I will judge because I am cool and handsome
|# ¿ Jan 3, 2021 01:14|
|# ¿ Apr 16, 2021 23:41|
It's a recap!
2020 is over but you can relive it here!
Join Sitting Here, Sebmojo, Simply Simon and I as we take you on a retrospective journey through the highs and lows of the Thunderdome year that was. There are statistics! Emotions! A BIG REVEAL!!! Some of us even have goals for 2021ne!
We talk about All You Need Is Love And A Spaceship by Yoruichi, All the Ways You Can Ruin a Sandwich by Ironic Twist, The Game of Telephonesex by Simply Simon, Everything In Its Place by BeefSupreme, The Knight and the Necromancer by Schneider Heim, Lacrimosa dies illa by Sebmojo, Keep on Trucking by QuoProQuid, Quiet by nut, and Downup a Road by Mrenda. There is even a dramatic reading of the last one!
It's amazing. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Honest.
|# ¿ Jan 3, 2021 04:53|
Week 429 crits
Wow this was an extremely same-same week. All of you wrote good, enjoyable stories, so well done. I am currently binge-watching early 2000s Top Chef, and, as per the advice given on every episode of that show, all of these stories needed more salt. Except the winner, that one was seasoned just right.
2,496 words by Tree Bucket
Things I liked about this story: Piecing together (lol) the setting from the first two sections. The characterisation early on. The imagery of a small band of people picking through vast mounds of puzzle pieces. The sci-fi dystopia vibe.
Things I did not like about this story: The last line (I don’t get it at all). The vague neocapitalist nonsense the cousin spouts, particularly in the final section. The unclear motives of the AI (to be honest I think you would have been better to give zero explanation for why the people were being forced to do a giant puzzle than to give a partial explanation. Just let the setting be what it is and focus on the characters). The fact that you don’t actually describe what the finished puzzle shows.
Things that annoyed me: Proofing errors (e.g. “weigh” instead of “way”). You say the puzzle is 3km by 1km, but have the protagonist walk for an hour to reach a point on the edge. But an average person walks about 4km/hour, so your protagonist is walking weirdly slowly. The puzzle is far too small for a trillion pieces - it should be more like 33km by 10km (based on an estimation using the world’s largest commercially available puzzle, which has 40,320 pieces and is 6.7m by 1.8m).
Thirty People by brotherly
This is a story about a man helping his deceased father adjust to life in an virtual afterlife. The father’s experience is pretty much that of anyone adjusting to living in a new place, and the son’s role is to listen to his moaning and gently encourage him to make friends. The nature of their relationship doesn’t really change through the story; the son just finds his father easier to deal with as he becomes more settled.
Throughout the story electronic devices around the son are acting up. I think this is supposed to imply that ghost-dad is messing with them because of his unhappiness in VR heaven - once he starts to enjoy himself there, the mishaps stop. But whether the father is doing this on purpose or not isn’t explained, and it remains a mystery to the protag, rather than prompting him to action.
What exactly the afterlife is partially explained - there’s some flimflam, for example, about the physical (brain in a jar) vs. normal heaven. I think the story would have been better without this. The partial explanation only made me think that a more complete explanation was coming, and when it didn’t arrive I was left with annoying questions. Better just to present the world as it is and leave it at that, I think.
Overall I found this a pleasant, if meandering read.
Trajectory by Staggy
This is a story about an operative of an oppressive government eventually rejecting their orders and creating an escape path for themselves. It’s well told; the sci-fi backdrop is cool, and I liked the way the story was revealed in snippets. But I didn’t get a strong sense of the protag’s motivation for betraying the organisation they’d given their life to. It was fairly obvious that this was where the story was going, and it therefore didn’t feel particularly high stakes.
Into the Breech by Weltlich
“It’s” instead of “its.” Tsk, tsk.
So this is a WWI story, except the bad guys are droids and the good guys fight with slingshots, and the rocks they’re throwing recite Shakespeare in the air?
I didn’t really get this I’m afraid. It was a pleasant read, and I’m intrigued by the setting and these characters, but, what’s going on? What’s up with this ending? Why do the rocks read poetry??
den sisters, we by Tyrannosaurus
Woah that was hosed up! Good job all round. The characters are clear and relatable, and I was really feeling the poor protag’s distress. Snake-mum and rat-dad and very well done. I love the straightforwardness with which the sister comes to the rescue. I like that at the end it’s unclear what decision the protag will make, but we know that she is strong and will be ok. Did she just, erm, murder her dad though...?
The Grass Whisper Among Themselves, Blade to Blade Across the Field by Thranguy
This felt like two stories that didn’t quite meld together. On the one hand we’ve got a group of friends who have seen photos of an estranged friend’s wedding. They are skeptical that Jimney would get married, and annoyed not to have been invited. They set about trying to prove the wedding photos are fake, which seemed like a very petty response to me.
Then we’ve got a more serious story about the war-time restrictions that the characters are living under, the censorship and filtering that all their communications are subject to, and the resistance. Pissing around with Jimney’s wedding photos leads the protagonist to the discovery that everything on the net is being made to look fake, thus making it impossible to tell fake from real.
The story ends with the narrator exhorting people to communicate face to face, thus avoiding the shadowing forces manipulating the net. That’s all very well as far as morals-of-the-story go, but it didn’t really tie the two disparate parts together for me. I think I needed a clearer sense of your protagonist’s motives to get more into this story.
The day before by Sebmojo
Two dudes climb a mountain to await the rapture, but don’t get saved. The protagonist starts off annoyed, but by the end seems to have accepted his situation and his friend. So that’s nice. Nothing really happens, but you do effectively paint two characters and a compelling backdrop with very few words (I particularly like the bushes puffing into ash). The numbered paragraphs, which I assumed were supposed to represent 24 hours, sort of work but sort of don’t - the last four hours/paragraphs, for example, only contain about five minute’s worth of happenings.
|# ¿ Jan 5, 2021 00:10|
Interprompt: New Year's Resolutions Gone Wrong
My new year's resolution was to do 10 push-ups a day. Little did I know that I was accidentally doing the most powerful exercise of all: PUSH-DOWNS!
CRACK! went my floorboards as I thrust my arms downwards, shoulders trembling. The spiders in the crawlspace under my house fled in terror as my biceps bulged.
"Two!" I grunted, and the earth trembled, setting off a small landslide below my house.
"Three!" The faultline shook, and a magnitude 8 earthquake destroyed my city. I tried to get up and look around, but my trapezius was now so massive that my legs couldn't support my own weight.
"Four!" The earth split open, revealing the writhing magma within. My weak core muscles strained to hold my form. My belly dipped, and the magma set my t-shirt on fire. It burnt away, leaving me bronzed and fire-hardened.
"Five!" My mega-arms thrust the broken remains of my home into the earth's molten innards, and all of the planet's volcanos spurted lava at once.
"Six!" My sinewy hands found the core of iron at the centre of the earth, and with a mighty thrust, sent it shooting out of the other side of the planet. It destroyed UK on the way out, then hit the moon, exploding it into a giant dust cloud.
Bereft of resistance, my humongous arms simply pumped through the rock-jelly that was leaking from the ruins of the earth out into space. That made the last 3 reps way easier.
|# ¿ Jan 5, 2021 00:28|
In. Can you please assign me some tropes and give me a flashrule? I know you like picking things for me because you have so much confidence in me as a writer.
|# ¿ Jan 5, 2021 02:24|
Flash: Horror rom com
Tropes: Love triangle, night of revelry, new in town, overbearing parent, iconic landmark
’Til Death Do Us Part
The coroner slid my corpse from the freezer and pulled the sheet off my face.
“Mr Thornbury, is this your wife?”
Fiancé, I thought. I would have been Geoff’s wife today if his leech of a mother, Patricia, hadn’t pushed my car into the lake after the rehearsal dinner. They’d find whatever drug she’d slipped me when they did the autopsy though. Bitch.
Geoff looked awful, presumably from the shock, but the arsenic I’d been adding to his breakfast for the last three months was probably catching up with him, too. Patricia was standing behind him, fake-crying into a fistful of tissues. Next to her was Geoff’s “friend,” Emerald. You have to put air quotes around “friend,” because Geoff had been having an affair with Emerald since the first week she blew into town. Friendless and cagey about her past, we’d taken Emerald under our wing immediately. Geoff thought I didn’t know about his indiscretions. Idiot.
Emerald was clutching her elbows and had goosebumps up her arms under her baggy t-shirt. Her auburn hair was piled up in a loose bun and she looked like she hadn’t slept. God, she was gorgeous. I wanted to put my arms around her, to stare into those big, dark eyes while she confided all her secrets in me, and then I would stroke her hair and promise to look after her forever. Yes, I was in love with my husband-to-be’s mistress. That’s why the cheating bastard had to go.
Geoff nodded. “That’s Magnolia,” he said. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket (seriously, who carries hankies?) and wiped his palid forehead. “Was it… What happened?”
“...drowned after her car ran off the road and into Lake Murdersdeep. I’m very sorry.”
“But, she didn’t even touch the champagne at dinner! Are you sure there wasn’t--”
“Goeffrey, it was an accident.” Emerald, my sweet Emerald, gently took Geoff’s hand in hers.
Geoff pulled his hand away as if he’d been burnt. “An accident? That would be very convenient for you, wouldn’t it, after I told you I wouldn’t call the wedding off--”
Emerald blanched, and if my heart hadn’t been one big ol’ lump of rigor mortis it would have thumped with rage. Geoff you total oval office, how dare you accuse my beautiful, perfect--
“Geoffrey Bartholemew Thornbury!” barked Patricia. “Emerald is your friend. You mustn’t go thinking horrible thoughts about the people who love you at a time like this. Isn’t that right, Emerald, dear?”
Geoff really did look like poo poo. He was clutching his stomach, too, I noticed. The muscles in his forearm were twitching. Then his legs did a strange sort of spasm, like a folding chair that doesn’t fold quite how you expect it to and resists all your grunting efforts to fold it, then suddenly collapses in a way that almost takes your fingers off. Geoff crumpled to the floor.
As he fell I saw what had been happening behind his back. Maybe having frozen eyeballs makes time slow down, I don’t know. But while sobbing theatrically into her snotty kleenex, Patricia Thornbury’s other hand had been intertwined with the coroner’s. So that’s how the cow planned to get away with my murder!
Unpleasant froth puddled from Geoff’s mouth. The coroner stepped forward and prodded Geoff for signs of vitals pretty much exactly how they do it in crime shows. He shook his head.
Ha! I thought. Suck it, you adulterous dweeb. My only regret was that I was also dead. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having my revenge...
The light of my life was really shaking now. Poor thing, this must all be very hard on her. Emerald’s hair had unbunned and flowed lusciously around her face. Emerald, my love, I thought. I need you to do one thing for me…
Separating my spirit from my body felt like peeling off a scab from a unhealed wound. You know, the kind where the first chunk comes away easy because there’s pus underneath but the next part is all gummed together with actual skin, and you end up making a big, bleeding mess by ripping it off and you know you should stop but once you’ve started you just can’t... Like that, but for my whole body.
But slipping into Emerald’s body was like donning a silk suit. drat it felt good, like having all my toes sucked at once. Emerald let out a little “oh!” of surprise, but a night of no sleep and her boyfriend’s sudden demise had softened her up.
I love you, I whispered, inside her head. I was inundated with the kaleidoscope of her thoughts. Memories of Geoff flickered past, interleafed with the image of his dead body on the morgue’s tiled floor. I saw Geoff in Emerald’s apartment, Geoff taking Emerald out to dinner, taking her shopping, paying her bills… What the gently caress? In my shock I nearly got ejected from the driver’s seat, and had to scrabble to keep hold of her consciousness. Did this bitch honey trap my fiancé?!
But this poo poo would have to wait, because first, revenge!
I turned the twitching Emerald to face Patricia, said something cool like, “Time to die!” and leapt for her throat.
Getting stabbed in someone else’s body didn’t hurt as much as drowning had, but it was still a nasty shock. Gouts of blood pumped down over her Emerald’s perfect breasts. I couldn’t see the scalpel, being as it was buried in Emerald’s suprasternal notch, but I could see the terrified face of the man that held it.
“Mort! What have you done!” Patricia shoved him away and caught the dying Emerald in her arms.
Mort dropped the scalpel. He backed away, looking exactly like people do in crime shows where they do a murder in the heat of the moment and then immediately decide that they should call the police. Patricia Three-Times-Regional-Women’s-Darts-Champion Thornbury clearly recognised the look, because with one deft movement she scooped the scalpel off the floor and bullseye’d it into Mort’s carotid artery. He slumped to the floor, looking disappointed.
“Why did you kill Magnolia?” I made Emerald say, spluttering through a mouthful of blood.
Patricia’s turkey neck wobbled. “I did it for you. If I’d known I had a chance of having you as a daughter-in-law instead of that ditz--” She jerked her head at my popsicle self “--I would have forced Geoffrey to break off the engagement months ago. But I only just found out about you two, and the wedding was today, so drastic measures were necessary.”
I wanted to say, “Well the joke’s on you, because now Emerald is going to be with me forever!” but Emerald’s lips wouldn’t move, so I had to settle for gurgling mockingly at Patricia.
I could feel Emerald’s spirit slipping from her body. Oh no you don’t, I thought, and wrapped my metaphorical arms or ectoplasmic tentacles or whatever around her. My body was tugging me back, and I dragged the writhing Emerald with me.
Patricia let Emerald’s body slump to the floor next to Geoff. She was covered in blood and surrounded by murder victims. Ha! Good luck getting away with that! I turned my attention to jamming Emerald into my body with me. I swear I felt my frozen lips crack into a toothy grin just as the freezer door clanged shut.
Emerald began to scream.
|# ¿ Jan 10, 2021 21:40|
THUNDERDOME WEEK 441: OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER
Yay, I won! I'm the winner! Wheeee! Now I get to give you a prompt! Hooray! How exciting! This prompt even comes with it's own theme song!
But, while I revel in the delight of sitting on this weirdly sticky throne (is that blood...?), you, my friends, are getting a Writing Exercise. This will help you get better so one day you can be the best, like me.
This week we are going to practice using Repetition. You will write a story in which a certain element - idea, phrase, motif, theme, image, etc. - is repeated at least three times. What does it mean each time it appears? Does the meaning shift through the story? You decide!
If you think this sounds ridiculous and/or too hard then you are bad and wrong, because I got this idea from a good and fun writing podcast, which, seeings how I'm am stealing their idea, I will plug here. You could even go listen to the episode on repetition!
If you are stuck for inspiration ask for a flashrule and I will give you a picture of something that I like. Ask for a hellrule and I'll add something demented on top.
Have fun! Remember, if you work hard you can be the best, like me! ME!!!
Word limit: 900 words.
Sign-ups close 9pm Saturday in NZ.
Deadline is 9pm Monday in NZ.
Me (because I'm the best).
Eager students of the craft of writing:
3. magic cactus
5. Idle Amalgam
7. Tree Bucket
8. N. Senada
13. Phiz Kalifa
14. Simply Simon
Yoruichi fucked around with this message at 08:30 on Jan 18, 2021
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2021 08:33|
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2021 19:05|
In flash and hellrule pls also because I need to atone for my two week straight failure streak.
Everything is upside down.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2021 19:12|
Thanks for the crits.
Everything above is purple.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2021 22:21|
In with flash plz
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2021 09:02|
In with a flash, please
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2021 21:30|
In flash gif
Did you want a hellrule too? If course you do.
Your main characters are centaurs.
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2021 00:37|
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2021 08:07|
Bad Simon! Das ist nicht ein Pferd!
You are in now, so here is your gif:
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2021 19:35|
in. i don't need a flash rule but can i have a horse gif anyway?
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2021 19:35|
i'm in. I asked about this a while but I'm not sure if anyone ever counted the longest gaps between entries, but i've skipped the past 308 challenges. If y'all think that deserves a flash or what, I'm game
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2021 19:38|
In, don't want a flash but do want a horse gif. Got any laser horses?
Horses do not have lasers
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2021 22:11|
(Don't worry this isn't a flash)
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2021 03:08|
I'm in and ing. Would like horse gif but no flash.
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2021 05:47|
Sign-ups are closed.
If you wish to late enter, then this is your flashrule:
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2021 08:59|
you might have to remind americans what this phrase means
Look if you want your own horse gif you just had to ask...
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2021 23:47|
Submissions are closing... just as soon as whoever is blocking the door comes inside...
Any time now...
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2021 09:51|
Week 441 Results
Starting at the bottom end, earning a special new avatar is Gorka, who wrote an unsatisfying opening to a longer story, and failed to effectively use repetition. Joining them with DMs are Magic Cactus, who also wrote what felt like a story fragment with not enough character, and Brotherly, who fell flat on characterisation and repetition.
Special prizes go to Sebmojo, who gets an HM for making the best use of repetition of the week. Simply Simon would otherwise have DM'd, but is saved from this by their effective use of repetition. Well done.
And onto our podium: Sparksbloom and SurruptitiousMuffin get HMs. Sparksbloom wrote a touching slice of life story that succeeded at what it set out to do. Muffin, please know that I hated your story for reasons that are explained in my crit, but despite this I cannot deny that it is objectively a very clever piece of writing.
Standing on the top of the podium, with a story that all the judges agreed was weird and interesting and used repetition to good effect, is Obliterati. Please accept this oversized rosette and bottle of champagne, you sexy-accent-having bastard.
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2021 05:02|
Week 441 Crits
This is sweet despite being quite silly. The hyperbolic style works insofar as it illustrates how angst-filled the protagonist is, but ultimately I think it lets the story down, because instead of real details about this woman and the protag’s feelings for her, we’ve got bland generalisations, e.g. about how great she smells. I think if you swapped out generic descriptions (e.g. “she is pure”) for something specific to this woman then this could be pretty good.
How well did you use repetition? Pretty well. The switch from “you won’t, you won’t,” to “will you?” in the final line and the “you will” in the title all tie together nicely. But, I think “you won’t” is repeated too many times - it would have had more impact if used less often and interspersed with more details of the scene and the characters.
The Three Steps of the Giant by Tree Bucket
You have a tense shift which makes your opening confusing. The opening sentence reads to me like it’s supposed to mean, “Rob had only been 17 when the drought broke, but he still remembered it.” Then the “had” at the start of the second paragraph makes it sound like this is a flashback, but then you shift into present tense.
After this confusing start I struggled to work out exactly what was happening. I thought Rob was watching the giant slowly approach from a distance, but then it seems he’s right under its feet, for unclear reasons.
And then the giant starts doing something unusual, but again I wasn’t clear what, as all its actions seem to involve just lumbering around. Then a robot sticks its head out and says, hey kid jump in, and he does? The only motive you offer for this is that he’s a teenager, which seems a bit thin.
I think you could have something cool here - the image of the giant slowly pulverising the landscape is great - but this needs a serious edit for sense.
Did you use repetition effectively? No. You just stated that he was 17, twice, when in fact the prompt required a minimum of 3 repetitions.
Smooth Moon by Phiz Kalifa
Three Houstons and a mad scientist flatten the moon's surface with a steamroller. The Houstons, not understanding the task, initially resist, and then in their anxiety launch into moon-smoothing with excessive enthusiasm. Great use of flash-gif here.
This story is silly and funny. I lol'd at the “pros: smooth moon” slide show. Bits of it don't make a lot of sense, and it needed another edit - you've got a jarring POV shift when describing the Houstons, for example, and why on earth aren't your paragraphs separated. But overall this was mad and fun.
Did you use repetition effectively? Not really. “Smooth moon” is repeated through the story, which is funny because it's a funny pair of words to say, but it doesn't add anything beyond that.
The Doom Vat by brotherly
This should have been good (you’ve got lots of good wizardly stuff going on) but it isn’t, because you don’t tell us who the the protagonist is or what they want, making it impossible for me to care about whether they get the doom vat to work or not. It’s very unclear what’s going on at the ending - have they gone insane or were they trying to give themselves pustules?
Did you use repetition effectively? No. I think maybe you were trying to show the same scene (the protag trying and failing to get the doom vat to work) over and over? But I didn’t get a strong sense from the story that the same thing kept happening, so this didn’t really work for me.
Mr Hands But Make It Actual This Time by SurreptitiousMuffin
On my first read through I didn’t understand this at all. After my second read, I decided this lack of comprehension stemmed from an attempt by my brain to sheild me from the most obvious interpretation, which is that this is a story about someone having terrifying hallucinations, and then setting themself and their horse on fire, causing their death and loving up the horse, which is absolutely horrifying. So, thanks for that. :frowny face:
Call me simple but for this to work for me I needed a bit more character meat to make me feel feelings about what was happening to the protag.
“Chestnut A Go Go” is an A+ racehorse name though.
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes. The repetition of “I am a man / it is a horse” works well within the madness of the piece, and is not overused.
Empty by flerp
Aww, bless. I want to give your poor protag a hug, and I’m glad they’ve got a nice dog to give them dog hugs. I like that this is just describes a simple moment, and doesn’t try to overcomplicate things with any suggestion that they might get back together.
Did you use repetition effectively? I guess the recurring image of the empty bed was your repeated thing? This is good, but didn’t feel like a strong part of the piece.
Man Plans; by Nae
Why is there a semi-colon in your title?
I’m afraid I don’t really get this. What’s going on? What is the protag doing, and why do they kill themselves? Are the other characters frog people or is this a delusion on the part of the protag? The whole picking tiles thing didn’t feel connected to anything.
Did you use repetition effectively. No, you don’t seem to have used it at all.
You get four out of ten because even though I didn’t get this at least the prose is good.
Chosen by Gorka
The prose here is fine but this just feels like the introduction to a longer tale. It’s not bad as a starting point, but not satisfying as a short story.
Did you use repetition effectively? No.
Groundhogs, Reconsidered by Magic Cactus
This is interesting, but it feels like a fragment from a longer story. It’s quite sad, but we don’t find out much about these characters or their relationship, so I didn’t really get pulled into the emotion of the story. I think you also needed to give more context for Silias getting pulled into the book. Not an explanation of how it works; more like, why her, why now?
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes, I thought the “... was reading,” worked well. However, you only managed two repetitions, where the prompt called for at least three.
And Talking Trees, and Leagues of Grass by Thranguy
Mad Max meets cyber
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes, because among the Xlati clans it's the women who have the big swinging cocks.
Hummingbird Wish Me Luck by Noah
This is nicely written insight into someone dealing with a difficult situation. I would have liked a bit more detail about Rudy though, so I could be clearer about what sort of person I was picturing. Is he old or young, for example? I assume his loss of smell is a COVID-19 reference, but without this background knowledge that wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense.
Did you use repetition effectively? The recurring image of the hummingbirds was nice, but if I hadn’t been looking for examples of repetition this wouldn’t have stood out to me.
Epistle of Ixion Jr III to the Idiots by sebmojo
Well done opening with a poo joke, a bold play. Centaurs could just use toilets though, couldn’t they? Maybe specially designed extra-large ones, but still, they’d just have to back up to it. Horses can hold on if they want to, it’s not like they just poo poo involuntarily. Lots of them don’t like pissing on concrete for e.g. (they prefer long grass so it doesn’t splash onto their legs).
Ok wow you really did go full horse with this one. I lol’d. Good job.
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes, very much so. The “next topic” bit gives structure and rhythm to the piece, as well as adding characterisation.
Advice to a Young Traveler by Antivehicular
Someone goes on a dangerous mission into the badlands to retrieve the core of a dead ex-lover, so that that person can be reincarnated. Or rather, someone is telling someone else about this, because the listener is contemplating a similar mission.
I think the framing of having a narrator talking to someone else muddied this piece, and it would have been stronger if it had just focussed on the badlands action and the protag’s journey. Cool imagery though.
I confess I was kinda waiting for the big-dick-swinging Amazons from Thranguy’s story to show up.
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes. The repetition of ‘if you fall in the badlands, you die’ added a nice rhythm.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Sparksbloom
Aww, this is sweet. I like the way you show how this father-daughter relationship both changes and doesn’t change over the years, just through these little snippets.
Did you use repetition effectively? I think your repeated motif was the father’s insistence that he makes his sandwiches with jam and not jelly. I didn’t feel this added much to the piece, as, once we knew that this was a thing that this character did, we didn’t really need to keep being told about it.
How Yer Grampa Glaikit Beat Back The Beats by Obliterati
Ha, this is cool. I like the vernacular - a risky play, but you pull it off. I love the image of this Weegie twitching with an uncontrollable beat as they desperately try to construct a stage before the beat drops and ends them. And then they drop the beat so hard it just rolls over them and on and on. I’m not sure this makes a lot of sense but I enjoyed the ride, and I dig the way the protag gives the middle finger to their fate and then is baffled when it works.
Did you use repetition effectively? Yes. “Easy come, easy go,” is an effective repeated motif and gives the piece a nice rhythm.
My Favourite Mistake by crabrock
I fear for the safety of your lab mice.
Stallions don’t have nipples (a rarity amongst male mammals), and you missed an opportunity to say she “hoofed it” in your last paragraph.
Did you use repetition effectively? Not really, except for the bit where the mad scientist is rattling off all the possible combinations they’ve tried.
You get five because this was both delightful and horrifying, but the ending was a bit rushed.
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2021 05:13|
Week 442 Crits
In the Blue Glow by brotherly
“Ya’re a wee lad. Whatcha gonna do to Branna?” Oh no terrible vernacular speech. I know I fawned over Obliterati for writing in Scots last week, but, see, the difference here is that that was good, whereas what you have written here is bad. My opinion is that vernacular dialogue is to be used with extreme caution. To pull it off your dialogue has to sound natural, it has to add characterisation, and you’ve got to be meticulously consistent throughout. You’ll know it works if the reader stops noticing after a couple of lines. The line quoted above, unfortunately, slapped me in my eyeballs and prompted me to stop reading and switch to my crit document in order to write this paragraph while frowning at you.
Ok, now I’ve finished reading and I’m afraid my opinion didn’t improve much. What you have here is perfectly fine set up for the protagonist to resolve their conflict with Branna. But that’s it - you don’t show the moment of conflict or resolution, the protagonist just works themselves into exhaustion and then Branna comes and carts them home. You could have condensed all of this into one paragraph - the protag is jealous of Branna and despite work themselves ragged still can’t beat him - and then made the story about how the protag deals with these feelings. Do they accept the reality that Branna is much more physically able than them and thus get over themselves? Or do they try to fight him? Run away? How does Branna feel about the protag?
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, oh, Yoruichi, you are such a meany-weany did you not even read my lovely ending in which Branna comes and saves the protag thus demonstrating that he is a Good Guy and the protag decides Branna is ok after all? To which my answer is: your ending is boring and doesn’t work as a satisfying resolution because the protag doesn’t actually do anything and it’s not clear if they are going to feel any differently about Branna tomorrow.
OH AND THERE ARE GLOWING BLUE MUSHROOMS. You really should have made this a more significant part of the story.
The Tale of Leam by Azza Bamboo
You could cut your first four paragraphs and replace them with one line explaining that Leam is an indentured servant or convict sent to the colonies or whatever. The actual story starts with our poor protag playing his harmonica for the fairies, so, start there.
I think you should have given a brief description of the fairies so I know whether I’m picturing tiny things with wings or child-sized figures or what.
“It was a single round of ammunition cased in wasted potential and coarsely ground into the shape of despair.” These are very pretty words I’m sure but they don’t actually tell me what this ammunition looks like. It would have been better to describe the bullet as being black and rough to touch, or something - something specific that would evoke a sense that the thing is evil instead of just confusing the reader.
So after the fairies give Leam a gun and magic ammo and they sing a song together he finds the courage to rebel against his captors. That’s fine as far as endings go, but it didn’t feel very satisfying. I think the problem is that you don’t set up the stakes clearly enough at the start. It almost seems like the thing Leam is pining for is music, and then he gets this by playing with the fairies. If you’d instead used the words you wasted on the opening paragraphs to describe a previous failed attempt to escape, we would have had a stronger sense that Leam was desperate to get away, and then when the fairies give him to means to do so this would have felt like a more exciting pay-off. You should have shown us more of Leam’s emotional state as he wrestled with the decision of whether or not to take the gun - as it is it’s like the fairies just bewitch him, which puts the fairies in the driving seat, as if it’s the fairies that want to rebel against the British.
A War Story with Uncle Welt by Weltlich
It took me a couple of goes to decide how to pronounce “101st”. One-oh-one-st? Hundred-and-one-st? I think you probably meant hundred-and-first, but 101st was a confusing way to write this.
This is supposed to be a shaggy dog story, right? It was entertaining, if not amazing.
Mint and Sugar by a friendly penguin
Awkward first sentence - you could cut “With peacetime making us question so much of our lives.”
You’ve got some pretty weird physical action going on here. “Their heads tilted back and before I could turn around, my feet no longer stood upon the ground,” is a strange way to describe someone being whalloped in the back by a tentacle - I thought at first that he’d been picked up by a dragon or something. Then we’ve got, “It reached out and snatched a knight by his torso, flinging him back and forth with rapidity. The knight vomited into the pit.” Vomiting into a pit makes me picture someone standing, bent over, hands on their knees, to have a spew. Why would being flung through the air make you vomit? I think this is more likely to make you scream and maybe pass out? You’ve also got a weird tone thing going on, e.g. “with rapidity.” I think you’re going for a folk tale tone but it just makes the reading experience a bit jarring.
Oh, so it’s a giant cat that has been sticking its tail out of a hole for some reason? Why would a cat do that? Have you ever seen a cat deliberately poke its tail through anything? No. I also thought cats couldn’t taste sugar? Although they do sometimes like mint so I’ll allow that one.
Omfg and then for magic reasons they tame the cat and ride it to glory? And Rowan and the protag have a flirty moment for some reason? These are both good things to have happen in a story but you can’t just hand wave and be all like and then they lived happily ever after hoorah. This could have easily been fixed by setting up the protag as a cat whisperer rather than just someone who was generically kind-hearted.
All feathered things by Staggy
All the other stories so far have prompted me to stop reading after the first few paragraphs so I could hop over to this document and write grumpy comments. This one similarly has sent me straight to my crit notes, but this time for good reasons.
This opening is very good.
Two paragraphs in and I understand that the protagonist is ship-wrecked, presumably on an island, that she is trying to escape by means of some sort of flying beast (I initially guessed dragon, but it doesn’t matter), and that she is a total bad-rear end. So we’ve got character, setting and the story’s primary objective all in 128 words, boom. Alright Staggy, don’t gently caress this up from here.
Hmmm, see how much I took from your first two paras? You didn’t need to explain it to me again in the third.
The rest of this is great. Sure, Zhen Yi’s escape comes easily once she realises what she has to do, but that’s ok because this is only an 800 word story, and as you set up an interesting character with a clear goal I was happy to see her get what she wanted.
Harking back to last week’s prompt, you also made effective use of the repeated image of Zhen Yi counting her treasure. You’d think that repeating an action like this would be, well, repetitious, but it works because of the way the meaning shifts - to start with, it makes her appear greedy, but then it is used to show her contemplative side.
The final line is the weakest part - I’d have preferred it if you gave some hint as to what happened to her next (did she abandon the treasure to the bird or did she take it all and make a fortune?).
The Story of Erik Blue-Tooth by Tree Bucket
Well that was boring. Long-dead viking has conversation with modern-day valkyrie in featureless afterlife lobby. Agrees to become anti-virus software instead of going to heaven. Seems like a dumb decision to me but ok.
The big problem here is that you give me no reason at all to care about Erik. He’s just generic viking guy, and the story has no stakes whatsoever. What happens if he says no? He just goes to heaven, so that’s… fine. Compare this to Staggy’s story, where the character had a clear goal with consequences that mattered.
Oh god I’ve just spotted the bluetooth pun in your title. gently caress me.
just a few more minutes like this by flerp
You know, there’s really nothing wrong with capitalising your titles. You should try it sometime, you might like it.
No! Don’t just lie there and cuddle! Abe, you need to call an ambulance, your new boyfriend could have a serious head injury. Go to hospital for Christ’s sake.
Failing to take potential concussion seriously aside, I liked this. It’s a sweet moment between two people who have larger problems, but those can wait. Because it’s clear from the outset that they fancy each other, the ending isn’t a big pay-off, but it’s still nice.
Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants by Mercedes
FOR THE LOVE OF HOLY GOD DON’T PREFACE YOUR STORIES WITH A DECLARATION ABOUT HOW BAD THEY ARE OR SOME LAME EXCUSE ABOUT HOW YOU COULDN’T WRITE BETTER WORDS OR SOME OTHER BULLSHIT MERCEDES YOU ARE NOT SOME SNOT-NOSED NEW BABBY DESPERATE FOR ATTENTION YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THIS.
See, and this isn’t bad, it’s good! Well, it’s not good good, but I did genuinely laugh when Patrick poo poo his pants.
What’s missing here is the stakes - why did Patrick need to pull off this trick so badly? You could easily have inserted that somewhere in the opening section. It also badly needed a proofread.
Making Me Mindless Minions by toanoradian
I don’t like this title, it has a weird sound to it and doesn’t help me understand the story.
I don’t understand this. Why has a car crashed caused the protagonist to get stuck in an infinite zombie loop? What are the letters at the end? You’ve got some good weird zombie action but without understanding what was going on I’m afraid there wasn’t much here to like.
Championships Are Forever by Noah
See, flerp, concussions can have very serious consequences!
I thought this was an effective portrayal of someone living with a head injury. I liked the kindness the other regulars showed him, and thought the run-in with the man he’d bullied in high school rang true. This is a sad story, and a bit of a gut punch, and as such I didn’t really enjoy it. But, it is still a good piece of writing, well done.
Oh, Boy by Thranguy
This is a pretty powerful portrayal of someone discovering horrible news about a high school (I assumed) boyfriend. It’s well done, but we don’t get to learn much about Becks, which I think made it less satisfying than it could have been.
Waffle Cone by Idle Amalgam
The info-dump is not a very interesting start, you could have just started with the third section.
Oh dear section four is more exposition. Yawn.
Alright now we have a sponge-man who wants ice-cream. This is the most interesting thing that’s happened so far…
Oh good, Yuliya’s debt is paid off, somehow. Yay for ice-cream, I guess.
This was mostly sci-fi babble with very little character, which is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you want for a satisfying read.
I went down to the crossroads by Sebmojo
Isn’t it ‘welcher’? Whatever. The more confusing thing in your opening is the fact that the protagonist is counting the footsteps of the person who just punched him coming towards him. Did this punch send him flying several meters down the road??
Eyeball roll at “I’ve got beef.”
Hmmm, this was fine I guess. The descriptions of the devil are all pretty good and the protagonist’s introspection is well done, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Something about the idea of trading the souls of your wife and son for eternal life just doesn’t quite work. It’s too much of a simple transaction to be a good devilish bargain or wager. (“I would like to purchase one eternal life, please.” “Very good sir, that will be too souls of your nearest and dearest.”) And the reason he changes his mind is pretty weak. If someone is going to go fight the devil I want them to be doing it for a better reason than they considered living forever and then decided that they couldn’t be bothered.
You also need to take concussion more seriously.
|# ¿ Jan 25, 2021 22:31|
WEEK 442 JUDGING SECRETS REVEALED
Well, they're not really secrets, but if you want to listen live to what happened in judge chambers, you can do so here.
We discuss all the stories! There are hot takes! Blistering insights! Judgement!
(This will be available in the archive as soon as I figure out why the upload's not working).
|# ¿ Jan 26, 2021 07:45|
I am judging this poo poo. Toxx up bitches.
Your prompt is: You must both write a Spaceman Jim story that is better than the other one's Spaceman Jim story.
Deadline: Exactly 7 days from RIGHT NOW.
Wordcount: a nice round thousand.
|# ¿ Jan 29, 2021 05:50|
|# ¿ Jan 30, 2021 00:15|
oh dear is someone jealous that they're missing out on the action? Hang on, let me go get my teeny tiny violin...
|# ¿ Jan 30, 2021 07:17|
Most people were quick to embrace new cultural practices around the retention of the deceased after the en masse cessation of posthumous decomposition, but Luke was not emotionally well-equipped to be saddled with his father’s everlasting corpse.
Luke’s head pounded as he leant over to the passenger side to buckle Graham’s seatbelt. He realised that biffing his dad unweighted into the harbour was probably not the most well-conceived or executed plan to remove one’s dead father from one’s life, but it did seem unfair that the tide had deposited Graham on the white sand of Oriental Bay instead of taking him out to the middle of the Cook Straight and just leaving him there like Luke, with impeccable beer-fueled logic, had assumed it would. Graham’s leathery skin had dried out after his sojourn in the police station, but his pajamas were damp and smelt of seaweed. They were the ones Grahan had died in. Luke felt a stab of guilt that he still hadn’t put proper clothes on the old man.
“Non-necrotic bodies that the family is unwilling to keep at home should be cremated in accordance with city regulations,” the policewoman who’d phoned him that morning had said. She did not say, but Luke swore he could hear her thinking, Not illegally dumped in the harbour after a night on the turps, you ungrateful piece of poo poo.
Luke had just nodded, as if she could see him through the receiver. He could hardly tell this stranger that he’d spent the last year caring for the demented bugger and wasn’t exactly thrilled about having to spend the rest of his life with his corpse.
The gearbox of his rust-stained Corolla crunched as he reversed out of the station carpark. From the backseat Bastard started barking at a woman walking past with her grandmother. The body’s arms jerked as the hand truck she was strapped to hit a bump in the pavement. The woman frowned at Bastard, as if the dog had startled her gran. Luke grimaced apologetically and jammed his finger on the window button. Bastard kept his yapping face crammed against the rising glass until the motor started whining and Luke had to lean back and jerk him inside the car.
Luke fireman-carried Graham into the house and dumped him on the lounge floor. “Let’s get you out of those,” he muttered. Distant son turned reluctant caregiver, Luke had found changing Graham’s clothes to be the task he hated most. Graham had tended to resist being dressed, not childishly, but like an animal, uncomprehending. One time Graham had wet himself, and when Luke tried to remove his piss-soaked pajama pants the old man had bitten him. It hadn’t been Graham’s fault - the poor git had long since lost all ability to tell toast from Tuesday - but the scar still filled Luke with a nauseous horror, and deep shame.
“At least you can’t bite me now.” Luke jerk-jerked Graham’s wet cotton boxers down his skinny legs, balled them, and hurled them in the direction of the laundry. Bastard snatched them out of the air mid-flight.
“Bastard! Bad dog!”
Bastard growled around his mouthful of undies and trotted triumphant to his bed.
Luke slumped on the threadbare carpet. He was suddenly completely exhausted. He thought about walking to the spare bedroom closet to fetch some clean pants for his father, and felt completely overwhelmed by the thought. He was a piece of poo poo, he knew. He hadn’t always gotten on with his dad but Graham hadn’t been a bad person.
Luke felt tears welling up. He’d hardly spent any time with Graham as an adult, until disease and shitful circumstance forced them together. He only had his vague kid memories, and then the last, horrible year. Luke scrubbed his unshaved face with his palms. hosed if he was going to sit on the floor and cry. He stood up. Graham was dead; lying on the floor with his dick out for a bit longer wasn’t going to hurt him. Luke stomped into the kitchen, retrieved some leftover chow mein from the fridge, and dumped it into a pot on the stove.
The ignition switch tick-tick-tick-ticked but the gas didn’t light. Luke sucked in a breath through gritted teeth. C’mon you bitch, he thought. Tick-tick-tick-tick: nothing. Luke gripped the broken stove as a wave of frustration rolled over him. He booted the thing with his bare foot and then howled with pain as his toe hit the metal with an eye-watering crunch.
“gently caress!” Luke hopped in the direction of his armchair, but stopped short in the lounge doorway.
“BASTARD!” he shouted. The dog looked up, grinning around a mouthful of desiccated thigh-meat.
Luke scooped a cushion off the couch and smacked Bastard with it. The dog started barking and trying to grab the cushion while Luke one-handedly dragged the dog cage out from behind the couch.
“In! Go on! Get!”
Bastard complied, but only after yanking the doomed cushion out of Luke’s hand. Luke slammed the grill closed and slumped against the couch. He looked down at his half-naked father, now missing a chunk of thigh. He thought for a moment that he might throw up, but then the nausea turned into a ball of awful laughter in his stomach. loving dog. Luke pushed aside the feeling of comedic horror, grabbed Graham under his armpits, and hauled him onto the couch. He couldn’t decided whether his dad’s exposed junk or mangled thigh was worse, so he threw a blanket over both of them.
Luke sagged into his armchair and turned on the TV. The Empire Strikes Back was on. Bastard, bored of cushion destruction, whined from his cage. The flickering of light sabers lit up the faces of Luke’s macabre little family.
Graham had loved these movies. They were his go-to on whenever Luke’s mother left them alone together. Graham never missed an opportunity to say, “Luke, I am your father.” He thought it was bloody hilarious. Luke looked over at the silent corpse.
On screen, Darth Vader was rambling about the emperor. Here it comes, thought Luke.
Except it wasn’t.
Graham wasn’t going to say it. Luke wasn’t going to roll his eyes, and his dad wasn’t going to laugh, deep in his belly, in the way he had when he knew he’d embarrassed his kid but that was ok because it was, at least in Graham’s mind, their thing.
Luke sat alone in his lounge and watched the light of the TV play over his dead father’s face.
“Luke--” said Darth Vader.
“I am your father,” finished Luke. He felt his eyes fill with tears but before they could fall a laugh rolled up from his belly and forced itself from his mouth. Just the way it had when he was a kid, laughing against his will at his dad’s dumb joke. Their joke.
Skywalker screamed in agony and Bastard howled along because he was a dog and why the hell not. Graham sat there, looking foolish in his pajama top and blanket. The throbbing in his toe receding, Luke got up and fetched Graham’s favourite trilby from the spare room closet.
“There you go, dad,” he said. Luke sat down next to Graham on the sofa. He could watch the rest of the movie with him, at least.
|# ¿ Jan 31, 2021 23:04|
THUNDERDOME WEEK FOUR FOUR FOUR: LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY HORSE
Ha! I won again! Hooray for me! And hooray for you! Because this week you are getting another writing exercise + horse thing prompt.
This week you will focus on character. Your challenge this week is to write a convincing and memorable protagonist. Make your reader feel like they really get to know who the protagonist is and how they tick. Think about what they like, what they want, how they talk and move, what sort of objects they choose to surround themselves with, etc. If you like writing vignettes or otherwise not having a traditional plot then this is your week.
Your protagonist will be inspired by a horsesona created by one of your fellow Thunderdomers. This is how it's going to work:
1) Go to this website and create a horsesona. There's a random generator if you're a lazy bum.
2) Sign-up, and post a screenshot of your most excellent horse friend.
3) Wait in eager anticipation for the next person to sign-up. The horsesona they post is the inspiration for your protagonist.
4) Write good words.
The last person to sign-up gets the horsesona posted by the first person to sign-up, hence the earlier than usual sign-up deadline. If you sign-up late I will give you a horse using the random generator.
Do you want a flashrule? If yes, you may request any or all of:
- a randomly generated horse to use as a second character
- where your story is set
- the first song lyric that pops into my head.
Do you want a hellrule? If yes, you are a maniac, but I will happily hand out random nonsense if you so desire it.
God help me if any of you choose to literally write about horses.
Word limit: 900 words.
- Sign-ups by 9am Saturday in NZ (12 hours earlier than usual).
- Submission by 9pm Monday in NZ (midnight Sunday PST).
1. toanoradian (Everyone has eyes made of literal fire)
2. Idle Amalgam (Your story is a palindrome)
3. Thranguy (There's a fire starting in my heart, Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark)
4. brotherly (When I was a young boy, My father took me into the city, To see a marching band)
5. Simply Simon (Your story takes place in a labyrinth + The labyrinth is sentient)
6. Azza Bamboo
7. Lily Catts
8. sparksbloom (I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone, I crashed my car into the bridge, I watched, I let it burn)
9. Chairchucker (Your story takes place in a wildlife reserve)
11. Casual Encountess
Yoruichi fucked around with this message at 01:50 on Feb 6, 2021
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 02:43|
In. I'll take a flash lyric too.
There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 04:35|
In and also lyrics flash please
When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 19:37|
Give me a location flash
Your story takes place in a labyrinth.
and a hellrule
The labyrinth is sentient.
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 19:44|
Your story is a palindrome.
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 19:50|
A truly brave soul would use them both
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2021 20:45|
i'm in and I'll take a flash lyric
I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone
I crashed my car into the bridge, I watched, I let it burn
|# ¿ Feb 3, 2021 06:00|
It's a recap!
Join Weltlich, Obliterati and I as we dissect week 441. Featuring a special guest interview with long lost Thunderdomer Morning Bell, a dramatic reading of How Yer Grampa Glaikit Beat Back The Beats, and more!
Stories discussed are:
Advice to a Young Traveler by Antivehicular
And Talking Trees, and Leagues of Grass by Thranguy
Empty by flerp
SMOOTH MOON by Phiz Kalifa
Man Plans; by Nae
Hummingbird Wish Me Luck by Noah
Availble in the archive or wherever you get your podcasts, apparently.
|# ¿ Feb 3, 2021 08:05|
|# ¿ Apr 16, 2021 23:41|
So... you're in? You need to make a horse picture. Did you even read the instructions?
|# ¿ Feb 3, 2021 09:34|