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Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012



A crit for The Night's Post.

I'm not entirely sure this fits the criteria for "a friendship that's being tested," given the author and their friend don't exactly seem to be on face-to-face speaking terms. I also feel it maybe skirts a little too close to the rule against any actual death in the story. That's probably why this didn't win or HM, especially since a lot of places I felt like the story was really trying to sound like Lovecraft, But Not Racist moreso than doing its own thing. Completely on its own it definitely merited some kind of nod, though. I'm a sucker for pretty, vivid prose, which is why I try to write how I've been lately, and I do like the actual writing in this piece, but I do see some of the same issues that tend to get picked out in my recent entries. There's a bit of a sense of strain here, like you're visibly trying to pull off all these flourishes and overall Write Good, and while I like the inventiveness and the sensory details and found the writing really effective for pulling me into this world you've created, there are a lot of meandering, overly-verbose sentences that drag down what you're trying to do instead of building it up - it makes the character writing these letters come off as a bit of a windbag. Some points in this story felt like you were compelled to use several words to do the work of a few, and although I like the sort of dreamy atmosphere two of the three crits you got prior to this one commented on various parts of the story being hard to follow because of your prose style. While it's very important to have your own style, if the reader can't follow what's going on you should have a look at what you're actually doing. Much like my recent Week 324 crits, I did notice this story feels like it comes up hard against the wordcount; there's this sense I pick up that you didn't really have the space to build up as well as you wanted or needed to. Nice read overall tho.


Also, in. Gimme a bonus.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!

td19



I'm sorry. I wasn't clear with my intentions. I would also like a bonus please.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

In, bonus 200.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

In, with an exciting bonus fact

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Im judge

Dolash
Oct 23, 2008

aNYWAY,
tHAT'S REALLY ALL THERE IS,
tO REPORT ON THE SUBJECT,
oF ME GETTING HURT,




I've seen the banner ads and the avatars, and this is the year I get in. Hit me with a bonus fact while you're at it.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

*


CRITS from Week 335!

Staggy
This story stood out from the pack this week because it finished solid as opposed to starting off swell and falling down midway through. The transition from stop-motion to full motion is a little awkward as is the suddenness with how the father is okay with things. Like Yoruichiís piece about the hiker, the conclusion of ďin the end Iím okay with thisĒ doesnít quite feel earned. All that being said, itís beautifully written and engaged me from the get-go. You reveal just enough detail about both your protag and the daugher that I care about them as people. I also really like the voice you chose to write Dad in. Nice work.

One thing to work on: It can be bloody tough to set up a conclusion that feels like it was earned. Itís a part of storytelling I struggle with a lot, too. Iíve reached the point in my own writing where I can come up with satisfying endings, but that decision point where the protagonist makes a Big Choice or learns a Big Lesson which then powers them toward making the choices that lead to the ending eludes me. Maybe what might have helped tie this one together is a scene where the daughter brings the person they are marrying by to Dadís grave so he can get a good glimpse of what her future life will actually be like, or maybe even the daughter talking Ďtoí him about her plansĖsomething to actually SHOW the protag that things are different and lead that horse to water, so to speak.


Yoruichi
Oof, this one hit really close to home for me. Very true to life and beautifully written. Only real quabble is that the happy ending doesnít quite feel earned via conflict or choice from the protag, but itís still lovely. You captured the sense of hopelessness and dogged determination to keep on as you were that healthy people who become sick people often feel, and youíve captured it very accurately. I do wish weíd gotten a bit more of a glimpse at the girlfriend character, sheís just kind of there.

One thing to work on: Exactly the same suggestions I gave Staggy above. The last paragraph, that sudden shift to ĎWHEN I get betterí comes out of nowhere. If itís caused by the protag being able to successfully make the hike, explicitly spell that out. Spell out why successfully completing a hike will make him feel better rather than making him feel ďokay I survived the drudgery.Ē This could be a lovely little story if it just had a bit more emotional conflict.


Pham Nuwen
I love a good fae story and youíve written fae well here. I also like Americana stories and youíve captured that atmosphere nicely, too! My biggest beef is that Earl is kind of an archetype, a stand-in protag that we sympathise with solely because heís the narrator. Some people thought this one got a little cute with its Elvish/Elvis thing but I liked it. :P I also felt, like others did, that this story ends far too soon. I really wanted to know what the effect of Earlís blessing ended up being in his future, his lifeĖwas it like many other fae gifts in that it comes with a significant unanticipated downside?

One thing to work on: You are a skilled writer who tells a good story, but be careful you donít fall into the trap of assuming readers will care about your main character just because theyíre the main character. Itís your job to make them care by showing heís a person worth caring about. Just a few little details about his life or personality outside of work would go a long way!


Sitting Here
In a weaker week this would have probably been my winner. I liked it a lotĖsolid imagery, a good dose of whimsy. My biggest issue is that the narrative felt a little like an aimless zig-zag. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end but as a story it felt like it wasnít really shaping up toward any particular conclusion. Which honestly is probably not that unusual for a story about a merry-go-round purgatory. But it meant that this story lost out to others that followed a more clearly defined plot path.

One thing to work on: I think this story might have felt a little more tied-together if there had been a sprinkling of the plane/war stuff at the beginning. It seemed to come rather out of nowhere and I wasnít ever sure if he was just along for the ride or if the plane stuff was actually of sincere importance to his character. OR if you wanted to go in a completely different direction from the plane stuff, a good purgatory story often has elements of the purgatory in question springing from the subjectís consciousness or subconsciousness, ala Silent Hill 2. Is there a particular reason your protagís purgatory was a carousel? It all felt a little ďthese are the elements of the story because why notĒ rather than things being tailored to your characterís emotional experience.


Thranguy
Man oh man I was so into this one until it hit the brick wall of the relationship drama. I find Ďlady bummed out about infertility, thatís the plotí stories kind of trite and overdone and that prevents me from wanting to HM this one. Especially since thatís just kinda tacked on at the end. The Ďrelationship is tense, they make up with adequate sexí stuff could have been completely cut and the story would not have suffered for it. Your ghost fish are such a cool idea. I wanted them to matter more.

One thing to work on: Donít make the mistake of thinking just because your characters are unhappy their conflicts will be interesting. Itís a mistake a lot of writers including myself make ALL the time.


Antivehicular
The fabulism comes out of left field toward the end of this one and that hurts the piece overall. I couldnít tell what genre it was supposed to be. I couldnít tell if it was supposed to be magical realism until way too late. I couldnít tell if I was supposed to be horrified about the girls diving in the sludge or just intrigued. As always your writing is tight and your characters speak believably, but I think this story needed a grounding rod into whatever world you set it in before you let the plot loose.

One thing to work on: Including world-specific terms like Ďportal madí is great, but be careful that thereís at least some explanation to the reader. There wasnít quite enough context in this one to infer enough to understand.


Exmond
The shifts in and out of second-person POV hurt this one, but overall itís one of the strongest entries Iíve ever read of yours. It had a complete story arc from beginning to middle to end, and the narrator is nicely mysterious. The problem is that apart from the fact that the narrator cares about him because heís human and their species cares about humans, there isnít much meat on the dead guyís bones. I was unmoved by his death. There were some nice lines in this one, but also some that got a little too cute, as Kaiís critique also mentions.

One thing to work on: Itís evident you put a lot of work into this entry and it shows! Keep editing and polishing the way you have been and you will only improve. I know this isnít a specific ďthing you can do to make things betterĒ but really youíre on the right track here and I wanted to acknowledge that, because itís tough work.


Apophenium
I really enjoy some of your unusual turns of phrase in this story and I like the decision to set so much of it in his therapy group, but the problem is that like many other stories this week, your protag transitions from apparently being nutty enough to think he needs to go to UFO therapy to just being perfectly okay without much conflict or emotional discovery to actually nudge him along that path. Everything felt kind of railroaded and convenient.

A thing to work on: If the goal of the story is to show an emotional transformation in your protag, he has to do the mahi to get the treats. Kelvin didnít seem too different in behaviour/mindset from the beginning of the story to the end, nor did he seem to struggle much along the way.


QuoProQuid
This started out really amusing and I enjoyed your rear end in a top hat protagonist. The problem is that Audrey by comparison felt really poorly-developed and the ending with the rifle felt slapstick and contrived. It hit the ground running and fell flat on its face. I think thereís a good story here, but it needs to have the weeds cleared away. Why is Audrey with this dude if heís such a tool and she so openly despises him?

A thing to work on: Having your MC be a dick is a bold move and I like it. The problem is that the moment during which he gets his just desserts feels like a result of random chance (whoops dropped the rifle) rather than him making a deliberate bad choice and then getting comeuppance. And given youíve written him to be such a dick and sent him on the path of killing an endangered animal, I do feel like this is supposed to be a comeuppance story. People sympathize with or hate characters more if everything that happens to them is a result of their actions rather than a cosmic roll of the dice.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Can I please also get a bonus fact?

e: and thanks for the thoughtful crit, blowout

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at 02:30 on Jan 9, 2019

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



Thanks for the crits!

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012



I found a google doc where I actually wrote down my thoughts on the various 252 entries. To be honest, that makes me really loving embarrassed that I only actually posted one crit back then, lol. So anyway, here we go.

Coda
Judging was very close between this and The Coward, when it came to win picks, where Coda came up as the only entry of the week all three of us could agree on. We all loved the creepy, almost metafictional angle (I definitely agree with Obliterati calling it "a writers' story") and I ate the setting and the prose right up. I will second, though, that it starts a bit slowly, and we could probably do with more actively Doing Things and less Running Away. Obliterati was pretty on point saying she should either run less, or have things happen as she runs. Honestly though, I had this pegged as one of my win picks the second I started reading it.

Start a Fire, Even if itís for Yourself
I thought this story opened quite strongly, and I enjoyed the portrait of a (heh) burnout who gets high to reminisce on better times, as well as how that played into the general motif of fire, burning, and how everything comes back to the need to burn. That was solid. However, not much of anything really happens here, and while Stuff Happening isn't the end all be all (in fact there's an ongoing argument as to if Real Literature can even have plots or if that automatically consigns you to genre fiction) there isn't enough meat on this particular skeleton to stand out as a pure character piece either A good enough author can make a story that's mostly the protagonist sitting around gripped by depressive malaise incredibly compelling, but the first half or so of this story feels like we're being talked at rather than told a story, and when your protagonist finally does things it feels almost like it's just happening because the prompt says it has to. We're told "this is a thing" moreso than being made to feel "this is a thing."

Wartime
Solitair and I initially wanted this to HM, on my part motivated purely by the strength of its premise. This entry has the bones of an amazing story, and I would love nothing more than to read a series of novels by you about this. This tale of a group of soldiers stuck adrift in time, jumping from war to war in a desperate attempt to finally get home, is some Homer or Xenophon poo poo, and I'm serious when I say you should come back to this and do more with it. Unfortunately, that's exactly what pulls it down: it has the bones of an amazing story, but its premise doesn't fit this format at all, resulting in an entry that reads as incredibly compressed and barely story-shaped. While it's obviously intentionally done this way, it being more a long anecdote than much of a narrative is really to its detriment. It's like "here's a lot of cool poo poo happening but instead of slowing down and showing you any of it we're gonna blaze right though and go 'yo this happened'". It's like I'm being shown the highlight reel to something that doesn't actually exist, which made reading this very frustrating.

Graffiti Bros
This was a unanimous loss pick because, frankly, it reads like a shitpost. Like an attempted ock that misses funny and instead hits obnoxious, especially since (as I once commented on "Ockient Express") it felt like a deliberate waste of time. That was my perspective at least.

Illumination
This is one I rather liked but didn't leave me with much to actually say or dig into. I felt like I asked for a hearty steak dinner and got a fluffy, tasty cake. Like sure, it was good and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't really what I wanted, was it. I feel it starts strong, and that there's a definite arc being formed, but that there's a few steps missing in the middle for everything to come naturally together. I liked your characters and your actual writing, but it's an annoying story to me because when I try to really put my head into it I just sort of unaccountably bounce off. I might revisit this.

The Coward
While I should disclose that I'm a sucker for WW1 stuff and that was probably part of the immediate hook for me, I really liked this, enough so that it was never a question to me that either this or Coda would win. Your HM was a) a compromise and b) well deserved. I don't really care that not much plotty happened in this, see my comment on Start A Fire (and in fact you yourself were one of the ones I was thinking about re: "can Actual Literature have a plot") regarding that. Your writing creates a desolate, hopeless, almost exhausted feeling, especially as we get further into Monty's head and read about the deaths of his friends. I can see where Obliterati's coming from when he said you could stand to cut a couple of those and use the words for more actual story, but I think it works, especially with the images you craft like him erasing the names or the destroyed church itself. A big strength of flash fiction is in its ability to capture a particular moment, and I think you play well into it here. Would've maybe liked to see a little more build to him deciding not to actually shoot himself, though. While I typed this I remembered something Mrenda said (come back, Mrenda!!!!) about how the story didn't really feel visceral enough. While I thought the sort of detached vibe worked for what was presumably a deeply shellshocked man, I could see how this story could stand to have more of an actual punch to it.

The Wall of Rejected Classes
As much as I can appreciate playing with the medium to enhance storytelling and all that I kinda felt like the use of it here was cheating. You did a great job catching the university vibe and all that though, and I do think it's pretty clever. I think where I stand is we're very specifically writing shortform prose fiction here, so employing so many images is going out of bounds, but the comparison Obliterati made to Vonnegut does stick in my mind. I enjoyed the form overall but what stuck out to me was that, beyond whether it's too gimmicky, it has an issue like Wartime where it feels like part of a story. Where Wartime felt like the cliff notes version of a way bigger, more ambitious project than what was in the actual entry, this feels more like Part One, the scene setting and introductions to the various dramatis personae. I wouldn't mind seeing a more developed version of this story, with what you have here as your opener of sorts.

Eagle and Shark
Maybe I'm just not much for comic writing, but I bounced right off this, much to the head judge's chagrin. This just felt entirely too silly to me, and more importantly, like it was trying too hard to be that silly. I felt like I had assigned a project to an art class, looked at the work a student turned in, and the paper was just doodled all over. You're usually incredibly capable, so I remember a distinct feeling of disappointment that this just amounted to dick jokes.

The Letter X
I initially DQed this out of hand and never looked back at it after it came to my attention it had been taken down, and then reposted, prior to judgement. That was pretty unfair! Sorry.

I don't feel like this would have merited a loss, but it definitely doesn't hold up pretty well. This isn't quite as off the walls nonsensical as Eagle and Shark but I got this same sense of it trying way too hard to be unique, and I shared another judge's opinion that it became extremely hard to track what was actually happening. The joke, if there was one, just didn't land at all for me.

The Big Dipper
I quite liked this one, overall. I felt like this story maybe spent too much time dancing around its heart, though, the big inciting moment that set everything in action, which stood out more because of how you blended the two narratives. It's like we're seeing through the eyes of two people who have agreed between themselves they're never going to bring up the elephant in the room. A lot of stuff was happening but I wasn't getting as much of a sense for what all of it meant to the actual characters it was happening to.

Spaekona
Come back, Fleta!!!! While this didn't jump right to the top of anyone's list, mine included, I did think it was pretty solid. However, it was something that relied on the reader having more time to really buy into it than the format allowed. This story, in general, really felt very Norse, if that makes sense. Like the world felt very much one way and the characters in it felt like logical products thereof, all leading back to the graffiti in your prompt. To borrow again from a fellow judge, because I'm a hack, the sort of "haha graffiti" to "ancient curse" felt extremely on point. Towards the end, though, the story seemed oddly concerned with... justifying itself? Like it wanted to sit down the reader and defend every instance of "why thing is thing" as opposed to sinking its hooks in and forcing the reader along for the ride. I'll have to chew on this to give a more detailed explanation of how I mean, but I would say to write more confidently, it will do you good.

Under Glass
If I really wanted to quibble I could say this breaks the prompt because all the messages end up erased. TD isn't really a contest of slavish adherence to rules, though, so long as they aren't flagrantly broken. This is an interesting, creepy, lushly-written story of mutual loneliness, but there's a certain feeling of isolation in it that, while intentional, doesn't quite land for me. I feel a bit too (ha!) alienated from the protagonist - not in a sense that I actively dislike them but that I'm barred from their inner life or really experiencing the story as they do - for every beat to hit as it should. There wasn't much life or punch here, the protagonist felt more like they were passively going along with the current, like a piece of debris in the ocean getting swept along instead of a swimmer actively propelling themselves. Static protagonists, or protagonists without agency, or ones who feel like they're just getting blown from point to point in life and can't have a real effect on things, can definitely make for interesting stories, but here I would have liked that to be developed further if it was supposed to be the case. While all readers are, by definition, observers and not participants in the events of a story, here it was a little too apparent that I was just an observer with everything set out for me to consume.

Flesnolk fucked around with this message at 05:04 on Jan 11, 2019

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

Thanks for the crits, crit folks! I appreciate your thoughts.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Clapping Larry

This deluge of crits is good and gorgeous and dare i say pretty cool

Capfalcon
Apr 6, 2012

No Boots on the Ground,
Puny Mortals!



In

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I am judging

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


Anomalous Blowout posted:

In and please do flash me.

Your beast is the Barnacle Goose.
The flesh of a barnacle goose will blister and burn at the touch of a Papist.


Your beast is the Amphisbaena .

Tyrannosaurus posted:

I'm sorry. I wasn't clear with my intentions. I would also like a bonus please.

The smoke of a burning human skull will drive bees to murder.

Sham bam bamina! posted:

In, bonus 200.

Your beast is the Sea-Pig.
On summer nights the bodies of sea-pigs will wash up on shore, split as if cocoons. None know what emerges.

Antivehicular posted:

In, with an exciting bonus fact

Your beast is the Hercinia.
A meal of cloves may tempt a hercinia to lead men to hidden glory.

I'll get to the rest of you when it's not making me late for work. Again. I will, however, say thank you now to our two brave co-judges.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Speak up if you require a horrific flash rule from me

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



in, bonus me daddy

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


sebmojo posted:

Im judge

Thank you.

Dolash posted:

I've seen the banner ads and the avatars, and this is the year I get in. Hit me with a bonus fact while you're at it.

Your beast is the Ant-Lion.
The ant-lion is the enemy of the horse and poisonous unto it.

QuoProQuid posted:

Can I please also get a bonus fact?

e: and thanks for the thoughtful crit, blowout

The call of a yale reminds all who hear it of a lost love - usually their own.


Your beast is the Ostrich.

Djeser posted:

I am judging

Thank you.

Fuschia tude posted:

in, bonus me daddy

Your beast is the Parandus.
The sound of a church bell will reveal the true form of a parandus.

Also, thank you everyone who has submitted crits.

HopperUK
Apr 29, 2007

Clear off, fatso, this is a respectable establishment




Fallen Rib

I'll play! Gimme a bonus fact please.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


HopperUK posted:

I'll play! Gimme a bonus fact please.

Your beast is the Salamander.
It is said that the scales of a salamander will, if properly cared for, grow into live young.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Hey can one of you judges give me a bonus fact? Decided I want to trust my fate to chance even more.

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Nap Ghost

In with a Bonus Twist.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Pham Nuwen posted:

Hey can one of you judges give me a bonus fact? Decided I want to trust my fate to chance even more.

A hibernating bears dreams of the future always come true

DJ Dublell
Dec 13, 2008


What better way to start writing than trial by fire? I'm in.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


Devorum posted:

In with a Bonus Twist.

Your beast is the Onager.
The onager will bow to those of noble lineage, no matter how diluted.


DJ Dublell posted:

What better way to start writing than trial by fire? I'm in.

Your beast is the Jaculus.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

DJ Dublell posted:

What better way to start writing than trial by fire? I'm in.

Hell yeah!

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

I'm going to have to pull out. I got a writing assignment from my therapist yesterday and trying to just work on one or the other is leading to internal gridlock.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747


In, gimme a factoid.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe

Crits crits crits

Week 335


The Turns of Edward Smith

I didnít feel a lot with this one. The voice seemed very remote, and I think that it robbed your story of some of the pathos that the situation should have engendered. In the same vein, I donít think that you did quite enough to make your reader really care about Ed as a person. That may just have been a consequence of word count, or the remote voice.

I also didnít really understand why or how he was able to escape, although maybe that was a fault in my reading comprehension. This fact plus the ending where he decides to just putter around for a while made this feel like it should have been a lot longer (which seems to have been a theme this week).

Place: Middle


A Death's Purpose - Lullabies For The Soul

Itís not that I didnít understand what was going on, per se - I mean, I get that the guy is dying, and this puffball tells him heís dying, and maybe cleanses his soul so he can go into the afterlife happy - but I think this fell apart because you were trying to avoid exposition so hard that it all seemed very vague and Ö willfully obfuscated, maybe? You know, when youíre writing and do the thing where you have this really clever idea youíre trying to get around just coming out and saying, because part of the allure of the idea is that itís a mystery, and stating it out loud would somehow ruin the magic? I say that because I have written a lot of those stories myself, and I just donít know that it ever worked out as well as I hoped it would. I think it might just be the limitations of the form; itís nearly impossible to dance around the nature of a main character in your story for 1000 words and give your reader enough clues that it becomes clear whatís going on without doing the WHAT A TWIST ending.

I think you could have even gotten away with it here if it werenít for the ďcousinsĒ that the puffball mentioned. Once those got brought in again at the ending, I lost the thread of the plot, and it seemed like there was something that I was supposed to have intuited about the nature of the cousins that would explain their relationship to the puffballs and their humans. Unfortunately, I donít think the information was really here, and it made your catharsis at the end feel hollow.

Place: Low-Middle


One Hour

I feel like this story looks good on paper (lol), but in practice it ended up kind of remote and lifeless. I see all of the elements that youíre putting together here, but I just never quite managed to engage with the character. The second to last time especially, seemed VERY on-the-nose; I feel like I could have written your ending myself just based on your opening. It didnít really go anywhere I wasnít expecting it to, which meant that it didnít feel very satisfying to read. The whole meds-make-me-feel-like-Iím-behind-glass thing is enough of a cultural trope at this point that a story is going to be hard to hang entirely on the concept. You need something else (or to go way, WAY harder at the theme) to help fill this in, otherwise itís a pretty well-worn road. Nothing stands out as particularly bad, just kind of Ö bland. Of course, both of my cojudges liked it, so who knows.

Place: Middle


Life in Stop Motion

Full disclosure: I visited my mother-in-lawís gravesite for the first time recently (I never got the chance to meet her in person), so that may have colored my perception of this story. No way you could have known that, but a coincidentally amusing piece of accidental judge-pander.

I liked this a lot, although I didnít originally have it as my win, mostly because the details were a bit muddy and hard to figure out. It didnít help much that (due to recent experience) I kept reading the narratorís child as a boy rather than a girl, so the fact that sheís getting married (maybe?) at the end didnít even occur to me initially. The rings I thought were a Hot Topic phase or something, idk. ANYWAY, the ending seemed rather rough, and I think that you need to work on making things clearer and more meaningful if you want to go forward with this piece. I think with the moving away from the grave you were trying to make some kind of transitional phase, but that was the point where I felt it began to get really confusing, so probably something to rework.

Place: HM or Win


Fishwatcher

This one was my favorite story, just because I really enjoyed the imagery, and thought that the ending was one of the better ones out of a week full of botched endings, but obviously my co-judges disagreed. Your actual characters, as others have said, need some work. The fish things were really cool, but the spousal conflict that was your real story needed quite a bit more to flesh it out. And yes, losing a part of your body is traumatic, but saying that she lost her reproductive capability without saying anything specific about what that meant to her comes off as lazy shorthand. Itís fine if she (and maybe her husband!) was a person who really wanted children, and this threw off her whole life, but if thatís the case then show that, donít just drop the word uterus in there like it explains everything about everything. It served to really cheapen what otherwise was a very nice story, and in my opinion was the most interesting one this week by far.

Place: Win or HM (obviously overruled)


Hospitality

Harharhar, Elvish Elvis.

I think someone else really cut to the heart of the matter when they said that this was more a setup to a story than the story itself. The scenario was interesting enough, but your character didnít really grow or change at all, other than gaining this semi-random blessing at the end by sheer dint of just continuing to do what was asked of him. There wasnít really a conflict per se, and so the ending felt a little hollow. I do think that you did a good job with the Elve-ish characters, both in their mannerisms and speech. It came of as simultaneously other-worldly and folksy, without being too over-the-top cartoony, which is difficult.

Overall not the strongest story of the week, but an interesting world and setup that you could potentially use for interesting things.

Place: Middle


In Lieu of Getting Out

This story didnít really seem to go anywhere with its premise, which I think maybe was an intentional choice on your part; it doesnít really matter if the UFO was real or not, because whatís important is that Kelvin is learning to move past it. I guess my issue comes with the fact that the UFO becomes a bit of a Checkovís Gun, in as much as you had this very specific and exciting thing happen and then sort of let it peter out. You could still use it if you also committed to actually showing your protagonists change over time a little bit better; as it was it seemed like he got over it in about two and a half conversations. I think for the most part, all of this was a consequence of the lower word-count, and I think that youíll need to make some deliberate choices in the future about how many scenes you can do full justice two within your word count.

Place: Low-Middle


A Natural Selection

Oof. This is one of those stories that really isnít spectacularly bad, but in a middle-of-the-road week ended up sticking out as much weaker than its fellows. A very unlikable protagonist, a paper-thin foil with opaque motivations, overly-specific cultural references (I got to be the one to explain corncobbing in the judge chambers), and an incredibly abrupt ending that landed right before any real action or conflict started. I feel like you probably ran into word count issues, and it really shows. Typically, if you have to cut part of a longer story, you want to cut the beginning, not the end, and this is why. You could have found a way to work all your setup into the actual action of your story and it would done a lot to make up for the issues with this story, and would have given you some opportunity to redeem (or give comeuppance to!) your protagonist.

Again, I think this would have scraped by with a DM at worst, but you had the misfortune to be in a low-turnout, reasonable-quality week. Sorry. :/

Place: Low, Loss


Swimming and Sinking

Others have already said it, but Iíll say it again: this story seemed to be about one thing, and then very abruptly became about something else, and it was jarring. While that can sometimes work really well, I donít think that it did here, which is a shame, since the world that youíve come up with is interesting, and I would have liked to see more of it. I think that you probably suffered from overambition and the dreaded ďwithholding information to try to keep the mystery goingĒ that I talked about in Exmondís crit. I think that maybe you intended the portal to be a metaphor as well, but if that was the case I donít think that it was clear enough. These factors ended up making this feel like a sliver of a story, and was about as satisfying as cake crumbs.

I would be interested to see you expand on this idea more, since I do think that thereís something there worth pursuing, but it just needs quite a bit more room to breathe, and maybe a more straightforward lead-in.

Place: High-Middle

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


CascadeBeta posted:

In, gimme a factoid.

Your beast is the Torpedo.
The torpedo swims in unusual currents; those that follow it may end up in strange waters.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012



Flesnolk posted:

Also, in. Gimme a bonus.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


In

sandnavyguy
Sep 12, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In, hit me with a fact!

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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



Your beast is the Griffin.
The griffin is said to know the secret of true fire; it guards this jealously.


Your beast is the Echeneis.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


sandnavyguy posted:

In, hit me with a fact!

Your beast is the Hyena.
A hyena that lives 100 years becomes something far greater.

McSlaughter
Sep 12, 2013

"Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?"


I'm in, let me get a factoid.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


in with a bonus fact

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

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


McSlaughter posted:

I'm in, let me get a factoid.

Your beast is the Cerastes.
The breath of a cerastes induces false prophecy; visions of a future that cannot come true.

Entenzahn posted:

in with a bonus fact

Your beast is the Badger.
Badgers may be bribed with strong liquor. Their work is rough but functional.

Auraboks
Mar 24, 2013

...huh?


In.

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Mr. Steak
May 8, 2013

T.T.D.D.T.D.D

Thug lyfe.


Hi I'm in also for the bestiary challenge.

(this is my first sign up btw)

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