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Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

"I am not Josh Hawley, literally not Josh Hawley" - some other Josh Hawley irl, but not that one.

Thanks for staying up late to get it done. I appreciate it although I'm not sure anyone else is in my timezone

edit: oof what a snipe

Chili posted:

Write It Now

Crits for each entry! If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me directly!

Men Rust Over - It’s impressive what you got done in only a little amount of time. It’s unfortunate that you submitted earlier than you needed to as there are fairly obvious proofing errors that you likely could have caught out if you gave this another pass. But let’s get to the story. The voice of this seems to have flowed out of you well, it’s not too heavy handed and it works for the most part. I also appreciate how directly you handled the prompt, it’s very clear you wrote this thing right the gently caress now. Overall, the imgaery and the concept of coughing up rust/metal itself was visceral and fresh and this is pretty drat effective!



Hate and the artistic temperament - Ehhh, halfway through you got me hoping for a creepypasta twist and then you kinda let me down. What you did really well here was handle the dynamic between room mates who kinda tolerate one another, especially ones who are all struggling. I liked Zanna enough and enjoyed her process but I’m not as much a fan of you introducing a mystery with no solution, and not just not solution, it’s kind of ignored in favor of this pompous statement on art. Anyhow, well done for the most part a pretty enjoyable read.



Feed Your Head - The greatest success of this story is its biggest challenge. You wrote a scattered, disorganized story. But it certainly seemed like that was your intent, so well done. Apart from that, you handle the group dynamic well and I found the protag’s discomfort and insecurity relatable and true. Little difficult to get a bigger sense of what’s actually happening here though or what I’m supposed to be rooting for/expecting. Well done in your handling of the prompt, which you did directly.



Bill Of The Bridge - OK, we got some things to talk about here. If your story is going to be about this bridge, you gotta at least indulge in a bit of worldbuilding. I need to see this thing. You talk about how people interact with it but give me something to visualize the scene. Also, I’m a little hazy on the ending. Did Bill like become one with this thing? There’s major jumps in time with little to no actual kinesis in this story so I’m not sure what has or hasn’t been earned. It’s quite difficult to tell much of what’s going on here. Your voice in this is the strongest part it’s gotta a good feel to it, and it sounds like it’s being told to me outloud as a bit of local folklore.



Orange Blossoms and Cheap Cigarettes - We’ve got a person tied up, seemingly kidnapped, and the majority of this story deals with them trying to escape whatever horrific fate may befall them. This is a tricky one. On the one hand I like that the story is tightly focused on one concept. I also think you do a pretty decent job with the errant musings of your protag. On the other hand, I never found myself caring about your protag. I couldn’t quite identify anything in them to root for nor was I all too worried about the somewhat vague potential outcomes here. Overall, I didn’t ever really buy in to this.



Rusty Feelings - The opening to this is immensely bloated and stogy, I don’t care about this person yet so I don’t need to learn about their preferences. I get that this a story about one person, doing something seemingly mundane, but you spend nearly the entire story just talking ABOUT this person without actually showing much of anything and then they arrive where they were going and you kinda just dive in to describing more stuff. And then very little, if anything happens except a quick cursory glance at the prompt. I really can’t say that I know what you were going for here.



Absolut - Your opening is quite a bit of babble and not much story. As I’m reading this I can’t tell if I’m supposed to already know how this person is achieving absolute zero or not. But I certainly don’t know, and I mostly don’t care. And by the end of this, that’s largely my sentiment, and I’m also confused. I can’t quite follow the barking motif and I really don’t know what’s going on here except this person is, somehow, being pushed to their moral limits but I also don’t really know why or how, and it’s hard to care because I don’t know much about this person at all.



Buoyant - This works pretty well for me, It’s a singular image and scene between two people and even though it’s somewhat surreal and abstract the feelings are real and they pop. The blocking is also relatively solid in that I can tell what’s happening despite it being a tricky thing to portray. Well done.



Gone So - I can’t make heads or tails of the device your using to tell this story or why you would choose to do it this way. It’s also really difficult for me to collow the action or even tell who or what is narrating this thing. Time is a tricky concept in this as well as I can’t quite tell when these things are happening or how much time passes between beats. But, thanks for capitalizing LEVITATING!



The Floating Continent - Boy, does that first sentence need a comma. The whole first beat feels largely superfluous. It’s clunky and loaded down with personal exposition and feeling. All I wanted out of it is “character is going on quest to look for a thing” You spent way too many words getting us there. You earn some points for me from the rest of the story though cos it’s sappy parenting poo poo, and I’m a sappy parent. But there’s quite a few problems here. I’m not sure how Lucretia (whos name you seem to REALLY like to type, like way more than you need to) does to actually earn her kids interest. I think the story plays better if she comes around to him and learns what he’s into. I got feels from this, but again, that’s more from my place than the writing itself. I don’t know how much I believe this story or could really see it happening.



Rustbucket - I’m conflicted on this one. I loved reading it, and then it ended. Like what? It’s this totally unearned windfall that has no relevance to anything. But ugh, you did a good job characterizing your protag and I was bought in hoping for something cool to happen after his shift ended but then… nothing does, just the most obvious happy ending ever? I wanted more from this.



Yogi - I think you probably know you didn’t need to take this long to do what you did. At its corwe we’ve got a duel brewing. It’s a good premise for a piece of flash fiction, You spend a lot of time characterizing your protag in that first beat and though you handle it decently it’s overblown, and frankly that’s kinda the thru-line for the rest of this. Also, what is going on with these hyphens? You’re at your best in this story when you’re working place, you pretty deftly handle evoking the senses.



Eating Your Way - This is one goofball of an entry. I don’t really see what you’re going for here but I did follow everything, which is some kind of achievement given as what actually happened in this story is relatively bananas. Your concepts here are good and something tells me if you had some actual time to sit down and turn this into something you could, maybe?



Untitled - A title would be helpful here! As it stands, I’m getting mighty lost throughout the first beat, it all largeyl seems like unnecessary introductory crap. She made a mistake, seems to be all that matters. And all of that for a mouse that does a small thing? I can’t tell what you’re going for here but it seems to be a laborious tale that indicates something oppressive. That’s how I felt reading it though as there wasn’t much to cling onto or provide intrigue.



Corrosion - Story to beat, as far I’m concerned. There’s a lot to like here. Your protag manages to transcend just being a cantankerous son of a bitch, there’s humanity in him. The pacing is also sound, I like learning about Johnny in the second beat and how it colors reading things onward. This story, given a bit more time and consideration, could be pretty special or at least expanded into something I’d like to read more of. The husband is won over a bit easily by his wife in the end, even though he does breadcrumb that he leans on her in the beginning. I want to see more. Anyhow, I read this one with more rapt attention than most so far.



Affixed - The story improves after all the bickering commences. I’m wondering if we really needed it at all? I can’t quite tell what the person really wanted going to meet the wizard and then once things start it’s often difficult and distracting trying to gauge who is talking. The musings toward the end are somewhat satisfying to read and could very easily have become cloying so there’s at least that.



Sucks to be you - You had me for pretty much all of this. I cared for Carrie and rooted for her. I wanted to learn more and understand her plight…. And I can’t really say that by the end I do. Clearly there’s been something traumatic but it seems like I should be able to infer more and perhaps I’m missing what that is, or maybe you weren’t clear enough. I can tell you that your imagery really worked for me and I did find the experience of just reading the story to be fairly evocative and chilling, I just want to understand more about what’s going on.



Better Late than Never - I appreciate what you’re going for here, but this isn’t a story. It’s an essay. Not necessarily a bad essay and it’s likely going to be one that occasionally pops itself into my head with an idea I hadn’t considered but it’s not a story. I’d like to actually be there with the narrator through some of these episodes and experience them firsthand. You set the stage for that rather nicely, as it happens, by calling into question the nature of reality. That’s a good seed to a story.



The Rust Miner - I feel like what this story has going for it is accomplished in its elevator pitch “what if rust is what’s really valuable?” Apart from that, this is fairly procedural doesn’t invite me to care very much. There’s also a lot of issues with keeping tenses straight and it certainly didn’t help that the lines of the story were all smooshed together. What you end up with here is just a bunch of actions that I don’t really care too much about.



Night - I am utterly lost here. There’s a pensieve mourning thing happening, and a seemingly supportive friendship, then demon hunting, and the world is dead but it isn’t? How did you go about cramming all of this stuff into just 600 some odd words? At its core the story seems to largely be about grief and I’m guessing everything else is somehow a metaphorical representation of that but man, this thing just gets messy. It’s nearly impossible for me to envision any of this actually playing out.


Magical bureaucracy is really no different than regular bureaucracy - Your prose carries this otherwise bore of a story. It’s a hell of a thing to kind of admit, from the outset, that the story will ultimately be boring but that’s kinda what you invoke with your title. The relationship you have between your protag and their pet is well handled and also a highlight of the entry. I really liked the beginning of the way you characterize your protag. Their voice feels consistent with their identity as well.


Rusty box - Well that’s a story I guess. So the person keeps on occupying this space. They find the safe, and then goes down swinging. I mean, I guess I followed it all well enough but I don’t really care about this conflict. I kind of like the imagery of this person digging around trying desperately to find something but then he finds it and the ending doesn’t really land. You cook into the story the detail that Ferdie believes if they find the safe all of their problems will be solved, so once they do, I guess it doesn’t matter and then they take to attacking these other people? I don’t know, it’s fine I guess.

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Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


I will give an in-depth critique to anyone who asks for one.

Spokes
Jan 9, 2010

Thanks for a MONSTER of an avatar, Awful Survivor Mods!

Chili posted:

Rustbucket - Iím conflicted on this one. I loved reading it, and then it ended. Like what? Itís this totally unearned windfall that has no relevance to anything. But ugh, you did a good job characterizing your protag and I was bought in hoping for something cool to happen after his shift ended but thenÖ nothing does, just the most obvious happy ending ever? I wanted more from this.

Thank you so much! Yeah, I kind of had trouble figuring out where the hell the third act was, lol. I'll probably edit this further and put in some sort of a payoff. Thanks for running this, as well as the critique.

fishception
Feb 20, 2011

~carrier has arrived~


Oven Wrangler

Ironic Twist posted:

I will give an in-depth critique to anyone who asks for one.

I think I know what I need to work on, but I'd love another look to tell me holes I'm missing.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


i did a bunch of brief judgeburps, but here's a slightly longer one of Men Rust Over for you fishception:

My judging crit for this was:
effective pitch black horror with a cspam feel to it - the company man was kind of central casting evil guy, probably some room to make them more interesting there but still a nicely honed piece

All you can do with a story is give people what they expect, or what they donít expect - the artistry is deciding which, and when. This is what you might call relatively well-trodden ground thematically, we have the Pit, the old dad saying NO SON Oí MINE IS GOING DOWN THUR and the Evil Company making rust zombies for $$$. Why this works is because of the exacting attention to detail, from the off-hand references to our narratorís past with his buds, to their decision to get hella pissed before heading down the mine. Itís also a deceptively well-written piece, with a lot of clever work going on in the rhythms and word choices. And, finally, the cut off ending is just right - because we know this kind of story we know exactly what the severed phoneline means, and thatís ok! Weíve seen this movie, and itís a pretty good one.

My only real criticism is of the pure demonic evil of the boss monster (lol). They only have a few lines, and thatís a good place to give us something a little surprising, something we donít expect, but what we get is just some routine moustache twirling (though coupled with some excellent and legitimately creepy imagery). Still: nice piece and I would totally watch this on netflix.

Aardvark!
Mar 3, 2002



Ironic Twist posted:

I will give an in-depth critique to anyone who asks for one.

I would happily accept more criticism. From you or others.

I was focused on getting the story straight and incorporating the rust theme in an interesting way.

Thank you Chili for the critique. I agree there needed to be more fleshing out of the protag to make it more engaging.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


And here are what I call judgeburps, just a couple of lines on each. Note this is giving zero credit for the literally insane timeframe, so regardless of what it says you should feel pumped you got something in. Overall this wouldn't have surprised me as a set of entries for thunderdome, which gives people four days to write instead of two hours.


Men Rust Over 8.5
effective pitch black horror with a cspam feel to it - the company man was kind of central casting evil guy, probably some room to make them more interesting there but still a nicely honed piece

Hate and the artistic temperament 6.5

starts strong with some nicely tuned images/juxtapositions, but peters out - I don't think saying DO YOU SEE THE ART WAS A METAPHOR FOR HER LIFE was a good choice. not terrible tho.

Feed Your Head 7

v charming voice in this where really anything could happen and it sort of noodles along and hey what do you know everything does happen. light enough to lift a couple of millimeters off the ground, but the social observations give it some crunch and the basic charm carries it the rest of the way

Bill Of The Bridge 4

some pleasant observations scattered through this, but it's a clunky affair and doesn't have much more to say than B R I D G E which is fine dgmw bridges are cool BUT i find the iconic representation of such kind of tedious rest well Bill of the Bridge, your were dull and then u died

Orange Blossoms and Cheap Cigarettes 3.5

someone is tied up and spends a fairly dull time wriggling free while recalling a possibly interesting evening which we don't really get to hear about before falling to their death

Rusty Feelings 4.5

this was an honestly fairly dumb recitation of things that are probably quite nice to have but that the narrator does not possess but then it got to the last sentence and i really liked it so idk maybe cut the rest? i'm not your editor, do what you want

Absolut 7

This is wonky and weird but i like the evocation of a deeply strange dude and his quest for, well, nothing. it's really nothing but a set of unanswered questions, but I feel satisfied by his strange progression and the final image is a suitably lynchian capper

Buoyant 4.5

clunky wordage like 'some heretofore unknown laws of physics' can sometimes work if the're a way of expressing a particular character, but this is just clotted and overblown. there's also not much there, guy starts to float, continues to float, floats away. you had another character you could have sone something interesting with maybe but chose not to poss bc of religious convictions preventing you from being interesting idk

Gone So 6.5

i loled, or at least i smiled the whole time i was reading this for its well delivered parody of those oral history things and i could imagine reading it on clickhole or w/e but but but is it a story? i'd go with nearly, but not quite - didn't bring it home in the last line and it really needed to. tbf i don't know what home even looks like for a 21st century parody of a 2010s listicle style article about a 70s pop culture character but poo poo you're the writer that's your job

the floating continent 3.5

this is an excerpt from a final fantasy 3 lets play and i claim my $5

rustbucket 4.5

I'm kind of into this person's #burgerlife but I'm not on board with how much they want a terrible car and some part of me is worried about how they're gonna keep up with the insurance and WoF


yogi 5

1800 words in two hours, sweet fancy moses. you can tell tbh, this is written in a big coked p manic splurt which fits the vibe of the main character well enough. It's got a good variety of inventive future crap, ,but then it gets to the actual story and it's sort of shamefaced, just a reason to skate your guy past a bunch more future scenery and hit the end. I think you could have done this better by starting it later - I really don't care about his interstellar GPA or how he simulated toucan poop or w/e. Also hyphens? they are a sometimes food.

eating your way 2

bafflingly weird combination of baby talk big picture sci fi and intense social realism.

[no title] 5.5

i confess i was getting into this story of mundane social advancement by striking a deal with fairies because you cussed wrong while fixing up a steampunk mecha and then! it stopped. which is, not, to be very clear, the same as ending.

corrosion 8

aww yeah thats a p sweet landing for this post apoc tale, and it's a believable shift from everythings hosed and i'm incredibly angry to everythings still hosed but at least we're together i guess?

affixed 4

lots of large floaty literary conceptions here but i can't shake the feeling that i'm dealing with metaphors rather than people which makes it a bit toothless

sucks to be you 5

feel like i'm missing something here, nice feel for language but no real character or events apart from: doesn't want to go to sleep, eventually does?

better late than never 3

solid livejournal post

the rust miner 4

alien looks for stuff, finds it. it's possible the chemicals at the end are a clever chemical joke in which case: lol

night 3

this is an excerpt from a lets play of Diablo 3 suburbia mod and i claim my $5

Magical bureaucracy is really no different than regular bureaucracy 6
a decent well drawn fantasy world with a competent interplay between characters, ending is a little flat but, yeah. competent. missed a trick in not having the golem say some hilarious golem poo poo like, idk, uh... I don't actually know what golems say, but i'm sure it's hilarious.

rusty box 7

this has some guts to it, and they mostly live in the endless recurrence aspect - ferdie is not going to save his world with the safe because even with the safe he's still ferdie.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

By the way, feedback from the participants would be appreciated. How did you feel about the prompts? Was it better that there were two or did having the choice create more difficulty? What were you expecting the prompt to be and did you find the ones chosen to be condusive to the process?

And anything else you got.

fishception
Feb 20, 2011

~carrier has arrived~


Oven Wrangler

I really liked it as I said, I can't tell you at all the process I did because I locked onto Rust and just went with it til the story was done

The choice of words I think was narrowing enough to provide a sense of guidance but at the same time were general enough concepts to result in a wide variety of stories which I think is good and neat

I wasnt expecting anything from the prompt and honestly I felt I got insanely lucky with how I picked up the prompt and just went with it

Spokes
Jan 9, 2010

Thanks for a MONSTER of an avatar, Awful Survivor Mods!

I spent over half the time trying to figure out an idea, so i think I probably would have done better with a single prompt. I recorded my brainstorming session in the google doc if you would like a peek at how exactly a broken brain works:

quote:

Levitation or rust, huh

Okay. things that levitate:

Wizards
Hovercrafts
???

Things that rust:
Metal
Hovercrafts?


What if a wizard played basketball and nobody could prove they were a wizard.

Okay, not basketball. What if they were an olympic high jumper or pole vaulter or hmm

What if there was a door that had been rusted shut for decades and one day someone hears a sound behind it

What IF there was a space probe or something and it was on a desert planet but they noticed it was rusting (which would signify water and/or oxygen?) -- alright. I don't think i'm going to think of anything better than that. So whats the plot

Plot outline:
Some underpaid intern's job is to monitor old nasa probe video -- no one expects they'll find anything

One day they notice that the field of view has started to narrow? Or something. And the camera is rusting? No that's bad

Upon reflection, this idea is bad.

New idea. Restoring a rusty car. But the car is cursed. By a levitating wizard. That's a crossover, baby.

No.

What about learning to drive? Or buying a car. Buying a car and finding drugs in it. That feels cheap.


Okay. there are some ideas there.

Well, I better start writing.

Iím sure spending 42 minutes on bad ideas is optimal for a two hour contest.

*53

Alright -- let's write a story about buying an old car.

The main character buys an old car andÖ immediately crashes it. What a day! Life is meaningless.

Okay.

Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.





Sebmojo, thanks. I'm a pantser who looked up, saw the time remaining, and pasted on a final sentence. (This is also why no title.) I'm going to keep working on this; I'm guessing it's really at least 3x as long. Scoping to the scale of 2 hours is a new thing for me and it'll take some time to figure out how.

STAT!
Jun 17, 2006


My biggest takeaway is an underlined statement of what I already know: Writer's write. There's that muscle that needs to be trained, that groove to fit into. The two hours was pure, focused fun. A little nerve-wracking at the start, to be sure. I was not expecting one word prompts, but having less to work with fuels more creativity as the equation goes.

And I've passed a barrier of some kind because once I read the critiques I immediately wanted to pack up and flee the forums, but only for a moment! Now I seek out this same rush and will look into Thunderdome asap. A week of allotted time sounds great! Thanks to all the judges for putting this on.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


I wouldn't mind a deeper critique, though I think a lot of issues probably revolved around not developing the tension enough and the ending being sorta meh. Also I didn't revise much at all

Edit: also the concept might've been way too big for the time limit and my ability

Xelkelvos fucked around with this message at 17:06 on Mar 6, 2021

fishception
Feb 20, 2011

~carrier has arrived~


Oven Wrangler

STAT! posted:

And I've passed a barrier of some kind because once I read the critiques I immediately wanted to pack up and flee the forums, but only for a moment! Now I seek out this same rush and will look into Thunderdome asap. A week of allotted time sounds great! Thanks to all the judges for putting this on.

Yeah I got my first critique from Thunderdome and I was way more worried about what it was gonna say, but when the critique came out it was way less worse than I expected.

I've done three weeks so far and I'm hoping I can do more

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

STAT! posted:

My biggest takeaway is an underlined statement of what I already know: Writer's write. There's that muscle that needs to be trained, that groove to fit into. The two hours was pure, focused fun. A little nerve-wracking at the start, to be sure. I was not expecting one word prompts, but having less to work with fuels more creativity as the equation goes.

And I've passed a barrier of some kind because once I read the critiques I immediately wanted to pack up and flee the forums, but only for a moment! Now I seek out this same rush and will look into Thunderdome asap. A week of allotted time sounds great! Thanks to all the judges for putting this on.

Follow that instinct! I made that decision about five years ago and I'm so grateful I did!

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Ah gently caress I missed it. I hope the next one takes place not on Friday or Saturday, I'm usually busy as hell those days

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014

"What we therefore hath joined together, let Gnoman put asunder..."


Chili posted:


Bill Of The Bridge - OK, we got some things to talk about here. If your story is going to be about this bridge, you gotta at least indulge in a bit of worldbuilding. I need to see this thing. You talk about how people interact with it but give me something to visualize the scene. Also, Iím a little hazy on the ending. Did Bill like become one with this thing? Thereís major jumps in time with little to no actual kinesis in this story so Iím not sure what has or hasnít been earned. Itís quite difficult to tell much of whatís going on here. Your voice in this is the strongest part itís gotta a good feel to it, and it sounds like itís being told to me outloud as a bit of local folklore.



sebmojo posted:


Bill Of The Bridge 4

some pleasant observations scattered through this, but it's a clunky affair and doesn't have much more to say than B R I D G E which is fine dgmw bridges are cool BUT i find the iconic representation of such kind of tedious rest well Bill of the Bridge, your were dull and then u died



To me, the "rust" prompt pratically begged to be used for a story of decay, change, and the slow march of time. That's what I aimed at, but I didn't hit it.

I couldn't really make this gel the way I wanted to - I was going for a parallel between Bill's stages of life and the bridge's, but it didn't work naturally and I shouldn't have forced it. Every time I tried to give any real description of the bridge, I lost that folklorish tone and started sounding like an engineering manual, and that tone is the only part that actually seemed to work.

If I were to rewrite it, I'd axe Bill entirely. Focus just on the bridge and the people who built and used it.



Two prompts was a good decision - if the only option had been "levitate" I wouldn't have had any clue at all on an idea, while "rust" gave an obvious course. Think the most obvious change would be to extend it an hour or two, giving 3-4 hours instead of just 2.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Hey thread, the next thunderdome prompt is up if you want to dip your toes in.

Luxuriate in a delicious 148 hours to write a story! What will you do with all that time?

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Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


So, here are the crits for the two people that asked, as well as an additional one that I wanted to talk about some more.

Fishception, Men Rust Over

Iíll be up front about this, I was not as high on this story as the other two judges. Of course, part of that was that it was the first story from this week I read, and at that point I didnít know how bad the other stories would be, but nevertheless, itís a story that has little flecks of promise but ultimately seemed a little flat to me. You already know about the problems with Yosemite Slenderman and how heís a bit trite as a villain, but that moment with the miners vomiting iron ingots is definitely the sharpest moment in the story, and the problem is you took too long to get there, so that the story just has to end right after that. You always want to start with the interesting thing, not end with it, and everything that leads up to that moment just reads very common to me. The part with his father at the beginning had its own pathos to it, but honestly it didnít add a whole lot to the story when viewed as a whole and it felt a bit like you thought you had to write it in order to get to the interesting poo poo later. Once you finish the first draft of the story, itís your job as the author to determine what the interesting and/or important part of the story is, and then build the story around that. Because thereís a lot of wasted space here, especially in the dialogue, which to me reads as very stilted and was my least favorite part of the story. It made me wish there had been no dialogue at all. People very rarely say what theyíre actually thinking in dialogue, they usually talk around what they want to say instead.
I think I was harder on this story than I needed to be, given the overall quality of this week, but the more you write, the more youíll be cognizant of how your stories read to other people, because itís very easy to see the problems with this one. Some of those problems were due to the time limit, but some of them couldíve just been fixed with 10 minutes of editing.

Aardvark, Orange Blossoms and Cheap Cigarettes

Itís a very rare thing for an ~800 word story to feel padded, but thatís the impression I get from this. You seemed very convinced that the phrase ďorange blossoms and cheap cigarettesĒ was much more interesting than it actually was, to the point where the rest of the story and what actually happens in it was secondary to this noirish vibe and atmosphere and essence that you were desperately trying to push. Itís like you wrote a scented candle instead of a story. Because all that actually happens in the story is ďa guy wakes up in a van, remembers some of what happened last night, then falls out of the rusting van, presumably to his death, before remembering everything else.Ē We donít find out exactly how the blonde woman died, or how the man ended up hogtied in a van--we never even find out who the driver of the van is! We never find out who the woman is! All those noir stories written back in the day actually had action and tight plotting underneath all of the seedy, smoky atmosphere, and this just has a pale imitation of the atmosphere. If youíre a fan of noir, if thatís what you want to write, then bring that vibe to where you are as a writer, rather than trying to jump feet-first into that world. Take what you like about what you like to read and then apply that to how you already write, and figure out what you can bring to it that nobody else can.

Arsenic Lupin, [no title]

Conversely, I think I enjoyed this one much more than the other judges. I know that the ending was a bit of a bust, and I didnít care, because I liked the voice and the world so much and if you actually were able to pull it out of thin air in the space of two hours, then I tip my hat to you. It does also suffer from the problem of ďthe poo poo you think you have to write at the beginning before you get to the interesting poo poo in the middleĒ, but the poo poo in the beginning is also well-written and entertaining in its own right, so it didnít bother me that much. For the purposes of this competition, you couldíve just started the story with her alone in the workshop late at night, have had her curse, and then have had the saint child just appear, and weaved the worldbuilding into the story as it progressed from there. Then the child could have been more of a presence in the story rather than just this spectre demanding a metal mouse. We couldíve learned why a mouse, and not a cat, or a butterfly, or a Roomba. Ultimately, though, itís a problem that could be solved with actual time to go back and revise, which Iím assuming you didnít have. Thank you for providing one of the bright spots in this weekís judging.

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