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Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


I'm up for judging to ease me into the new year, Tyrannosaurus. If you'll have me.

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Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


In for this week!

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Unfunny Poster posted:

Should mention that any critique on my entry is welcomed.

Thanks!

I'll have a look at your story sometime after the results are in next week.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


1789 words

The Identities and Histories of The City’s Statuary By Simeon of Nicaea

The derelict aqueduct towered above the walls and slums, a memento of Constantinople’s bygone era. Under its arches, Simeon made his way from statue to statue, jotting down thoughts, musings and theories about each on a scroll of parchment entrusted by the Empress herself. He reached for a bronze nummus coin before passing a beggar, who observed Simeon with the same interest as the cats perched atop the colonnades.

“Interested in them statues?” the beggar said. “Are you a scholar or something?”

“Historiographer, actually,” Simeon said. He threw the coin into the old man’s lap.

“Oh, thank ye kindly, sir! Ah, so you write history?”

Simeon laughed, “I wished! No, I merely record it. Unfortunately,” he looked at a statue of a woman besides the beggar, “that means unearthing it first. The Empress ordered me to compile the history of every pagan statue in the city, but we often don’t even know who they depict.”

“Oh, this one’s easy, sir!” the beggar jumped to his feet. “Everyone ‘round these parts knows this is Aphrodite!”

Simeon looked at the statue’s robes, the olive branch in her hair, the scroll in her hand. She seemed more regal than seductive. Most likely a noblewoman of some kind?

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yes, sir! I bet all ya fancy smart people back at the palace never bothered to just ask the folks ‘round ‘ere!”

Simeon stroked his beard pensively. “Well, if you say so…” he let the rest of his thoughts hang to pen down the ridiculous claim.

“Don’t believe me! We’ll ask the folks living here!” The beggar whistled at some carpenters toiling outside their workshop, and the group of housewives discussing with them. They wandered over, and Simeon introduced himself.

“Is the prevailing theory around here that this is a statue of Aphrodite?” He asked, still incredulous.

A heavy-set carpenter shrugged and said, “I always heard it’s Athena.”

“Right. Well, gentlemen, it was pleasant discussing pagan goddesses with you, but I must finish a record of these streets by sunset. Have an agreeable afternoon.”

--

Simeon returned to his palatial office as the Empress leafed through his notes. He straightened his back just in time before she glanced upwards.

“Ah, Simeon. Come, sit,” she said, and she beckoned a eunuch over to pour them some rose-scented water.

Spreading out his daily writings on the desk before her, Simeon narrated his encounter with the beggar that afternoon. The Empress smiled at his frustration. “You know how commoners are,” she said.

“I don’t understand how you can mix up the pagan goddess of love and the goddess of wisdom. Besides, the statue depicted neither.”

“And you know better?” she teased. She clapped twice to summon another eunuch and whispered in his ear. He nodded, then scurried off.

“Well, not yet, no. However, judging from her garments and accessories, I believe she was a noblewoman.”

“Fortunate for her, then. Were she a goddess, we would have to destroy the monument.”

She let the words sink in, and sure enough, Simeon took the bait.

“Excuse me, your most esteemed highness. We would destroy it?”

The eunuch returned with multiple scrolls and rolled one out against the opposite wall to illuminate it in the setting sun. It was a map of the North-Western neighborhoods of the City. As the Empress spoke, he pointed out the sketches on the map.

“The Emperor has loosened the coin purses now the civil war is over. We would repair the aqueduct, rebuild the streets in a grid, and restore the bath houses. I thought it would be wise to decorate the baths with the ancient statues of the neighborhood, but of course the Patriarch would not approve of any idolatry. Merely saints, folk heroes, historical figures, and animals. The pagan statues will have to go.”

Simeon sighed. “I understand. Pity about the pagan statues, the craftmanship was quite something. At least the statues of aristocracy and imperial families will be preserved, then?”

While the eunuch packed the parchments and map, the Empress gracefully stood up, as if she floated under her robes. “Better yet, the whole suburbs will be restored to their original state. I want everything to be just like when Constantine the Great founded the city. Except, of course, the temples. Those will be replaced by a magnificent church.”

“Of course,” Simeon murmured after she left.

--

The beggar still sat under the statue. Simeon threw another coin his way, and began cross-referencing some sources.

“Still lookin’ at the old Demeter, eh?”

“I thought this was Aphrodite,” Simeon replied without looking.

“Ha! Just messin’ with ya.” When Simeon gave a polite smile, the beggar stuck out his hand and said, “Name’s Michael, by the way!”

“Simeon. I am surprised you could name Demeter off the top of your head. Er, no offence.”

“None taken,” Michael said jovially, “I’ve been sitting on that joke all day.”

“But of course.”

Simeon inspected the statue from all angles, pressing the side of his head against the wall to observe the backside.

“You lookin’ at her bum?”

“The statue was originally not placed against a wall,” Simeon said. “Look, the sculptor put just as much care in her back and posterior as her front and sides. Oh, and there’s some graffiti on her back legs.”

“So you sayin’ the maker didn’t half-rear end it?”

Simeon saw Michael’s satisfied grin but refused to answer.

“C’mon, I saw a little smile.”

“Fine, I admit that one was somewhat amusing.”

A passing woman stopped besides them. Simeon recognized her from the group with the carpenters yesterday.

“Does anyone at the palace care this much about pagan statues?” she said.

“The Emperor set aside some funds to renovate the area next year. The statues will be moved, and the Empress wished to rediscover the historical roots of the suburbs to make the restoration… Authentic, I suppose. But the gods and goddesses will be removed to make place for a church.”

“They can’t remove our Aphrodite!” she interjected.

“But she’s not! This isn’t Aphrodite in the slightest.”

“Sure she is,” Michael reasoned, “otherwise why would lovers kiss here for her blessings?”

“People do that?”

“Oh yes,” the woman said proudly, “my pa and ma had their first kiss here! You can still see the notch he carved.”

She pointed out a heart-shaped groove at the foot of the statue. Dozens, hundreds of similar scratches, markings and letters adorned the rest of the pedestal.

“How quaint,” Simeon said, but he marked down the story all the same.

--

Simeon searched through the library’s tomes by candlelight. Opposite of him sat the imperial, palace’s librarian, helping him organize and cross-reference multiple works on arts and sculpture throughout the Eastern Empire.

“Did any statues have detachable heads, perhaps?” the librarian said.

“Detachable heads?”

“Yes. It says here that, for statues of emperors, senators and other aristocrats, the sculptor’s apprentices sometimes made a series of bodies in quick succession. Then, when he received a commission, the master sculptor would finish the details on the body and do the head himself, which was fixed atop the body.”

Simeon asked to see the book, and snapped his fingers confidently upon turning the page. “I think I’ve got it. The sculptor would sometimes write the location of his workshop on the inner rim of the head, as well as his initials. With that, I can date the statues, and then I can look up notable nobles living in Constantinople at the time. Especially with that woman, it should be easy enough.”

That night, Simeon slept uneasily, thrilled at the thought of discovering the name and life of the “Aphrodite.” Soon, she would once more receive the honors which the passage of time had deprived her.

--

“No coin today?” Michael said hopefully.

“Two coins if you give me a boost,” Simeon said.

The statue was larger than life, and placed upon the pedestal, leaving her head just out of Simeon’s reach. A small crowd gathered as Simeon, standing on Michael’s shoulders, strained himself to uncork the head. Tugging with all of his strength, Simeon suddenly felt it give way, and came tumbling down with the head between his hands, turning just before the fall to protect it.

“Whew,” he said to Michael as they dusted themselves off, “I was briefly worried I would drop and break her face.”

Behind them, the crowd collectively gasped. Simeon looked at them, saw yesterday’s woman point to the statue, and turned just in time to see it fall from the pedestal and shatter an arm.

Silence hung over the crowd like Damocles’ sword. Finally, Simeon said, “I’m sure the Empress is willing to commission an identical bust as part of the restoration effort.”

The crowd dispersed, leaving only the carpenter and his wife. “Well, it wouldn’t be the same statue, would it?” she said. “It’d be a different statue with Aphrodite’s head.”

Simeon turned the head between his hands until he found a tiny engraving along the rim of her neck. “Made in 370 AD, by a certain Z.L. from Antioch,” he murmured. “For a certain Eudoxia, it even says.”

“Well, that solves your mystery,” Michael said. “Cheer up, you were right! It’s not Aphrodite after all, so the statue can stay.”

--

Water heartily poured down the aqueduct, which stood proud above the new public baths. The imperial couple strolled down the streets with a retinue of architects, surveyors and engineers in tow, admiring the perfectly polished buildings and restored splendor of the revived suburbs. At an intersection, the Emperor noticed a beggar next to a defamed, one-armed statue, and he ordered his retinue to halt and alms to be handed out.

“Why was this statue not restored?” he asked.

“The court historiographer specifically asked for it to be left as is,” the Empress answered.

“Really? Now why would he want that? Its decrepit state entirely clashes with the rest of the street!”

“He said the history of an artefact was just as important as the moment of its creation.”

The Emperor gave a single, calculated laugh. “Well then, what is its story?”

The court librarian opened The Identities and Histories of The City’s Statuary By Simeon of Nicaea, and narrated.

“The statue of a noblewoman crowns the intersection between Saint Theophano’s street and Valens street. It was commissioned by a certain Eudoxia, presumably depicting herself, around 370 AD. Starting from an unknown point in time, the citizens of Constantinople mistook her to be a statue of Aphrodite, and lovers still kiss in front of the statue to bless their future marriage. In 989, a court historiographer by the name of Simeon of Nicaea accidentally broke its arm.”

The Emperor cracked a genuine smile.

“Fair enough,” he said.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


sebmojo posted:

Infinitely no-one cares



Don't mind Sebmojo, he's a cranky old man but he means well. What he means is you can discuss this on IRC without cluttering up the thread, and we've had derails before because some nerds don't take criticism very well.

So join us on IRC!

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


I'm going to steal the Eiffel Tower! (Probably not)

In, double or nothing! Go big or go home, I always say.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Through a Glass, Darkly
1552 words
Flash Rule: You are going to steal the Eiffel Tower, actually. The actual, for-real Eiffel Tower. Twice.


The planning phase was well underway when Victor introduced Beatrica to his crew. She first made eye contact with the client, a certain mister Onishi, who sized her up and wrote her off between two sips of martini. “She certainly looks dapper with that waistcoat and bowler hat,” he said. “But how can she help us?”

Beatrica hoisted her violin case onto the table with aplomb, intentionally knocking over poker chips, cards and Onishi’s drink. Motioning for the table to quiet down, Victor said, “Forgive her; she is Croatian and does not master the French language. Beatrica, if you will?”

As she opened her violin case, Victor’s two accomplices leaned over the table to get a better view. “Gents, everything you see is of my own design,” she said. “I call it the Photogyro.”

“What’s it do?” asked the Irishman, prodding the contraption with a burly arm. Beatrica flicked a switch on the inside of the case’s lid, and with a low hum, the table disappeared. Reveling in their gasps, she let her finger glide over the case until she found the switch again, and turned the photogyro off.

“No magic,” she reassured, “Only the wonders of electricity. My device bends light around objects, so as to make them invisible to the naked eye. The same principle as water distorting light and ‘breaking’ something you dip in it.” She demonstratively put Victor’s tea spoon in the Irishman’s gin.

“Lass, that’s amazing! Could we hide our zeppelin with this?” The Irishman said.

“Not just the zeppelin,” she said with a wink.

“Séamus, Marcel, mister Onishi,” Victor said, “With this device, we can hide ourselves, our getaway, and our lucre until we reach Tokyo. A toast! Tonight, we steal the Eiffel Tower!”

--

A maroon banner wrapped the Eiffel Tower like a present ripe for the taking. On it was written “20th Anniversary” in sprawling art deco, illuminated from below by spotlights and from above by multicolored fireworks. Opposite of it, Séamus looked from his watch to the park’s trepidant swans and back, until Beatrica approached from behind and sat next to him.

“What took you so long?” he said.

“Look what I got!”

She placed a small package on her lap and fiddled with the ribbon to open it. Séamus recognized the wrapping from a tourist shop down the road, and frowned when Beatrica held up an Eiffel Tower replica between her thumb and index finger.

“It’s a gift,” he said.

“Isn’t it cute?”

“You’re late because you bought a tiny Eiffel Tower. From a gift shop.”

“I didn’t buy it,” she said, keeping it out of Séamus’ reach when he grasped for it. “Besides, Victor got one, too.”

“Fine, whatever.” Séamus got up and rolled his shoulders with a satisfying crunch, then cracked his knuckles. “You remember the plan, yeah? I herd the diners and bouncers out of the tower while you place the photogyro on the roof. When Victor and Marcel fly the zeppelin above the tower…”

“I attach the hook between the top girders. I’ve got it. Really.”

“Just wanted to make sure,” Séamus said. His watch indicated a quarter to 9. “Showtime.”

The duo strolled towards Tower’s elevators. The receptionist got as far as “Have Monsieur and Madame made a reserva- …” before Séamus whacked him with a cosh and dragged him behind the counter. During their ascent, Beatrica watched in awe as the City of Light expanded beneath her feet.

They were welcomed by the elevator’s ping and the gentle tunes of a piano somewhere in the restaurant, punctuated only by the clattering of silverware. Séamus reached for his derringer and fired it once into the purple velvet-padded ceiling. “All right everyone, show’s over. Form a neat line for an orderly exit.” He waved the gun at the room in general. “Or else.”

In the panic, Beatrica slipped outside through the emergency exit and climbed an access ladder to the roof, struggling to carry the photogyro in her violin case with her. She caught her breath at the top of the ladder, letting the summer breeze that caressed Paris touch upon her face equally gently. After a serene minute, she donned her hat once more and configured the knobs and dials on the photogyro.

A clang on the ladder. Beatrica put the timer on fifteen minutes, closed the case, then pushed it behind a beam on the platform.

Guten Abend.”

A man peeked over the platform’s edge from the ladder. Beatrica recognized his fedora, trench coat and luger.

“Herr Von Falkenhof,” she cooed, “what a pleasant surprise meet you in Paris! Last I heard, you were locked in a kitchen freezer in Vienna.”

“You’re under arrest.”

“Isn’t France outside of your jurisdiction, officer?”

He took aim, and Beatrica slid down a girder just in time to take cover beneath the platform. Graceful like a Bosnian mountain goat, she hopped from beam to beam, intending to loop back around the top of the platform by the time the zeppelin arrived. Von Falkenhof lowered himself down the studs across the tower, and took a pot shot. Beatrica jolted from the ricochet, but regained her balance in cover behind a steel beam. Below her, through the restaurant’s glass ceiling, she saw Séamus had cleared the room of everyone except three French police officers, one of which he currently slammed into a shattering piano. Above her, a zeppelin drifted towards the Tower, lowering a steel cable and hook.

Climbing the girder’s nuts and bolts, Beatrica hoisted herself back onto the platform and dashed to the center. The zeppelin’s hook raked over the platform, and she lugged with her entire body weight to shift it into position under the tower’s antenna. Another shot whiffed past, and Beatrica reached on hands and knees for her dropped bowler hat before barreling for the platform’s edge.

“Just give up, Beatrica! I have two men waiting at the ladder! There’s nowhere to run!” Von Falkenhof yelled.

Beatrica looked down at the banner waving between the Eiffel Tower’s struts. “I never intended to run,” she laughed. “Auf Wiedersehen!”

She slid down the tower’s leg and Von Falkenhof screamed in anger. As the zeppelin above gained altitude, the metal supports groaned dangerously and loosened the soil at the tower’s base.

“You won’t get away this time!”

Beatrica turned around and saw Von Falkenhof slide down the adjacent leg. Her heart skipped a beat when their collective momentum detached the banner with their impact and each hung on one side, twirling around the Eiffel Tower like a maple seed. Occasionally the wind blew them towards each other, forcing her to kick Von Falkenhof and keep him at bay, until they glided over a pond in the park. Von Falkenhof’s feet caught the water, and he tumbled into it, sending the opposite end of the sail with Beatrica into the shrubs.

Beatrica readjusted her hat and smiled as Von Falkenhof, covered in mud, hopped out of the pond and make quick exit from the gardens, two vicious geese snapping at his heels. In the distance, she heard biplane interceptors approach, only to break off the chase as the photogyro kicked in and the Zeppelin and tower, gently drifting over Paris’ skyline, disappeared.

Séamus jogged over and put his hands on his knees for support. “Got out just in time,” he puffed. “I think I lost the fuzz as well.”

They shook hands and parted ways. Making sure he didn’t follow her, Beatrica went to a nearby post office and opened a letter she had written the night before.

“WE HOLD THE EIFFEL TOWER HOSTAGE,” it began.

“A million francs is a small price to recover it,” Beatrica chuckled, and she put it in an envelope addressed to the French government.

--

At a quaint café on the Champs-Élysées, an Irish motorsport driver chanced upon his Croatian acquaintance. He invited himself to her table, sighed as he sat, and ordered a gin. “Well,” he began.

Beatrica sipped her coffee without glancing at him. “Well what?” she said.

“How did you do it? Prince Onishi was livid, you know.”

“You hunted me for two years just to ask that?”

“I have to know,” Séamus said. “As soon as the Imperial family paid up, the Eiffel Tower disappeared in Tokyo and resurfaced in Paris. What did you do?”

Beatrica smiled and looked at him over her sunglasses. From her handbag, she produced a tiny Eiffel Tower. “Remember this?” Séamus observed as she put it on the table. “All the photogyro does, is reflect light. I built two, actually. Victor had one on the zeppelin as well.”

Séamus saw the replica’s reflection through his glass of gin.

“Wait… You projected a fake image?”

“On the zeppelin and in Tokyo, yes. The real one in Paris we hid from the public eye. And when the French paid the ransom… We turned both photogyros off. Doubled the pay-out, easily.”

“Victor knew? My God, you really did us a number, there.”

“That’s not everything,” she said, sipping her coffee. “After our stunt, they closed the Eiffel Tower and declared the park off-limits. So I turned the photogyro on again and sold the tower as scrap metal, piece by piece.”

She left the stunned Séamus behind with an unpaid bill and an Eiffel Tower replica. As gifts.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Chairchucker posted:

Judging sneak peek: there were some bad stories and there were some not bad stories.

I don't believe you

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Some thoughts on Unfunny Poster's stories so far:

Choon-Hee & The Gwoemul

First sentence tells me a thing happened. Which is pretty weak as a hook, especially because "a thing happened" makes it sound like your protagonist was just a bystander.

Don't use an annex. Honestly I can appreciate trying to use some Korean vocabulary in there but part of the challenge is to weave the meaning of words, especially new ones, into context so that even an uninitiated reader can pick them up real quick. E.g. "wood for their ondol floor-heating" or something. The annex rips me out of the story all the time by forcing me to check for meaning. Stuff like "halmoni" shouldn't even be in Korean, because "grandmother" is a perfectly fine English word for the term.


You also make some punctuation errors. “That is nice dear.” should be “That is nice, dear.” “Sweetie, you know I can’t go, [...]" Etc. etc. I'm not a native English speaker myself but grammar and spelling are things anyone can improve because they have rules.

In some parts you get extremely wordy. "The next day Choon-Hee wandered through the forest again, eager to meet with the Imugi and other mythical creatures she had seen the previous day. After hours of searching though, she could not find them anywhere she had seen them. " is just way too many words for what you're actually saying; you don't need to repeat "she had seen the previous day", "she had seen them" and so on. It's just one example of you repeating yourself.

Christ this cat just gives us an expo dump here about people we have never seen nor met. This is pretty bad, not at a technical level, but merely at a "this isn't grabbing my interest at all" level.

You also sometimes use the phrase "begun to X". In many cases this kind of waffling around severely weakens the verb. Generally speaking we prefer stories where people act and do, rather than begin doing, consider doing, have been doing etc. It's part of what makes this story drag on (other than a cat expo dumping Korean mythology at me)

So in the end the story you took 1721 words for was, essentially, a girl wandering into a forest to listen to a cat talk. The twist of the cat being the tiger was not particularly worth it. Maybe I'm lacking cultural knowledge but this was not a particularly interesting or good story: just a monologue, a protagonist who undergoes the story rather than act or make any sort of decisions, and barebones characters wrapped up in a story that asked me to overlook its funky punctuation and make me scroll up and down for an annex of vocabulary.

I think trying to retell a folk story was a mistake. You can definitely ape the style of folklore but as Exmond mentioned it's quite heavy on telling rather than showing, so you need to find a way to carry it with your prose or interesting events happening... The former takes practice, the latter takes some intuition. Ask yourself "who is the most interesting character in the story" and make them the protagonist. I would've gone with the cat, and having the events of the story actually matter to him.

My Last Day

"The two men clearly hated each other, that was immediately clear as soon as they both sat at the table. " really wordy first line. you can probably drop "clearly", because you're making it clear in the second part of your sentence, drop "immediately", and also SHOW me how this is so clear. You can do that in the second sentence in my opinion, telling a thing and showing the how afterwards, but now I just have to take your word for it. "Even more later on" is similar repetition that just hurts my head looking at it. "Forget Tucson is what I had decided." is a really weird sentence and needs quote tags of some sorts. "Eldorado Casino doesn’t like it when people cause trouble, especially my manager Greg." is again a sentence that requires commas and that tells me something instead of showing me anything interesting.

"Which was why I found myself sitting in an office being chewed out by my idiotic, sweaty, fat, balding boss for not spotting their mood earlier." I mean, how could the protag? Nothing in the men's behavior, save that one punch you threw in the above paragraph, shows me anything about how these guys are angry. Anyway I'll stop teasing you with "show don't tell" here because you don't need to show everything, just... something. So far you've just described the scene to me with facts and I can't really paint a detailed mental picture of the scene. More positively, I like "His cheap Walgreen's cologne reeked of a mixture of his own sweat and what could only be described as faux sandalwood. I could feel the bile building up in my throat." as two sentences. They do a much better job showing me instead of telling. I hope you can see the difference: you're making me imagine a specific smell, a specific feeling of bile in my throat, and it's working better than just saying "this smelled bad and I felt ill" which would have been telling me this. But you showed me. Thank you.

"God his cologne had such an awful smell."

Yikes, see, this is actually the opposite of the praise I gave you. Punctuation error (you need a comma after "God"), and telling me something I already know, except you showed me in a much more interesting way before.

So I'm not sure how I'd fix this story. Once more it suffers from the fact that not much actually happens. I didn't check whether you had a flash rule, but you also missed the prompt pretty hard tone-wise: this is slow and kind of sepia in tone, rather than bubbly and popping like the judge wanted. The protagonist also only acts in the final paragraphs of the story, and even then it's just grabbing an opportunity handed to them on a platter.

I might review Across later but at a glance it suffers from many of the same issues, and also I want to play some yakuza 0 right now. So I'll sum up a few tips for you here:

- You tell us stuff instead of showing it. It's okay, everyone does this to some degree: pound out a really tell-y story in the first draft and then thinking "how can I show this instead?" with every sentence in the editing phase is a valid approach. And sometimes you just need to tell the reader a thing to get them up to speed or give context, but make sure it's important and brief if you do.
- You repeat yourself quite hard. During editing, try to look at the added value of each word in the sentence, and each sentence to the paragraph. Scrap what's redundant, combine sentences where useful, give me some big, sexy active verbs that pop into the reader's mind rather than a tepid mess of words that circle around what you're trying to say.
- Write about a protagonist doing things that matter, for interesting reasons. You can set up the stakes and context, but this is flash fiction, son. In a novel the reader might give you the benefit of the doubt and read an entire paragraph of setting up before things happen, but try to sketch it in a sentence or two in the 'dome. Don't leave the interesting actions to the last 50% of the story; weave contextual clues into what your protagonist is doing and let descriptions double as expressions of their feelings so your first sentences aren't pure description but pull double duty.
- Double, triple check your punctuation, commas, dialogue tags etc. This is purely mechanical and easy to fix if you learn the rules, and probably one aspect that you can linearly improve in an objective way. It's the lowest hanging fruit for you right now, so grab it! E.g. if a character speaks a name such as "Alice" or "God" to implore to them or catch their attention, it needs a comma afterwards.

On a more positive note, I will add:
- You are improving
- You showed some strong voice in My Last Day, which was unfortunately hindered by the aforementioned problems
- The worst problems (punctuation imho) are easily fixed
- You actually do the things right, just not consistently enough.

Don't get disappointed! I know you can do it. Make sure to write in advance and reread the story with these things in mind: fix punctuation and grammar, remove redundancy, show instead of telling, delete the first sentences or paragraph(s) if they're not necessary nor interesting. I would say they're important in that order.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


In, but the Fiasco lingo might as well be gibberish to me. Spell it out like I'm a child please

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


I understood what Antivehicular meant but I didn't know wtf to imagine with "HK TPK" or "Break a Leg" or whatnot. Thanks for the link to the playsets, that's what I needed.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Assigned stuff:

The Penthouse.
Relationship: Grave robber and dealer in antiquities
Relationship: Friendship ended after one humiliated the other
Relationship: Heartbreak
Location: Supply closet - rusting barrels are stacked to the ceiling
Object: Life-size pink marble statue of Superman
Need: To get out of this fire
Tilt: Death, right on time

1499 words

Three hours in Riyadh

9:52 PM

Aslan could not help but smile as he rolled into the penthouse garage, his grimy Toyota Rav4 clashing with the glitzy Porsches and Ferraris. A man in tuxedo and venetian mask, idly taking a drag from a cigarette, observed from the elevators as Aslan kicked sand all over the garage with a satisfying door slam.

“I hear Mount Damavand is beautiful this time of year,” the masked man remarked.

“Yo, Youssef,” Aslan said. He threw open the trunk and dragged a case to the edge.

“You were supposed to answer with ‘Yes, but I prefer Mount Fuji’.”

“Whatever, man. I recognized your voice and you recognized mine. Here, look,” Aslan said as he unlocked the box, carefully opening it as if it were the Ark of the Covenant itself.

“Excellent,” Youssef answered, inspecting the antique bust inside. Dozens of such boxes, varying in size from jewelry cases to coffin-sized, filled the Toyota like a high-level game of Tetris. “Did you have much trouble recovering these?”

“I had to ice two jihadis in Syria when they got suspicious of my accent, and the customs in Alexandria had to be thoroughly greased. Also, this car isn’t mine.”

“Not too bad, then.”

“I’ve had worse. Help me load these out of the trunk.”

For easy access during the auction, they stacked the crates in a supply closet near the elevator. Youssef, carrying a particularly long crate, tripped over the closet’s step and just barely caught his balance, slamming the crate against the floor. Inside, he could hear pieces roll around. Worry turned to curiosity, and Youssef opened it, revealing a disassembled assault rifle inside.

“Aslan, what gives?”

“Side gig,” Aslan handwaved as he closed the trunk.

“A hit?”

“No, no,” the Turk laughed, “merely riding our esteemed Sheikh’s coattails. His goons outside wouldn’t X-ray the crates because of the antiques, so I thought…”

“I doubt you thought anything at all, you imbecile. You cretin. You loving moron. Sheikh Bin Nasser agreed to auction art, not weapons.”

“Relax, it’s an easy job. Some Bulgar was passing through on the way to Cyprus and knew a guy who could use a gun or two. I’ll lead him down during the party and show him the goods, move ‘em to his car, and bam.”

“Just get it done before midnight. Wear this,” Youssef said, passing Aslan a hot pink rabbit mask.

“Seriously?”

“Be glad I’m even letting you inside.”

“Fine.”

They walked into the elevator. As the doors closed, a yellow Porsche rolled down its tinted window. Katarina Dragunova, world-renowned superspy and gentlelady extraordinaire, patched into Moscow HQ through her Rolex.

“Be advised, on-site procurement is proving a lot easier than expected. Permission to cause collateral damage?”

Moscow gave permission.

---

10:43 PM

Youssef had lost track of Aslan somewhere between smoking cigars on the patio and discussing American politics with the Sheikh’s cousin. He strategically positioned himself at the cocktail bar, where he threw anxious glances from the clock to the dance floor and back, on the plausible assumption that a hot-pink bunny mask would grab his attention of he surveyed the area long enough.

Youssef sighed. Inshallah, his idiot supplier might have found his contact and moved the guns by now.

A man with a red mask sat down next to him. “Waiting for someone?” he asked in a thick, Slavic accent.

“Yeah.”

“Say, didn’t we meet in Venice last summer?”

“What?”

“Oh, sorry,” the man hastily said, “I must have mistaken you for somebody else. Have a good evening.”

“Likewise,” Youssef said, and he turned back to the clock.

---

11:01 PM

Aslan bobbed and weaved through the blurry crowd. He was a good drinker – too good to be done in by champagne – but he had to admit that hitting the drinks before touching any food was nothing less than hubris. He barreled into the bathroom, towards a urinal, and relieved his bladder, leaning against the wall with his head to stay in balance.

Next to him, a blonde man smiled under his fox mask. “I think I saw you at the Milan fashion week,” he joked, nodding his nose in the direction of Aslan’s mask.

Was this the Bulgar’s code phrase? Aslan couldn’t remember the matching reply. gently caress it.

“Yeah, yeah, just a second. I brought the goods.”

“You did?” The man asked tentatively.

“All of it is in the garage. I’ll show you.”

---

11:39 PM

Youssef was sipping his fourth glass of wine. He checked the clock again.

“He’s late. I’m going to be late,” he muttered under his breath. No options left now, except going to the supply closet himself and checking every crate for weapon parts before the auction started.

A woman sat down next to him.

“Never thought I’d be happy to see you and your pet idiot again.”

Youssef recognized his ex’s shrill voice.

“Oh, come the gently caress on. Why are you here?” he asked Katarina. She wore a low-key purple mask, trimmed lace around the edges, but a scowl in between. How fitting, Youssef thought.

“Classified. But I suggest you leave the building between now and twenty minutes. It’s going to get hot.”

Youssef grimaced, biting his teeth to prevent anything more than a frustrated whimper from escaping his lips. “At least let me collect my payment?”

“For the auction?”

“The Sheikh is paying me a cut of 30% afterwards.”

“Wouldn’t count on it.”

She got up and disappeared into the dancing crowd. Youssef threw his hands up in resignation, catching the barman’s attention.

“What will sir have?” the barkeep asked.

“I honestly don’t care anymore. Just gently caress me right up.”

“One Chatham Artillery Punch, coming up.”

Retirement was looking better by the day, Youssef thought.

---

11:42 PM

Aslan lead the Bulgar to the closet, which was suspiciously open. “Wait,” Aslan said, “wait, wait. Where’s the boxes?”

“What boxes?” The Bulgar leaned over Aslan’s shoulder to look into the supply room, which was devoid of anything but janitors’ supplies.

“The boxes with the guns, drat it. We left them here!”

“Guns? I thought you were selling antiques.”

Aslan turned slowly. “You’re not the Bulgar?”

They sized each other up for a second, but the stranger was faster. With a hook to Aslan’s throat, he grappled the drunken Turk to the ground and choked him until he stopped moving. Then, the stranger patched in to Berlin HQ.

“This is agent Günther. I think our man may have been a red herring.”

---

00:12 AM

It was a terrible idea, but Youssef decided he’d be at the auction. He’d hang around backstage, wait for Katarina to do her move, and pick up the pieces in the chaos. Maybe just grabbing cash off the corpses would net him more than 30% of the auction.

He exited the elevator on the VIP floor, went through the goons’ pat-down, and headed for the office where he’d meet the Sheikh. To his surprise, the boxes from the closet were lined up on the table, with a few clerks struggling to open the locks.

“Ah, friend, you are late,” the Sheikh jovially greeted him.

“I, um, misplaced the boxes. Who brought them here?” Youssef said.

“Some lady claiming she works for you. Purple mask, long legs?”

“I know who you mean,” Youssef said, eyeing the room for cover. Through a one-way mirror, he saw the buyers discussing around a marble table. Wads of money lay between them.

“Open these crates, they’re waiting,” the Sheikh said.

Youssef opened the box with the bust, knowing it contained no gun parts. “I think this one will sell nicely. Description is on the pamphlet provided,” he said. To his relief, the Sheikh and his staff carried it off, leaving him alone in the office. He opened the long case, intending to assemble the assault rifle, but it now contained only the scrolls with which Aslan had put the parts.

“I guess Katarina got to it before me,” Youssef said, and he lit a cigarette in front of the mirror to enjoy the spectacle. Within minutes, Katarina kicked in the door of the auction room, a silenced M4 carbine at the ready.

“I never knew human bodies had so much blood,” Youssef said to himself afterwards. After she left, he entered the auctioning room, filled a case with as many wads as he could, and followed Katarina’s trail of destruction to the exit.

---

00:52 AM

Günther gingerly entered the office. Unlike most rooms in the penthouse, this one wasn’t littered with corpses. He looked into the boxes on the table. “HQ, I think I found our antiques. I’m exfiltrating the hot zone with the packages.”

In the garage, he bumped into a man with a red mask.

“Didn’t we meet in Venice last summer?” the man said.

“Haven’t been there in years,” Günther answered.

As he drove the highway out of Riyadh, Günther wondered what was up with that man. One of the unsolved mysteries of life, he thought with a smile.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Thanks for the crits, T-rex.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


In, street racing.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Strada Chiusa (1853 words)
Contest: Street Racing

Matteo groaned while dragging the roadblock, and his knee joints emitted a pitch not dissimilar from the rusted fence as it swiveled open. Behind the fence, Giovanni carefully pulled up the Toyota Corolla. Used racing cars tended to be tatty, Matteo thought, but his E100 was in a league all of its own; its frame was dinged all over, the interior a collection of reassembled stock parts, and its paint, once a bold red, now seemed to have been applied with a dry mop.

Matteo put the warning signs back in place before returning to the car and swapping places in the driver’s seat.

“Huh, guess they really are replacing the mountain road with a bridge,” Giovanni mused as he got into the passenger seat.

“All the better. No incoming traffic to slow us down,” Matteo said. “I heard they’re tearing the asphalt sometime next week.”

Matteo drove the car to the stop sign that divided the rest area from the winding mountain road. Back then, it had served as the starting line, the irony of which brought a nostalgic smirk to his face.

“So, tell me. How did you pull it off back in ‘96?”

“Truth be told,” Giovanni sighed, “I can’t remember. Why do you still care about beating a twenty year-old record?”

“I promised you, back then, that I would beat it someday. Today is someday. Next week is too late.”

“Whatever. You still owe me that beer.” Giovanni held his thumb over the stopwatch and said, “Counting down?”

“Go for it.”

On the count of zero, Matteo floored the gas pedal. The sound and smell of burning rubber brought him back to a place in his mind he had forgotten, to those summer days, ages ago, when he was crowned King of Mount Grappa. His racing club back then were small fries, but he was their ace, and every village knew his name.

The drag races along the industrial waterfronts, testing his engine to the limit.

The close-call drifts in the mountain passes, testing his endurance until his leg cramps forced him home at sunrise.

The countless afternoons spent peering over Routard maps of Italy, plotting out the next circuit, discovering breathtaking sceneries and desolate roads where none had ever raced before. But Mount Grappa was his home turf, and this road always held a special place in his heart. Without dispute, it was his.

Until Giovanni beat him.

The finish line, an underpass followed by a roundabout in an olive orchard, dragged Matteo out of his reverie, and he let his Corolla come to a rolling stop between the trees.

“Eight minutes and fifty-three seconds,” Giovanni said.

“I’ve still got it.”

“Eh. It was OK. What was my record again?”

“Eight twenty-two, and you drat well know it,” Matteo said. It wasn’t going to be easy to shave off half a minute from this performance, but it could be done. When he was nineteen, Matteo had done it in eight minutes and twenty-eight seconds.

“Another warm-up?” Giovanni said.

“Yes, I need to get a feel for drifting again.”

“Whatever you say,” he smiled.

Matteo drove them back to the top of the road, and positioned himself at the stop sign.

“Ready? Go!”

This time, Matteo incorporated a gentle drift along the first, long curve left. Well, comparatively gentle. By its nature, a drift is a teeth-chittering affair, and the car churned dangerously on its axles as the uneven, ancient road bent into a hard right. Despite drifting this turn over a hundred times in his youth, Matteo held his breath until his tires gripped a straight piece of track again, letting out a deep sigh only when they reached the finish line again.

“You okay, pops?” Giovanni asked.

“Look who’s talking. You aged like milk.”

“Ha! I saw you clamping that steering wheel ‘til your knuckles turned white. Were you that tense when I beat you, too?”

“gently caress off.”

“Any way, eight thirty-nine.”

Matteo rolled his shoulders and stretched his legs between the olive trees. In the distance, the sun skirted the edges of the mountains, covering the hills and road in a deep orange hue. He got back in the car.

“Still can’t believe some moron from Brindisi rolled up our mountain and set the record.”

“Wasn’t even trying.”

“gently caress off.”

“No, really,” Giovanni held his hands up defensively, “I just asked if I could give your road a whirl. It’s you who decided to make a contest out of it.”

They drove back to the stop sign in silence. On the way down, Matteo’s turns were tighter, his straights were faster, and his drifting more fluid. But remembering that day in ’96, Matteo knew this run didn’t cut it either. Giovanni had done one run down the track to get a feel for it, and smashed the record on his first real try. Nobody from the racing club could set the record straight afterwards.

It was over when word had gotten out.

And Giovanni, by then, had skipped town and continued his search for the perfect mountain road elsewhere. With the new king out of town, and only an impossible time trial left in his wake, Matteo had no way to repair his reputation. Not long after, the racing club disbanded.

They came to a grinding halt right after the underpass. By this descent, the sun had long passed the horizon, and the first stars were faintly visible in the twilight above.

“And?”

“Eight thirty-one.”

Matteo stared at his dashboard. “Okay, so, now what?”

“What do you mean?”

“How did you go faster? I’m thinking back on my own record, and I can’t go any faster than I did back then. We did this road, what, ten times today? I’m not going to find the trick on my own.”

“As I said, I really don’t know. I just went and did it, I guess.”

Giovanni grabbed a pack of cigarettes from his inner pocket and offered one, which Matteo refused.

“Bullshit. There has to be a trick to it.”

“Well, you better find it quick. It’s a three hour drive home for me.”

Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, Matteo gnashed his teeth and finally said, “I’ll pay you your hotel.”

“Come on, man. I did you a favor driving all the way up here so your dumb rear end could have some closure, but my wife will think I’m cheating on her if I spend the night in Grappa. I wanted to humor you, but this is going too far.”

They drove back to the top and did the descent several times. Every time, Matteo’s time fluctuated around eight thirty, never quite progressing towards the record, nor even his personal best.

Around midnight, Matteo slammed the brakes halfway the descent and punched the steering wheel.

“gently caress!” he yelled.

“Idiot! What are you doing?”

“I slowed down too much in that turn, no point going on.”

Halfway through the U-turn, Giovanni yelled back, “I’m done with this! Just get me back to the parking lot and I’m going home!”

They got out at the roadblock, and opened the fence together. Giovanni walked back to his own car, a family sedan on the parking lot, his shoulders lowered in frustration and, perhaps, a tinge of sadness.

“I always knew you hated me,” Matteo said.

Giovanni stopped just short of entering his car.

“Why?” he finally asked. “I barely know you.”

“Exactly. Why?”

They stood beside one another, overlooking the valley illuminated by the streets and villages far below. It all seemed so distant, now, and only the faint notes of music, emanating from one or other party in the dale, interrupted the calm of the mountains.

“All I wanted to do,” Giovanni said, “was race these beautiful roads.”

He left his sedan again and locked the doors. “Mind if I take your car for a spin? My own is hardly suited for these kinds of speed.”

“What for?”

“I don’t know. I came all the way up here on a whim, might as well do this road one last time before they tear it open.”

Reluctantly, Matteo passed him the keys and took the passenger seat. Giovanni inspected the driver’s seat, the clutch and handbrake, and said, “Real nice car. Still the same you had back then?”

“I could never part with it,” Matteo admitted.

Giovanni made the engine roar a few times. “I sold my Mazda, you know.”

“A Miata, was it?”

“Yeah,” he said wistfully. “I miss it every day.”

Giovanni cleaned his glasses on his greasy blue shirt and ran his hands through his graying hair.

Then, he began his descent, not frantic, but calm and leisurely, as if he were taking in the sights. Halfway through, he slowed down to look at the valley, and he took his next turn as wide as possible, sliding in a beautiful motion over the asphalt. No shocks, no shuddering, but merely the low humming of the engine and the high-pitched squeal of the tires.

At the bottom, he came to a gentle halt and closed his eyes. “This is a good road, you know. Lots of curves, some hard, some wide. And that final straight to cap it off. Do you want to try it?”

“I’ve had enough,” Matteo said.

Giovanni sighed. “Not to break the record. Just for fun. It’d be a shame if your last memories of the road were those of frustration.”

Matteo thought deeply, then slowly uncrossed his arms. “Right.”

They drove up, then down, and up again, and down, several times. Matteo felt a certain simple joy which he had lacked earlier that night, the simple pleasure of feeling your car as an extension of yourself, the natural fluidity that came with years of experience and intimacy with your car. He took a curve as widely as possible, letting it drift for as long as he could, then taking a corner with acceleration before the straight. He experimented, discovered new ways in which his old Corolla reacted, and was shocked to find this old reliable could still surprise him in new and exciting ways.

Matteo and Giovanni switched between driver and passenger seat between each descent, and they took in the road to its fullest.

Around 2 AM, Giovanni finally broke their rhythm and said, “I should really drive back to Brindisi now.”

“I understand. I have to say, I didn’t expect to have this much fun again,” Matteo said as he walked Giovanni back to his sedan.

“That’s rather sad, you know. Why drive if you’re not having fun?”

“I don’t know.”

Before he left, Giovanni took a cigarette and offered his last to Matteo. “One for the road,” he said.

“If you insist.”

They took slow drags, savoring the moment as they leaned on the guardrails around the parking lot. “I think you beat my record on your seventeenth attempt, by the way,” Giovanni finally said. “But I wasn’t measuring the time.”

“Eh,” Matteo said.

“Eh, indeed.”

This was the last time he would ever drive down this mountain pass, Matteo knew.

But to be honest, he didn’t mind.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Mercedes posted:

What's up you bastards. You may remember me from such classics as Dog Police and Black Jesus.

Today, right now, I'm sitting in an English class room preparing to teach a poo poo ton of freshman to magic of Thunderdoming in the ~real world~

So I'm coming to you faggots honored colleagues to ask your your help. These young bloods will be submitting stories next week and I'll need help critting them.

I'll be posting a link once their submissions start rolling in. All I ask is that you remember that these are kids. The goal is make them want to write more, not crush their hopes. So this is the only time I'll ask this and mean it. Please be gentle.

I pledge you my pen

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Thunderdome Week CCXCVII: And Now for Something Completely Different



I'm going to edit this post to make it more fitting when I'm not tired and groggy as hell.

This week, I want to do a little writing exercise with Thunderdome. Pouring out your heart is cool & good, but writing is still a craft, and we're going to practice a specific aspect this week, hopefully without putting you lunatics in too much of a straitjacket.

We're going to practice voice. For the uninitiated, Voice can refer to two things in fiction writing: the speech, language choice, style, mannerisms of the author, and those of the characters in a work of fiction. Essentially, through the way a character speaks and acts, you know how they are. Ideally, a work with strong character voices should make it possible for the reader to instinctively know who is saying what without dialogue tags, because the two characters speak differently. The author's voice, to some degree, functions in a same way: while of course every author has a certain "voice" in how they write naturally, specific attention can be paid to sentence structure, word choice and style to reflect how the narrator thinks about something. That's what I want you to nail in this exercise: you're writing a story from two different perspectives, and each should have a distinct style that reflects how the narrator/POV character thinks about and interacts with the world and other characters.

The actual prompt is as follows: I want you to write a story that, halfway through, shifts gears into an unrelated scene, with a different POV character. This character should, hopefully, have a different voice than the first POV voice, or else you basically prove you don't know how to switch character voices on demand.

Of course, you still need to write a good story. So the second requirement is as follows: the second scene must end up actually being related to the first scene in a neat way, and the story should wrap up both scenes.

Example: Scene 1 is about a baseballer trying to hit the best homerun of his life. Scene 2 is about NASA scrambling to identify a UFO that's seen leaving the stratosphere. It turns out this UFO was a baseball. This isn't a very good story, but hopefully it explains what kind of deal I'm looking for.

I'll give you points based on how well you did voices, whether the two scenes end up actually being meaningful for one another, and for actually writing a good story to cap it off.

The prompt was Chili's idea, so blame him if this goes FUBAR.

I'm giving you assholes 2500 words 1750 words, and another 500 if you take a flash rule. Maybe this is way too much for me, or way too little for you. I might tweak it after some introspection. I decided to drop the wordcount a bit, sooner rather than later.

If you want a flash rule I am giving you a page or a panel from one of my favourite mangas, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, to get your creative juices flowing. You can also ask the co-judges for a non-jojo flash rule, which also counts for your 500 words extra, but you can't double dip and get more than 500.

Sign up deadline: Saturday 14 April 2018, 9 AM, GMT +1 (So that's like 3 AM for you Americans? Just treat the deadline as midnight)
Submission deadline: Monday 16 April 2018, 9 AM, GMT +1 (Again, treat it like a midnight deadline on Sunday evening if you're American)

Judges:
Deltasquid
Chili
[Come Judge with me, my Lord/Lady]

Sign Ups:
ThirdEmperor (+500 words)
Solitair (+500 words)
Thranguy (+500 words)
Big Scary Monsters (+500 words)
Chainmail Onesie (+500 words)
Schneider Heim (+500 words)
Fleta Mcgurn (+500 words)
Bad Seafood (+500 words)
Crabrock
CascadeBeta
Bubble Body (+500 words)
derp (+500 words)
BabyRyoga (+500 words)
Flesnolk (+500 words)
apophenium
Jay W. Friks
Sebmojo (+500 words)
Antivehicular (+500 words)
SurreptitiousMuffin
Tyrannosaurus
QuoProQuid
Yoruichi

Deltasquid fucked around with this message at Apr 14, 2018 around 22:08

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


Tanz! posted:

The other two judges state they will be expanding their crits in their own posts. However I am lazy and instead I am offering detailed crits to anyone who asks for one, that submitted this week. Just quote this post.

Sure ok thanks

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


ThirdEmperor posted:

Preemptively in flash rule me



Read from right to left

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


Solitair posted:

I can't resist JoJo. In with a flash rule.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


Thranguy posted:

In and flash



Read from right to left, top to bottom

Deltasquid fucked around with this message at Apr 10, 2018 around 08:23

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


big scary monsters posted:

I am in, please flash me.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Schneider Heim posted:

In with a flash rule!




Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Oh, hey, I actually have time for this!!! in; flash me

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


Bad Seafood posted:

In with a little story that must be told.

Gimme a taste of the remedy.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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THUNDERDOME


ATTENTION everyone: to make the prompt a bit less insane I decided to go and drop the wordcount a bit.

Now you get 1750 words (+500 if flashruled) rather than 2500. I'd rather do the change now and save you from rewriting your stories tomorrow (ha.)

Also, still looking for one co-judge!

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Bubble Bobby posted:

Thanks to last weeks judges for reading my retarded story. I'm in with a flash rule



derp posted:

hello. i'm having trouble writing lately so i guess i'll do one of these with a flash also k thanks.



BabyRyoga posted:

Ok, i'll go in with a flash rule

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Flesnolk posted:

In. Flash.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

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you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


sebmojo posted:

In, and flash me with your anime nonsense



Read right to left kudasai

Antivehicular posted:

Ah, what the hell. I need to work on not writing comfortable empty little stories, so in with a flash.



Right to left

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


sebmojo posted:

Deltasquid has won, but remains unscrolled.

See to it if you think him worthy.

avs for the 'taxgod, for the spinethrone

Wow thanks

You made me splurt ink all over my desk

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Still need one more co-judge! Does anyone feel compelled?

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Sign-ups closed! Good luck everyone.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Yoruichi posted:

Oh and I'm in.

Ok fine

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Submissions are closed.

EDIT: I guess you nerds have 5 minutes of overtime to get posts in quickly

Deltasquid fucked around with this message at Apr 16, 2018 around 07:59

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Results: Thunderdome Week CCXCVII: And Now for Something Completely Different

The results are in, and as befits the week, they range from good and strong to some stinkers.

The Good: Honorable Mention goes to SurreptitiousMuffin's Damo's Very Bad Day. The judges agreed that it had some strong showing of voice, a nice jarring switch between voices used to comedic effect, but unfortunately fell flat as an actual story. This one would have worked better as a shorter joke, or as a slightly retooled and longer piece with an actual plot.

The Bad: Dishonorable Mention goes to Schneider Heim's Creatures of the Coin. I would describe it as "Metal Gear Solid suddenly interrupts a romance anime", except this would let down fans of either genre. An interesting idea, mired by weak language, some definitive action scene sins (blow by blow descriptions of fights between gruff mysterious men we don't know and don't care about) and a plot that, all things considered, made less sense as things went on. the agent is the girl's dad? And there's a pokémon fight with these creatures of sorts? Keep it simple, dude. This has way too much waste that can be trimmed off, and weak voices with lots of passive sentences.

The Ugly: The Loss goes to Bubble Bobby's Diner Food. It starts with an intro that drags its feet as liberal/conservative cut-out characters deliver their political strawmen points and it goes downhill from there. I think you tried a sincere effort, Bubble Bobby, at articulating a point and giving us a heartrending stream of consciousness, but it turned out to be melodrama that falls flat in the middle of a political screed. To top it off, not much actually *happens* as the second POV is essentially a dying guy's last thoughts in a void, and also, apparently he regrets dying a virgin and playing call of duty.

The Winner: Tyrannosaurus' #goodboy. Universally liked by the judges as a legitimately funny story that is reinforced by the strong voices. You also hit me with some elves, which are a personal weak spot. Save for some typos and proofreading errors, we had little to remark as bad marks.

Take the throne, T-rex.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Some quick and dirty thoughts on every story:

A Night at the Theater: It's okay. The voice shines through pretty well, the prose is neat enough but there's some errors or awkward sentences here and there. It falls flat because ultimately the story didn't quite grab me and the ending feels a bit disconnected and ambiguous. I like the use of the flash rule. 10/20

Her Bastard Children: I somewhat liked this. The voice comes through, sometimes a bit too strong in the sense that it overtakes the actual story. I'm a bit confused, I know it's dark and creepy and you were going for that, and it's all a bit feverish and insane. However at the end I wasn't sure if this took place at their own home, a diner, a strip club or what. The first part also has very little happening in the plot: just a guy with a slug in his head thinking about stuff. I did understand that these people were legit getting hosed up by demons though. Could be a pretty good story if you fix it up and rewrite the plot a bit so both characters can struggle a bit more effectively against the demons. As it is now, it's a fait accompli. 10/20

Diner Food: Ugh. The first part is kind of boring with flat characters, the second part is a stream of consciousness and I'm not too hot on that. The soldier's thoughts aren't particularly unique or weird, just what you'd expect a dying soldier to frantically think. Dunno, the whole thing feels a bit like low-hanging fruit to me. I think you could do this, with some nuance it can be pulled off, but that is not what your story did. Also, refer to the results post. 6/20

Damo's very bad day: Lol this piece is pretty quirky and funny. However there isn't much story to it, it's more like a joke with little context. And as a joke I feel it drags its feet a bit. You could file off some mediocre sentences everywhere to keep the gist of it and bundle the funny parts in a small, explosive part. Like the meteor. 14/20

A Baron's Son, A Hunter's Daughter: I like the story here. It's a bit straight forward, with no real twist, but competent enough. I'm sad that the "trap" that ends up killing the king is a knife hidden in a hunting ground though (wha..?) rather than some sort of battle of wits to lure him into a spike trap or whatever. Although looking back I see you did that for the flash rule, which makes me more sympathetic to the execution (ha.) The prose is okay, but quite tell-y. I wished I could have seen more of the hunter's daughter's perspective, like really how she feels about the whole thing, what kind of a person she is. The first part had a bit of a voice going on, but the part of the hunter's daughter sounded similar - too similar to convince me you could break out of your usual writing voice to make each character shine. 12/20

#goodboy: I like this the most so far. Strong voice, and a good shift in voices halfway through. There's an actual cool story here. Well-written. It also has elves which are my personal weak spot, and it made me smile. Perhaps, along with the Damo story, the one that best nails the prompt so far by having the story come to a sudden screeching change in tone and setting that it made me wonder how the hell this puzzle would fit together. I was not disappointed. 17/20

Bent out of Shape: The first part is super dense and hard to parse. I think you were going for that, but I was exhausted by the time I got to the second part. That's just... Okay I suppose. But the second part doesn't resolve any questions from the first part, or build upon it in any way. It's just the same character years later, and I don't quite know how they got where they are now or anything. You narrowly dodged a DM here, kiddo. 9/20

Creatures of the Coin: Lol this is anime as gently caress. The first part is like Metal Gear Solid except without any hint of self-awareness and the second part has a bit too much baka and tsundere to my liking. The first part falls extremely flat because I don't know Butler, I don't know the ninja, and most of this is just a description of actions from a fight scene that I don't particularly care much about because I don't know the protagonist nor his opponent at all. Put a bit more emotion and feeling in your fight scenes, and don't focus too much on writing a scene from a movie blow by blow. Also, is Butler Keiko's dad? I choose to believe that no, he is not, because this kind of contrivance would sink your story lower. 7/20

Human Geometry: Some nice rhetorical flourishes here and there. It's a cute little piece, but I think you missed the prompt; you're having two different voices for the same character rather than two different POVs that end up intertwining. Unless you're trying to be cute about it and saying this woman is a different person now than when she was young. I won't DQ it though, because you did get the two voices unique enough that I didn't quite mind, so it fits the spirit of the prompt. 11/20

Unscrambling an Egg: Neat twist at the end there. Good noir style, and a fight fit for a jojo flash rule. However, the second part isn't much of a story by itself, more like a literal voice in a void explaining what happened. I don't know how you could do it otherwise, but just having a character straight up talk to me, the reader, for hundreds of words is a bit lame. 15/20

Dinosaur Day: I hate these characters, in a good way. gently caress crossfitters. Not sure I really understood the ending tohugh? It feels really abrupt, and we didn't quite get enough time to meet these new characters. I'm also not entirely 100% sure what was going on start to finish, but I'll probably catch it on a reread. 11/20

Quote this post if you want a more in-depth crit.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Jon Joe posted:

What makes the piece ultimately work so well in my opinion - I’m talking to you, other writers -

Thanks for the crit

I'll try to keep doing good words like this in the future

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Chili posted:

For additional examples of story spines check out: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/201...he-story-spine/


Link seems dead btw

I'll join this week but I need some food for thought

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Exmond posted:

Double edit: :'(, FETISH-CEPTION will have to wait.

Edit: Requesting to be a judge, also if people need inspiration I got a ton of flash rules!

I will regret this, but I am curious. Hit me up with your fetish-ception flash rule.

Also requesting a second flash from Chili. Give me all the flashes

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Exmond posted:

FETISH-CEPTION is like INCEPTION, except you keep going down a rabbit hole of fetishes. First, it might be playing Jurassic Park during coitus, then upgrading to a full orchestra until finally, you both are wearing T-Rex costumes while going down on each other. (And then it starts into costume play, which then turns into intricate TV-Show plots for foreplay, when then turns into....)

All you need to do is be inspired by this really silly idea. You could have a single fetish in the piece and your fine, this isn't a noose that strangles your story.



gently caress it, I'm in and taking these.

Chili posted:

Quick heads up:

The prompt doesn't seem to be rubbing folks the right way. I'll give it a few more hours but if we don't see more folks jumping on I may go rogue and scrap/replace it.

Even if you do this.

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Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Flash rule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ju8Wxmrk3s

The Tale of Howe three Youthes have greatly mysordered Theymself in Gloucester (1317) (1400 words)

Alice and I were hollowing apples and placing beetles inside of them when John barged into the cottage, face red with excitement, waving a piece of parchment around.

“I got my writ,” he yelled. “Official journeyman, and Mr. Mercer will start paying me for my work starting Monday!”

We dropped our apples at once, and Alice gave him a congratulatory embrace at the doorstep. Patting him on the back, I asked to inspect his writ, and John happily obliged.

“Wow,” I said.

“Aren’t I just the best?” he laughed at Alice. She laughed back.

“Verily,” I said. “Wanna help us with the apples?”

He glanced at the table, filled with apples placed between baskets crawling with bugs, and gave an intrigued smile. “What are you two planning?”

“Just… Livening up the Easter festival,” Alice said innocently.

“Today just keeps getting better and better.” John rubbed between his hands. “Alice, Geoffrey, I think this will be a night to remember.”

We finished prepping the apples and made our way to the town centre, baskets in hand. Every street, every alleyway, was decorated in flowers and banners, and the towns’ guilds had collaborated to erect a stage for the play besides the feast. April had been kind on Gloucester this year; the mild evenings invited the townsfolk to celebrate outside, and the gentle fragrance of blooming roses wafted between the houses. It was a nice change from the usual pungent odour of horse droppings, we joked.

Father Houghton, decorating a table for the banquet, waved when he saw us, and met us halfway the square.

“My, my,” he said, “if it isn’t the dynamic trio.” He looked at our baskets and opened a hand to accept them. “I hope you’re looking forward to the feast.”

“Oh, we sure are,” I said. John and Alice nodded enthusiastically.

“Well, isn’t that wonderful. I certainly hope, ah, today will remain as pleasant is it is.” He gave us a knowing frown.

“Are you singling us out, father?” Alice said.

“Not at all. I’m just saying, apropos nothing, that I hope nothing sudden and unexpected ruins the celebrations. Such as, I don’t know, an abrupt rampage of scared pigs who escaped their pens?”

We glanced at each other, and I suppressed a smile with every fibre of my body. Good times.

“Or, say, two boys making inappropriate advances on the baron’s daughter?”

“She’s coming to the feast?” John said, a bit too excited.

Father Houghton put the baskets on the table behind him, and shook his head. Behind him, a hollowed-out apple wiggled on the stack, rocked by the beetle inside until it fell off the table. The confused father picked it up again and placed it on the pile. From the corner of my eye, I saw Alice bite her lower lip until it whitened.

“I doubt anything like that will happen, Father,” I reassured him.

“I certainly hope so. Might I remind you that Baron Colville’s daughter is betrothed, and that inciting a pious woman to adultery is a sin?”

“Oh, we hate sinning,” John said. “We hate it so much, in fact, that we would rather deflower ten virgins than to incite one betrothed woman to adultery.”

Alice rolled her eyes, and Houghton looked down on us with his hands on his hips. “Yes,” he sighed, “I am sure you would.”

---

With much fanfare, the noble carriage dropped baron Colville and his entourage at Gloucester Square. Seated at the head of the feast, they opened the celebrations with a toast, and I saw John gape at Miss Colville with open mouth as the young noblewoman placed a cup of red wine at her lips. A trickle rolled down her snow-white chin, which she quickly wiped with her napkin before checking to make sure nobody had seen her faux pas. Making eye contact with me, she hastily averted her gaze back to her plate and fidgeted with her brown curls.

“I can see how she would incite to adultery,” I said, playfully jabbing John in the ribs.

“Whatever,” he said.

Alice gave a disinterested “hmm.”

“Well, no point thinking about a girl out of my station,” I joked.

“Yeah, she’s way out of your league,” John said. I was shocked to hear some bite in his voice.

“Mate,” I said, “What do you mean with that?”

“Tell him what I mean, Alice.”

Alice looked at us in confusion. “She’s not that pretty,” she deflected.

With a loud thud, I put my cutlery on the table, and crossed my arms. “John, you always do this,” I said.

“Do what?”

“Every time a girl… –”

Behind us, a servant of the Baron excused himself for interrupting, and the young Lady Colville stood beside him, holding a length of embroidered lace between her fair hands. Mister Mercer, all smiles under his beard, introduced John as his apprentice, who stammered out something between “hello” and “pleased to meet you.” Mercer grimaced, but Lady Colville laughed.

“I have it on good authority that you are the artisan who fashioned this cloth?” she said.

“Excuse me? Oh, um, yes. I made that.”

“Lady Colville wanted to express her gratitude for this gift to me, but it was mostly your handiwork,” Mercer said.

“You’re welcome?”

Lady Colville gave a small curtesy and said, “I adore it. May I join your table?”

We straightened our backs in alarm. Sitting stiffly upright at the table, we exchanged polite trivialities with her, conscious that half of the guests at the banquet were watching us like eagles at any given time. When Colville reached for the basket of fruit on the table, my blood froze.

The lady produced a pear from the basket, and I heard Alice sigh in relief next to me.

“Are you an apprentice of Mister Mercer as well?” Lady Colville said to me.

Before I could answer, John laughed, “Oh no, Geoffrey shovels dung at a farm outside Gloucester.” Lady Colville laughed with him, to her retainers’ dismay, and I could see Mercer hesitate to reprimand anybody in her presence.

“Yes,” I said. “I work at a farm. Somebody needs to put food on the table, right?”

“Well, anybody could do that,” John said.

“John, I think… –” Mercer began, but Lady Colville interrupted him and agreed, “You have to admit it is a bit… Ordinary.”

I looked at Alice, hoping for some back-up, but she merely stared at her plate. Behind her, I saw townsfolk roasting a pig, and I watched the flames dance for a few seconds before deciding on scorched earth tactics.

“My fairest Lady,” I said while forcing a smile, “have you tried the apples yet? They’re absolutely delectable.”

Alice clenched my wrist under the table, digging her nails painfully deep into my skin. “Geoffrey, don’t,” she said, but I wrested free from her grip and passed the basket. John, realizing my intent to drag everyone down with me, mustered a weak “Oh no, Lady, they are overly ripe,” but her interest was piqued beyond the point of no return.

“I have not! Thank you kindly,” she said, and she accepted an apple which she closely inspected with her beautiful eyes for a suitable piece to bite.

Alice bit her nails.

John closed his eyes.

I grinned anxiously, perhaps too anxiously, and Lady Colville must have thought something was amiss. But with her retainers shooting daggers at her back, she would not risk another faux pas.

She chomped down, and the apple crunched deliciously. At the second crunch, her eyes widened, and she stared blankly into the distance, before turning to her servant whose face implored her not to make a scene.

I gasped in amazement as Lady Colville doubled down, bravely powering through her mouthful until she swallowed everything. Then, she excused herself and left with her retinue, leaving the apple on the table.

“Holy poo poo!” Alice yelled. “Holy poo poo, I totally thought we were going to die.” I laughed nervously with her, stopping only when I saw John’s pained expression.

“Why?” he said.

“You always do this,” I sighed. “When a girl even shows a hint of interest in me, you drag me down. Why do you do that?” Alice nodded. “It hurts,” I added.

Looking away, he said, “Dunno.”

After a few minutes of silence, John finally cracked a smile.

“What?” I said.

“Did you see her God-damned face?”

We roared in laughter again.

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