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Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Sitting Here posted:

Take your time judges. People put a lot of hard work into these stories, so you've got a big job!

I wrote mine during one sitting, on the loo

This was also a pun

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Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



quote:

The Something Awful Forums > The Finer Arts > Creative Convention > Thunderdome 2017teen: Prose and Cons

more like thunderdome 2017teen writes and wrongs

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




someone brawl me

please

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER




I laughed, once

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


spectres of autism posted:

someone brawl me

please

ok

ok

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

Thunderdome 275 Results:

The middle this week was unusual. Very few actually mediocre stories. Instead, we had a few well-written stories that might have done well in other weeks, but just didn't deliver enough funny. And we had a few deeply flawed stories that managed to save themselves by making at least some of us chuckle. But enough subtweeting, on to the results.

Let's start with the bad news: Dishonorable Mentions go to Sham Bam Bamina's ill-conceived Viewing single user's posts in topic: Need HELP with this girl!
and Fumblemouse's tiresome and actively unfunny Arthurian Commentary

But those stories can't compare to this week's Loser, babyRyoga's Moscow Misunderstanding, which had more technical/grammer/proofreading errors than I've seen in a long time, all in service to a tired gag so poorly set up that it can't even elicit a groan most of the time.

Okay. On to the good news. Honorable mentions go to J.A.B.C.'s Delivery for good characterization and comedy and Deltasquid's Ab Urbe Caedita for a gag-a-minute vehicle that managed to land enough of the jokes. While the other judges didn't like it as much, I'm also using my fiat to give a third HM to Crabrock's The Man Who Liked Fish, for what I found to be a nearly perfect blend of humor and narrative.

Sebmojo's Piss might have been in their company, but is alas Disqualified for editing after posting.

Finally, this week's Winner is Quo Pro Quid's Pratchettesque (and need I compliment it more) The Archbishop Comes for Death

The Blood Throne is Yours! (Pay no mind to the whoopee cushion.)

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

sparks of autism brawl

Alright. I'll judge. Brawl is due Wednesday the 22nd at high noon eastern standard. I want 600 sleek words about finding love in a hopeless place. Make sure you up so I know you're serious.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Tyrannosaurus posted:

sparks of autism brawl

Alright. I'll judge. Brawl is due Wednesday the 22nd at high noon eastern standard. I want 600 sleek words about finding love in a hopeless place. Make sure you up so I know you're serious.

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.


Well, I hate you, but surely we can all chill out.

(chill like the Ice Age Am I right?)

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




Tyrannosaurus posted:

sparks of autism brawl

Alright. I'll judge. Brawl is due Wednesday the 22nd at high noon eastern standard. I want 600 sleek words about finding love in a hopeless place. Make sure you up so I know you're serious.

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


I had fun in my first foray into judging! Here are my crits from the week.

Mercedes

What worked: A cute little story. It was fun piecing together little bits about Hjalmar. A lot of the humor comes from Hjalmar’s outsider perspective trying to make sense of Poppy. I particularly liked Hjalmar referring to Days of Our Lives as a documentary. I had to look up who Bo and Hope were to really “get it,” though.

What didn’t work: There were some errors that probably should have been caught in proofreading

“What possible fun can you can we get from this activity”

Actually that third paragraph is kind of jumbled anyway. The “Are the words he formulated…” bit threw me for a loop at first. Also things like “peaked” for “peeked,” teacup and collarbone being two words instead of one. Ultimately, they didn’t distract me too much.

I really liked Hjalmar and was kind of upset the story ended when it did. You did a good job of alluding to things that happened prior to the events of the story and dropping information about Hjalmar. Poppy felt too much like a caricature or archetype of a kid. Would’ve liked more characterization for her and more space to explore Hjalmar.

What I took away: I wish I had had a Hjalmar when I was a kid.


QuoProQuid

What worked: Quite a lot, actually. The premise is immediately humorous and the story only gets more so once we get to the actual exorcism. The Archbishop is endearingly grumpy and collected. Poor guy seems like he’s been through a lot. The bit with the Boy spelling out exorcism had me chuckling. The ending is a good bit of fun, too, what better symbol of the monarchy than one of the Queen’s own corgis? You set this up nicely and it all paid off. Good inclusion of your flash rule, too. Also the story was paced well to where it felt a lot shorter than 1500 words.

What didn’t work: The Boy gave me that one laugh in his phone call, but was otherwise mostly annoying. Too much of a cliche for stories like this I think. Works fine as a foil for the Archbishop, but their banter didn’t really do it for me.

What I took away: I would definitely read a series of books starring the Archbishop running around exorcising famous British people.


Sparksbloom

What worked: Man, this protagonist sure is a loser, huh? Bad clothes, podcasty aspirations. Then he goes for a job interview stoned I assume, cause I don’t know who would listen to the weird diatribe about God w/o being intoxicated somehow. Then the protagonist wakes up and is talking with an angel about taking a life meaninglessly. No questions asked. There’s an odd sense of detachment here that I think works in the story’s favor, especially in the last line.

What didn’t work: There were some small comma and quotation mark errors that kind of bugged me at the beginning. The premise was a little jumbled. I assumed the protagonist was already in some kind of afterlife type thing when they went to the recruiter since the recruiter started ranting about God or whatever. Pretty weird! The back and forth with the angel was probably the best section, but my first time through I was still thinking that the protagonist had some sort of idea what was going on, but ultimately they didn’t. Not really sure why the angel would reveal that, other than to be a jerk. I think I would have liked this more if the protagonist wasn’t so clueless because it meant I was clueless as a result and things just kind of happened. The humor was mostly absurdist, but without a solid frame of reference it mostly just blew past me.

What I took away: I wonder if they have unions in the afterlife.


Sham bam bamina!

What worked: Holy poo poo, the prompt was comedy not horror! This thing is really creepy. The formatting and higurashi94’s language made the story all too believable. With all the crazy sexual assault stuff happening in the media, reading a story about a creepy gross stalker had me cringing, especially at the very end. At least it seems like higurashi94 will get in trouble. There were some good humorous moments with the other people in the thread making fun of higurashi94. The one person linking to pick-up artist poo poo was just, ugh. Kudos for pulling off the forum format; it was a really cool way to tell this story.

What didn’t work: Well, I kind of touched on it up there, but this story is way creepier than it is funny. If comedy hadn’t been the theme I probably would have been a lot hotter on the story. Also maybe you were too good with emulating a loser nerd’s forum posts…

What I took away: No joke, I wanted to see higurashi94’s awful picture so badly I copied and pasted the link and tried to go to it. No dice.


Crabrock

What worked: The framing of the story works well in its favor. I got the sense that it was this really long-winded joke that was going to fall flat and whoever was telling it was going to get made fun of and that would be funny. But that’s not what happened. I liked the first little paragraph, got me hooked pretty fast.

What didn’t work: The actual story was too long-winded, and didn’t really end up as a joke at all. Just a kind of overly sentimental bit of fluff that didn’t justify the length of the tale of the weird fish guy. The jokey bits throughout the tale weren’t strong enough for me. I expected the man to become more and more fish-like as he tried desperately to shed his moniker.

What I took away: No one likes a chicken fucker.


J.A.B.C.

What worked: This was really sweet and funny. I love the idea of two comedians getting married and bouncing their jokes off each other. I wasn’t sure if Nora was actually a comedian or not, but she handled that joke like she was. If not, there’s some good commentary there about dumb, unfunny men getting ahead in comedy over women. Focusing on the meta element of addressing comedy in a comedic story worked really well. The banter at the end, after Nora performs her take on the resting bitch face joke, was just very sweet and genuine and funny.

What didn’t work: I honestly would have loved more characterization of the two. There’s just enough done through their dialogue to allow the story to work. Too much would be overkill. Up above I mentioned the men vs. women in comedy thing, which I didn’t get explicitly from the story. Just something that felt like a potential. Would have loved a little exploration of that.

What I took away: I miss my cats.


Exmond

What worked: Ugh, you really tried here. I gotta give some props for that, at least. All of your humor comes from meta references to TD and people in the thread. And the punchline of the whole story is a quote from IRC. Clever, but yeesh. There are a lot of nice sentences w/ good imagery, really leaning hard on the hard-boiled type.

What didn’t work: It felt very hand-wringy and cringey. Worst of all, it wasn’t very funny. The meta references are not jokes. I appreciated the effort; referencing things like brawls and stuff was kind of neat, but it didn’t add up to a very good story and definitely not a funny story.

What I took away: Keep out of the way of Exmond’s stories when they’ve got nothing left to lose.


Jay W. Friks

What worked: God, what a sad society! This stuff really worked for me, especially the bit of the narrator’s interaction with the computer. Very grim stuff, which is probably not for everyone. I think ultimately it was a little TOO grim, despite the funny dark humor bits.

What didn’t work: The “assisted-suicide” bit was simultaneously the funniest bit of the story and the most disturbing. Overall I felt pretty conflicted. A lot of the “jokes” were things I really didn’t want to laugh about, and probably wouldn’t if the story was longer.

What I took away: I’m kind of depressed now. I hope the narrator is still okay with being a man-baby.


Tyrannosaurus

What worked: The premise is really fun, good potential for humor. The brothers and their backstory was quite interesting. There were some nice sweet moments, too. Dialogue was good, especially the bit after they discover they’re Nazis. That was probably the funniest bit of the story.

What didn’t work: The bit with the “Love the Jews. gently caress Hitler. Moustaches are awful.” was really the only funny part, unfortunately. The twinness of the two, the failed date, the ending, none of those bits really landed with me. I also felt the narrator was very thinly characterized compared to the trapeze artist brother. So I ended up not really caring what he did at the end of the story.

What I took away: I feel bad for kind of wishing the brothers had kissed or something. Maybe I should have kept that to myself.


Deltasquid

What worked: Wow, what a concept! Hard-boiled Roman cop busting an illegal wine smuggling thing? Sign me up! Lots of jokes in this one too, most of which worked. Some fun anachronisms and references and puns. Story keeps moving too, so there’s not real dull bits. I was glad Livia wasn’t just a damsel in distress and paid back the narrator. Solid stuff.

What didn’t work: As much as I enjoyed this, it really did not stick the landing. The last little joke was a bit of a dud to me. It was kind of sad to have such a solid story end on that sour note.

What I took away: I was eating really unnecessarily spicy salsa while I read this, but I didn’t let it color my judgment.


Djeser

What worked: Quite a funny concept, ripe for humor. You capitalized decently on the humor of the situation, especially with the ending section, a good ending and a good twist of the sword’s rules. That’s a clever little kobold!

What didn’t work: As much as I eventually enjoyed the ending, I was quite confused at first. I guess the first time through I didn’t realize that the knight and the kobold had somehow swapped places? Not sure if I was just too lazy in my reading or if it wasn’t quite clear enough.

What I took away: Complacency is the enemy of all.


Fumblemouse

What I liked: This is pretty funny. The idea of King Arthur coming back to deal with Brexit is quite funny. The whole little ending bit, after the beheading of the PM, worked very well for me. Arthur’s quip about “geopolitical realignment” was worth a solid laugh, along with Jamison hurling on Arthur’s greaves.

What I didn’t like: I probably will come off as a dweeb for griping about this, but the violence was too much! I can maybe get behind the gruesome beheading of Theresa May in theory, but dang, your descriptions were a little too much for me!

What I took away: Don’t gently caress with King Arthur.


Maigius

What worked: I was giggling the whole way through this thing. An animals of Australia creation myth! I only have second-hand and stereotypical views of Australia, but the story played right to those. Lots of nasty venomous things. Weird animals with pouches. And the crowning glory, the platypus! I loved the little interplay present among the Bureau and the fallen angels stealing all the nipples. Really funny.

What didn’t work: There are an unfortunate amount of typos, enough to be distracting at the start. Repetition of “still” in God’s speech in the second paragraph. I also would have liked to get to know the angels of the Bureau working on Australia a little better. But the story is breezy enough to not be a huge problem.

What I took away: I’ll likely never go to Australia.


Chairchucker

What worked: I appreciated the ending. I liked Bronwyn a lot. What a good dog.

What didn’t work: Felt pretty rushed and wasn’t very funny to me. Hard to imagine they’d want to bring back the guy and the dog since they incapacitate the usual host and a host of other naughty things. Oh well, gotta get those ratings!

What I took away: Mmm, Metamucil…


BabyRyoga

What worked: Hoo, what a joke. Good work setting this thing up.

What didn’t work: Tons of little mechanical errors. Some read like you were confused about what tense you wanted the story to be in. It’s a decent little joke, but the story is essentially just set up for that one joke. The rest of it isn’t funny at all. I didn’t care about the protagonist at all.

What I took away: I always thought the Cyrillic alphabet looked cool.


Sebmojo

What worked: Great prose, funny characters, and a great ending. Some nicely humorous moments to keep a good pace of funny to the story.

What didn’t work: I’m not all that familiar with a lot of this vernacular, but it was fun to read and try to figure out some stuff anyways.

What I took away: Man I have to pee.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Judge crits, post 1 of 2 because these got long!

"Hjalmar The Eternal, God Emperor of Play Time" - Mercedes

This piece is cute, droll, even heartwarming. but not quite funny to me. I get that you're going for an absurd sort of humor from Hjalmar's confusion about Poppy's games, and the juxtaposition of his apparent power and position with his lack of understanding about what he and Poppy are doing, but I feel that the absurdity would need to be cranked up to make this a really successful comedy piece.

I also think the POV of this piece works against it a bit in terms of creating comedy and absurdity. A tighter Hjalmar POV would give us more room for his weird perceptions of humans and Poppy's games (like the early bit about rock-eating animals, which is weird and funny); a more omniscient POV would let us get more gags about the entire scenario, which wasn't entirely clear to me. Hjalmar is some kind of powerful being who may seek world domination and doesn't know much about humans, but he's been placed as the guardian of a human girl, because of... well, we're not told, as far as I can tell. I'm really hesitant to recommend more exposition on a Thunderdome story, but an omniscient POV could probably spin some good gags out of Hjalmar's bizarre situation here.

This has been heavy crit so far, so I should mention that I like the overall emotional arc that goes on here! Poppy realizing that she's frightened Hjalmar and the two of them coming to slightly more of an understanding is very sweet, and the ending is extremely good. The emotional core of this story is very solid for a story about a god-emperor koala-eyed superpowered magical whatsit. I think it could stand to be funnier, but if not judged strictly on comedy, there's some really good stuff here.

"The Archbishop Comes for Death," QuoProQuid

The title is really cute, and I'll even forgive that Death isn't really a part of this story. (From the title, and first few paragraphs, I assumed the Queen was actually dead and the Archbishop was going to have to enact some forbidden Anglican soul-binding rites to bring her back. I would have enjoyed that story! But I also enjoyed the one you told.) This story isn't really laugh-out-loud funny, but that doesn't work against it; humor here is bone-dry and sharp, with a good balance of gags and actual substance. The character voices are nicely constructed, too, and I appreciate that we get a feel for all the major players in this.

Overall, I'd say this is a successful piece, and there isn't a whole lot about it that doesn't work. I don't think you actually need the periods after your em dash for the sentences that end in em dashes, but that's such a minor nitpick I feel a little bit silly even pointing it out. Really nice work here.

"Earthquake Season 2: In Space" - sparksbloom

This story feels to me like the first draft of a much stronger work. The base concept is pretty funny, and there are some good passages and gags, but it feels like it needs strengthening and specificity, particularly as regards the characterization.

My major issue with this story is that the protagonist feels way too much like a generic Loser Stoner character from Central Casting. I get that the joke is that he's dedicated to doing the absolute minimum, but I would have appreciated a few more distinct character traits to differentiate him from the pack. Take this passage, for example, about his interview clothes:

I work the only clean clothes I had: a Third Eye Blind hoodie, a pair of jeans with a huge rip in the rear end, and some light-up shoes my cousin had given me as a novelty gift.

This reads like "the first three things the author thought would be funny to have someone wear to a job interview," and the image is worth a chuckle, but it'd be a good excuse to let the character show some personality beyond the already-obvious point that he's not making an effort. The recurring mention of the podcast is the same; maybe you just didn't want to spend words and page space on something that peripheral, but I feel like a little more specificity here would go worlds towards making this guy more sharp and interesting as a comedic character.

The angel and recruiter are similarly pretty stock characters, and I'd like to see more personality for them beyond fulfilling their roles in the plot. The concept that the recruiter is a guy who somehow recruits for Heaven, and knows the true nature of God Himself, but is still somehow dumb or thoughtless enough to spray sarin gas into an enclosed room -- that's funny and weird, and it'd be great if fleshed out! The angel is mostly just exposition, and I think you could make the back-and-forth with him and the protagonist about Marty more flavorful.

"Viewing single user's posts in topic: Need HELP with this girl!" - Sham bam bamina!

I don't want to turn this into a diss post, but when you post stuff like this into the IRC, you'd better be able to deliver:

[20:30:24] <Sham_bam_bamina> The extra words are really coming in handy with my story, actually.
[20:30:34] <Sham_bam_bamina> It's a real humdinger, I'll just say that.


You didn't deliver. This story is not a humdinger.

First of all, let's get to the elephant in the room: "awkward dweeb tries to pick up uninterested girl, gross dude gives him PUA advice, girl goes to authorities" is not an inherently funny scenario. Is the "punchline" that this woman feels harassed and stalked, or that Higurashi is too stupid to know he's stalked a woman? If the joke is on Higurashi, it needed to be more of a concrete joke, maybe a really outlandish way for him to humiliate himself. If the joke is on Mandy for attracting this doofus's attention... that's not remotely a joke, let alone a funny one.

The other big issue with this piece, beyond its troublesome premise, is that it never really does anything with it beyond the base level of Higurashi being an awkward dork. While this is a story based on forums culture, posting this on SA may actually hurt it as a piece, since practically everyone here has read real E/N threads like this a hundred times -- and they're usually funnier and more ridiculous. Hell, I'd venture to guess that plenty of people in TD have actually had this encounter, and that their experiences are funnier and more ridiculous than this pretty sad offering.

As for good things... well, your character voice for Higurashi is fairly consistent. It's not really an interesting character voice -- once again, for this to be funny, this dude needs to be way more out there, not just your average naive young dork -- but he's a believable young dork. He's a plausible character, but the problem with this story is that it's too plausible, which means it doesn't work as comedy and just works as a documentation of an unpleasant incident in Amanda Collins's life.

One other bit of praise: thank you for not linking to a real PUA site. That's all.

"The Man Who Liked Fish" - Crabrock

Opinions may differ, but to me, this piece is an artfully told shaggy dog story, with a little more framing device than its actual substance can support. The giant-quotation-marks conceit is kind of interesting, and a clever way of dodging having to use constant quotations for every paragraph of the internal story, but it wasn't completely clear to me; the first thing I wrote on my crit doc for this was "??? apostropes for quotes ???", and it took me until the end to realize what was going on there.

I appreciate that this piece has a moral, or appears to have one, even if the apparent moral of "embrace who you are even if it marks you as a weirdo" is immediately contradicted by Narrator Grandpa Fish Man telling his grandson not to be the "weird phone kid" -- then again, when have shaggy-dog-story-telling grandpas ever not been a little hypocritical? The framing device, on the whole, isn't bad, just attached to kind of a lightweight story.

"Delivery" - J.A.B.C.

This is another very lightweight piece, without a lot of ambition in terms of plot and concept, but I feel like it hit its target really nicely and isn't overburdened. I feel like we get a decent feel for the characters and their situation, and while this is more a piece about comedy than an active comedy itself, it's cheerful enough that I don't think it's off-prompt. I'm not sure what other crit to add; probably the major issue with the story is that there's just not much here? But there's also clearly not intended to be much, and what's here works.

"Death of a Story" - Exmond

I'm really of two minds about this story. On one hand, it continues to show a lot of improvement from you in terms of grammar and fundamentals. This is very readable, and as a comedy piece goes, there's even some good gags here! This is a meaningful improvement over your previous work.

On the other hand... look, the gimmick is audacious, but I don't think it works. Even on the level of being terminally inside-jokey (and I think Thranguy's prompt made it clear that this wasn't the week for inside jokes), this story reads bitter in a way that poisons the whole thing. Your avatar here is literally beating people to death for giving you IRC consolation, for God's sake. This is incredibly distasteful and frankly makes it uncomfortable to read, and on top of that, there's no way this would even stand up as a story to any audience not thoroughly familiar with IRC shenanigans.

Exmond, I'm going to be honest here: I think the major issue that stands in your way as an author at this point is self-absorption, living in your own head and not venturing outside it. There's nothing inherently wrong with the concept of using your own negative emotions for dark comedy, but it has to be passed through the filter of considering an outside audience, and right now I feel like Thunderdome needs to see something from you other than "I am angry about Thunderdome." This is a step forward in technical writing competence, but a huge step backwards in content compared to your previous work, which at least attempted some level of emotional authenticity. Please, please, return to that instead of continuing to write whatever this is.

"You'd make a good Man-Baby" - Jay W. Friks

This is another piece this week that feels like an extended joke-sketch, not quite so much a full story. We've got a pretty basic dystopia sort of thing, a pretty basic sad-lump protagonist, and an amusingly weird scenario that's just kind of put out there. There are a lot of amusing lines here -- "62.4 PERCENT MICHELIN MAN" is a gem -- but there's not a lot of substance, and the ending feels a little abrupt. Either don't talk about the guy's man-baby adventures at all, or go beyond a few sentences of quick allusion.

The major issue with this piece, I think, is that it doesn't feel fleshed out and polished. There are some basic errors that should have been caught with basic proofreading -- "the only human being you could talk too in the agency" and using commas before paragraph breaks in dialogue, "I was bullied me out of place" -- and there are a few awkward places where it feels like a rewrite would have solidified a half-considered joke or cut a redundant line. Was this a first draft?

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Crit post 2 of 2! Let's do this.

"Mein Zirkus" - Tyrannosaurus

This is a fairly good piece, but I feel like I'm missing something about it, like there's some bigger punchline that I'm supposed to be reading through the lines for. A lot of the basic scenarios are amusing, like the concept that the main character just completely ruins a date because of this Parent Trap scenario and the twins' mutual disavowing of Hitler (who I guess is maybe their biological father?), but the whole scenario feels slightly rushed and not quite fully comedic. More... absurd slice of life, I suppose?

Absurd slice of life isn't a bad thing, but I still feel like this story has a missing piece that would take it from "kind of amusing and absurd" to really funny/interesting. Is there a TD inside joke here? Something from Belgium week?

"Ab Urbe Caedita" - Deltasquid

Noir parodies are pretty old hat, even noir parodies in weird settings, but I feel like this story did a good job executing a fairly old trope well. It's brisk and eventful, and there's clearly a deft hand here in knowing when to undercut the noir and when to have some of the action played straight, or semi-straight. I can't really comment on the Roman content -- not my field of expertise -- but it feels more rooted in real history than the average Roman pastiche thing, which adds to the feeling that this is a solid piece of fiction in addition to a comedy. Very nice work.

"All Hail Grubscratch" - Djeser

This is a pretty good story, pretty roundly competent, that just doesn't really produce strong feelings in me. I think the tight Grubscratch POV does help the piece a lot, since it's the source of most of the comedy, and it's obvious enough to the reader what's going on once we clear up Grubscratch's initial sword confusion that I don't think the POV hurts it. If there's a weakness here... well, Grubscratch could probably use a touch more personality besides "canny kobold, lots of fears because kobold." Having a stronger and more unique central character could make this piece shine.

"Arthurian Commentary" - Fumblemouse

This piece feels really one-note and screedy to me, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be laughing at -- the ultraviolence, I guess? King Arthur ranting about the state of Britain in a way that the story never undermines or questions? It's all so one-sided that this honestly doesn't even feel like a humor piece, just a political rant with some jokes.

I realize that "King Arthur in the modern world" is a bit of a cliche, and having him be confused and frustrated by modern custom and made to look buffoonish is also pretty worn out, but going the other way and having him just be a big badass who's always right and can totally just slaughter guys isn't any funnier or more interesting. If you planned on revising this, I think you'd be best served trying to go for a completely novel spin on the concept, assuming that's even possible.

Also, why in the world does King Arthur use the word "puke" in the last sentence? I know you're going for a gag there, like his recognition of "geopolitical alignment," but frankly, it's jarring. It's a weird, unpleasant end to a story I found largely unpleasant overall.

"The Office of Animals" - Maigius

The major issue with this story is that the technicals are very weak. You've got a lot of one-off errors ("Cherubim" is plural) at least one big consistent one (no punctuation at the end of dialogue). The prose is mostly workmanlike, and the premise of "Australian animals are really weird!" is pretty tired. The jokes about it are solid jokes, but I don't feel like this story brings anything new to the table, besides maybe the concept that the fallen angels stole Heaven's nipple supply to pass as human. That was a bit funny.

My big piece of advice here is to work on your fundamentals. Do you have anyone else proofreading your work before you post it? Someone with good grammar fundamentals who can maybe help you tighten and strengthen your prose would go a long way.

"Transcript of Breakfast Show, 12 January 2005, 0503 – 0550" - Chairchucker

This was posted late, and it really reads like it was dashed off shortly before deadline, which is a shame. It's obvious there are some good comedy instincts here -- I like the bit with the old woman trying to relate gardening and kung fu films -- but this reads a lot like an improv piece where there's no clear arc and nobody quite has an ending in mind. Your jokes are good, but there needs to be more actual story in this story, and maybe a better idea of what's going on beyond "some dude and his dog has hijacked a radio DJ booth but everyone loves it?" It's funny, but it needs a plot.

"Moscow Misunderstanding" - BabyRyoga

The prompt specified that stories here should be actual stories, not just story-length jokes, and hoo boy does this fall flat by that standard. This is all the run-up to a fairly weak pun, with a lot of weird asides (does it add anything to mention that the aunt recently broke up with a woman?), a lot of proofreading errors, and phonetic accents in dialogue. (Please don't write out accents phonetically, even if it's just "haf.") The joke isn't quite sensible and certainly isn't worth the run-up to it.

This is just weak and disposable stuff. You really need to work on crafting substantial plots, not just light goofs, even for a comedy week.

"Piss" - sebmojo

This story would have been in contention for the win if it hadn't been DQed. It's a strong piece overall, with an adequately load-bearing plot and some nice characterization touches; I feel like an argument can be made that the consistent use of NZ dialect could make this a hard read for others, but it's such an obvious point of the story that I can't call it a real detriment. Good times.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Thanks for the crits! They're very cool, and also good.

Now we wait for the prompt.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

P

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

O

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

R

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

M

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

P

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

T

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

"Also, why in the world does King Arthur use the word "puke" in the last sentence?"

Seeing as you asked - Puke goes back to at least Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man speech circa 1600 and I don't speak Welsh. Vomit may have been a better choice considering its Roman derivation, though. Thanks for the crit.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


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

Brevity is the soul of crits

Mercedes, Hjalmar The Eternal, God Emperor of Play Time

Opening is not promising. Gratuitous adjective salad.

At the core, this is one of those horribly cliched “What are these hoo-man things called feelings” story of an outsider. You even literally end on that overplayed note. On the bright side, your other character works well, even if their apparent age fluctuates a bit. Finally, I think it hurts the story when you out and out say that Hjalmar is fresh off horribly killing some people, tone-wise.

No laughs here, low group? 3/10

Quo Pro Quid, The Archbishop Comes to Death

Opening is okay. Those nicknames don't seem all that cruel. Of the three stories that involved real people this week, you do the best with it (by having that character spend the entire story possessed).

Take a look at the paragraph that starts with ‘The Boy nodded’ This is not human dialog, even beyond the otherwise successful flustered voice you’ve given the character.

The others liked this a bit more than I did. Doesn't quite work as comedy, all told. I can tell what parts are meant to be funny, but for one reason or another most of them just don’t quite work. Reminds me of Pratchett, but also that this ain't him. Middle. 6/10

Sparksbloom, Earthquake Season 2:In Space

Opening not great, light on specifics. Typo in 2nd graf. Two, I think. ‘Closest’ works a lot better than ‘close’, and ‘work’ should be ‘wore’ First real chuckle here though. More typos later, this story could have used another proofreading pass or two.

But yeah, some laughs that land. Hope this isn't as good as it gets this week though. Middle high, maybe. Brought down a bit by the technical issues. 7/10

Sham Bam Bamina’s Viewing single user's posts in topic: Need HELP with this girl!

Opening is a bit slow.

Sort of both understates and overstates its own humor here, either too dark or not dark enough. And the biggest comic moment is all informed rather than shown, the photoshopped picture.

Ending is just plain noncomedic. Could almost work as comedy of mortification, but our guy has no dignity to begin with, and a reaction turning to rage doesn't work here: there's something Seinfeld's George has that this guy doesn't. (General harmlessness and usually being technically justified when the rage comes out, I’d say.) Technically strong, but this was always going to be incredibly hard to pull off. middle low. 4/10

crabrock, The Man Who Liked Fish

Poster child for cut your first paragraph here. Actually, the whole frame is unnecessary. And sort of miscasts the story. Not sure the epigraph adds much either. But it's actually good, actually funny.

The 'get with him’ business conspicuously vanishes in the second part, never pays off. So a big part of the character’s implied motivation just disappears during the middle. Still, my favorite story of the week. 9/10

J.A.B.C., Delivery

Opening is okay. Good dialog. Is that a Nemo/no one deliberate bit? Probably not. An interesting piece that managed to square the circle by explaining a joke without killing it. Don't exactly agree with Carlin being a pun guy though. Last joke is best. High middle. 7/10

Exomund, Death of a story

Opening could be stronger, but does a good job setting expectations.

Overall strong, technically and comedically. Descriptions are strong, some of the bits brought some genuine laughs. (Code White-Cream, and the groaner from the earlier story’s title that I should have seen earlier) Obviously meta and insidery, but not in a way that completely excludes readers, and did deliver laughs. Others have spoken to some of the flaws of this story, so yeah, don’t do this again, but try and find a way to channel the same kind of energy into something more grounded next time, and you should be okay. Middle-high. 6/10

Jay W. Fricks, You’d make a good Man-baby

Title capitalization. Also, either both placement and test get Caps or neither. Okay opening.

Lots of Caps and punctuation issues throughout. Like the SBB’s goony guy story, both too kind and to cruel to work, in a sort of valley between the extremes that just comes out bland. Low middle. 4/10


Tyrannosaur, Mein Zircus

Nice opening. And a sort of Nice, heartwarming story. Might have done well in another week, but limited in this one by its undetstatedness. Never really goes funnier than sort of amusing. Well, I mean, yeah, funny weird rather than funny ha-ha, you’ve got that in spades with these inappropriately handsy good ol’ boys from Brazil.

Middle. 5/10

Deltasquid, Ab Urbe Caedita

Opening sets the tone well enough.

So, this feels like the written equivalent of a film like airplane: high density of gags, enough that if one doesn't work there'll be another coming. The hit/miss ratio isn't great: a lot of the metaphors and anachronisms probably are funnier to the author than they are to me, some of the slapstick doesn't work. But a few do land well, which puts it above many this week. High middle. 6/10

Djeser, All Hail Grubscratch

Opening sets a good tone. Overall, another sort of amusing, warm hearted story that doesn't really make it to full on funny but doesn't fail spectacularly either. The mechanics of the sword’s illusion/shapeshifting don’t seem to work consistently. (Why didn’t the adventurers see the body? Is the magic creating a full set of working armor? Why didn’t the baron get turned into another copy of the warrior queen?) Middle. 5/10

Fumblemouse, Arthurian Commentary

Opening is tiresome already. Reverberated is an awful dialog tag. Hang on, infirm? Isn't he, ah, long dead rather? I mean, maybe you’re talking about May’s husband, I guess, but the two Queens business really doesn’t get you anything and it just confuses things here.

Yeah, no. The ultraviolence isn’t funny, the politics aren’t funny, the inconsistency in how much of the modern world Arthur grasps isn’t funny either. If there’s a version of this story that works I think it would have to include some kind of character who can constantly sass Arthur and not lose their head, but that’s a big ‘if’ there. First story so far I found actively unfunny. Low, loss candidate. 2/10

Magius, The Office of Animals

Starting with a comma splice isn't great. All hands on deck should all be hypenated here. Very clicked premise, with none of the characters ever rising above ‘stock’.

“He will there”?

Lots of typos. Ending doesn't do anything really. Flerp already wrote a better version of this. Low, dm maybe. 3/10

Chairchucker, Transcript of Breakfast Show, 12 January 2005, 0503 – 0550


Opening feels a bit lazy, but I'm getting into this a bit.

Lightweight but amusing, got a few chuckles. Ended like a python or snl sketch without an ending. The ending you did wind up with comes across as lazy again, with the fact that there’s no actual resolution/payoff to the ‘what happened to DJ Blitz (who seems a misfit for the gardening show already, now that I think on it.) High middle. 6/10

BabyRyoga, Moscow Misunderstanding

Slow opening. ‘Whom’ is misused here. Even when it’s right you should probably avoid using it. Tenses all over the place: there are eight tense shifts in the second paragraph. Eight. A few are justifiable by the narrative, but the main narration tense slips from past to present and back, and mixing future tense speculation and past perfect reflection in that haphazard a manner is just never going to work out well.

Wow. A one joke story, with that joke being a pun that doesn't make sense in context. (He stole his Aunt's jacket, for those who didn't get it at all.)

Very low. 2/10

Sebmojo, Piss

Funny enough. Might have been in hm contention, but for the edit dq. The main thing that holds it back from being better is probably the same thing that’s getting it as far as it gets, the extremely thick regional voices and semi-inside gags based on knowledge of customary drunken antipodal behavior. Would have been 7/10

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

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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



does anyone see one of those... whaddaya call ems... prompts?

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



can't call it a prompt at this point, more like a slow!

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Who didn't get a DM (and will never post meta again, im so sorry judges) THIS GUY!

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Criiits for Comedy week and remember you are a better writer than me so take these worth a grain of salt!



Mercedes

Hjalmar The Eternal, God Emperor of Play Time


What Worked: Er my gerd this story is so CUTE and you maintain the tone throughout. I think it's about A girl and her dog playing pretend house, told from the perspective from the dog. You write the perspective very well and maintain a fun tone throughout!

Things that I disliked: Your third paragraph has a "He thought this but he said this moment". It was a bit rough to read, I would do

Well defined sentence is what ran through his mind. "Hur gur bear attack" is what he said.

But this is a pure formatting preference.

Poppy suddenly crying about Billie seems odd. I don't really get it, why she would suddenly cry. It seems too real to be "pretend" even though Poppy, later on, says it was "pretend".

Prompt: I was too busy going AWWWW to laugh. Humor is an odd thing but I think you hit the prompt in your own way. Your premise is funny, but young girl and her dog are too CUTE to be funny.

Overall: A very cute story written with an interesting perspective.



QuoProQuid

The Archbishop Comes For Death

FLASH RULE: The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead

What Worked:

The Archbishop as your main character works well. He really supplements the tone you are going for, which I think was sarcasm. Whenever you need to be heavily sarcastic it comes from the Archbishop, which lets the tone be slightly sarcastic but not overbearing. I also like the slight asides you mention, such as the queen being prior possessed and also explaining why it happens.

Things that I disliked:

You missed a chance to have "PHRASING" come up when the archbishop screams I'm coming. Though uhh that's probably for the best.

Yo bro we gotta exorcise the queen so ill put that in the 6th PARAGRAPH?!?!?!? Holy poo poo you should of lead with that!

The boy character is cardboard thin and you might as well put a collar on him and attach him to the main character.

I think you tried for some jokes in the middle of the piece when the queen is hovering around and speaking and they didn't land for me.

Prompt: You nailed it. The flash rule links to a youtube video that isn't available so I'll assume you nailed the flash rule.

Overall: A great read and has a conflict that is well executed and ends humorously. Would have preferred a solo act.



Sham Bam Bamina!

Viewing single user's post in topic: Need Help with this girl!


What Worked:

Okay, don't take this the wrong way. You are either a genius or a torturer. Since everything we read is a forum post by some lovely kid, you explain away all the run on sentences, bad grammar and spelling mistakes. its a genius move that I hate you for coming up with.

Your format is interesting and I see what you were trying to do.

Things that I disliked:

Sit down Sham bam Bamina! You doing okay? You seem to be really angry (This is kind of ironic given my story) and just loving hate your protagonist. They are unsympathetic, a cruel cliche and they are the joke. They are neither redeemed nor are they interesting, we see the arc from a mile away. (Hmm, I should take my own advice really.) Your protagonist takes this interesting format and sinks it.

Your start is also very bad. Starting with a URL? Really? I don't need to know the URL because you have literally told me I will be reading forums post with your title! Get rid of it, it isn't needed.

Prompt: You tried to go for it by making your protagonist a joke, but it's a hard read. It makes fun of someone and just shits on them. The protagonist deserves to be poo poo on but.. that's not my style of humor.

Overall: I disliked this story, It had one joke (The protagonist is a lovely person hah hah!). I felt it was too cliched.


Crabrock

The Man Who Liked Fish


What Worked:
Your start had me, it was funny and intriguing. Your tone is light and (you have to get to the end) fits the theme of someone telling a story. Your joke of "Like.. you gently caress em?" and then the part immediately made me laugh.

Things that I disliked:
I really disliked the corpse in your story, because ho boy did you beat "Weird Fish Guy" joke to death. By the midpoint when he is at the new city I was like "Stop, STOP, HES ALLREADY DEAD." It was odd because you have several other jokes in the story so I don't know why you kept beating that dead horse.

I also dislike the length of your story. I don't know what the mid-part of your story, where fish guy wants to be weird again, did? Especially with your ending again where he, relapses into eating fish and nobody cares and everybody is happy.

Prompt: Nails it, I laughed

Overall: Could have used an editor to make it shorter but this was a geniunely funny story. The tone might be odd but keep through till the end and you will see why it was written that way.


J.A.B.C

Delivery


What Worked:
I.. I liked the resting bitch face joke.
In the middle portion of your story you do a great job having a casual conversation between two people. It flowed well.

You have a great uhhh physicality to your story. I know where Nora is, what she is doing and even how she is talking in your story, that's extremly hard to do.

Things that I disliked:
Your start. I don't care who Dan, Nora or Nemo is and you don't give me much of an incentive to keep reading. You try to characterize them, I think, but it didn't really hit me hard enough. I also dislike a couple talking about comedy during a comedy prompt.

Things I got angry at reading:

"No one knows hwo nemo is." Nora said, doing nora things
"Then 'your cat'." And the reader stopped here BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO SENSE


"Really" Dan danswered

"Yes really, Give it a comparison, something that people can bounce off it.” and then the reader BOUNCED OUT BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO SENSE

Prompt: Ehhh, does opening up a joke book and reciting a few jokes count? I think you got the prompt but failed in execution.

Overall: The author needs to call his local pizza joint and order a pizza, because you could say they... failed at their delivery. The previous sentence represents the level of comedy in the piece.



Jay W. Friks

You'd make a good Man-Baby


What Worked:
Your start was humorous and immediately jumped into the story, also it was a great title drop. You have a defined world or setting that you explain and it's neat!

Things that I disliked:
Grammar and misspellings popped up a few too many times in this piece than I would have liked. ADVERTISSEMENT. I talked too someone? Dos Dialing-Up (I work in computers so the last one is super nitpicky)

Also while you do have a neat world and a neat situation, your foreshadowing (The protag respected the sumo wrestlers because they got in line) is a bit confusing. First off, it sounds like the sumo wrestlers are hired bouncers. Next we are at a governement office where there are several line ups and our protagonist starts in a line. So your phrase "Step into line" can either mean literally getting in the line up to talk to Desperate Dan, or the Sumo Wrestlers are stepping into social norms. It.. had me confused. (But then again I am dumb)

Prompt: You nailed it and you went for some fetish thing!

Overall: The start lands you in the middle of the story, doesn't overstay its reach and the punchline either lands or arouses you.


Tyrannosaurus

Mein Zirkus

Err much like the other judges I was wondering when the brothers were gonna kiss.

What Worked:
The scene where they learn about their birth, the fact that they are test-tube babies. It was half absurd / half-touching. It made me laugh and feel for the characters, you nailed that scene very well.
The characters are well established and I cared about them. I could believe them being brothers

Things that I disliked:
Your start immediately tells us what the conflict is, and then spends 5 awkward touchy feely paragraphs explaining why it's believable. I'm with Elise, this is kinda weird for me to read.

Prompt: It's more heartwarming than comedy.

Overall: A heart-warming piece that has the characters grown on you after the weird opening.



Deltasquid

Ab Urbe Caedita


So I know a bit about the story before reading it, I think that is going to affect my crit unfortunately, probably gonna be a bit more nitpicky.

What Worked:
Your setting is great and the way you unveil it persuades the reader to read further.

Your writing and your jokes are clever and great. As a metaphor: They jump into the air, dazzle us with the setting and then do a triple flip....

Things I disliked
And then land and break their ankle as they attempt to further wring out more jokes, more setting. For every great pun (You have the gaul) there is a bad, out of place pun (Roman Umpire of justice? TOODALOO?). Or there is a confusing term I need to Wikipedia in order for the story to make sense.

After the start, you have a sneaking scene that.. ehh.. maybe it explains the setting. After a second re-read, it felt out of place.

The ending of your first scene is odd. I don't get how male-intuition is a joke.

Prompt: Yes, there is some very clever writing here and good puns.

Overall: A very clever piece with good puns and bad puns. Much like a boxer this one comes out swinging, takes a few hits, and then wins the fight. Great story!


More crits will be up tommorrow!

Exmond fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2017 around 03:12

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

Thanks for the critiques. Wish I could have walked that line better.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


Week CCLXXV: Little Man History

As you may know, I have a hobbyist’s interest in history. However, I find a lot of historical fiction to be about as dull as dishwater, with what might as well be rote recitations of Wikipedia pages and obsessions with big-name historical figures. Many poor historical pieces tend to sacrifice actual plot and characters in pursuit of historical verisimilitude.

This week, we’re going to see if we can avoid those traps. When you sign up, tell me:
  • A continent, and
  • Whether you want your story to take place before or after 1900.

Using this information, I will assign you a major world event. I want you to write a story written from the perspective of some schmuck living through the event, who has their own motivations and desires but who is forced to confront events much larger than themselves. These characters should have thoughts and motivations beyond the historical context in which they reside. They should not possess recognizable names and faces, but instead be obscure or fictional figures. Any prominent names should play a supporting role at most.

Just to be clear, the challenge here is to write an actual story with three-dimensional characters without giving me a Wikipedia summary of the event. The historical event does not even need to be the inciting event so much as the setting or exacerbating factor of a smaller, more intimate conflict.

Word Count: 1,250
Sign-Up Deadline: 23:59:59 EST, Friday 17 November 2017
Submission Deadline: 23:59:59 EST, Sunday, 19 November 2017

Judges:
-QuoProQuid
-Kaishai
-sebmojo

Sign-Ups
1. Third Emperor (Caroline Affair)
2. Nethilia (Musa I's Pilgrimage to Mecca)
3. Sham bam bamina! (Operation Highjump)
4. flerp (Taiping Rebellion)
5. Thranguy (Fall of Constantinople)
6. Fumblemouse (Occupation of the Channel Islands)
7. Antivehicular (1951 Argentinian Presidential Election)
8. sparksbloom (Disappearance of Harold Holt)
9. Uranium Phoenix (Pastry War)
10. crabrock (October Revolution)
11. Fuubi (Meiji Restoration)
12. Obliterati (Siege of Baghdad)
13. BabyRyoga (1953 Iranian coup d'état
14. J.A.B.C. (Reunification of Germany
15. Deltasquid (First Crusade; FLASH: Romance)
16. apophenium (Fall/Liberation of Saigon
17. Natty Ninefingers (Fall of Pedro II of Brazil)
18. Tyrannosaurus (Cadaver Synod)
19. Simbyotic (Second Defenestration of Prague)
20. Ironic Twist (Battle of Algiers)
21. Greek Owl (23-F)
22. GenJoe (Chilean National Plebiscite, 1988)
23. Flesnolk (Operation Crossroads)
24. Amoeba Bot (Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire)
25. Djeser (Late Bronze Age Collapse)

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Nov 18, 2017 around 01:20

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Murica! Before 1900.

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


In.

Africa. Before 1900.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

Antarctica, after.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


asia before

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
Europe before.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In
Europe after

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


In.
I'll take South America, after 1900

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In. Oceania, after.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


In. Americas, before.

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

in but i can't decide so decide for me plz

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