get it. and a stray whiff of Ian’s shampoo – which smells defiant, masculine, and rattles Jake’s nerves – reminds Jake of the Herbal Essences shampoo he shares with his mother. okay. I get what you’re saying, name brands and all that, but Herbal Essence IS a brand name, albeit not Gucci…

“Cool,” Jake says, and leans over, with what he knows is the wrong kind of passion, to make out.


A week later Ian tells Jake it’s just not working out.

A week after that, Jake catches Ian and Shane holding hands in the school’s parking lot.

And a month later, Ian and Shane are going to prom together.

Jake can’t afford a ticket.


That summer Jake gets hired at Subway for minimum wage. He’d like to get his license, and he needs to fund his own lessons, fees, and travel expenses. And a month into his job he doesn’t even have half the money he needs. lessons and fees and travel expenses wait what? This is why line-by-line crits are a fool’s game.

Still, he stops at the Stop and Shop one day – the one Jake’s mom used to shop at before they built the Aldi. He goes to the cereal section, and buys a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. As he’s biking home, he feels stupid for spending almost an hour’s wages on a box of cereal.

But at home, he pours the cereal into a plastic yogurt container, and when Jake smells the cinnamon, his nerves jangle once more.

Jake loves Cracklin’ Oat Bran. But he’ll never be good enough for Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and the hollowed-out feeling in his belly tells him that he’ll go mad trying to pursue Cracklin’ Oat Bran anyway. It’s only rational.

But still, he pours another bowl.

It’s a good story, it’s obvious where you’re going, but there’s a real petty thing in tying it to brand names, especially a cereal that makes you crap and fart a lot. I do not like line-crits because of some of the oddball crap I bring up in this story – so focused on checking each line that I’m not focusing on the bigger story, Jake knowing that he’s not good enough for Ian. It’s a lot too predictable by the time you bring Shane into the story, and that’s a shame; I think you could’ve brought Shane into the story because Ian really likes the cereal Shane eats or some crap like that. But that’s another story. Haha I kill myself.
Okay. Lastly. Jake and Ian could be the exact same person, and I wouldn’t know. With the exception of knowing that Jake feels less than Ian, I know nothing about either one, they’re both generic teen boys, who look identical because I don’t know what they look like or what they ARE like, except that Ian talks about politics. And in the end, you’ve basically told me a tale of a kid who dates out of his league, the end. He doesn’t really do anything about it, except whine a lot that he knows his lot in life. Not a whole lot of reasons for me to care about the story.

Sep 22, 2005


Thranguy posted:

If either of you end up doing week 197 crits I'll still return/pay forward at least the first one.
Tell me a tale to crit that hasn't been crit already from 197 and I'll crit the crit out of it.

Sep 22, 2005


Kaishai posted:

Every story from Week 197 has a crit from Thranguy, but most of them never got another. This page shows the entries most in need--but to make a long story shorter, pick anything not written by Ceighk or Fuschia tude. Scroll up from the results post to find crit fodder.
Thanks. I shall do this.

Sep 22, 2005


Marshmallow Blue posted:

The Senator's Crossing (1498)

Today, I’ll read the entire thing and then add a crit, unless there’s some kind of technical typo thing going on.

Edit: Well, I WISH I could have done that.

The Senator's Crossing (1498)

The phone rang. It was New York Senator Charles Brisbane. Ben knew he was going to be calling after he told him the weather was too hazardous for Alexandria’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic, not to mention the lifeboats.

“Ben, are you even listening to me?” Charles spat through the phone.

He wasn’t listening. There wasn’t any point in telling him that the ship wouldn’t be ready by Friday night. It was Monday, and the crew hasn’t PRESENT TENSE finished testing all the equipment. Twenty-three of forty lifeboats failed their initial inspection and need PRESENT TENSE to be replaced. These drat politicians and their unrealistic deadlines.

“I have 3,700 VIP guests booked for this trip to England, Ben. You need to make it happen. There’s a lot of election money riding on this fund raising voyage.”

“Listen… Charles, we really need to consider cancelling the…” EM-dash means cut off. Elipses means trailed off. This reads like he passively mumbled to himself until the senator screamed cancel. And dammit I said I wouldn’t do line-by-line unless it was technical poo poo and you are technical-making GBS threads up this story interrupting my ability to read what you’re trying to accomplish. This is why cleaning up the little poo poo can really help your readers get into the bigger concept of your story. You could be writing the next great American novel but if the reader can’t get over these pieces of glass in the road they can’t appreciate how awesome your car is built or something like that okay I’ll shut up now.

“CANCEL! I CAN’T do that! You can’t do that to me! And you’re a worthless captain if you can’t sail through a little poo poo weather for your friend. I got you this job in the first place, don’t forget that.” Charles hung up the phone before Ben could respond. This might be nit picky. But since it’s Ben’s POV, the action would stay with Ben… so lead with Ben’s actions/intentions/stuff: “Before Ben could respond, Charles hung up the phone.” It illustrates Ben’s situation. But hey potatoes tomatoes.

This ship was sailing with or without Ben.

“Maybe I shouldn’t even show up.” Ben thought. “He’d have my head on a platter though, and unfortunately, I need to pay the rent, which is already two months late. Of course Clarabell had to get pneumonia, and the doctor needed payments up front. I guess I’ll be sailing from New York on Friday.” SO, two things here. You could edit this down a LOT and get the point across faster, and this exposition is cringeworthy. Show me Ben looking at Clara’s empy pill bottle, sweating the cost of another refill, show me the doctor on his way out the door shaking his head at Clara’s out-of-control leprosy, show me anything other than a guy turning to the camera to say, “… and here’s why this sucks for me.” I mean – it’s not a necessary thing, you can do it and reader’s won’t throw your book into the fire, but it doesn’t pull them further into the story. Think of it like the ingredients on the box instead of the delicious taste of the dill pickle pringles. ‘Okay, you told me what’s IN these tiny slivers of heaven, but I’m just not sold on how good they are until you shove one down my throat.’ Perhaps I need more coffee.

Change of scene is indicated with three hashes, or one hash, or a hit from hash, depending on who you ask. A long row of hyphens works just as well, but if you want to convince people you're drat good, it couldn't hurt to use little tricks like the three (or one?) hashtags.

Friday August 26th

“Ryan don’t be such a ninny...” Georgia chuckled “get in the crate, It’s labeled Alexandria. That’s the big ship going to England... Haven’t you always wanted to see the world?” Do this better. This is the very definition of telling not showing, and I loathe the way writers shout “Show don’t tell” like it’s the Freebird of Crits. But you’re really taking a swan dive into telling me your story while telling me your story. Show me “Alexandria” stenciled across the side of the crate, on the loading dock beside the giant ship bound for England.

“OkCOMMA” Ryan said smiling while climbing in, “but you’re coming with me!” He exclaimed as he pulled Georgia into the crate.Clunky, you already said “said” so exclaimed is wasted here. Put the sentence together without “ryan said” in there. That would work. Georgia screamed in surprise, and then laughed. shouted with laughter okay I’ll stop line-critting now She popped her head up to make sure the coast was clear before getting out. Two dockhands were walking nearby towards the crates.

“Down, down” She said pushing Ryan back into the crate. She made a shushing gesture with her finger. “They’re right here, stay down and be quiet she whispered”.

Just then the crate slammed shut, and nails were being hammered into the crate. Georgia and Ryan tried screaming for help but the dockhands couldn’t hear them over the hustle and bustle of the port.

This passage sets up the characters well enough, but because you’re not really clear if only one of them are really going, or neither really want to go, or both should go, or is Georgia the mother, or big sister, or lover of Ryan? I need more purpose to clear up who NEEDS to go and who doesn’t, so, as the reader, I give a crap about either one.


“I’ve got to tell him I’m not going, I don’t like this storm. He’ll have to find another captain.”

Ben paced back and forth along the dock. The towering Alexandria floating behind in the mid-morning sun. Okay, first – this is a VERY good way to declare your shift of POV, so, bonus points. Second, say this a lot better. As two sentences, you’re mixing tenses. Change the period into a comma, and the tense shift doesn’t apply for some reason. Or I could be way wrong on this.

“Ben!” Charles cried as he bumbled over. “Great news! Look! The most recent weather report says the storm has moved North. It’s nothing but smooth sailing from here to the UK.”

Ben snatched the report from Charles. “Holy poo poo, I don’t believe it.” Ben was suddenly feeling better about the trip. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad afterall SPACE BETWEEN AFTER AND ALL . Ben was also informed earlier that the engines were all in check, and all the decommissioned lifeboats were replaced. BEN SHOULD SAY THIS instead of you telling me… KEEP ME IN THE drat STORY, NOT IN YOUR CLIFF NOTES. COME ON.

“Well I guess that settles thingsCOMMA” Ben statedPERIOD “Charles is going to win re-election by way of outspending the opposition 10-to-1PERIOD” Ben and Charles both laughed, and climbed aboard to greet the first guests arriving.


Saturday August 27th 6:55PM

Charles paced back and forth. BEN JUST DID THIS. Find something else to do. Bite nails, pound booze, kill a hobo for an erection… anything.

“You need to keep the ship level!” Charles demanded of Ben. “I can’t be expected give a speech with the ship rocking like a baby’s crib on a tree topCOMMA Ben!”

“Just where did the loving storm come from Charles? I saw the same report you did. There’s nothing we can do but ride it out and hope for the best.”

The ship took wave after wave in the churning sea.

“I lied about the storm.” SAID WHO Another wave came up and sent Charles to the ground.

“You Lied LOWERCASE L about the storm? How?” SAID WHO

“The weather report Ben... It’s from two weeks ago. And not to add any pressure, but the lifeboats weren’t replaced either. I paid some crew off to tell you that they had come in and were loaded up.” Charles said getting to his feet.

“Of course the politician is a scheming liar! You realize that if this ship takes on water, thousands of people will load onto lifeboats that aren’t seaworthy!” Ben yelled, turning the wheel to avoid the largest waves. “Thousands... of… lives… Charles… On my hands!”

“Come off it Ben, we’re fine. Just keep the ship level.” Charles said, leaving the room on the way to the concert hall.

Okay, at this point, it’s starting to look like this is/was your first pass. The earlier paragraphs had a little more effort in spelling, punctuation, and stuff, but now it’s a lot more sloppy, so I’m thinking you kind of went over the first half, then said, “PERFECT ENOUGH!” Which I totally get, I do it all the time, but if that’s the case then you know where this crit is heading right? Towards the same level of effort.



Ryan finally was able to push the crate open with his feet. It was hot, damp, and disgusting inside Alexandria’s bowels. Georgia climbed out of the crate, drenched in sweat. Her and Ryan spent the first twelve hours yelling at each other, and taking turns getting “fresh” air from a small hole in the crate, and the next six hours trying to get out. SHE AND RYAN. Remove the second person from your statement and see if it sounds right. She spent the … vs. HER spent the first…


“You’re a real idiot, you know that? Get in the crate, that’s funny poo poo isn’t it. Now we’re well and truly hosed. This is why we broke things off in the first place. You were always so drat irresponsible. Now what? Now we’re on our way to England. Cherioh what is this word, Cheery O! Cheerio? to you rear end in a top hat!” Ryan raged. Georgia knew he was right, and didn’t say much to continue the argument further.

“I’m exhausted. Let’s find some food…” Ryan marched off towards the door. “Of course it’s loving locked!” He yelled trying to pull open the door kicking it. COME ON SERIOUSLY READ YOUR OWN STUFF AT LEAST ONCE before you submit. Ryan stormed around the room, pounding on crates. Then he found a pipe and began banging it on some pipes that were running along the wall.

“Someone’s got to hear this racket!” Ryan fumed, banging on the pipes. Sparks flew, and noise echoed loudly.

“Don’t do that! You don’t even know what you’re doing!” Georgia pleaded.

“Shut up, I know what I’m doing!” Ryan responded. He swung the pipe as hard as he could and one of the pipes came loose along with a hissing sound. “Can anyone loving hear me! HELLO!” he shouted.

RESPONDED, PLEADED, FUMED, YELLED. Just go with “said” instead of all these. Use one, occasionally.

“Ryan stop!”

Ryan slammed the pipe again. *Clang* Sparks flew. He slammed it again and again. *Clang CLANG*. He banged on the pipe, sparks flew again, igniting the fumes from the gas line he ruptured.come on, this is micro-exposition that is easily fixed. THE HISS OF THE RUPTURED GAS LINE WAS THE LAST THING HE HEARD AS HIS NEXT BLOW STRUCK SPARKS, IGNITING THE... The explosion sent Ryan back into a metal beam, knocking him unconscious. Water surged in from a twelve foot hole on the side of the ship.

“RYAN!” Georgia waded through the frigid water to Ryan’s side. She held him close and began crying as water filled the room.

Okay, that’s unexpected, to some extent. Good on you.



Guests filled the concert hall to hear Senator Brisbane's speech. While they waited, cocktails were served, and a performer sat at a piano, playing music, and collecting tips. The round hall was still an elegant place for a fundraiser, despite the raging seas outside the Alexandria.
Say this better. Two, three passes of edits would get this passage tight and could set up whatever’s coming. As it stands, it’s clunky. You’re going for the climax, I like it, you’re telling me the weather is poo poo and the audience is gathered for a big to-do, but you could paint the image with more grace and nuance.

Senator Brisbane stepped out and began to speak. STEPPED OUT OF WHAT. Stepped up to the podium.

“Thank you everyone. I’m glad you could make it on our excursion. I’ve just spoke with the captain, and he reassured me that we are fine. This is just a small every day storm front, and we’ll be clear of it in no time…” em dash for the interruption, ellipses and he’s fiddling with his notes. I suppose it could go either way.

Suddenly a BANG! Alarms sounded. Alexandria kiltered word is telling me this should be KILTED. Or TILTED but hey I’m no sailor. to the left. Noises from stressed twisting metal WHAT NOISES, squeals of delight, wet farts, sounds of tearing metal, the groan of steel giving way, shattering glasses, and screams filled the hall. Everybody began rushing to the exits. The ship turned to the right, and continued in circles to avoid keeling to the left again.

“Hello, this is your captain speaking.” Ben’s voice came through the intercom “The ship is damaged and can not continue. The Coast Guard has been alerted. Make your way to the lifeboats. The ship’s attendants will assist you.”

Ben knew half the lifeboats were death traps, and he was actively sending some people to their grave, but it was better than everyone dying wasn’t it? The coast guard was seven hours away.

DO THIS BETTER. Read what you wrote, think about it, and then write it so we get Ben’s emotions in this poo poo. PANIC, GUILT, DENIAL? NO FUCKS GIVEN?


The ship managed to stay level for the time being that’s a present-tense kind of passage of time, as in, for now, and a little while longer… , and lifeboats were being loaded. google PASSIVE VOICE. Some waited in the concert hall with the Senator for their turn to board a lifeboat. Ben was there as well. He had locked the wheel in its position to keep the ship level, but turning in slow, large circles.

Just then another large wave crashed against the ship, sending the ship out of balance again. Passengers on deck were thrown into the water. The Piano slid across the hall, maiming passengers in its path.

Screams erupted again. move this to the first line of the previous sentence to set up the random events you list, to tie it together better, lose “again” and the period, and replace JUST THEN with AS: “Screams erupted as another large wave…” The ship swayed back and forth freely in the storm. A wave from the other side hit. The piano slid again, pinning Charles against the wall. Blood was coming out his mouth google passive voice again. . Ben got to his feet and pulled out a gun, and walked towards Charles.

Charles looked up to Ben, almost apologetically, coughing blood. “Shoot me.”

“You know?” Ben said, “You always were a poo poo friend and a poo poo SenatorCOMMA” and pulled the trigger on himself. The Senator’s crossing was not as painless.


So, look. Don't get butt hurt about my lovely crits; EVERY CRIT I've written in here, has been pointed out in my own poo poo, many times over.

The story itself isn’t as bad as the writing.

You’ve got a nice movie of the week here, laying down some characters with motivation, (except for that part of the couple ending up in the box by accident… you could’ve left that out entirely, and just started off their appearance when they kick their way out of the box. Hey we get it, stowaways!) There’s some confusion when you’re trying to tell me who screwed who on the safety of the boat, Ben’s the one in charge of the ship, why would Charles sneak a quick one past him? Why not just let Ben be the rear end in a top hat who gives into the pressure of a senator, and in the end, he’s still pissed at the Senator for putting him under all that pressure? Unless of course that wasn’t the prompt but I do not know what your prompt is because you did not include it.

This could be improved even if you just fix your writing/spelling/grammar issues:
- Tighten up your paragraphs – read each paragraph and ask yourself, “Can I say this more efficiently to convey how fast poo poo is unfolding? Can I say this in a way that puts the reader in the room instead of on the phone while I tell the story?
- Read your story out loud, and little oddball phrases or typos will slap you in the face.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 18:42 on Jun 21, 2016

Sep 22, 2005


Chairchucker posted:

This Cult Belongs in a Museum 1172 words including title.

--- Final crit of my four. ---


Thranguy posted:
Unaussprechlichen Klutzen
Romance: Service worker and customer with inappropriate crush
Mysterious: “I am writing to invite you to witness a peculiar event.”
Friendship: Friends since childhood
To get power...over the person you love
The Town:The Ellingboe Museum
Ancient: Mathematical Etchings
Failure: A tiny mistake leads to ruin

This Cult Belongs in a Museum 1172 words including title.

The museum was closed, and no one was around.

Except Jess. Jess was around, and was trying to fix up the latest exhibit.

“They didn’t look like that, you know.” Oh yes. Jarrod was also around, but she hadn’t counted Jarrod, on account of he was an exhibit.

“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t,” she said.

“I mean, it’s close,” said Jarrod. “They had more of a cross-thatching thing going.”

“Like you ever made a nest.”

“They found me in one,” said Jarrod. “In the glacier, remember?”

“I remember. Shame we didn’t get that one.”

“You got me, though.”

“Yeah.” She placed one of the eggs in the nest. Pushed it at an angle. “You could always help me with this, you know. Since your ancestors supposedly made these, once upon a time.”

Jarrod scratched himself with one of his feet. “Nah, you got it. I’m supposed to meet someone, anyway.”

Jess raised an eyebrow. “What, you’re going out there? You may have difficulty blending in.”

“Nah,” said Jarrod, “I’ve got a disguise. Don’t worry, no one will suspect a thing.”

Jess shrugged. “Well, I’ve got my phone on me in case something happens.”


Nick arrived at the café at the appointed time. Whoever had sent him the mysterious message was not yet there.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from behind him. He turned around, and looked up. “Greetings human,” said Jarrod, for indeed it was he. HE turned around, HE, HE? It was he, who was… He was cunningly disguised with a moustache. “I am JBot 500.”

“Good evening, JBot,” said Nick.

“500,” said Jarrod.

“Good evening, JBot 500,” said Nick.

“Quite so,” said Jarrod. “I believe you received a message to meet me here.”

“Oh!” said Nick. “I was expecting someone more… well, I’m not sure who I was expecting.”

“Why don’t we grab a table where we can talk,” suggested Jarrod.

Nick went over to one of the corner tables. Jarrod followed, managing to only knock over a couple of chairs and nudge one of the tables. “Apologies, human diners,” said Jarrod as he knocked a young couple’s meal into their laps with his tail. “Computation error.”
Is this Jarrod the same thing with claws and a nest in the previous paragraph what.

Nick sat down on a bench seat, and Jarrod looked at the seats on the other side with a contemplative look on his face. “Hmm,” said Nick. “These seats are deceptively small.”

“Affirmative,” said Jarrod.

“Perhaps it would be possible to find a more spacious meeting spot?” suggested Nick.

“I know an acceptable location,” said Jarrod.

Nick got up again, and they made their way out of the café. “Apologies again, human diners,” said Jarrod, as he bumped a young lady out of her seat and onto the floor.


“You’re back already?” asked Jess.

“Oh right, you’re here,” said Jarrod. “I forgot.”

“You literally spoke to me twenty minutes ago.”

“Yeah, I know,” said Jarrod. “Listen, I had to move my meeting back here because the café is too tiny.”

“Yeah,” said Jess, “I think it’s built more with humans in mind, rather than Tyrannosaurus Rexes.”
“Right,” said Jarrod. “About that. For the purposes of this meeting, I’m actually a robot, all right?”

“Ah,” said Jess. “That’s what the mechanical claws are all about.”

“And the moustache,” said Jarrod.

“That honestly doesn’t make as much sense to me,” said Jess, “but all right.”

“I’ll just go let him in,” said Jarrod. “Try not to pay too much attention to our meeting, it’s supposed to be very secret.”

Jess shrugged. “I’ve still gotta finish this nest, anyway.”

Jarrod left and came back with Nick. “Oh. Introductions,” said Jarrod. “Human whose name I’ve forgotten because I don’t care, this is Jess. Jess, this is no one of consequence.”
To nit-pick, Jarrod sent this guy a mysterious message, so, you’d think name would be remembered, and be important but okay I’ll play along…or wait had Jarrod sent the mysterious message? It’s Jarrod’s POV so Jarrod knows about it…

“Nick,” said Nick, and extended a hand. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Welcome to the museum,” said Jess, ignoring his hand. “Don’t touch any of the exhibits. You break it, you bought it.”

Jarrod ushered Nick over behind the woolly mammoth exhibit. The mammoth was hibernating, so he wouldn’t interrupt their meeting.

“She’s lovely,” said Nick. “Is she single?”

“This meeting isn’t about her,” said Jarrod. “It’s about an opportunity.”

“Right. What sort of opportunity?”

“How would you like to be someone important, human?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“That’s what I thought,” said Jarrod. “A new world order is going to begin soon, human. Did you see the eggs in that nest Jess was making?”

“I wasn’t really looking at the eggs,” said Nick.

“All right, well for the purposes of this discussion you really do need to get a look at those eggs, so let’s quickly go back there, all right?”

“I’d love to,” said Nick. They walked back around the mammoth. “She’s even more lovely than I first thought,” he said. “I thought maybe I’d just imagined it, but…”

“Eyes on the prize, human,” said Jarrod. “And by prize, I mean eggs.”

“Are you two finished already?” asked Jess. “Because if so, maybe you can help me with this nest, Jarrod. Robot Jarrod. Whatever.”

“I’ll help you!” said Nick.

“Good idea,” said Jarrod. “Get a closer look at the eggs.” To Jess he hissed “It’s JBot 500. Sorry, I should’ve mentioned that earlier.”

“Right,” said Jess. “I meant JBot.”


“Right. JBot 500.” She turned to Nick. “I’m a little bit surprised you’d be interested in helping out with this nest.”

“How could anyone refuse to help a lady in need?” asked Nick.

“Right?” said Jess, glaring pointedly at Jarrod. “I know certain prehistoric gentlemen who aren’t so helpful.”

“Ah,” said Nick, “well chivalry is clearly a young man’s game.”


“What do you think of the eggs?” asked Jarrod.

“Very lifelike,” said Nick. “I’m sure this is one of the finest museums around. Obviously a testament to its…” he paused and looked at Jess. “Curator? Caretaker? Researcher? Help me out here.”

“Right,” said Jarrod, “but aren’t you looking forward to when those eggs hatch, and some dinosaurs come out?”

“You know they’re not real, right Ja- JBot 500?” said Jess.

“Sorry, what?”

Jess tapped on one. “It’s made of polystyrene.”

“Well this is embarrassing,” said Jarrod, and he bent down and ate Nick. Nick, who is really of no interest to me because he’s just kind of followed along and kind of noticed a pretty girl and really Jbot could have been toting a pizza around and the story would be the same up to this point.

Jess frowned. “You couldn’t have waited until he helped me finish the nest?”

“No loose ends,” said Jarrod. Jess frowned. “You don’t count,” he said. “You were always going to have a place in the new world order when my people ruled the world.”

“Really?” said Jess.

“Of course,” said Jarrod. “We go way back.”

“Awww, that’s so sweet,” said Jess.

Jarrod shrugged. “Blood is thicker than water. Wait, that’s the wrong saying. Bros before… no not that one either. I dunno.”

“Well,” said Jess, “since your plans for world domination or whatever that one was fell through, wanna watch A Dinosaur in Elm Street with me?” It’s Nightmare ON Elm Street.

“Sure,” said Nick, and the two of them turned the lights out and left. NO BECAUSE NICK IS DEAD, CONSUMED BY JARROD THE T-REX.

In the darkness, one of the eggs moved imperceptibly.

But it was actually a pterodactyl egg, and those guys are jerks, so when it hatched a month later, Jarrod ate it.

This story is dumb silly. If the purpose was to write a 10-year-old YA short story, mission accomplished. If you were reaching for anything higher, the only character that is interesting at all is Jarrod the T-Rex. Nick is nobody with nothing real, and Jess is Zooey Deschanel without anything interesting going on, and Zooey is by definition the cute girl with nothing interesting going on.
So, your story, in a nutshell: Dinosaur sneaks out, picks up aimless dude who doesn’t worry about kidnapping by dinosaur, follows back to museum, does nothing but gets eaten but first notices cute girl who fiddles with a nest, dinosaur is wrong about world domination, uh, what’s the point of any of this story?


Edit - hey - just wanted to say that, being the 4th of 4 stories is never the best slot because the reviewer is possibly not in the great happy place he/I was in the beginning, so if my crits in this one are way off base and raving jackass-levels of BS, please take a moment to congratulate yourself for turning in a story whereas I have turned in one and a half TD stories THIS YEAR so far. So it's very easy to armchair quarterback your work. I enjoyed reading it, overall. The humor worked, snappy dialog. Just needed characters to be more.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at 18:38 on Jun 21, 2016

Sep 22, 2005

I am in because I'm half way done.

Sep 22, 2005

goddamn it's quiet up in this bitch.

Thranguy posted:

Magnificent7, what pieces do you want crits for? I'll go ahead and do two.
Not sure what you mean - I did 4 crits, I need no crits on my own work, I'm all good.

Sep 22, 2005

So. My dad's been in the hospital on and off over the past two weeks with cancer (diagnosed 2 weeks ago), so my story ain't coming.

Which is a shame, because I've got half of a great tale. Right on top of all these other halves of great tales.

Sep 22, 2005


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Sign ups are gonna consist of calling another domer out. Rip ‘em for what they do too much-- quirks, styles, themes, characters, whatever-
I thought that's what TD has been all along? Kind of the whole fun of it.

Isn't there a place to submit our garbage in the event that we didn't finish on time? I want to finish/post my story from last week, just because.


Sep 22, 2005

I'm in. I'm back. I'm in. I need to write.
Need to have people tell me how my writing made them lose faith in the future of literature.
And I need to finish.


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