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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



On brawling, by Sebmojo:



brawling what so someone said something mean and your bottom lip is doing that quivery thing and you feel like you can't go a single second more without punching a motherfucker? thunderdome has just the thing.

you can't fight here it's the Thunderdome when two people hate each other very much, and one of them is you, you get to slap down a challenge. make it big, make it brassy; you're slapping your sex bits down on the bar, try and make 'em bounce a little.

help someone's slapped me with something help accepting brawl challenges isn't required, but if you like to sling the poo poo around (and you should) then failing to back up your bad words with good ones will be remembered.

how does it work? once you've thrown down a challenge, and had it accepted, a brawl judge will step up just like that weird bartender in The Shining. they'll give you a prompt, a word count and a deadline. they'll also, and this is real important, state the this means if you fail to submit by the deadline then you get banned. the judge doesn't need to give you an extension.

what do you mean banned brawl toxxes are obligatory. if you're actually a literal secret agent and you've just discovered you're parachuting into Syria in two hours time then get on irc, snivel at your judge and maybe they'll remove the from the prompt, but expect that to be a one-time mercy if you gently caress it up.

anything else? don't challenge anyone until you've done a few rounds, good grudges take time to fester, don't step up to judge a brawl unless you've at least got an HM or the participants have asked you to, and declining a random drive-by brawl is more acceptable than one with a grudge behind it. this place runs on words, and hatred, and you gotta fuel the fire. and brawl judges, don't be dicks; what matters is whose story is best, don't gently caress around

is that it yes, fight well you horrible monsters

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 14:03 on Mar 26, 2019

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Im judge

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Speak up if you require a horrific flash rule from me

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

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



I am disappointed that no-one is willing to chance a hellrule, but I suppose there's no particular shame in being worthless.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Benny Profane posted:

alright, dry those tears, let's see what you got.

Your protagonist can only communicate with platonic solids

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk




In your story the world is bounded within a teardrop

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Flesnolk posted:

I’ve got nothing, give me one

You can only use . for punctuation, and your story is a comedy.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



curlingiron posted:

Gimme summa that hellshit.

Everyone alive is, finally, absolutely equal.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk




All our lives hang by a thread. Now we got a man waiting for sentence. But ain't it the truth? You take your chances with the law. Justice is only a roll of the dice. A flip of the coin. A turn... of the Wheel.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



crabrock posted:

give it to me you coward

Your protagonist is convinced they do not exist

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



judgment will occur.

Inter prompt: what the hell just walked in the door (350 words)

----------------
This thread brought to you by a tremendous dickhead!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



DERPMERC BRAWL

I will judge this. Write me a story that starts with at least two characters falling off a cliff. 800 words, 30 jan 2359 pst.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



I just lost 15 crits in a freak google spreadsheet accident so I'm real mad right now and it seems right to work that out in a ragecrit of your terrible, terrible story. if it is still unclear to you DO NOT REPLY TO THIS CRIT even if you are sure it's ever so wrong, just take that knowledge and hide it down deep inside like a fistula

SlipUp posted:

Man’s Law, God’s Law, and Fishy Law <=what do fish have to do with any of this, I don't care much about meeting prompts but this is p egregious
Prompt: Echeneis
1000 words


The room was dilapidated, mildew stains running down the walls mixing with the green paint to form a sickly vomit hue. This was reflected in the smell, how do you reflect a smell overplayed what with a heavy lingering not sure what the word lingering is doing here staleness. I had on a black hoodie, ripped jeans, and my lucky looney tunes boxers lolrandom but this is actually ok description. My attorney, Edgar Trout looked decidedly out of place with his three piece suit and full Windsor knot no less, and a glorious feathered haircut. the tone is all over the place here - is this a jolly romp or it a serious crime drama sort of thing? in the first para it is vital to set expectations and either meet them or deliberately break them in the rest of the story We were being eye hosed relentlessly this is a horrific phrase - eye-hosed requires eyes, the 'hosed' leaps out at the reader without in any way justifying itself, adverbs in general should be cut (and replaced if essential, whcih this isn't) by the one way mirror, placed to the side as if a 142”x72” a: why does he know how long it is b: why does he tell us c: why should we care THIS IS THE FIRST PARAGRAPH YOUR WORDS ARE GOLD DUST USE THEM ACCORDINGLY mirror encompassing nearly the entire wall could be inconspicuous. The thing is, in the moment, sometimes, it is. so it's an exactly huge mirror which is conspicuous but it isn't for some reason and it's never brought up again oh god I hate this paragraph so much After a lengthy but strangely comfortable silence as if we were in the eye of some strange storm I really hate the construction 'some x y', it's a grating cliché just keeping you posted on my preferences don't mention it, Ed broke the silence. they are silent when they start because everyone is silent before they start speaking that's how you can tell they aren't speaking because they're silent

you only need one line between paras


“You’ve certainly adverb check: fail come a long way since law school. Most likely to succeed in kappa sigma 2010.” you can always, and should always, put dialogue tags in - it's way more invisible than you think.

“Well, technically adverb check: fail it never said I had to succeed at law.” this is an ok little exchange, but I still have no idea why they're there so I'll have to back track and reread it once I find out, which will make me mad, just fyi

you only need one line between paras

“There’s my roommate. Going after Goerman? Brave.”

finish a para, hit return, hit it again! done!

“Dumb.” I've read this a couple of times and I get roughly what you're doing, but since you never ever tell us why going after goerman is a difficult or dangerous thing to do it falls flat as a pancake, not to mention it's goerman who's going after the protag despite the nonsensical nda plot device so idek wtf

one line: all u need

The two cops entered one after another. One sat down in the chair opposite myself, while the other stood directly behind his partner, giving the impression of a two headed monster, or perhaps a hideously conjoined twin. The shorter head spoke first. this is a decent para

yonolbp

“I’m Detective Rosen, and this is Detective Stone. So are you ready to tell us about what happened to David Goerman?”

you only need one line between paras (etc, assume I'm repeating it at each redundant carriage return if you would)

“Actually my client isn’t at liberty to divulge that information” answered Ed. Detective Stone responded. put different characters in different paras, in dialogue



“Are you aware it is a crime to not cooperate with a police investigation? Or to lie to police investigators?” Detective Rosen waved his hand dismissively adverb check: pass which instantly adverb check: fail gave his partner’s face a surely don't call me shirley tone. a surly tone is something you'd hear in a voice, not see in a face



“I’m sure they have no intention of that. Perhaps you could clarify for us.” this is bibble bobble, don't write like people talk (not that you are) write like people talk in good books



“Of course officer” said Ed “My client signed a non disclosure agreement with Mr. Goerman on the day of the 26th and therefore cannot discuss the events of that night with you.”



“Ah of course.” Answered dialogue is punctuated 'ah, of course," answered Detective Blah Also, avoid said bookisms - use 'said' unless there's a strong and good reason not to Detective Rosen as he reflexively adverb check: fail glanced at the mirror. “I was aware there were some legal discrepancies. However, the thing is that Mr. Goerman is alleging your client committed a crime. NDA’s, as you no doubt are aware, cannot be used to conceal a crime.”

“Well, forcing my client to answer is no doubt a crime in and of itself. Since my client signed the NDA at Goerman’s request, and now is being forced to break it at Goerman’s request, is this not an example of civil entrapment? Surely, this is fraud on Goerman’s behalf.” I'm a literal lawyer and even i find this petifoggery beyond tedious Stone found cause a: new guy, new para, b: wtf does this even mean at this.



“Your scumbag client poisoned him to snare him with that NDA! He should be going down for false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, and impersonating a priest!” these are not very good or (more importantly) very convincing cops



“Surely the fact Goerman was intoxicated and mistook my client for a priest doesn’t necessitate that my client was impersonating one, or that he is responsible for the hallucinogens Goerman apparently felt comfortable enough indulging in, in a place of worship no less.” you're trying to be clever and dripfeed your plot but your hamfisted technique is getting in the way, which would be more annoying if I thought it was in any way clever or intriguing



“Ah” Rosen interjected at this point, “He attests you were ahead of him in line for communion, and that you placed several drops of LSD into the communion chalice after you partook.” LSD takes like 40 minutes to come on



Edgar Trout smiled. “Ah, this should be a simple matter to clear up. Rather than this war of accusations, let’s consult the priest on what he witnessed.”



“He wasn’t forthcoming. Apparently a confession was made and that he claimed has been atoned for under god’s law.”



Ed’s smile remained. “How unfortunate.”



“Well your client was seen entering the confession booth before service ended.” Said ended," said Stone stoically. “That seems to line up. Nervous in church?” He finished said as he stared holes into me.



“Just because my client had a confession to make doesn’t make him guilty.” but it exactly does if you're talking legal confession which is just needlessly confusing but that's basically this whole story so points for staying on brand



“Evidently. However many parishioners claim to have seen Goerman acting strangely during the service and then entering and leaving the confession booth later, before the priest. Did your client not hold a duty to inform him he was not actually a priest?” Asked the sitting man. USE THEIR loving NAMES JESUS CHRIST THIS IS CONFUSING ENOUGH



Ed clicked his tongue and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. To the uninitiated, THIS IS A BAD WORD CHOICE THEY ARE NOT MASONS he was calm, cool, confident, and about to deliver the coup-de grace. To those who intimately EYEBROWWIGGLE.GIF knew him, he was screaming on the inside. This was my fault. This was my plan oh for gods sake he's got a plan i hope it makes sense and isn't dumb and I knew it would be folly for me to play this game of chess myself when it came time to play. but he does play Trout's defence was masterful, like a tall bamboo stem bending in the breeze. Its weakness was it’s IT'S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR IT IS YOUR BUFFOON root; me. As always in my life, it was about the good I should have done. what They had me dead to rights on that one. what They underestimate underestimated me, however. This is the good I should be doing. WHAT The courts could never accomplish what humiliation could do sometimes. WHAT If the humiliation is one’s own actions made public, did I really do any wrong revealing them? WHAAAAT Well, I did dose him with LSD. WHAT THE gently caress ARE YOU BABBLING ABOUT Maybe the truth will set me free. MAYBE IT WILL



“The truth is.” I said IS," I SAID , entering the game for the first time, opening myself up to a checkmate at any moment. With sudden death in effect, the mirror listened closely. “I’m profoundly ignorant. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I’m not catholic but I know confessing is the right thing to do. When David entered the booth, I sympathized with him immediately. I listened to his story, and then told him mine. It was only after he became agitated I suggested the NDA THIS IS NONSENSE. We could scrap it if he prefers. We’re really very much alike, him and I, after all.” WHO DID WHAT AND WHY AND SWEET JESUS WHY ARE YOU TELLING US THIS STORY (don't answer that, it's your story's job and it failed)



Ed clicked his tongue missing comma relieved, and a bang was heard unnecessary passive construction on the window. Checkmate. I was free and in possession of his secrets. Goerman would live his life wondering if and when the proverbial sword of Damocles would fall on him. I wouldn’t do it, but maybe it will inspire him to seek forgiveness from his fellow man. WTFFFFFF

Right, so not a huge fan of this story. The key issue is that the glaring minor faults completely obscure the even more glaring major faults of the story so unpicking what is supposed to have happened is like knitting cock socks underwater, a really unnecessarily difficult way of doing something that's probably not worth doing in the first place.

You submitted, though which is the first step to submitting something that doesn't lose! Good job!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



crabrock posted:

if it's google docs can you just look at the revision history and get it back?

I should be able to, but: Satan.

to crit all stories last week by 24 jan 2359 pst - speak up if you want a line by line

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



curlingiron posted:

Gestalt
623 words


There are only One of Us, and We are in Hell. I know why you did it and it was almost worth the risk, but I don't like the capitals, they make it clunky to read and don't quite pay their way in terms of effect The Worm crawled inside Our mouths and made Us One, a shambling Beast with six billion voices and infinite pain. Heaven trembled with Our screaming. The Light looked down on Us in Our writhing and cut out Our tongues. We are the only ones who can hear Our cries now. course charted, epic cosmic stakes logged, ready for the ride.

We were once not Us; there was a time where We were blissfully alone together, each sharing only what We wished. We were selves, and therefore selfish, and We were not kind to Ourselves. We fueled not sure about this verb i think you could have found another one progress with one another’s corpses, stole and cheated and murdered without a thought. We were a great and terrible beauty, exquisitely autocannibalistic. this word either needs more space around it or you need a different word - also you're reaching for grimy and disgusting but your language isn't supporting it, it's too abstract - you would have done better with incongruously grimy and visceral words

We once traveled through the infinite blackness of the Night sky, spreading Our filthy hands wide, grinding Our sin into the immaculate face of the Cosmos. We thought everything We saw belonged to Us. We donned Our Scaly Hide and scraped Our Teeth against the whetting blade, that We might tear into the flesh of Heaven. yeah, see that's better

Then GOD made Us One.

We did not recognize GOD when We saw them. They were yet another people We did not understand, and We made no attempt to do so. They spoke to Us in gentle voices and We laughed. Their hands were soft and warm, and We cut their palms as they tried to caress Our Scaly Hide. We smiled wide and sank Our Teeth into their throats.

We did not know what We were doing, but We knew enough to deserve Our punishment.

The people of GOD were a ripe Fruit, and We devoured them, flesh and stem and seed alike. We marveled at the spoils of Our conquest, and drank this sits weirdly with the eating talk, mixes the metaphor greedily of their knowledge. We were Snake and Man alike, burning the Garden around Us as We went. and this makes it explicitly Christian which it wasn't quite before, none of these are terrible but this kind of portentous bibble bobble (which I'm enjoying, tbf) needs as much precision as you can manage since you can't rest on human interaction

We did not know the Fruit We consumed held Our undoing. The Worm lived in the heart of the Fruit, and when We ate it we became We. see, this is the justification for the capitals and it doesn't cut it. I do like the fruit => worm thing though that's clever

We did not know what was happening to Us. Our Self reached back out across the Heavens, tracing Our wake through the blackness. The Worm reached through Our ancestral Being and stitched Us together, piece by piece. It was thorough and It was relentless, and It reached Us wherever We hid across the stars.

But Our minds were not made to be One. When the Worm connected Us, We crumpled where We stood. We held an Empire, but the Worm tore holes in Our Scaly Hide, and loosened Our Teeth. GOD reached through the Worm and struck Us down. the story here is p good and weird and vivid

We have returned to Our primordial home, not through retreat, but because the Heavens hmm, not sure about this - it's their enemies that did it saw their opportunity and crushed each Reaching Arm and Seeing Eye We had left throughout the cosmos. Those of Us who were beyond the arch of the sky were slaughtered with the same ruthlessness that We were once known for. Even the Orbiting Bodies that We had littered Our Outer Sphere with were crushed by those We had made Our enemies.

They did not bother to finish Us. We will never recover what We had. We have seen GOD and We have transgressed against Them. Our only solace is to lick Our wounds, and care for those of Us upon whose backs We once trod. We will put aside the tattered remnants of Our Scaly Hide, and place Our once-sharp Teeth where We will not forget what We have done. yeah, there's a nice arc here, though this doesn't quite mesh with the description of their current state as hell

Perhaps one day there will come Another, to cut open Our softened hands, and laugh and mock Our gentled voices. On that day, perhaps, GOD will take pity on Us as We bare Our throats to Our conquerors, another ripened Fruit to unleash the Worm. and you stick the landing, good job - nice turnaround. I liked this, and give you a B+ on managing the fucky hellrule - going all cosmic is acceptable but I'd have been interested to see what you'd have done with something more grounded. overall it's not quite precise enough to clamber out of the soggy middle, you need to nail every word if you're really going to pull this kind of thing off.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 03:18 on Jan 16, 2019

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Week 336 crits 1/3 (i'll start at the end next time, last minuters always get screwed on crits)

Dolash: the Lion’s Den

This is competent vaguely gritty sort of fantasy, but there’s a disconnect between the grimy social realist stag hunter and the monster interrupt and fantasy style resolution that grates enough that I’m not convinced by the emotional impact you want the poor stabbed horse friend to have. You’ve got a good touch with the choice of details and your action is clear enough, but next time find a better way to unite your story elements. Not terrible, though

Bolt crank: what’s spine is yours

This made me lol but unfortunately in the at not with way you really want to avoid when producing cultural artefacts for external consumption. First up, you made a bad choice in going for present tense - it has its places, but unless you know what you’re doing (you don’t) stick to third person past tense, at least for a bit. You’ll know when it’s time to try something different. More broadly, this has the air of a story told to a child with idk finger puppets or something and while that’s not intrinsically bad, it’s not actually charming enough to pull it off. Your protag is a deliberate dick, and him and his deadly rival do an end-of-casablanca walk off that’s really un-earned. Also: how do you stick jewels on hedgehog spines? And why does gruyere get the fancy lady when he’s clearly gay? And and, how the gently caress do you cover the entrance to a hedgehog burrow with spines? Mysteries I’m perfectly happy consigning to the dustbin of history as I’m sure you’ll write far better stories that mean we can move on from this one and never speak of it again.

Yoruichi: Necessary Evil
So yeah, some p good little kid sneaking out of his bed to do mischief action, not gonna lie, and all the details in this are strongly and well delineated so nice work on that front but please allow me to ask you: wtf. WTF is with the ear, and the stoat babies coming out from the ear, and the murder snog, and really just wtf. I sort of admire the weirdness but it sits very oddly with the clean-edged realism of the rest of the piece; I thought you were going to take the easy out of a dream and I’m glad you didn’t, but it’s a strange strong drink and while I’m all for the woo nature message you’re sort of purveying here, I’m not at all convinced by the weird rear end mode of travel you have elected.

HopperUk: Salamander

So this is very good in many ways, good words, clean language, the bit with the fire lizards was dope, but I have to say I was nodding and mentally sort of tapping my foot whilst I was reading because this is extremely well-trodden ground for 9/10 of its length, we have the town, we got the witch who’s extremely good and cool, we got the bad man, we got the betrayal, we have the attempted lynching and the ‘screw you guys i’m gonna curse ur asses’. This isn’t an intrinsically terrible thing but if you’re gonig to use these well-worn tropes you need to have something surprising or delightful in there as well - your words really are very strong and the salamanders are cool (ok yes hot) but you needed a little extra, either an interesting development, or a metaphorical layer that the salamanders could have represented or something, toss me a bone here.

Simply simon: a nugget of truth in every mouse
Ok so you’re yoda-ing it up pretty hardcore with the weird word order in teh sentences and I trust you have ESL reasons for that because if not you have a lot of unlearning to do, but fear not; some of the best writers in the dome have english as a second language. So fyi, write not your sentences as though the verb precedes and subject and object or wrathful will be they whom sit in judgment upon you, but that’s not the main issue with this story. The main issue with this story is that it’s 800 words of bibble bobble followed by a twist - he’s not actually after the gold at all, he’s a liverphile! This is great, but also terrible, because why do i care? I think you’d have been better advised to start with the revelation and taken us on from there, I’d be kind of interested in some low down dirty mouse trapping and disembowelling instead of 800 words of fretting about what dad’s doing at night.

Auraboks: Peaceful Cohabitation
So this is what I’d call a chairchuckeresque slab of words and it ploughs that furrow well and amusingly. I like the details of your low affect protag in his room with a manticore and can see any number of ways that it could work as a metaphor for a shut-in, but then you go and kill your low affect protag in a low affect ‘oh well bummer guess i’m poisoned to death’ way and I’m legit disappointed, come now auraboks you know better than to disappoint me

Benny Profane: The Onocentaurs Revenge
I don’t normally give a crap about prompt fulfilment but I guess I make an exception for deliberately fucky hellrules; this was a nasty one and you nailed it, though I confess I hoped you’d go the route of a character that expressed himself by the medium of platonic solids, but no, talking to nerd dice was a brilliant solution. I’m not sure you quite earned the hm though because that end is flatter than a dire pancake (1-3 appearing, 2+1 HD, AC10). If you’re going to do that then save some words for the detail of the smug party’s comeuppance plz. Still, gj.

Pham Nuwen: El Oso
This was an early pick for winner, though I think Anti V’s probably edges it out, and it’s a really nice slab of words. I like the way it drips out the weird and nicely specific details of its world, then gives each moving part something to do that is both interesting in its own right satisfyingly reflects on the flash rule. It’s an instructive one to read for our newbies that like their surprise endings - nothing in it is unheralded, and you haven’t held back any drama for the sake ot THE TWIST, but it’s still surprising at multiple points - when el oso comes down the stairs, when the brothers shoot lucas, and the ending. I also really like the tight economical character drawing you do - viz, lucas on his horse, riding to his death. Nice work.

Flerp: The World is a rat
These were good girl turning into a snake words, and if I ever want to read a story about a girl turning into a snake then it will be in my top three destinations but I think it’s lacking, specifically in anything that isn’t a girl turning into a snake. You gesture at significance with the talk about eating up the mountains, but that’s all it is - the world isn’t a rat, in this story, a rat is a rat and the girl turns into a snake to eat it (the rat).

The blunderbuss: one last job
The mysterious mediaevel animal prompt does seem to have brought out a bunch of stories about mysterious mediaevel animals, which makes sense now I think about it. You give good fantasy here with your gritty thief doing gritty thief things, and it’s clear enough where the story’s going to end with your well-chosen title. I liked this a lot and it’s probably not far off an HM, with the hilarious squawky bird turnaround, the almost but not quite touching relationship between thief guy and his protege, and the reasonably clever ending.

Entenzahn: A series of natural deaths
I like this a lot with its (gritty, mediaeval) characters pulp fictioning each other all the live long day and the conception of badgers as a silent, brutal, booze-focused hit squad is legit hilarious. I’m not 100% sure that the plot makes enough sense, and the story isn’t sure how mysterious these furry dudes are, but it’s good, it works.Good title too.

Hawklad: Goats in teh shell
Ok I hate puns in a robust grinchlike fashion and even I must concede that this one is hella tight. I’m p sure you came up with the name while high, giggled for like ten min then burped out this story to match it but u know what, it’s p ok. I’m not convinced on teh economics of shipping goats to alpha centauri or w/e when apparently there are already goats there, it’s a goats to Goatcastle scenario if you know what i mean, but you manage to make a spaceborne goatpocalypse sort of exciting and the little baby goat at the end is cute af so i’m gonna give you this one, gj (goat job)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Simply Simon posted:

I will not stand for the slander of my English skills; the word order mangling was a very deliberate choice on my end. I thank you for the advice, but you should have been way more cruel in putting down my hubris.

I also thank you for the crit in general. I will take to heart: nobody gives a poo poo about a 15-year-old's self-inflicted daddy issues.

Don't respond to crits even if it's to be all 'ohoho i guess u got me master pip, chortle chortle we'll see next time young whippersnapper'. It clogs up the thread and: noone cares. We can all write better than we just did, so, do it.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



DJ Dublell posted:

Part of the Forest
(762 words)
Beast: Jaculus


Simple. We get deliveries like this all the time. you're doing the thing where you're ambiguous about what the story is about in the first few paras, (getting a job from an undescribed entity to deliver 'a package' to a nameless person) which you can do but you're robbing the reader of understanding to payoff the twist, and you should be sure it's worth it when you do. this is a simple enough story, and you don't really ring any changes on the formula, so just tell us what we're reading unless you have a reason not to.
Colin and I even talked our way into a little bonus. Told the client that forest jobs take longer, but really, I just hate mosquitoes as much as they love me. If I’m going to be bug-food, I better loving ok so swearing: it totes has a place but it should be considered like words but more so. if you're going to drop a swear, make sure it lands and either conveys character or punctuates a scene, pays its way. in this you use it throughout and there's no real point or texture to it (apart from characterising yr dude as Harry McSwearsalot) so I don't think you get the payoff. Not a huge deal but I remember it annoying me when i judged. get paid for it. so: first para is: we got a job to move a blob from one blob to another blob. You can and should do more with your first para at this length.

But we do take pride in our work: twenty-seven years and not one missed delivery, and we go through a lot. When Colin first taught me the business, he’d frequently stroke his silver beard and growl, “Ye gotta stay in shape and bring a weapon, ‘cause ye never know when some twat’ll try to shank ye from behind.” still don't know what the story's about

He often tells me stories of beasts that sound like fairy tales, and stories of men that keep adults awake at night. those stories sound interesting, you could have told us one of those and used your precious beginning words for that instead of ullage Any other person, I’d swear they’re loving with me, but there’s something earnest about that gruff old man, and I knew—from the start—that I could trust him with my life. He treats me like the kid he never had. Having each other’s backs for so many years makes his stories a lot less terrifying. the beginning of this story is packing foam

After packing basic supplies and readying the package, I check my dagger’s blade with a forefinger; nice and sharp. Colin looks over my shoulder as I sheath it in my belt, miming a stabbing motion in my back. We exchange a few laughs and mimed back stabbings before setting off. dum de doo going to the forest

We reach the forest and my life immediately becomes miserable. Mosquitoes are having their way with me: twenty loving bites in twenty loving minutes. fffuuuccckkk

“How the gently caress do you not get bit? Not once? They come from loving nowhere!” loving fuckin, fuckin, gently caress! eh? eh?

The old bundle of muscles raises a finger to shush me as he leads the way. dum de doo old guy walkin

Though my mosquito bites are legion, there’s something about the forest in the evening that unnerves me enough to forget about the itching. Squeaks and shadows that may or may not be trees or creatures. A thickening canopy that threatens to block out the sky with every step. Closing in. ooh it's creepy

Colin turns around and meets my eyes.

“Places like these, ye’ll see an’ hear many things. Take ‘em all in. Then the things that can really get ye stand out much more.”

I take a moment to ground myself: dried broken sticks in the underbrush, perhaps from other travelers; tree branches disturbed by weakening gusts of wind; leaves shifting from little critters, and shadows shifting with them; the echoing taps of a woodpecker against a distant tree; the creaks of shifting bark, and the bugs beginning their evening squeals. I breathe deeply. this is actually a really nice para and the first that I'm really reading. You could have started the story here, everything up to now is basically irrelevant.

“gently caress you, Colin." FFFFFUUUUCCCKKK

The old man grins and we move forward.

As the evening darkens, Colin lights his torch. Its crackle and orange glow—though not part of the forest—are soothing to me. I lose myself in them. The old man stops suddenly, snapping me out of my trance.

“What’s--”

I see a shadowy bolt of lightning dart towards and away from my mentor. He falls to the ground, limp, his throat a twisted mass of gore soaking the underbrush. LOL and he's gone sorry old mentor guy i guess you kind of sucked after all

I unsheathe my dagger, you know this really seems an impractical weapon to hunt unnamed ferocious fantasy animals with head pounding, blood boiling cliche, when you write this kind of thing always go back and replace it with something a bit surprising. I listen for the sounds of the forest from a few hours earlier, guided by the light of the old man’s fallen torch.

Breathe.

Can’t hear anything. What stands out?

Breathe!

My left leg buckles and pain radiates through my lower body. I look down and catch a glimpse of a serpent, latched onto my thigh.

I swing at it with my dagger. Miss. It darts upwards into the canopy, taking a chunk of leg with it.

Pain roars within my left leg. Shifting my back against a tree and slowly balancing on my good leg, I clutch the dagger with all of my strength.

Breathe…

I drop my dagger as pain screams into my right arm, the snake removing another chunk of my flesh.

Slumping to the ground, I feel a sharp heat spreading from my wounds and roiling through my body. loving venom. FUCKITY gently caress gently caress Fantastic.

My head lands softly onto some leaves as the faint crackle of Colin’s torch enters my awareness. His killer comes into my field of vision, and I notice its wings for the first time. perhaps he should have done a little research on what the story was about back in, oh idk, the first para

Venom claws at my insides. The torchlight reflects on the winged serpent’s eyes, which stare directly into my own.

Of course! I couldn't see or hear it before, but this creature is always part of the forest’s sights and sounds. WHAAAT this is the only actual point of the story apart from guy goes into forest, get kilt, and it's wafer thin Now it waits for the life to leave the bloody mess in front of it. Simple. huh?
so this doesn't have terrible words but it is fatally lacking in a point other than 1. weapon choice and research are both important parts of monster slaying, bro do you even witcher, and 2. FUUUUUUUCCCKKK.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 20:03 on Jan 16, 2019

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



onsetOutsider posted:

Okay here's the thing, Sebmojo. Brawl me.


Lol ok . Two weeks plz.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Anyone who has challenged anyone else to a brawl should also enter this week.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Few more crits:

Mercedes wolf
Sup merc. First up, there’s only one line between paras, not sure if you knew that! This is a decent stab at conveying the weirdness of mediaeval wolf theory, I like the tense conversation between brad and his buddy at the beginning and you do a solid job of conveying the raging tides of wolf-related emotion your man is living through. I’m basically ok with the voidmart ref, for all you don’t pay it off in any meaningful way as injokes, while intrinsically poison, are strongly on brand for you. The big problem is it’s really an incident rather than a story, so while your words are adequate, i’m left feeling vaguely disappointed, like after a tepid mcd’s hamburger.

Bad seafood the hunt

I feel like this is similar to the antlion one way back at the beginning, possibly atributable, as noted by my man yoda, to the essentially binary nature of shooting at an entity BUT also b/c stag involvement. So this is fundamentally a very solid piece with well-tooled words, clean clear characterisation and strong use of simple imagery - black trees, red blood, white snow. It also ends rather beautifully, and I feel the turn around that the protag and his target have in the last few paras. I think maybe its only real flaw is that the madness that spurs his final trip out to find the stag is described rather than felt. I think if you’d managed a para on the brother being broken, and bringing the madness of the war with him it would have landed harder and been genuinely excellent, rather than as it is a high quality, if chilly, exercise in style. Close to an HM though.

Shambam at least it’s an entry

Oh shambam. You know, it’s not that hard to meet a prompt - in your case all you'd need is a few references to (e.g.) pork, and salt water, and something being split open and you’d be fine. Oh, and change the title - be brazen, is what I’m saying. Anyhoo, this is actually fairly good as a nearsighted realist vignette - I enjoyed reading it and would read more in this voice. Just next time write it then take the ten minutes and turn it into a story by looking at the themes that your events reveal and find a through line, using the prompt as a guide and add a few words in the right place to evoke that. Then change the title.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Thranguy Sea Monsters
This is eerily similar to an early story by forums poster ‘sitting here’, which a dreaming lady is accosted by a talking animal in a natty coat and top hat and they have adventures on a boat fighting enormous dream monsters, but she advises that she does not intend to fight you for your plagiaristic antics this time so I’mma just take it on its own merits, which are reasonably significant - you do more than her, for instance, in tying the dreams to relevant reality, and your imagery is perhaps a little stronger. I like your duck guy, he’s cool, and their climactic fight is adequately conveyed, but it does end on a slightly cheesy ‘it was all a dream… bbbut was it?!’ in the midst of pointing to a hilariously literal actual dream top hat. All things considered it’s solid mid range.

Fuschia Tude You can taste it

I dug this a lot and would have liked to see it HM. There’s both a splendid assured richness to the descriptions of the island and its strange architecture, and a restraint in how you dripfeed the tale of what happened to these doomed blokes. I think there’s a nice subtlety to how you hint at the beast as perhaps a representation of their guilt but correctly don’t choose to make it explicit. Put with a slick, brutal, finisher this is strong work.

Chairchucker Back from the officially dead

There is a reasonably classic little bit you’re doing here like that scene in Brazil which was an excellent movie, but does fall prey to your occasional weakness of pointing the reader in the chest and repeating the joke with ever more exaggerate winks to make sure they got it. Still, a good slab of midrange chuckering until you decide to do a dumb fourth wall breaking last line, tsk tsk, deserved DM.

Onsetonsider Ape

The words in this are really very well put together, though you could afford to give it a snip with the thinning scissors in a couple of places: e.g. ‘huge mistake’, ‘incredibly poor decision’. That said, the premise is a little weak, for all you squeeze a tolerable story out of it. You’re asking us to accept the emotional weight of the toy ape, but without some reason why or connection to actual things that happened to your protag it rings hollow, you’re telling rather than showing. It’s not a fatal flaw because your line work is strong and I love your last line, but this sits in the midrange because of that.

M Propagandalf The Misanthrope of Bhopal

You’re rocking some kind of weird mishmash victorian steampunk nonsense here with its nightvision pince nez and two way radios that shouldn’t work as well as it does, but you present it with enough consequence that its brisk pacing moves us along towards the inevitable denouement. I do think you should look up the word ‘convalescence’ though, I’m p sure it doesn’t just mean ‘hang out’. The end is unfortunately weak, always avoid the temptation to end a story with a sequel hook - make them work in their own right, I’m glad these two characters are gonna have loads more badass adventures but I don’t get to read them so my interest is necessarily limited.

Beezus insidious

If you’re starting a story this short in media res i think it’s good to give us a mental image asap. E.g., if your story started in the v noir second para where the partner’s been shot by someone (is that ever even established?), would we actually miss anything? (the answer is no). Also, I’m not sure all the bits of this make that much sense - she’s not firing the gun because she can’t waste the bullets for some reason then she’s firing it through a window then she’s stopping for breath while musing that she can’t stop for any reason, then there’s a baddie who’s been eaten by some random snake fella bc who the hell knows and she’s being pursued by nameless foes then she’s not being pursued, I don’t know, it’s just sort of a mishmash. Words are middling rather than terrible but I must advise you, friend Beezus, that ‘it’s’ is only ever short for ‘it is’.

Kaishai the sun in chains

Some good imagery and your usual competent writing words in this but it didn’t do too much for me. I like your extremely strange culture of underground lizard guys and gals, but the mechanism of consuming the sun and releasing it one glance at a time feels a bit contrived? Neat, and potentially very flavoursome, but I’m not sure you do enough with it to warrant the scope of the idea. Plus, ending a story with ‘and then the real adventures started!’ is never a way to get a judgesmile.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Interprompt I know this looks bad but I can explain 350 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Tyrannosaurus posted:

slow judging worst judging

yes it's like an ocean but instead of water it's bad judging and instead of whales it has poop

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



In, flash

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Last of my crits. If anyone wants a line by line say so.

Mcslaughter, Bonehouse
Writing is a lot like cooking in many ways, you get a general idea of what you want to make and and get started, improvising occasionally, throwing in a few herbs and spices, you know? This story is like hot boiled sauce. You’re locked in p hard on the snake house thing and spend most of your words evoking (with some success) a gothic, rotting, snake-focused mansion; but then rather than pouring that atmospheric sauce on some entertaining, amusing or horrifying happenstance, you just pour it into a bowl and hand the reader a fork. You also, to push the cooking metaphor a bit further, wildly over season everything with a prose style that makes me think of a thesaurus with a high fever. Think of big delicious words as, idk, bay leaves. You don’t make a meal out of bay leaves.

Audience, flesnolk
Don’t know, can’t read it since you've hidden it in the archive. From memory the first third was ok, the rest was bad – if you’re stuck with a monster hellrule (which that was) you need to organise the story around it, and big slabs of dialogue that you just take the punctuation out of (!) were never going to work. See Funeral for the Europan Humankind for an example of how to do a similar rule well. And note how you can read that story even though its 6 years old? Neat, isn’t it. Please stop taking your stories out of the archive, it’s fatuous and self-regarding.

Crabrock, elephant stone
I don’t care that much for prompt or flash rule adherence, a good or bad story is good/bad regardless of the conditions that led to its creation, but when you ask for a hard one then 100% ignore it you are asking for disqualification, so I don’t think I’ll bother critting this one. It was fine, I guess. I would have liked to see what your considerable skills would have done with that rule, that you asked for.

Apophenium, red blue and green
I remember being puzzled by this at the time, and on a second careful read that feeling persists. You’ve got birds, who are … related? And they’re … making weapons? For humans to fight? And there’s a hummingbird army? And there there’s a fight, because, um? The words are average to mediocre, the plot is a baffling mishmash, this was lucky to avoid the DM.

Anomalous blowout, the heretics fork
All you can do when you write is give people what they expect or what they don’t expect, the artistry is knowing which to do at any given time. I don’t think this story forges any particularly new or startling ground, a bad man is punished, but there’s a lot of pleasure in just watching it all unfold by the medium of some well-chosen words. I liked this more than Hopperuk’s similarly by-the-numbers magical revenge story though because we had more of a close-in focus on the people involved rather than salamanders broad gestures in the direction of tropes.

Devorum a princely reward
You give decent low fantasy here, you’ve got yer cowering servants and slightly dubious witch hunter types – I like the economy of how you convey a moderately complex political situation, you manage the perspective well without turning it into an irritating infodump. So really, solid work, but then you kill the protagonist, bam, and the story ends all NO MORAL like. There’s a place for the end-of-story protag kill but it has to mean something and it has to be something that adds to or enriches the story; here, it just ends it. Next time find a better way to get to the final full stop – why not have him escape, then bring in one more interesting or surprising event? But that aside, not terrible, though you need to proof read better – lots of little errors.

Lippincott, harnessed loyalty
I read this one and at first thought it was a disappointing vignette, but it grew on my on a second reading. There’s really nothing in here except a description of a very good boy, but you know what? It’s a good description of a very good boy. There is character, incident, tension. Not a huge amount of any, but there’s enough to get the coveted ‘yeah I guess it’s a story’ tick from me and I had a good enough time hanging out with your furry guy that it made me smile, so you may pass, friend.

Antivehicular hungry birds in dying forests
Something I’m liking about your stuff is your control of pacing, which is an underrated skill – while we all need to use words carefully at this ridiculously skimpy wordcount, that doesn’t always mean stuff happening. Note when your protag takes the cigarette (I really want a clove cigarette now so thanks for that dam ur eyes) and smokes it all the way down, making a little lacuna in the proceedings? That’s what I’m talking about, it adds character, and economically creates a tiny implied scene. I also like the way you control information, which pham nuwen’s el oso also did well this week. We find out about the grimy hellscape one detail at a time, and just as a detail of a scene can act as characterising information, the things we learn about our protag do the same for the crapsack world he’s in. I liked the final hope that he’d see concern or fear, but only sees scorn. A good, grim piece. Nice title too.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:01 on Jan 26, 2019

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Tyrannosaurus posted:

In with a flash please

You should put a toxx on that.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Mercedes posted:

Just an FYI I have no idea why the heck my spacing between paragraphs are so wonky. I just copy/paste straight from google doc and it looks normal there.

Anyway.

gently caress you.

Haha that story owns

e:

quote:

You see, Kelly Miller, the prankster that she is, cut the brake lines and somehow replaced the airbags with the most amount of live, angry spiders I’ve ever seen,” Cameron chuckled wistfully. “Black Widows. I think at least twenty of them bit me before the car exploded at the bottom of the ravine.

that's how you pass an adverb check

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:57 on Jan 26, 2019

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



The Enchanted Forest - Turner, OR

High on Idiot Hill
900 words

Roger hefted his entrenching shovel, a battered old thing his pa brought back from the war, and jammed it into the dirt. It bit deep and he stepped on the top of the blade, wiggled it back and forth to work it down, felt it cut through roots. When the blade had disappeared all the way into the ground he leaned on the the handle and levered up a fat prism of rich Oregon soil.

He knelt down to inspect it, rubbing the moist soil between his hands. It had rained that morning and the ground was wet, a cool dampness coming through his jeans at the knee. The dirt had a worm in it and he stroked it with his thumb, frowning. He sniffed at the dirt, then, his expression uncertain, he put out his tongue and touched it to a brown smear on his hand.

“Dinner’s not for two hours,” said his wife.

“Oh, Mavis, dear,” Roger said, standing up. He brushed the dirt off his hands. “I was looking for -- I had a notion.” He smiled at his wife and adjusted his glasses. A thought struck him and he squatted down and searched on the ground. The worm was wriggling its way into the shovel cleft and he brushed a few pats of dirt over it.

Mavis sat down beside him. “So what’s your notion? You want to get the folks at the office to run a road through up here, or --” Her eyes widened as the damp soaked through. “OK, now, that’s a fresh feeling for the ol’ caboose.”

Roger settled down on to his haunches and plucked a stem of grass. “You know when my pa came back from, from away, and he’d sit out the front on his chair? I used to sit with him in the evenings sometimes, though he didn’t say much. But one night, just like this, after the rain, he said ‘there’s a lot of ground beneath us, and it knows more than we’ll ever know’.”

Mavis waited for a few moments, but Roger didn’t seem inclined to continue, chewing his grass and looking at the valley below. She nodded encouragingly. “That’s a nice thought, dear. My behind is getting really quite wet. Shall we--”

“He died the next week,” said Roger. “I’ve been trying to work out what he meant ever since.”

Mavis considered for a little while. “Maybe it was some kind of archaeological reference? Lots of Indians round these parts. I guess they all tromped on the soil, and their fathers before them.”

Roger took the grass out of his mouth and turned to look at her as though he was about to say something. As he did the sun came out from the cloud it had been hiding behind. Her face, he thought, was beautiful. “That’s part of it,” he said. “There’s more though.”

“Is the rest of it the part that explains, my dear husband, why you were perched all alone up here licking worms like a crazy hobo?” asked Mavis, with her most exaggerated East Coast politesse.

Roger laughed, stood up and pulled up the shovel. “Maybe. Come on darling, I don’t want any part of you to catch a chill.”

She took the offered hand and they picked their way down through the larch saplings they’d planted the year before.

As they walked he talked, softly and without looking at her, focusing on his feet. “It’s dumb, and I guess a little weird, but there’s something down there. There’s something in there, under our feet. That’s what I was, I don’t know, looking for. It’s dumb because it’s just soil. But I feel like I could turn around just fast enough and I’d catch something out of the corner of my eye. And it would change everything.”

Mavis jumped on a log and hopped down the other side, half sliding down a steep part of the track. “I used to think the coat of the back of my door would come alive at night. I’d see it move, though I suppose it must have been a trick of the light.”

Roger nodded eagerly. “That’s right,” he said. “And if we can see it in little things like coats imagine how much more life is stored in all the dirt that’s around under our feet?”

“Well that’s good, I guess, what are you going to do about it? Dig a lot more holes? Quit roads, move to holes?” She had a questioning look on her face, but there was something about the question that was resonating in her head, as though each word was a single bell sounding in a deserted chapel.

They were at the top of a long grassed slope that swept down to the house. The sun was nearing the horizon. Roger planted the shovel and took both of her hands in his. "The land here is so strong. I can feel it, I can smell it. Maybe even taste it. I want to find out what my pa meant and I think we need people for that. People coming through this place, walking on the land."

Mavis raised an eyebrow. "What, like walking tours? It's just a hill, Roger." But she was listening for the shimmering tintinnabulation of the lone bell in the abandoned chapel and she could see, in his sun-drenched eyes, that he could hear it too.

"No," he said. "Legends, myths, I don't know. We'll work it out. It will be a lot of work. We'll convince them all and they'll come and they'll walk the land, and, and..."

Mavis stepped forward into his arms. "And?"

Roger grinned at her and it was like all the bells rang at once in one single chime. "I don't know. But I'm looking forward to finding out."

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Surreptitious Blowout Fungal Butt Brawl



Fungi are very weird aren't they, yes they are don't answer me it was a rhetorical question.

Write me up to 10,000 words on three characters in a world where the fungi have won. It can be neither bleak, nor grim, nor depressing.

Sitting here will help judge bc she is more mushroom than woman, these days

28 Feb 2359 PST, toxx up

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 09:25 on Jan 28, 2019

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Inter prompt: "there's only shroom for one of us in this town" 350 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



in, happy joymax

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



It appears that I missed Cascade Beta's previous , which is just terrible and I'm sure has caused them no little stress, so judges please feel free to report failed toxxes via the handy button down there after applying whatever leeway you think meet

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



oh also

Tyrannosaurus posted:

I'll take responsibility for the leaderboard next year

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



derp posted:

die bish

Tsk.

Brawl goes to Merc by default, but I will crit Merc's story within 48 hours.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



The holes of Maslow County
1200 words

The sun was nailed to the sky, stuck there with a single brave wisp of cloud.

Far, far below Enderby Malthus was lying facedown in a mud puddle, singing a song he remembered from when he was a child, inside his head. He only remembered some of the words but sang them all anyway. Around him was a shallow depression in the rutted mud of the road, like if a giant had pressed down with his thumb just so.

Emilia, his daughter, smoked a cigarette, watching each curl of smoke get whipped away by the wind. She used to love Lazlow but the love had faded and cracked in the sun, dry geometric fissures forming and joining up across the smooth rounded surface of her love. She looked at his bearded red-cheeked sleeping face pressed against the puddle in the middle of the road. The depression around the puddle quivered and sunk an inch lower, but it didn’t wake him.

Emilia took a final drag on her cigarette and flicked it with a fingernail, sending it spinning and sparking across the road before it was caught by the wind and whipped away. The sign above her swung in the dusty wind. She had seen it every day for the last twenty three years and its faded lines and curlicues no longer registered as words or a picture.

Inside the bar smelt of dry sweat and spilled whisky. The tables were pushed into a rough ring around the hole in the middle of the floor, chairs arrayed like at a bull fight. The Mayor was perched on one, her heavy boots poised on the crossbar like she was about to leap.

This hole was one of the deeper ones, and had already started its exhalations, heavy humming drafts of thick moist air that carried a smell almost too faint to perceive. Back when people could still speak there was lively debate over what it was - Angus Waller said fried potatoes and had defended that opinion with vigour, defeating Little Mo’s counter proposition (fresh-turned earth) with two swings of his gnarled fists. Emilia had kept her thoughts to herself at the time; but she smelt the faintest whiff of roses as she picked her way through the clutter of bar furniture and clambered on to the chair next to the Mayor.

Helena Cornchafer was her name. Her eyes were small, and kind, and fixed on the depths of the hole as though afraid to blink, in case she might miss whatever came out of it. She was taking slow breaths, in and out to the rhythm of the hole. Her balance on the crossbar of the chair was precise, swaying forward and back a little with each breath.

Melvin Bunker and his wife had argued for making the holes into a profitable tourist attraction, but not with any conviction. In fact: visitors to their town had always been rare and, as the holes multiplied, they grew fewer. The townsfolk didn’t care, even when, one after another, they found that they didn’t want to speak anymore.

This close to the hole Emilia could feel its pull. She risked a glance; it was just black. Or was there something more, something moving down there? She blinked down the hole as another gust of warm rose-scented air roiled up from the place below, then turned her head with a deliberate effort and touched the Mayor on her shoulder. Her skin was hot beneath the thin print dress. Emilia shook it, as though trying to pull someone from a dream without waking them.

The Mayor blinked twice then sat back on her chair with a huff of expelled breath, hard enough to make the chair rock back on its legs. She looked at Emilia with tears in her eyes.

Emilia pointed down the hole and moved her hand, palm down, in a firm left to right. The Mayor looked at her, chest heaving, then in a flurry of print dress and heavy boots she was gone, scrabbling her way through the battered forest of chairs and tables.

Emilia felt tears brimming in sympathy behind her own eyes and squeezed them shut, then opened them again after a moment as another soft breath from the hole fingered her hair. Her jaw clenched. She reached over and tipped the chair the Mayor had been perched on into the hole. It bumped down the smooth sides and disappeared. She pushed the one on her left down the hole too and watched as it vanished, jaw still tight-set.

Then, in a frenzy, she leapt off her chair and grabbed a table, scraped it across the floor and into the hole, hurled a chair, kicked another one, grabbed two at a time and threw them into the dull, all-devouring hole. Her mouth was wide, a hiss of breath all that could be heard of the scream that was echoing inside her head.

Alison Moresby was the first of the town to go down a hole. She had gestured downwards, nodding as though listening to a pop song, then held up her other hand in a ‘wait just one moment’ way. Then she had stepped over the edge of the hole outside the corn mill and slid down in a flurry of skirts and bonnet. Emilia was a distance away and just saw her disappear from view amid a sussurrus of concerned hissing. She wasn’t the last.

There was only one table left, the heaviest, in the once-crowded bar and Emilia was gathering her strength to heave it into the hole when she heard someone cough. She spread her hands flat on the scarred wood and looked at her bitten fingernails, then turned.

It was Enderby Malthus, red beard still wet with puddle-water. He looked at his daughter, expressionless. Then he looked around the bar. A slow, wide smile spread across his face and he laughed, soundless.

Emilia felt something cracked inside her loosen. She shrugged, and sat cross-legged on the table. Her forehead was wet with sweat and she wiped it off with her hand.

Enderby spread his arms wide and turned in a circle, then kept turning as he danced through the space where the chairs and tables had been, hopping each time he came around like a drunken ballerina. When he got to the bar he caught himself with his outstretched arm and bowed, grand like a lord.

Emilia bowed back in as dainty a fashion as she could manage, and clapped. The sound echoed around the empty bar, so she did it again.

Enderby pointed at the two of them, then pointed down the hole. He raised an eyebrow.

Emilia shook her head, left then right. Her father looked at her and he didn’t smile, and he didn’t nod, but in the way he looked at her she knew the cracked thing inside her was still real, and therefore so was she.

The tiniest, faintest of smiles found its way to her lips and sat there, hesitant but proud, like a bird on a bush.

Enderby pulled a bottle of scotch from behind the bar, and brought it back with two glasses. He clambered up on the table beside her and filled their glasses, then hugged her with an awkward arm. She leant on his shoulder for a moment.

Then, solemn as owls, they toasted each other, sitting on the table in the little town that had been swallowed up by the holes that just grew there one day.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



staggy posted:

Sham Bam Bamina!: At Least It’s an Entry

Your story is short even for a week with an 800 word limit but it doesn’t suffer for it - it’s as long as it needs to be. It’s a very, very good non-literal use of your prompt and flash rule and very effectively captures a strong sense of … well, I’m not sure what emotion it is. Probably one of those ones that only has a name in German and translates literally to “little death of another’s soul” or something.

I’m going to break slightly from what sebmojo said here: I think the imagery of overcoming inertia and emerging from a garbage job (a bottom-feeding job, if we’re feeling unkind) meets the prompt just fine, even if it could have been explored slightly more.

There’s just a lack of any real progress through the story - it’s an effective character piece but there’s no drive to it. The title is a major eye-roller too - it sounds like you ran out of time and weren’t satisfied with what you had to submit? If that’s the case, you probably needn’t have worried. A little polish was all it needed (well, that plus a less angsty title).

yeah i got that wrong, story fits the prompt fine. i was fooled by the dumb title so the lesson is don't do dumb titles but also i guess i was dumb so it all balances out shantih

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



lippincott can we get some crits, if you really don't want to then just crit mine cheers

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Dashing through the snow
1004 words

Jim was running through a whirling flurry of snowflakes.   He was chasing his brother, who was somewhere in the storm ahead.  Jim didn’t actually have a brother but he knew he’d find him if he just ran a little further. A big clump of methane snow slid from a tree towards him, spinning as it came.

He darted to the side, or tried to - his feet were stuck.  He looked down, but his feet were gone, replaced by a sinuous shimmering coil of hair.  Someone yelling something and threw up his arms to ward away the impact he saw out of the corner of his eye, overbalanced, and fell out of bed.

“Jim!” It was Luca, her voice muffled behind the heavy bulkhead.  Jim blinked at the door blearily. Outside was a howling rattling moan, not a noise he should be hearing, he thought.  “Jim, storm surge!”

The room rocked and Jim shook the sleep from his head. Bracing for the high g, he wrenched himself up and yanked open the suit locker, brushing aside the tinsel they'd hung up a few days back.  “Got it,” he called, wrapping the quicksuit around him and hitting the power. As the the memory plastic oozed and crinkled its way over his body he tapped the door key. It swooshed open on Luca, who was in her own suit and looked harried through the faceplate.

“Hit twenty minutes ago, i I tried to raise you on com but you didn’t answer”.  They were trotting down the corridor to the evac hall now. The storm was rattling the floor; Jim ran his fingers along the wall and felt the same vibration.  There was a deep groaning that hadn’t been there two minutes before, though.

“Didn’t the satellite give us a heads up?” Jim asked.

“It’s round dayside at the moment. This storm is pushing the structure well past tolerances.  The mine is going to be fine, but I’m worried about the towers, and the dish is beyond screwed if this keeps up.”  Luca flung up the stress monitors on the wall. The atmosphere cleaners and the big radio antenna were flashing a deep crimson, rippling with data overlays showing the impact of the storm. “poo poo,” she said.   “poo poo, poo poo, balls.

Jim grabbed her hand, and squeezed it. “Stay on mission, Lucasetta, we need to make this work.  Two hundred thousand people need us to make this work.” Luca's eyes flicked to the arrival clock,  counting down the months until the colony ship arrived.

“Work. Right.” Luca lifted her faceplate and knuckled her eyes,  then frowned. “So, we need to retract the towers. The dish is gone but we can maybe fix it enough to bring the Hope's Light down safe,  but if those processors go we are all doomed eventually.”

Jim tapped the processor control tab and it blinked at him.  “Emergency lockout?” He grimaced at Luca's weary nod. “So we do it manually.   Get around the towers, hit the override on each one?”

Luca grinned, a flash of white teeth in her dark brown face.   “That's gonna be a fun ride. We'll both have to do it though, it's too far to cover before the lockout expires and you have to start again.”

Jim slammed his fist into the console,  which bleeped in protest. “Goddammit! We only have one trike, the rest will take hours to get out of storage.”

The whole installation shuddered and Luca grabbed him to steady herself. Their faces were close. Jim's heart beat once, a painful thump. "Luca, I want to--"

"Wait," she said, almost in a whisper. Then she clicked her fingers. "Follow me"

Two of the huge storage vaults later Jim was panting, trying to keep up with Luca. She stopped at a livestock container, and looked at him with an unreadable expression before hitting the switch.

The door rumbled open on a warm moist smell of animal dung and hay, and an angular collection of hair, horns and legs that Jim identified as a reindeer just before it trotted over to nuzzle Lica's outstretched hand.

"You can't... you are serious. Luca it's minus twenty and part methane out there, you can't ride in it."

Luca patted the reindeer's nose. "He's genefixed, they're tough. Anyway. Do we have a choice? And think, what a great story for the colonists when they arrive. New planet needs new myths, let's make them one. "

Jim made a brief mental foray down some lines of argument, then compared them to the look in Luca's eyes and shook his head. "It'll be a good one. I'd... I'd like to kiss you when we get back."

Luca looked at him for a moment, then smiled, another flash of white. "I think I'd like that too, Spaceman James. You get the saddle and I'll do the mask. Poor bugger doesn't know what he's in for. "

Jim slung the saddle over the back of the animal and cinched it tight, running through the hellish run they needed to do, him in the trike and her on the masked-up reindeer: down the long slope to the processor, around the chicanes, up and out, weaving between the towering, swaying processor pylons hitting the override on each one. It would be tight. He felt a clutch in his guts. This was crazy, this was impossible.

But then he looked over at Luca and saw her looking at him and something loosened inside him. It would be tight. But they'd do it, because new planets needed new myths, and two hundred thousand colonists needed air, and not quite as important but maybe even a little more important, Luca wanted to kiss him.

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