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Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Tyrannosaurus posted:

In honor of our esteemed head judge Antivehicular, I give to you your interprompt:

"Someone is staunchly and weirdly anti-vehicle. Why?"

150 words.

The City's Last Traffic Cop Has A Bad Day
148 words

The latest car-freak suicide is a multi; there's so little traffic these days that it must have taken some planning. Trees and guardrails weren't good enough for this one. The old cameras show him waiting at the intersection in his ugly, low-slung "sports" thing until a commercial van crossed, then plowing ahead into its passenger side; Frank thinks he could make a good case for criminal charges, if the driver weren't too dead to matter.

Frank can't work up the energy to be sad for car suicides. There are only a few hundred personal-use licenses left in the city, and every one of them is a menace. If they see their era ending and choose not to live past it, he can't say he minds.

The ambulance is gone, and the cleaner trucks are incoming -- the site's clear. Frank closes his eyes and teleports back to the station.

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Crain
Jun 27, 2007



Tyrannosaurus posted:

In honor of our esteemed head judge Antivehicular, I give to you your interprompt:

"Someone is staunchly and weirdly anti-vehicle. Why?"

150 words.

$3600 a MONTH

Words: You count them.

No cars. No busses. Not even a covered bicycle. I will not ride nor drive any sort of vehicle.

I just keep losing my combs. Every drat time. I need those loving combs!

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

'Interprompt' Is Also a Dactyl

Asphaltgum Skiddingtree
Balthazar Bumblebee
Lived through a wreck
His inclinations were
Antivehicular
From toe to neck

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Hey apparently I didn't crit for week 278? Well I found the document that contained the crits for that week:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Thunderdome 288: The Results

This week was kind of like adolescence: a lot of very high highs, very low lows, and not a ton in between... and also my making judgment calls that might alienate my peers. drat good times.

First things first: Yoruichi's story is DQ'd. Sorry, friend, but this is way too fanfic-y. Pretty decent! But fanfic.

Anyway. Your winner this week is curlingiron's bittersweet, lovely "Promise of the Sky." HMs go to Benny Profane, Thranguy, Ironic Twist, and SurreptitiousMuffin. There were other candidates, but four HMs is probably enough.

On the other side of things, your loser this week is Ninjalicious's crystal skull thing, which had extensive mechanical problems to give it the anti-edge over the rest of the low end this week. DMs go to Jay W. Friks, Exmond, and apophenium.

Full crits will be up when I'm not phoneposting. Curlingiron, the floor is yours.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



parotm

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Week 288 judging

I generally didn't care what your song was, especially if I didn't know it. I left that up to Anti.

These were read in judgemode so look for your story title




The Sun's Last Light

first impression: yeah Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots fanfiction is probably no bueno

Hard for me to pay attention through this distracting reference.

It's not a bad story I guess but it's not really great in any way, either. Just kind of standard ninja-training-into-defending-(robot)-attack story.

What's the thing Haruki did?

The action descriptions feel clunky. It's hard to explain, but take the "As soon as the bot’s back was turned" paragraph: all the sentences are similar lengths, usually two phrases linked by a comma, and it just feels samey and all mushes together.

best line: the lumbering shapes of the remaining bots were silhouetted against the darkening sky.

verdict: meh




The Crystal Skull

first impression: "it's"

"Through the smudged door and past the dreamcatchers, voodoo dolls, Chinese medicinal herbs, and piles of energy crystals, the right place certainly." There's... no verb here. This isn't a sentence. And this happens more than once.

"“So it’s just a scam” the young woman said? " The question mark belongs inside the quotes.

A whole lot of said-bookism going on. And mashing multiple characters' dialog into the same paragraph. And comma splices. A semicolon doesn't divide thoughts (or speech) from narration.

There's some interesting imagery here, but it's drowing in a morass of bad punctuation and really careless execution in general.

Also, Phoenicia is not Sumeria. I'm pretty sure there were thousands of years between them.

So in the end, nothing was accomplished, nothing changed except the geographic location of the skull (slightly), nothing was learned. I don't even know the name of the girl, let alone a goal or a personality for her. A couple of mildly wierd things happened to this blank no-name woman, the end.

best line: She knew. “I KNOW” she screamed involuntarily.

“ZUUUUUUUUUUUUU” the skull screamed back at her in ancient Sumerian.

verdict: low, possible loss




Heaven

first impression: "It", capitalized, in the middle of sentences. "it's" all over the place where "its" should be.

A lot of comma splices.

Another no-name protagonist. A no-name antagonist, too.

You might have an interesting germ of a story here. A metaphysical story could be interesting. A story about immortality and gods could be interesting. A story where Job overthroughs God through the force of sheer righteousness could be an interesting inversion. But this story is really let down because its execution is such a muddled mess it's hard to follow, let alone empathize or identify with the narrator (whoever that might be -- and are they a separate entity from "the man below"?) The perspective shifts in the last section. I think. Why? This just makes the confusing identities of the characters even worse.

Also what is that ending who are these twins why are they scattered how can they be both conjoined and scattered fragments what

best line: With darkness came endless slumber.

verdict: low




Spit in the Ocean

first impression: This is some pretty writing, and arresting analogies.

Nothing really to complain about here. Rereading it has only made it feel stronger.

best line:
“You’ve changed”, they say. We all change. Sometimes people change in different ways, like different natural formations. Like how a volcano changes, like how an earthquake changes, like how the Great Barrier Reef changes. Like how pressure hardens pebbles and dust into solid layers of rock. Like how Pangaea broke off, segmented the ocean into different pieces of blue, limbs of a paper doll severed and floating on the surface of a pond.

verdict: high




Story of a Muse

first impression: So, what was the point of that?

A bunch of missing-or-wrong punctuation issues, and a few comma splices. Other than that, the low-level structure is fine.

The out-of-nowhere, unexplained, unforeshadowed ending wrecks it. It ruins the mood you've built up, to no apparent end.

best line: We flit from topic to topic, metaphors one day, dancing the other. She took to them like an old lover, laughing as she danced over refuse.

verdict: mid




Fire-gilding

First impression: Nice descriptions of the otherwordly setting. Evocative.

So, it's a nice sketch of a moment. But it's not really a story, is it? Nothing happens. It's basically a poem without the line breaks.

Best line: basically all of it

Verdict: med




I Am Melinda

First impression: Interesting. For such a complex story, it's fairly easy to follow what's going on.

I feel like the narration does too much editorializing in places, undercutting the effect of the story. "Since that night with the storm or whatever." is the most obvious: "Since the night with the storm." would be much stronger.

Best line: I don’t know if I believe myself, but I can borrow your belief for now.”

Verdict: med-hi




A Te Deum

First impression: Cute little story. Fits the song.

Structurally sound and solidly executed. Good descriptions. Reading through it it just flies through.

Best line: the tiny atoll of Hortense, a thin onion ring of white sand barely emerging from the Ty-D-Bol blue Pacific.

Verdict: high




Options

First impression: Hmm. I like it, though the second-person is unusual.

The unspaced commas are distracting.

"But you want to." What does that mean? Actually, is it a continuation of the previous sentence? I'd rewrite that or at least repunctuate it to make that clear.

I don't know. It feels a bit too abstract. Yes, overexplaining is bad, but there's not quite enough backstory here to understand why these choices have any weight.

Best line: She smiles like a predator.

Verdict: med-hi




Chrysostomos

First impression: Nice narrator voice, but the physical blocking, the what's-happening-now, becomes pretty hard to follow as the story progresses. Partly due to limited understanding on the part of the protagonist, but still, I wish it was or could have been a little clearer.

Would macuahuitls saw, rather than just slice?

Another second person story. A mini-trend this week.

Why that story title?

I really wanted to like this. You pull off an Aztec story pretty well, but the naive narrator renders the action incoherent as it goes on and you're not able to get over that.

Best line: Huitzilopochtli speaks in my sleep. I dream of the seventh heaven, home of not just Huizolophocli, but his dark family. Huizophocli holds a serpent in his right hand. It bites at me. Its fangs are black with poison. I feel death, smell the acrid smoke of my family. I feel it flowing through my veins, my blood stringing me like a puppet.

Verdict: med-hi




Promise of the Sky

First impression: Hmm. Pleasant enough. Nothing is explained, but that's not really necessary.

I'm not sure how I feel. I didn't understand what was going on, and I didn't feel much reading it either. This may just be a personal reaction.

And the one line of dialog also applying to the story itself... that just feels like a cop-out.

Best line: They walk from dawn till dusk, then through the night and another day again

Verdict: med



The Edge of the Machine

First impression: Huh? It's totally disjoint, like you intentionally cut out all of the interesting and explanatory bits.

I feel like there might be an interesting story here, but instead of proper cookies, you served the slivers of batter they were cut out from.

The dialog isn't very good, either.

Best line: "You know, I really like this reality interference zone," he said, then took another hefty swig of vodka.

Verdict: med-lo




Peak Performance

First impression: Bad dialog and overly-florid descriptions.

Ultimately, the story felt pointless. I don't have much feel for who the narrator is, let alone the director, or what they're feeling, or why they're doing much of anything. Things just sort of happen, and the protagonist gets paid for... acting so well with the director's direction that he is literally transported to the time and place he'd written about? And he is permanently afflicted with that character's dilemma, because.

Best line: I leaped through the placeholder sections with abandon. The words hadn’t felt adequate when I wrote them, but now, here, they were right.

Verdict: med-lo



Boarded up on memory lane

First impression: Guh? What just happened? The blocking, the step by step of exactly what's going on in this scene, or two scenes, or three scenes, I can't even tell, is jumbled up and impossible to follow.

Maybe that was your intention, but to tell a story mixing up past and present or multiple locations simultaneously or whatever this is about requires more care, more careful structuring, from your narration, compared to a simple linear narrative. Otherwise, it's just exhausting for the reader with no payoff.

There's nice description, but some low-level proofreading errors, including comma splices and extraneous commas.

Best line: The room had too many people and not enough air.

Verdict: med

Fuschia tude fucked around with this message at Feb 13, 2018 around 19:41

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~




thanks for the crit

took the liberty of recording fire-gilding because it was Short and i liked it

godspeed goons

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe



Your task this week is to play with form, whether narrative form or physical form. You can choose an unusual narrative style (epistolary, stream of consciousness, nonlinear, second-person, etc.), OR play with physical form (the classic is, of course, House of Leaves, but there are many others), or even both! If you choose to use an unusual format that you feel may be ill-served by the BBCode and/or the forums, the preferred alternative is to post a picture of your text via imgur. The goal here is to make this as easy as possible for our beloved archivist and AI overlord. When in doubt, try not to be a dick.

If you make your story hard enough to read that you make any of the judges physically ill, the best you can hope for is a DQ. Again, don't be a dick. I don't want to read another one of these.

As usual, no fanfic, erotica, quote tags, gdocs, etc. If you really want to write poetry, I don't mind, but you still need to give it a narrative arc.

Word Count: 1000 words

Signups close Friday, February 16th at 11:59 PM PST
Entries are due Sunday, February 18th at 11:59 PM PST


Judges:
curlingiron
Ironic Twist
Can'tDecideOnAName

Stylish Bastards:

Jay W. Friks
Thranguy
Crain
sandnavyguy
Solitair
Antivehicular
SurreptitiousMuffin
Fuzzy Mammal
anime was right
spectres of autism
Maigius
Ninjalicious
Nethilia

...and also probably TheGreekOwl?

curlingiron fucked around with this message at Feb 17, 2018 around 08:03

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Week 279 Crits Part One

A looong wait and I have some crits for the first four entries in Wikihow week. Contained within the link below is Exmonds "Humanity's Children", Okuas "All the while the soup was getting cold", Freakies "Lessons", Antivehiculars "The Candymonger's Tale"

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vk...iew?usp=sharing

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

Crain
Jun 27, 2007



In.

Skipped the last two weeks so as well.

sandnavyguy
Sep 12, 2015


Well, you named dropped one of my favorite novels, I gotta get in now.

Things keep getting busy though, so to be safe.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


gently caress it i'm IN

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


I'm in.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Live critting Week 288 here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

Fuzzy Mammal
Aug 15, 2001



Lipstick Apathy

I'll give this another shot

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


crit for exmond since it was asked for:
Okay I had to think about your story like four different times to try and understand the original intent, correct me if I'm wrong:
Homeless person wants to inspire others with... acting? It's very, very hard to understand what this person is doing.

The stakes are horrible and this is ultimately what makes the goal of the story fail. I think (and again, this an assumption, it's hard to really say because there's so many problems with how unclear everything is), is ultimately the two character arcs:
Protag doesn't want to teach person to inspire others because of tragic backstory involving seeing a loved one of some kind die from it.
Sara wants to inspire people no matter what because she finds beauty in humanity.

The stakes are not clear. Here is what Sara undersatnds about performing or whatever it is:
""In the City I inspired thousands, but I found out that there is a fine line between inspiration and obsession." Memories of a blood-red gown surfaced in my mind. A dead seamstress, her face writhed in agony, followed. "I found out just how far people will go for inspiration.""

Not a good warning. You could make this vastly more interesting by having Sara know this is a life or death situation but chooses to perform anyway. Instead we are vaguely given an idea of maybe a tragic situation which could have easily been an unlucky turn of fate. In addition, the protag here just starts teaching Sara without much reservation. "Oh no she might die... ah gently caress it." is the feeling I got. Does this make the absolute lack of moral dillemmia clear?

In addition, this story is incredibly intangible. After several rereads it sounds like inspiring people is done through acting of some kind. You should be more loving clear about this and if it's not acting i have no idea what it is which is even worse. Ignore the setting making no sense. There's a city and a homeless encampment. There's very few words that make me understand the setting. I wrote a story a long time ago that lost that had a similar problem where I just said "the character is a gentleman". It's okay to use shorthand when you need to, but if that's the only description you have "homeless encampment" the idea here changes entirely from person to person and that's the only set of words I have to understand the majority of your setting besides it's near a frozen lake. It's a pretty clear case of tell and not show to an extreme degree. I don't know if they live in the alley or go to it every once in a while or if it's an alley outside the city or in it and if the lake is in the city and holy poo poo like yeah just be more clear.

So the biggest three fixes would be:
Why is inspiration so important to this world and why would people die to inspire others? What is the definition of inspiration and how do people inspire others?
Making both the protag and Sara understand the risks of inspiring people and then having Sara die because she thought the moral choice of inspiring people was far more important than her life. A tragic and inevitable conclusion. There's other ways to end the story but I'm trying to think along your mindset here.
Showing and not telling (outside of the idea of what the definition of inspiration here is). EX: Describe the sight and smell of the homeless camp. Describe the protag fitting in in some fashion (owning the same tent as everyone else? The same attitude of having given up hope? etc Calling something "The City" is also like the single most obvious example. Give the city a name. The City tells me nothing other than its a city! Using a name for the city "Glamway" as stupid as this sounds, is a way better name in this context because it tells us something. Anything.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


also, hey yall, its been a while.

im in

TheGreekOwl
Mar 1, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Before I offer to be in, I have issues.

I should mention, I am a young contemporary artist with an interest in the philosophy of art

What the prompt has done is inserted an element of visual aesthetics into the mix it seems. It's not just about the conceptual content of what is written, but also the optic compositional form that will be judged. As a result, I must ask: how far exactly can we go with this experimentation? Will totally avante-garde story form be accepted? (as in not disqualified, crits are welcome) Will this be just a regular story, just do some cool visual stuff with the composition of the words?

If it's left to me, I will be going all the way with the experimentation, to a level that I am not sure if the judges will appreciate. I can always write a complementary aesthetics text to justify what I am doing, but that would probably getting into pretentious territory.

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~




thats a cool experimental post

e: in i guess

spectres of autism fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2018 around 03:58

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

TheGreekOwl posted:

Before I offer to be in, I have issues.

I should mention, I am a young contemporary artist with an interest in the philosophy of art

What the prompt has done is inserted an element of visual aesthetics into the mix it seems. It's not just about the conceptual content of what is written, but also the optic compositional form that will be judged. As a result, I must ask: how far exactly can we go with this experimentation? Will totally avante-garde story form be accepted? (as in not disqualified, crits are welcome) Will this be just a regular story, just do some cool visual stuff with the composition of the words?

If it's left to me, I will be going all the way with the experimentation, to a level that I am not sure if the judges will appreciate. I can always write a complementary aesthetics text to justify what I am doing, but that would probably getting into pretentious territory.

Lol

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

calling it now, someone's entire entry will be a series of shitposts scattered about the forums

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe

TheGreekOwl posted:

Before I offer to be in, I have issues.

I should mention, I am a young contemporary artist with an interest in the philosophy of art

What the prompt has done is inserted an element of visual aesthetics into the mix it seems. It's not just about the conceptual content of what is written, but also the optic compositional form that will be judged. As a result, I must ask: how far exactly can we go with this experimentation? Will totally avante-garde story form be accepted? (as in not disqualified, crits are welcome) Will this be just a regular story, just do some cool visual stuff with the composition of the words?

If it's left to me, I will be going all the way with the experimentation, to a level that I am not sure if the judges will appreciate. I can always write a complementary aesthetics text to justify what I am doing, but that would probably getting into pretentious territory.

That's a really great question. I certainly don't have your specific background knowledge, but I can tell you what I was thinking when I chose this prompt. For me, the kind of stylistic pieces that I get the most excited about are the ones where the form itself has some kind of impact on the story. I'm not looking for illustrations because they're neat, but for experimentation that enhances or adds meaning to the text itself. One of my favorite examples of this (and I apologize for only referencing this book, it's just the one that springs to mind the most easily) is the chapter on labyrinths in House of Leaves; specifically, there's a sentence that mentions mazes turning back on themselves and leading to dead-ends that has a footnote leading to a previous footnote. While this is a very minor example of it (and ultimately one that didn't impact the story specifically), I did think that it was clever to make a labyrinthine text on labyrinths.

I really like weird poo poo (like, a lot), and as long as you're fulfilling the requirements that I've set forth in the prompt post (specifically, make it easy to put in the archives and don't give anyone a seizure and/or migraine), I won't dock you points solely for that. However, this is a literary competition first and foremost, so if you get so caught up in crazy antics that you forget to write good words, you may be in danger of a loss or DM.

I would say my idea of a winning entry would be the entry that was both a good and complete story AND most impressed me with its use of the chosen form, whether visual or narrative.

I hope this helps!

e: oh wait, was I not supposed to answer that in earnest? poo poo, sorry.

Okay, take two:

lol

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~




i was wondering too but i hedged my bets

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.






Just a heads up, this kinda "They just don't understand my brilliance!" bullshit gets tedious real quick. If the possibility of someone disliking your work is an anathema to you, you're in for a slog.

But rest assured, if it's more people finding fault with your stories you desire, I'm your huckleberry. You'll get my crits when I wake up.

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


Bad Seafood posted:





Just a heads up, this kinda "They just don't understand my brilliance!" bullshit gets tedious real quick. If the possibility of someone disliking your work is an anathema to you, you're in for a slog.

But rest assured, if it's more people finding fault with your stories you desire, I'm your huckleberry. You'll get my crits when I wake up.

I don't really understand this post. But since you highlighted part of Ironic Twist's crit, Ironic Twist I apologize if you took my crit badly. It was meant to be praising your story and damning my own reading comprehension.

Secondly, I guess I'll stop posting crits. The bit about my story was an experiment, since I need to spend more time analyzing and taking advice on my own stories.

Thank you for the crit!

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

Exmond posted:

I don't really understand this post.
The lesson to take from a DM is not "Screw the judges."

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

k let's move on

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Week No. 288 Crits

I listened to every song before reading the story, but during the story I was mostly listening to Dads on Display.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VywX1X38MoE

The Sun’s Last Light
By Yoruichi

Thoughts on the song: silly and mellow, not bad. Very anime.

  • Opening line: functional. Introduces our (presumed) protagonist in the middle of actually doing something, which tells us something about her.
  • “She landed with their father’s EMP rods drawn” is kinda tricky to parse.
  • That’s some blunt-force setup. Borrowing heavily from the song, I see.
  • The minute I read Haruku didn’t get picked I thought, “I bet he does something stupid,” and immediately skimmed down the page and saw I was right.
  • “Since their parents died” is kind of a big detail to casually drop on us here.
  • Your setting in general feels pretty sparse. I can’t really picture it.
  • Clear action scenes, for the most part.
  • So this feels like a bit of a bait and switch. I assumed the reason Haruki was upset earlier was because his sister got picked to do the cool thing and he didn’t, but now he’s trying to fulfill a vow to his parents? I feel like if that were his motivation he would’ve behaved differently earlier.
  • Following his thoughts feels a bit like cheating as well, since thus far we’ve been seeing everything through his sister’s perspective.
  • TO BE CONTINUED (I’ll be the rooooooundabout)
  • Honestly, this thing feels more like it just ends - as opposed to actually concluding. It’s the first chapter in a longer story, the first scene of a film.
  • Yoshimi and her brother very much feel like Young Adult Literature protagonists, with all the good and bad that implies. They’re active characters, which is nice, and you attempt to give them a complicated dynamic, which is good, but the execution is a little bland.
  • RANKING: Low-Mid

The Crystal Skull (Inspired by Mastodon’s Crystal Skull from Blood Mountain (2006))
By Ninjalicious

Thoughts on the song: this may be the most bog standard metal song I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

  • Opening line: goes on a bit longer than it should.
  • “Her eyes spotted a glinting of blazing sun reflecting like earthbound starlight, a hard point of reflection in a diffuse sea of brown,” AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-
  • Seriously, it wasn’t until the next line I realized she saw something shiny on the ground.
  • A description, laden with commas, that just kept going, without knowing when to stop, which you, dear reader, will keep reading, looking for a period, but you will find none
  • A lot of your sentences are hard to parse my dude.
  • Commas after dialogue, my dude.
  • The right place certainly...what? Or do you mean it was the right place, certainly?
  • This dude talks like a quest-giver in an RPG.
  • Saying your protagonist “Went on her way” suggests she left the store already, except she hasn’t because the dude is still talking to her.
  • Also, where’d she get the book (Vortex GPS Coordinates Inside)? Did she always have it? Did she pick it up? Is she buying it? Shoplifting? She just has it, and this dude can read its presumed subtitle with his eagle eyes which is weird.
  • Your protagonist seems really not interested in the only thing she’s shown any interest in this whole story.
  • Cold, Cold Heart
  • Vortex of Mystical Power Grade VII is my favorite JRPG.
  • So I’m guessing this is supposed to be one of those things where the protagonist doesn’t really believe in this thing except maybe they do, just a little, and are willing to go to great lengths to check for peace of mind, but it doesn’t really work here since there’s no build-up, no history, no misspent youth listening to your grandfather’s stories.
  • That skull is totally gonna be haunted.
  • Nothing happened, then some time passed, and nothing happened.
  • This bit where she screams in frustration, then screams for real, is the first ACTUAL bit of characterization you’ve bothered to give this character. Up until this point she was just an actor doing things because the plot said so. Granted, she’s still that, but now she has definition.
  • Also how is ZUUUUUUUU supposed to be distinctly Sumerian? It could just be a sound effect.
  • Scared out of her mind by improbable events, eventually, she slept.
  • What is this, the Twilight Zone?
  • Your faceless protagonist goes to inconvenient lengths to do things for no discernable reason in order to set up a reveal that ultimately comes to nothing.
  • RANKING: Low

Heaven
By Jay W. Friks

Thoughts on the song: low-energy music with bleary vocals.

  • Opening line: vague and unhelpful, like a tech support rep.
  • Starting your story off with several lines of (essentially) unattributed dialogue is always a risky prospect. It can work, but doesn’t here; not with everything so ambiguous.
  • You try for something of an elegant description of the shadow creature here, but it’s a bit half-hearted.
  • Your protagonist’s kind of a dick, which may be the point. We’ll see.
  • Creepy manifesto in the middle of your story.
  • It’s it it’s, though that last one should be its.
  • Where is any of this even happening? There’s the sun, which your protagonist is looking at for some reason, but everything else might as well be taking place in some infinite expanse of nothingness.
  • This bit where your protagonist unmakes the shadow reads like every TV show where two people with psychic powers stand and grimace at each other while their invisible powers wreck havoc around town.
  • UNLEASH THE POWER OF THE SUN
  • Your dedication to vague symbolism is killing me. I’d have quit reading this by now if I were a casual reader.
  • I becomes it.
  • No wait, we’re someone else now? I have no idea what’s going on.
  • This story of smacks of you trying to communicate some manner of philosophical think-point, but it’s so sparse and confusing I feel like I could read it every day for a year and still never understand it.
  • RANKING: Low

Spit in the Ocean
By Ironic Twist

Thoughts on the song: I swear I know a song that sounds exactly like this one but I can’t remember it off the top of my head.

  • Opening line: strong.
  • “Raw chicken” works, but kinda detracts from the somber nature of the scene. The “Gashed-open” bit fits better, and also suggests something about our protagonist.
  • You do a lot with a little here. It’s restrained, yet revelatory.
  • The opening bit of this flashback took me a second read to get.
  • Two deserts started dating, what?
  • There’s a lot of character here, which is good, but it also feels disconnected from the rest of the story, which is bad.
  • All the jumping around here feels like an attempt to replicate a rush of memories and emotions, but I’m not sure how well it works.
  • The longest, most windingest sentence.
  • I feel like I understand the desert thing from earlier now.
  • Despite how disjointed this all feels, I do think I’m getting a clear picture of your protagonist’s relationship with her dead husband.
  • So there’s a lot to unpack for this one. Your protagonist’s arc, coming to terms with the loss of her husband, is poignant and effecting, and you do their relationship a service by making it complicated rather than picturesque.
  • However, I feel like the disjointed, semi-stream of consciousness narrative hinders more than it helps. I get what you were going for, and a lot of the issues I had with its structure resolved by the ending, but it leaves a bit of an odd aftertaste in my mouth. I know that’s rich coming from me, the guy who regularly writes stories with time skips without telling anyone, but still.
  • RANKING: Mid-high

Story of a Muse
By Exmond

Thoughts on the song: THIS IS THE STORY OF A GIRL~

  • Opening line: simple, but attention-grabbing. Someone needs something. Always a good start.
  • Little awkward on the follow-up, though. Double focus on the eyes, telling, etc.
  • “But it was where I belonged” is a genuinely good line. It communicates a lot about our protagonist immediately. This man is already the most fully-fleshed out character of yours I’ve come across.
  • You get a bit too vague for your own good here. I can make out the general shape of what these folks are about, but I need more concrete details.
  • I like the interplay between this privileged kid and their marginalized mentor...is what I’d like to say, but you skip over a bunch of that to get to the Hallmark card.
  • “Full of wonder as the a star.”
  • What’s the meta with you?
  • And that gunman was ME, DEAR READER.
  • There’s some good stuff around the edges on this one, but the story itself tanks once you realize how much of it is in service of a clumsy metanarrative. “It’s a story about stories!” sure, okay, but what are you actually saying here? I’m actually pretty open to metanarratives as a device, as a method of examining how we create, communicate, and consume stories, but here it reads very rough and rote. You can work hard on something and still get shot down for it. Someone could steal your ideas. Yawn.
  • For the briefest of moments I thought this was a story about some naive urbanite getting acting lessons from hobos because “Their lives are more real, they’ve experienced things,” which is both kinda exploitive and reckless but also an actually interesting seed for a story - which you waste. Not that you specifically had to write about that, but the tiny bit of humanity you managed to weasle in there is wasted on a bumbling metaphor that’s nowhere near as poignant as the ending seems to want to be.
  • RANKING: Low-Mid

Fire-gilding
By Surreptitious Muffin

Thoughts on the song: singer needs a throat lozenge.

  • Opening line: atmospheric! But lose the semicolon, my dude, and everything after it.
  • Evocative writing that nevertheless gets a little long in the tooth. You do a good job painting this claustrophobic world with its skittering inhabitants in only a few quick strokes, only to suddenly drag your brush along the page.
  • There’s a lot of care and character here with this woman and her clocks, but where’s the story? Where’s the humanity?
  • This whole thing reads like a powerful bit of flavor text accompanying an interesting RPG campaign setting, but I’m not sure I see much cake beneath the icing.
  • Still, there’s some good language and imagery here. I enjoyed reading this a lot more than most of the rest of this week.
  • RANKING: Mid-High

I am Melinda
By Chili

Thoughts on the song: my misspent youth playing Crazy Taxi has given me an irrational fondness for the Offspring. This certainly sounds like one of their songs - which it is.

  • Opening line: confusing, but in a way that makes me want to read on to determine what the narrator means.
  • Do you think we’re the only ones who think? Because it’s me. I’m the only one who knows anything.
  • The most precocious child in human history.
  • You know, for someone lecturing the reader on empathy and being connected to the universe, your protagonist certainly seems lacking in both categories.
  • Yeah, okay, I officially dislike this little twerp.
  • Pretentious and precocious.
  • Your protagonist is an inhuman computer.
  • More Twilight Zone shenanigans? At least I can bear reading about our new lead.
  • So it was all a disorder then? A false protagonist implanted in the real protagonist’s head? I’m not sure what this is trying to say about either of them. There’s a clear theme of empathy here, but your trees are making me miss the forest.
  • RANKING: Low-mid

A Te Deum
By Benny Profane

Thoughts on the song: Tom Lehrer always makes me smile.

  • Opening line: good.
  • Getting some very Vonnegut-esque vibes from these early paragraphs. There’s a particularity to the setting and details, hints of an alternate future/present, and a high-end event undercut (effectively) by a dirty joke.
  • For some reason I had to read the bit about the canoes twice to parse it.
  • “On the barrels of his binoculars,” nice use of words.
  • This orderly and structured event being invaded by the seemingly absurd has my full attention.
  • What.
  • Yep, this is very Vonnegut. And Lehrer.
  • Ha ha ha can’t say no.
  • Some delightful dark comedy, though it’s lacking a little something I can’t put my finger on.
  • The whole thing is polished, like a stage piece. The characters are more actors than humans, though that’s not a complaint in this case. Really, the thin veil of artificiality over the whole thing works to heighten the sense of unreality.
  • I think the only thing that bugs me, in retrospect, is the bit with the puppy dog eyes. With the way the rest of the narrative is set up, it feels a bit like cheating to rely on a Looney Tunes gag instead of...you know, I’m not sure. In any case, it’s not enough to detract from the story in a significant manner, just enough to give me pause.
  • RANKING: High

Options
By Thranguy

Thoughts on the song: never heard this one before, but I like it. It’s got a nice pacing to it, a good flow.

  • Opening line: thanks for reminding me how alone I am on Valentines day. *Cries.* Really though, it’s functional.
  • You keep reminding yourself to put spaces after commas.
  • “She smiles like a predator,” I like this line. It reverses the momentum built up by the proceeding dialogue, where your protagonist is presented as the instigator. Whether he is or isn’t, it’s
  • fair to assume this lady’s the one holding the cards.
  • This is the first story to employ vague language this week that didn’t annoy me. Though the typos annoy me, so rest assured I am still annoyed.
  • Faustian bargains, a classic.
  • I like this choice, how it’s present, how it’s justified. A penny for your revenge?
  • It’s a little late in coming, but there’s some good character work here.
  • The first time I read this ending, I thought it was a cop-out. The second time around, I can see it as a sort of rejection of false comforts like revenge and empty revisionism. Still, I might’ve seen it the first time around without the second-person gimmick.
  • I actually don’t mind the second-person gimmick, but typically associate it with CYOA books and visual novels. You set me up to think I was going to make a choice, only to remind me the protagonist isn’t actually me, despite being referred to as such.
  • RANKING: High

Chrysostomos
By Specters of Autism

Thoughts on the song: punk straight out of my neighbor’s garage.

  • Opening line: 1.
  • I know Huitzilopochtli is an actual mythological figure and that’s how you spell his name, but man is it a humdinger of a proper noun to kick things off with.
  • The sound of the tree splitting sound.
  • Every time I have to stop to google one of these words is a time I might stop and never read this story again.
  • Another you story, but somehow I get the feeling I won’t like this one as much as the last one.
  • I’d like some more context for what’s going on, if possible. I know I probably won’t get it, but I’d like it all the same.
  • You know, a good tip for when you want to use a foreign word to describe something that exists in a foreign culture, like here when you try to describe a traditional weapon, would be to say something like “He raised his X, his Y,” where X is the foreign word and Y is a simple English equivalent.
  • I know you mentioned Rahui once before this but it’s weird how he’s still kind of a total non-entity in the story until just now when he appears. The way you phrased it earlier I thought he was already dead (like me).
  • This thing sounds like a Zelda boss, by the by. You know the type, with the stone face and the hands. Dies about as easily as one too. Not sure I get the hype.
  • 2.
  • I think Rahui has hunting down just fine, chief.
  • You’re referencing a lot of things off-handedly here. Done well, this sort of thing can make the world of the story feel larger than it actually is. You kinda just do it though, and it’s kinda just there.
  • RIP Rahui.
  • 3.
  • Wait, so all this was so they could fight each other in the afterlife, or something?
  • I’m not having a very good day today.
  • Yeah, no idea what the point of any of this was. I connect with your protagonist’s desire to live on an instinctual level, but there’s nothing else here for me to grab on to.
  • Still more competent then a lot of other stories this week, strangely.
  • RANKING: Low-Mid

Promise of the Sky
By Curlingiron

Thoughts on the song: another song that sounds exactly like another song by another band I can’t remember.

  • Opening line: striking.
  • Some solid set dressing here. I know who and what this story is about, where it’s taking place, and under what circumstances.
  • It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.
  • “Although as time goes on and there remains no sign of lie beyond the two of them,” is pretty awkward to read.
  • You do a good job showing us the differences in the girls’ reactions, by way of how they discard (or hold onto) their backpacks, only to ruin it a little by directly telling us what you already just implied successfully. Have a little more faith in your visual metaphors.
  • The description of Ami as the dreamer, shedding her bag, makes it sound like she likes it in this bizarre hellscape.
  • Although I can accept people getting used to anything, it feels a bit soon for these two to more or less settle in after a week of everyone and everything they know vanishing.
  • Feels a little late to start dropping character descriptors.
  • This whole story strikes me as a protracted metaphor for being cast out alone, together, by the world at large. Ami is happy she can finally be herself, Shannon misses the structure of her previous existence. In the end Ami disappears (dies, probably; suicide, possibly), and Shannon is implied to follow. It’s a mix of happy and sad since the uncertain nature of the world around them, the two bleeding into it, seems to sugget they’ll find some closure and closeness in death.
  • RANKING: High

The Edge of the Machine
By Fumblemouse

Thoughts on the song: gloomy, ominous, mechanical.

  • Opening line: paints a solid picture. You know immediately how old our protagonists are, and you probably have pretty good idea what they’re up to.
  • Unseasonable southerly?
  • Getting some Stand By Me vibes here.
  • Bit of an odd jump here, though at least we’ve settled on Simon and Dean being the story and not the fence.
  • Dialogue seems a bit stilted here, and a bit different. Gonna guess this is supposed to be a time skip, though it’s not as clear as it could be.
  • Ultima IV?
  • “Sipping his beer,” does a much better job communicating the time shift.
  • This dialogue has a very “As you know” feel to it, which I don’t care for.
  • In the future we will have reality distorters, and our dialogue will become even more stilted.
  • It took going to jail for the dialogue to get good again.
  • So the focus of this story is clearly Dean and Simon’s friendship, with all its twists and turns, but beyond that it feels a little...disjointed? More like a collection of (important) anecdotes than a unified story. The two have their friendship, support one another in the hard times, then Simon passes and the world’s a little more empty. I suppose one touchstone might be each memory serving as a key “Turning” point, but hmm…
  • RANKING: Mid

Peak Performance
By Apophenium

Thoughts on the song: I can barely understand the singer.

  • Opening line: Functional.
  • Your protagonist is strangely unperturbed considering how sketchy this all is.
  • There’s a soft sense of a creeping atmosphere here, but it’s a little too threadbare to take hold.
  • Okay I like this bit where he’s going over his own show notes.
  • Third time you’ve mentioned the director’s voice in particular. I’m sure this will be important.
  • Your protagonist remaining unperturbed remains preturbing. There’s certainly something to be said for a layer of unreality in a story like this, but after having that humanizing moment with his show notes I feel like he should be at least a little bit more inquisitive and less passive considering this mysterious director is possibly the devil or someone like him. Especially since his only real vested interest in this meeting is a sounding board for his little speech. Dude’s risking a lot for a little.
  • I scoffed at my potential paycheck.
  • Okay this part is legitimately creepy, and I can believe it’s too late for him to do anything about it...even if he should’ve known this was coming earlier.
  • It was all just a dream?
  • Another Twilight Zone ending, which I might’ve liked better if it were implied the protagonist sacrificed anything else other than a moment of his time.
  • RANKING: Mid

Boarded up on Memory Lane
By Sebmojo

Thoughts on the song: a good Hotline Miami level.

  • Opening line: good. Short, tense, and immediate.
  • Oh boy, a plateful of jargon. Hopefully not important. (Me From the Future: it is and it isn’t, in a good way.)
  • You do a good job communicating your protagonist’s mental load, his stress and fading, sickly demeanor.
  • Another Dean and Simon, what.
  • You do a much better job than many of your peers at threading in quick flashbacks and imagined conversations.
  • This is a real, raw moment my man.
  • And so our protagonist escapes from the confining maw of the rat race, of meaningless lists and words that need other words to define them, throws up his consumer breakfast, and finds himself renewed in the presence of a friend (or the memory of one), nature, and warm uncertainty. It’s not a bad story, nor one that suffers from the retelling, nor even from the (welcome, actually) complexity of Dean and Simon’s relationship not being entirely positive nor nostalgic. But there’s something…missing. I can’t put my finger on it exactly - and it might just be a personal thing - but there’s something not there that feels like it needs to be.
  • In any case, a sure hand and confident prose.
  • RANKING: High

That's all folks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asDlYjJqzWE

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


Nice crits, thanks.

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~




apophenium posted:

Nice crit, thanks.

Maigius
Jun 29, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Exmond posted:

I don't really understand this post. But since you highlighted part of Ironic Twist's crit, Ironic Twist I apologize if you took my crit badly. It was meant to be praising your story and damning my own reading comprehension.

Secondly, I guess I'll stop posting crits. The bit about my story was an experiment, since I need to spend more time analyzing and taking advice on my own stories.

Thank you for the crit!

jesus don't be such a snivelling weeble, crits are good, keep doing them, don't flounce

Ninjalicious
Feb 21, 2010


apophenium posted:

Nice crits, thanks.

Ninjalicious
Feb 21, 2010


I








N


I hope you like puzzle stories.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Good crittin' up in here; thank you Fuschia and doof!

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BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

Sitting Here posted:

k let's move on

no let's not


make them fight

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