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

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«118 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week CCXXIX: I'm Dreaming of a Fallout 4 Christmas

The Christmas deadline provides an excuse for me to assume every non-story, every nonsensical or nonexistent ending, every failure to look over your work before throwing it up all over the dinner table, all happened because you put spending time with your loved ones ahead of an Internet writing competition. Don't disillusion me, please. I want to believe! Allow me this last seasonal miracle! Otherwise I'll have to think you guys served up such a tepid pool of meh because you couldn't do any better, and do any of us want that?

Meh or no, thanks for spending some of the most wonderful time of the year writing words for other people. Now let's see who gave us the ugliest reindeer sweaters.


Boaz-Jachim, "Flight"

I don't see a holiday. The literal war is vague, a suggestion only, and the "war" between hunter and hunted is the sort of metaphor Erogenous Beef warned entrants against. He didn't directly warn you not to write a plotless action sequence, but should he have had to? This didn't make anyone's high tier despite the imagery--strong, if not varied--or prose, which is very sound other than the "like frozen skin under a hot faucet" simile. (His blood is like the hot tap water, not like the skin.) It's a good action sequence, well written, but it's no story; it doesn't even sketch the outline of a larger story.

One more odd bit: you telegraph your climactic moment (such as it is) with "I could jump to the ground. I could break a bone and lie there useless until he comes to take his kill." Why? The finale is weakened by repeating an earlier--and not much earlier!--visual.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

The Unholy Ghost, "System Memory"

Hopping from perspective to perspective the way you do here usually isn't a good idea. There's a lot to be said for having one character through whose eyes one sees, at least in a flash-length piece. It's interesting that although I generally dislike both the head-hopping technique and letting over a third of a story go by without anything happening at all, your flock of characters holds my attention even while they continue to stand motionlessly in a grocery line. That's a heck of an accomplishment, so congratulations!

You lose me when the exposition about Gift Giving begins. For one, it's a fairly tired and credulity-straining idea. Holidays are all about gifts! Except they aren't. For two, the information isn't incorporated into the story with particular grace. For three, it doesn't fit, though the reader won't know how much it doesn't fit until he reaches the end and realizes the story isn't about Gift Giving at all.

About that end. It's not good. Despite the exposition, despite the bizarreness of a terrorist cutting a man's head off with liquid, that attack is still at least a little intriguing and the twist--that he sabotages himself for the sake of his message--puts me back on board. What's he trying to do? What does he think will happen? What will happen next? Who knows! Instead of following that thread, you jump to a revelation that Frank is training to be an Agent, whatever that is, and trying to interpret Forward Tension, whatever that is, and everything I've read is one short step above being just a dream. Do I care about Frank and his career potential? No! This is where the shifting perspective shoots your story in the head. Frank is only one character among several. I would like to know what happened at the grocery store, what happened to the terrorist, even what happens to Gift Giving, but instead of any of that you give me the twist that Frank is some sort of would-be super cop going through simulations. Oy.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Mrenda, "Christmas to Forget"

You likely want to intrigue with these dropped hints and vague allusions to your world that coyly decline to show the reader its full face. To your credit, I do wonder why the world is ending, and I gather that Alison and the unnamed "he"--the choice not to name him is insupportable--are involved with one another in a way the girl who must be his daughter wouldn't understand. So far, so reasonably interesting, if not a little vague.

But then Alison and Nameless launch into reminiscences, naming random characters and awkwardly reminding each other of their stories for the reader's sake. You're trying to avoid infodumping and to make the exposition natural, I think, but the shaky effort fails right around the line "He rose up like the times he testified before the courts: like when heíd dragged her to protests to face off against the Blackshirts." That dropped nugget of backstory clunks like a fallen muffler against the road. At this point I have minimal reason to give a flip about Alison or Nameless; I have no reason at all to care about the unseen Flubs. The increasingly clumsy exposition is not made more palatable by this.

In the end, I piece together that Alison and Nameless were childhood friends who grew up to rebel together against a government that exterminated what I'm guessing, stress on guessing, is an alien race. Another eleventh-hour sci-fi revelation, huzzah. Now they're together at the end of the world and spending their last moments telling each other things they should already know. Most of the story is dialogue, and dialogue is probably the worst way to deliver this much backstory or to build an SF world. Nothing that Alison or Nameless says makes the world come alive, compels me to feel the tragedy of their situation, anything. They're talking heads telling a story in scraps. Good lord, he never does get a name! Why on Earth not?

The first section is salvageable with only a few changes, naming the man primary among them, but I'm skeptical you could do much with the rest short of rewriting it completely. I'd prefer to see these events shown rather than told, but it's possible to pull off what you're trying to do. Difficult, but possible. Keep what these characters would never need to say to each other at the forefront of your mind and avoid having them say it anyway for the reader's sake. It's very obvious what you're up to in sentences like "We could have left, before college, before they began campaigning against our neighbour systems." You need to be able to sketch a reasonably complete and compelling picture through organic human conversation in order to succeed at telling a story through dialogue alone.

P.S. Saying this is centered on a holiday would be a holly-garlanded lie. Christmas is mentioned, but the story would be exactly the same if it weren't.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Thranguy, "A Snowball's Chance"

You aren't kidding about snow around Christmas up there. If anything I laughed a little at "almost a foot" being remarkable, but the heavy snows do usually come after the new year. Anyway! A lighthearted story was welcome at this point in my reading, and the engagements of your snow soldiers are charming. The fantasy of the neighborhood mothers as wartime nurses especially makes me smile. The tone, though, is somewhat... fusty, for lack of a better word. It sounds old. I want more life in it, so I can imagine this kid as a kid or even as an active participant in battles rather than as an elderly veteran reminiscing about the Snow War of 2016. The voice puts the fighting at a remove.

Maybe the voice is also to blame for how the ending runs out of steam, then stumbles, and leaves an aftertaste like sawdust. The rock in the snowball takes the fun and the charm out of the premise; the final paragraph answers a question I didn't know I should have. It turns the wheel sharply toward grim. I wish it didn't. If I had to wager on whether you knew how the story would end when you started writing it, I would put my money against. It reads like a semi-desperate grab for a working conclusion.

I could have voted for an HM anyway if you'd included a holiday as more than an offhand mention, on the basis of a cute approach to war and pleasant prose. Fine-tune that ending and give the narrator's perspective a touch more in-the-moment excitement and you'll have something here.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

GenJoe, "Eris"

Some sentences deserve to be an entire paragraph for dramatic emphasis. Your first sentence could not deserve that treatment less. It's flat, uninteresting, and mundane, and I probably wouldn't notice that as much if it weren't presented as though it were deeply significant, though I would notice it fails to name the protagonist even if I were blind. There's no reason not to name him, so do that immediately instead of a couple of lines later. The entry has a lot of short sentences set apart; that technique could suit a tense story, in theory, but you're applying it with such wild abandon that all you're doing is making the prose choppy and drawing attention to its faults.

Of the three people who have tried the trick of keeping information from the reader early on, you've done the best job. I think it helps that you're building suspense not just about what has happened, but about what will happen, as clearly fecal matter is about to hit a rotary device. This catches my interest and keeps me moving through the story without too much pause.

The first section and the third--the ones with the most tension--approach good, but the second sends my eyebrows up. If a disruption of satellites would wreak that much havoc on computers across the country, if a millisecond here or there would Wreck Everything within four hours, then we really ought to reduce our reliance on those things. I don't quite buy that the problem would be so severe. Does the story need that chunk of exposition? Someone took out the satellites; bombs/missiles fall--and it has nothing obvious to do with time. Why introduce the issue?

Possibly the answer is "Because this is just a piece of a larger story I'm working on." I'm lost for how else to explain the ending, which stops dead in its tracks after resolving frig all. I'd almost swear you've written a teaser for your novel or something. Don't do that. Any piece you submit to TD (or anywhere, ideally) should stand alone on its own merit, be a complete piece in and of itself, and not drop its characters and plot off a cliff.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Benny Profane, "A Saturnalian Carol"

So is Cato talking to Scipio Africanus? Scipio Aemilianus? Not that it matters much within the text, but I find myself curious now that I've turned to outside sources for help with your historical references. I'm familiar with the legend of the senator who appended every speech with Carthago delenda est, fortunately enough since it means I understand the phrase. You're banking on the reader either recognizing it or working out the gist from context--plausible, but if he didn't guess the exact meaning he'd miss the implacable weight of the verb. Go with Carthage must be destroyed. Anyone who would recognize the historical reference in the Latin will recognize it in the translation too. I'd forgotten about Cato's abhorrence of luxury, but you explain that well.

It's almost beside the point to criticize anything about the first section, though. It could be perfection and the second section would still be a ruinous clusterfuck. What happens? It seems that Cato wakes into a dream of decadence, in which he's crowned with paper and nudged into giving a gift to... himself? He's put on Saturn's throne. Wiki tells me Saturnalia involved role-reversals; the revelers reverse Cato's role by pushing luxuries on him, I suppose, but Cato barely reacts. Perhaps the knife symbolizes death for Carthage? I don't know. I'm irritated enough with the lack of clarity that I don't much care. No explanation I can come up with makes this less half baked. It's pretty writing that relies too much on knowledge and/or research and doesn't reward the effort of the latter.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Lead out in cuffs, "The Necessary"

Don't format your work like this. Blank lines should separate every paragraph. Yes, even dialogue. Why do so many TD entrants think otherwise? Is there somewhere where cramming your spoken lines together is standard?

Like a few other people, you pay lip service to a holiday without centering the story on it as the prompt asked. The war is handled in a much better way. I thought as I went back to read this that it could be the same story if it were set in peacetime, but really, it wouldn't, as it's the absolute desperation and devastation of Mary's circumstances that renders her second act "necessary."

Maintaining a steady course and a consistent tone, not to mention wrapping things up with an actual conclusion, puts your story on a higher plane than most of the rest. But is it good? Eh, I'd rank it on the better side of so-so. John is a one-dimensional sleaze and Annie a one-dimensional saint--assuming you ignore that she's as culpable for the pregnancy she can't afford as John is, as the story sure does. It's the line about paying Mary out the week that pushes him over into cartoon territory for me. What, no (false) offer of another job later or of a simple wad of cash? How dumb is he to ask for help with moving his wealth and fire her in the same breath? He doesn't have to be so predictably scuzzy; there would be more punch in Mary murdering a distinctive and human villain than there is in her murdering a cliche.

The ending's pretty good otherwise. It's all story-shaped, and that's nice to see. Annie's name changing to Millie for a second is less nice, so fix that if you revise.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Baleful Osmium Sea, "Father, why do people stop fighting in the middle of wars to celebrate?"

Right from the first line I worry you're trying to be cute, and "Jeohavhai" ramps up my concern, but then the tone appears to shift as the god discovers people murdering each other. Oh, good, I think. The similarity to Jehova is coincidence, probably. That bit about frozen fish is unfortunate, but this god is cool. Fish under the ice! That's an intriguing domain. How will he stop the war? You have me hooked--

--And then you jerk the line in the direction of a talking rabbit god that speaks like a character in a British comedy. Nope. Not funny. It's irritating, even, because I'm watching a good set-up go to waste as the rabbit keeps going and Jeohavhai calls himself a dork and the premise withers into something stupid. To be fair, the humor landed for one of the other judges, and he liked the story. This has merit if it amuses, but if the jokes fall flat... not so much, I fear.

It isn't entirely a taste issue. As an explanation for how Jehovah (come on, you know darn well what you're doing) becomes the One God, it's rather lacking, but even ignoring that you have the wacky zany rabbit-god antics happening against a backdrop of mass slaughter. The stakes are too high and the outcome too dire for Bugs Bunny over there to yuk yuk yuk about it. You know how Bugs acknowledges the tragic ending of "What's Opera, Doc"? His aside to the audience lightens the mood, but it doesn't play Fudd's murder of him for laughs. The cartoon would be a sad one if he were really dead, as your gods and people are, and that the final joke doesn't claim otherwise is critical.

You could try revising this piece to either reduce all the death or go all-out with black humor. I doubt I'm the only reader for whom genocide, deicide, and wascally wabbits don't mix.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Entenzahn, "...Live the People"

Two idiots who believe having a more comfortable life than theirs is a crime worthy of a death sentence murder several innocent people, the short story. Like those of every would-be political assassin in U.S. history, these fellows' means of bringing change are monstrous and apt to destroy their ends. I want Seet and Rocke to fail and die, but they don't--well, Rocke manages the dying part--and they take children out along the way. All for nothing, as it turns out. The point of this is what? It isn't a story. It doesn't say much beyond that assassination is a terrible, damnable business.

It so happens I read the LEGO assassination book recently, and therefore I know the events in this entry bear a resemblance to the attempted assassination of William Seward! Seward was Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, and John Wilkes Booth plotted to have him and the Vice President both taken out on the same night that he shot Lincoln. Therefore, a co-conspirator named Lewis Powell went to the house where Seward was lying in bed with a concussion, a broken jaw, and a broken arm. You might think those injuries would have given Lewis an advantage, but although Lewis stabbed the bedridden man several times in the face and neck, he didn't manage to kill him. In fact, he killed no one despite cracking the skull of one of Seward's sons; stabbing another son, a Seward daughter, and a soldier on guard in the house; and stabbing a messenger in the back, paralyzing him for life. It's kind of miraculous.

Assassination tales don't have to end as that one does, with the assassin's total failure, but if you're going to end one with "success" then your lead character should probably show more of a reaction than sitting down in a chair. I pick up the implication that going through with the murders has broken his spirit and probably his soul, but since you've built up zero sympathy with him, I ask again: so what?

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

katdicks, "Ashes"

A rescue sequence with a Middle Eastern setting bolted onto it. Not much is done with the setting; the part that matters could take place in any modern war zone. The Muslim fluff thus reads to me as though it's there for diversity points. That's not a problem with it being Muslim fluff but with it being Muslim fluff, details that don't really matter because they aren't tied to the heart or climax of the story. Your holiday is part of the fluff and not obviously central to the work, although it's probably no coincidence that a bomb falls on a day meant for peace.

Other than that, you have some of the same problems Entenzahn does. You've written an action scene rather than a story. I do like your protagonist, or at least I don't mind him--there's not much to him other than "good guy"--and the successful rescue of the child gives this a kind of ending. Rescuing a baby is more or less a free pass to sympathy. It's a bit of a cheap tactic, though, one that doesn't show particular finesse. The work as a whole is okay: not great, but not bad, and a good Thunderdome debut.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

Chili, "Memories in Blue"

"Her hands tremble in the cold as he lifts her arm out of her woolen poncho." This line caused me a good minute of confusion as I looked for clues in the surrounding paragraphs about the identity of the mysterious "he." Oops! Now, however, I'm more distracted by the burning question of whether you'd been playing Fallout 4 just before writing your entry, because I've been playing FO4 and Raider Scavvers are fresh in my mind. As are Mama Murphy and her Sight. And the post-apocalyptic radio stations. It could be coincidence, but imagine I'm eyeing you with significant skepticism.

Mama Sue's visions of the past are a cool idea that doesn't interact enough with the rest of the story. They belong in something else that would let them take center stage. I love the DJ concept in the Bethesda Fallout games, so no surprise I like it here, but I don't understand why Mama Sue can only play music once a year; Macy tells us the streets are no safer on Christmas than on any other night, so why then and not at other times? Why hasn't all that radio equipment been stolen or trashed? Why, when the Scavvers--scavvers!--shoot Mama Sue, do they not scavenge anything? You want kill her off tragically so as to pull her heartstrings, I figure, but you're being too obvious about it. The scavvers have no clear motive for doing what they do.

I enjoy this story, though. For its emotional pull (cheap or not) and the sweetness of the memories (irrelevant or not) and the beauty of Christmas music, I rated it second to sebmojo's. I didn't fight for it to HM because the plot holes are too significant to deny. You've nevertheless written something I like, so I hope you consider revision.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

sebmojo, "Goodwill to all men (and ultramen)"

Perfect work? No. Polished work? No. Less reminiscent of Fallout games than Chili's? Maybe a little. Funny? Yes, and evocative of the family holiday atmosphere, with lights and snacks and arguments and that one uncle bellowing over everybody else. It's those family ties that really make this, because as funny as shitweasels are--not to mention punching ultramen in the crotch--the brother/sister, uncle/nephew, quiet in-law/ratskin nibbles dynamics are the source of the warm Christmas feeling so lacking elsewhere. The jokes would be empty if there weren't this heart below them. The Thraggo/Pertinax relationship is weak by comparison, but as something for the family to react to it's a welcome inclusion.

Once I'd read this I knew my win vote would have a good home. You saved Christmas, and in the doing redeemed the Mariah Carey Incident at long last!

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

ThirdEmperor, "Fifty Years and a Wake Up"

My understanding is that Johnny is about to ship out to the stars, probably to fight in war though possibly for a peaceful purpose. There's one person in his life who could ease his anxieties. So he goes to visit his grandfather, a veteran of a war that from John's perspective was far away and long ago. Due to relativity, cryogenic sleep, or both, Gramps is biologically three years younger than his grandson; for him, the war isn't distant at all. But the world to which he's returned has moved on. His political allegiances are no longer respectable or relevant. His body has been hideously wrecked. Johnny neither knows nor loves him: he's come to meet his grandfather only out of fear. The advice he receives is blunt and little comfort--but the brief contact with the older/younger man lets the younger/older one rest more easily on his long, cold journey.

This sounds great, so long as you ignore that it's another case of an insignificant holiday. The relationship arc it has in place of a plot is a sound one in theory. Gramps is a strong, even moving portrayal of the veteran as a young man taken from his time and place and returned to a world that isn't quite his, that won't ever be quite his. It could be beautiful, this look at the alienation war can cause between a man and his erstwhile home and family, if it weren't such a vague, confusing, badly formatted, unpleasant mess.

See, it takes a while to realize what you're getting at, and I know at least one reader never did because the oblique approach to what was going on and the bickering between two talking heads wore down his patience. The back-and-forth between Johnny and Gramps is only sort of okay if you go back and read it again with an understanding of the relationship between them, between Gramps and this time, etc.; on the first read it's a slog. And those exchanges are around 85% of the story.

I remember you trying a similarly roundabout approach in Voidmart Week II. This technique of avoiding exposition is one I figure you want to master, which you can't do without practice, so I won't advise you to stop trying to lead readers into a gradual comprehension of your story. It's a drattedly difficult thing to do, but worthwhile enough when it does work. Keep stabbing at it. Someday you'll get there.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

BeefSupreme, "A Christmas Feast":

Okay, I have to agree that if the sausage is taken completely literally as just sausage, Ricky's persistence in chasing it at the peril of his squadmates becomes absurd. I'm at a loss as well for how wrapped sausages turn into shredded paper without any sign of meat remaining. What happened? Seriously, how did those packages get hit in such a way Ricky didn't notice? However! Imagine the sausages as a stand-in for home and family, and Ricky running through gunfire to get them back has considerably more warmth. They're a touch of what he's missing out in France. I'd like to think this is your intention, but I'm really not sure since the shredded packages at the end become kinda dark in that view of things.

So let's say the sausage is just a sausage. In that case, the humor is too weak to sizzle. What Ricky does is near the line between dumb and funny, but it's still on the dumb side. I like what I see of his character, and I like the banter between the squadmates, but his escapade is nearly as light as shredded parchment and nearly as empty too.

This entry is a good show of improvement, though, and it rounds out my top three for being generally pleasant.

************ ************************* ******************** ****************

SkaAndScreenplays, "Throw Another Yule Log On The Ceasefire"

Oddly enough, the very thing I most dislike about this is what makes it hard to dislike it more. This story is trying, through a fog of terrible punctuation, to be heartwarming. Walter is such a Tiny Tim of a character that the results of the effort are saccharine, not sweet--the whole "story" is him making soldiers cry with incredibly thoughtful Christmas gifts. Of course none of them made anything for him in return, or he might not so clearly be Heaven's perfect angel! The soldiers can't appreciate Christmas miracles until a little child shows them the way! Ugh. But how mad can one be with an attempt to be heartwarming on Christmas? It would be like booing a cheesy Hallmark holiday movie. The dumbest sappy Christmas stories have a spirit behind them that I can't hate, and I can't be unhappy either that you escaped a DM.

None of that changes how ghastly the punctuation, mechanics, etc. are. If you don't see any errors when you look at this, then you face a serious problem. You can't punctuate dialogue worth a drat. This link may help you figure out semicolons. You capitalize words that shouldn't be capitalized and leave words that ought to be capitalized in lowercase. You're fond of saidisms: "groaned," "chirped," "cheered," "chimed," "boomed," "cried," "stated"--there isn't one "said" in the bunch. That chirping and chiming does not help with the sickly artificial-sweetener flavor of the piece, let me tell you. The right saidism at the right moment is perfectly good in my book, but using too many or using them exclusively puts many readers off. It suggests you don't trust your dialogue to convey tone without a helpful pointer.

You have to work on proofing. Your apparent base-level technical ineptitude is consistently damaging your work's reception. I strongly advise you to go to the library and come home with a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style, along perhaps with Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an invaluable free resource. The Grammar Girl site is less straightforward to navigate, but its casual style makes for easy reading, and it addresses useful small-scale questions.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Feb 22, 2017 around 08:56

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Weeks II, IV, V, VI, VII, CCXXX, and CCXXXI: The Road Goes Ever On

For now I'm still writing crits of the stories I talk about in recaps. These are my notes on Weeks 230 and 231, with bonus crits as part of an extremely long-term personal project I'll probably never finish!

2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 38, 39, 42, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156

Your move, Sitting Here.


Week 2: Dystopian Chick-Lit


Tempura Wizard, "The Flavor of Fish": All exposition, no motion; all tell, no show; passive as heck, and Sandra is nothing but her fantasy of marriage to a powerful man. That passivity makes this bad chick lit. The infodumping dulls the dystopia. It's a shame though that you didn't stick around and submit more work, since the baseline writing is more than fair. Sandra doing something in this world could make a good story, especially if some of the setting details were braided into a plot, and this should by no means be your last go at writing.


*************************


Week 4: last man on the moon


areyoucontagious, "Perfidity: Epilogue": As a story this has weaknesses if one isn't familiar with Mr. Dio and his work, but as a sassy response to a sarcastic judge? Brilliant. Other than the failure to capitalize planet names, anyway. The application of physics is so drat fine that I was applauding it before I even saw the requirements that bound you. It's not a bad mini-myth, either, because it embraces its own senselessness and makes no apologies. Your two modern DMs had me thinking you could probably write well. Now I'm certain you can.

*****

Will Styles, "Mighty Seraphim": Eeesh. Comma splices ahoy. It's difficult to follow who's saying what and who's doing what in part because you're putting one character's untagged speech in the same paragraph as another character's action. The dialogue isn't punctuated correctly, multiple characters speak in the same paragraph, and you have an apostrophe in the possessive its. I'm way too busy trying to parse your text to get into the story. It doesn't help that said story is a tepid and familiar gladiator yarn up until Jackson gives his speech--and that speech isn't a good change from form any more than leaving the climactic battle off camera is a good change, which is to say not at effing all. You've kept all the boring bits and cut everything potentially exciting! Good grief. Next time, try the opposite and see how much further that gets you.


*************************


Week 5: Gary Numan, Fucksticks

sebmojo, "Who has the strength to save us all?": Your mechanics have improved since these halcyon days when you didn't know the difference between a semicolon and a colon. Look at that dialogue in single quotations, too! And a comma outside the quotation marks, goodness gracious me. It's a good thing you've done the improbable here and written the gamer goon story. The story that looks at a gamer goon's reasons for playing vidya at all hours. The story that allows him dignity. The protagonist's outside appearance might be that of a man lost in a toy, but his thoughts come back to his wife and son again and again. He plays now because he once played with them, perhaps. Lulling his child to sleep with the game sounds is as close as fate allowed him to get to father-son bonding. Wallowing in Halo is wallowing in his own grief and not an escape at all. Further, he has more control over life and death as Master Chief than he had when it mattered--sometimes; when he can't keep his avatar from dying either, he cries, not for a character but for his son and his wife and himself. It's a startlingly deep piece that every would-be poo poo-geyser writer should have to read.


*************************


Week 6: Week Six: It Rhymes with Dicks


sebmojo, "Sublimation": Enh. Ennnnnnh. Some s'mores would improve the experience of this campfire ghost story: I'd be too busy trying to get the marshmallow off the wire to mind the cliche ending. That final beat delivers the right flash of dread and a strong visual, but it still boils down to "HE WAS DEAD ALL ALONG!" and I can almost hear the pre-teen shrieks. James' dialogue starts out purposefully obscure, like he's breaking the news slowly to his wife/husband/roommate or can't make himself say the words, but the weather yammer is yammer and the other details invite the question of whether James is trying to write a story here or what. It's just off rather than dramatic or spooky.


*************************


Week 7: The goons who lose will pay the highest price


Chairchucker, "His Papal Majesty":

There's not a word of this that I dislike:
"Popehand," "Popesleep," even "Pope pope hooray"
(Which is a phrase and not a word, I know)
Can still cause me to grin these four years since.
The meter sings and sways as well it ought.
The Popewords build a simple, guileless charm,
More elegant than one might first expect.
A joke? It could be so. Such is your way.
And yet by art or instinct, all the same,
You've put a piece of joy into the world.
I grant it isn't saying much, but still:
No TD poem would I rather read.


*************************


Week 230: Slaying the Cursed Yearking


sparksbloom, "Earthquake Season": And here I never thought I'd see someone do for suburbanites what the poo poo geyser did for gamers. I don't know whether your intent is to satirize them by painting them as prejudiced, pious-in-name-only hypocrites; I'm inclined to give you more benefit of the doubt than I would if you didn't have a history of solid stories, but I still get a vibe of condescension from this piece, and that would make it unpalatable even if it didn't end with Hunter being beaten to death by Satan. Did you have any idea how to finish this thing? Your picture suggests hellfire, so maybe Satan-with-a-three-hole-punch is where you always meant to end up. What a thought. I prefer my hunch that this is seriously off the cuff. The sentence-level prose is sound--no surprise--but nothing else holds together or comes off as having much point.

*****

Krunge, "Bugged Out": A try at comedy, right? But both too hard and too slapdash a try. You pound on the name "Dickfuck" as though the word alone could make any story a riot. There's zero reason for Billy to assume Schmitt would copulate with a cat, so the line comes out of nowhere and hits me as something that's supposed to be hilarious because, I dunno, bestiality just is? And gay sex cats kneading asses, everybody loves those! I laughed at ďGet your gay sex cat off me, Schmitt!Ē the first time I glimpsed it, out of context--it's a potentially good line that Billy's weird assumption that Schmitt might bang a cat weakens. The story tumbles into the pitfalls that line the path of wackiness. On top of this, it brims with clumsy phrases and poor blocking. Did Schmitt bring a bunch of fleas with him with which to infest a home? Is Dickfuck his cat or a random stranger cat? Why the hell is there Raid in Schmitt's face mask? (Okay, that's more a logic than a phrasing issue.) Next time you write an action sequence, I suggest being as plain and straightforward as possible about it. Instead of "To the kneeling Billy, I took the opening to remove my awkward gloves and stuff them in his always open maw," say something like I yanked off my gloves and stuffed them into Billy's maw. Blunt, terse sentences suit blunt, terse actions.


*************************


Week 231: No Grown-ups!


Jay W. Friks, "Agua Mala, Agua Pura": What? Your first paragraph is a mess of tense shifts and misplaced pronouns: you're technically telling me that "their" son convinced himself to call her "your baby sister," which does not compute. I don't believe for a second that if Suendhil's adoptive parents aren't in fact kidnappers that they would let her starve herself and yell for help without taking her to a doctor, taking her to a therapist, sitting her down and talking to her, anything. Even if she's some sort of alien, they ought to have concern for her welfare now if they cared enough to adopt her in the first place. A bottle of medicine after multiple weeks of this behavior doesn't cut it. At the end, when it's revealed that Mia is indeed an inhuman creature, I'm left wondering what the point is and why the story was worth reading. Is the idea that people may do cruelties to other people out of misplaced kindness, like Suenhil's adoptive parents trying to give her a home in their world and Suendhil having her "brother" transformed against his will? Okay, but what then? I never pity Suendhil, only the brother who tries to be a brother to her, and so this is a story of how a horrible amphibian brat ruins the life of a decent kid rather than anything more meaningful.

*****

sparksbloom, "The Understudy": I don't like this, I'm afraid. The kid voice is slightly forced, a little overdone with Kat repeating herself and dwelling on the "injustice"--do you need the paragraph about Indian Girl at all? Her plan is so malicious and yet so idiotic that I can forgive or indeed believe it only if she's around, say, seven, but the peculiar sexualization of the Truth or Dare game suggests something more like eleven or twelve. No kid of that age should believe feeding somebody a fuzzy random mushroom will only make them "a little sick," and if I don't ignore the implausible glow-in-the-dark characterization of the liquid then the scheme just gets worse. That said, Kat is certainly a distinct character and the drama of her situation is distinctly juvenile, an excellent thing in this round. The story stands out--but the ending? The ending is awful. There is no "this" for Kat or Marissa to see to the end. Kat's fixation on Marissa is kind of creepy. The girl owes her nothing. I wonder whether you had another subplot boiling in your head that either didn't make it onto the screen or that was edited out of the final version, something to do with Kat's sexuality since you keep shoehorning that subject in and then doing absolutely nothing with it. Marissa's surprise Kat would choose a girl in Truth or Dare makes no sense to me; it's only there so you can drop another hint that Kat might be gay, as though that matters. In the story as it stands, it doesn't. Kat is an aggressively unlikeable person on top of everything else, which could have worked if she were more interesting but ultimately does not.

*****

Thranguy, "The Percussionists": Despite my suspicion you mean 1812 Overture where you say 1812 orchestra, this is pretty great. It's possibly the most fun entry of the lot. The kid voices are good, and I applaud especially the characterization of Martin as the kind of boy who tells whoppers in dead earnest. Adam's choice to wet his pants in front of Alice to spare Martin embarrassment reads as completely true to the type of friendship he and Martin have, a casual self-sacrifice that says more about how much Adam cares for being so offhand. It's a low-key climax, but that goes with the point. I thought at first you'd stubbed your metaphorical toe on the landing, but the way you end the story is growing on me since it calls back to Martin's wild tales and returns the Adam/Martin friendship to status quo.

*****

flerp, "It's Not Much to Listen": This seems to be about a boy without empathy learning the rudiments of compassion after he finally pays attention to someone else's suffering, too late for catharsis. I'm not sure how well it works on that level. I get the idea, but Davey steals my interest and empathy, and the ending feels a bit rushed and forced after so many words of Joey not giving a drat about his dying friend. It needs better pacing if you want Joey's arc to satisfy. I see why Chili called this sad for sadness's sake, because Davey's tragedy upstages Joey's more low-key change. On the other hand, the Davey side of things is well done; Joey's belated realization is poignant; and the weird, awkward futility of the whole thing could be intentional given how it mirrors the weird, awkward futility of sympathy and life itself on occasion.

*****

Krunge, "Unruined": You've simplified your prose considerably, but you've overshot the mark and landed in the valley of the shadow of bland. There's no particular narrative voice. Matthew and Simon aren't distinctive characters, though Simon improves after the skeleton fight. That's mostly by contrast to Matthew, however: he's interesting because his world is different rather than interesting in and of himself. I'm at a loss for why Simon's dance doesn't stop the skeletons but Matthew's does--or why dancing works at all. The whole story operates on kid logic, which would be fine if the boys were playing pretend, but they aren't. Even if this were aimed at children it would need to hang together a little better than it does.

*****

Sitting Here, "Dumb Baby Stuff": A solid story with good characters, good conflict, a climax that incorporates the early conversation between Sarah and Brian, and a tug or two at the heartstrings, but Sarah's dad is absolutely a major character and I would have pushed to bump this down to an HM on those grounds. I also believe it could be improved if one of the betrayed parents tried to separate Sarah and Brian. Not only would Sarah's mother and Brian's father have a more reason to want to cut all ties to the other family, but their pain could make them sympathetic (to the adult reader if not to the child protagonists) in a way Sarah's dad definitely is not. He's a source of the problems Sarah and Brian face, and he's determined to exacerbate them because Brian just might hold him somewhat responsible. Could you be a little more of a complete dickcheese there, Dad? One message I see in the piece is that adult problems are complex and ugly and have terrible effects on the innocent, and a glance at the suffering of Sarah's mother or Brian's father would underline that idea while potentially further complicating it--a good thing in this case, I think. Overall, I like this quite a bit, but I wouldn't count it among your strongest entries mostly because Sarah's dad is such a douche that I spend too much of my reading time marveling at what a douche he is.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Oct 28, 2017 around 23:17

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Judge ing?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


This is the first week in literally years that everybody has submitted

for our hubris, we are being punished. there will be no FJ tonight

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

This is the first week in literally years that everybody has submitted

for our hubris, we are being punished. there will be no FJ tonight

there will be no judging

we have all failed

we are all the worst this night

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


If the judges are so disgusted with our collective writings that they just don't bother to judge, is that better or worse than a DM?

And can Kaishai update the archives to reflect it?

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


we are dead and this is hell

crit prediction: Muffin this was pretty but where was no story no placement

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

This is the first week in literally years that everybody has submitted

for our hubris, we are being punished. there will be no FJ tonight

Flerp and I submitted twice no less.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

Flerp and I submitted twice no less.

The hubrest of all. You have brought this on us.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

we are dead and this is hell

crit prediction: Muffin this was pretty but where was no story no placement

Muffin this is art with a capital F

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


interprompt: Sebmojo can eat a dick

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Sebmojo can eat a dick

Look at this!
Bob-Ross motherfucker drinking
beer speak soft write bad
Go away you
Go away you
man of poop

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Sebmojo can eat a BIG dick

So I'm in Boca right and there's this guy yeah this guy
he's like you know - he's onea THEM with the big heads and the sideways eyes and he looks at me and he can see all my sins. I hate that poo poo man, straight-up hate it. They says they's human but I don't believe it. Preacher says they's angels I don't believe it either. They come outta the sky, man - come down in green fire, lay roots through the earth like they own it
WHY CAN'T THEY GO BACK TO SPACE WHERE THEY CAME FROM
i dunno man maybe there was a space war and it's real bad or something, but they come down here and eat our sins away and it makes me feel uncomfortable

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Sebmojo can eat a dick: Revelations 3D

alright look I don't want to make a fuss but I've got like these uh ... nodules? I think that's the word. Ever since I breathed in that poo poo the Russians are putting into the sky, my skin feels like it's alive and it wants to go places I don't wanna go. These lumps man, it's like fingers pushing up from inside me. I know the angels are supposed to protect us from this poo poo but they scare me man they scare me. I can't see a doctor because he'll just call the army but I don't wanna die man

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

interprompt: Sebmojo can eat a dick

Sebmojo stared at his plate of dick with disdain written on his face.
Like literally... Disdain was scrawled in Sharpie on his forehead.
From an early age everyone, even his mother, had told him to eat a dick.
Here he was presented with his opportunity yet found it impossible to cut into the tender phallus his love had prepared for him.

"I CAN DO THIS," he would exclaim as he put knife to knob. Alas it was futile, he had not the fortitude to gorge on man-flesh.

Muffin yelled in mockery from the opposite corner of their tiny island.

It was all Sebmojo needed. Casting the fork aside and throwing the knife into the wall he declared to the gods.

"I CAN," the bearded kiwi raised the charred cock above his head as if he were the mighty Thor raising Mjolnir in triumph, "NO! I WILL EAT THIS DICK!"

In one mighty gulp he swallowed his pan-seared penis whole. Growling in satisfaction and triumph at having proven his neighbor wrong.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


i burn with love for god why can he not burn me return

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


More crit

***
Critique of Flush with Cash by Erogenous Beef

My first impression was, ďWhat if American Gods had been about piss and poo poo instead all that other stuff?Ē The precipitating action is the interrogation. The rising action occurs as the plot to make money unfolds. The climax is the leprechaun getting saved from being dunked in piss. The falling action and resolution comes from the new friendship.

The world and setting are memorable. The dialogue and descriptions serviceable. The foreshadowing is deliberately seeded throughout the story. The plot has a solid arc; all the fundamentals are there. In the end, though, I donít know why Gerald decided to save the leprechaun to secure friendship rather than wealth. The fact that the main character has changed is good; that we have no idea why he changed is troublesome. All the characters seem like theyíre the same, with a small effort made to differentiate Saint Nick. Everyone else just swears and goes with a modern dialect, malapropos as that may be for, say, the virgin Mary. In the end, the entire plot hinges on a pun about pots of gold and rainbows, so the short is clearly trying to be humorous. However, good humor needs more than just piss jokes. The funniest scene is the one where the elves take the lovely band tickets, but it wasnít funny enough to make me laugh out loud. I donít know how to make it funnier because Iím not funny, so goonspeed.

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

HELP! I'VE FAILED AND I CAN'T SUBMIT


Grimey Drawer

sebmojo can eat a dick

There exist men of legend, powerful heroes,
skilled in the dick eating arts.
sebmojo wished he could be one of those men,
but the sight and smell repulsed him.

He trained every day,
staring at dicks,
licking his lips.
His stomach could only protest.

Until a wise mentor arrived,
and told seb to try another path.
He took the advice.
Now he writes.

Somehow, someway,
through the irony of the universe,
sebmojo can now eat a dick.
Thank you, Thunderdome.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Sebmojo can eat twenty smaller dicks arranged tastefully around a plate with jizz garnish

[WE INTERRUPT YOUR REGULAR BROADCAST FOR A SYNOD TRANSMISSION]

all citizens class K through L please report to your local disease center for processing. Do not be alarmed. Staff have been arranged to escort you should you require or resist. This is an emergency scheduled checkup for spores or other

calming noises will not be broadcast. Do not think.

If your local water is brass, DO NOT DRINK. Remember: copper is clean, brass is bad

remember: disease is a sign of moral degeneracy. Vigilance is strength.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

interprompt: Sebmojo can eat a dick

mojo
You called me numpty
In an email to work folks.
Eat dicks. A whole bag.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

steeltoedsneakers posted:

mojo
You called me numpty
In an email to work folks.
Eat dicks. A whole bag.

In my defence you are a numpty

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

this is a judgepost prepare your souls

I called for blood and you, every one of you, opened up your veins and bled for me. You placed your very souls on the scales and the judges took their measure. Okay, actually some of you sharted out inexplicable '80s action sequences, but hey, maybe that's your soul, you do you.

There wasn't much of an overriding theme or trope to this week. There was some heartbreak, some philosophical musing, and poetic prose. There were light and fun stories and there were dark and thoughtful stories. None of them were flawless, but by and large, the judges didn't want to tear their eyeballs out and wail lamentations into the sky.

There're a lot of mentions to get to this week, good and bad. Let's start with the bad news. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE STILL SPECIAL AND YOUR SOULS ARE ALL VERY IMPORTANT TO ME

Dishonorable Mentions:

We're going to start with a very special DQ/DM combo for the beloved, longtime friend of the Thunderdome recaps, Kurona_Bright! I guess I didn't explicitly ban fanfiction, but I also don't really care about Overwatch dudes making out, or whatever. I wish the characters had been their own people with more nuanced motivations. I would've liked to see more Kurona in this story and less Blizzard. Archivist, I dunno which form of mention takes precedence so follow your heart.

Our next DM goes to beefsupreme! Now, if this is secretly an ode to your protective feelings for your twin sister, I'm sorry. To the judges, this read like action schlock with a smattering of reeeeally intense sibling love. There was some thin, snide stuff about the Hollywood elite and the protag was very sassy and tough, but with a limitless word count and a wide-open prompt, I feel like you could've done something more meaningful.

I'm sorry to say Hawklad earns a DM for a story that started okay and descended rapidly into pointlessness at the end. There's almost something here, something about how we deal with death and how it's a fundamentally lonely situation, but...The ending just seemed so pointless and kid of implausible. I'll get more into why it bugged me in my crits.

Steeltoedsneakers I'm terribly sorry, but your Chekhov's banana was going to work or not work, and sadly it didn't work. It was a risk. But actually, the situation was almost working for me until you introduced other characters. For one thing, you sort of forgot to indicate the kids had showed up. For another, the nature of Craig's exact scheduling fuckup was unclear. Clarity!

Welcome to Thunderdome, Prester Jane! I feel a little bad about this DM because I *think* I understand what you were going for. Clearly, these kids aren't just playing pretend for fun, at least that was my interpretation. The ending had an implication of abuse, or at least neglect, though I could be way off-base with that. The problem was that the story seemed like a pretty average 'kids playing pretend' piece until the very very end, and then that ending wasn't quite clear enough to make me feel one way or another. I hope you keep contributing to Thunderdome!


Alright, that brings us to....our loser!

Goons, sometimes you step up to take an admirable risk and you fail. Them's just the breaks.

Sometimes you make promises that are too big to keep.

Sometimes you sign up for Thunderdome twice and commit to multiple layers of to show up some shitposting babby millennial named flerp. Sometimes you promise the judges that you've scanned for errors and typos, and then forget to delete pre-crits from your entry. Sometimes you submit really early and neglect to use the extra time to improve your story.

Thunderdome, I give to you what is (I believe) our first ever double loser! SkaAndScreenPlays, I know you can write a decent screenplay. I've read at least one. And I know you can write fun space action and military banter, because you've HMed for it before. But you got so swept up in the spirited bloodletting of this week that you forget to make sure you were giving me quality blood.

Your scifi was too convoluted, and the stakes were never really as high as the narrative wanted them to be. I genuinely enjoyed the first installment of this story when it HMed a few weeks ago, but this iteration was overwritten and lacked the interpersonal tension that the original had. Your screenplay could've been the pilot to an NBC vampire drama that lasts all of one season. I know you can do quirky characters and I know you can do screenplays, but you did neither this week, on top of a so hubristic that it makes Icarus's flight to the sun look like a humble pilgrimage by comparison.

So enjoy, my friend. You earned it. If you can't succeed, at least fail spectacularly.


Honorable mentions!

Guys, I really liked this week. This is a huge list of HMs. I had to cut myself off because I was going on an insane HMing spree. Some of these HMs reflect the opinions of my co-judges as well, so there's a little bit of everything.

First up! Boaz-Jachim! Your nested stories-about-stories could've been really loving dry and annoying but it was good and the judges all sighed with relief when you didn't gently caress it up.

Flerp, get your HM. But only one. We were kind of meh about your hometown ennui, but your story of slow loss and illness actually made us feel things.

Ironic Twist, you fucker. Six thousand Thunderdome words shouldn't be that readable. This was an early contender for the win, but the ending didn't quite nail it like we hoped. A beautiful, haunting read, though.

Killer-of-Lawyers, you wrote from a truly alien perspective, but still managed to make the protag and the 'alien' human. That last moment with the "I understand" honestly gave me little tingles. I also laughed at the math bit. Good job!

Curlingiron, I know you know what I like. But this was genuinely interesting and full of neat imagery. I wish the character had more of a concrete motive, even if that motive ended up being irrelevant or counterproductive to her journey. But something about this story reminds me of the experience of living life itself; we're dropped into the forest of this world, knowing only that we have to go forward until we can't anymore. Good stuff.

Sebmojo Yeah there was no doubt in my mind this was you. It's lonely and menacing while being quiet and mundane. I want to say more nice things about it but I'm really sick of writing this results post so...

Chairchucker! This might literally be your best story yet. It was real and sad. It didn't do anything huge or especially fancy, but I felt bad for this guy who was too inside of his own head to hold onto things that might've mattered to him.

Which brings me to....The winner!

There was one story that all the judges agreed on. We were actually surprised at how much we enjoyed it, because we've all seen similar stories go boringly. You managed to combine a mythical, folkloric feeling with serious and salient subject matter. Your three characters played off of each other wonderfully, and though the scale of the story was huge, the interactions between those characters felt real and tangible.

Jitzu_the_Monk! Your soul is worthy of the blood. Ascend to your throne now, that you may judge our souls as we have judged yours.



that I'll have crits from this week and Voidmart 2 up by whenever submissions close next Sunday

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2017 around 04:38

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013


Sitting Here posted:

Alright, that brings us to....our loser!

Goons, sometimes you step up to take an admirable risk and you fail. Them's just the breaks.

Sometimes you make promises that are too big to keep.

Sometimes you sign up for Thunderdome twice and commit to multiple layers of to show up some shitposting babby millennial named flerp. Sometimes you promise the judges that you've scanned for errors and typos, and then forget to delete pre-crits from your entry. Sometimes you submit really early and neglect to use the extra time to improve your story.

Thunderdome, I give to you what is (I believe) our first ever double loser! SkaAndScreenPlays, I know you can write a decent screenplay. I've read at least one. And I know you can write fun space action and military banter, because you've HMed for it before. But you got so swept up in the spirited bloodletting of this week that you forget to make sure you were giving me quality blood.

Your scifi was too convoluted, and the stakes were never really as high as the narrative wanted them to be. I genuinely enjoyed the first installment of this story when it HMed a few weeks ago, but this iteration was overwritten and lacked the interpersonal tension that the original had. Your screenplay could've been the pilot to an NBC vampire drama that lasts all of one season. I know you can do quirky characters and I know you can do screenplays, but you did neither this week, on top of a so hubristic that it makes Icarus's flight to the sun look like a humble pilgrimage by comparison.

So enjoy, my friend. You earned it. If you can't succeed, at least fail spectacularly.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry


yeah exactly

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013


Kaishai posted:

Critiques for Week CCXXIX: I'm Dreaming of a Fallout 4 Christmas
SkaAndScreenplays, "Throw Another Yule Log On The Ceasefire"

Oddly enough, the very thing I most dislike about this is what makes it hard to dislike it more. This story is trying, through a fog of terrible punctuation, to be heartwarming. Walter is such a Tiny Tim of a character that the results of the effort are saccharine, not sweet--the whole "story" is him making soldiers cry with incredibly thoughtful Christmas gifts. Of course none of them made anything for him in return, or he might not so clearly be Heaven's perfect angel! The soldiers can't appreciate Christmas miracles until a little child shows them the way! Ugh. But how mad can one be with an attempt to be heartwarming on Christmas? It would be like booing a cheesy Hallmark holiday movie. The dumbest sappy Christmas stories have a spirit behind them that I can't hate, and I can't be unhappy either that you escaped a DM.

None of that changes how ghastly the punctuation, mechanics, etc. are. If you don't see any errors when you look at this, then you face a serious problem. You can't punctuate dialogue worth a drat. This link may help you figure out semicolons. You capitalize words that shouldn't be capitalized and leave words that ought to be capitalized in lowercase. You're fond of saidisms: "groaned," "chirped," "cheered," "chimed," "boomed," "cried," "stated"--there isn't one "said" in the bunch. That chirping and chiming does not help with the sickly artificial-sweetener flavor of the piece, let me tell you. The right saidism at the right moment is perfectly good in my book, but using too many or using them exclusively puts many readers off. It suggests you don't trust your dialogue to convey tone without a helpful pointer.

You have to work on proofing. Your apparent base-level technical ineptitude is consistently damaging your work's reception. I strongly advise you to go to the library and come home with a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style, along perhaps with Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an invaluable free resource. The Grammar Girl site is less straightforward to navigate, but its casual style makes for easy reading, and it addresses useful small-scale questions.

Thanks Kai;
I have reading to do

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Post your crits, ska

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite




Week 233: IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG

As I was using a little elbow grease to scrub last week's sticky soul residue off the throne, I got to thinking it's been a while since we had a dedicated poetry round. Your challenge this week: Write me a villanelle!

The villanelle has a specific form which wikipedia details just fine, but here's an example to help you along further:

Sylvia Plath posted:

Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Your villanelle's structure and rhyme scheme must accord with the traditional rules as laid out in wikipedia with two exceptions:

1) Notice Sylvia Plath didn't rhyme the final word of the each stanza's second line with each other. You don't have to either unless you want to, despite what wikipedia says.

2) Some poets get real cute by altering the refrains (the repeating parts) slightly throughout the poem and they can go gently caress themselves slowly, THAT DOUCHEBAGGERY WILL NOT BE PERMITTED HERE. Your two repeating lines must not change at all throughout the poem, not even in terms of punctuation, even though wikipedia says you can do it.


Other things to keep in mind:

- Apart from getting the structure right, the most important thing is to have a solid first stanza since the first and last of its lines are going to echo throughout the poem. Those lines better be good.

- It's great when the context that surrounds the repeated lines evolves over the course the poem, or the meaning of those lines changes even though the words themselves stay exactly the same.

- The subject of your villanelle can be whatever you want, but NO erotica or fanfic.

- Sign-up Deadline: 11:59:00 PM EST on Friday, 20 January 2017

- Submission Deadline:: 11:59:00 PM EST on Sunday, 22 January 2017

- Word Limit: 300 words

Judges:

Jitzu_the_Monk
sebmojo
???

Villains:

SkaAndScreenplays
Thranguy
jon joe
Jay W. Friks
BeefSupreme
flerp
sparksbloom
Metrofreak
katdicks
Julias
Okua
Chernabog
Fuschia tude
steeltoedsneakers
The Cut of Your Jib
SurreptitiousMuffin
Djeser
Entenzahn
Tyrannosaurus
GenJoe
Kaishai
Hawklad
kurona_bright
curlingiron

Armack fucked around with this message at Jan 22, 2017 around 06:25

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013


IN
I'll be back from my toxx ban by then.

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

Jon Joe
Oct 19, 2011

HELP! I'VE FAILED AND I CAN'T SUBMIT


Grimey Drawer

in!

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

In

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


probably shouldnt but in

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

we are dead and this is hell

crit prediction: Muffin this was pretty but where was no story no placement

heres some of my thoughts and theyre not going to "there was no story" though it is quite pretty.

bringing up pain comes out of nowhere. the rest of the piece had nothing to do with pain, and more with the narrator saying they werent fat. there were no previous pain except maybe being called fat by your sister would hurt, but i think the pain in this is meant to be more of a physical pain, not just a wow my sister is a jerk to me pain.

im rly not a fan of stacking similes on top of each other. the "woven through me like highways through a nation..." similes doesnt quite work for me because i feel like none of them are given the signficance that a good simile can command. and each of the similes arent particularly powerful, imo. im not saying theyre bad, theyre quite alright, but i wouldve liked to have one very resonant, meaningful simile than just three decent similes. also "spread and eager" feels weird to me, i think because spread is a physical description of flower and eager is a mental state, so they dont quite fit together.

then i dont really understand the "collapsing inward" -- why? the person says theyre in a lot of pain, but the only thing we see them really suffer with is that theyre called fat when they dont think theyre fat. theres pain, theres suffering, but none of it is known and the issue, too, is that i dont know what kind of pain. i cant tell if its physical, emotional, spirtual, mental. its just the abstract of pain. maybe, after all, that's the point, since the last paragraph does say that the narrator is trying to find a way to describe the pain, but even then, i dont feel like ive seen a journey of the narrator actually trying to find a way to the pain. but, i think a part of this piece is for it contradict itself quite a few times (or maybe not and im an idiot)

tbf, i do like how use the fatness is used at the end. in that, the fatness is the narrator's pain growing more and more inside of them. i wouldve liked to seen that extension a little earlier in the poem, as the pain and fatness feel unconnected until the end. its still rather odd, though, that the narrator is willing to say that theyre not fat and yet be so willing to say they are pain. the two are so connected to each other that it feels contradictory for the narrator to accept one and reject the other. perhaps, that was intentional. and, when i thought about the piece more, there were a little of contradictions. the narrator becoming fat is because of his pain, but the pain is accepted and the fat is rejected. the narrator says he gets smaller every day, but he keeps getting fatter because of the greater pain. i think that was meant to be in there to an extent, but it makes the piece seem jumbled and unclear and i dont ultimately know what to take away from this. in some ways, i think that's the point -- that pain doesnt always have a point or meaning.

something about the ending parapgraph bothers me, though -- it doesnt feel quite as connected to rest of the piece. i dont, personally, know what you were going for with the rest of the piece, since it feels contradictory and unclear, which is why i think i really hate the last few lines. i like the sentiment, "One day, I will do something deeply impolite -- find words for my pain," but it feels too... clean of a conclusion. the whole piece, previously, seemed unsure and uneasy, trying to wrestle with both a physical fatness and more abstract pain, but then the endings like "welp yeah this is how it is" and packs everything all nicely in a box and calls it a day. in some ways, i dont actually want there to be much meaning in this piece. i would almost prefer this to have an ending that just further contradict everything you said earlier. because, funnily enough, that makes it consistent. in trying to make a grand statement in this particular piece, i feel like the whole piece should have been building up to that particular statement and yet... i dont feel it. i dont feel like the narrator ever really wanted to find the words for their pain. it sure doesnt seem like it from the previous paragraphs. i like, though, the last line, because it is very contradictory like the rest of the piece. the narrator is not being silence. hell, theyre being loud as hell with their grand images. i feel like either reworking or even cutting that second to last line might make the ending seem better. part of this piece's purpose seems to have been about there being little meaning or understanding of pain and by explaining pain in that way made it lose some of its impact for me.

it mightve been nice to see a source of pain, or at least, be hinted at one. i think it might just be aging, since getting fatter is usually because one gets older, but even then, that still feels rather vague. i dont need a long explanation of the pain, but just something brief could possibly ground me into this narrator's personal pain more and help me understand better.

these thoughts r kind of rambly so i hope theyre helpful

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Jitzu_the_Monk posted:

Some poets get real cute by altering the refrains (the repeating parts) slightly throughout the poem and they can go gently caress themselves slowly, THAT DOUCHEBAGGERY WILL NOT BE PERMITTED HERE. Your two repeating lines must not change at all throughout the poem, not even in terms of punctuation, even though wikipedia says you can do it

But "One Art" tho

In anyway.

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2017 around 10:22

Metrofreak
Mar 17, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Judge Burps. Everything read on judgemode. You know the deal.



Wake Up In The Morning Feelin' Like E. Tiddy

I thought this was annoying at first, then I liked it for a few lines, then I ultimately didnít think much about it at all. Technically the writing is solid but the story isnít my style at all and I found the humor to mostly miss. I say mostly because I did enjoy the reference to those 90ís S things that kids drew as the pattern to open the lock. I was going to say that there are no stakes, but thatís a dumb comment considering the tone of the story, so, instead Iíll just say that I donít understand the opening in the context of the greater story. The first paragraph reads as if itís happening after the events of the story, but the events of the invalidate the details you establish in the first paragraph. Idk. Technically you did write a story though, so thats cool, although the fact that all the pop songs are from different times drives me crazy.

Fills me with: blue jello


Salvage Law

(4000 words means that Iím going to start skimming if this is boring.)

First line of dialogue already has me confused. Is Thess, Jenkins, or Maura speaking? IDK until like 3 lines later. Iím not a fan of science fiction. Youíve got too many fake future proper nouns going on here and it makes following things annoying.

ďPale greens and deep blues washed over the awed faces of her officers as the abstract numbers of registry numbers and their coordinates were given life as a hologram projected from the table.Ē

WTF bruh. Numbers within numbers? Numbers of numbers? Blue and Green? Shieeet.

Thereíre a lot of talking heads and direct characterization going on. Iím like a 6th of the way through this and hereís what I think is happening. There are the good guys. One of the good guys has a crazy plan to get out of some pickle that the bad aliens made for them. They need to rescue a ship. Then like 1000 words pass and the ship is thrown into hyperdrive and they get out and you scene break. So a bunch of dudes just sat in chairs for like a billion words.

Okay I got to the end and nothing happened. I mean, stuff happened but nothing of note happened. Dudes talked to each other.

WLOTM: God damnit sittinghere, you roped me into another Karflapper hive!

SH: Donít worry Iíve got a plan to reverse the Jungo thruster and incinerate the queen.

Rhino (On another ship): You canít kill the queen or some poo poo because thatís bad business for some reason.

SH: Trust me.

WLOTM: What if we keep talking?

Rhino: Genius idea, Karflappers hate the sound of human voices.


Fills me with: lets plays of mass effect 1


The Fires Of Discontent:


Lol this is a script. Since this is a writing contest Iím going to ignore all of your stage directions and just read the dialogue.

I canít tell if the first line is self aware or not. If it is, thatís funny, but also an easy joke. If it isnít self aware, well, that's just plain sad. You see, these characters are old timey (like before FDR but after Jesus) because they use latinades.

Okay I finished this and itís just more heads talking. Also the latinades might as well be generic science fiction mumbo jumbo. Ladies chat about nonsense, dickhead rolls in makes a vague threat, then he leaves. The end.

Fills me with: game of thrones episodes but only the ones that don't feature surprise sex, incest, or titties



cage

Hell yeah this is what Iím talking about; Iím going to read every word of this loving thing.

K, I read it. This is fine and the imagery is okay, but thereís no conflict here and nothing to work towards. Just a manifesto about an eating disorder. I get it, the cage is the ribs, but also the cage is the expectation to just silently deal with your problems.

My question is why do I give a gently caress?

Fills me with: cotton balls and tic tacs


Outside a View

This collage sounds cliche as gently caress. Okay, a few stanzas in and I see that your decision was intentional! Cool. Also this is okay so far. Despite your description of the artist, I donít feel bad for her if she is making that poo poo you described earlier.

Okay so I read it and I think I like it. Iíll need to go back and maybe reread it to fill in some of where I am confused, but I donít entirely understand who the visitor is supposed to be or represent, but I like whatís here and I like the detached writing style as it works with the authorís cynical attitude towards the subject.

Fills me with: tofu


Soul, The Contents Emptied


At first I was annoyed because creation type myths are all kind of the same in a way that makes me instantly bored, but this was pretty good and I found it interesting and well written. This is definitely my favorite story thus far, but I would have liked it more if you had ended it without the extra scene at the end.

Fills me with: grapefruit



Solstice


I feel like this is a matter of just because you can doesnít mean that you should. Ultimately this is the story of a powerless person, and, unfortunately, the story submitted right before yours did the idea better (in terms of my taste). The narrative voice that comments on the senselessness of the death at the end of the story doesnít work for me because if the death was entirely senseless then why is the narrator wasting my time. No lessons are learned and nothing really happens.

Fills me with: freezer frost



Before the Lion, he laid Bare


Again, I love a detached narrator. Part of me wants to say, as Iíve already said for multiple stories, that nothing happens in this thing, but I knew what I was getting into during this week, and I donít really mind this kind of stuff. This is an interesting conceptual study on a well-realized fictional book. I actually googled it to make sure that it was in fact fictional. That said, my biggest problem with this is that I donít understand why youíve chosen to submit this during this week. Thereís not an overarching reason that I can grasp, save for the little bit of characterization at the end by the narrator.

Fills me with: sand




The Cave Adventure.

ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.ďDo you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.

I think the biggest issue with this story is the lack of characterization on the brothers. Both are essentially talking heads except that one is younger than the other. The reveal that they are playing in a closet is annoying because I was hoping for something cool to happen in the cave. Instead you reveal that they are being abused by their mother and also that neither of the brothers needs to go peepee go poopoo. I canít really tell if the author thinks that locking a child in a closet is an appropriate punishment or not, which I think is kind of important when interpreting this story, because of how you have the characters react to their circumstances.

Fills me with: the line "Do you need to go peepee go poopoo?Ē she asked.



Boring Words are Expendable

I had a pretty good idea of what you were doing by the end of the first line, so I just started skimming, which is what a lot of TD judges do anyway. The author is trying to make a point about brevity or verbosity or some poo poo, or at least I assume so because almost nothing gets said in this story and it takes forever to get there. That said, you do have a main character who wants something and takes meaningful action to get it and also has a chance to actually get it, so thatís good.

With these experimental things I like to ask myself ďWhat is this jabroni doing?Ē and if I can answer that, then I like to ask, ďWhy is this jabroni doing this?Ē I can answer both of these questions for this story, but that still doesnít make me like it.

Fills me with: all the X pages from a dictionary



Flush with Cash

If this is a 2600 word gag story Iím going to be pissed.

I read this entire loving thing and itísÖ not bad. Good? I donít know. Definitely the most complete story of the week thus far and almost entirely well written. I was a little confused at the end, but thatís on me. I quite enjoyed many of the jokes in this and the characterization as well. Buzz Rockjaw USMC is a great character and they all play meaningful roles in the story. I would like to read a similarly toned story that avoids the Trump references however, because involving him in this kind of robs the story of its glee.

I actually want to see more of this madcap world that youíve created.

Fills me with: peppermints and pisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss




An Interrogation


Lots of intentional vagueness in this that doesnít work IMO. At first referencing ďthe processĒ is confusing, even if you initially set up an interrogation scene with the title youíve selected, mostly because you put a banana in with the other tools and now I think you are writing a joke story. The reversal at the end of it being the wrong guy is kind of lame and the Dolly Parton song seems like you would want this to be menacing but itís actually just kind of silly and dumb and reflects this current media trend of using classic songs in a grim setting because some people react to it. The biggest problem is that the reversal makes it hard for your protag to work towards anything. At first we donít know what he wants and once the reversal happens we get the sense that everything was for nothing.

Fills me with: broken bits of a record



Somewhere

I suspect that I know who wrote this, and I feel that it definitely captures the ďwrite me your soulĒ part of SHís prompt, but this is more of a character study than anything and Iím pretty sure this is supposed to be a story writing contest or at least a writing contest. This definitely wouldnít win the story writing contest, because Iím not sure that this is a story, but it definitely wouldnít lose a writing contest. Especially not this week. I think the best decision that the author made was to keep this thing as short as he or she did, as the ephemerality of emotional wisps, blown in on the breeze and back away again, are best suited for these types of little things.

Fills me with: almond skins



Sorry, I'm Not Flying

1st paragraph has me interested, so thatís good.

I read this thing and think itís pretty okay, despite the fact that Iím mostly interested in why grandpa is a bird and was once a bird (although was supposedly a man in between being birds) and why having a seizure made the rehabilitation center turn him into a bird. Thereís a bit of a trend of passive stories this week, and I am wondering if people have passive souls. I donít know. I donít hate it, but I think it kind of failed to follow up on the initial interest that was sparked.

Fills me with: like a single bird feather




Dead Names

Eh, this is okay. For some reason at first I thought this was going to be a story about a serial killer who works at a suicide hotline, but instead itís about a trans woman whose former masculinity calls up and harasses her. This could be a tighter story and I think it would work better. Itís fine as it is, but just that. I donít know if the bit about the masturbating callers is all that necessary, but I understand why itís included. I think it goes on for too long though. I think that the embodiment of a former masculinity would work well as an antagonist who works against stopping Corinne from reaching a tangible and unrelated goal.

Fills me with: quarters




Heart Improvement

This was fine until you mentioned the tv series Dexter. Itís a lazy way to describe a scene and you probably shouldnít do it unless thereís something extra important about referencing that show exactly. I donít like the literalness of the broken heart thing maybe because it is derived from a cliche. Iím not sure. The one place where I think you should be literal, the source of Mattís pain, is also the one place where you really restrain yourself with details, and itís kind of annoying. I do like Mattís interactions with the waitress and the diner stuff (Dexter reference aside).

Fills me with: receipt paper



Not Quite Friends

This story just does nothing for me. Maybe itís because Iíve been reading for hours or whatever, but it is just too slow and the characters are just too uninteresting and the genre is definitely not my jam. It seems technically fine, I did skim a bit in this, but I canít say that I like it as a piece of flash fiction or as a piece of longer fiction. Maybe someone else would though.

Fills me with: vapour



The Answers You Find and the Questions You Don't

I hate this title. Love the first sentence. Love the humor. This is an okay story. The protag is interesting and the humor of the writing style carries it through the bits of cliche. I didnít care as much for the Hawt-Dawg section, and Iím pretty sure he would have just shot the protagonist in the face, but whatever because itís small in the grand scheme of things.

Fills me with: mashed up pig snouts



Alouette

I didnít sign up to read 6000 words. gently caress you for writing them. Iíll go ahead and start but Iím not making any promises to finish this thing.

Well I read them all. All the words. This was pretty good, but I ultimately was disappointed in it. Youíve created an interesting setting and at least one interesting character. You set her up to be betrayed and then... what, just kind of drop it after the reveal. Same thing with Nila. You have an interesting ancillary character who pushes the protag into breaking the rules of her job andÖ. She just kind of disappears. The resolution that you did provide was one that I certainly didnít ask for or care for when there were two plot threads that were more interesting for you to work within. This and "Flush with Cash" are the only stories from the week that I want more from.

Fills me with: lace and pills



Runes

Letís see, warrior dude is a badass, but also is doomed. Heís trapped with a scrawny dude whoís scratching out runes to tell his story, but itís annoying, so the protagonist bashes the dudeís head in with a rock.

This is less interesting than most of the stories of this week and about equal in terms of the technical competence. Pretty middle of the road. Genre stuff kills it for me.

Fills me with: mulch and pebbles



Six Portraits of Negative Space

This story seems too ambitious for its wordcount. What does the broken structure add to the overall story? Is it appropriate for a Flash Fiction contest? What is really frustrating is how you spend so many words on some details that really arenít served in the story, for example, the seven dates. All in all the structure really screwed you here. I know that someone wanted to solve a murder, but the who and why escapes me because of all the different subjects of each section. The magical twist at the end is weird and entirely unexpected.

Fills me with: iron filings



You Can't Enter Heaven Until I Enter You

This is a good story. Good stuff happens. There are characters who want things and do things to get them. I donít know if this is the best story of the week, but it has attitude and a pacing that works and itís not up its own rear end. IDK this might be the best story of the week. Oddly enough it isnít the weirdest.

Fills me with: sweet cream



When It Raines, It Pours

Iím so annoyed by all the long stories this week. Without reading a word of this one, Iím going to guess that it sucks because too many of the long stories have been okay and Iím due for some supershit.

Okay, I donít want to be rude especially if this is a first time submitter, but this first section goes like this: ďI love this one thing, but gently caress that Iíll tell you later. Also I love this other thing a lot. Also I love my sister a lot and I might want to gently caress her. Also I might die. STAY TUNED!!!!Ē

Section 2: Dude stabs some motherfuckers and makes quips because he really wants to gently caress his sister and some other guy has her trapped

ďFrom the left, a man in a bright purple shirt and white dust all over his face walks through a door.Ē

Come on dude.

I smile and let out a short laugh. ďOh, youíve walked into hell, Mr. Warren. You just donít know it yet.Ē

The protagonist literally walked into Warrenís office!!!

Okay, so this is stupid and not in a self aware way. Itís so close to being self aware that itís almost subversive, but I think I am giving this thing too much credit. Incest is bad.

Fills me with: white dust



Neurotique

Ugh. I love to take things literally, but this might be the most literal story ever. Itís Needful Things but with mental illnesses instead of curses. Do I have to continue reading?

ďHe slept soundly, and in the morning he deposited the money into his bank account, repaid some of his loans, browsed Amazon, and purchased a new plasma television that he could mount on his wall.Ē

This is a weird line. Plasma TVs are old news.

This story is so corny. I wonder if the author is aware of Needful Things or the Rick and Morty parody or any number of the other shows that have parodied this concept. I do not understand the logic behind writing this.

Fills me with: legal worries



Understand

This is one of those stories where the protagonist doesnít seem to want anything until the very end of the story and that plotline wraps itself up within five or six lines. The characterization of the two aliens was interesting; however, I feel like they didnít have anything to do until one of them was about to die. In a week where there are many stories where interesting things happen, this isnít enough.

Fills me with: insect wings




Spider

Okay this is a weird story and the narration is really sparse but I kind of like it. I canít really verbalize why I like it and Iím not sure if itís actually good, but I think it is. I think thereís a nice harmony between the title and the image of these people just disappearing. It feels like the protagonist is just missing out on seeing these people get snatched up, but heís fine with the sudden disappearance because heís just wrapped up in his own poo poo.

Thereís a feeling of dread in this that I like.

Ultimately I think my reading of this may dovetail from the authorís intentions, but gently caress authorial intent anyways.

Fills me with: eggs



Rite of Passage


Feels like the author is withholding information here. I donít need several hundred words of description of a girl aimlessly walking in circles without at least knowing why first. I just don't. Iím two sections in and I have no idea whatís happening except that thereís a girl named Dani, sheís walking, and thereís some weird poo poo around her. In section four thereís finally another character and there are some thematically interesting things, but I think itís too far gone to do anything with. Itís clear that the settings have been symbolic for something(s) but itís too unclear to have any impact on a reader.

The setting of this story, white hallway, featureless forest, nebulous antique shop... space, really hurt the final product IMO because they ultimately leave me with a feeling that I have no idea who anyone is and why anything is happening. A concrete setting could be just enough framework to make it land, but it doesnít for me.

Fills me with: dandelion stems



One Man's Trash


Thereís some good characterization here, but everything takes too long to develop. This is like the talking heads stories that were submitted at the beginning of the week, however million words ago that was. There isnít a clear goal for Brett to chase other than to get over himself and the writing itself is kind of sloppy in the proofing (for example Clarissaís name is wrong in the last line). I donít hate it, but I donít like it. I feel nothing about it, which is bad.

Fills me with: tannins



Queens

Cannon fire cannon fire cannon fire. Iím not sure if cacophonic darkness works, since they are combating senses, but whatever.

ďResolve overcome her fear. ďWe face it head on, then.ĒĒ

Ugh.

The story got better once the mermaids got involved, but ultimately I donít think this is better than the best stories of this week. It still takes too long to get moving and doesnít hold up to the bonkers stuff that was cool in other stories. Average.

Fills me with: seawater



UNSAFE

ďI donít like this writing style.

ďEnd your quotes.

ďNevermind, I see this is intentional.

ďItís annoying.Ē

Meh. I donít really know what to make of this. I thought the part about recording insects was cool, but I really just have no idea whatís going on in this story. Maybe thatís because Iíve just read 50k words and yourís are at the bottom, but I donít think thatís the case. Thereís clearly an established world here that has some interesting stuff, but those other interesting details are sidelined to focus on this tape endeavor. I have no idea why anything is happening.

Fills me with: a humming sensation



Don't Fear the Reaper (Yes, Really)

This is fanfiction and Iím tired. It can wait.

Fills me with: gently caress YOU MCREE GET BEHIND THE SHIELD YOU PIECE OF poo poo WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING TO RIGHT CLICK IF YOU ARE GOING TO loving FLANK. YOU HAVE NO SUSTAIN, RETARD. NO, MERCY WILL NOT POCKET YOU. KILL THE PHARAH.


Good Stories

Soul, The Contents Emptied
Flush with Cash
The Answers You Find and the Questions You Don't
Alouette
Spider
Outside a View
You Can't Enter Heaven Until I Enter You

WLOTMíS top 3 good stories (in order): Soul, Spider, Alouette,


Bad Stories

The Fires Of Discontent:
The Cave Adventure.
An Interrogation
Runes
When It Raines, It Pours
Six Portraits of Negative Space
Neurotique

WLOTMíS top 3 bad stories (in order): Runes, Interrogation, Portraits,

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

I lift the razor to my wrists again;
I bleed out words that are just average.
gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress you, I'm in.

Julias
Jun 24, 2012



katdicks posted:

I lift the razor to my wrists again;
I bleed out words that are just average.
gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress you, I'm in.



I'm in, with a for submitting an entry.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

katdicks posted:

I lift the razor to my wrists again;
I bleed out words that are just average.
gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress me, gently caress you, I'm in.

Palpatine_yes_yessss.gif

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«118 »