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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy



PROMPT

My friend recently pointed out to me that there is a frustrating disparity in performance choices for men and women in the theatre world. On the one hand, you can find a loving abundance of great monologues for male actors covering a wide, wide range of topics. And that's awesome. Unfortunately, female actors are stuck with a shitton of pieces involving childbirth, surprise sex, & abortion. I guess because its a really easy way to give "depth" to a female character. I don't know. But it's ludicrously oversaturated for the market and my friend doesn't like this and I don't like this, either. So y'all gonna be the change we wanna see in the world.

This week you will write me:
1) A monologue.
2) A female protagonist.
3) Nothing that has to do with childbirth or abortion or surprise sex.

Word limit: 700
Sign up Deadline: Friday Midnight EST
Submission Deadline: Sunday Midnight EST
Complicated additional fun: You may submit twice this week! Two stories! 1400 words total! Because this is a theatre prompt! I will accept one comedic piece and one dramatic piece! Yay! Do this do this do this do this do this

Sign Ups
kurona_bright
Sebmojo
Uranium Phoenix
sparksbloom Two entries! Yesssss!
Obliterati
katdicks
Kenfucius
Chernabog
Metrofreak
newtestleper
The Cut of Your Jib
Jay W. Friks
Benagain
Electric Owl
BeefSupreme Two entries! Tiiiiiiiiight!
Thranguy
SkaAndScreenplays
Chili
flerp
jon joe
curlingiron
Entenzahn
GenJoe

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2017 around 13:58

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Stop over thinking this.

I know this is "different" and that makes it "scary." But I'm not going to go out of my way to be a dick about it when it comes to judging, okay? It'll be fine. You've probably already written something that could be considered a monologue and you don't even realize it.

You have 700 words to play around with. You don't need to use all 700. A two minute monologue runs about 300-400. If that's what you got to bring to the table that's a-okay.

Things that have been asked of me thus far:

1) What the gently caress is a monologue?
Let's get this one out of the way first. A monologue is a simple thing, really. At its core it is a single character talking. But talking to who? Well, either to another character who does not respond*** or the audience.

On a more heady level, it is an exercise in demonstrating characterization. There doesn't need to be a beginning, middle, end traditional storytelling structure. One could argue that you don't really even need a plot. You just need a character who is experiencing something and is undergoing a dynamic emotional response to said something.

If it helps to consider this is like writing a vignette then do that.

Oftentimes, no, usually a monologue will suggest or make reference to a larger storyline. That is totally, 100% fine! You don't need to tie everything up in a nice little bow here if you don't want to. The important thing is to give an actor something juicy and fun**** to perform.

*** Check out the example from the Island at the bottom of the post. The character is clearly having some level of conversation with another character but it is left open ended.

**** fun doesn't have to mean funny. Actors love deep, powerful emotional states to play with.

2) Does this need to be submitted in some sort of script formatting?
I don't care. Sometimes monologues are real short and thus sit in one fat paragraph. That's fine. Sometimes they encompass multiple paragraphs. That is fine, as well. This is not an area I mean to dedicate much thought to.

3) Does blocking need to be included?
Shakespeare included zero blocking. Shakespeare is rad. But you're not Shakespeare and, to be fair, most modern playwrights dictate some level of stage directions so you can as well. Perhaps you feel like the actor must be pacing across the stage during some particular, pivotal moment. Okay, great. Do this: (paces). Parenthesis and italics. Simple stuff, really. If you feel the need to really emphasis a pause you can do the same. (Pause). Simple. Stuff.

Ex: I thought this would be a rather easy prompt but... (points at his temple with a finger and "fires") Pow.

4) Am I supposed to write a story and have a monologue in it?
No. Your entire entry is the monologue.

5) Should these be written as if someone will be performing them?
Yes. If that changes your approach to writing then great. I'm not judging these on literary merit alone. A monologue is meant to be performed. To be spoken outloud. Mull this over. I'll give you some examples.

6) Can you give me some examples of monologues?
Sure.



xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A Streetcar Named Desire
I took the blows in my face and my body. All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard! Father, Mother! Margaret, that dreadful way! So big with it, couldn't be put in a coffin! But had to be burned like rubbish! You just came home in time for the funerals, Stella. And funerals are pretty compared to deaths. Funerals are quiet, but deaths- not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles, and sometimes they even cry out to you, "Don't let me go!" Even the old, sometimes, say, "Don't let me go." As if you were able to stop them! But funerals are quiet, with pretty flowers. And, oh, what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, "Hold me!" you'd never suspect there was a struggle for breath and bleeding. You didn't dream, but I saw! Saw! Saw! And now you sit here telling me with your eyes that I let the place go! How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive, Miss Stella! And old Cousin Jessie's right after Margaret's, hers! Why, the Grim Reaper had put up his tent on our doorstep! ? Stella. Belle Reve was his headquarters! Which of them left us a fortune? Which of them left a cent of insurance even? Only poor Jessie- one hundred to pay for her coffin. That was all, Stella! And I with my pitiful salary at the school. Yes, accuse me! Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go! I let the place go? Where were you? In bed with your Polack!

Richard III
I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,
And yet I know not how to get the crown,
For many lives stand between me and home:
And I,--like one lost in a thorny wood,
That rends the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
Seeking a way and straying from the way;
Not knowing how to find the open air,
But toiling desperately to find it out,--
Torment myself to catch the English crown:
And from that torment I will free myself,
Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down.

Bonus video of it performed by Ralph Fiennes.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Brick, let me finish! – I know, believe me I know, that it was only Skipper that harboured even an unconscious desire for anything not perfectly pure between you two! – Now let me skip a little. You married me early that summer we graduated out of Ole Miss, and we were happy, weren’t we, we were blissful, yes, hit heaven together ev’ry time that we loved! But that fall you an’ Skipper turned down wonderful offers of jobs in order to keep on bein’ football heroes – pro-football heroes. You organized the Dixie Stars that fall, so you could keep on bein’ teammates forever! But somethin’ was not right with it! – Me included! – between you. Skipper began hittin’ the bottle…you got a spinal injury – couldn’t play the Thanksgivin’ game in Chicago, watched it on TV from a traction bed in Toledo. I joined Skipper. The Dixie Stars lost because poor Skipper was drunk. We drank together that night all night in the bar of the Blackstone and when cold day was comin’ up over the Lake an’ we were comin’ out drunk to take a dizzy look at it, I said, ‘SKIPPER! STOP LOVIN’ MY HUSBAND OR TELL HIM HE’S GOT TO LET YOU ADMIT IT TO HIM!’ – one way or another!

HE SLAPPED ME HARD ON THE MOUTH! – then turned and ran without stopping once, I am sure, all the way back into his room at the Blackstone… -When I came to his room that night, with a little scratch like a shy little mouse at his door, he made that pitiful, ineffectual little attempt to prove that what I had said wasn’t true…

In this way, I destroyed him, by telling him the truth that he and his world which he was born and raised in, yours and his world, had told him what could not be told. From then on Skipper was nothing at all but a receptacle for liquor and drugs.

Sorry – I’m not tryin’ to whitewash my behaviour, Christ, no! Brick, I’m not good. I don’t know why people have to pretend to be good, nobody’s good. The rich or the well-to-do can afford to respect moral patterns, conventional moral patterns, but I could never afford to, yeah, but – I’m honest! Give me credit for just that, will you please? Born poor, raised poor, expect to die poor unless I manage to get us something out of what Big Daddy leaves when he dies of cancer! But Brick?! – Skipper is dead! I’m alive! Maggie the cat is alive! I am alive! I am alive!

Amadeus
I don't understand you! You don't give a poo poo about gods and heroes! If you're honest - each one of you - which of you isn't more at home with his hairdress than Hercules? Or Horatius? Or your stupid Danaius come to that! Or mine - mine! Idomeneo, King of Crete! All those anguished antuques are all bores! Bores, bores, bores!

All serious operas written this century are boring! (laughs vigorusly) Look at us! Four gaping mouths. What a perfect quartet! I'd love to write it - just this second of time, this now, as you are! Herr Chamberlain thinking 'Impertinent Mozart: I must speak to the Emperor at once!' Herr Prefect thinking 'Ignorant Mozart: debasing opera with his vulgarity!' Herr Court Composer thinking 'German Mozart: what can he finally know about music?' And Herr Mozart himself, in the middle, thinking 'I'm just a good fellow. Why do they all disapprove of me?' That's why opera is important, Baron. Because it's realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another just to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once - and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device: a Vocal Quartet! ....I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half and hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet. On and on, wider and wider - all sounds multiplying and rising together - and the together creating a sound entirely new!

.... I bet you that's how God hears the world: millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us! That's our job! That's our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him and her and her - the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers - and turn the audience into God. (blows a raspberry and giggles) I'm sorry. I talk nonsense all day: it's incurable. My tongue is stupid, Baron. My heart isn't.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Do you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with the lid on it? Nor do I really. Silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like being alive in a box. One keeps forgetting to take into account that one is dead. Which should make all the difference. Shouldn't it? I mean, you’d never know you were in a box would you? It would be just like you were asleep in a box. Not that I’d like to sleep in a box, mind you. Not without any air. You'd wake up dead for a start and then where would you be? In a box. That's the bit I don't like, frankly. That’s why I don’t think of it. Because you'd be helpless wouldn't you? Stuffed in a box like that. I mean, you'd be in there forever. Even taking into account the fact that you're dead. It isn't a pleasant thought. Especially if you're dead, really. Ask yourself: if I asked you straight off I'm going to stuff you in this box now – would you rather to be alive or dead?

Naturally you’d prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all. I expect. You'd have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking, well, at least I’m not dead. In a minute, somebody’s going to bang on the lid and tell me to come out. (knocks) "Hey you! What's your name? Come out of there!"

The Island
One night you won't sleep again because you'll be countring. Not days, as you are doing now, but hours. And the next morning, that beautiful morning, John, they'll take you straight out of your cell to the Discharge Office where they'll give you a new khaki shirt, long khaki trousers, brown shoes. And your belongs!

They'll wrap them up in a parcel. You'll have it under your arm when they lead you to the gate. And outside, John, outside that gate, New Brighton will be waiting for you. Your mother, your father, Princess and the children, and when they open it your people will take you home. Everybody will be waiting for you-- aunts, uncles, friends, neighbours. They'll put you in a char, John, like a king, give you anything you want-- cakes, sweets, cooldrinks-- and then you'll start to talk. You'll tel them about this place, John, about Hodoshe, about the quarry, and about your good friend Winston who you left behind!

They'll fill you up with booze. They'll look after you.

(quietly) You stink, John. You stink of beer, of company, of freedom. Your freedom stinks, John, and it's driving me mad. Three months time, at this hour, you'll be wiping beer off your face, your hands on your balls, you will will laugh, you will drink, you will gently caress and forget. (Pause.)

You know where I ended up this morning, John? In the quarry. Next to old Harry. Do you know old Harry, John? Look into his eyes, John. Look at his hands. They've changed him. They've turned him into stone. Watch him work with that chisel and hammer. Twenty perfect blocks of stone every day. Nobody else can it like him! He loves stone. That's why they're nice to him. He's forgotten himself. He's forgotten everything. Why's here. Where he comes from.

That's happening to me, John. I've forgotten why I'm here. gently caress the others. gently caress our ideals. gently caress slogans. gently caress politics. gently caress everything! Why am I here? I'm jealous of your freedom, John. I also want to count.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx



7) Why are you asking people to submit two monologues?
Because I want to see people's versatility and because I think it will be fun. As a bonus incentive, if you submit twice and one is DM-worthy and the other isn't... I won't give you a DM. Even if it's just middle of the pack. Good writing will be a buoy. I want you to step out of your comfort zone and take some risks. This could potentially save you from a loss, as well.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Feb 2, 2017 around 22:40

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Benagain posted:

I vow to do significantly better next time.



jon joe posted:

*bows to the crits*

Thank you.


Tyrannosaurus posted:

-- info will go here --

Only registered members can see post attachments!

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


In with a

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

In b*tches

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


I'm in

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In. for 2 entries.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

In and

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

in. someone's gotta keep the fleshy python alive.
ladies.

Kenfucius
Dec 8, 2016


in

Also, much thanks to Chili and Thranguy for their crits.

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



IN. Time to dust off my inner Ayn Rand.

And thanks for the crits you guys.

Metrofreak
Mar 17, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thanks for the crits. I had to poo poo the bed eventually. I'll do better.

In, btw.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


In

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Volumnia - III ii 70 Coriolanus

Which else would put you to your fortune and
The hazard of much blood.
I would dissemble with my nature where
My fortunes and my friends at stake required
I should do so in honour: I am in this,

-William Shakespeare (a lady)

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Failures who signed up but did not submit:

Obliterati
Jay W. Friks
Julias
kurona_bright
SkaAndScreenplays
Flesnolk
Djeser
Entenzahn
Killer-of-Lawyers
sparksbloom
Okua
magnificent7
QuoProQuid
Carl Killer Miller
a new study bible!
BeefSupreme

e: lol

22 Failuresnewtestleper
22 Failuressebmojo
21 FailuresDjeser
20 FailuresPhobia
19 FailuresJuniperCake
17 FailuresZeBourgeoisie
15 FailuresKiller-of-Lawyers
15 Failuresmagnificent7
15 Failuresskwidmonster
14 FailuresMercedes
13 Failureskurona_bright
12 Failuresdocbeard

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 31, 2017 around 20:38

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Week 223 Crits

Because these crits are so late, and many of these stories already have a half dozen crits, I'd like to offer an additional free crit to anyone who submitted on time this week. Just let me know what piece you'd like me to look at.

Fleta Mcgurn - Peanut Milk

There’s something in the confessional tone of this story that I find really likable, even though a guy getting sad about a high school flame isn’t the most exciting thing. I like how this story surprises in small ways. I’m not sure if branded peanut milk is a thing in Taiwan (where I assume this story is set, but I’m not sure), but it strikes me as an unusual and pretty obscure thing to model for, even if it is “the good kind.” And that makes me wonder if the protagonist’s sense of nostalgia is just a disappointment of his own lot in life and just this envy of someone else’s success.

Well, probably not. A good chunk of this story is the recounting of the crush this guy had on Peanut Milk Girl, and while I think it’s well-told, there isn’t a lot surprising there. I like the details you’ve chosen to flesh out the superficial nature of this connection, though. The bonding over a popular musician, the gentle teasing about her volunteering in the nurse’s tent when she’s too queasy to handle medical work. These details let you establish that this is a one-sided, superficial connection without having to hammer it into our heads. And although I think the end of this story gets too bogged down in the protagonist’s head (everything after he starts talking about the amusement park is pretty inessential, IMO), it’s the subtle human observation that made me like and appreciate what this story is trying to do.

N. Senada - Subject: I love you I’m sorry

A good chunk of this story feels like it’s going to end in a request for me to donate money to a charitable organization. The whole part about Adam, I mean. It’s a well-intentioned attempt to express some heartfelt outrage against racism and people who are blind it it, but at heart Adam is a prop for that attempt, and it’s more a parable than a story. Of course, that’s not the entire story here. The story is the main, nameless protagonist making this declaration that the election of Donald Trump means he shouldn’t keep living outside of the country with his black girlfriend. And this isn’t explored with any complexity -- if you’re going to include the lead-in chat log, maybe include the lead-out chat log where she berates her self-important boyfriend for making a unilateral decision based on these high-minded concerns.

It’s also not a good story. There’s no wide arc here. We know he’s leaving from the end of the chat-log, and the letter meanders all over the place, with the only hint of the story being the impotence of the Adam story -- a story where the protagonist doesn’t do anything. I get that the immediate grief of the election probably meant submitting to Thunderdome wasn’t a priority, and I argued against a DM for this piece because of that. And I have to give you credit for the emotion on the voice, because that’s certainly there in the letter. It’s just not enough to rescue this muddle.

Boaz-Jachim - Remember, I will always be your Hunter in the night Sky

The prose here is absolutely gorgeous. It’s not overwritten or too showy, it’s just pretty and nostalgic and it’s flowing and musical. And the voice is perfect for capturing the intimacy in this story. The incident of hunting the star elevates this from spirituality to grand, magical realism, or maybe something along the lines of myth, but it’s also tethered by the human incident of comforting the dog on the night these two make love. It’s difficult to read this piece and not feel the warmth and the tragedy in the corruption of this lover’s spirit.

That said -- I’m a little fuzzy on the material details here. Maybe that’s not important. My impression is that some foreign, sick spirit has compromised the lover’s spirit, but it’s also possible that the lover’s spirit has just fallen to some contagion. And while the one-line interjections do add some urgency, some drama, to the early fond reminiscences, they’re semantically kind of empty, and add the unfortunate (I assume) element that the Hunter is savoring the kill. That dampens some of the purer sentimentality of the story, and maybe this is something you’re attempting that just isn’t clicking for me. But yes, this is a very confident and competent story, and it was very easy to pick it as this week’s winner.

Okua - To A Seaside Well

This strikes me as a well-realized vision of a community getting swallowed up by new ways. There’s a lot of really lovely lines here that mingle the grief for this one person with the grief for the island as a whole. And I like the decision to cast the protagonist not as a partisan of faith or one of science, but one torn between the two, drifting toward science but still owning the faith in the old superstitions. This is a far more subtle exploration of a theme than I usually expect in a Thunderdome story, and I appreciated that here, along with the polished prose.

Unfortunately, this is also kind of a boring story, because it’s all pondering and there’s no action or decision. This isn’t a recounting of something that happened, this is a recounting of a thought process, and no matter how well-realized your world or how nuanced your main character, it’s difficult to make that very engaging. It doesn’t help that the story just ends. Of course the boat is going to leave. There isn’t enough context for us to determine if the nameless character will be on the boat (although I have a hunch that they will), which means there’s a little too much ambiguity here.

Also: not a fan of you using the flash rule word-for-word.

Baleful Osmium Sea - Bottled Immortality

The prose in this story is competent, although puffy, and I like that it sets out to tell a full story. But it suffers due to a lack of any stakes. As Elwyn introduces himself, I don’t like him very much. He gets the vapors at the thought of “savages,” he’s judgmental of other people’s habits, and the heavy-layered irony makes him seem like a bit of a dupe. But the story doesn’t do anything with that, and so I feel like the unlikability isn’t intentional, that it’s just scene-setting period detail. And unfortunately, the whole story sort of feels like that. We learn about how Nathaniel Bottomsly wrote a lot of poetry and then presumably ascended to alchemical immortality. Or maybe he didn’t -- maybe the lack of immortality of his words is supposed to indicate that he didn’t achieve alchemical immortality either.

The effect is a pompous pointlessness. I’m interested in the attempt of Elwyn to publish Nathaniel’s poetry against his will, but that conflict isn’t really explored, and really there isn’t much conflict at all, just Elwyn’s silent skepticism about Nathaniel’s interest in alchemy. And while the sentences, for the most part, are well-written, there’s a couple of proofreading mistakes that really annoy me. This story had promise, because you clearly enjoy writing in this voice, but the lack of a point and the unlikable, unpleasant main character really drags this down.

a new study bible! - Comfort and Security

I liked this story for the sympathetic-but-unhinged main character. Of course he’s nuts. This isn’t the letter you send if you want to get a job. This guy hits on employees, breaks into the park, and spends his days wandering around Disneyland. These are all played with a beat of irony; you’ve clearly intended for him to be dangerously off-kilter. And yet the main arc still makes him sincere and sympathetic. He’s just watching out for his brother, who was kidnapped by his dangerous, alcoholic Dad. The revelation that Dad’s been stalking Hector is genuinely unsettling, and I found the inevitable kidnapping genuinely sad.

I don’t really believe that the main character has been so traumatized by his family drama, he’s been reduced to the severely-mentally-ill state he’s reached by the time he’s sending the letter, though. And yet, even though I thought it was a bit much, I still thought it added to the poignancy of the loss of his brother. I understand why Ent hated this -- it doesn’t really work on a lot of levels. But I think the jarring contrasts in this story are an admirably brave choice, and they make this story memorable and fun to think about. It seems like you veered off in the off-kilter direction as the story ends, though, and the prose suffers for it. I think him accosting the woman and hitting on her is probably a step too far. On the whole, though, this is an enjoyable, dissonant story.

Hammer Bro. - Nigh

The story is attempting dark humor, but it’s a little heavier on the “dark” than on the “humor.” The exaggerated kid-voice works for the wry jokes in all the early sections, but the wry jokes are just uncomfortable in the presence of alcoholism and near-violent fighting. And of course I have sympathy for the poor kid in the wake of these terrible things happening around him. Of course you’re going to generate pathos from a kid in a broken home whose parents just suddenly vanish for… well, I’m not sure why Satan called everyone to Hell suddenly, this just seems like a reverse rapture… but also all of Satan’s friends are on earth?

And then there’s the twist, which is just so arch that it makes me feel stupid for falling for the pathos you’ve generated. The story is so concerned with being clever -- and yes, it is that -- that it doesn’t seem aware of how uncomfortable this tone is. Satan’s letter is so jokey and light that we nearly forget the kind of peril and despair the story has conveyed before this. (I do appreciate the line about the guy from the church, which seems to key back into the actual emotional dynamics operating here.) The effect of the story as a whole is whiplash, and a feeling like we’ve been tricked, that the story has played us, and left us feeling awful for a few jokes.

Thranguy - Lean That Way Forever

This is a pep talk, more than a story -- a pep talk that humans are scrappy and will survive any crisis, no matter how bad. Or at least, it’s the pep talk parts that show the most energy, the most verve. The second-to-last paragraph and the paragraph about the crises humanity have weathered seem to be the point of this story, but the connective tissue holding the theme together isn’t really strong enough. It’s difficult to know what’s going on, and there’s not enough context clues about “father” to know why his return is a bad thing, or why he’s been exiled. That makes it difficult to get invested in this story. So does the fact that you’re still dropping breadcrumbs a third of the way in -- yes, it’s frustrating when we get a contextless “you still talk to Piet?” in a conversation that also hasn’t been contextualized in its meaning.

I have to give you some credit for disguising the sadness around the election in the semblance of a story. But that doesn’t excuse stuff like the actual conversation with Piet being a two-heads-in-space kind of affair, in which you reference a constructed proper noun “Unfailing Court of the Hsif” that adds absolutely nothing to your story. By the end, I have no idea why Mark has ordered the retrieval of Father. I find the element of the wrecked alien worlds interesting, but you don’t do enough with this. The narrator fixates on the idea that humans will come find her in one of these graveyard worlds, but you’d think she’d consider that, like humans, the aliens in those worlds might be surviving through a near-apocalypse. But that doesn’t mesh with the theme of human resilience. There is an admirable depth of vision here, but I don’t think enough of that vision has translated onto the page.

Jay W. Friks - Deadline Imminent-Please Open Immediately

From the first sentence, this story is unfocused (and difficult to comprehend at first, due to the comma splice), and the protagonist is uninteresting and unpleasant. While I like unhinged protagonists, this guy’s main drive seems to be self-pity, and that results in a whiny, meandering story. Instead of things happening, we’re treated to the most mundane parts of this guy’s biography, like his digestive problems, or how he talks to his coworkers as he’s heading back from the bathroom. The result is a story devoid of images -- the only backdrop is this guy’s monotone resentment of his cognitive disability.

Like the last story of yours I critted, I have no idea how you expect us to feel about this guy. If it’s empathy, I’m afraid you’ve missed the mark considerably. His final act of sending this letter and giving the father of the girl he killed his net worth strikes me as misguided, and at the end, he’s not blaming himself for not taking responsibility for a hit-and-run, but he’s blaming society for not having a place for him. It’s extraordinarily unlikable and not even in a nuanced way. I wonder if this story would benefit from giving Volvo Man a foil; someone that can force him to reckon with himself beyond his self-pity, or at least that would let us see some sort of positive, likable traits that would cast his other decisions in a more complicated light.

The prose is pretty bad, too. I see you’ve gotten plenty of crits on this story already, though, and I assume people have pointed these things out already, but feel free to PM me if you want a more thorough prose crit.

SkaAndScreenplays - 99 Songs of Revolution

“See ya later, sweet cheeks. Trump is bad, and you’re not part of my plan to make him less bad. Toodles.”

This is a bad story, you know it’s a bad story, and you’ve been told by half a dozen people already that this is a bad story. You’ve stacked generality after generality for three paragraphs, and you didn’t even bother to edit out the mechanical errors. And as for the content itself, the “story” has the issue of why Murphy doesn’t ask Charlotte to participate in revolution or activism or whatever with him. Like N. Senada’s story, this story sees revolution as something done by a lone wolf dude, driven by his own anger and frustration. But revolution and change comes from coalition building and establishing solidarity, not this sort of power fantasy. The week of judging, I was willing to look past that, because of course everyone was hurting. With the passage of time, it’s much more striking.

Tyrannosaurus - To Open On The Day You Graduate Highschool

This is on the saccharine side of sweet, I’m afraid. Not irritatingly so, since there’s enough specific details and quirk to the letter writer, but enough to make me roll my eyes. The epilogue is just a bad idea, since it steamrolls right over the ambiguity and sadness inherent in the writing of the letter. I guess, eighteen years later, Dad is still at war -- or that’s the implication, given that he isn’t looking over her shoulder and tearing up -- but that’s easy to ignore, since the note we’re left with is just how moved the daughter is.

The piece is well-written, and Dad has a strong, compelling voice. While the last paragraph of the letter is genuinely moving, its effect is dulled because the same rhetorical repetition was just used two paragraphs ago. (“You can, you can, you can” after “you never, you never, you never.”) It calls attention to the piece’s emotional manipulation, and then the little epilogue spills thing over into “way too much.” I do want to credit the way the piece sets the scene. The second paragraph and the first half of the third establishes Dad’s state of mind really well, his sort of frayed psyche, and it sets his sense of sheer joy at discovering this girl’s will to survive in high relief. But then we just stay on that emotional note for the rest of the story, and it’s just a little tiring.

Kaishai - Discovery

While I really like where this ends up, thematically, the story lurches there like a lovesick grieving zombie. The idea of going through a loved one’s possessions after their death and finding that they indicate unknown depths and hidden sentimentalities, and then getting hit with this sense of even greater loss at not being close enough in life to know these things -- this is a really solid theme to work with, and your closing paragraph ties it together well. Unfortunately, there’s just a lack of momentum here. The first few paragraphs don’t convey any sense of stakes, and on the first read, they struck me as mundane details packed on each other. On a re-read, they frame your theme well, but the lack of momentum is still a problem -- do we really need Caroline spiting the Northern weather and the unmowed grass for a whole paragraph? And I think you play the relationship between Caroline and Angelea a little too coyly; I don’t fully understand Caroline’s anger. Anger at the distant relationship to her sister? Anger at the heavens for having her taken away? Frustration at her being a packrat and forcing her to spend all her time sorting through these possessions, triggering little bits of grief? Maybe a little of all of this, but a stronger throughline on that would make the beginning of this story more accessible.

Once the zombie enters, the story gains momentum, because now Caroline has a foil to work through these feelings with. The crestfallen zombie learning about Angelea’s cremation is a really striking aspect here, and I like how that sense of loss without expected closure shines a light on Caroline’s own sense of loss. And the mixing of the mundane and the extraordinary, with Angelea going down into the dirt with this zombie and the two of them hanging out helps capture the strange vertigo Caroline has at reconciling this part of her sister’s life. But the prolonged set-up robs the immediacy from these pangs, and I just wish you’d worked those introductory details into the parallel structure that the zombie’s entrance brings.

Hawklad - Flying With the Turkeys

I like this one a lot for the creeping sense of dread and paranoia, but the lack of a real payoff is a problem. There’s a compelling arc here about how this guy scares away his friends and loved ones, and his hallucinations toward the end of the story feel like they’re leading toward something. The way he ramps up his drunkenness, the way the sleep deprivation becomes more and more important, and his self-awareness of these things are all well done. You lose me at the ending, though, which doesn’t offer any sort of closure for me beyond “wow, this guy is really hallucinating now!” And I suppose he’s dying, too. But this doesn’t really address any of the conflicts that the story sets up. The protagonist doesn’t have to confront his own failings, he just gets to make more empty promises.

Structurally, this is probably a little too fragmented. While the breaking down of this decline into letters helps sell the steady progression of the protagonist into madness, some of the details just feel superfluous, and I wonder if it would be possible to compress the action here. Do we really need to know about “block and tackle” moonshine? What does this add to the narrative? Don’t get me wrong, the story’s setting is different in a good way, and it seems like you’ve done some research into moonshine making, but the details shouldn’t be here for the sake of details, they should be included to develop this character or your tone. Still, this is probably the best of the DQed entries, and I don’t think an HM would have been out of the question.

widespread - My Old Friend Needs a Hand

This story suffers most from a total lack of context. Is this character mad for pressing the button? (Probably. He’s having conversations with a button.) Is the condition of the world such that starting a nuclear war would be a conceivable idea? Why does this dude with a nine-to-five job have access to the nuclear launch codes? The total vagueness around the story’s setting and around this character gives a sense of “nothing really matters,” which makes it difficult to invest in this guy’s pushing of the button. Frontloading the story with Charlie’s confession adds onto that; there really isn’t much more to this than “I have done a terrible thing. I pressed the button.”

The dialogue, too, is stiff and awkward. The conversation with the admiral is completely pointless, and mostly serves to pad out the story. I guess I like the protagonist’s eventual decision that his legacy doesn’t matter, but it’s not shaded in enough, and the story doesn’t even really sell his decision to shoot himself that well. I assume it’s to avoid living with the consequences of pressing the button, or maybe it’s just an ultimate fulfillment of his sense of nihilism. On the whole, it’s a story that suffers from a pointlessness thanks to everything being settled from the first couple lines, and then it’s followed up from a lack of any details that might offer those lines some complexity.

BeefSupreme - Protect the Future

During judging, I started reading this story and then I got so annoyed that you didn’t follow the prompt that I immediately stopped reading. Coming back to it now, it looks like I didn’t miss much. Aside from the fact that this story isn’t a letter, I’m also annoyed at how “aw shucks” naive Charlie is. Maybe I’m just cynical, but “Charlie couldn’t believe that the government and the military were bad,” without any kind of follow-through, just comes off as grating -- a caricature. Having him raise questions with obvious answers (“why didn’t he say anything in his emails?”) and then having those questions answered in the next portion of the latter just makes me more annoyed with this character.

The sentence level prose is fine, but this story really suffers from its structure. I mean, aside from it not being a letter, which it really should have been. The non-letter portions of the story feel empty and pointless, even as you try to set up this throughline of the loss of innocence or whatever. And the letter itself -- well, it’s fine, but it only really alludes to conflicts and doesn’t provide any closure on them. Charlie not actually looking at the flash drive feels like a cheat; like you didn’t bother to think what could be on it, you just thought Charlie looking at the poster and thinking “gee, the military is bad” would be enough closure, and well, it wasn’t.

Next time you write a story, I recommend following the prompt, though!

The Cut of Your Jib - Time Just Got Away From Me

This story seems to be nothing more than a non-linear nostalgia-rama. Reading it is a little like looking through a stranger’s family album; it’s dense with too many proper nouns and awash with stories that seem to be meaningful to the speaker, but aren’t meaningful to the reader. (That’s a mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean.) But the sheer density of characters in this story that’s less than 1000 words is a seriously bad decision. It’s extremely disorienting, and that’s not accounting for the way the story is unstuck in time. The effect is random anecdote after random anecdote, and that’s just numbing and frustrating.

I like the “look at how far we’ve come” impulse behind this story. And if you’d had more words to spend, the sort of structure you have here might work. The anecdotes are illustrative and evocative, at least. I like the one about dissassembling and reassembling the art piece, only for that effort to flatter the artist. I think that’s insightful, and the choice to tell that anecdote is reflective of the sort of nostalgia that someone might have for a long-gone relationship. But without a stronger cohering thread, these random anecdotes filled with nearly a dozen random people just come off as noise, and it’s easy to come away from this piece with nothing at all except frustration.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Thranguy posted:

Teeveeweek Crits

Chili posted:

Here are my crits.

Thank you!

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at Jan 31, 2017 around 23:02

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


holy gently caress! I knew it was bad but...

thus the year of toxxes

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



sebmojo posted:

22 Failuresnewtestleper
22 Failuressebmojo
21 FailuresDjeser

i'm comin for u mojo

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In with

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Student of the principle art of posting

Fun Shoe

in

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Just to clarify, you're looking for script format for a piece that could hypothetically be acted?

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Just to clarify, you're looking for script format for a piece that could hypothetically be acted?

He wants a picture of a single log with a chick riding it like a boss

almost there
Sep 13, 2016



I'm going to kill this so hard that I'm already notifying your next of kIN

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

Apologies to GenJoe for the failure

so yeah in and

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

in

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


a stray crit:

Hawklad - Arrival

For a character to be compelling, they have to have agency. They have to make decisions. In this story, the only decisions Margrette makes are ones I don’t understand. Like sliding the alien corpse toward her -- why does she do this? Curiosity? Compassion? Boredom? The dominant personality traits about Margrette conveyed in this story: she’s tired, she’s pregnant, and she feels the world is too lovely for her child to inherit. That last part is obviously the most compelling part of the story, but it doesn’t resonate because the conflict is too simplistic, and the story seems more interested in worldbuilding than establishing Margrette’s character. Many words are spent on details of the past alien invasion, but zero are spent on the baby’s paternity and Margrette’s relationship to that fact.

That said, I do like the body horror of the alien attaching to the womb, panicking the baby, and triggering a premature birth. I like the ambiguity as to whether the creature has corrupted the baby in some sense, and I think that ending is paced well. The baby seems to share Margrette’s hatred for alien nuclear winter, which I think is an interesting element, the relationship Margrette has with her baby, but because Margrette’s personality is so blank, it’s not as good as it could have been. Instead of infodumping (the “Like all children…” paragraph), tell us her immediate feelings and thoughts when she sees the alien sphere or the alien larva. Give us her reaction to the celebration of the community. Does she share their joy, or does she find it excessive? Is she overwhelmed by anxiety? I’m frustrated by the decision to keep us so distant from this character. I’m not even sure what her job is. Just a barkeep? A sex worker? (Is that the assumption we’re supposed to make about the baby’s paternity?) Nor am I sure the purpose of Robb in this story, other than for someone to kill the alien fetus besides Margrette. (Maybe he’s the father? But then why introduce him as her “boss?”)

It mostly strikes me as frustrating that you took a week that explicitly focuses on character and wrote a story that’s driven by setting instead. But now that you have that setting down, I think you have a strong foundation to rework this piece by strengthening Margrette and giving her an identity beyond her pregnancy. Already the ending nails the “body” part of “body horror.” In giving us more of a reason to care about Margrette, you can help sell the “horror” part.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


sebmojo posted:

He wants a picture of a single log with a chick riding it like a boss

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Recap!

A writer named Ironic Twist
Has been traumatized by a poo poo list.
It's convinced him each verse
Alludes to crap, or worse:
Think "The Dildo." and you'll get the gist.


You can decide for yourselves whether Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, or I know anything about poetry based on our metered response to Week 233: IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG. Our personal preferences shape our reception of the highest and lowest villanelles, each of which we read aloud, and though we indict some poets for the crimes they commit in our hearts, you may well disagree! Maybe you'll differ with Twist's literary theories also, but please respect his serious, peer-reviewed analysis. HiddenGecko's "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Boners" makes a special guest appearance from Week 23 to remind us that death doesn't have to be morbid--and that limericks don't have to rhyme, apparently.

Why I never, barman! another oily toucan!


Episodes past can be found here!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Apr 14, 2017 around 15:53

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

sparksbloom posted:

a stray crit:

Very insightful, thank you!

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Just to clarify, you're looking for script format for a piece that could hypothetically be acted?

Would appreciate a clarification on this as well.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

I have added clarifications.


Muffin & Chili, I'm not sure what you guys mean.

Title
word count

words.


That seems pretty standard. If the question is: should I be writing this with someone performing it outloud in mind? The answer is yes.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Feb 2, 2017 around 08:35

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Stop over thinking this.


What is a monologue

3 links

http://www.monologueblogger.com/monologues/

http://www.monologuearchive.com/

http://stageagent.com/monologues

dreadmojo fucked around with this message at Feb 2, 2017 around 08:45

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


sebmojo posted:

22 Failuresnewtestleper
22 Failuressebmojo

kiwis are goddamn lazy lol

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

kiwis are goddamn lazy lol

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


HEY I THOUGHT I WAS BANNED THIS WHOLE TIME BUT IT HASN'T GONE THROUGH YET!

Check the screen name yo!

I'm in...

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Tyrannosaurus posted:

I have added clarifications.


Muffin & Chili, I'm not sure what you guys mean.

Title
word count

words.


That seems pretty standard. If the question is: should I be writing this with someone performing it outloud in mind? The answer is yes.

Are stage directions ok? That's my question; I think it's muffins as well.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Chili posted:

Are stage directions ok? That's my question; I think it's muffins as well.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

3) Does blocking need to be included?

Mamet wrote: "Don't write stage directions. If it is not apparent what the character is trying to accomplish by saying the line, telling us how the character said it, or whether or not she moved to the couch isn't going to aid the case. We might understand better what the character means, but we aren't particularly going to care."

But Mamet is also a prick. So, in short, write them if you want to. It's cool with me. I don't mind! Different playwrights have different styles. Perhaps some bit of stage direction is vital to the understanding and performance of your monologue. Well then of course you better include it!

Do you what you think is best to make your monologue wonderful. I want to read awesome words. Not lovely words.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Student of the principle art of posting

Fun Shoe

When is this due again?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Sunday. Midnight. EST.

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