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curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Azza Bamboo posted:

Would animal/roomba week want my crit?

I'm not an elitist square who gets off to nerding out over the minutiae of ~~werd writing ruels~~ but for the sake of freeze peach and balanced discussion I could give you my entirely valid REAL, HARD WORKING MAN opinion.

All Crits Are Good

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curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


In :toxx:

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Team: Jailbreaker

Flash: Your story features at least one occult practitioner.

Demon Dearest
1487 words


“Mommy, there’s a bad man upstairs.”

Mel looked up from digging through her closet to see Lyssa standing in the doorway. “What kind of bad man?” she said, returning to her search. “And don’t step on those diagrams.”

Lyssa carefully picked her way through the chalk markings on the floor. “A really strong bad man. I’m scared, Mommy! All the windows are dark!”

Mel pulled out an old flashlight and turned it on. “A strong bad man, huh?” She swung the light around the room. The beam fell on her copy of My Little Demon: VoidMart’s Guide to the Occult where it lay amongst the summoning circles, and she picked it up thoughtfully. “Well, if he’s that strong, he might be worth checking out. Go grab your monkey backpack.”

“But I hate the monkey backpack, Mommy!”

“Too bad, those are the rules. And stop calling me Mommy.”

Twenty minutes later and the two were out in the hallways. A security drone flew towards them as Mel shook a cigarette out and lit it.

“HELLO VALUED RESIDENT, EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR DOMICILE. ALSO AS A FRIENDLY REMINDER, VOIDTOWER ONE IS A NONSMOKING FACILITY.”

“Hey, Lyssa, take care of that.” Mel gestured at the drone with her cigarette.

Lyssa gave a waiflike cough. “Well, Mommy, you do know that secondhand smoke kills...”

“Ugh, fine,” Mel said, throwing down her cigarette, “but you still gotta do the thing.”

“Hi Mister Drone!” Lyssa said. “Mommy was just taking me to the VoidStop to get juice. That’s okay, right?” Lyssa’s eyes flashed briefly, shining a gold light into the drone’s cameras before returning to their normal brown.

“YES,” said the drone after a pause. “THIS IS PERMITTED. GO ABOUT YOUR DAY, VALUED RESIDENT. AND THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING.”

Mel tugged on the leash attached to Lyssa’s monkey backpack as the drone flew away. “C’mon, we gotta find the stairs.”

“Why aren’t we taking the elevators Mommy?” Lyssa said, skipping a little to keep up.

“‘Cause I don’t wanna be trapped in a box when we find the bad man, okay? Now come on.”

“But I’m tired!

“We haven’t even started climbing yet, you can’t be tired.” Mel opened the door to the emergency stairs and craned her neck to see if there was anyone else on the stairs. “Okay, it looks clear. Tell me when we’re getting close to the bad man, okay?”

“He’s a looooooong way up,” said Lyssa, stomping as she climbed the stairs.

“Whatever, how tall can this stupid building be, anyway?”

Twenty floors later and Mel staggered through the stairwell door, Lyssa clinging to her back. “Jesus Christ, how are you so heavy?” She dropped Lyssa with a grunt and sat down heavily on a bench near some VendaVoid machines.

“Mommy, we’re still a long way from the bad man!”

“I know, okay? I just need a minute to think.”

“Mommy, someone else is coming down the stairs.”

“Who? More drones?”

“Not drones. I think it’s that man who likes you.”

“Jeremy? Hmm, okay, I think I can work with that. C’mere.” Mel yanked on the leash and headed back to the stairwell. “Tell me when he gets to this floor, okay?”

Mel timed it so she swung the door open right as Jeremy was passing by, pretending to be startled as she almost ran into him.

“Oh, Jeremy!” she said, with a hand to her chest, “I’m so happy to see you!”

“M-Mel?” Jeremy was a gangly junior maintenance worker who had started at VoidTower One a few months ago. “What are you doing on this floor? Are you hurt? Is Lyssa okay?”

“Oh, thank you, we’re okay. We were just on our way down from the observation deck when we realized that Lyssa forgot her dolly. We were waiting for the elevator when the shutters went down. Could you help us?”

“Well, uh, I don’t know if I can- well, I mean- You’re really not supposed to go up to the observation deck right now.” Jeremy stammered, his face turning red.

“Oh, I’m sorry Jeremy, I didn’t mean to put you in an awkward position. I’ve just been so worried, and Lyssa’s been frantic about her dolly, haven’t you?” Mel tugged the little girl’s forward.

“Please, Mr. Jeremy, will you help us?” Lyssa’s eyes gave a brief gold flash.

“I don’t think-”

Pleeeeeeease?” said Lyssa again, her eyes flashing a stronger gold.

Jeremy’s face softened from one of anxiety to a dazed smile. “Sure, we can take the maintenance elevator. Come with me.”

“But Mommy, I thought you didn’t want to take the elevators,” Lyssa whispered to Mel as they followed Jeremy into the large elevator car.

“That was before I found out how drat heavy you are,” said Mel, turning back to Jeremy with a smile. “All the way to the top, please!” Jeremy turned his absent gaze towards the control panel and the elevator started to rise.

Mel bent down to Lyssa’s level. “Just tell me when we’re getting close to this bad man, okay?” She removed most of the contents of her summoning kit from the monkey backpack, and flipped through My Little Demon. She took out a container of kitchen salt and started to pour a circle around Lyssa and herself.

“Why aren’t you putting the circle around Mr. Jeremy?” Lyssa whispered.

“Because we need bait for the bad man,” Mel whispered back, finishing the circle and taking out a thin black candle.

“But Mommy, I don’t want Mr. Jeremy to get hurt!” Lyssa’s eyes welled up and flashed gold.

Hey, don’t you try that poo poo on me,” hissed Mel, grabbing Lyssa by the arm and giving her a shake. “You don’t give the orders here, I do.”

“Mommy, stop, you’re hurting me!” Lyssa tried to pull her arm out of Mel’s grip, but Mel yanked her back.

Shut up! You have to obey me, those are the rules!” The backpack on Lyssa’s back started to glow with runes, and Lyssa shrieked.

“Hey, Mel, what-” Jeremy said, shaken from Lyssa’s hypnosis by the noise.

“Shut up, Jeremy!” said Mel. She shook the sobbing Lyssa again. “Tell him to shut up!

“But Mommy-”

“Just do what I say you little poo poo!” Mel slapped Lyssa hard across the face.

“Hey now, Mel-” said Jeremy, starting across the elevator.

All three of them stumbled as the elevator shuddered to a sudden halt. The lights flickered and the emergency lights came on.

“What happened?” said Mel. “Why did we stop?”

“I, uh, don’t know,” said Jeremy, pushing buttons frantically.

The elevator reverberated with a sudden blow.

“Mommy!” said Lyssa in an urgent whisper. “The bad man is outside!”

What?

The doors of the elevator rang with another blow and started to bow inwards. Jeremy ducked and cowered by the control panel, his maintenance crew survival training kicking in.

Mel stood and faced the elevator doors, holding her book and unlit candle out in front of her. “Demon, I command you! Reveal your form!”

There was a loud shriek of rending metal as the doors to the elevator crumpled in a shower of sparks. A man in an immaculate three piece suit stood framed in the doorway, adjusting his tie. “Sorry, this is the best you’re going to get.”

“Demon, from this circle of protection I command and bind you-”

Daddy!” Lyssa cut off Mel’s invocation. She ran forward, but fell as Mel yanked on her leash. The little girl hit the ground with a cry.

“Well now, that was a poor decision,” said the suited man, stepping into the elevator.

“You can’t touch me!” said Mel, her voice rising. “From this circle of protection I command you!”

“Funny you should mention that,” said the man. “Circles of protection generally need to be unbroken to work” He gestured at the line of salt, scuffed from when Mel had pulled Lyssa backwards.

Lyssa!” screamed Mel. “Get up!” Her words ended as her body froze.

Mel watched the suited man pick Lyssa up gently, the pack on the little girl’s back disintegrating as he did. Mel's vision began to swim as she tried to force her lungs to work; she wondered briefly if her heart was still pumping.

“Now,” said the man in the suit, “what shall we do with you?” He turned his gaze back to Mel with a wicked smile.

***

Jeremy never did find out what happened to Mel and Lyssa, and his direct supervisor said that any further questions would result in “immediate and complete termination.” He had gotten a pay raise out of it, so he couldn’t complain too much.

The pair had left behind Lyssa’s monkey backpack, though, so he dutifully placed it in the lost and found box in case they ever reappeared. He couldn’t blame them for leaving it behind, though; the monkey’s expression was more unsettling every time Jeremy looked at it.

Eventually he stopped looking.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Fuschia tude posted:

in :toxx: double flash

I am sad, please write about a dragon.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!



Your story should have baking somewhere in it.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Black Griffon posted:

tripple flash :toxx: let's loving go

Number theory

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


:siren: Week 401 Crits of Wildly Varying Quality :siren:

A quick general note that you’re probably all going to scroll past anyway: There were quite a few of you who fell into the same trap this week, which was trying to pace a novel chapter like a short story. I saw a lot of people rushing to cram in detail, and I understand the desire to get your intentions down on the page so the reader understands where things are going, but it really harmed the pacing and weight of a lot of otherwise decent stories this week. It’s not what you’ve been training to do in TD, and I understand how frustrating hearing that will be for some of you, but I went into this attempting to judge these as novel chapters, so my expectations were much different from what they normally would be.

I would also like to say that I did not think that any of these were irredeemable in any way, they all just required different levels of reworking. If you liked your idea this week, then keep working on it! I would be more than happy to be a first reader for a lot of these stories, assuming you don’t want to kick my rear end once you read my crits, so don’t get too down on yourself if you didn’t do as well as you hoped. Novels are like babies, and if you’ve been harboring this idea for a long time, it can absolutely feel like a personal attack if someone else didn’t like them.

tl;dr WRITE MORE, I’M RUNNING OUT OF QUARANTINE READING MATERIAL!!!



See-Sayer - high-mid

The second paragraph seems to cut a little of the intrigue you’ve introduced in your first; this probably isn’t the most compelling opening you could have chosen. It’s a good start, but maybe a little slow.

I enjoyed this a lot. I liked the glimpses of the society (the ending especially was a good hook), I felt for Thun and liked her. Your characterization if both her and Wepa were solid. I would definitely buy this. For me, the decision for the win came down to if I could only buy one book, which would I choose. I would come back and buy this book on my next trip, though.


Blackfeather - low

I strongly dislike your opening line. It’s a weird Navi-from-Zelda feel and just turned me off immediately. Related: do people actually call one another little brother in English? I feel like that is a huge anime-tell, and that may be what’s annoying me. Just change “little brother” to Soring and you’ll fix it well enough.

You seem to be dancing around the fact that these characters aren’t human, but your descriptions are super vague and it’s very frustrating as a reader. I appreciate that you’re trying to avoid an exposition dump, but you can tell me what they actually look like while things are happening. Just up the amount of description in the same places and you’ll be good.

What are Himari-style braids, Google just keeps showing me anime poo poo. Okay, further reading leads me to believe it’s a province in your world, so you’d probably be better off with something like “braids in style in the Himari region” just to add some context.

You have so many weird and awkward turns of phrase in here, a lot of your worldbuilding feels out of place and forced. You keep dropping words in without definitions, or, even worse, words with their definitions that absolutely don’t need to be there. Like this part:

quote:

Stepping outside was like walking into a hydrakathra’s fiery maw. Within seconds, sweat rolled down the crease of his spine. He raced through the streets of the Grove between girthy half-tree, half-stone structures called mabokiin, where most residents lived on this peculiar little river-island.

I don’t know what a hydrakathra is so your simile is meaningless, and the bit about the mabokiin is some ‘keikaku means plan’ level of unnecessary. You can leave out what they’re called unless it’s actually important to the story. I feel like so many people who want to write fantasy feel compelled to be the next JRR Tolkein, but you don’t actually need to invent a new language to write in (and please trust me on this because I absolutely did when I was in high school and it was as dumb then as it is now), you just need to write something that makes sense to the reader. I will not remember the word mabokiin so I’m just going to have to keep looking it up every time it’s mentioned, which is more effort than I want to spend on bird people. Making up words and names is fine, just save your linguistics degree for things that are actually important or interesting.

Anyway, I would not buy this book.


What You Can’t Leave Behind - low-mid

I hated this one… less. You’ve got some okay characterization and quite a few really weird turns of phrase and tense confusion. Your first line in particular is arresting (and not in a good way), since it feels like it hops between past and present tense. I’m somewhat interested, but this needs a strong editing pass. Your characters also hit on some stereotypical woman archetypes, and really need more to make them real and not obnoxious. Also, stupid quibble: while as a math teacher I appreciate the compass/protractor joke, this was pretty unbelievable and seemed forced. Why the hell would she have a protractor in her Adventure Bag? I don’t even have a protractor in my Actual Geometry Teacher’s Bag.

I think that you were trying to give some insight into your character’s personalities, and while I can see glimpses of what you were going for in there, I think this needs a revision or three more before I would buy it.


Our Curse - mid

This isn’t super compelling, and you have a few weird tense shifts that bother me. The stuff about the ring goes on a bit long; it’s a lousy hook. I’m guessing from your title that something is up with the ring, but if that’s the case then you should lead with that. If you opened with her not being able to get the ring off before she goes out for the night, it would be okay to then go into the ring’s description and backstory, since you’ve established an interesting property of the ring so the reader is willing to continue reading. As it was, I was under the impression this was a Stella Gets Her Groove Back/Eat Pray Love finding-herself-after-the-divorce story, right up until the ending when she still couldn’t get it off and I remembered the title. I still don’t know if I would buy it, but it may just not be my genre.


Bread Alone - mid

Hmm. An interesting premise, but felt sloppy and a touch overblown to me. I’m sure chili probably touched on this in his crits, but as someone who works a lot with teens and also started therapy at 15, some of this made me cringe. I see what you were trying to go for, but I worry about it being… I don’t know, misleading about a heavily stigmatized but desperately necessary subject? That is entirely my own personal biases and anxieties speaking, however, and I do think that you have something there that’s worth exploring further.

Regardless, I do think this needs a rework to clean it up, and if I’m being totally honest I’m not sure any publishing house would touch this (Being Jesus is not a superpower that I imagine going down well, at least not in the US). I could well be wrong, though! I don’t think I would buy it, but would look it up later to read the reviews.


The Conquest of Paradise - mid

So the issue here is that by having your POV character be High As Balls, you’ve made it difficult for your reader to distinguish the real from the unreal. Maybe that’s intentional, but it turned me off as a reader. I like your ideas (do please tread carefully around the ‘Drunken Injun’ trope, though), but I don’t think I’d buy this. It’s definitely got some good stuff in there, so I’d be interested in seeing you continue with it. Honestly this is probably suffering from the same issue that I saw from so many pieces this week, which was trying to cram too much into too little space. I’d like to see a little more time given to establishing the setting and getting a feel for the world as it is and what the MC’s place is in it. It’s very counterintuitive, because it’s the opposite of what we usually push in TD, but I’d really like to see this given more room to breathe before we get into Huge Conflict Time.


I Think, Therefore I Am - low

I feel like maybe this was fun to write in a sort of manic stream-of-consciousness sort of way, but it was not fun to read. It was not fun to decipher what was happening, and the golem pastiche was neither entertaining nor cute. You could cut 80% of this and it would be a huge improvement.

I would say focus more on characters and less on what’s “happening.” For me, interest comes less from events and more from relationships and feelings. I know that that seems to contradict what I said about cutting out so much of your character’s inner monologue, but for all that I’ve read about your golem’s conscious experience, I have no idea who they are. How are they feeling about this experience? Are they scared because they don’t know what’s happening? Are they angry at being forced to obey? Do they sympathize with mage guy? And what’s up with mage guy? How is he feeling? I wanna know what made him turn to dark magic? It’s okay to leave the reader wanting more, but in exchange you have to give them something.


Up in the Holler - high

I’m into this. I appreciate that you didn’t fall into the trap of trying to have a complete arc like so many of the stories did this week, and this is definitely up my alley. You’re a teeny bit coy at times, but that’s not as great a sin in a novel as it can be in short fiction, and you show enough glimpses of what’s to come that I’m not frustrated by it. It’d be on the potential checkout list, at the very least. Maybe not as compelling to me as some of the others, but I would carry it around the bookstore for a while for sure. Sorry I don’t have more for you. :/


Copyright Trademark - high

Aced the first line. A+

You have a lot of good zingers in here that could definitely wear out their welcome, but I feel like you’ve handled this pretty deftly. I can’t decide if I love or hate the Amazon scrip bit, though. It’s hilarious NOW, but idk if it will age well.

The description of Rose is maybe borderline too much, and it’s hard for me to say why. Probably just because it feels like the type of description you give to a Love Interest, and I like her too much already to want her to just be that. I also worry that you’re setting her up for Trinity Syndrome, but I will trust you… for now.

Yeah, I’d definitely buy this. You hit my scifi comedy pressure point pretty good. This is also exactly the kind of book that my husband would hate, but he doesn’t like fun, so screw him. I felt like a kind of a dissenting voice in the judges panel, but comedy is SO subjective, I feel like it’s important to remember that while it may not work for everyone, this still works.


Iterate - high

I lol’d at itsyaboy1488.

“retrochronological meta algorithm” is a touch too buzzword-y. Reign it back a bit here. My concern with this second character is that it would be very easy to fall into some Men In Black-style tropes. It’s okay to have a cynical bureaucrat as a character, but do give them a few other character traits, as well.

I’d probably buy this, although to be fair I did give you a prompt that was specifically something I love, so that’s to be expected somewhat. I like what you did with it, and I was interested in seeing where it goes. My ONLY point of contention is that I’m not entirely sure you know where this is going, but given that you were starting completely from scratch that’s okay. Also who am I kidding, I never know 100% for sure how anything I write will end before I get there. You’re fine.


All is Fair in Love and Wrestling - low-mid

I really hated your first line until I realized MC was a woman. Sorry, it just came off as stereotypically neckbeard-y. As it is I’d still work on making it more nervous and less creepy.

***This section of screaming about Having to Read Anime has been redacted***

Tiny quibble, but: is pro wrestling really ‘mainstream’ in Japan? I always got the impression is was more of a fringe thing, but I’m perfectly willing to be wrong and also it doesn’t matter at all I’m sorry the anime is breaking my brain aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

This really reads like you were envisioning an anime when you wrote it. You just have so many overblown descriptions and tropes that you’re skirting/unabashedly leaning into that it’s hard for me to criticize as a piece of written fiction outside of that context. You need to tone down some of your hyperbole (calling her girlfriend a goddess is okay maybe once, but it feels like part of an overarching pattern that comes off as weird), and reign in your said-isms (just say “said,” it’s fine). I would also like to see some more characterization of both MC and Girlfriend. I sort of got a vague sense of who MC might be, but it feels like Girlfriend is only ever described as Sweet and Pretty and it feels very hollow.

Would I buy this? Maybe if it were a manga. But a novel? No.

(I’d read the webtoon tho. (DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME))


A Chance Meeting - mid

This feels... unsatisfying. The conflict you set up at the beginning gets resolved way too easily, and I kept expecting Miles to reveal a doublecross that never happened. Maybe that’s just my expectations of short fic talking, but I would like to see a little more difficulty in resolving the incursion of a military ship. This was just a little too easy for me to find it satisfying.

Would I buy it? I’d think about it. Maybe if it were on sale in paperback.


Songs of the South - high

The first word had me worried, but that’s a drat good first line.

Yes, yes, yes, please more. Now, please.

The tiniest possible quibble I have is that aren’t people with mutism usually born that way? It seems unrealistic that she would have never talked as a newborn or toddler. I guess it’s reasonable for the time period to not distinguish between physical mutism from birth and later-onset or non-physical mutism, but that was my first thought when I read your ending.

Still. More, please. M O R E


The Happily Hereafter - low-mid

Nazi line is funny but the plurality is weird. Not sure if “Dis” is a typo or a name; there’s not quite enough context clues to figure it out, either.

Wow, okay, I was on board and then you had this HARD tonal shift to Santa trying to shlorp up his guts. It reminds me of the transition between the first and second scene in Reservoir Dogs.

Unfortunately, I hated Reservoir Dogs. *takes drag from cigarette, stares into the distance*

I know the temptation is to vary your word choice to mix things up, but please do NOT do that with the names you call people. It’s annoying and unnecessary. If you start calling him Santa, keep calling him Santa. You do not need to switch between every possible variation of Jolly Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Mr. Claus, St. Nicholas, etc etc etc. I’ll allow the first one before the page break, but after that you should just stick to one name.

Man you are trying super hard to be funny, but pop-culture references don’t land quite as well on the page as they do on tv (re: “to shreds, you say”).

Why are there lines extending off into eternity but you can also just literally walk up to a counter and complain about being dead? Shouldn’t that counter have the LONGEST line? Who wouldn’t want to demand to speak to Limbo’s manager?

Oh my god he actually asks to speak to the manager.

This doesn’t feel so much like the opening to a novel as to a short story I wouldn’t want to read. You have a decent enough setting, but as soon as MC meets Paul Shart, Mall Santa things just get dumb. I would not buy this, unless it was on sale for under $3 and I wanted to skim for excerpts.


Harbinger - low-mid

Uhhhhhhhh, not super sure what happened here. You’re using a lot of really big words for the sake of an old-timey mythological feel, but it’s significantly distracting from your meaning and clarity.

So I think what’s happening is that Dragon Lady MC thinks she is waiting to fix a problem on earth under the direction of Sun God and Moon God, but then when she tries to attack the Big Tumor in the Sky she realizes that Sun and Moon Gods are bad and blows herself up to spite them? That is what I got out of this.

Your ending raises a lot of questions, but I’m not even sure I’m asking the right ones, since your description of events is so opaque.

I probably would not buy this.


Oceanworld Chapter 1: The Trident - low

The biggest thing I am struggling with here is caring. I have no reason to care about this person, you’ve given me nothing of who they are or why they are out here, and you’ve put a bunch of “thing happen” on the page like you’re acting out a scene with dolls.

Openers are weird in that you really can’t rush things. Books are a different beast than short stories, and if you make the opening too fast, it robs it of potency.

Man, this is So Much Exposition.

It feels like you’ve squashed an entire third of a book (minimum!) into this supposed first chapter, in the process robbing your story of any weight or interest. If you want to rework this, I would spend the same amount of words on just up to the end of the Titan call-to-adventure. You need to make your reader care.

Would not buy.


How To Get Over Your Ex - mid

I’m too tired to go into how obvious under the bed would be as a place to look for the money. This was competently written, but it felt boring and formulaic enough to distract me from your skill as a writer. I genuinely never thought I would say this, but you need a gimmick to make this stick in anyone’s mind enough to want to read it. I’m going to need just a little bit more of something to buy this.


Unburdening - mid

Hm, okay. I’m not not into this. Could be decent, although it’s hard to pick out how long this could actually spin out for, since it feels like you’ve played your hand a bit early with the reveal (although I do acknowledge that it was only to make your adherence to your flash clear). It has the definite feel of a middle reader’s book (not necessarily a bad thing), and I probably would have bought this when I was younger. I also probably would have complained about the way they drew the dragon on the cover, but that was me with basically any dragon book.


LoFi

This is interesting but more than a little confusing and very slightly up its own rear end. You’re also suffering for obscuring an interesting concept behind unclear language. I like what I could make out of your world, but I don’t think that I would buy this because I’m not totally sure what it is.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Antivehicular posted:

Interprompt: Things you can't say out loud
200 words

If you can hear this, congratulations! The operation was a success, and your latent mind-reading capabilities have been activated.

If you can't hear this, don't worry, I'm sure we'll get it right during the next highly-invasive experimental surgery.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Augh gently caress

IN :toxx:

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Sitting Here posted:

2. Quote only this part of the post if you would like to receive what I consider to be an especially challenging prompt! You get to keep the 2420 word count if you select this option, but challenging assignments are final! No takebacksies.

HOPE I DON’T REGRET THIS LOL

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Contributor Prof. Crocodile
Genre: Romance
Protagonist attribute: Harry Potter Fan Fiction Writer
Protagonist obstructor: Dogmatic adherance to canon of Harry Potter universe
What the protagonist wants: To write their magnum opus
Story setting: On Earth, sometime close to the present day
Setting details: Glut of Harry Potter slash fiction and self-insertion fiction
World problem: Has what they want, but are dissatisfied
Your protagonist... Has what they want, but are dissatisfied
Your protagonist's attribute... Becomes an OBSTRUCTOR
Your protagonist's obstructor... Hinders them from getting what they want
At the end of the story... The world problem is made worse by the protagonist






:siren:Welcome to the (UN)Official Harry Potter Fanfic and RP Forums!:siren:
2222 words


Comment on Riding the Wizards Broom Part 18: Devious Draco’s Desserts
Title: The Cannon Conundrum: A reflection on the state of the fic and how it relates to BanginHarry69’s Riding the Wizard’s Broom
Author: SeverusWasRight
Date: 4/21/2005


If you are reading this you have probably already read through BanginHarry69’s latest entry in his or her Riding the Wizard’s Broom series. While I feel that I have made my position on the series’ literary merits abundantly clear in my previous commentary, this entry made me turn my attention to the broader community aspect of our endeavors here.

It seems to me that there are many writers within our community who do not know how to respectfully engage with the source material, which has lead to a glut of stories similar in tone to that of our friend BanginHarry69; ridiculous pairings, self-inserts, improbable (and usually tasteless) erotic adventures… the list goes on.

I would make a plea to reason - to propriety, really - that this state of affairs cannot continue. I would hate to think that a community like ours could be brought low by this unsavory state of affairs.

Please, ladies and gentlemen of the Harry Potter Fanfic and RP Forums, take a moment and reflect: Is this truly what we want our site to become? What we want to be known as? If, heaven forefend, Rowling herself should happen across our humble digital home, what would she think of the heights of depravity and indecency such as BanginHarry69’s ongoing assault on both her intellectual property, and common decency?

Perhaps we would all benefit from taking a moment to reflect: What would J.K. Rowling do?

***

Comment on Half-Blood, Whole Heart Part 3: Innocence
Title: oh look another bunch of dumb words that nobody cares about
Author: BanginHarry69
Date: 4/23/2005


yo SeverusWasRight, i thought about shooting you a PM about this but I figured that since nobody reads your poo poo anyway i’d save myself the trouble and leave a comment on your latest chapter.

First of all I just wanna say like, do you ever get tired of having your head up your rear end? do you really like huffin your farts so much that you gotta cram your lil’ noggin waaaaay up in there? lol for real though you really need to lighten up. no way Rowling is gonna ever see any of this poo poo that we write - sorry, i know that probably breaks your snobby lil heart - bc she has better poo poo to do with her time, because she is an actual professional author, unlike you and me!

second of all, just because i like to have fun when i write my fic doesn;t mean that I don’t know how to actually write or read. I post this poo poo on the internet because it doesn’t matter, and no how much I work on this poo poo, none of it will ever get published because it’s lovely harry potter fanfic. Like, I just see you get so wound up about ‘cannon’ and what these characters would do or not do and it’s like ?????? No one cares!!!!!!!!

third, even a dumbass like me can tell that the stuff that you write is obnoxious and boring as gently caress. Like, I’m poo poo at grammer and whatever, but at least people like reading what I write. Seriously, have you ever gotten more than two comments on your fic? And the comments from your mom don’t count. ;P

ANY way, Ive already wasted way too much time writing this, but luckily i saved a bunch of time by not reading any of your dumb boring bullshit lol Okies, I gotta go hang out with my REAL LIFE FRIENDS, cya lol

***

Comment on Riding the Wizards Broom Part 19: Snape’s Solution
Title: Indecorous conduct and borderline libel
Author: SeverusWasRight
4/24/2005


Hello again, friends and readers. Once again I have come to you in an attempt to elucidate the dire threat looming writ large over our forum. It seems that our dear friend BanginHarry69 has taken it upon his or her self to not only plumb ever further the well of endless depravity that he or she calls home, but also to impune my person in a slanderous attack on my person.

As I mentioned in my comment on the previous entry in this series, I have found myself lately troubled on the state of our community, and set out what I felt was a very cogent and reasonable appeal to the sensibilities of you, my fellow denizens of our beloved forums. I thought that perhaps my missive might spark some discussion on the ideas, perhaps a debate on the relative merits of the different approaches to writing fanfiction.

Instead, I came back to my computer to find that my character and art have been drug through the mud by the worst smutpeddler of them all. Honestly, the fact that someone who writes the kind of drivel that makes fanfic the universal target for derision that it currently is, that this person decided that he or she would comment on my fic, that I have spent countless hours pouring my soul upon the page, was deeply disappointing.

Of course, my shock and horror did not end there; as no doubt many of you have noticed, BanginHarry69 went a step further and decided to add another character into his or her tawdry tale - one “Stephanie Was Bright,” or “Steph”, a blatant spoof of my user name - and uses her as a strawman, spouting a warped and hyperbolic version of my very reasonable arguments.

The scene where Snape humiliates Steph for being “too caught up in what is, and not in what could be,” - an obvious reference to my well-known dedication to established cannon as put forth by Rowling - was petty and wholly emblematic of the problems in BH69’s work, and the vindictive glee with which he or she mocks his or her critics.

Once again, netizens of HPFRPForums, I ask you: What does this say about our community?

***

Private Message from BanginHarry69
Subject: a challenge
Date: 4/28/2005


ok, so it looks like your not gonna let this drop, so heres my idea: let’s prove who’s the better writer once and for all.

you’ve been talking a lot of poo poo about me and my writing, so let’s do this: I’ll write some Serious Cannon Fic, to your specifications or w/e, and you write the best non-cannon poo poo you can. Im even gonna be nice and say that you don’t have to make it slash fic or sexy at all, but you DO have to include a self-insert. Since I’m nice and i know that your gonna have a problem bringing yourself to that level, I’ll even let u use Steph from my story. ; )

whoever’s story gets more likes and comments in one week fucks off forever, or at least stops talking poo poo on the other.

deal?

***

Private Message from SeverusWasRight
Subject: Re: a challenge
Date: 4/28/2005


I can hardly imagine you being capable of writing anything of merit, and I know how much the community at large fawns over the inspid drivel that you routinely churn out. As much as it pains me to stoop to your level, if it will cause you to reconsider your stance on the merits of cannon vs non-cannon, I’ll do it. Besides, it will be nice to see you produce something worthwhile for once.

***

Private Message from BanginHarry69
Subject: you okay?
Date: 6/2/2005


Hey, I just wanted to say hi, I guess. I noticed that your not posting a lot anymore, and i guess i felt bad. I didn;t mean that you couldn’t post anymore if i won, I just wanted you to stop commenting on my stuff.

I know it’s the end of the school year here, so maybe your just busy with that. I mean, if your still in school, I guess. I am, but i guess not everyone is.

Anyway, I just wanted to say i’m sorry. I’ve written this message and then deleted the whole thing like 20 times already, but I just was like, worried, I guess.

Anyway, I just hope your okey. So ummmm, write back??

***

Private Message from SeverusWasRight
Subject: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/3/2005


I don’t know why you’re bothering to write to me. You already got everything you wanted.

***

Private Message from BanginHarry69
Subject: Re: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/3/2005


I mean, like I said, I noticed that you weren’t posting anymore and i got kinda worried. You just seemed really into the forums and I felt back for making you feel unwelcome, maybe? I don’t like, hate you or want you to stop posting.

Idk, I was worried maybe something happened to you, like something bad. I was worried that maybe I made you feel bad and you did something… idk.

Im glad your okay, though. Thx for writing back.

***

Private Message from SeverusWasRight
Subject: Re: Re: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/4/2005


I don’t need your pity, okay? I know you’ve got everyone on the forums fawning all over you, but you don’t get to look down on me.

Go hang out with your “REAL LIFE FRIENDS.”

***

Private Message from BanginHarry69
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/5/2005


im sorry you thought that i was looking down on you, i promise it wasn’t like that.

this is probably tmi or w/e but my brother tried to kill himself last year and i was worried about you… idk, doing something dumb over stupid internet drama

and to be honest i don’t really have a lot of real world friends. cheerleaders and varsity players don’t spend so much time online, and if your a girl and not one of those then no one wants to be your friend. thats how it is at my school, anyway.

i thought your story was really good, btw. your long one, not the self-insert one. i mean, that one was good too, but i kinda wanted to see the end of your snape/lily fic if you still wanted to write it.

im sorry that you hate me.

...sorry, i’ll leave you alone now.

***

Private Message from SeverusWasRight
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/8/2005


I’m very sorry about your brother. I hope he’s okay. I’m fine, and you don’t have to worry about me doing anything like that. I will certainly admit that I did hate you for a little while, but I don’t think I do now.

I don’t really have a lot of friends at my school either. I guess if you’re a nerd but you can’t stand anime or video games you’re still too weird to be friends with.

Okay, so if I’m being completely honest, it was actually kind of fun to write something silly. So thank you. If I actually want to be serious about writing I need to get a little out of my comfort zone sometimes, so maybe it was a good thing. And I wasn’t really making any progress on my other project, so at least I actually wrote something.

Thank you for saying you like my story, by the way. I don’t know if you’re just trying to make me feel better, but I do appreciate it. I’ve actually been stuck for a while, which is incredibly frustrating - I feel like my muse just up and quit on me. I’m sure you know the feeling. Or maybe you don’t! You’re far better at actually getting your work out there than I am.

I don’t know if I want to come back to the forums just yet, but I appreciate you taking the time to reach out.

***

Private Message from BanginHarry69
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you okay?
Date: 6/9/2005


well if you ever want to talk about writing or anything, my AIM name is xXpixie_punkXx

(shut up i’ve had it since middle school and i’m too lazy to make another lol)

my name’s tierney, by the way. i’m not actually a 40 y/o in FL, so hopefully your not either.

***

Comment on Half-Blood, Whole Heart Part 4: Bittersweet
Title: i can’t stop crying
Author: BanginHarry69
Date: 7/12/2005


Omg your killing me!!! you CAN”T leave it like that! :,((((((

***

Comment on Half-Blood, Whole Heart Part 4: Bittersweet
Title: Re: i can’t stop crying
Author: SeverusWasRight
Date: 7/12/2005


You were the one who said that I shouldn’t pull my punches! You have no one to blame but yourself. :P

***

Comment on Half-Blood, Whole Heart Part 4: Bittersweet
Title: Re: Re: i can’t stop crying
Author: BanginHarry69
Date: 7/12/2005


I DIDN’T THINK YOU WOULD TAKE IT THAT FAR!!!1!!!!!

please please please tell me you’re gonna do another chapter soon I can’t live like this. your lucky its summer, or else you would be responsible for my grades tanking bc i’m just crying all the time now forever.

(also it was really good)

***

Comment on Half-Blood, Whole Heart Part 4: Bittersweet
Title: Re: Re: Re: i can’t stop crying
Author: SeverusWasRight
Date: 7/12/2005


Hmm… I’m not sure. I kind of like this ending. But if you’re really going to be that sad about it, maybe I’ll write more.

(Also thank you.)

***

xXpixie_punkXx: <3
UnicornGirl87: <3

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


I remember I had to read Chaucer
For school once, but thought him a tosser.
While it's a great gimmick,
I'm here for the limericks;
As a pilgrim I'm just an imposter.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


I am incredibly foolish, so I’ll take Week 119, and :toxx: to (hopefully) stave off a disaster of my own.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Hello Thunderdome!

I was recently called out (again) for being incredibly bad at critting, so I went poking through the archives and found another unfinished crit doc! WOW!

So in case you entered Week #368: GACHADOME and were super heartbroken to not get one of my garbage-tier crits, today is your lucky day! INCREDIBLE!

Anyway, here are some crits with some minimal attempt at formatting, and if you would like something more substantial, let me know and I'll see what I can do while I spend time avoiding doing actual writing.

:siren: SUPER-AMAZING GACHADOME CRITS, WOWZA!!! :siren:


Exmond - The Ship's Name Was Purgatory

Lots of little errors that a proofreading pass or two could have fixed. You submitted early, so you had plenty of time to go over this.

This was a confusing mess of a story. As near as I can tell, the humans all fed themselves to the reactor so it could continue to operate? I don’t know. Why would humans dying grant the reactor sentience, and why does that matter? And why did it require two million humans? Why did they use a deck of cards (and what exactly was the mechanic there? Guessing the card on top? How would that produce exactly 52 survivors? Are they removing the cards after they’re identified? That would change the odds to significantly favor people who guess later; hardly a fair method)?

This feels like you had a lot more exposition planned that you couldn’t fit in, and the story suffered for it. It seems like you have some interesting ideas, but you needed a bigger wordcount (and quite a bit of editing) to make it work.


Vinestalk - Breaking the law of averages

Hmmm, maybe I’m too dumb to be judging this week?

This seemed somewhere in the realm of a burnt-out physics grad student getting high and having a trip about blowing up the lab that they work in. It’s well-written, and interesting in its own way, but it’s not very satisfying to read. More than anything it reminded me or my self-indulgent livejournal entries that my poor friends actually took the time to read, god bless their hearts.


Ironic Twist - The Dinner Party with the Wealthy and Eccentric Host

I lol’d. A good opening.

This is a minor quibble, but when you start a new paragraph but keep the same speaker, you leave off the end quotation until the speaker changes.

Where did you get these names? The WASP-Lite academy?

Wait, Harmonica is a dude? What.

Okay, this was cute and funny. I did not hate this. I didn’t super like it, either, but you got several chuckles. The ending could have used a little something else, maybe? Idk, it was just a little too pat at the very last.


Yoruichi - The Rust Queen

Ooh, I liked this one. I would have liked a little more detail/personality in the Rust Queen herself, but I thought it was good.


Chairchucker - Fun Tawny Frogmouth Trivia: They Rule

Title made me smile.

Hahahahawhat

What did I just read.

I guess a better question would be why did I read it.

Whyyyyyyyyy.

I’ll grant you that this was not an easy set of flashes to pull, but this also reads as a … story(?) that got churned out to not get banned. I’m expecting this was a toxx.

Would love to know what your proposed explanation for this was (what’s The Beast, etc), though.

Also why was it the cockatoo and not The Cockatoo? I thought maybe it was an error, but it was so consistent.


Uranium Phoenix - Once Burned

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is what you would have gotten if I didn’t re-crit it in Discord, but thanks for the reminder anyway.

POV character is a little too cartoonishly evil. And an Alpha Male ref? Really?

Idk, there was an idea here that could work, but it needed a lot more subtlety, and probably at least double the words.


Fleta McGurn - Use a Rubber

:yikes:

I have… so many questions.

Mainly just… why

Second cursed chicken this week, though!


Staggy - Lucky Tides

Well, you nailed the fable voice, and I liked the story. Some fairly minor grammatical quibbles, but pretty solid.

I am somewhat at a loss as to the meaning of your moral. Again, I feel like maybe I’m just not cued into the stories this week, but I don’t really get the back and forth between the elder brother and the cuttlefish at the end. Like, it seems really obvious that the elder brother is supposed to be the one worth emulating? How does his quip at the end … change or emphasize that in any way? Again, maybe it's just me, but idgi.


Simon - Wheel of Fate

You’ve got some weird prose choices here. It’s very cartoonish, but also like you were trying to use deliberately obfuscated language.

Uhhhhh.

This… wasn’t good.

All of your characters here are weird cardboard cutouts. No one talks or acts like this. It all felt very dream-logic-y, and I couldn’t figure out what any of the characters’ motivations were at any given time.

I got the sense that Emily was supposed to be the “hero” here (maybe?), but she seemed super petty and vindictive for no reason. Like, sure, rich people bad or whatever, but no one on the boat seemed to be actually doing anything before she started killing people. Oh no, your dad is rich and … uh, can pay for your grandpa’s medicine now…? BETTER START MURDERING PEOPLE!

Also why does everyone assume Harald is the murderer? You make everything seem super huge and anonymous, but then he’s immediately singled out? Also how the gently caress is this kid suddenly so good at loving serial-murder-by-numbers? Whyyyyyyy


Phan Nuwen - In the Zone

Ooh boy, racial caricatures! So excited.

Uh-hmm.

Meh.

This one is so strange, because Luke’s luck is so well-known, but it’s actually pretty poo poo, isn’t it? If he’s that lucky, why is he still living in the slums and getting the poo poo beat out of him by his brother on the reg? If his brother dying and Luke getting a new family is such a possibility, why hasn’t it already happened? Your in-universe rules don’t seem particularly consistent.

Most of all, though, I didn’t really care what happened to Luke. Will is a dick, yeah, but Luke isn’t shown to be super great, either.


Black Griffon - The tale told in the turtlebird's shell

Oh, I like this one.

I think you did a really good job with the folklore flash. It’s not as strictly folklore as it might have been, but I enjoyed what you did with it. Very satisfying. Nice ending, too.

First story I haven’t had major qualms with. Gj.


Thranguy - Bacon and Ice Cream Is a Legit Combo

Title checks out. Man, now I’m hungry.

Wow, this is the weirdest, least-appropriate title I may have ever seen.

I don’t know. I feel like this wanted to hit home harder than it did. It’s well-written and a cool idea, but I didn’t get a lot out of it. The whole dual-self war was somehow simultaneously predictable and nonsensical. Of course the Dark Lord is him, he’s the only character of interest in the world (including the “clever” woman who didn’t even get a name), but why was he trying to stop himself? It makes no sense. Did he want to continue living in the world? Caspian even let all of the people live after the five minutes was up, so it’s not like he could argue that he was trying to save them. There is no motivating logic here. “I want to stop time and stay in this void because ???”

I think this may just be a preference thing on my end, though, so you do you.


sparksbloom - The Top of the Hill

Hmm, okay. So why did the pictures of Elena sell for some reason, but not the ones that came before? It seems like she’s got some character or spark happening, but there’s not really enough information here to figure out what exactly it is.

I feel like you’re trying to make a statement here about … euthanasia? suicide? family? greed? I don’t know. There’s not quite enough there for me to really see what you’re saying. I think this could use a little more space, and a little more detail.

P.S. I really hate you for making me think about the Euthanasia Roller Coaster again. :mad:


Nikaer Drekin - Eternal Life

Not really sure what to say about this one. An interesting concept, but the ending needed to be a little less trite. You were doing a decent job with the horror aspect, but kind of whiffed it at the last minute. This could also use a lot more characterization than it had (and lose the part about food poisoning, it seems really goofy and weird, especially when it gets 10x more words than divorce and death).


Pepe Silvia Brown - Just 'Cause It's Shiny, Don't Mean That It's Clean

Haha, you know, I usually hate twist endings, but I actually really enjoyed this one. Your setup was clear but subtle enough that I didn’t guess the ending beforehand. I might take out the “Buttmachine” line, since it’s a little silly, but otherwise good job.


Megazver - Janus' Blessing

Cute…? I guess? Pretty clumsy, and definitely needed another editing pass (and several line breaks). You didn’t really give your characters anything resembling a personality or a reason to root for them, so I’m not entirely surprised that this fell flat. Colt seems like he’s done this before, which is weird, and the other passengers playing along is also weird, because this whole thing seems bizarre.


Liquid Communism - Last Call

Wait, who’s Art?

Okay, (AUTHOR’S NOTE: CRIT ENDS HERE, I THINK THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN WHAT MADE ME GIVE UP ON CRITS? IDK SORRY)


QuoProQuid - Beauty at Low Temperatures

I will accept this interpretation of your flashrule.

Predictable but cute. Not bad, not great.


Siddhartha Glutamate - Even the Darkness Has Its Light

I like this one, although I think it fits the folklore or fable genre better than a fairy tale. It’s cute and funny. Ending’s maybe a little … not rushed, but crumpled? Just needs some extra line breaks and a few more words. The title is also pretty bad, but that’s a very simple fix.


Hawklad - Mendocino

Can a boot punch something? Isn’t that a kick by definition?

Well, this was a very <thing happen> story.


Tyrannosaurus - Space is full of ghosts and there is no god

Augghhhh I love this. Goddamnit.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: REAL CRIT TO FOLLOW


Antivehicular - A Letter, Never Opened
Ooh, drat, another good one. Man, this is gonna be hard.


apophenium - Untitled

Okay, this is cool prose, but there’s not enough here for me to really get what it is that you’re getting at, so it seems like kind of a waste? Idk, I’d totally be into it if you fleshed it out a little more. No one likes to feel stupid reading a story.


Baby Ryoga - Incremental Progress

This reads like A Canticle for Liebowitz and Stardew Valley had a baby, and despite loving both of those things very much, I did not enjoy this very much at all.

This is another story that could have used a little more explanation.


Anomalous Blowout - The Devil’s Trill

Ooh, aces opening paragraph.

Hmm, this is a pretty neat concept. A strong contender, but this is a strong week.


Solitair - When Thomas Met Thomas

Man, def thought this was Oliver Cromwel and not Thomas, was briefly confused.

Well-written but not terrifically affecting. You do get points for teaching me that I have been spelling Thomas More’s name wrong for god knows how many years.


Sebmojo - A circle has no end

Man, what. Why do y’all keep doing this to me this week. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I MEANT BY THIS STATEMENT)

And how is this time travel???


Fuschia tude - Honey and Vinegar

Welp.

Man, you had some cool little bits of dialogue in here, but they’re the equivalent of making a really elegant garnish for a single slice of american cheese. Not enough substance to warrant the effort.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


And also because I am easily guilted into procrastinating writing doing good deeds, here are all of the crits I owe you, Tyrannosaurus. 🦖


Week #90: Down With the Sickness
Savages

God I don’t remember this at all. Probably because there were almost forty goddamn entries that week, and also probably because my brain immediately got blasted with rotting melons and poo poo geysers, but also because this is… not great. You know that. I don’t feel like I need to belabor the point here. It’s kind of a funny concept, and you kind of almost have a funny ending, but the “HELLO, HERE IS THE POINT THAT I AM MAKING” bit in the middle and the otherwise kind of gross fatuousness of the whole thing make this a solid no-mention, maybe a DM in a better (or smaller) week. Fortunately for you, this was neither of those things. This week loving broke me.

***

Week #140: Who do you think you are?
Boogie was Born in the Backseat of a Buick

I was SO MAD AT YOU for disqualifying yourself because this was hands-down my favorite story this week and I was furious that it couldn't win. :mad: Seriously tho, this is v. good and well done. Maybe a little saccharine at times, but definitely the most emotionally effective story this week, and my favorite.

***

Week #209: WHAT DO YOU GET A DOME THAT HAS EVERYTHING?
Love if possible

(For reference, this is the story where I figured out the connection between these and my characters)

I guess the thing that I keep coming back to is, why did any of this happen? Why did the lady buy two tickets when she already knew her son was dead, or at the very least, why did she hand both of them to the clown? The clown doesn’t need to know that. She didn’t ask him to investigate. She doesn’t even seem to know who killed her son, so why did the clown know to go to Pisani? Why is he examining the ledgers? For embezzling? Are they murder ledgers?? Who would keep a written record of all their murders??? If the clown doesn’t even know the lady’s last name, how is he going to report back to her? Is he not going to report back to her? Is he just doing this? To… find the truth? Okay, yeah, maybe it’s that. But still, though. Murder ledgers. (do not disabuse me of this notion; this is the truth I am choosing to live)

Anyway, despite my numerous questions, this is a competently-done noir pastiche, it just didn’t hit hard enough to get a mention in a largish week. Also I need to stop following Sitting Here into judging situations just because I have a crush on her.

***

Week #211: Next-Best Friend Week
Bon Voyage

I kinda wish I hadn’t read this again, because I wanted to use the magic-addict, and now I have this in my head instead of what I was thinking of. Oh well, I don’t have to write something better than this, at least, just your Calamity week story (which I think you and I both know is one of your weaker entries (lol, rip my chances of not dming this week)).

Anyway, yeah. This is a cool concept and a cool story, but it feels … hollow to me, I guess? The thing that I like the most about your writing is that you have a real talent for making the reader actually care about the story, and getting strong emotional reactions (and I’m a huge sucker for that, it’s true). This one was more Idea than Emotion, which is fine! It was definitely an idea week, but again, I have become accustomed to a certain standard of output from you.

Maybe it was Oofie? I never felt like Oofie was “real,” and I’m not being clever with that, I just never got the impression that anyone cared about him at all, even in the story. And maybe that’s the point, that MC has outgrown this relationship and now all that’s left is a kind of exasperated placating, but the story seems to imply that there was once some real affection there, and I never really felt that. I don’t know.

Anyway, yeah, crits, woo!

***

Week #338: Places of Power
what madness are mountains to an imprisoned moon?

I'm not sure what it is about this piece that annoys me, but I'm annoyed. There are several passages in here that feel sloppy and amateurish, which I would probably be less irritated by except that I know you are better than this. Seriously. It's a cool premise and it's not a bad story, it's just that I now have an unreasonably high expectation out of you and you have to live with that. I got outvoted on the win, so congrats, but seriously, tighten this up, it'll be excellent vs. the current good.

***

Week #364: GACHADOME
Space is full of ghosts and there is no god

So it turns out that I did write crits for this week! It also turns out they were really bad crits. Case in point, your crit from this week just reads:

Augghhhh I love this. Goddamnit.

...which, uh, having re-read this story just now, I am having trouble elaborating on. It’s really good, in my opinion probably publishable, and the only reason it didn’t win this week was because there were a bunch of other really good entries. SOOOOOOORRY!

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Prompt:
Week 119: Oh, Calamity
Daggers, a recovering magic-addict, and a clown gangster.


Magic Show
785 words

poo poo!” Igor stood alone in the circus tent, surrounded by cut flowers, staring at a mouse and swearing.

The ropes that had bound him to the spinning target had turned into snakes and slithered away, leaving Igor to stand and take in the scene. A banner above the stage announced Hawk-Eye Harold and his Deadly Daggers, an act that Igor had volunteered to be in, and subsequently ruined during the first rehearsal.

“Oh, calm down. That could have been much worse.” A sleek black cat sauntered up to Igor, rubbing against his leg.

“How could it possibly be worse?” Igor looked down at his familiar incredulously. “Harold’s a mouse! I was supposed to be part of a knife-throwing act, not a disastrous magic show! There aren’t even any daggers left!” He kicked the nearest flower away in frustration.

“You could have turned him into something much less appetizing,” the cat said, creeping towards the mouse.

“Don’t you dare!” Igor grabbed a discarded popcorn tub from under one of the audience benches and set it over the stunned Harold. “I’m going to fix this!”

“How, exactly?”

“I don’t know!” Igor sank down into a squat, burying his head in his hands. How had he ever thought that he could handle being the target in a knife-thrower’s act? The second the first knife was in the air he had panicked, and panic always meant magic. How could he be so stupid?

“You know, if you used your magic occasionally, it wouldn’t spill out like this,” the cat said.

“But I don’t want to do that anymore!” Igor squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that when he opened them, everything would be fixed. “God, why can’t I be normal?”

“Look,” said the cat after a moment. “Self-pity isn’t going to turn Harold back. Also, I don’t know what you’re planning on telling our friend Mr. Squiggly, but I’m pretty sure this falls under the category of ‘trouble.’ You do remember what he said he’d do if you caused trouble, right?”

“Of course I remember!” Igor said, opening his eyes to glare at the cat. “I’ve been having nightmares about it ever since!” He stood up, taking a deep breath. “I’m going to have to magic him back, aren’t I?”

“Mm-hmm,” said the cat.

“Okay,” Igor said, reaching for the popcorn tub. “Let’s just- poo poo!”

He dropped the tub and took a step backwards. Lying on the ground was a no-longer-rope snake, midway through swallowing the no-longer-human Harold. Igor stared in horror.

“What are you doing?” hissed the cat. “Hurry and turn him back before the drat snake finishes the job!”

“Oh poo poo, uh- Eremanst!” Igor shouted, pointing at the mouse-snake tangle. The snake grew slightly larger, working its mouth further around the mouse.

“What, did you forget how to do magic not on accident?” the cat said.

“Shut up!” Igor closed his eyes. “Aminaro!”

To his great relief, the mouse began to grow larger and more human-shaped. The snake also grew more rope-shaped, which might have been a relief if it wasn’t quickly tightening around Harold’s neck.

poo poo!”

Harold was now back to his proper shape, eyes wide in his purpling face, and his mouth opened and shut like a fish as he gripped the strangling rope.

Igor’ eye fell on one of the many daggers on the ground, changed now from their flower form. He grabbed one and managed to get the blade in between the rope and Harold’s neck, trying not to slit his throat in the process.

Harold didn’t make it easy, flailing around in panic, but Igor eventually managed to cut the last of the sisal. The two fell apart, Harold lying on his stomach gasping for air, and Igor climbing to his feet behind him.

“You-” Harold said, his voice a hoarse whisper. “You’re a witch!”

“I-” Igor said, before the cat cut him off.

“Don’t bother arguing, just erase his memory!”

“But- poo poo, alright! Marianatus!” Purple light bloomed from his Igor’s hand and struck Harold in the face. The knife-thrower flopped back onto the ground, stunned.

“What- what happened?” the man said as Igor peered down at him.

“Well, that’s promising,” the cat murmured from Igor’s heels.

“Who are you?” Harold continued, staring around in confusion at the circus tent. “Where am I?”

“Well, at least he remembered how to talk this time!” said the cat cheerfully. “Come on, Igor, time to go.”

“But I…” Igor stood looking at Harold, then the dagger still in his hands. Somewhere outside the tent there came a mournful honk, the sound of an angry clown coming closer, sure to be displeased by his opening act’s sudden amnesia.

poo poo,” Igor said again, and ran after his familiar.

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curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


I think this has been brought up before, but I wanted to revisit, which is Losertars in general.

Losertars have been a mainstay of Thunderdome since its inception, but the community has also grown and changed a lot over time. We’re not a hugbox, there’s still kayfabe, but I think we’ve managed to lose some of the more vitriolic and off-putting elements from the early days, which I think (or I hope) has encouraged more beginners to stick around.

The argument had been made in the past that the Losertar serves as an advertisement to the wider forums, which is great, but is it really our only option? And while some people may view it as a free avatar or a badge of pride, there’s no denying that for most people it’s got a level of stigma attached to it. And, given that the only way to get rid of it is to pay money (or hope someone else removes it for you), it feels weird to brand someone in a way that follows them around the rest of the forums.

I don’t even mind the idea of having a “loser” for the week, although some judges recently have abstained from assigning a loss in the weeks they ran, which is fine. However the mark of shame aspect that goes with it doesn’t quite sit right with me.

One way or another, I love TD and this thread. Thanks for helping me get better at my wordvomit. :kimchi:

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