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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Staggy posted:

Also some scrub wanted to brawl me. You know who you are. Bring it.

Oh, that reminds me.


SittingHere thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, you stole my joke.

Like a combatant oswalt I will meet you on the killing floor.

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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


SlipUp posted:

until I am crowned emperor.

'scuse me just cutting all the useless words off this post

cause it sounds like

what you're really getting at here

is you want to brawl me

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Chili posted:

SlipUp and Third, shut up you worms.

You shall brawl for my pleasure. To confirm your entry into this glorious combat, each of you must select a weapon (you may interpret this as you see fit). Post a picture of your weapon, and then await further instructions.


Once my hanzo steel is drawn...

it cannot rest until it has tasted blood...

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Brawls will continue until the inkthirst of the Dome is quenched.

quote:

Third 'Jerkface' EmperorToday at 3:57 PM
lippinsteak
your prompt is Eldritch Horror and Tea
2000 words
Due a week from now

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


No it's quiet for weeks until one brawl gets blood in the water and sets off a whole clusterfuck.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


onsetOutsider posted:

-slaps Lippencott with whatever the gently caress a lippencott is-

How dare you confuse everybody by using my discord nickname in this thread! Brawl accepted!

edit; this is now the official LAST brawl post until more people sign up

Lippincott posted:

-slaps Steak with a pork cutlet-

It has come to my attention I have never brawled.
I accept the terms.
Do you turn your head in disgrace or accept this invitation to tea?

Okay, one more time

By 9:30 CST January 18th
You will both post a story of at most 2000 words
About Eldritch Horror and Tea

Since this is a small window of time, don't feel obliged to use all 2000 words, just throw your best poo poo and hope it sticks to your enemy's face.
Brawlers, good luck, and may you anoint yourself in ink.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Ahem

Lippinsider Brawl Results, ambling atcha' in their own good time like a proper gentleman idly walking to a tea party along a mellow and agreeable route in the parks.

Alas, the good cheer is not to last. We find ourselves confronted by two, um, interesting stories here. Veeery interesting.

Lippincott. you deserve to lose just for your formatting. The vulgar double-spacing was bad enough, but you don't even stick to your artistic choices and go back to common, drab single-spacing halfway through. Stand up for your artistic integrity, you buffoon! Still, you have in your favor a story that keeps its first half breezy enough to cover over the fact nothing really happens until the last few bits, and to be fair, some genuinely appalling imagery. There are some specific lines I had to give a leery eye, because I do see that you were going for a Lovecraftian jumble of swollen words rendered horrid in their fetid multitudes, but you didn't quite hit that - they're mostly just bad lines that break me out of the story's rhythm.

And onset, you wrote this in an hour. I have taken nearly 100 times as long to judge this as you did to fart it out. There's a certain charm, some fun imagery left just enough to the imagination to start festering away, I like it. Just... not enough. There isn't really enough to like. I think you make a mistake in wrapping it all up as neatly as you did, leaving no room to ask 'what next'.

And so, Lippincott is the winner. "Good" on you, old chap.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


oh god does this mean I missed my brawl

I forgot to account for the leap half-day

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


ThirdUp brawl entry.

Entering and Breaking
1804 words

At 9 P.M. sharp the Preston Center for Historical Artifacts shut its doors, plugged in the ever-shifting codes for the electronic locks, activated the web of infrared laser alarms, and even delivered free, slightly cardboard-flavored caffeine to the guard with his boots up on the desk watching nothing much happen across dozens of security screens.

A qualified panel of security consultants had yet to link the ongoing string of break-ins to the positions of the stars, although Tammy, the intern with half a degree in history and half a degree in feng shui, had absolutely loving called it.

At the same time, the heist had already begun. Two tourists, pausing at the edge of a canal to contribute to the waters below, found themselves the victims of a body-theft.

The main trick of possession was to remember you had to breathe again, after going so long without; with the stars aligned in Octavo’s favor and a good moon overhead, it was as easy as putting on a fleshy, flabby suit full of various fluids.

As his victim sighed in satisfaction, Octavo stuck his hands into the back of the man’s head and pulled the rest of his ghostly body in after. There was a spasmodic shiver as the first occupant tried to protest, but Octavio shoved his mind down into the depths of the subconscious and that was that.

Beside him, the other tourist sneezed, went briefly cloudy behind the eyes, and straightened up again as a new occupant took charge.

An early Roman soldier and a Mesopotamian grain merchant turned and looked at each other through borrowed eyes; the former grinning broadly and the latter went scuttling back as a wet arc barely missed his shoes. Not his shoes, persay, but after today Octavo was afterlife-bound and already felt sketchy about borrowing a body, much less returning it in bad condition.

“S’good to be alive.” Kushim opined, running his fingers along his face and pulling the tourist’s sunburnt, flabby cheeks down until red crescent showed beneath his eyes and his lower gums were bared in an ogre’s smile. “Gosh, look at this nose!” Crowing, he poked and prodded at the fleshy nub in the middle of his vision, delighted to have something there that wasn’t mere misty translucence.

“Careful with that, it’s not yours. And put that away, you idiot.” Octavo snapped, prompting his companion to finally glance down, wince, and stow himself. His host was younger, in a ratty band shirt with a tattoo of a mermaid showing her amphora on his scrawny bicep.

Digging in ‘his’ pockets came up with a lighter, but no cigarettes or candy or any other pleasures of the flesh. Pity.

Behind them, the Preston Center’s service door swung open and the guard peered out, piloted like a rather morose puppet by the spirit of late Bronze Age shepherd who died trying to invent dairy with an unhelpful auroch. “Well, come on then.” Ghort snapped.

---

Prowling through the artifacts in their sterile cases, Octavo couldn’t help but feel there were dead things and living things. Most people would agree, and probably look at him like he was an idiot, but he meant things; bronze knives that needed blood in the same way men needed water, crude coins that would never pass between another set of hands.

These things and more lay cleaned of their spirits and embalmed under glass. Even pottery shards and other refuse had been gathered up, eulogies written on bronze plaques by the displays. The dead were not even allowed a say in what they threw away.

Octavo, for instance, had done a great job of throwing himself away, and yet here he lingered on. It was a funny thing. Leave a name in paper and ink, or with digital nonsense, written on reeds or carved into stone, nothing. But things written clay seemed to clutch and hold. Octavo could feel the pull of his name, stamped on a ledger of pay for a battle he’d forgotten, like an invisible fishhook through his soul.

Thousands of years later, the three of them lingered on. Tethered to the world by their written names. Making midnight outings when the stars were right. Mostly, they floated together and mumbled old grudges, a ghostly coterie of mist that scattered in the dawn.

And of late, plotting. Borrowing bodies to scout and plan. Octavo was distracted, admiring a collection of antique weapons, his kind of toy, when those plans started going wrong.

“Wait.” Kushim’s voice called them to a halt. “It’s not loving here.

“Of course it’s here, where else would it be?” Ghort was already insisting as he turned around, but sure enough, Kushim stood hunched over an empty case. The plaque read Early Sumerian tablet, date unknown.

“They must have moved it.” Octavo said, confident in the obvious.

“Of course they moved it, but where!” Kushim howled, hands cupped around his mouth, his voice starting to go thin and reedy.

“Breathe.”

Kushim made an airless squeaking sound, his eyes wide and confused.

“Breathe.” Octavo reminded him, and the great lug sucked in a breath that almost turned into a sob.

There was a click of a door swinging shut, and by the time they turned, two officers already had guns pointed their way. Octavo was a few millennia out of date, but he more or less understood the gist of those nasty little bits of metal and the even more dangerous, smaller bits of metal they spat.

They were yelling the usual things - ‘hands up’ and so forth and so on - but Octavo’s head was burning hot and empty of sense. He vaulted over the weapons case and, dropping to the floor as a shot burst overhead, popped back up to smash the glass open, seizing the first thing his fingers met. He dropped down with a bloody gash across the back of his hand and a sling clutched in his fist.

Not what he would have chosen. Reaching for the lighter in his pocket, Octavo glanced over to see Ghort huddled behind a pedestal furiously gesturing for him to hurry up. And to eat a dick. And numerous other, even more vivid suggestions. It was amazing how you built a vocabulary when the whole of history had passed before your eyes.

Dropping the silvery lighter into the sling, he gave it a flick of the wrist and built up a whistling speed as the officer’s footsteps came closer. Holding his breath, he lunged out from beneath the case and let the sling snap to a stop that sent its payload hurtling out in an arc of silver.

It made a satisfying thud as it rebounded off the man’s collarbone, and Octavo tackled him at the legs before he could get his footing back. As they went hurtling to the floor together Octavo caught a glimpse of Ghort popping up and going skittering down the hall.

The guard grabbed for his face and Octavo slugged him across the nose in return, spotting the gun lying on the floor and kicking it away. Kushim’s hands seized his shoulders and helped him pull away from the fight, tugged him down a passageway as the officer scrambled to find his firearm, lead him through the museum’s darkened hallways as Octavo’s pulse pounded.

He dug his heels in when they passed through an entranceway overlooked by a one-armed statue, into a hall full of broken marble. Half of a statue’s head lay on its broken side, so it seemed to be half-submerged into its cushion, staring at him. “Here.”

Octavo tore through the exhibits, heading past the decline, the glory days, to the earliest corners, the very beginnings of things where they kept the oldest of their hoard. He found what he needed - his name, the tablet - lying alongside a dozen other pieces of historical flotsam. This time, he tugged off his shirt and wrapped his fist before he punched the glass.

Lifting it out of its prison was a moment that could have had trumpets and drums and a soaring chant behind it. Octavo felt whole, with a quiet retirement ahead of him.

“Now mine. It’s got to be here somewhere-” Kushim tried to grab him again and Octavo stepped back, making a quiet, painful calculation.

“No time.”

“But-” This time it was Octavo who grabbed for Kushim, stopping the fool for making a break towards wherever it was he thought his name might be hidden. Probably he would have torn the whole museum apart looking, if, and only if, he had time.

“No time.” Octavo hissed, and he was right. The doors swung open under a tide of officers, unfurling into a firing line as the two of them froze, stuck in their last pose; Kushim trying to head for the far door, Octavo with one arm out-stretched to seize the idiot’s shoulder and the other curled around his tablet.

As he took stock of the half-dozen guns and the hopelessness of the situation, Octavo considered that he was holding the tablet rather high. All he really had to do was drop it.

But he spent one split second in the vanishingly small moment of time he had to think things through, and looked over to Kushim. The look in the other man’s eyes was pure panic.

Eternity was hard. You found yourself stretched out, unable to ever be sure when anything happened or what led to any given moment. You drifted. It was hard enough with a friend or two, sitting on the roadside of history and spitting at the ridiculous eras passing by.

Leaving someone to that wasn’t an easy thing to do. And he’d caused enough trouble for this body’s owner even without leaving it full of holes.

Breaking his name and leaving Kushim behind might have been easier if he hadn’t had to look his old companion in the eyes, and see how painfully afraid Kushim was; it was a cold stab in the heart to see a friend, nearly his only friend, completely unsure of what he’d do and completely terrified to find out.

Carefully, Octavo lay the tablet on the ground, and lay his borrowed body alongside it, stepping out of the fleshy shell to become, again, a rolling nothingness vaguely like a puff of mist. Kushim did likewise, and they left the whole disastrous scene together to wait out the rest of the night planning and plotting, bickering.

They’d get it right next time. And they’d find a way to make it right for the people whose bodies they’d borrowed. They had all the time in the world to try, they were in it for the long haul.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Jan 1, 2020

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Jolly Mode me.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Exmond posted:

Hold up the judging for a moment I got a callout.

DELTASQUID!!!

You beligish cur and possibly the bastard son of the King of Belgium


This is DONE!

Hmmm this has very little to do with thunderdome

i mean, congrats

Oh hey since you're in this thread with your big boy pants on, brawl me

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME




Actually I toxx to brawl anyone who challenges me in the next 48 hours.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


SlipTomi, here be your dread prompt

Write a moment of beauty in the post-apocalypse in 2000 words or less.
but
It has to be the same apocalypse in both stories. Meet and work it out.
Yer poo poo's due on, lessay, Feb 15th 11:59 PM CST

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Yoruichi posted:

This makes me sad. So, at the risk of rewarding you for whinging, here is a crit

uhhh I am also quitting thunderdome

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Yoruichi's The new guy

Oh god. Blegh. Bleeeegh. I pray to god I never read anything as utterly foul as this, as contemptibly bare of talent; there is no future for the soulless automaton who extruded this one out of their metallic robo-behind. My only hope is, sufficiently shamed by their own inadequacies, the 'author' of this 'story' will retreat to some cave in the desert and never again write.



Yoruichi's Je t'aime

I like this. It's traditional, you could say, the will-they-won't-they with the little bit in the middle where a mistake threatens to tear the two apart, but you capture a good beat in Jeanne biting down the urge to over-apologize for her gently caress-up while Clarisse turns to cold professionalism. There's a feel there, and the whole story turns beautifully on it.

As far as criticism goes, well, you could say the story succeeds at low ambitions. It's light and it's fun and the kiss was a good moment, but I can't say I have a sense of the who the characters kissing are. The 'red-faced woman' is receives both a more detailed description and more lasting impression than either. Jeanne is focused on Clarisse, Clarisse, for the purposes of the story, must remain unreadable to the end. The most I can say I know about her is she's apparently hot. She's about as deep as your average love interest in your average spy thriller and that's... oof.

Really, I wanted to know more about the royalty cult. The plot you went with has a well-paced efficiency, but that comes at the cost of abandoning its own conceits. Everything is window dressing. Surely you could have done something with a bunch of plutocrats dreaming themselves aristocrats. Surely there could've been more.

Oh. Janola is not a product many people know outside of New Zealand. And I think this was maybe meant to be set in France, so.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME




Anatomi wins. SlipUp, man, do not commit to the thees and thous if you can't keep them straight. Ask yourself what an affected 'voice' like that is actually adding to the dialogue, instead of including it as a whim.

More in-depth crits to come. Maybe. Someday.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jan 1, 2020

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Dear Animeface,

Y'know, I quite liked the first version of the story. This one doesn't have the benefit of initial enthusiasm skoothing over the flaws, and so take this with a grain of salt, but I think I like the revised version less than I did the first.

Did I like the addition of dialogue? 'Uwah' did you no favors, dragging an otherwise genuinely gross and comedic beat into the shadow of a thousand other meetcute anime scenes. A shadow you don't escape, to be honest. These people are more there but not more interesting than when they were silent.

I think the teachable moment here is that, in this second revision, you've reached to cover the first's faults rather than built on what made the first one good. The ending. The ending is good. You needed to find a way to bridge the futility and helplessness of that final beat with the beggining, and no, the way to do that is not anime, you cannot build the audience into a state of sympathy for doomed flawed humanity by just playing out the rough sketch of every romance anime ever. You were actually more on point the first time, focusing more on Adam's deformity and alienation.

You need to escape the anime, or at least the tropes, my man. You need to breathe outside the constraints of mimicry and learn to develop the themes that emerge within your story as you write it. In this second version, you've doubled down on the anime but not the part that was good and genuinely your own.

In conclusion:

Anime does not make me sympathize with the flaws of our human race, it makes me nod in agreement as the furious sun purges our filth from this dead gay comedy planet.

Signed,
-- Third

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


'Kay who wants a brawl

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Yoruichi posted:

SHAM BAM BAMINA YOU PEDANTIC gently caress

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In. Do your worst.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 22:53 on Jan 1, 2020

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


A day late Fuschia

A day late like a dog

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


anatomi posted:

Edit: If you're too busy ThirdEmperor may substitute for you.

hey buuuuuuddy

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME



ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Also in with a flash

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


PROMPT

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Sham bam bamina! posted:

a third character

Sounds like a hero.

Hope you feel better soon man.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


SlipUp posted:

Hey that was really good! Can I get one?

My story is here.

Shoulda been DQ'd for fanfic.

This story is a monologue from a maniac as he prepares to push a button. I can't say I felt any suspense about whether he'd go through with it - once I even figured out what he was even doing. It was too much similar to a thousand other speeches for me to feel any connection to the character or his choices.

I get why you felt the faux-Roman stuff was necessary, to bridge Pluto the planetoid to the god of death, but the science fiction elements muddy the audiences ability to follow this logic of myth. Its not confusing so much as confused as to what it wants to be.

There's no real arc here, and it lacks the grasp of pacing and the clarity of voice needed to really build tension towards that final act of unimaginable hubris.

There could have been bridges built between the concepts of these senators and politicians as parasites on his empire, and death itself as a parasite. As it is the two are disconnected and the former takes up too much time.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME




By Midnight, March 21st
You two brawlboys are going to write me
A spectacular punch.
The story must end when the punch does.
I'm not really concerned with world limits here just go for it.

Solitair posted:

whatever you say, #2

(this is me accepting the brawl challenge obviously)

SlipUp posted:

Hey Solitair, only one of us can be #1.

Brawl.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Flesnolk posted:

Haven't written a word in months and starting to worry about what little skill I have atrophying into nothing. In, flash.-

Hmm.

How about, for your flash

The first day of your next life.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


crimea posted:

Stars Are Right

Boy there was something in the water this week.

Let me tell you, I love the opening. This mix of grotesquerie, the numbing scale of science fiction, and mumbling superstition as star-sailors buy his caul as a charm against the suffocating void of space, this is where I tuck in my bib and sit down to dig in. This is my jam.

This really shoulda been my jam.

But this is a story that lives and dies on quality of voice, right, letting us see what warped lens of madness makes a man suited to rule a bleak and bizarre universe. Well that voice falters and breaks on paragraph two. It's not bad that it's briefly dealt with, this aside of, 'oh I sailed the stars, ended a rebellion, kicked my superior officer into a black hole.' - The issue is it's such an impersonal retelling. It gives us nothing in terms of insight to the character, and remember, this is paragraph two, where we're still on shaky footing, getting acquainted with the logic of this story.

I've chosen not to speculate whether the 'magic' and visions are real.

The bit with the seers, the grand nepotism of seeing himself reflected in the cosmos, that got me hoping again. I'll say this I was hoping this story would turn itself around right to the very end. The potential is there. There's some bits of craft in this paragraph especially, but also some letdowns. Let me just...

quote:

When I saw the living ocean of Iyth III was the exact, the exact shade of blue as my eyes, I wept for days.

Fantastic.

quote:

They huddled around me, wide smiles on each of the faces of those ancient crones

And in the same paragraph you're telling me the best you've got for a smile that's centuries old is 'wide'? Tighten this poo poo up. You've got a great overall vibe and when your story permits a casual sweeping grandeur you do well portraying this world, this sense of place, but gently caress, with a few exceptions you stumble every time you bring us in to a single detail.

Boy howdy does that ever come back to gently caress you hard past that little row of asterisks.

***

I love this image you paint at first of the opposing rebels, of a savage orator caked in blood. Is it even meant to be the same man as the golden-haired, rocket-booted Hero McProtagonist, who you could have plucked off any backworlds farm where callow youths dreaming of the horizon grow?

If this story is parody, hmm, I'mma recommend you read Gormenghast. Its a good example of how to mix a bleak world, self-serious points of view, and a dry humor that creeps in.

Safe to say I'm disappointed you dumped Flash Gordon into this story. Look back to the first paragraph. Look at the viewpoint not even of the protagonist, but of the terrified sailors relying on trinkets to keep them safe through the void. This world you've shown me has a mood amd Flash Gordon does not fit.

There's a thread you dropped here. This idea that the people of this empire have come to internalize their ruler's madness. That's a drat intriguing thought. A better draft of this story, I think, would have followed up on this, either by developing it or at least letting the narrator properly react to it.

But we get Flash. I get it. He's supposed to be a breath of air into this stuffy, fate-bound world. You miss the mark by about a mile. He seems utterly alien to the rest of this mess in a bad way, a break me out of the story way, not a captivating way.

God you've got these two foes eye to eye and there's no banter till the guy's already dying. Maybe that's a mercy, the dialogue is weak, weak, weak. The resolution is too, a half-measure that postpones all the interesting stuff till long after the story is over. No true confrontation, no reaction from the revived Flash Gordon-esque, no change from the ruler of the stars.

I think the last bit is supposed to be him resolved to his fate, accepting the lack of portents without resentments. That the encounter has somehow invigorated him? I think but its a muddle by this point and it certainly doesn't resonate much.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Somebody was a real disgrace on discord this morning.

onsetOutsider posted:

btw little shop would be a perfect film if you entirely cut "mean green mother from other space" that song loving sucks

And you've got me fightin' mad.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


oh man would you look at the time it's

"drat its a shame I'm not head judge or I'd be slamming the doors on you slowpoke fucks"

o'clock

hurry it up, especially you toxxes.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Some Brief Thoughts on Your Stories, In The Order I Remember Them Existing

Let's do a brief experiment and write these entirely based on what I remember of your stories, with no looks back. It's only been a night, so like, if it's entirely run out of my brain already that's a crit in itself.


Antivehicular's The Night Cousin

My standout favorite of the week. Everything here feels so squirmingly discomforting, never quite letting the reader settle on any glimmer of certainty, and when they finally do understand -- well, the reveal made me pull back from my monitor in an actual flinch. The writing may have rough edges but its worth polishing, there's something in there shining through with a terrible light.

I feel as if the rapport between the cousins is just right, with the balance of silence and undertone to convey understanding even as they diverge, but we never really get enough of the Night Cousin to make her need to do this feel real and urgent. Broad strokes of an unhappy life, yes, but nothing detailed, nothing definite. She comes into the story already set on this course of action and it steals from the moment when she finally breaks and turns away.


Djeser's No-Heads Stag-King 7/11 Story

There's something marvelously strange about this story, but every weird element pulls from that initial image of an out of the way gas stop in a way that keeps it from being a random splatter of imagery across a page. It feels mythic, it's well written. If there was just a little more tying it together I woulda voted it for the win but hey, ya got there without me. There's a short story collection that contains a very similar piece and I'd love to recommend it to you, but I've been googling for fifteen minutes and can't find the drat thing.


Yoruichi's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am

High on my list, for reasons I'd honestly struggle to articulate. I like the undramatic, low-stakes but high-tension world presented here, I like it being unafraid to be small and how you paint portraits of people quickly and with a certain flair. I feel like I'm in that claustrophobic room watching them orbit the lovely trivia game and I like that. It's a good piece and I'm not too sure what could be added or expanded without losing how compact and complete it feels.


onsetOutsider's bad story

moving on.


flerp's dead cat story

This is so rough. I get where it would be a good story, but at every opportunity it failed to evoke in me a mood, to draw me into the perspective of this kid or the genuine belief that magic could happen. It failed to set the stakes and make me afraid for her making bargains she didn't understand, and frankly, I kinda didn't understand what the bargain was either. Did something change with her mom, afterwards? Did anything really change? It all feels a muddied, the magic neither mystical nor sinister, the witch neither good nor evil, and while there's room for nuance this was all painted with a wide lens as if you wanted to evoke rather than zoom in on some messy multifarious reality. I dunno this one stuck with me mostly for its potential rather than its execution.


Doctor Zero's story about a creep

It's fine to write a story about a creep. Actually, you did that very, very well. I would not want to be in a room with this creepazoid, and for the time I read your story, I felt like I was. I felt the clammy grasp of his fanatic eyes and it was disconcerting, sure. I guess I just want more than being poked with discomfort in a story, and since that's all this story did - I never got a handle on the supposed protagonist, never really felt enough about her to develop a sympathy, never wondered how she ended up on a date with a creep like this because I never really imagined her having a continuity beyond the story's start and stop - well, I kinda gave it a DM vote just for being uncomfortable without payoff. An issue of half-baked concept, rather than poor execution.


Solitair's Push It To The Limit

Okay its a story about artistic creation. I am being pandered to. I like that.

I might've voted for an HM if this had stopped with the four-dimensional thanksgiving dinner scene. From there, you get a little too comfortable writing about writing, and a little too full of yourself with the grandiose description. If there's one thing dreams aren't - in my experience - it's pretentious. The language you use, the cloying abundance of metaphors about The Man and Like, Y'know, Money Dude near the end, it's a bad look for a story that might otherwise have been closer to this week's winner. A trip to a strange place, without an overly verbose tour-guide insisting we see how meaningful it all is.


The One About The Supervillain Who's Basically Ol' Musky

I may have slept on this one. Or I may have forgotten why it didn't wow me when I first read through, leaving me with only a faint smile on my face as I piece together the bits that stood out now. I can totally see Mister Claymore, despite his absence in the proper text; you've painted perfectly the kind of silicon-valley villainy that would stop the sun to sell timeshares. I wasn't a fan of him being a literal supervillain, it came too late in the game; I read this as a mundane bastard proposing in endlessly mundane terms a horrific act. Then you flip the script and I have to imagine him in spandex, which kind of killed it for me.


The One With The Beaver Dam and the Heron

I actually pushed this for an HM but its faded a little. It was pleasant, it put me perfectly in a place and, more importantly for the week, a time. I actually just got back from spending a few days at a lake watching, yes, a blue-winged heron, so maybe that's why this worked for me a little more than it did the rest of the judges.

In retrospect its losing its grip on my brain fast, no particular turns of phrase standing out, the moment that's holding up best the one where he's turned on his back looking up at the sky and just too at peace with nature to bother moving for a while. I'm not sure how you can 'expand' on a story that is defined by its quiet sense of place, but if you had pushed yourself a little more I think you woulda walked away with an HM.


Thranguy's Ghost Train

A great sense of character, for sure, but I never quite felt invested in the mystery. The experimentation, the character's trepidation in testing this supernatural event, that was good and the story could have cut a lot to get us there sooner. That sense of curiosity and caution could have given the final 'test' some heft if given time to stew, and frankly, a better payoff. This story was middle of the road but I can't deny it's solid science-fiction and I could imagine it being published. A little polish could do a lot.

One specific thing I have to bring up is the bit where the train passes through the tree - somehow it got so wedged in to a lengthy paragraph that my eyes skipped over it and what should have been, you know, the curtain rising on the supernatural element of this tale, just left me a bit confused and left me to double back.


SlipUp's Tell a Twilight

I could probably critique this story entirely with quotes from the story if I wasn't trying to do this from memory. The main thing I remember is a bunch of anthropomorphized concepts pitching short stories that go nowhere, in a metaplot that goes nowhere, and that I've read this story before. Nothing particularly stood out as offensive, but it earned a low, low score by so many times almost going somewhere, almost, then making the reader feel stupid for believing it would. The last bit about the goats salts that particular wound.

I suggest you read Neil Gaiman's October in the Chair because it's basically this.


Kurona Bright's Waterskiing

I remember the title because 'somebody drowns and there's a waterskiing rescue' is the only thing I remember. That and the opening line, which was a pungent, sensory line of prose right before I was plunged into a story lacking either of those qualities. Repetitive paragraph length, short bits of dialogue without much in the way of characters behind them, a plot that tries to clutch its card close even as the reader suspects there's not actually that much going on behind your efforts to obscure. I have written stories like this myself and it was always because I was short of time and trying to bluff a better tale than I actually had.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


onsetOutsider's Barbara's Morning Commute

okay. you made a stink, you get a crit.

Barbara gets top billing, but is not really any kind of character. She seems to largely exist to convey the PoV of the story along her shoulders like a camera-headed freak of nature.

The set up of more and more skunks piling up aside the road could be the set-up of a joke, it has a certain pattern-building rhythm common to the start of jokes, but I don't feel you could claim it actually was in this instance. What a 'joke' is, well, that's even more contentious than what a story is, but I'd hold it to involve a certain necessary element of subversion.

So, a thing where more and more skunks pile up, and then there's a big stink, is not really a joke. A big stink is about what you expect when skunks are piling up.

The old man wearing the skunks is another cardboard stand-in for a character. Even the stink itself is mostly told, rather than shown, killing the chance of this actually grossing me out, which might've surprised me and been worth about half a point.

The reason I didn't bother in the first place was, well, I feel like you know these things already. If I've genuinely helped you improve, great. The number one step you can take to improve, though, is to get these in earlier -- and probably step away from using defenses like 'this was at least as much of a sincere effort as the last time I dropped an incredibly late story to avoid being banned'. You compared it to your teatime with an eldritch horror story, and I'd disagree. That story was genuinely surprising and disarming. This whole affair was predictable.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


I have a fistful of flash rules to hand out.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME



Your protagonist would sooner be dead than unfashionable.

Baneling Butts posted:

In, , and flash.

In your story, nobody draws a knife or a gun. Nobody even makes a fist. No weapons.

sebmojo posted:

In, flash

Your protagonist could cuss the blue out of the sky.

Staggy posted:

In, flash.

Your story takes place entirely on a riverboat.

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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Viscardus posted:

In with a flash.

Your story must be set in or clearly inspired by the building of the Manchurian railway.

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