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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Thank you for your kind words, Staggy. I appreciate it.

Iíll get down to doing my duty straight away with a minimum of loving around, as outlined in the directions. Iíll edit in my prompt shortly. Since as you say this was my first time in the dome, I want to make sure the prompt I have in mind isnít too similar to one you guys have already done so I'll doublecheck the archive first. I'll focus my attention here, then crit the rest of the people in CCCXI after.

I've read all the archives and am satisfied that I'm not retreading old ground. For my first round in the throne, I'd like to get personal with you, so we can get to know each other better.

Week CCCXII: Family Motto
When I was younger, my dad would occasionally ask me "Son, what's our family motto?" and I would dutifully reply "Family, work, and duty and always in that order."

That's your prompt this time around. You don't need to include the quote in the text. All genres are welcome, I'd like to see what I'm dealing with here.

I will keep the no erotica and fanfic rules on the table, but I'll also ban incest and surprise sex. Feel free to get sexy if you feel it serves your story, but if I wanted hardcore pornography, I could switch to any of the other 11 tabs I have open right now.

Flash Rules available upon request. If you would like one, I'll edit them into this post for your ease of reference.
Staggy Your story must incorporate the word "ramshackle."



Word Limit 1,500 words
Signup Deadline Friday July 27 11:59 PM Central Time (US)
Submission Deadline Sunday July 29 11:59 PM Central Time (US)

Open to cojudges. Two, if you please, and Iíll edit in your names accordingly.


JUDGES

Invisible Clergy
Antivehicular
crabrock

ENTRANTS

Staggy
Jay W. Friks
apophenium
Thranguy
CascadeBeta
Yoruichi
Uranium Phoenix
Tyrannosaurus
sebmojo

Invisible Clergy fucked around with this message at Jul 30, 2018 around 13:17

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Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes


With absolutely no idea of what the theme will be I'm in - hit me with a flash rule too!

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


I'd like to judge this week. Also, to get my lingering judgecrits done this week before submission deadline.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In for mystery prompt

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


I'm in. love a good mystery. Also a for prior failures

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 that order, interesting.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Week 311 crits



IMPORTANT NOTE: Iíve been watching a lot of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?, which is a campy 90s anthology show hosted by Jonathan Frakes. The format is basically a series of poorly-acted vignettes, with Frakes giving smarmy commentary in between, challenging the viewer to guess which vignettes are made up and which are based on actual events (allegedly). I decided that by default I am going to assume all of these stories are by the writers of that series (bad) unless your story proves itself otherwise (by being good).

IDK why Iím doing this for this particular week, thereís no connection to the prompt. Maybe I thought of it because most of the vignettes involve an ordinary situation, such as a routine day at work, going horribly wrong and/or spooky. Mostly it was an excused to write bad Jonathan Frakes-esque rhetorical puns.

Overall this week was okay, though it was made a bit sour by failscum.


Erainor

The sexy, high-powered demoness lawyer is a bit of a tired trope. Iím not even sure how many sexy, high-powered demonsesses Iíve encountered in media, but any time you open up the story with a description of a hot demon babe, you raise the barrier to enjoyment to the height of my extremely raised eyebrow. Most of this story is just you describing the premise. Everything up until the BANG BANG! is just background and exposition. The ending doesnít offer much, either; Lucifer shows up and pointedly does nothing, and Rien is summarily imprisoned by barista/archangel Gabriel. Why Gabe didnít do this sooner is probably the only interesting question in the whole story; was heaven waiting for hell to get those 666 evil souls before putting Rien out of commission? Also, for as buxom and attractive and supposedly competent as Rien is, she is still thoroughly put in her place at the end and no one cares. Thatís not terribly satisfying because it makes it seem like there was no other choice she could make to change the outcome. Her story is a straight line.

Trade: Evil lawyer
Tools: Boobs (evil, hypnotic)
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: High
Frakes-ism: Did this devilís tale really happen? Or does this story have a snowflakeís chance in hell of being true?


Pham Nuwen

This is a story that juxtaposes plaque extraction with the excision of a brother with a chronic drug problem. A bit of dialog from the patient at the beginning sets us up for the feelings evoked by the rest of the piece: ĒI always kind of like and hate the cleaning, you know?[...]Feels weird but in a good way." Eric is a pretty good guy, as protagonists go. He tries to do his best and draws the line when he realizes he can only enable his brother by continuing to house him. What didnít jive for me about this piece was the aforementioned juxtaposition (god i sound like an rear end in a top hat) of dentistry and family angst; the B-story metaphor is too neatly lined up with the A-story plot, if that makes sense. This story leaps onto my chest, grabs my by the ears and screams SOMETIMES MAKING THE HEALTHY CHOICE IS UNCOMFORTABLE BUT NECESSARY.

Trade: Dentist, extremely reasonable brother
Tools: Dental tools, severing skills
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: Low
Frakes-ism: Is this the true story of brotherhood gone rotten? Or have you fallen into the cavity of a lie?


Antivehicular

This story makes me want to run a prompt where people have to worldbuild without having their characters leave a single room. I was able to get a pretty clear image of this world, the conflicting values, and the stakes. Cool! The story was a bit slow, though--not tedious, but I was getting nervous as I read because it was all this very meticulous description. You pull it out nearly too late when you introduce us to the eager student, and thereís enough of a change in the main character to satisfy my low, beastial need for protagonal dynamicism. But there was a few moments there where to story was going ďlook! Look at all these neat details!Ē and I am going aaah but whereís this going? It got there in the end, but not with a moment to spare.

Trade: Mortician, zombie prevention
Tools: A sonicator, strong feelings about cremation as a common sense zombie prevention tactic.
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: Low
Frakes-ism: Did you exhume the truth of this story? Or did you have grave doubts?


Lippincott

I havenít critted you before I donít think. Hello! Hopefully you find this helpful and not offputting.

I find it really hard to enjoy reading about any of these people. I hate* the kids because you wrote about all the annoying poo poo kids do and none of the rad poo poo. I hate the dad because heís an rear end in a top hat who sends his wife off to her parents with two extremely high maintenance children, but he drives a BMW so I think heís at least supposed to be an rear end in a top hat. I hate the mom because she solves her problem by spontaneously buying a new car on what is a relatively short trip.

*Okay, maybe Ďhateí is a strong word for my feelings, but I didnít find much in the way of relatability here. All of my sympathy for Mom went out the window when I realized she could basically solve her whole problem by throwing money at it, something your average parent is unlikely to be able to do. She basically god-moded her way out of having to deal with her inability to moderate her kidsí behavior. And maybe thatís the point of this story! If so, you needed to make that more clear. As it is, this reads like a study in how unpleasant people are made (and sustained) without any real commentary or unique insight. There are a bunch of decent turns of phrase and some of the details are pretty fun (the bit with the wet wipes was great), but as it is, youíve successfully written an obnoxious situation, which isnít the most enjoyable to read!

Trade: Mom
Tools: Her husband (lmao), a good credit score apparently
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: Moderate
Frakes-ism: Did this mother really drive herself to the brink of insanity? Or was the author just kidding around?


Thranguy

You really put your flash rule to good use here, and it resulted in the sort of story that one wouldnít necessarily think to write otherwise. The voice is strong, the whole thing reads briskly, and I got a great sense of the bigger picture of your setting even though we donít ďseeĒ anything outside of this interrogation facility. The ending is a little bit fuzzy; I think itís because the narrator is basically telling us the stakes and consequences of this interrogation. Weíre taking his word for everything, and while I believe heís a reliable narrator, itís hard to guess at what the actual, tangible result of this particular incident will be. Not sure how you would avoid that minor issue in a story like this.

Trade: Spy
Tools: Super nifty spy paperclip, acceptance of situation
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: Very low
Frakes-ism: Did this spy really vow to take CIA secrets to his grave? Or was the author feeding you bad intelligence?


Invisibly Clergy

I was curious about the short, stilted lines at the beginning. But the prose kind of picked up steam with the story in a way that really worked for me. This feels very modern, like the first draft of something I might read in a small lit pub. I really like the light brush you paint everything with, and Linh is an interesting character with an understandable reason for the underhanded and uncanny things she does. This story manages to feel vaguely cyberpunk and also a little bit...not urban fantasy, not magical realism, but like...fantastical realism? Is that a thing? The only weak bit is the ending, because I feel like you ran out of words just before the narrative could cinch up strongly. The reader has to make a lot of assumptions about why the cops are there, specifically how they arrived at Linh as a person of interest. Otherwise, this was my personal favorite of the week.

Trade: Stylist? Not sure what I would call her since she does a bit of everything. Oh and magic-user
Tools: Blood, hair, the usual magic stuff.
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: very low.
Frakes-ism: Does this hair-raising story of magic gone wrong have the needle-prick of truth? Or were there too many split ends?


Kaishai

Your use of lovely description and whimsical props (the stones, gems, and painted birds) made this a pleasure to imagine. Pretty much everything about this is good, so Iíll just cut to my critical thoughts. I almost think you couldíve done more characterization if youíd limited the major characters to Gregoire and Lady Julianne, and further mused on the nature of the Godsí gift of magical peahens. I understand the role that Tomas is meant to play; his innocent wonder and naive desire to protect something beautiful and flawed is what moves the plot away from the status quo. But I think his presence came at the expense of developing any one character or detail beyond necessity. Thatís not to say that there arenít nice little details sprinkled throughout, but Iím more of a sensory/concept/character study sort of person so Iím always thirsty for more of that, and will tolerate a weaker plot in service of it (you may have noticed this in some recap recordingsÖ).

Trade: Magic egg-cracker, bird painter
Tools: A wee helper, a steady disposition, egg-crackiní hands
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: Very low
Frakes-ism: Do you believe this gem-studded tale of flawless innocence? Or did you spot the imperfections of a lie?

Erainor
Dec 30, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Sitting Here posted:

Week 311 crits



IMPORTANT NOTE: Iíve been watching a lot of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?, which is a campy 90s anthology show hosted by Jonathan Frakes. The format is basically a series of poorly-acted vignettes, with Frakes giving smarmy commentary in between, challenging the viewer to guess which vignettes are made up and which are based on actual events (allegedly). I decided that by default I am going to assume all of these stories are by the writers of that series (bad) unless your story proves itself otherwise (by being good).

IDK why Iím doing this for this particular week, thereís no connection to the prompt. Maybe I thought of it because most of the vignettes involve an ordinary situation, such as a routine day at work, going horribly wrong and/or spooky. Mostly it was an excused to write bad Jonathan Frakes-esque rhetorical puns.

Overall this week was okay, though it was made a bit sour by failscum.


Erainor

The sexy, high-powered demoness lawyer is a bit of a tired trope. Iím not even sure how many sexy, high-powered demonsesses Iíve encountered in media, but any time you open up the story with a description of a hot demon babe, you raise the barrier to enjoyment to the height of my extremely raised eyebrow. Most of this story is just you describing the premise. Everything up until the BANG BANG! is just background and exposition. The ending doesnít offer much, either; Lucifer shows up and pointedly does nothing, and Rien is summarily imprisoned by barista/archangel Gabriel. Why Gabe didnít do this sooner is probably the only interesting question in the whole story; was heaven waiting for hell to get those 666 evil souls before putting Rien out of commission? Also, for as buxom and attractive and supposedly competent as Rien is, she is still thoroughly put in her place at the end and no one cares. Thatís not terribly satisfying because it makes it seem like there was no other choice she could make to change the outcome. Her story is a straight line.

Trade: Evil lawyer
Tools: Boobs (evil, hypnotic)
Likelihood this was written by the BB:FoF writers: High
Frakes-ism: Did this devilís tale really happen? Or does this story have a snowflakeís chance in hell of being true?


In my brain and on my draft paper I wrote down the tool was the contract. Also, I loved that show! It was campy as hell.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


The prompt is no longer a mystery, writers. I updated that post with the information.

Since I'm loving retarded, I misread the directions and wrote critiques for the other guys in this round. Should I post them now while we wait on the actual judges this round, wait until the people who judged are finished and then voice my stupid opinions, or keep them to myself entirely? I've got about 2500 words here, and thought it might be helpful for the other writers.

Thanks for the crit, Sitting Here, very helpful. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Never heard the term "fantastical realism" before, but I'll take it.

I loved "Beyond Belief" when I was a kid. That was a fun show.

Invisible Clergy fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2018 around 18:05

Lippincott
Jun 28, 2018

You weren't born to just pay bills and die.

You must suffer.

A lot.


Sorry, not sure where best to respond to crits but just wanted to say thank you. I'm miffed with myself I didn't give ya'll something better to read.

Sitting Here posted:

Week 311 crits

Lippincott

I havenít critted you before I donít think. Hello! Hopefully you find this helpful and not offputting. [...]

Thank you so much for the honest criticism. I am glad you found the pieces of it enjoyable that I was moderately proud of and had the emotional response I wanted. What I did with that response fell flat, which is something I need to work on and hope to do so with good feedback like what you've given.

Staggy posted:

Week 311 Results - From Apprentice to Master
The dishonourable mention goes to Lippincott. Parenting as a trade or skill is exactly the sort of non-obvious take on the theme I was hoping for. Sadly a lack of polish and some truly unbelievable dialogue did not help your execution.

I struggle with dialogue (obviously). Any advice that you are willing to offer me in this area, I would be truly grateful for - especially with specifics and insights into how to rework pieces for believably. Suggestions for short story collections that I can get on paper, which really shine for dialogue...? I have a hard time reading through archives here for any length of time due to screen/eyesight issues. I can sign onto IRC later if that's an option. I don't get out much/observe conversation/have discussions as part of my daily life so it's a weakness in my writing that needs vast improvement.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

Invisible Clergy posted:

The prompt is no longer a mystery, writers. I updated that post with the information.

Since I'm loving retarded, I misread the directions and wrote critiques for the other guys in this round. Should I post them now while we wait on the actual judges this round, wait until the people who judged are finished and then voice my stupid opinions, or keep them to myself entirely? I've got about 2500 words here, and thought it might be helpful for the other writers.

The judges handed down their ruling already so

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


Sham Bam Bamina was TOO SCURRED so I'ma fight mockingquantum instead.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Writing bonus crits is always cool, whether you participated in the week or not.

Also, thanks to SH and MQ for your crits!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

Solitair posted:

Sham Bam Bamina was TOO SCURRED so I'ma fight mockingquantum instead.

I will draw and quarter you with a blunt letter opener, then fill your body with wordbees, then freeze your skull in carbonite and use it to top my writerly skullthrone

TLDR BRING THE HEAT

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

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

I'll bite. In,

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


MockingQuantum posted:

I will draw and quarter you with a blunt letter opener, then fill your body with wordbees, then freeze your skull in carbonite and use it to top my writerly skullthrone

TLDR BRING THE HEAT

you are the jonathan franzen of thunderdome

which is to say you are not a particularly good writer at all

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Solitair posted:

Sham Bam Bamina was TOO SCURRED so I'ma fight mockingquantum instead.

Antivehicular posted:

Writing bonus crits is always cool, whether you participated in the week or not.

Also, thanks to SH and MQ for your crits!


Alright. I want a clean brawl, no fanfiction, no erotica, nothing but bursting machismo, imposingly muscular prose and unrestrained chutzpah. You have no word limits, and one week exactly from the time of this post. To the winner, infinite glory. To the loser, mild humiliation.

And as for your prompt?

Magical Girls. Anime is blood, blood feeds the 'Dome!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

Solitair posted:

you are the jonathan franzen of thunderdome

which is to say you are not a particularly good writer at all

I can't disagree with that statement but I WILL END YOU FOR SAYING IT

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


MockingQuantum posted:

The judges handed down their ruling already so

Okey dokey.

crits:

Uradriendra

Iím going to level with you and start off with the first thing I noticed as my first comment, even though it breaks the compliment sandwich model favored in most critiques:

That is a bad name.

I want you to take that name and write it on a post-it and give it to your wife or your mom or your friend and ask them to read it out loud without any prompting.

What you hear is what I experienced in vaporlock while I was trying to sound this out.

The individual phonemes are simple enough, but the word has a horrible mouthfeel. Ur(beat)ad(beat)ree(beat)end(beat)rah.

That just canít be the effect you wanted.

Iím all for making up fantasy names, but try to give some consideration to how they function as names.

On to content:

Your description of Uradriendra is just terrible. I read the first paragraph assuming your piece was going to be a piece of ďMy ImmortalĒ style parody because you take every bad writing cliche and play it completely straight.

Telling me how boner-inducent Uradriendra is? Check.
Listing her height in feet and inches? Check.
Name-dropping some fancy clothes thing without telling me what the gently caress it looks like? Check.
Listing the color of her hair without describing it? Check.

Iím sure you know what Uradriendra looks like from drawing her on the inside of your trig notebook or what have you, so certain details seem unnecessary to you, but the reader does not have this information. Writing is not like tv. If Iím watching tv, I can spot some piece of art on the wall the director may not have had at the forefront of his mind while heís shooting the main character. The same is not true in writing. I canít notice anything if you donít talk to me about it.

For the next piece you write, if you must describe your characterís physical appearance (and ask yourself, must you?) I recommend you banish height, weight, hair and eye color, and description of the brand names of his/her clothing from your repetoire.

Imagine you were giving the cops a description of Uradriendra. Would you say ďshe was 6 feet and had platinum hair and wore a Versace dress?Ē Of course you wouldnít, because thatís not useful information. I wonít tell you what you should focus on, since that will be up to style, but I will say specific details are always better than broad strokes with this kind of thing, and in flash fiction (or even in longer works) you may not need to describe your characterís appearance at all. Look at some of the other entries, they by and large did not choose to burn their first paragraph on this, and I am not left wanting because of that.

Another thing about description:

Donít just dump it all over me at once, especially not in the beginning of the story. I donít know who Uradriendra is yet. I donít care about her, so Iím not interested in this interminable statblock of what she looks like.

Put description in if and when it is relevant to whatís happening. For example, Uradriendra picks up a glass of wine, hey, you can describe her fingernails (What style are they in? Does she have french tips? Gloss? Coat? Color is always the weakest form of characterization because it doesnít tell us anything useful or interesting) or her lips (Sheís a succubus, Iím sure you have all kinds of words about her lips. Let me see them!)

I assume you know about show donít tell, so I wonít beat you to death with a description, but ďshe was the best lawyer money can buyĒ is textbook tell. If sheís hot poo poo, let me see her doing that and come to that conclusion on my own.

I never have a sense of space or groundedness for the first half of this thing. Some unseen, omniscient narrator is dumping all this boring information I donít care about (Donít spend half your prompt in a contest this short on generic fantasy worldbuilding, it is not helping you.)

The Faustian pact thing is a popular trope, but you donít do anything interesting with it. How is it different from any other time Iíve seen it?

Donít capitalize ďTheĒ in ďthe Strangler.Ē

Then suddenly weíre in the courtroom, and you actually set the scene? This is more like what you shouldíve been doing the whole time, but Iím badly jarred from this transition. In a piece this short, itís not necessary to name all the incidental characters. I donít know whoís important or who I should pay attention to.

ďNo matter, she thought, I can better prove myself if I have to win fairly.Ē

What is this?

Youíre in omniscient third for the whole thing, and now youíre in close third with untagged first person interior monologue.

Thatís a mess. You can see that, right?

Setting aside the fact that this line is completely unnecessary, you couldíve said. ďNo matter. She could better prove herself if she had to win fairly.Ē

I would know that was a thought coming from her head because thatís where we are now. Itís called ďfree indirect techniqueĒ and itís useful for when characters are thinking, so you can avoid this.

ďHaughtily.Ē
Terrible. Donít do poo poo like this. You know why. If you donít, then generally speaking, dread -ly adverbs are best avoided. If they are germane to the situation, they are unnecessary, since we can already tell the character is doing the thing that way. If they arenít (How do you ďhaughtilyĒ pull out a credit card?) then theyíre just confusing.

Why does this hot poo poo, ďgeniusĒ by informed ability succubus lawyer just stupidly sign poo poo on her last day working at the hell store when she knows Satan is presiding over her trial and is somehow not helping her win the case? This behavior is at odds with your prior characterization of her and it doesnít seem intentional, more like you ran out of room and didnít realize you didnít have an ending yet so shoehorned one in.

Also, the ultimate failing here is that I just donít care. A succubus works damning the souls of bad guys, but gets fired. Okay, so what? Why do I not want that to happen? If you have answers to these questions next time, your story will be more successful.

Regular cleanings are essential to good oral health

I really enjoyed your story.

The first read through, I felt like the present and flashback scenes were too divorced from one another. On the second, once I had a good feeling for the rhythm youíd struck, it felt far less pitchy. Good pacing all around.

This prompt gave us the opportunity to do writersí favorite thing: list a bunch of small, specialized objects, and you took advantage of that. You set the scene clearly and immediately and without infodumping, you weave it in to the characterís thoughts and the dialogue very quickly. I know Iím in a dentistís office.

I have mixed feelings about ďmarveling at how much nasty stuff was jammed in such a little place.Ē In a vacuum, itís a serviceable line objectively describing whatís going on, but I itís not something a dental hygienist would think to themselves. They see some pretty awful poo poo cleaning calculus off peopleís teeth, especially if Nick is a meth addict, who probably has a horrific mouth, this patient wouldnít be that bad in comparison.

I know metatextually the line is just there to foreshadow for Eric finding the drugs later, but when you use foreshadowing, the line should also function as what it is in addition to setting up what comes later. I donít think this line does that, even if the foreshadowing is clear and Iím set up for whatís coming next.

You seem a little afraid of using ďsaid.Ē I promise it wouldnít harm your story in the least to get rid of a few ďwarnedsĒ and ďanswereds,Ē but itís not a big deal.

Overall, I like it a lot. The anticlimax is very fitting for this kind of story, because there isnít necessarily a sense of finality here, maybe just getting Nick out of his teeth for a few more years. Well done.

Respect for the Dead
I really enjoy the concept of this story. This ought to be the example for goons who want to do sf/f and are wondering how not to get tripped up and waste half their wordcount on prologue/worldbuilding. I know the important details of your setting, that there are zombies, that itís an accepted part of life, and that theyíre regarded in a mundane, utilitarian fashion with special tools to deal with them.

The dynamic between Mike and the people heís lecturing is well-rendered. If youíve ever been through like an active shooter certification or a workplace sexual harassment training or anything like that, this definitely evokes the same feeling of awkwardness and uneasy silence while the speaker talks.

Your story begins, progresses, and ends on quiet downbeats, but I donít feel like thereís anything serious missing. Youíve definitely got a clear arc here. Solid story.

3 Hours
Why did you choose to write your piece in the present tense?

Iím aware litfic people like Don Delillo, who I assume youíre imitating here, do it for some arbitrary reason, but they have the advantage of having a whole book for you to get used to it and ignore it. Youíre writing 1200 words here, you donít want me to spend half of it finding my sea legs. There isnít any action in your story, so a sense of immediacy with a non-literary work such as ďHunger GamesĒ isnít it either.

When you make a choice this distracting, there ought to be a reason.

I know youíre writing a hateful caricature of dumb, awful Midwestern people from flyoverland that could be extras in a Chuck Palahniuk novel, but my lip shouldnít be curling with hatred before I have a chance to know anything about them. Giving characters names like ďChadĒ and ďLeesaĒ is lazy the same way using stereotypical characters in the first place is. Youíre admitting you arenít confident that youíll get me to hate your character, so youíll give him the name of every gay-bashing date rapist popcollar fuckstick and hope that my extant hatred will transfer. Don't do this.

I donít care how old these lovely loving kids are. Same as I told Erainor when he listed his character's height in feet and inches, donít include boring information like this unless itís important.

Oh boy, cancer! Now Iím guarunteed to have to feel bad for your cardboard characterís cardboard dad!



I donít know Karenís dad. Why should I care if he has cancer? Just like you canít take on a lionís strength by wearing his pelt, you canít just have your story be sad because you cried during ďA Fault in Our StarsĒ or whatever exploitative sicklit trash. 13 year old girls didnít cry in that movie because someone died, they did it because they liked and cared about the character prior to that. Youíre skipping the work and just getting to the reward. It doesnít work like that.

You shoot yourself in the rear end here with the choice of tense when you try to do flashback because youíve got to tie yourself all in knots using past perfect, which sticks out from the rest even more.

You should talk to some kids, too, or at least read some books about developmental milestones. Unless Chad is literally mentally handicapped instead of being merely retarded in the colloquial sense, he shouldnít be talking like the Incredible Hulk at 4.

Speaking of diction, why is Karen saying poo poo like ďI thought we establishedĒ to a 4 year old? Sheís the sitcom wife in this Febreeze commercial, so sheís supposed to be canny and practical. Sheíd talk to him using language he could understand.

Your tense is rearing up on you again. To shift focus to the other lovely, ill-behaved kid, you have to bend and prune yourself into present participle. Thatís awkward.

Itís here it becomes evident that you donít know what pov youíre doing. Where is our focus? Is it on Jeff? Is it on Karen?

Oh, your story stopped? Great. Note I donít say ďendedĒ because in order for it to end, it wouldíve had to start. Nothing happens in this story. A bunch of jackoffs drive in a car. The end. I hate these loving awful people when they donít control their spawn during a movie, on an airplane, or in a sit-down restaurant. I donít want to read about their loving banal pointless existence unless they get obliterated by an 18-wheeler. Main characters can be evil or unlikable, but I still have to have some reason to care about them. There just isnít a story here, but thereís also no character or setting. Shelve your copy of ďWhite NoiseĒ and turn over your photo of that barn, they are hurting you.

Tradecraft

Minor thing, but I clung to ďShirts and SkinsĒ as a motif in your story. I think it wouldíve made a more interesting title.

Your story was very cool. I immediately understand that you picked present tense because your main is in immediate danger, and I canít just smugly say ďduhhh I know he gets out alive at the end if itís in past tense, because heís telling it to me nowĒ this way. It is unobtrusive and adds a measurable urgency to your story.

I love ďvarious sorts of no good.Ē Itís got a great lilt to it. The bit about the paperclip is a lot of fun. It reads like one of those explanation scenes from ďBurn Notice.Ē Itís peppy and interesting and you donít leave your guyís voice to deliver it.

Normally I dislike flash fiction stories that end with the main character dying, but yours really works. Because itís not treated as a twist or tragedy or punishment or release, itís just kind of a thing that happens. He knew it from the beginning. I didnít notice til the end you didnít name your guy. I like that since heís a spy. It wouldnít be important to him. I love the style of this story.

Gift of the Gods
Iím somewhat at a loss for how to crit this story, beyond saying I didnít really understand it. Iím not saying that out of some snobbery toward high fantasy, itís a genre Iím perfectly comfortable with. I just donít think I fully grasp what happened in your story:

The two grooms candle eggs, crack the ones with jewels, and give them to their lady, the grooms see a good jewel, or donít want to kill a bird or something, smuggle a jewel into the loft, city guard find them, beat one of them, and then birds fly, the end? Why did the guard let them go?

I donít have a clear sense of beginning, middle, or end here. I reread your story 3 times, and Iím fairly certain thatís not my fault. I have nothing cutting or scornful to say about your writing itself. I personally donít like a bunch of flowery descriptions of the colors of jewels, but I know well enough that itís endemic to this style of fantasy and you do it very well. I can easily envision the various chickens and their cool tattoos, but I have more trouble visualizing what is happening in the story on a more general level.

I will keep an eye on what the judge(s) have to say about your story in case that sheds any light on the situation, because I do want to give you useful constructive criticism on how to improve, but itís hard for me to do that as it stands now.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

ThirdEmperor posted:

Alright. I want a clean brawl, no fanfiction, no erotica, nothing but bursting machismo, imposingly muscular prose and unrestrained chutzpah. You have no word limits, and one week exactly from the time of this post. To the winner, infinite glory. To the loser, mild humiliation.

And as for your prompt?

Magical Girls. Anime is blood, blood feeds the 'Dome!

Alright one week til I bodyslam Solitair off the top rope with my Moon Crystal Power

And here's the goddamn , nothing like toxxing before my last toxx ban kicks in, bathe me in the blood of thunderdome losers

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Editing your posts? In my brawl? You walk a dangerous line Quantum. You're a loose cannon!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

ThirdEmperor posted:

Editing your posts? In my brawl? You walk a dangerous line Quantum. You're a loose cannon!

THE 'DOME CANNOT CONTAIN MY MOONLIGHT LOVE FORCE ENERGY

also I me read bad

MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2018 around 18:31

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Right, glad we're all having a lovely time, but make sure you are signing up for the week in equal measure to your chatter.

Also I would like it if someone who's judged before would step and help our freshly minted boss judge

e: I didn't see AntiV had stepped up! Yay for having 3 judges on board by Tuesday, though!

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jul 24, 2018 around 21:34

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Five victims so far. Not too bad for just a few hours.

I thought Antivehicular had judged a bunch of times? Maybe I read the archive wrong. Either way, he's been nice enough to step up.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

i will judge as penance for my thunderdome slackery the last few months.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Cool, I appreciate your help. I edited you into the post at the top of the page. That's three of us.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Lippincott posted:

Sorry, not sure where best to respond to crits

IRC is the place if you want to discuss crits. Or PM people, theyíll probably be cool with that. Or theyíll brawl you, but, yíknow, thatís fun too.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

the best place to respond to crits is in your next story, by thinking about the crit and making your writing better.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes


Week 311 Crits

Erainor - Uradriendra

This felt like exposition rather than a story. It was like something an NPC in Skyrim would tell me before giving me a quest. And it's all just a little bit too clichť. Sexy blonde lawyer, demon lawyer... and I mean that's before getting to things like "666 souls" or "Gabe".

I got a sense of enthusiasm from the story but it was like you were really excited to tell me about an awesome new bit of lore you came up with for your next DnD campaign but never stopped to consider why I should care. "This happened then this happened then this happened. The end. No moral!"

Tell me about how Rien convinced clients to sign the contract. Tell me about the tricks she uses to ensure a "not guilty" outcome. Tell me why a demon loves Starbucks. Tell me why the "most deranged serial killer of the modern era" presumably just strangles people (and only 13 at that).

Still, you got words down on a page.

Pham Nuwen - Regular cleanings are essential to good oral health

The dialogue felt natural and I really liked how you switched between the two scenes. The dentist's office scene acted as a nice balance to the rising tension of the flashback. The imagery, as others have noted, works well.

I guess I was just expecting a bit ... more. My notes while reading this go from "this is building up to something cool" to "oh that's the end" in the space of a paragraph. I mean, from the gum cleaning imagery I get that the cycle with the brother is just something routine and dragging that has to be suffered through but at the end of the day there's no confrontation, just the brother being kicked out while at work. It felt like a missed opportunity.

The characterisation was solid though. I really got a sense of history between the two without anything having to be explicitly spelled out.

Antivehicular - Respect for the Dead

The opening dialogue attribution is a little unclear. After that, though, you do a very efficient job of setting the scene - you pack a lot of worldbuilding into a very few details. My notes picked up on the boarded-up window early on and said it was out of place in contrast to the rest of the scene - then it all clicked later on.

I mentioned it in the judgepost but you did a very good job of taking a fictional trade and made up tools and making them feel very real. It helps to make a story that boils down to "man gives lecture on tools" feel grounded and, well, important.

The dialogue is a bit clunky throughout and the ending felt slightly rushed but the little things like the "Dignity Society" implied just enough of a world for my imagination to fill in the blanks.

Lippincott - 3 Hours

The very first thing on the page is dialogue that isn't very well attributed. It's a little thing that stands out more because it's literally the first thing you see. After that the dialogue really holds things back. The children don't sound like children, they sound like cartoon cavemen. I think it would help in future if you read your dialogue out loud to yourself because some of it just ... grates. I actually liked some of the non-dialogue lines more - "Chad asks if Mickey Mouse will be there." is a great comic beat that didn't need a response.

As I mentioned before, I liked that you went with something other than the obvious for the theme. It just felt a bit unclear what the tools of parenting here were - treats? The quiet game?

The ending was a real swerve as well. All of the tension you had built up was dissipated when the protagonist just ... buys a nicer car. When you're turning off the highway I thought "oh hey we're off to McDonalds/etc." continuing the theme of food as a parenting tool. That could have been a nice ending - the kids finally shut up giving the mum a moment of quiet to reflect and develop as a character, giving us the ending scene.

You had a good idea but it could have just used another editing pass or two.

Thranguy - Tradecraft

You had a strong opening scene and some tight action afterwards. In addition, I may be biased but this was a great take on the week's theme. One of the notes I made was "Aww yeah McGuyver this poo poo the gently caress up for me" with the introduction of the tacti-cool paperclip.

The "shirts and skins" thing could have been a little bit tighter but I have no real complaints. The ending was a bit unclear, though. I got it but it took a couple of readings to work out what was going on.

I keep going back and forth on whether this would have worked better with a normal paperclip but that's just me being me. I liked the larger picture with the protagonist essentially being a tool himself. A solid effort.

Invisible Clergy - Live and Let Dye

That loving pun.

I found the ultra-short paragraphs at the start a little bit grating but it's not unbearable. The little scraps of information built up a larger picture of the protagonist and her situation without having to explicitly spell it out.

I liked the blending of traditional and modern that runs throughout the whole thing. Just the idea of someone going "yeah I'll put a hex on them just let me get my PPE".

You won this week because there wasn't a whole lot to criticise but like a lot of the other stories the ending was a little weak. Because we don't know anything about how prevalent or public magic is we don't know what the significance of the police arriving is. If magic is public knowledge then yeah, the protagonist is in deep poo poo. If not then she's pretty drat safe and her reaction to the police is very different - unless you want to make the ending more about her realisation of what she's done, rather than fear of being arrested.

Kaishai Ė Gifts of the Gods

I like the concept for the story but the setting just feels a little loose. A little bit more background, a little bit more context and the whole thing would have felt much more grounded. This is probably the most traditional take on the craftsman theme and the characterisation of the protagonist fits that nicely. Little bits of the dialogue - like "Without regret!" - really help build up the characters.

A little more time spent in the middle of the story would have helped. As it is, Gregoire felt just a little too quick to leave (as did the birds at the end).

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe


Hi friend!

I happened to notice that you did some crits for the week that you won, which is great!

I also noticed that you seem to have decided that since you got crowned king of poo poo mountain in a low-turnout week, you're god's gift to TD writers.

I know you've got a busy week ahead of you, but why don't you take a break from lapping at your own rear end in a top hat and brawl me?

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Chili posted:

Happy Ranger Brawl Results

Hm. You know who's fault this is?

SittingHere. Yes, SittingHere, the loathsome and slothlike thing who promised to judge this brawl but then took so goshdamn long to get off her butt and post a prompt that, woops, here comes Chili with a yodeling ranger, and woops, there goes my chances at winning.

SH, as far as I'm concerned, y'all owe me a brawl scalp. I intend to collect in glorious combat.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


What? It's hard to hear you from way up on this throne. I think you said something about me lapping at my own rear end in a top hat? That can't have been right though, since it's common knowledge that's your mother's job.

There is no room for dissent on poo poo mountain. There is no god here. There is only this week's lead judge. Me. I will come down upon you like a bulimic at a Vegas buffet. Tales will be told of your total and abject humiliation at my hand. And they'll be a lot better than whatever lovely story you write.

I accept.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

ThirdEmperor posted:

Hm. You know who's fault this is?

SittingHere. Yes, SittingHere, the loathsome and slothlike thing who promised to judge this brawl but then took so goshdamn long to get off her butt and post a prompt that, woops, here comes Chili with a yodeling ranger, and woops, there goes my chances at winning.

SH, as far as I'm concerned, y'all owe me a brawl scalp. I intend to collect in glorious combat.

ok

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe




PROMPT FOR THE BLOODBRAWL

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



ThirdEmperor posted:

Hm. You know who's fault this is?

SittingHere. Yes, SittingHere, the loathsome and slothlike thing who promised to judge this brawl but then took so goshdamn long to get off her butt and post a prompt that, woops, here comes Chili with a yodeling ranger, and woops, there goes my chances at winning.

SH, as far as I'm concerned, y'all owe me a brawl scalp. I intend to collect in glorious combat.





What's that? A brawl in room 312? I'll be there straight away!



Pictured: SittingHere and ThirdEmperor

Prompt: Your story is set entirely in a hotel. It can be a space hotel, or a cool 20s gangster hotel, or whatever. I don't want any action to take place outside the hotel, not even in flashbacks.
Deadline: Monday July 30, midnight MST
Word limit: gently caress you, I'm not reading more than 1000 words of your garbage.

I see toxxes from you both, excellent, I'll see you in the lobby Monday night!

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


curlingiron posted:



(unfunny meme)

Jesus christ, this'll be easier than I thought.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

curlingiron posted:



PROMPT FOR THE BLOODBRAWL

CurlingClergy Brawl Prompt

JFC we're all go itt this morning aren't we. I will preside over the resolution of this dispute, whatever it's about.

You have 500 words. That's right, 500. We haven't done short in a while so let's see what you can do with that.

Your deadline is 5.00pm on Wednesday 1 August, NZ time. I don't know/care what time that is in wherever it is that you live.

Your prompt is: Adrenaline.

Be warned that if you write something really depressing I probably won't like it. You may write poetry but it better be bloody good.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

While Iím at it guess Iíll enter the week too.

In

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Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


Oh right, I forgot to .

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