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GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


in

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GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


hi in

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


(166 words)

Ash Tray

There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
Tucked, hiding at the bottom of the bag.
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May."

The shift horn petered out, like it was strained
from weeks of underuse; I told my friend —
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.

“poo poo, money that tight?” — I couldn’t just say
“Yeah, that’s it,” as if you could explain away an
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May.”

You can try it poet-like, you can say:
"We were, like, smoldering, in an ashtray..."
There's a folded note in my lunch today.

Better that than the truth; the calls, the shame,
the drinks and the soul-tearing morning-afters.
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May."

Before work I told her, "Shift's back, okay?"
She took me in her arms while the kids played.
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May."

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


prooooooooooooooompt

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


oh

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Week 234: Binging on Bad Words

So in my short time here inside the rattling death-cage of the thunderdome, I’ve noticed a little something — the pieces of writing that really get to me, the really good ones — they all have a character somewhere in there that’s unconditionally and unquestionably human. There’s a character in there that’s been through some poo poo, that has perspective on something. They’re interesting in some way and I want to know more about them. I can relate to them, and by god, maybe I even like them enough that I want some good poo poo to happen to them at the end of it all.

This week, I want you to give me a character that's human. Make them nuanced like any human is, make them want something like all humans want things, just don’t give me lifeless and don’t give me stereotypes or cliches. The strength of your character is what I'll be looking for the most.

You’re also going to get a little stage direction this week. When you sign up, I’m going to give you a TV show synopsis from Netflix. The synopses are universally vague and clickbaity, and you’re going to form your story around one of them. (it’s okay if it’s loose, these are really just there to give you a concrete setting)

Here's a sample synopsis, from Grey's Anatomy (I won't be giving you the title of the show when you get yours):

“Neither their patient’s problems nor their own relationships are black and white. It’s all shades of grey”

You're going to turn your poo poo-garbage synopsis into pure gold.

God speed.

p.s. given the current political climate, there is a strict no nazi rule being enforced this week

Word limit: 1400 words

Sign-ups Close: 11:59 PM EST, Friday, Jan 27th.
Submissions Close: 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, Jan 29th.

Judges:

GenJoe
Chili
Thranguy

Entrants:
Twiggymouse
Venomous
Benagain
Kenfucius
katdicks
a new study bible!
Carl Killer Miller
Bad Seafood
Chernabog
QuoProQuid
jon joe
flerp
Fuschia tude
Hawklad
Obliterati
magnificent7
Uranium Phoenix
Tyrannosaurus
Okua
sparksbloom
Killer-of-Lawyers
Entenzahn
sebmojo
Djeser
Metrofreak
Flesnolk
SkaAndScreenplays
kurona_bright
The Cut of Your Jib
Julias
Chairchucker
Jay W. Friks
BeefSupreme

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2017 around 22:38

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


BeefSupreme posted:

also in i guess

"A young midwife starts working in an impoverished neighborhood. Her eyes are about to be opened. Wide."


"A brash city doctor gets a crash course in country living when she sets up shop in the land of cotton."


"Surprise! You're a single dad. It's a new world of nighttime feedings -- and the dreaded diaper changes."


"Belly up to the Boston bar where everyone knows your name. The laughs flow as freely as the beer."


"This psychiatrist deals with neuroses, narcissism and dysfunction every day. And that's just at home."


"Audacious interns in over their heads. They practice mischief and medicine while learning the ropes."


"Two FBI agents are on the trail of the strange and unexplained. The truth is out there but it's hard to believe."

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

In This Week:
Maybe I won't gently caress this one up.
for the fail last week.

"She's calm and collected on TV, but behind the scenes, there's nothing but drama -- and no end in sight."


"No wife, no kids and he works out of his garage. But he has plenty of misery to keep him company."

Djeser posted:

Put me in coach

"Bernie is filled with love for these kids -- tough love. And the more he loses patience, the tougher it gets!"


"A young woman's lifelong goal to stay pure is foiled. Now she's got nine months to come up with a new plan."


"A writer stuck in the past. A teen with an uncertain future. On a road trip full of firsts, they get a new lease on life."


"Dating, career, finding a great taco: It's all hard. But becoming a mature adult is a whole other degree of difficulty."


"Two kids, a single mom and a feisty grandma. Three generations under one roof. Their home: hectic. Their hearts: huge."


"High times. Lowlifes. These guys scrape by with the least amount of effort and a few visits to the penitentiary"


"500 years in the future, a ragtag crew travels the universe. They are looking for work but always find trouble."


"A former Confederate wreaks destruction across the west in a quest for revenge. There'll be blood on these tracks. "

magnificent7 posted:

I'm in, and I'll write it by Friday. If it's not done by Friday, I'll back out. NORMALLY, I'd just wait til Friday to say I'm in, but to get in, I need to have the TV premise. So. There you go. Long story short, what the hell I can do this.

"A lottery ticket is a lesson in karma. He's a schmuck trying to right his wrongs. He's got a lot of work to do."

Obliterati posted:

Bring on the slush.

"Married, engaged or single, a group of friends unravel the rules of love. But usually they just unravel."


"This treacherous, snow-ridden road is a graveyard for semis. Without this cleanup crew, it'd be one paralyzed highway."


"It's the soccer game they've waited for their whole lives, and nothing's gonna keep 'em from seeing it. Not even death."


"Bell-bottoms, pot-smoking and not-yet-classic rock. It's a groovy time to come of age in the suburbs."

jon joe posted:

in in in in in in in in in in

"He'll deliver any package for the right price. If he doesn't know what's inside, it can't hurt him. Theoretically."


"His voice? Soothing. His hair? Impressive. His paintings? Simple, beautiful and full of happy little trees."

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


seriously feel free to twist these any way you want I don't want them to feel too restrictive

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Chili posted:

Bringing me on to judge then?

Do you want to enter? I was going to ask on IRC if there was anyone who didn't want to enter but wanted to judge. I'll do that now.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010



"Even when he's upright, he can't walk in a straight line, so his kids have to make their own way in the world."


"He's one man who loves to eat exotic meats. And he isn't afraid to go out and get his own -- no matter where they are!"


Carl Killer Miller posted:

In. Let me see if I can manage not drowning this week.

"If you want to be one of their crew, get ready to work. These fishermen do not tolerate slackers on the open seas."

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Jan 25, 2017 around 03:57

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


a new study bible! posted:

I'll sign up and probably fail, but W/E.

"Inside every act of cooking lies a revolution -- and a story about who we are."

katdicks posted:

Imma keep shittin out lovely words until they ain lovely no mo.

IN

"Her life's been anything but happy, but vengeance keeps her going .. and she's closer to it than she knows."

Kenfucius posted:

In

Time to stop lurking and starting giving this a shot.

"What happens when a drunken old-school cop is paired with a squeaky-clean detective? Lots and lots of bickering."


"A feisty teacher dazzles in the classroom. But outside, she needs a little extra help dealing with life's lessons."

Venomous posted:

gently caress it, I need to try this at some point. In.


"The greater an object's value, the more vulnerable it is to theft. And the world's most celebrated art is no exception."

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


tyrannosaurus thank you for the avatar it is kicking and it is rad

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Twiggymouse posted:

Alright, I'm in.

"Murders most foul. Mysteries most enticing. And a master sleuth whose brilliance is equaled only by his facial hair."

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


hey no entries anymore ok thank you

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


yes!

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Hey submissions are closed please and thank you

(except less than half of you submitted so if you still want to submit tonight that's ok I guess)

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


WEEK 234: JUDGEMENT

Idk what to say guys, there was a lot of bad this week. I wanted to gorge on your characters, but the lot of them left me feeling empty, like you'd feel after eating your mom's tuna casserole for the fourth time in a week.

There were four DMs this week. Metrofreak for a story that failed to go anywhere at all; Benagain, for much of the same; Twiggymouse, for lacking any real nuance in the main character, and for fumbling its character development arc; and Venomous: for a thousand jizzms couldn't save your muddled character moments or your freak and abrupt ending.

Our loser this week is UraniumPhoenix. The prose was okay, probably the best of the lows, but it wasn't enough to save a story featuring a literal flesh python. In a non character-focused week, this probably wouldn't have lost, but your characters were flat and uninteresting and your plot didn't do you any favors.

We have two HMs -- both were stories that, at least on some level, were able to stick with us. Bad Seafood, for a story with good atmosphere and a good, well-described protagonist, and Fuschia tude, because we could feel for the boy and jesus I just wanted to feel anything at all this week was that too much to ask of ye my goons??

The winner this week is Tyrannosaurus. Your story was fully-realized, there are some good moments that add nuance to the protagonist as opposed to characterizing him, and there's a development arc in there that worked and that you made the judges care about. Congrats!

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Jan 31, 2017 around 06:54

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


I am in if it's not too late and will also get crits in this weekend as well

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Casino
613 words

There’s this girl… she’s down in marketing, but works on this floor... I think her name is Cheryl? Yeah? Been here for a few years? I’ve been seeing more and more of her, over the past month or so — and please don't think I'm being loopy for saying this, but I am convinced that she's figured out my bathroom routine. Honest-to-god, that's the only time I ever see her.

It’s like, and this isn't overtired Shannon saying this... this really happens. She’ll be camping out in the handicap stall when I walk in, so I’ll go over to the one next to it. And then, right when I’m about to be, you know, done, I’ll hear a flush through the separator. She’ll wait at the sink, wash her hands, and when I walk up, she’ll flash me a smile through the mirror. She’s good — she does it at that exact moment where it’s unavoidable, you know? And at that point I have to give the obligated “How’s it going?”, like that’s me giving my blessing on the next fifteen seconds of chit-chat — and then that’s it. I’ll see her the next day — but sometimes she waits two.

One time I bluffed her out and waited for, I don’t know, five minutes after she got up? I opened the stall door and there she was, doing her makeup.

It’s like, people are either intimidated by me, and they’ll duck their heads when I walk past or they'll clear out of the kitchen when I'm grabbing coffee. But then there’s the people who want something out of me — like this girl, maybe if she just spends enough of those fifteen second intervals, then she'll get to where I am one day. And I'm at the point where it's like — come on, are you sure you want that?

I caught up with an old friend from college last night. We went to grab dinner and she asked if she could bring her kid with — he's sixteen, probably going to start looking at schools soon, you know, and making career choices soon after that. And the whole night, it wasn't really about us catching up... it was more her trying to get her kid to engage with me. "Oh, Shannon, how's your work treating you? You know where Shannon works, right Austin?" Stuff like that.

And this kid... this kid's clearly not interested in any of it. I mean, it's not like he was the quiet type. You could see that he wanted to talk, just not about schools and not about his future. At one point his mother got up for the bathroom, leaving us, and he brought up that new movie Scorsese's doing, and I sat there nodding my head like I hadn't seen a movie in years. Like I didn't even know what a movie was — so the conversation trailed off and he stared back down at his menu.

Put a person in front of me who either hasn't heard of, or who doesn't care about my position here, and I can't even keep their attention for three minutes? But this girl in the bathroom, one time she asked what I had had for lunch, and I told her about a cold-cut sandwich I put together, and to her that was the most interesting thing in the world.

So I got home last night, and my friend shot me a text saying how great of an evening she had and that the three of us should do it again when I'm free maybe? And I got into a shirt, slipped into bed, and watched Casino for the first time.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


hi here are ur Week 234 Crits



Eyes of Eris
Right off the bat, this is a little confusing because the AI is referring to itself as a “we”, I was convinced Alecta was talking to two children until you explicitly told us it was an AI.

So, one of the problems I have with this story is the cartoonish amounts of sci-fi, like this line — “Oh, tow-cables are anchored and fission drive is prepped. Pulse drive is bringing us to towing distance.” It feels like you’re just peppering in sci-fi-ish words throughout your prose, but the words don’t really mean anything and they detract from the realism that you’d hope to get from a good piece of sci-fi — the whole thing reads like a bad anime. I mean, the prose isn’t bad; it certainly has voice and it is clear enough, it just doesn’t really work for me in a lot of places because of that.

Your characters are also pretty flat. Alecta’s character doesn’t really go anywhere; there’s no sense of danger when Alecta invades the other ship. You allude to some past conflict with the “They’d only ever missed once” line, but you don’t develop that at all. I’m looking for anything at all that would give Alecta a second dimension, but sadly there isn’t much here.

I think the main problem is that you’re trying to do too much. With 1400 words, it’s hard to write a fully contained story like this. Cut it down to a single scene, pack all of your characters into a room and push them somewhere truly difficult, and I think this story would go places. You definitely write good enough words to make the setting here interesting.



The Resurrection Men

The burlap sack imagery is very weird to me, this seems like a very odd way to muffle your fall. How did the burlap sacks get there in the first place?

Cantilevered?? I have no idea what this word means I had to look it up maybe I am just bad at english.

“Bell ducked his head and pressed on, but Clay slowed the pace with each step until they reached the cart.” This is confusing considering they are both carrying a corpse, how can one of them press on when the one in front is slowing down? — we need more spatial awareness here for this to work (i.e. keep making it clear who is in front, it’s easy to lose track)

“So that’s it, Mister Bell? Shall we turn the cart around so that fuddled priest can administer last rites? Maybe he hasn’t finished that bottle of whisky.” does not work at all next to “I’m not ready to die, Silas.” — give me trembling fear or give me some kind of witty acceptance of death but they don’t work together well I don’t think, it’s a weird tonal shift from one to the other.

Okay, who the heck is Ethan? The “I know. Ethan” makes it sound like they’re referring to a third party. “I know, Ethan”, makes it clear that he is referring back to who he is talking to. There are just little things like this that you can add to this piece that would make everything a lot clearer for me.

“Until today, Silas Bell considered Ethan Clay a barely-tolerated colleague, maybe a rival.” I thought this was a student-teacher vibe? Bell doesn’t have his certificate, how are they colleagues?

note: i love how the Scrubs prompt got turned into an 1800’s grave digging story.


The Job

Opening okay so far…

“I assume you want something from me. If you won't be direct with it, you can at least do me the service of coming in so I can continue my work.” doesn't sound like a real line a real human would say I think

“Jameson turned around and stormed his way back inside” watch out for “turned around”s — you can usually completely cut them and the meaning will stay the same

“The woman returned his smile with a surprisingly genuine one” don’t do this don’t do “surprisingly” as an adjective why surprisingly and what about him expects it not to be genuine??

“His eyes watered and his throat burned. He retched and turned back out of the room.” from a room of smoke and whiskey? like i get wha you’re trying to do here with him being a recluse and not used to this all but this isn’t v believable. Nobody’s throat burns after they enter a bar where people are drinking whiskeys.

What is taboo about shaking hands in this society? That was an odd interaction. Even an elite murderer dude should be able to shake someones hand I think.

Plot doesn’t really go anywhere. There are the underpinnings of something interesting here, but there’s too much stifled dialogue and prose that’s constantly making me ask “why?”, also there’s not much nuance here and even though you develop Jameson’s character you don’t do anything with that development and then he just goes on and accepts the job anyway. Why? We get the motivation for Jameson when Michael says that Jameson would enjoy getting out and meeting people, but gently caress a character telling us what our protag needs — we need to see Jameson’s own actions hint to us that he needs to get out of the cabin.

also with a prompt like "Murders most foul. Mysteries most enticing. And a master sleuth whose brilliance is equaled only by his facial hair.” and there not being anything about a detective and only one mention of a mustache i am a lil disappointed.


Ears

Holy poo poo at least proofread your first line jesus christ.

Okay, doesny is a vernacular I guess?? I'm having a huge amount of trouble imagining what that word would sound like.

“gawking at bits of paper that some dead Italian fucks jizzed on like we don’t have a loving job to do.” this is quite the line in the comedically bad kind of sense, definitely not in the comedically good kind of sense.

Unclear who’s talking in your third paragraph

“she’d be sitting in DiCaprio’s office loving frowning” okay I kind of like this joke.

"Look, I know what you’re about to suggest, and I don’t know how you could be so astronomically loving stupid. That case is made of bulletproof glass, and there’s literally no way for us to remove the painting without superpowers or whatever. It’s probably been tried hundreds of times before without any success” — There is zero vernacular in this line. You have to at least keep consistent (but probably be consistently not using vernacular because yours is p bad).

“He quivers like I had actually threatened to make him go in Seine, and suddenly I die inside because I came up with that horrible pun.” this is bad. don’t call out attention to your puns. this pun doesn’t even work if you pronounce Seine properly.

The character coming up with newer and newer ways to say jizz-painting is, I don’t know, it’s working on some kind of level for me because at least it adds color, but it’s also just kind of weird.

“gently caress

….around" Why the paragraph break?? There is no reason for one to be here.

“Went there for a job once and I ended up in this shithole outside Ho Chi Minh for five years. The loving guards beat me every day until I ended up having to fight back, and when I did I ended up in this loving disgusting solitary confinement. I’m amazed that I never ended up sick, because the doctors are brutal there, and…” This is a very odd moment for him to spill out his guts like this. I get that there’s trouble in his past, you need to come up with a more natural way to bring that out.

This confessioning and the emotional outpours about his past and his dillemas don’t really work— it needs to be much subtler. I appreciate that you are trying to develop his character though.

this ending makes no sense and “man jumps after his dropped phone” is like the worst way to describe a suicide, the suicide in itself is so bizarre because they’re just the scene before talking about loving off to austria and jesus what even happens this story it’s all very muddled.

I wanted to like this story. There is color to it — you just need to work on the delivery and give us a coherent plot line that makes sense. As it stands it’ s way too muddled.


the missing ingredient

“smiled awkwardly.” maybe you can give me a stronger description here, there are way too many “smiled <adverb>”s this week.

“That was before, now think of it as reality TV show. So basically not real at all, I will be doing more of a performance.” This line is awkward.

I really dig where this is going so far though, good exposition, and you have a clear scene going which is more than most of the previous entries had.

Ok, this story is good up until that ending — that fade to black poo poo is some poo poo I don’t like. I wanted to see something more profound come out of this other than “show ended up being good”. I wanted something that’d really push Wayne’s character even further — you sold me with the beginning and gave me a character that’s likable and that I wanted to root for, and you gave him an interesting dilemma (selling out to save the show he loves), now I need you to hit a home run and push the conflict even further — you have the framework here to extract something fresh and nuanced from this character, but just an “oh and all was good at the end.” isn’t anything that is going to stick with the readers. It’d be a challenge with only 1400 words but I believe in you my dude.


Small Dog

“beside me where Kath no longer was. It had more to do with the UFO outside my house” …you did a really good job of twisting the cliche (empty spot where Kath was) into something interesting (also, the words Joan of Bark should get any reader hooked, and gently caress you if it didn’t —what’s that? you didn’t like it because you’re not a “dog person” or some poo poo? well gently caress you, you’re trash, you’re garbage you hear me??)

These are some good images my dude.

“Good to know the rules can be broken under certain circumstances, Dad.” I like this line. This is a good line.

“Just because I’m busy saving Joan from aliens doesn’t mean you can stay up late, by the way,” Okay this line is a little bit too long for a man literally balancing on the saucer portion of a ufo. Slightly pulled me out of the story.

The wacky dialogue from the aliens is cool and all but maybe it doesn’t really make sense while the dude is standing there after literally just stumbling into the room with them? Also, it feels a little too exposition-y, like I can feel the author trying to shove plot in through them talking. Takes me out of the story a little.

“I’ll go you.” typo?? — i guess not, it’s a lil awkward but maybe in a charming way

The whole premise of aliens that are this easily defeat-able and that are just allowed to roam around the suburbs w/o military intervention is a little unbelievable — i’m assuming that the UFOs are a known thing in this world because the man just kind of shrugs off the UFO w/o any shock or fear at what he’s seeing. The writing is okay at least, and you hooked me with the character at the beginning, but the plot and you not really doing anything with the character means it doesn’t do much for me. If you made the ending sad instead of happy, or threw him into a bit stronger of a dilemma, then maybe the piece would have been a little stronger.


Driverless

3rd paragraph -- we don't need this much dialogue to get your point across. It's a little weird when a character just goes off and starts talking for four or five sentences without being interrupted, unless what they're talking about is super important, but the description here isn't.

And the paragraph after, you can cut the "God, she could hear the eye-roll in that sentence.", there are better ways to show Naomi being annoyed at her student. Try and create tension through their actions and their dialogue, not through in-thought exposition.

"All that gained her was some bruised knuckles." is an awkward way to end that segment. Idk, I'd like you to build the protag up a bit more before you send them into a rage like that. Dramatic moments like this with no real build up are also weird to me.

From here, the story doesn't really go anywhere. She goes to a bar, and then goes home to her partner, but it's hard for me to care because there isn't any kind of central conflict here. She's clearly in a bad mental state, but you need to do something with that characterization or else it's not effective. Her going home and getting a "Let's talk" from her partner isn't compelling enough on its own.


Arrival

I like the scene and imagery you have going at the start of this. The mob is also described pretty well and I can feel the tension as they’re running towards this thing.

I don’t know if you need that much exposition though. 1400 words isn’t a lot — you can lose that big paragraph explaining the Othuum and we would still have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on here.

The writing here is good. I liked most of what you brought to the table here, except your main character. Even with the alien larva analogy, she felt flat, and we didn’t get anything profound out of her or her situation. Give us more scene and less exposition and you’d have the room to let her character breathe a little.


The Bride-to-Be

The writing here is good. It is competently told. I just don’t like the story that much and the characters feel like cliches. You give us a head-strong warrior, and her timid brother who overcomes his fear to confront an evil. Both character types have been done to death, and you don’t do anything particularly interesting with them to break the mold.

I don't think I'm a good enough writer to give you any suggestions at a structural level. I just want to see something with a lil more depth here, that’s all.


Home Office

“screamed an alarm at him” doesn’t really work for me. You describe things throughout the piece in ways that feel a little off. It might be helpful to say things out loud, and if it doesn’t feel you’re talking like a real human would, then rework it until it does. Idk though, I am a poo poo writer too, the talk aloud thing is just a suggestion that popped into my head don’t quote me on its efficacy.

Besides the muddled descriptions, which really bring down this piece, it shares the same quality that all of the other DMs have — it doesn’t go anywhere. You can put me inside someone’s head and you can tell me how bad of a time they’re having with something, but unless you do something with it then it’s lost on us and we'll forget about it. Something more profound needs to happen here — as the others mentioned, it’s all very mundane and uninteresting.


One Too Many

"Man goes to a bar and drinks away his sorrows" is a time-honored cliche that doesn’t do anything for me here. Idk, my theory is that if you’re going to do a cliche, you have to do the small details in that cliche supremely well. I have to read your first sentence and go “woah, that sure was a good sentence!” And then every sentence has to be like that. I’ll accept your cliche then and only then.

The writing here is okay, having a mindless mob frothing and trying to enter a burning building might be a little unrealistic for me, but I don’t have too much of a problem with your prose. There just isn’t enough new here. I’ve seen the plot in this story a thousand times over, and this time around it isn’t interesting enough to keep my attention.


May contain:

The writing here is good and powerful. The story and the premise are a little harder to believe, though. I get that stoner kids make stupid decisions, but drinking casually when you have a baby is taking it to cartoonish levels of characterization. This would have HMed for sure if there was a little more to your protag.


Mr. Blood

Writing five words for an email, hitting send, and then realizing you forgot to sign it, doesn’t sound like something that would happen. Feeling a little regretful for not including one? Sure. Writing five words and going “oh poo poo, wow, I was so absorbed in those five words that I completely forgot to sign my email, whoops!” I don’t believe as much.

I’m harping on that because the story is filled with these unbelievable-isms, like the abandoned building collapsing the second he leaves. And his hunky dory “oh, how quaint!” attitude towards all of it is taking me out of the character. In a character-focused week, I want real, believable protagonists. Even if this is a farce (which, honestly, does work pretty well despite my comments), I’d like to see something a little more human out of Harold.


The Outlaw Josey Graves

There are little moments of character to this that I think propel it above the rest of the stories. Stuff like the second “Yeah, stupid.”, where he’s one-upping his uncle and taking his car. I really liked that.

It has a beginning, a middle, an end, and you develop your character throughout all of it. I thought the plot might have been a little simplistic — nothing out of the ordinary happened, but that’s okay I guess because you still made it work.


A Little Medicine

I really like the atmosphere in this piece. I don’t have too many suggestions — I wish you dropped your first paragraph. It’s a little dramatic, and we can kind of infer it anyway from her interaction with the doctor. I’d always prefer subtlety as long as it’s pulled off well.

The ending is also a little head scratching. It’s hard to believe someone would ask their own children to help them commit suicide, even if his disability and how they have to take care of him is obviously weighing down his conscious.

Overall, this story does a lot of things well and I liked it.

It’s Not Something You Can Leave Behind

I like the atmosphere in this piece as well. I also like both of the characters. I wish you had told us the entire team died, because it really seems like its just his brother, and the entire team coming out is a little confusing at first. It would also help explain why they cancelled the game when the accident happened 6 weeks ago. If one person died, I mean I guess they could cancel the season, but if it’s clear the entire team died, then sure yeah I’ll believe it no problem.

Overall one of the strongest entries this week.

Nitpick: no school team in the history of ever is going to be called the “Razorblades”. That detail alone took me out of the story a bit.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


in

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


in and please flash rule me thank u (kissyface)

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


words: 1,129

flash: There is a great disparity in the size of at least two of your combatants.

Pink Collars

My knees were sore. A drunk man had staggered in front of my car and my knees were cramped up on the dashboard when I braked for him. He was wearing a pink collared shirt, and if he wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t have seen him in time — but, I did, and he cursed a few mean words at me without knowing that I’ve been doing this for too long to want to say anything back.

I drove up the block and pulled next to Dorsey’s for a fare. This one was taking his time inside, so I took in the quiet and massaged deep around my kneecaps.

You don’t have to drive midnights to know the different types of drunks of the world, I mean, everyone’s already familiar with them — but here are the ones I know: you’ve got the I-don’t-know-my-limit drunks, the happy-go-lucky drunks, the mean drunks, the I-know-my-limit-and-don’t-give-a-gently caress drunks — and there’ll always be the real piece-of-poo poo drunks. The I’m-the-reason-we-should-ban-alcohol kind of late-night motherfuckers.

You can spot these guys the second they get in the back seat.

“312 Westhrop, Annandale — the complex there.”

The kid settled in, arms around his girl while she buckled her seatbelt.

“It’s not going in…”

“…I think you’ll be fine” he said, squeezing her shoulders into him.

“Really… it’s not clicking…”

I looked back at her through the mirror: “Give it a slap, the belt on that side needs a little force.” She was a pretty thing, and the kid was handsome too. His glossed hair reflected back in the mirror a little.

*click*

“Better?” the kid said.

She gave me a “thank you” through the rear-view and I nodded the cab into gear. We headed down 24th.

“Hey, how’s your night going, man?” asked the kid. I told him I was fine.

“You’re pretty tall man… I mean for a taxi driver.” I told the kid he was right, and gestured towards my knees underneath the dashboard. He continued — “Aren’t there, like, regulations or something on that?” I looked back and told the kid that I was a good taxi driver, and no, no regulations.

“There has to be some kind of regulation… what do you think, Betts? I don’t see anything on this notice back here.”

“Let’s just get home, Jack.”

“But then… why would this man have it on the notice if he was subverting… you’re never much of a thinker, Betts.”

“I have the good mind to think before I talk sometimes, you know?”

“…Shut up.”

I kept my eyes forward, looking out for any pink-collared stragglers — last-call had given way and they were loose. Down through Center and we would be on the highway, soon.

“Ever get into an accident?” the kid, Jack, asked.

“Nope, not once.”

“I bet that’s because you can see so far, long neck and all.”

“Jack, really…” said the girl.

“What? We’re just having a conversation here. Right, Mr. Cabbie?”

“Yes, sir.” I looked in the mirror. Her arms were crossed and she was pivoting her shoulders away from the kid.

“So you’ve never got into an accident… but what if, like, you’ve only been driving for a month? We could have a misleading sample duration here, Betts.”

“It’s okay, I’ve worked this job for eleven years.”

“Jesus… ”

“Jack!”

“Apologies apologies. That just made me think about my own future a bit, you know?” said the kid.

“Stop being an rear end.”

“Shut up. Really, Betts.”

Her face was stuck to the window now, her shoulders square and perpendicular to him. He had stopped trying to keep his arm around her.

“Unbelievable,” he said. A minute passed and the girl had started sniffling.

“Unbelievable?” she said.

“Yeah. Unbelievable.” Another minute passed.

“You were thinking pretty hard on Paula’s friend tonight, weren’t you?” The girl said.

“What?”

“She looked good, didn’t she.”

“What the gently caress are you talking about?”

“Or Sophie, did you think on her when…”

“Betts…”

“…when you two were shacking up?”

There were no pink-collared men on the highway, so I kept focus for deer even though they had cleared the deer out of here a decade ago. The kid raised his voice —

“I loving told you — nothing happened then.”

“Well… let’s think about that.”

“gently caress you.”

She lost her composure and let out a wail and there wasn’t much I could do — I gave the pedal some gas and we were doing twenty over. The sore spot on my knee rattled with the highway.

“How many times do I have to loving tell you that nothing happened.”

“Kid… I think you need to stop.”

“Don’t talk to us. It says right here I can stop you from talking to us.”

“gently caress you, Jack…” she kept sobbing.

“loving unbelievable.”

Two minutes passed and I pulled up to the complex on Westhrop. The kid threw me a twenty for the nineteen-and-change fare while the girl unbuckled her seatbelt and got out. I rolled down the passenger window and eyed the kid as he left and he gave me a “gently caress you” and the girl, still sobbing, hit him on the shoulder.

The kid struck her back, and hard.

I sprung open the door and moved around the hood towards him.

“I…”

I had a foot of height on the kid. The girl was down on her bare knees on the asphalt, one of her hands on the side of her cheek.

“You little poo poo.”

“I didn’t mean…”

I didn’t stop moving.

“Get back, man” he shouted. He raised his fists and then I was on him.

I smacked the consciousness out of him before his head could hit the floor.

The girl scuffed herself to the curb and sat upright against it. She looked up at me and I looked down at her. Her eyes were more than wet.

“I felt like I had to do that,” I said.

She wiped her face against her sleeve.

“Do you want to file charges?” I asked.

“Against you? Or him?”"

I shrugged. She shook her head no.

“If you need to, I can take you wherever you need to go. No fare.”

“…I think I need to stay here and deal with this.”

She looked over at the kid. His chest rose and fell in long heaves.

“You can step away from all of this, easy, if you want to,” I said.

“It’s always more complicated than that, isn’t it?”

I understood as well as any stranger could, and walked back to the cab. I drove away into the postmidnight dark, where I will never see the two again, and my knees ached.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


in

edit: oh poo poo right the prompt here's an image

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Mar 7, 2017 around 00:31

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010



bitch please

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010



GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Moral Imperatives
734 words

Six nights a week, for two weeks, we took over as the owner and sole proprietor of the corner on 12th and Washington. Street rehabilitation, on charge to fix all the dirt and concrete, because there was nothing else left to fix — Mike was telling me about how the police ran out the last vestiges of the shantied homeless three years back, and how a star-carrying French chef moved here the year last, and that now there’s a four-screen movie theater here — but one of those new-wave theaters, where a teenager will serve you micro-beers in an anything-but-micro glass and where you can go bowling in the converted warehouse next door.

“You ever take your kids there?” I said.

“poo poo, my kids have an [i[iPad[/i] man,” Mike said.

“And that’s it? Don’t you like, have to socialize them?”

“Oh, they’re social.” Mike wiped the small amount of mortar left on his trowel clean against his jeans. “This, right here, is the cleanest I’ve been in weeks.”

Mike and I were on manhole duty, paving mortar around the access hole so they could fit in a new frame bed — the frame goes down, and the round cover sits snug on top of it. It’ll be fifty years before the wrought-iron rusts through enough to make some assholes have to dig it up again, Mike said.

We smelled like sweat and wet gravel, and the sewer… they don’t shut down the sewer line for rehabs like this. The floodlights bathed the construction area in an unnatural white, the corner shining like a surgical room would, if surgical rooms were paved with asphalt and exposed to the dead night air.

We were mid-pave when Mike froze.

“Did you hear that?” he said. He didn’t dare move his trowel from its spot on the lip of the sewer hole.

“What?” I said.

“poo poo… poo poo, poo poo…” he murmured. He pointed down the hole. “I heard a moan down there, man.”

“No way.” I said. “There’s no loving way…”

“Shut up! I heard it again!” Mike fumbled through his pocket and produced a small torchlight. The floodlights didn’t reach down the hole. “I need you to listen to me, quick…”

I was listening, I was ready.

“I’m going to shine down there while you take a look and we’ll see what we can,” Mike said. “You’re going to have to really get in there, brace against the sides with your arms. I’ll be quiet as night so you can hear.”

“Shine it, I’m ready.” I said.

He focused the torchlight down the access hole and I arched my body clear over the wet mortar, my head sticking down the opening and my arms wedged against the side. It smelled like a thousand rotten eggs, and ten dead cats, and maybe there’d be a soon-dead person to add to all of it. I could only see the glimmer of the sewer water in the light, and the two dark holes where it flowed in and out. I strained my ears for any noise beyond the trickle of the water.

I wanted to hold my nose but my hands were preoccupied, clenched against the side of the hole. I couldn’t hear anything.

“Nothing!” I yelled up to Mike.

“Keep listening, as long as you can!”

Another minute passed and still nothing. I thought I might get used to the smell, go nose-blind after a while, but that wasn’t going to happen. The stench sticks with you like gasoline down there.

“Alright, come up!” Mike said.

“Are you sure?” I said. I was ready to pass out. Blood pounded through my head.

“Let’s get the others!” he said.

I shimmied out of the hole, dizzy, and when I looked up…

The others were already there, watching down, a line of silhouettes against the white-light. Mike laid his hand on my should and let out a chuckle, and the whole lineup of men let loose and bellowed.

They had me.



Later, when we were taking a smoke, Mike told me about how they’d done that one since the beginning of time and that there’s only been one guy who told them to gently caress off when they tried to pull it on him.

“Did you tell him, after?” I said.

“That we were loving with him?” he said.

"Yeah.”

“No,” he said. “We didn’t.”

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


thank u all for the crits and double crits

The Cut of Your Jib posted:

Hawklad wins Week 240

prompt

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


flerp posted:

cut of your jib vs gen joe

your story will be about esports and i mean like for real esports, starcraft, league of legends, fighting games, as long as there is a competitive scene for the game. make your characters interesting. dont make your humor only lol nerds because that isnt funny.

prompt: 'everyone is awful except me'

1250 words, due march 19 11:59pm pst

The Meek and the Feeble
words: 843

Moving to a new city was just as bad as he thought it would be. He was a tech writer, and he would be writing about printers, mostly. This was his first job. His work had HP as their big-grab client, and they drat well made sure he knew it during the fly-in.

There were three main take-aways from his interview: that there wasn't single person under the age of forty-five manning a cubicle; that Hewlett-Packard was One and that Hewlett-Packard was All; and the ever-seductive, middle-class phrase: "twenty-five an hour with benefits." He settled in two weeks later.

That's not the point of this story, though. This, my friend, is a story about sports. Electronic sports.

Friendless, he goes to the 14th Street Arcade on Thursday nights, where there's a weekly ten-dollar tournament. He was considered good in college — like, that was all he did really.

But here, at this arcade, he was much more than good. In the local parlance, he was a God-Tier.

"Hey man, good luck man," his opponent said, unknowing to the doom-scribed fate that was spelled upon him.

This was our protagonist’s second tournament, but there were only a few faces he recognized from the last, and this man was not one of them — his brown goatee and Jesus-hair wholly unfamiliar. They sat side-by-side with their fighting sticks on their laps, and the timer counted down from three on the plasma in front of them.

His opponent mashed furiously, unrelentingly, on the fighting stick’s buttons, hoping to catch him off guard — but our protagonist had prepared for this. He blocked the onslaught, and when the opening presented itself, he threw his opponent on the ground. And then he did it again. And again. And then one more time. At last, he was deemed winner of the round.

"drat man, that's good," his opponent said — but don't be fooled. The opponent was, in all likelihood, emotionally smitten, roiling internally in an immense furor.

"You can crouch-tech those grabs. Try holding downback when you parry."

The second round started. He went to throw his opponent, and was delighted when the two characters were forced apart by a successful parry. He then went on and dominated his opponent with his high-game.

"Okay, now you need to punish those overheads. They aren't safe at all."

"Gotcha man. Thanks man.” he said, screaming internally, most likely.

His first overhead was blocked and countered and he was swept to the floor. He gave his opponent a "great job," and then he beat him honest.

His opponent, now resigned to his plot in life, made small conversation with him afterwards.

"You're pretty good, man. What do you do for a living?"

"Printers, mostly. I write about them."

"Like, reviews?"

"Uh, I couldn't land a spot on the Printer's Best editorial."

"Oh."

"...But I'm a tech writer."

"Oh that's pretty cool! My name's Johnson, man."

"Chris, man."

They shook hands and walked together to the judge so they could tell him the outcome of their game.

---

The tournament finale was between our protagonist and another man he hadn't yet met, named Pete. Pete was tall and had quite a thick neck, but in the realm of electronic sports, such advantages do not translate well. On the other hand, Pete also had the temper of a boar.

Our protagonist had won the first round, handily, and Pete began twitching in his seat, and then when Pete lost the second round, he slapped his fist, hard, against the fighting stick on his lap. The spectators yelled hype! and oh lord! as the rounds progressed and as Pete lost his cool.

The game console, after the final round, decreed the victor: "Balrog (note: our protagonist's character) wins!” it said.

Pete threw his stick against the wall in an unseeing fury. It bounced to the floor with a plastic-crunching thud.

"That's some Grade-A bullshit dude, you're going to let a loving ringer into the tourney like that?" Pete said to the judge. The judge was much smaller than Pete and Pete was now standing at full height. “Jesus gently caress man,” Pete continued.

Johnson, sitting in the spectator’s crowd, rose his hand like a patient schoolchild. Pete and the judge noticed him, and the two paused.

"What's up, Johnson," the judge said.

“Hey man, Chris was super helpful during the preliminaries... I mean, I'm saying... he might be way good, but he's still making us better, you know?" Having said his piece, Johnson sat back down.

The judge gave our protagonist a hard look, nodded, and then turned to Pete and told him to find his cool. Pete backed down and shook our protagonist’s hand.

Our protagonist won two hundred dollars after the rake — as well a new friend in Johnson. And the moral of the story?

Even the weak, like Johnson, serve their fated purpose, in a world where the strong must trounce the feeble. Never forget that, my friend.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


in with TECH BOX 2 please

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


ya I'm in

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


hi I am in with North America/before and will also more because I am a horrible flake but I will take a flash rule too I guess

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Inferno
803 word

The psychiatrist creaked back and forth on a pine chair in his brother's living room. His brother was sipping water out of a coffee mug, and the both of them sat watching the television set on the end table.

A news anchor was on. She stood in front of a line of people wearing jackets and bracing their hands together against the October chill. The line extended far off into the plains past the outskirt of the town and it kept going, until it was a smudge on the television panel.

His brother spoke over the television: “You remember that time when we were kids? When Colo-Colo made it to the cup and the Argentinians were in town, and we begged and begged and begged Pa to buy tickets to the stadium, and then I…”

The psychiatrist finished the thought: “… and then you goaded him, goaded him good. You put on your big-brother voice, and you said to me: ‘You don’t understand, Pa is just sad that he never made club tryouts, you can’t blame him for wanting to be done with football now. Let’s forget about it.’ You said that and a minute later he was driving us to the ticket booth.” The psychiatrist leaned into his chair. “Of course I remember that.”

“So we show up and the entire city was waiting in line for tickets. It felt like all of Chile was there that day, just to see a game of football.”

His brother stood up to fetch more water. He returned from the kitchenette and spoke again:

“… the news just reminded me, that’s all.”


The reporter was now interviewing a volunteer, an older woman, at the polling place. Things were going well, and orderly. The woman added, with a dash of patriotism, that she expected nothing less from her fellow Chileans.

His brother looked over at him.

“Let’s just see how it plays out,” the psychiatrist said.

His brother changed the subject.

“Hey, maybe while you’re here you can help me out with a problem I’ve been having,” he said. “One of my lambs, this scrawny thing… she won’t stop talking to me. I can’t reason with her, I’ll say ‘just eat the grass! Use that big mouth of yours!’ and she’ll keep on yapping away.” He took a sip of water. “What do you do when someone’s in and they won’t stop clacking?”

“If you think about her too much, you’ll start becoming more and more like her, you know.”

“Words from a professional,” his brother said.

“If it gets bad, you might even start growing hooves, and maybe someone’ll start having to feed you grass. You’ll finally get a shave, at the very least.”

A moment passed, and the psychiatrist continued:

“I’m being partly serious. Do you ever wonder how a doctor talks to depressed patients all day, and yet he doesn’t become depressed himself?”

“And yet,” his brother answered, “when they said all of Santiago would be in a riot by tomorrow, the first thing you do is call, say you’re coming here.” He took another sip. “If you’re trying to prove you’re insulated, I’m not seeing it. The people are getting to you.”

He set his mug down.

“But, I think what you don’t appreciate… is that the people of Chile are good people,” his brother said.

“You don’t see the people I see.”

“…the people of Chile, they must good people.”

The television went to commercial. The psychiatrist got out of his chair and turned the set off.

“I can’t see how talking to your lambs all day gives you any kind of perspective on the matter.”

“…well I know this, that the lambs are the most likely ones to start any kind of revolución here. Maybe they’ll rise up on their hooves and topple down the ranch. Francisca might even murder me in my sleep with those teeth of hers…”

=====

The next day they were out in the fields, feeding the livestock. The ranch was almost a hundred acres, and it was sandwiched between a rocky outcrop and a vast marsh to the west. His brother emptied the last bucket of feed and then took a deep breath.

“Chile is not an inferno yet, at least,” his brother said.

The psychiatrist looked out onto the plains to the north. The grass extended to horizon, dry, golden.

“What do you think stops a wildfire from taking the whole country down?” the psychiatrist said.

“Until one does, my friend,” his brother said, and he joined him and gazed over the goldenrod plains.

=====

A week passed and the psychiatrist gathered his things. He said goodbye to his brother, and until next time.

A few miles past Curico he passed a billboard of a young, curly-haired woman, and a single line:

“Joy is coming.”

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


hi in

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010




https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6233&...r+Guys+and+Girl

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2018 around 01:53

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


swiftful judging giftful judging

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GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010



thank you for the crit, friend.

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