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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


RESULTS: WEEK CCCXII: FAMILY MOTTO

This was overall a pretty good round. Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone.

Uranium Phoenix
Only the Coward Runs
Dishonorable mention: Please make your next piece less like the film "Doom."

Staggy
Family comes first
Honorable mention: Great twist, very careful attention to detail, clean and evocative writing.

Tyrannosaurus
it’s not cool to be scared
WINNER Strong voice, exciting, emotional story, clear stakes. Nothing to improve, so you win. Good job.

Yoruichi
I was Born with Water in my Veins
LOSER It hurts to do this to you when you are in a round with a story that's primarily about how a space marine kills demons with swords, and until I read your story, he was the clear loser in my mind. When I read yours, I had to reevaluate and determine what was more important. What is more of a failure, telling some kind of story where something happens, even if the writing is technically poor or telling a bunch of words with very beautiful flowery writing where there is no story? I guess you know the answer.

sebmojo
Paper and Ink
Honorable mention: Great figurative language, very well-sketched interpersonal dynamics, fantastic imagery. The bookends were a good touch.

Will post crits shortly.

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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


CRITS

Only the Coward runs

You have a problem with dialogue tags.

It’s okay to use “said.” For god’s sake, just use “said.” I like an action tag as much as the next guy, but when you’re contorting yourself into knots like “Her neck twitched in a nod” you need to take a step back. What does that look like? Is that what you’re actually trying to describe? Of course it’s not. “She nodded” is just fine. I’m not going to criticize you for having someone nod or say “yes”

Your action scene is not interesting because it doesn’t have any stakes. Reading through a novelization of a “Doom” level is not interesting, because what happens if the demons kill her? Why should I care?

I do not know where everyone is standing, so the actions in this scene seem largely arbitrary. “Two more blades lashed out.” Okay, from loving where?

If visualizing is hard for you, sketch out the scene on paper (stick figures are fine), or stage it with some of your action figures. This will make it clearer how many people there are in the scene and where they are standing. It’s harder to gently caress up and have people teleport around this way.

It’s also a good way to help solidify things about the environment the scene is taking place in. Think of a fight scene you enjoy. Even if the character isn’t Jackie Chan, hitting people with ladders and ropes and poo poo, the location it takes place in probably has some impact on what happens in it, right? When you’re sketching things out and thinking of where people stand, it might also help you know where it’s taking place, so you can convey that information to the reader to make the scene more interesting.

Here, They’re fighting in a featureless plane devoid of any particular detail. It could take place anywhere, really.

“Tears streamed down Yejide’s face. She remembered Yejide teaching her” I think this is a mistake. She remembered Waseme teaching her, right?

“ She gestured, gnarled fingers, for the broken blade.”

I don’t know what you’re doing with the punctuation here, but it’s wrong. If your aim is to use an appositive, you could say something like “She gestured, her fingers gnarled, for the broken blade.” That way the middle phrase, sandwiched by commas, is describing what came before it, in this case, how she’s gesturing.

“There was no time to think of tactics, only raw instinct and rage. Her tears flew as she fought, feet dancing like the mongoose among vipers, blade like the claws of the lion. There was nothing but the moment. Nothing but the wrath that blossomed from her sorrow. The demons fell back, and she ran.”

This section exists in sharp contrast to the fight scene I bitched about earlier. Do you see how much better it is when you describe what the things that are happening are like, and use language to suggest motion and mood and tone versus giving me an “and then and then and then” list of how she hits demon a with the sword, then hits demon b with the sword? This is a lot better. Do this, not that. I don’t know what specific moves she is doing here, but I don’t care, because I know how I’m supposed to feel.

“ holding the hoard “

Hoard is a pile of coins. Horde is a group of bad guys. When you’re not sure, please look it up.

“They found Grandma Waseme’s body still lying in her bed, mostly picked apart by scavengers. But her gnarled hands still clutched the broken blade, the edge stuck in one of the two demon corpses by her bed.”

“but” is a conjunction. There are only 7 conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. You use them to link a dependent clause onto an independent clause. If you want to join these sentences, then the period after “scavengers” ought to be a comma, and “but” shouldn’t be capitalized.

Before you dismiss this as pointless grammar nazi pedantry, ask yourself how you want these two sentences (or one sentence, whatever) to be read. If you chain it into one with a but, then there’s a long flow, like narration in an epilogue, which this is. If you excise the but entirely and make it a full sentence on its own, (Her gnarled hands…) then it comes off more staccato and matter-of-fact.

Do you want to say that her clutching the sword is at odds with her body being picked apart by scavengers? One long sentence with a but. Does the story not see a contradiction in those things? Two short sentences, no but.

Choices about things like this affect your story, so when you make them, it should be on purpose.

I like the internal journey Yejide is taken on in this story. There’s a clear arc where she learns how retreat isn’t always bad, and it’s clear that goes against her barbarian upbringing

Family comes first

You overuse the word “seem” and its variations. This weakens your writing. Did the screams come from behind the trees and snow or not? Did Father leap or not? It sacrifices clarity and is repetitive. Be more selective with it.

“wrenched it free (comma) Father “

Your ending is fantastic. I really enjoy stories that make me go back and reread, viewing things through a new lens. Everything checks out. Great attention to detail.

Foundation
“Bourbon” isn’t capitalized.

This story is great. Clear stakes, I can understand the dynamic between the mains without exposition.

I think you should rethink the detail you go into in the flashback where Cal kills Stacy. At this point, the reader already knows he buried her corpse in the foundation, so repeating that information just slows us down. Reread this section and see how it comes off if you stop immediately after “shot her.” That’s a much more exciting note to end the scene on. The rest of this information is already understood.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. As far as the outcome, I’m totally cool with Cal not killing himself. I really hate short stories where the pov dies at the end because the author couldn’t think of an actual ending. It’s more the execution.

You do a really good job of grounding and setting the scene in the other sections. Here, I’m a little unmoored until the last paragraph. Just a quick line at the beginning to tell me Cal’s not still at home, but is now at his office.

Same as earlier with not repeating what we already know, cut “not the gun.” If he’s reaching for the phone and said “not for long,” we know he isn’t killing himself, as we do from him calling the lawyer. I like the detail that he calls the cops too, which lets us know that he doesn’t think Ev turned him in after everything. That tells us a lot about their relationship.

Filicide, Parricide
Filicide is killing your brother. Infanticide is killing your babby who cannot fricht back?

“hung to” is not right. Go with either “clung to” or “hung on.” Mixing idioms is confusing, and takes me out of the story. I was already comfortably in, because you have a strong opening.

The past perfect progressive you’re using is very cumbersome. Most of the time, this is not necessary. If you just set the flashback apart from the present timeline with some asterisks or something, if your writing is clear (which it is) then I’ll know there’s been a time jump. You don’t need to change the tense if the whole scene is in the past versus you making allusion to something that took place in the past.

Nuts and bolts aside (because in my experience, advice that pertains to the technical aspects of grammar is often shrugged off saying no one cares about all that nerd bullshit) this is important because it robs your story of immediacy and lessens the emotional impact of your otherwise strong sentences.

Take “Fern had been right beside Dominic while he was strangled.” for example. This is a clear, powerful image that immediately grabs my interest and has me asking the questions you want. Why was he standing next to him while he was strangled? How did he get away? etc. But it’s slowed down by all that ballast in the middle of it. Contrast “Fern was right beside Dominic while he was strangled.”

You’re halfway there already. You lapse out of past perfect progressive and into simple past, because you know that’s just better writing. You know it’d be awkward to say “while he had been strangled,” so what I’m telling you is you’re not going far enough. If you’re not sure the audience will get there’s a time shift, have one or two sentences written that way at the beginning, then stop it and write normally, like when you have a character with an accent.

I like the scene with the witch. It’s evocative and does a good job letting me know how Fern feels in her presence.

The ending leaves me sort of cold. I guess it was dark on the night when his brother was killed or his dad wore a mask or something. I understand Fern not having any kind of external reaction when the witch tells him the news. But afterwards, I’m left somewhat wanting.

Writing throughout was pretty good, but the first half is much stronger than the second.

it’s not cool to be scared

Ah, at last, a good reason to depart from simple past. Present lends immediacy and is good for action. Solid opening.

Really good pidgin. Fantastic voice in general throughout.

Great choice of topic for the prompt.

I have pretty much nothing to suggest as far as improvement goes, just one small typo: “rock and grave” I assume you meant gravel. Not a big deal, but since it’s about nuclear war, I was given momentary pause. Check your spelling, spellcheck is free, but that’s why it’s poo poo.

I was Born with Water in my Veins


I think you screwed yourself with the distance in this story.

The choice of subject is fine, I guess. Inoffensive. But you stay really far removed from the main and all that’s going on around her for the bulk of the story.

I’m not one to say you have to use 1500 words if that’s what I give you, but this is the perfect example of the kind of story that could be improved by some more detail. I really don’t know anything about the pov’s family, so I don’t have strong feelings as a reader about whether she should stay there and wipe her grandmother’s rear end or go and not do that. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because her grandmother dies anyway. Your main doesn’t always have to win or control the universe, but they should make some kind of important choice in the story, even if it’s just an internal one.

You focus too much on pretty turns of phrase like the feet that grew roots, nourished with the island’s blood (which are successful at doing what sentences like that are supposed to do) but don’t spend any time on character or plot. You’re not doing poetry (I didn’t specifically ban it because I didn’t feel like I needed to) but this reads more like a passage from a verse novel than a short story.

Before you dismiss me as a philistine, I have no beef with verse as a form. The “Crank” series is a pretty good series of books as well as films, but this isn’t a good story to be told in that way. It’s too much like a linear short story to be a good poem.

But it’s in a limbo between these two things where it doesn’t succeed at being either. As a story, there’s not really much at stake. So the pov leaves. So what? Nothing irreconcilable is being done, and the grandmother could just as easily be a baby, animal, or houseplant. She doesn’t have any characterization, so I don’t care about her. You can’t just adopt the trappings of sad stories (an old person is sick) and then expect to elicit the same response in kind.

At the beginning, pov didn’t have a grandmother to take care of, at the ending, pov doesn’t have a grandmother to take care of. Both externally and internally, nothing important has changed.

1500 words is enough room to at least marginally characterize a second character. Thranguy does an excellent job of this with not one but two secondary characters in his story with only about 300 words more than you. Look at the kinds of things he did, and see if you think any of them would be useful to you in your own writing in the future. None of them are specific to crime fiction. They would do just as well with the poetic women’s fiction you’re doing.

There’s not much wrong with the way your writing sounds. It seldom clunks, but story and characterwise, it just doesn’t go anywhere.

Paper and Ink
Your opening is great. I love Daniel being "pressed in the corner by vehemence," it's a great turn of phrase, and I know exactly how he feels.

I like your figurative language. Usually I bitch about too many analogies because they confuse the reader, but here they do the exact opposite since you pick them well. They serve to clarify. Well done.

You really make your 1014 words work for you by cutting through all the bullshit and going with single well-chosen words when they'll do. Knowing the homewrecker is "blousy" is really all I need.

I think you can cut your penultimate paragraph entirely. Like I suggested to Thranguy, excise repeated information when you can, especially in a story that's really short and exciting like yours. In your case, it's more emotional, internal information rather than literal plot information, but I think a reader who's paying attention can tell how Daniel feels. This also moves us straight from the dad and mistress laughing to Daniel's thoughts of arson, which is a more dynamic and immediate juxtaposition versus having that middle passage in there.

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.


Here is a crit for Yoruichi's story, I was Born with Water in my Veins.

A person returns to the island of their mother’s birth out of grief and a vague sense of familial obligation. They struggle to fit in, feeling out of place. The stark simplicity and difficulty of life on the island pushes them farther and farther away, mentally. Their dying grandmother reminds them of their mom and in the first show of real emotion for the protagonist they cry and finally grieve their mom. This grief also enables them to leave the island to seek to their own path in life, whatever that may be.

Grief and repression and familial obligation are all heavy hitting themes. I think the story is a touch too distanced from these themes to do them a ton of justice. There’s a brief twinge here and there of identifying. Had the protagonist had more time to be a character these moments would have landed better. I liked the distorted mirror view in the beginning and the end. The boat noses ahead but the destinations are different. The implied emotion in “tears [fell] at the memory” undermined the outpouring of grief towards the end.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

didn't you have yoru winning in your first post lol

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

WHAT?!

So I am to take from this that head judge initially liked my plotless flimflam and then either Antivehicular or Crabrock talked them out of this, ROBBED me of my first win slapped the losertar on my rear end?

Which one of you was it? My SPERG rating demands retribution! Step up and FIGHT MEEEEEEEE

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

nah he still had tyran as his winner in his initial judgeblitz

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


sebmojo posted:

didn't you have yoru winning in your first post lol

You are mistaken.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

God dammit Sebmojo [insert rolling of eyeballs here]

But a good fight would still cheer me up so I’ll leave that offer on the table if anyone wants it

e: Actually wait Sebmojo this idiocy is your fault. You fight me

Yoruichi fucked around with this message at Aug 2, 2018 around 23:52

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Why not

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Yoruichi posted:

WHAT?!

So I am to take from this that head judge initially liked my plotless flimflam and then either Antivehicular or Crabrock talked them out of this, ROBBED me of my first win slapped the losertar on my rear end?

Which one of you was it? My SPERG rating demands retribution! Step up and FIGHT MEEEEEEEE

I don't have crits written yet, but spoiler warning: it was sort of the opposite of this, to the point that I may be rage-writing a prompt about it for if I ever win again

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


Yoruichi posted:

God dammit Sebmojo [insert rolling of eyeballs here]

But a good fight would still cheer me up so I’ll leave that offer on the table if anyone wants it

e: Actually wait Sebmojo this idiocy is your fault. You fight me

Yoruichi, toxx up and prepare for glorious combat. I'll judge.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


On August 9th, Midnight PST, you will both deliver a story about a completely pointless struggle. Let me be clear. This struggle should matter, and dearly, to the protagonist. You do not have an out to writing solid emotions and characters. But the outcome cannot significantly change the world. It can't deliver your protagonist a better or worse life, at least, not beyond the satisfaction of success. I'm looking for stories about Sisyphus rolling his boulder uphill, rivalries dearly held but inconsequential, doomed missions. Stories that matter all the more intensely to the people in them, precisely because they matter to no-one else.

The wordcount is 1200. Standard no erotica, no fanfic, etc applies.

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at Aug 3, 2018 around 01:08

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Can we kick it forward a week to 16 August I need time to procrastinate properly before doing it at the last minute

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


i want a were thing

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


how funny would it be if you got rhino?

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Invisible Clergy posted:

how funny would it be if you got rhino?

infinitely more funny than your posting

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Djeser posted:

infinitely more funny than your posting

Hurtful.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


fight him imo

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


sebmojo posted:

fight him imo

I don't really feel like it, I'm kind of down. But a brawl is probably the thing to take my mind off of stuff, and if I get a deadline in a week, that'll be plenty of time, especially since judging/crits are done. Sure, let's do it. Would you like to set up the prompt and judge, since you're the instigator?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

The Saddest Rhino posted:

i want a were thing

You got the extremely wild and animus were-Dall sheepram!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Invisible Clergy posted:

I don't really feel like it, I'm kind of down. But a brawl is probably the thing to take my mind off of stuff, and if I get a deadline in a week, that'll be plenty of time, especially since judging/crits are done. Sure, let's do it. Would you like to set up the prompt and judge, since you're the instigator?

that's the spirit.

djeser toxx up, and you can both give me 1000 words, with a prompt of spirits, of the booze kind - alcoholism can't be a plot point. 17 August 2359 PST.

kia kaha.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


sebmojo posted:

Can we kick it forward a week to 16 August I need time to procrastinate properly before doing it at the last minute

k.

Stuporstar
May 5, 2008

Where do fists come from?


Ok, I'm in, and prepared for fantastic failure. Give me a were-thing. Something with an extreme somethingness, if you please.

Stuporstar fucked around with this message at Aug 3, 2018 around 06:42

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Stuporstar posted:

Ok, I'm in, and prepared for fantastic failure. Give me a were-thing. Something with an extreme somethingness, if you please.

You got the anti-hypoxic were-Epaulette shark!

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


vamp

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

Thunderdome is getting old. Old people play bingo. Not to give too much away before you all finish writing your best and most exciting Twilight fanfiction but we'll be playing * b i n g o * next week.



Shhhh its a secret

I've done this prompt once before. But way way back in the tender year of 2014 I did a lot of the initial legwork myself and this go round I want things to be a little more participatory.


HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Great question. In order to create wonderfully varied bingo sheets, I need lots and lots of entries. And what I want for entries are all the reoccurring themes, archetypes, objects, settings, conflicts, characters, time periods, genres, etc., etc., etc. that continuously come up in YOUR writing. You can be as narrow or as specific as you'd like. This is a bit of a self-reflective exercise so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Writers rarely love anything more than their own work.

HOW DO I SUBMIT ENTRIES TO GO ON THE BINGO SHEETS?
Great question. I'm going to make this super easy. Just click here and fill out this google form. Shouldn't take more than a minute. It is only two questions, after all.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE? I HAVE STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S WRITING AND I NEED TO TELL THEM TO YOU
Great question, great enthusiasm, I love it, glad to have ya on board. So... after you tell me about yourself, feel free to tell me all about EVERYONE ELSE. I need lots and lots of entries, after all. Maybe you've noticed that Sitting Here always writes about dreams or that SaddestRhino can't escape Urban Fantasy or that Bad Seafood's characters constantly smoke cigarettes. Well... this is the place to call them on it. You can fill this form out multiple times. In fact, PLEASE fill this out multiple times. Do yourself. Do everyone else. Do me. Go wild. Have fun.

HOW DO I-
Just click here and fill out this other google form. Easy peasy.



The official prompt and sign-up post will go live on Monday. There may be word bounties awarded for those who do a lot now...

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



On a proper TD bingo sheet, the center space should definitely be "Dead father"

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry


Strength: Your vampire can consume minerals to gain various special abilities and even alter their physical aspect.
Weakness: Like a Prince Rupert's drop, your vampire has small weakpoints that if struck on will shatter them like glass.

lofi
Apr 2, 2018



Prince Rupert's Drop is my new wrasslin finisher. And/Or my new sex finisher.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



ThirdEmperor posted:

Crits for Week 264 - Dystopia With a View

This was… not a good week overall. A lot of you hosed up the prompt. A lot of stories just felt like they drew from the same generic well. But fittingly, the winners were far, far above the rest of the pack. Here’s ya crits.

Thank you!


Antivehicular posted:

Crits for Week 307, Unitary Will

Overall thoughts: decent to good work with a challenging prompt. Nobody went totally off the rails, although quality did vary some. If there was an issue with this week, it's probably that several stories went for just illustrating human willpower as a static situation rather than really having an emotional arc in play.

You too!

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

A crit of Summa by Djeser for no particular reason other than no story should go uncritted.

I like this, it's so short yet still manages to be beautiful and thought provoking. On my first read I felt like I didn't get it, and then after reading it again I decided this is ok. I enjoyed pondering what it meant. I like that it describes a different kind of relationship between our dimension and possible others, without trying to explain itself.

I particularly like the second to last paragraph, which speaks to the possibility of entities who perceive space and time in a fundamentally different way to us, and our foolishness in anthropomorphising them.

The third para is the weakest point, something about the choice of words here doesn't quite match the tone of the rest, and the rhetorical question at the end is slightly awkward.

Good job.

ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

sebmojo posted:

I'll take my story for last week since it looks like judging is never going to happen, and I'll offer a crit too.

Take these crits noobs, it's why we are here

A short crit for you, then, on this fine Friday. Specifically, this is a crit of Paper and Ink.

So in a nutshell, the plot is as follows: The protagonist Daniel is at his mother's wake at the family bookstore. His sister Clara tells him it's a dying business and, since his dad won't sell, the only escape is to burn it down. She leaves without waiting for his answer and he decides to keep mum. A fortnight later, she appears, ready to commit arson, and he refuses on the grounds that his father is too attached to the bookstore. His sister tells him that his dad was an adulterer, Daniel has an epiphany about how his father really spent his after-hours shifts at the shop, and he decides that burning down the store for insurance money might be a good idea after all.

As I read it, the main thing that hit me is that the sister is far more interesting than the protagonist. Clara initiates key conversations, points out the underlying problem, presents a solution, and motivates the protagonist to actually do something. Left to himself, Daniel simply watches the people at the wake in the first half of the story. He spends the second half mostly standing behind a counter. For the two most crucial dialogue points in the story---Clara revealing her arson plan and later alleging that their dad was a serial adulterer---Daniel doesn't even say anything.

Even his love for his father is muted. His concern over his dad's smoking is a casual aside. I can almost hear a "meh" after his "I 'd tried to get him to stop." And he doesn't bother telling him about his sister's arson plan because his dad has enough to deal with. That didn't make much sense to me, to be honest, as it seems telling someone that their daughter might burn their shop down seems less traumatic than actually having one's daughter burn the shop down. I want to highlight this because I think if you had developed that Daniel cared deeply for his father, and that he had genuine concern that sharing Clara's plan would be more than he could handle, this story would be much stronger and his seeming inaction would instead seem like he made an actual decision.

Though I'd rather see the story from Clara's viewpoint. Making the decision to burn down your sibling's father's bookstore the same day of your mother's funeral is drat bold. This is a woman with brass ovaries and I found myself wondering if this is out of character for her, or (more likely judging by Daniel's reaction) just the sort of take-charge, drat-the-odds plan Daniel has seen before. She also inadvertently provides a potential twist in this tale. To wit, *did* the father really have a string of affairs with female customers? She doesn't provide any actual evidence. But the reader's impression is that Daniel doesn't really question much or rock the boat, and even if he doesn't jump to at Clara's word, he is so ingrained to going along with her that he doesn't mention her arson scheme *or* confront his dad with the adultery accusation. Maybe Clara lied. All she presents is the accusation, letting Daniel infer that what seems to be innocuous and friendly behavior toward a customer as damning evidence.

Maybe Clara isn't even there when Daniel turns up to burn the store down, knowing all she needs to do is feed Daniel some half-baked justification and he'll wind up playing along. Daniel doesn't mention her presence in the final scene.

I'm also mindful that Clara is his half-sister. Daniel says "our mom," which makes the father in the story his dad and not Clara's. Did that affect Clara's thinking? How did she feel knowing that the man who married her mother wasn't faithful (assuming that she wasn't mistaken or trying to trick Daniel)? What was her upbringing like, raised with her stepfather's biological son? Is there a reason she is so quick to come up with and execute such wild and risky plans?

This is all pointing out flaws, though, which isn't fair. I don't think this was a horrible story. While I'm not keen on the burning pages/hot ocean waves simile, I do like the introduction of burning books. It takes some determination and know-how. It also sets up the dynamic between Clara and Daniel, i.e., that she comes up with what to do, convinces him, and shows him how. He needs her in that regard. The ending is effective in calling back the initial scene. But I wish that Clara was there, except this time Daniel didn't need her to show him how to burn away the past. Or perhaps he was there to stop her. That's nit-picking, though.

Final thought: The plot had promise. The main character lacked oomph, but his sister captured my interest. I see places where the story could have been more and that's probably a good sign.

Final final thoughts: A thanks for the Bulgakov mention and reminding me I should finally read that copy The Master and Margarita sitting on my bookshelf.

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

Crit of Lippincott’s Skulls and Beetles

Nobody responded to my offer so I picked out this story to look at.

What I see most here are pacing problems. The opening, to start with. Two long and complicated sentences before a character is, just barely, introduced, only to vanish entirely from the second paragraph. There's an interesting incident in the third paragraph, but given in past perfect flashback, distancing the reader from it. The other character, the antagonist, shows up after that but doesn't really take that role until later. And the story ends just as their conflict starts to get interesting. And about that ending: the insects get first mentioned too late, immediately before they feature in the ending, making them seem contrived.

I'd open with the abortive card game, told as a scene, and establishing both characters and their opposition in that scene, as well as the insects as part of the background. There's a good amount of decent description in the piece that could find a home in a better-paced version, one where there's a natural escalation of the conflict, where we see why Templeton needs to make this attack, how he’s prepared for the consequences. Such a version of this story would go on, see them play out, and reach a more natural ending.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Am I too late to be in as a vampire?

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

I crashed Thunderdome's 6th Birthday and all I got was this av!

Solitair posted:

Brawl vs. mockingquantum entry:
Henshin Blues
3,011 words

Constance drummed her fingers twice on the cafe table before she noticed the noise her nails made. Painted in earth tones, they rapped against the linoleum loud enough to make other senshi glance her way. gently caress. Bad idea, girl. So she gripped her mug tight and took another sip of the bitter coffee she ordered. With her shovel in her other hand, she could keep track of where her fingers were going.

<snip>

Brawls don’t often get full crits and I appreciate the fact that you put 3000 words of effort into this.

Link to Google Doc of the full crit so I am not reposting a 3000-word story twice.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


newtestleper posted:

Am I too late to be in as a vampire?

Yeah but the judges have decided to show infinite mercy to you, so:

Strength: Your vampire can spread disease with a touch, and gains strength from those infected.
Weakness: The more healthy people around your vampire, the weaker they get.

Signups are now closed, for real. Please make your stories good, tia. For the record, good is the opposite of bad. Do not make your stories bad. A lot of people get confused on that one.

Also keep critting each other for sweet bonus words. And take people up on the crits they've offered!!

lofi
Apr 2, 2018



The Curse of the Werenewt [593 words]

Tiny huntress hides bright-eyed under a crimson-ochre leaf canopy. She doesn't move, doesn't stretch catlike in appreciation of the night's cool dampness against her smooth skin, doesn't do anything foolish to betray herself - the urge barely flashes across the back of her mind. Patient rain hangs in the air tonight, tickles the dried leaves and lures soft crawling things from their mudbank lairs, and the fat moon makes them easy to follow.

But they are intimately aware of their own deaths, these soft morsels, ever tense with the impulse to run, and so she lies in wait under the leaf. She will wait motionless for as long as it takes. A thing will come, and she will lunge. She is not tense, not excited, she just is.

The moon moves a little in the sky, and her sensitive ears pick apart the layered sounds of forest night like greedy ants, sorting the chitters of food things she cannot reach, the hoot of a distant danger. The tiniest whisper of a leaf stands out from the rain's play, and when it repeats she can follow it's location. A third time, and she snaps into lithe motion.

A young hopping-thing, like her but much smaller, weaker, and with no defence but its speed. It hears her, as she knew it would, and it bolts.

If it reaches the stream it will certainly escape, but if she can catch it before then... The little thoughts tickle at the back of her mind, but she pays them no more attention than the wind in the branches above them. Irrelevant. Ignored. Her focus is absolute.

They crash through the leaves, the froglet launching itself forward in great bounds, her undulating across the ground, lithe tail balancing her powerful legs. It moves faster than her, but in short bursts. Her motion is graceful, fluid, constant. It dives ahead, gains ground which she snatches back, it dives again and she closes a little more. It leaps, tries to, but a twig slides under one of its paddle feet and it sprawls awkwardly and she is on it before it can recover. Tiny jewel teeth tear thigh-meat, back-meat, its legs spasm uselessly and it is hers. She swallows it down, feeling its dying twitches in her belly, and the copper warmth, and she is exalted in her victory. United with the scratchy-thoughts for once.

Gunshot crash from above, and she is all motion again, running from the flying death. But she is heavy from her feast, and the thoughts are shouting and confusing her and her whip-crack speed isn't enough this time. Sword talons each the length of her leg impale her and she has no footing and no possible way she could even begin to fight the monster that smashes its axe-beak into her neck and tears chunks from her and swallows.

And then red darkness.

And nothing, and nothing, and nothing forever and then white-hot pushing through every single one of her too-small veins and gristle wet sounds.

Wind now, burning cold against raw new nerve-endings. Bones knit themselves together from nothing. Legs, arms, reaching for holds that aren't there. Coughing, gasping, hauling in precious air. Consciousness blooming like ink on wet paper.

I open my eyes and I'm me again, human and whole, hauled from death's snatching fingers yet again by the multiplied regeneration of a newt and a werewolf.

And my first coherent thought is loving hell did I just explode out of a bird, and my second one is oh gently caress me it was flying.

Bacon Terrorist
May 7, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

6th Anniversary Edition


Uranium Phoenix posted:

Signups are now closed, for real. Please make your stories good, tia. For the record, good is the opposite of bad. Do not make your stories bad. A lot of people get confused on that one.

Ive got 700 words of hot dog poo poo, wish I was joking

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Bacon Terrorist posted:

Ive got 700 words of hot dog poo poo, wish I was joking

Thunderdome.txt

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