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Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!



Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

to finish my videogame week crits till the end of april

also in

p.s. thank you for the av & stay safe gentle mysterious avatar donation ghost

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

What Ash Ketchum did on my summer vacation

"As you know, Professor," Ash Ketchum explained, "I have retired from the Pokemun hunting."

"Ash!!!" Professor Oak explained. "But there is a new pokemon now out there."

"Listen, man," Ash said, and scratched his scrotum. "I don't give a gently caress.44"

Professer Oak left and Ash sighed. There were 807 Pokemon in the world and he'd caught them all. Normally new pokemon only came out when the new videogames came out though so what was this all about? A Spring type pokemon called Springasprung? He didn't want anything to do with it. It seemed too fishy. Not the pokemon though because from the sketch the professor had given him it kinda looked like a wolfdino-thing with a giant tumor growing out its rear end, but then again when had there last been any new pokemon that didn’t look loving retarded.

"Mom." He yelled. "Make me tea, please?"

But his mom didn’t answer. So he sighed and went down the stairs, and then it happened: somebody knocked him over the head and he fell unconscious.

He woke up two minutes later, and he head hurt. Professor Oak stood before him and looked crazy, and he had a knife on his mother’s throat who was tied to a chair.

“gently caress,” Ash thought.

“Listen I want my pokemon mother fucker,” Professor Oak yelled, and he cut off a finger from Ash’s mother. She screamed and bled all over the carpet.

“Okay okay man,” Ash screamed. “I will get you the pokemon.”

“Okay cool,” the professor said and gave Ash the finger. “There’s more where that came from. No police!!”

So Ash took some pokeballs and went outside to look for Springasprung. He was looking around for two weeks, during which he always called home and said “I want to talk to my mother” or “Is my mother still alive I want to talk to her?” She was still alive.

So he found Springasprung and he summoned Pikachu, but Pikachu came out of the pokeball dead because he hadn’t been fed since Pokemon Yellow, so he summoned one of the dumb new pokemon instead. It looked like a seal with a clown nose and just stood there slobbering while it was being clawed to poo poo the Springasprung. There was blood literally everywhere. So Ash ran up to Springasprung and kicked the poo poo out of it.

It was more of a twitching pile of meat than an actual pokemon when he threw the pokeball and caught it. Then he went home.

There was professor Oak with his mother, and she was still bleeding from her finger wound. Ash gave Oak the pokeball with the half-dead Springasprung in it.

“But now that I have my new pokemon, why shouldn’t I just kill you both?” Professer Oak spat.


“I surrender,” the professor said. The police came in and arrested him.

“That was very smart of you,” said Ash’s mom.

“That’s why cheaters never win,” Ash said triumphantly as they escorted Professor Oak out of the house.

Professor Oak did push-ups in Poke-Prison when the Mystery Man came, his long shadow creeping into the cell like Chris Hansen on How to Catch a Predator.

“What the gently caress do you want?” yelled Professor Oak.

“Is it true what they say? That it was Ash Ketchum that threw you in prison?”

“Not it was also the police, but because of Ash!!!”

The shadowy figure stepped forward. It was Gary, who had become rich and famous and was wearing a monocle and a top hat and a moustache. He grinned a toothy grin. “It seems we have an enemy in common.”


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Videogame Week Crits

Hello thank you for writing here are the crits please don't ban me well bye

Ashes – Freakie
Right so this was a very solid story. I’ve heard from multiple people more familiar with your work that this was a significant improvement for you personally. So don’t take losing your duel as meaning that this was in any way bad. It was just very, very straightforward. Like I was reading the after-action report to a fetch quest that happens in the setting of Diablo, the video game.

When you’re new to writing, your first job is learn to write a straightforward story well. So good on you for doing that, but eventually you want to transcend that goal and give your stories more: more heart, more character, more unique settings. Something that makes people think back at what you wrote and go, “Oh yeah, remember that story where [...]. That was cool.” But it’s hard. I still can’t really do it.

The fight didn’t make much sense to me, like I still have notes written down about how I expected her to die when the massive demon of ultra death slammed her into the wall but in hindsight he was kind of a pushover wasn’t he. Having her deal with the demon in a more unique way, in a way that maybe only she could do, because of the kind of person she is, that might have been one good opportunity to show us more about the character we are reading about.

I didn’t get the significance of the figure at the end. Other than that I think most of the problems you had here will go away with enough writing practice.

Time Flies Like a Bullet – Thranguy
It was probably unfair to give this to you since Max Payne is one of my all-time favorite games and I love noir stories so you couldn’t have much hosed this up short of writing “Max Payne sucks lol” three hundred times in a row. I think the idea you had was well executed, the writing was very much like the kind of thing you’d get out of Max Payne, but that being said, I think you ended up borrowing ideas more heavily from your source game than most others did, so I went away not sure if I haven’t read some weird kind of Max Payne ripoff after all. Maybe you felt boxed in because I gave you a game that was so story-driven.

90% of the story happens in retrospect which usually means you’ve written a bad thing but in this case you tried to tie it together with the whole bullet travel thing, so at least you give him a reason to reminisce about his Raymond Chandler novel of a life. It puts your story in this weird place where reading it feels fine but then you’re at the end and you realize it’s just been a whole load of hoopla because not much is actually happening and to be quite honest the flashbacks aren’t really worth it either with how generic everything is. The ending is in the same boat: he makes a choice, it’s tragic, he’s a cool guy. But then I take a step back and think, wait, this doesn’t actually resolve anything. So the more I analyze this the more I come away from it thinking this was actually a mixed bag and you’re just really good at writing in a noir tone.

Indistinguishable – Fumblemouse
Like a true round of Space Station 13 this began very promising and then, instantly and without warning, imploded into a flaming mess of plasma farts. And it’s a shame because this started really, really strong. You took just the right things out of your prompt and added just the right weird poo poo of your own. The wizard’s hangup with technology is funny, and the entire intro scene has great pacing and inside jokes that even work from the outside.

Then comes the scene transition, and you start explaining your jokes, and you cut away from when the wizard explains what’s going on just so you can be “Ok so here’s what the wizard said” and do it in a flashback 5 minutes after the fact and the whole thing could probably just be replaced with an audio recording of a balloon slowly and noisily deflating. It’s still okay but next to your brilliant intro it reads amateurish, like you’ve run out of time so instead of solving your storytelling problems by introducing even more cool new ideas or working with the good poo poo that was already there you slapped some band-aid on the whole thing and cruised it into the harbor just before it could sink. Honk.

The Effects of Stressors on the Creativity Displayed in Simple Logic Problems – Apophenium
Don’t have much to say about this because it’s pretty much a one-trick pony story about a man descending into madness. It wasn’t offensive, but if you want to write about someone losing their sanity, it has to be plausible. You don’t just wake up and, whoops, now you’re suddenly crazy. It’s a downward spiral. You start having weird hangups, and then your brain connects these dots to other weird poo poo in unexpected ways and what I’m saying is, if you want to write a story about a dude going apeshit there has to be buildup before he finally snaps or it doesn’t feel earned. You’ve missed a whole bunch of beats there.

Maybe this would work better if I got a feeling for why his evaluation matters so much to him in the beginning, understand what kind of person he is. Without that it’s just missing something. Stories about people going insane for the sake of going insane are plentiful and in low demand.

The Rightful Heir – BabyRyoga
This hurts me personally because the writing here is actually pretty good but you waste it on all this I don’t know what the gently caress hokey pokey bullshit. Like what’s the point of the story? Is it about the experiment? Then why do I never find out what the experiment is? Is it about the personal dynamics of research teams? Then why are none of these people interesting, and why is there no protagonist? I feel like maybe this was supposed to be a comedy story, except there is no story, and nothing makes sense. Obviously you’re not supposed to explain your setting at me, but it needs to make sense from the lense through which I see it, which is the story you tell. And all I’m seeing here is a bunch of eggheads going “Zeta Delta Zeta Delta” while a teenage kid gets eaten by a monster for some reason. Then THE ADMIRAL marches in and spits at people. The End.

Like how did they even get the monster out there if they didn’t have clearance to make monsters that big. How is that not loving with the scientific process of whatever experiment they are conducting to completely break with protocol? How is that experiment supposed to work anyway if it’s two teams trying to one-up each other by breaking the rules? And why are the handlers teenagers?

Honestly it feels like you were just trying to take the piss out of Pokemon but didn’t know how.

Call of Duty – big scary monsters
Looking back at it I remember this being confusing in part, which explains why my notes say “What” a bunch of times. Like by the end it makes sense, but until then it’s such a rollercoaster because at first it’s just about Aslak crashing in the arctic desert or whatever and the writing is cool as hell but then he’s suddenly alluding to him running from someone and suddenly he mentions trolls and I’m like, what setting is this??? And then there’s elves and finally it’s like, ok, I get it. But it’s a bit too late and I don’t know if the story wouldn’t have worked better if you’d been more upfront about Aslak being a Santa Claus hostage. I mean I liked this as a story of a guy crashing and almost freezing to death and the shift to weird fantasy poo poo made it jarring.

I didn’t know how to rate this then and I don’t know now. It’s decently written, but needs editing. The ending is clever, but the story starts making sense too late. It kinda works, but that feels like more an accident than the crash you had in the beginning.

Phoenix Sonata – Kaishai
This story is peak Kaishai. Beautifully written, you know how to do fantasy and I wouldn’t be surprised to read something like this in an anthology novel. I’m not sure how I feel about that though since that’s more or less your thing and I don’t feel like you tried to push the envelope here. You did what you do best, and you did it flawlessly, as you often do. That being said I’ve read stories from you, where I don’t really get what’s going on underneath all the esoteric language. This was a very clear piece with a concise narrative and if nothing else I applaud you for knowing your audience. Also it’s not like this had no ideas. The whole idea of how the phoenix interacts with the ghosts that haunt its living space is pretty dope and leads to a very interesting conflict at the end. Ironically, your characters are more likeable and human than a lot of other stories that weren’t about ghosts and mythical creatures managed this week.

I think the one actual flaw was the appearance of the human. It felt rushed, a forced plot beat at the last possible second. I didn’t like how the phoenix immediately knew it was a human because apparently a single breeze indicated the presence of a human more than just hearing their footsteps or doors being opened, because wind is not a thing in a decrepit ruin. And wouldn’t you know it the phoenix is only seconds away from retirement too oh no I mean come on now

Other than that you pretty much did your thing and wrote a beautiful and haunted piece with a good amount of weight behind it. This was a good week too so make this notch in your writing feather a particularly deep one.

This is so loving badass. The language is punchy, the idea is original, I mean a story about aliens who capture a resistance fighter to learn the human language one ominous word at a time, that’s pretty neat for a concept and that’s the kind of chutzpah we need around here. This had edges, and grit, and I loved it for that.

Even with how much I ended up liking the week, I am a man with a very short attention span, so take it as a big compliment when I say that I read this, attentively, from start to finish. It just had that kind of language and drive that keeps you wanting to read on. It was fresh. The way you tied in the flashbacks was clever, and the usage was subtle. It kept me interested.

The one thing we all had a problem with was the ending. It reads like she’s managed to free herself but then somehow slipped back into her restraints. None of us were sure why. The going theory was that she wasn’t confident that she could escape right now, but that she would sit there biding her time. Fair enough, but it didn’t translate over to us. Also we weren’t sure how your prompt tied into this except for maybe saying she’s trapped in castle, which is a bit thin if you don’t mind me saying.

I still absolutely love this and now that I think about it this is a good example of how to write a vignette.

Rage Quit, Restart – The Saddest Rhino
So this is about one of the rats from Bad Rats discovering that he’s in Bad Rats. You dullard! Didn’t you read the prompt? This is a rhetorical question. I know you didn’t because you told me.

Now the first problem with fanfic here is that the way you wrote it apparently depends a lot on knowing how the actual game works, because I don’t, and it confused me for a while because it reads like the rats are supposed to kill the cat and the player tries to do it by placing a rat whose only skill is to blow itself up underneath the bomb. Like literally nothing they do ever leads to anything else than them blowing themselves up so wtf kinda game is this supposed to be?

Ignoring that, I guess the whole idea of one of the rats meeting its copy and then coming to an epiphany is okay, although I think they freaked out a little bit too quickly for playing pieces who seem to have been indoctrinated in some way. The idea of going the Third Way and just refusing to act is also okay, although I don’t understand how a video game figure who takes input from the player would do that. But then I’m obviously overthinking the mechanics. So let’s take this at face value and just say, okay, the whole moment of both of them waking up and dealing with their realizations in different ways is interesting. But then the game just restarts. So what power does the invisible player in the background have after all? He can respawn the figures but not control them? gently caress, this is so weird.

Whatever man it’s your fanfic they don’t pay me to figure this poo poo out

Same – flerp
This was very heartfelt but in a week that had space wizards and phoenixes falling in love with ghosts a small scene from a romantic tragedy is just not cutting it. For what it’s worth, if this was supposed to be some kind of writing practice then I think you did well enough. The characters feel human and there’s a kind of subtle dramatic undercurrent running through the whole piece that elevates it beyond what from most other domers would just be two talking heads.

This could be cooler if it wouldn’t just be one small scene that exists in a vacuum. You don’t always need to write full-blown stories for TD but I do think what’s there needs to have some kind of punchline and it’s that lack of maybe just one more beat that, in my opinion, keeps this from being really good. Because without any more context I can’t do more than to vaguely guess at the circumstances in which these characters interact with each other, so it doesn’t really tell me much. Again, as just writing, this was okay, but as a piece of fiction, it’s lacking.

Also I don’t understand how this connects to Minesweeper on more than a metaphysical level.

The Die Is Cast – Uranium Phoenix
This could have been cool if you’d not gotten bogged down in worldbuilding details and instead focused on one or two core ideas and made those plausible and built the story around that. Because as it is, it’s not very interesting and doesn’t make any sense. Why are there pain receptors, and why are they only turning them off mid-battle? How are the elite just randomly starting to sacrifice hundreds/thousands of the worker class, and that same worker class watches these fights and apparently they’re just like “Ayyup, sweet.” And where’s the meat of the story? If you’re being really strict here the actual plot only happens in scenes of Pharah and Reinhardt verbally disagreeing at each other and then there’s some mediocre action scenes inbetween.

So next time ditch the extraneous details and give me a person with a problem that I can relate to before you start wanking me to the sounds of scifi pewpew mumbojumbo. Who are these people and why do they feel the way they feel? Show me what they do about it. Make me feel it too. Then I will care about your world, and as an added bonus, you can make it a much simpler one, that makes more sense and has more of a point.

Also lol: “Well I’m starting the rebellion”

Infinite spin – sebmojo
I wasn’t quite sure what this was until the end, and i admit it gave me laugh but I wonder if it was worth it, as I always do with stories where every single thing makes more sense on a second read-through. It also doesn’t explain how Barry seemingly knows everyone in the house but nobody knows him. So the whole thing was very confusing, and while it was interesting I think you cheated and made your prose do the heavy lifting until poo poo started hitting the fan in the last third of the story, which, ironically, is also where it starts making sense.

The whole thing is pretty crazy and somehow you’re one of the few people here who can write cool and interesting poo poo even if it’s not heartfelt at all but just kinda bizarre and stupid. I guess that makes you the master of Thunderdome Absurdism or something. Anyway, you won your duel, but you didn’t really take many risks save for obviously starting to write at the last possible moment like the beautiful slacker that you are.

Brothers and Sisters – Dr. Kloctopussy
I actually liked this better than sebmojo’s story at first, but then I did some thinking and realized that you mostly just got a lot of goodwill because your interpretation of Tetris was so cool. But then you get to the actual story and where sebmojo writes a thing that takes the time it needs to show what is going on and how everyone reacts and what the ramifications are, your plot obviously runs out of space at the halfway mark and then you try to jam in her being guilty about her brother, but also she’s always kind of been jealous about him, and then there’s a magical knife that somehow finds your siblings if you give it your own blood and a magical darkness where I guess everyone who sinks into the mud somehow disappears to despite them being trapped in their houses, and then it’s literally just a bunch of darkness and she also has the choice to kill her brother at the end and doesn’t do it and woooo I’m getting a little dizzy here gimme a second

So I guess if I could narrow my critique down to one thing it would be a lack of focus. There’s too much happening, there’s too many themes and as a result most of it comes out undercooked. The search at the end is particularly disappointing, I think the part where she goes into the darkness and looks for her brother is one of the shortest parts of the entire story, when it could be its whole entire thing filled with cool ideas!

This would have seriously needed like five hundred to a thousand more words to really play with all the concepts you had here, words you didn’t have, so you should have cut some stuff out. But then that would have most likely had to be the beginning, which you obviously couldn’t throw out because that’s where the cool tetris poo poo happens. So I guess you’ve written yourself into a corner. On the bright side, that, too, is a metaphor for Tetris.

Opuntia – Bad Seafood
I felt about this much the same way I felt about flerp’s entry. For as well-written was this was, it wasn’t a story, which is fine, but it also didn’t have the context to really make sense for me as a single open-ended scene thingy. I guess the whole point here is how he’s supposed to be the one she’s waiting for, but I don’t know how they relate to each other, why she doesn’t recognize him or why he doesn’t make himself known if he goes through the effort of visiting her. If the answers are there, they are too subtle. So I end up taking nothing away from this. It’s nice while it lasts, but it could have been more.

But you also said you didn’t have the time to write so this is definitely more than okay for maybe being rushed.

For All The Cows – Siddhartha Glutamate
I pushed hard for this go get an HM but there are only so many of those to go around and I guess it was just one of those Thunderdome Cabal Tributary Weeks. The other judges mostly complained about how silly of a concept it is to have violin playing cows, to which I say, well that’s the loving point, you are literally like the guys in the story who go like “Ha ha look at that bovine mendicant trying to play the violin with hooves, I say! Hooves!” and then they stand there and have stupid looks on their faces and their monocles pop out.

It was a cute story, and I personally thought you nailed the dynamic between the father and the son. It was simple and a bit on the nose but I still thought it was touching. That being said, you could have worked with the fact that they are cows, specifically, because for the purposes of your plot it could be almost any other animal and would work just as well.

And Oh God please never ever again end a story with “The moral of this story, by the way, in case you didn’t catch it you loving idiot, was: [...]”

Might have HM’d in a weaker week, alas, vegans on the jury

Codenames – Chairchucker
I think you’d like to pretend that you wrote a stupid little thing with poop jokes in it because I gave you a bad prompt but the truth is I gave you a bad prompt because I had a feeling you were going to write a stupid little thing anyway and I wanted to test you (you failed).

I mean this wasn’t bad, but it was pretty dumb, like you wrote the whole thing in the forums comment box, which I think I’ve said before about one of your stories so maybe stop doing that or at least not make it so obvious

No Reason to Try – Fuubi
So I’m reading through this and I think my original results post already gave you all the crit I can muster for this, like I literally have no idea what the gently caress is going on. It’s not even like you rushed yourself to submit your story in time since you missed the deadline by a comfortable margin, so why not complete the thing and put it up as a redemption. I’m sorry but I really don’t understand this and ironically I don’t think you tried particularly hard.

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

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.

Grace into the Night
1078 words

Tonight, Boris would sparkle.

He set down his shot of amaretto. The sweet stuff didn't do much for him anymore, but back in his human days, the liqueur had steadied his nerves, and now he found comfort in the ritual. It reminded him of the time when he’d still been, technically, alive.

Behind him, the dancefloor was stuffed with patrons, an incoherent mass of behinds shaking to the finest disco tunes of the 70's. There were simply too many people. He could feel their warmth from here. The blood pumping through their veins… already it called to him, faintly. He ordered another shot and took out a packet of finely ground minerals. A new mix. His Magnum Opus.

He snorted it right there on the countertop. It was that kind of club.

He downed his shot slowly, as if he were saying goodbye to the glass, and finally got his rear end on the dancefloor while they still played Dancing Queen. Never say no to a classic. The powder had already started to do its job: hematite had turned his skin glittery while the zeolite made him feel a whole lot lighter, as if he was made of pillow stuffings. He’d never found out why the minerals made him this way, if it was the same for all vampires, or if it wasn’t, or if it was but the others just didn’t want to be marvelous. Boris for one loved the taste of rainbow. Which, by the way, was Bismuth.

His dance moves were silky, smooth and suavé, an unholy matrimony of ballet and disco. His hips promised hitherto forbidden knowledge to those willing to pay them attention, a group that grew with every graceful leap he took across the floor, and soon he was bursting with colors and glows and sparkles, flowing from Hustle to Grand Jeté at a speed that could rival Hermes. He lost himself in the disco craze, minerals rushing through his veins, turning him colorful, now a slick oil puddle in the sun, now an emperor’s crown jewel in the spotlight, now a rainbow dragon with burning scales, and the music pumping, pumping, sending his limbs in this direction and that. He was a marionette of sound, but by the Devil, no puppet had ever moved with this amount of ungodly grace. Time seemed to have stopped just to watch him.

And then it wasn't just the base that was pumping: it was also their hearts. Once again the people around him started to look like cattle, and like cattle many just stood there staring, flabbergasted at the sight of this magnificent being that had taken to the stage. Their hearts. They were not in tune with anything. They were noise, a distraction, but all to tempting. Only now did he realize that he was feverish.

He had reached that point of the night again.

No! Today was all about the performance. He ushered his bloodlust back into the recesses of his mind, tuned back in to the music, but it was hopeless. There was something primal hidden deep within him, with no other purpose than to drag those nasty urges out into the light, where they could demand his full attention.

His hand shot out for the next best girl. A young lady in her twenties, dressed to impress. Of course, nowhere near as impressive as him. Of course, too amazed to protest being dragged center stage. They did the Travolta, because everyone could do the Travolta.

The dancing happened on autopilot. The sweet lady’s neck seemed much more important now, and oh, how much he wanted to bury his teeth in there, wanted it more than anything else in the world, more than living, breathing, maybe even dancing. The voice shouting ‘No!’ got smaller, made way for the yapping of a blood-crazed animal.

And another puppet would be left behind. Just one more, like all the others he’d left in all the other cities. Empty husks that would dance no more, for as long as he would walk the earth. And here he went again, and there was this sensation in his mouth, the dry tongue and the slight shift in his gums where his fangs slid out, and he got ready to create another zombie, got ready to feed his urge, that primal, unrefined want for blood, and much as he tried to bury it underneath the music, he was way past that point, for to be honest, he couldn’t even hear the music anymore. There was only the flow of blood, and the sense of imminent danger.

A fist came his way. This, too, happened every night at some point. Being a magnificent, sparkly, disco vampire, he was irresistible to girls and jealous boyfriends alike. But he was a creature of the night, and he was faster, better, stronger. The fist came at him in slow motion. It took all he still had in him not to move out of the way. A few split-seconds. The grand finale.

Cyanotrichite was his favorite mineral. It was puffy, deep blue, and so very fragile. A single touch could banish its beauty to memory. He didn't usually add it to the mix. But for his best performance, it had to be there. Forget about iron or granite. Tonight, he would simply be beautiful.

Tonight, he wouldn’t fight back.

The fist touched the tip of his nose, and from there a couple of reactions fanned out, all following the same pattern: the breaking apart of matter. For those around him, it would have happened too quickly to catch the details, but Boris, he had that one blissful moment in which he observed the beginning of the end: the beautiful sparkle, the shattered flakes of rainbow, everywhere rainbow, mixing with the music, soon scattering across the disco, dancing through pressurized airwaves with every new thump of bass.

He’d loved rainbows, back when he could still walk in the sun.


The next day was a day of marvel for many. Comatose patients in seven different hospitals had awoken from their sleep. Missing persons across the country had suddenly gone un-missing, turning up confused and sometimes amnesiac. And then there was a story of more local interest, of a wonderful, dancing magician, who had moved with the grace of Terpsichore, filled a small-town disco with his own portable lightshow, and, in a final, amazing act, disappeared in a shower of glitter, never to be heard from again.

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

thunk for crit


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

random story and object

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

1182 words
Facetime, by sebmojo
"Summer Camp Epidemic"

Tysen pushed against the thick front doors of the mansion – they were unlocked, and light, or at least way lighter than they looked, which was good, since it had been a long time since his last meal and he was hungry, and frail. The interior was a dimly lit dump, isolated sun rays reflecting off cobwebs and dust specks swirling through the air. The smell of food was stronger in here, that prickle on his tongue, that little hint of flesh and iron in the air, like steak. There was a large set of stairs on the other end, and in front of them, a silhouette.

“What is a man?” the silhouette blared.

Tysen shambled closer, until he could almost see who he was dealing with, but the figure didn’t move an inch. He reached out a hand, tipped it on the forehead and had to catch it from falling over. It was a cardboard cutout of an old man dressed in a red sweater and beige pants. His gesture implied being lost in deep thought.

“I am Dr. Stutton,” the speaker on the cutout said. “You can find me deeper inside.”

“I’m hungry,” Tysen said. There was no answer, but he was going to look anyway. Maybe the doctor could share some food.

Going up the stairs and deeper into the mansion felt like walking into the maw of a giant beast. Silence bore down on him from all sides, the only sound his own excited breath. There was trash everywhere, always covered in thick layers of dust, and sometimes, blood. It was the kind of junk where it was hard to tell what its purpose had been back before it had turned into, essentially, decor for a spooky mansion. The place reeked of rot. But somewhere, off in the distance, also that smell of food that had brought him here to begin with.

“So hungry,” Tysen said.

“A man is a solver of problems,” Dr. Stutton answered. Another cutout, this time smiling triumphantly at him from behind a door frame. “However, man is also a creator of problems. We invent electricity and poison the planet with coal. We invent the television and dull our own minds with sitcoms. We invent penicillin and end up breeding stronger viruses through natural selection.”

The doctor’s droning gave Tysen a drat headache. No, not just that – the stench was particularly bad here. Behind the cutout, there was food, but it had been littered across the floor, left to rot. A fight had taken place in this room, pools of dried blood dotting the cracked walls and coloring the floorboards.

“Yet, somehow, we have always stayed just one step ahead of making it a zero sum game. Until now.”

The deeper he moved into the mansion, the more he felt like he knew where he was going. He just followed the smell of food. It had been so long, and his feet were heavy, but he forced himself forward, legs all but breaking under the impact of having to shuffle his own body forward, until finally, he arrived at a set of stairs that led down to a solid looking steel door. Cardboard cutouts had been set up on every other step, all with varying expressions of anger, boredom, tiredness, laughter and more or less the entire spectrum of human emotions.

The food was down there. It all but wafted in his face.

“Man is also the only creature aware of its own, inevitable death,” the first cutout began, others starting to speak up as Tysen moved further down, one shaky knee after the other.

“This, too, was a problem we tried to solve.”

“This, too, created a new problem.”

“You are hungry, are you not?”

“So. See for yourself,” the final cutout said.

Tysen had reached the end of the stairs. The smell of food was overpowering. Quaking from hunger, he reached for the handle.

It clicked open.

The room was cool, clean, well-lit, like a walk-in fridge. A soft hum finally broke the silence. The food was there, a delicious piece of red meat hanging from a hook that had been attached to the ceiling like a gift from above. Tysen almost fell over himself in an attempt to reach it. He was racing nobody in particular except for his own impatience.

Hungry as he was, he didn’t bother looking for a stove. He just dug in and tore off a piece of flesh, fibers elongating until they finally tore and found their new home in-between his jaws. Only now, happily chewing, did he realize where the hum was coming from: a setup of fans was blowing air out of various ducts, food attached in front of them as if somebody was trying to make the whole mansion smell of flesh and blood.

There was a crackle.

“Well,” Dr. Stutton’s voice blared from the speaker, “this is a shame, but you are a zombie.”

Before Tysen could really parse that statement, the food was yanked from his hands, retracting back up to the ceiling on its chain. He was too flabbergasted to protest. The door clicked a bunch of times.

“Take a good look at the food, if you’re not too far gone.”

And there it was: dangling on the ceiling, his food, a single human hand, partly gnawed off. Part of him felt like he should have been disgusted. But he wasn’t. It just reminded him of how hungry he was. He sucked on one of the bits of flesh that had gotten stuck between his teeth.

“It happens to the best of us,” the doctor said. “Hell, by now even I might be down there. It sucks, really. But this is was humanity does. We’ve made our beds, now we lie in them.”

There was a small part of Tysen that still felt something else than hunger, and that part of him was starting to realize what he was hearing. But it was nothing more than a passenger in the backseat, and the driver was ravenous, and he was looking straight at the drive-through. For all the emotions that tried to bubble up in him, fear, and shame, and confusion, and mostly fear again, the lust for flesh overruled them all.

Somewhere on the far end of the room there was the clatter of a large metal object coming down a chute, followed by the pling of a small object.

“Here’s a gift for you. If you aren’t completely braindead, I suggest using it. I understand it’s a lot to ask, but it’s probably your cleanest way out of this mess. I recommend you be dead by the time they come pick you up.”

Tysen didn’t check the chute. He couldn’t tear his eyes off the food. It dangled up there, almost as if it tried to hypnotize him.

“This too makes a man, you know. We can always chose to go out our way. Whatever you do, I see you on the other side.”

The speakers went silent, but Tysen barely even noticed anymore.

He was so hungry.

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

~*Three separate stories gimmickly titled 'Let Go'*~

Let Go
398 words

Sun rays like signal noise. Bed sheets shifting under our weight. Bird chirps, muffled by glass. A prickle on my tongue. I was gonna say something. Last night. I was gonna--

She has her fingers in mine, still. Hiding away like pretty little liars. Mouth nuzzled against my neck. Her breath smells of brandy. I remember why I forgot. Booze. The devil is in the liquids. My grandma used to say that. Smart woman. Lost her man to the sauce.

“Good morning,” the lady speaks into my neck.

I swallow. I swallow nothing. Mouth’s dry, empty. I want water so bad. But first, this:

“We shouldn’t have,” I say.

Smile falls from her face. Lips gliding along my skin. Never felt somebody frown before. Baby-laugh-no-more. What was her name again?

“My mistake,” I add.

“What do you mean?”

I keep hold of her hand. Don’t want her to feel left alone. Don’t want her to strangle me. This hosed up scenario.

“I think I had us erased before.”


Don’t mean to laugh, but I do. Stupid question. “Don’t remember. Bit of the point.”

She says nothing. Shock on her face, sullen and dull, deer-meets-headlights kinda thing. Feel bad. Should approach the topic with a bit more decorum. Lighten the mood.

“What are the chances?” I say. “Like screwing your long-lost sister. Heh.”

“Why?” she says, again.

“Think it’s the booze babe.” It feels right to say. Scary thing about wiping relationship at the ministry. They take the memories, but only so far. Some of it stays. Maybe the part that’s in your gut, feels familiar. Like a déjà vu, but worse here: a déjà vécu. We had this conversation already? “I don’t like drinkers. And you drink.”

“That was one time.” She pleads. Eyes plead, mouth pleads, quivers. If I looked at hears ears they’d be shaking.

“Was it though?”

Memory hits me like a hot shot of rum. She’s gonna say: that we had a connection. That this was fate, bringing us together. Maybe add a touch of #2tm2b - second time, meant to be. Think she used the meme before. If I remember it right.

She says nothing. Packs her things and leaves. No drama.

Did I remember… ?

Maybe it was my booze after all.

I turn on the side and close my eyes. I see nothing. Hear nothing. Feel nothing. What was I gonna say?

Let Go
398 words

Every night he falls, not asleep, but into the mirror, where the woman waits for him. She seems to be floating just above the water, just barely, until he reaches out for her and gravity claims them both. And he barely holds on to the frame, as to keep them both from drowning.

Somehow he never runs out of stamina. But it hurts to carry all that weight. Not a sharp, honest pain. More like a dull headache, somewhere back there, waiting to erupt. It hurts how good she looks: lips red like a beacon in the ocean, eyes like bottom of the sea. She belongs in fairy tales.

Every day he wakes, but not fully. His mind is still back with the woman. It’s there when he fries his eggs in the morning, when he drives his Honda Civic to work and when he puts papers on his boss’s desk. Jenny from Legal notices that he looks so tired and haggard recently. He forgot to take lunch again. He forgets about dinner too.

He forgets until, one day, he collapses at work. The mirror seems just as near from here.

“Don’t let go now,” the woman whispers. Her words promise so much more. Soft hands touch his...

Skin and bones.

With his last ounce of strength, he does what he never could before: he lets go of her.

It’s not the splash that breaks his heart, and it’s not the ripple on the surface or the tiny little bubbles it leaves behind. It’s the fact that nothing else happens. “I’m sorry,” he wants to say. “Please come back.” He bites his tongue. What if she hears him?

He feels tired. Every one of his muscles aches. Without the woman, all he has left is the pain and the water. Both seem so much clearer now.

He climbs out of the mirror and rests, truly sleeps, for the first time in months.

Now every once in a while he still climbs back into the mirror. Sometimes he hears her - as if she was calling out to him from deep down. As if her fingertips were just barely scratching the surface from below. He still toys with the idea to jump in and rescue her. But less often these days.

He is still haggard, but he remembers lunch now. And Jenny from Legal is looking really attractive these days.

Let Go
384 words

Oh my God, it’s everywhere. What did you do this time? Did Kevin finally break up with you? Is that-- what are all these shards? So see-through. Looks like you scattered shreds of your dignity all over the place again. This one feels sticky. What-- what’s that yellow goo sticking on there. It tastes like… yeah, that’s self-pity. Disgusting.

Of course you cried. Of course.

I’m really getting tired of this. You can’t just have one good year? Last time it was that cushy office job you bungled because you kept showing up late and, let’s be honest, nobody liked you there, always moping around like they owed you something and forgot to pay. Before that your dad called you a fruity dicklover. Before that you felt fat. It’s never good news with-- oh gently caress, I just stepped into something else. Are you seriously leaving shattered pieces of heart around here? That’s cliché, even for you. Have you tried writing poetry again?

Did you know it takes less face muscles to smile than it takes to frown? Maybe if you did that more often you weren’t so lonely. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Everyone’s got problems to deal with, but with you, it’s always about you, isn’t it? I’m sad. Nobody understands me. I wanna throw myself off a cliff some days. Would you like to spend time with someone like that? Didn’t think so.

I like you dude, I really do. But every other day it feels like I show up right after your inflated ego has popped again and the walls are plastered with bits of self-loathing and envy looking like a Scottish kilt from the inside. I don’t know about you but I can think of better places to spend my evening.

So I’ll take all these pieces, one last time. I’ll pick them up for you, and put them in this nice little bowl over here, you know, the really thick, foggy one that says ‘DENIAL’ in bright bold letters. And then I’ll leave you for a while. Go on a nice little vacation. And next time I come back, I hope you got this poo poo figured out, or at least the pieces are still where I left them.

I love you man, I really do, but you’re work.

Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

give me a flash rule and a merman


Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

The main reason I stopped writing was because I didn't have the time anymore, but getting only one crit every other week and rarely more than two the rest of the time probably didn't help motivate me towards freeing up my schedule.

I don't think we should force judges to toxx but at the very least I feel like head judges have a responsibility to annoy the poo poo out of their co-judges if they flake on crits (hi rhino) and maybe it would be wise to make it a kind of unwritten soft rule that judges should toxx themelves to provide critiques if they have a recent history of no-shows, the same way contestants are expected to toxx themselves if they want to sign up after a failure.

That being said if we end up creating a leaderboard maybe it would be nice to point out the people who provided the most crits that year as an added incentive. Good critting is a lot of work and largely a thankless task so I can understand why some people have trouble getting their rear end in gear.

I second a move to discord if the opportunity ever arises. I can't be bothered to open up IRC anymore, esp since I'm already on discord all the time.

I'd like to see long-running contests parallel to the weekly format. This is where we could get experimental, involve other communites etc. Maybe even use it as an opportunity to have better writers workshop with the weaker talent or at least have motivated judges who provide more in-depth critiques at the end. I'd be happy to help out with that.

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