Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Post
  • Reply
Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Hi. In. Werecritter.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Thranguy posted:

Offering a crit of recent story to first person to request thing here.

Same. Dunno if I will use those bonus words but more critting is good.

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



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

You're taking Thranguy's ibntumart's I assume. Crits still on offer from:

Invisible Clergy
Thranguy
Maugrim
sebmojo

Maugrim fucked around with this message at Aug 2, 2018 around 09:51

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Were: Dragonfly

Brothers in Wings
1198 words

Three hundred million years ago, anisoptera had wingspans of two feet or more. Not so much nowadays, but I’m a throwback: at twenty-six inches full spread, I’m undisputed king of the insect world. And now here’s this fucker, thirty inches or I’m a gall wasp, zipping around my forest like we never left the Carboniferous.

He’s got to be a Were. Nothing with spiracles gets that big, not in 21% oxygen, and I’ve jars full of failures, warps and monstrosities to prove it. So: alight on a branch. Take stock. Here’s an event I sealed away from hope a hundred years ago: I need a minute to crack open that vault, feel that mummified remnant of wistful possibility tumble forth, creak and stretch into... what?

Fear. He’s big and fast, and he’s in my territory. He’s definitely seen me, though he’s not reacting. He darts after a hornet, snatches it from the air - one grind of those razor jaws and it’s gone.

Yearning. Yeah, that’s still there. I haven’t seen a sentient - human or Were - since I fled to this island in the wake of the third Migrant War. I was done with humans, with their collective idiocy that walked them wide-eyed into the end of civilisation. But gently caress me, wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone? News. I hate myself for wanting news.

Resentment. Who is this rear end in a top hat, invading my haven with this glimpse of connection to a world I despise - long for?

He comes to me in the end, a leisurely, unthreatening glide down to the tip of my branch. He shimmers startling green as it dips under his weight.

I debate attacking him - he’d probably destroy me, but I half convince myself I don’t care. But I do, of course I do - I love my life and my work and the boundless freedom of flight and longevity that was given to me, me alone, by old Anselm, who saw in me what his progenitor saw in him: the capacity to love these gifts and use them well. He’s dead now; shot in the head for his allotment - precious fertile soil with real thriving vegetables they hadn’t the wit to tend after they killed him.

The other dragonfly twists his head and thrums his wings gently. A friendly gesture. gently caress it. I sweep all four wings down, hard, closing the angle for maximum thrust: straight upwards I leap, off into the canopy. It’s a challenge, and he responds instantly, rocketing after me with incredible strength. I dart here and there, aiming to lose him in the thickest twining of branches, where his size is a disadvantage. I succeed: half a mile flown, down at the other end of the island, there’s no sign of him. I suppress the pang of disappointment as I meander back to my cave.

He’s waiting for me there, though: big, curly-haired, black - the real dark skin that says deepest Africa, though that’s mostly desert now and he could have come here from anywhere. He’s sitting on a stone by the entrance, arms at his sides, relaxed but alert. Something about him sets me on edge - a pang of familiarity.

I drop in the chimney, shrug into human form, and look around for some kind of advantage. I’m on home ground here, and I’ve made a familiar, bewildering mess over the decades: odd pieces of furniture crudely built - never developed that skill properly; piles of jetsam that’s come in useful in the past or might do one day; hundreds of glass jars filled with preserved specimens and the results of my experiments. Father Anselm believed the mystical opaque to the methods of science, and counselled against mixing the two. I haven’t yet satisfied myself that he was right, and with an endless supply of my own saliva to play with, I’ve disproved a lot of old wives’ tales. We can’t infect non-humans, for instance - not even after spinning thrice widdershins beneath a blood moon.

I opt for my scalpel and a jar of acid. Then I stride out to meet him.

We size each other up. He waits for me to speak. I oblige with the most burning of my many questions, voice raspy with disuse. “Why did you come here?”

His accent, when he responds, is French. “I sensed you, brother. We are connected.”

Mystical bullshit. I haven’t sensed a thing. “The gently caress are you talking about?”

He studies me, serious. “Blood unites us and binds us. We are the only two of our kind left in the world. And you have hidden yourself away here. I came to see what sort of a creature you are, that our progenitor so favoured you.”

“Our progenitor? Anselm never infected anyone but me.”

His glance falls to the ground for a second. “Not knowingly”.

I make the connection then: a big, dark man, staring at the ground, averting his eyes from the deeds of his fellows. Another man on the floor, a gentle man, lover of freedom and things that live and grow - blood pooling from a head wound, body twitching minutely as dying cells flip randomly between were-states like the disjointed contractions of a failing heart.

Realisation brings instant revulsion. “You loving...!” I feel a ripple across my skin as rage almost forces the change, but I can turn that anger to suppressing it. A dragonfly can’t do poo poo to prey this big. He’s seen my reaction, he’s tensed and ready, but he’s still looking at me, waiting for something.

“You took the gift from a dead man. All of you? Is that what you killed him for? So you could loving joyride?”

Not all of us. Truly, my companions were starving and wanted only food.”

My mind seethes. He’s still staring. I can’t reach acid or scalpel without him noticing, and if I spook him into changing I’ve lost my chance.

My silence prompts him further. “I could not bear to see that gift spilt and wasted. Believe me, I did not take it frivolously.”

“I’m sure you believe that. But whatever you’ve done since is a perversion. You can’t honour his life and values if you know poo poo about them.” Look away. Go on. Just for a second.

“I know them all too well. Better than you do.” This blatant lie, said with all seriousness, blindsides me. My brain gropes for the meaning in it, and in that second of disorientation he moves, inhumanly fast. He has my arms pinned even as I reach for my pockets. He is strong.

“You think he would want what you’ve done?” he continues. “Fled a world that cries out for our help? Tortured and twisted God’s creatures in the name of an understanding you can never achieve?” He smiles suddenly, widely. His canines are startling - long and sharp.

gently caress me, I have time to think as I shift forms and tear myself from his grip. They do exist.

He watches me rocket away. He hasn’t bothered to change himself. Why should he? He can find me whenever he wants. My brother. gently caress. I don’t know where I’m going now, but my life is no longer my own.

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Tyrannosaurus posted:

so are we just not closing submissions anymore or

I think they're going lenient because it's been a poo poo week for a lot of people

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Bacon Terrorist posted:

Thanks for the crit, the only way is up I guess!

Indeed! I for one look forward to seeing your continued contributions and improvements.

One small thing I'd add to UP's crit is to keep an eye on your paragraph length. Walls of text can be a pain to read - take a look at other stories to get a feel for what works in post format.

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Staggy posted:

Thanks for the crit. Ghost family was supposed to be fatigue-induced hallucinations with a whole thing about him doubting what he's seeing and long story short I bit off way more than I could chew in multiple ways. I'll go back to basics for the next one.

I got what you were trying to do with this story with the fake-out of it being a hunt and then revealing it's a race, and thought it was reasonably clever, provided the reader knows that a were-antelope is involved somehow. If they don't, as UP points out, the whole thing falls flat. And clarity (on stuff that you aren't deliberately obfuscating) is definitely key in the short format. I constantly make the same mistake of being overly cryptic and assuming things like the hallucinations are more obvious than they are.

E: this is totally a crit-comment and therefore allowed

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Mr. Sunshine posted:

Looks like I'm the motherfucker. I completely misjudged my schedule for this weekend, and haven't completed writing.
Would it be okay if I posted what I have finished anyway?

That's up to you. Here are your options:
- Slap down the unfinished story. You'll probably DM or lose but at least you didn't fail I guess?
- Finish the story and sub it late. You'll be DQ from winning and may still lose if the judges bother to read it and find it terrible. But you finished a story and to my mind this is better experience for you as a writer.
- Finish the story while praying for an extension. Sometimes the judges oversleep or forget to post submissions closed.

Whichever you do, no-one wants to hear your excuses, worm. and take your lumps.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply