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Contest October-November 2018 Short Story contest voting thread

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Nov 1, 2018.

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Which piece or pieces do you like best? (you may choose up to three)

Poll closed Nov 30, 2018.
  1. Story One: "It Came from Above"

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  2. Story Two: "Orders are Orders"

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Story Three: "The Visitor"

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
  4. Story Four: "A Dispatch in the Night"

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  5. Story Five: "A Brutal Life"

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  6. Story Six: "Excitement"

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
  7. Story Seven: "Looking for Limza"

    7 vote(s)
    50.0%
  8. Story Eight: "To Escape Fate"

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  9. Story Nine: "Fallen Leaf"

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  10. Story Ten: "Starlight and Shadows"

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  11. Story Eleven: "The Darkest Hour"

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DeathBringer125
    Troglodon

    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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    Nice lol! I’m surprised I got this many votes lol. my biggest problem is that I suck at writing long stories. I tried to write a book but I just seem to not want to write it after awhile. I’m hoping that when I’m older I will be more patient lol. And @spawning of Bob i really loved your Critiques on The Darkest Hour lol I wish I could have done that. However I was motivated into writing another short story called Beware the Shadows. I’m posting the link here.
    http://www.lustria-online.com/threads/beware-the-shadows.22246/
     
  2. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Stegadon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    err... ok!

    But what does one exactly do with it?
     
  3. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations to @thedarkfourth (again). I am still unsure why we resurrected you, but hey, mahrlect happens.

    I am legit astonished by our new authors and what they bring to the table / sacrificial altar, and wish to emphasize that win lose or draw, EVERYONE is a winner when we have more lizards pumping out more quality fiction - keep it up!

    Undying gratitude for Scalenex, whose cold, dead claw prints are all over this comp, and every other. I'm sure that even CSI won't be able to find where all the wayward apostrophes are hidden.

    I didn't do formal author guesses because I have been out of the loop for a year or so, but I must say I am not surprised that Scalenex kicked the proverbial huagerdon in Excitement (although non-fatally this time). TDF does sheer random like no one else so he fits with Looking for Limza. I want to complement Fallen Leaf again - it is a beautiful piece, so thank you PP (please make the usual payment with a paper bag full of unmarked likes)

    Apologies to Lord Agragax - I ran out of imagination for names and didn't do my homework - I shall read your fluff background as a priority. I am painfully aware that I haven't had the time to keep up with everyone's fluff output and it does grieve me. Maybe 2019 will be less complicated...

    Don't forget the art comp and have a safe and happy Christmas season wherever you may choose to plant your Skavenpelt Banner of Poqenichi.
     
  4. thedarkfourth
    Temple Guard

    thedarkfourth Well-Known Member

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    Grovel before your new Master. Great work on a fun comp, folks! Despite Bob's handwringing, this is only my 2nd win after about 3 years of doggedly submitting stories so I'm chuffed. Many thanks to the exactly half of you who liked Looking for Limza. Naturally, I thought this was one of my weaker entries when I finished it - whenever I think I've done a good one it gets no votes.

    Limza was written the day after I saw Bad Times at the El Royal, and if you've seen that movie you'll understand why. I'm surprised everyone seemed to think it had a cliffhanger ending. In my mind it was quite clear - they're trapped inside with the killer rats. They're super dead!

    Too late to retract your votes!

    Let me say that I was so impressed by other entries - everyone was great, but Bob is right to single out new authors, stories by @Paradoxical Pacifism, @King Dust, and @TheCrazyKhorneGuy were all very good, even if the last one was largely copied from a previous thread (a violation of anonymity rules which no one seemed to notice?). But in particular I want to give a Most Impressive Newcomer award to @WhenTheSkinksMarch, a very cool user name that I don't remember seeing before. Where have you been all this time? Seriously, you write like an absolute pro - there are a few minor structural issues with Orders are Orders (she should call the comet before she's already dying, so it's more of a proper self-sacrifice) but the quality of prose is flawless. Consider yourself under strict orders to post moar stories on this subforum.

    My apologies for failing to do a proper review this time. In penance, allow me to introduce Lustria Online's first ever META REVIEW.

    1. @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl 's review

    A fine review that nicely balances the need for detailed feedback with not going overlong on each story - except for the first one, which the author understandably geeked out about in a satisfyingly OTT nerdy fashion. I'm also very pleased to see the return of the Comedy Award, a much needed incentivisation that I would request more reviewers consider employing.

    Please use more paragraph breaks, you Luny.

    2. @Scalenex 's review

    Scalenex is a pleasingly predictable feature in the world of Lustria Online Short Story Competition reviews, and that is one of the reasons why we love him. His reviews always use the same structure: positive paragraph followed by negative paragraph - and in this case a third paragraph about the story's status in the Scalenex Cup running. I love that he does a backwards order of stories, as if he's trying to pretend he's hip enough not to be rigidly orthodox and organised. I also love that he titles it "Scalenex's Review" in big bold font. I love the perennial focus on world lengths and haircuts. And I love the random musings on the statistical usage of homebrew curse words at the end. Everything about these reviews make me happy every time I see them.

    Long live the Master of Ceremonies! (I know he's not technically "alive", but you get my gist).

    3. @Paradoxical Pacifism 's review

    This is an efficient battery of review bullets, which Bob may have rudely dismissed as anathema, but which I think holds a lot of insight considering their brevity. Each story receives both specific praise about what is working and also comments about elements to improve. There are even a few intriguing teachings about the nature of storytelling in general, such as the nugget that "characterization is best achieved in a story when it starts off very simple".

    I like the random switch between "love" and "enjoy" in the first sentence of each review. And I especially like the aptly-named "Paradoxical Medal (?)", awarded without any reasoning or explanation. I think the question mark has to remain an official part of the name.

    4. @Aginor 's reviews

    Aginor's reviews are fun because they are almost 100% positive. It's just a list of stuff he likes. After reading these reviews I feel like the world is made of rainbows and puppy dogs.

    I also appreciate his relentless commitment to judging how closely each story adheres to the theme - a streak of puritanism that feels worthy of Scalenex and somewhat out of place among such joyous praise.

    5. @Killer Angel 's "reviews"

    Despite his "dep" sorriness, KA was kind enough to outline his faves, which is always a nice token, and I'm sure it was appreciated by these lucky recipients of his votes. Certainly better than not doing any review at all, not looking at anyone in particular, COUGH COUGH ME.

    6. @spawning of Bob 's reviews Comments and Critiques OO LA-DI-DA, REVIEWS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, EH?!

    Bob has given so much to this forum over the years - wisdom, jokes, love, mean negs that only he can get away with - that I'm always touched to see his continued interest in proof reading and type errors. He looms so large as a grandfather of us all, it's like God coming down to earth and getting caught up in the minutiae of tabletop wargaming rules. Especially when it comes at the end of a review post as spectacular as this one.

    Not content to merely look at the 11 stories in the competition, Bob tackles the immense and fundamental question of what exactly should a short story be, after all?

    Erecting the straw lizard of "Scholarz", who "want characters, arcs and conflict and probably other stuff", (is it arrogant to think he's talking to me?) Bob declares Pish and Tosh. Instead, he offers a series of intriguing models for new kinds of stories that don't adhere to traditional forms of structure with conflicts that are resolved. It's a fascinating approach. I for one have never been an admirer of three act structure, which I think is an overly simplistic and unhelpful tool, and I definitely think it's worth considering alternative approaches, especially in the adaptable short story genre.

    However, I must also play the predictable part of contrarian Scholar (by which I mean contrary to Bob's contrarianism). Combatting three act structure by employing forms like road movies and shaggy dog stories doesn't mean you have to give up on "characters, arcs and conflict and probably other stuff".

    I've complained in the past about stories that seem to be all set-up, positioning the hero for a grand adventure that we don't get to see for reasons of word limits. Bob is very much correct to point out that such a story can be exciting in its very lack of resolution and in the sense of potential it creates, even as we are denied the catharsis of a normal ending. But just because your story is a "Chapter One", doesn't mean it doesn't need conflict or development. It doesn't take a grand arc for a character to change or adapt. A good story should always aim for a sense of forward movement, things changing, characters realising new things about themselves. You can do this in an infinite array of formats; it just so happens that a traditional ending with a resolution is the most common and widely understood, and typically the easiest for writers to grasp. While it's more than possible to write a good story without a regular ending, I think it's hard to do well, because an ending encourages authors to think in terms of development and progression, without which a story can so easily stagnate into a mess of pointlessness. So I'd encourage those who aren't very confident in their skillz (such as myself) to try and master the basics of a regular story ending before attempting more difficult non-resolved stories.

    Anyway, the reviews here were wonderfully impish and insightful. O Bob! What sweet joy and madness-inducing pleasure it is to have you back!

    7. @DeathBringer125 's ...uh, review? Fangasm?

    I want moar of this kind of passion! We should all rave about our heroes like this!

    Final comments

    Good reviewing, everyone! Hope to see more reviews next time - as the great leader Scalenex says, it's a good way to generate enthusiasm and encourage future participation.

    Happy November everyone!
     
  5. Y'ttar Scaletail
    Razordon

    Y'ttar Scaletail Well-Known Member

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    Question-thing: Is this the first time i've actually killed my protagonist? :p

    I think I need to check that one, but I pretty much never kill off my characters. So it was a change of pace to murder this one with a coconut.

    Anyway, congrats to my fellow writer-meat! A great many superb story-things! :D
     
  6. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    You’re welcome - glad to know that I’ve helped to give someone who hasn’t won for a long time a win.
    That’s a shame - I thought they could have possibly fought their way out or something, but at the same time it makes the story more Rogue One-ish, so I’m happy with that.

    I’m not sure whether to take that last bit as a compliment, but I will as it’s a friendly community - I know you mean well ;)

    Glad you like it - I’m considering making a special thread so that everyone can access any of the Lord Agragax Comedy Award winning stories at a pinch.

    I just think it looks unstructured and chaotic if I break the paragraph for each article down to smaller ones, but I’ll try to remember this for next time.
     
  7. TheCrazyKhorneGuy
    Saurus

    TheCrazyKhorneGuy Member

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    is this what you mean by passion




    KHORNE!! KHORNE!! KHORNE!! KHORNE!! KHORNE!! KHORNE!!





    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!
    AND SKULLS FOR HIS THRONE!!!
     
  8. Scolenex
    Temple Guard

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. Now since your piece was clearly a chapter one to a much longer complex saga with an amazing Slann-picked suicide squad, you have more writing to do...


    Because he is a wild maverick who plays by his own rules!

    He lives in our hearts...
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  9. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Surely, no reviews at all would have make me deeply sorry, but I did a minimum, so the sorriness went less in depth. :shamefullyembarrased:
     
  10. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Hahaha, yeah you got a point there.
    Most of the time I think that pointing out the positive things is more helpful than the other way round.
    I am a huge care bear. :D
    That last bit is... my rules-lawyery showing through I guess. Those contests don't have many rules, so I look whether Lizardmen play a role and whether they fit the theme. The rest is (to me at least, I am not an expert for writing) often a matter of taste.
     
  11. WhenTheSkinksMarch
    Saurus

    WhenTheSkinksMarch Active Member

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    Ok, my quick try at reviewing some of this great assortment of works.

    11: The Darkest Hour

    A solid story that retells the siege of Izta and the final hours of the first Chaos invasion, lots of strong action that really exaggerates Kroak's powers. The spells are seemingly effortless for him to harness and he destroys legions of daemons as they advance on his city, truly conveying his immense power even before his death. One thing I did not like about the story was the instant transformation into a mummified relic-priest, I feel it would have been impressive and terrifying to have the disembodied spirit re-emerge blasting the Deliverance of Izta. But all in all, a strong story that conveys the amazing power demonstrated at this great battle that defined the Lizardmen for eons to follow.

    10: Starlight and Shadows

    A great tale of skilled predators removing unwanted intruders one by one, with our protagonist, the enslaved camp hand Savinne seemingly the only one able to place the threat. This story does a great job building an atmosphere of danger and helplessness on the part of our main character. A bit that got me was that is just too short, I want to know what happens at the end, it seems a little *too* ambiguous, was it a swooping Terradon? A skink making a leap for their prey? A gripping tale that just ends too quick.

    9: Fallen Leaf

    Ok I have to admit with this one, I'm a sucker for a good philosophical duel, where ideals mean as much as the weapons. This story really reminds me of the classic image of samurai dueling, 2 individuals alone, each fighting as much with their hearts as their swords. A great inner monologue follows each blow describing the mental battle that our protagonist is fighting in himself, resisting the corruption. A strong contender with a great theme.

    8: To Escape Fate:

    This story takes a more comedic tone, with the story and all the efforts of our protagonist Xarn all leading into that final punchline. I enjoyed the buildup of the story simple in essence but well executed, the priest attempting to shirk his duty and being reprimanded by the council feels very natural in Lizardman culture. The battle is well narrated, light on details but painting a full picture of the fight. Very entertaining with that final line lending a good chuckle.

    7: Looking for Lizma

    Bounty hunters, elusive thieves and a twisted cult, this story has it all! Telling of Paso's encounter with 2 seemingly friendly figures on scouting missions to the same ruins and their discoveries within, this story held me captive with the subtle clues it left to each character's intentions in the early story and the tension of the "Lost Clan" slowly rising around them. The drama comes to a head as each player drops their guises and make a final rush for their own goals, with a great ending that almost certainly spells doom for the unlucky ones left. One thing that felt a bit off was the final line, it's probably just me but I feel like it was a little too cheesy. Still, a minor complaint that can't truly taint the rest of the great tale.

    6: Excitement

    Hilarity ensues as a band of skinks take their holidays to make their way to Tlanxla for the Festival of Tlanxla in a road trip almost reminiscent of National Lampoon's Vacation: Lustria edition. Taking place over a 12 day march to the next Temple City we see our small band of protagonists witness the dangerous side of Lustria's wildlife first hand, from the flaming breath of a hungry salamander to the mating duels of stegadon bulls, they manage to find every dangerous beastie and plant on their journey. Great timing, hilarious dialogue and some generally likable characters to follow make this such an engaging read.

    5: A Brutal Life

    A brutal siege is fought over a final bastion of Order in a blood stained land, as hordes of Khorne's followers fight against a detachment of Sigmars golden boys, with a shifting perspective, our story follows the Exalted Deathbringer, Orayszheld and his bloody fight against an old enemy in the ranks of the Stormcast Eternals. Strong action and tension drive the fight scenes and kept me interested in seeing how this 3v1 battle would turn out. Being neither a Khorne or SCE player probably helped as I had no frame of mind for how powerful each individual should be. As has been said before, the ending is a bit jarring, why do the Seraphon want these humans? What is the plan for these reclamation projects? But yeah, good action, nice character interactions, but the ending does let it down a bit for me.

    4: A Dispatch in the Night

    A skink is reborn again for a single night, with a single purpose, to send a grave warning to the defenders of a lone settlement. Following our lone messenger Boqhan we explore the minds of the lizards born from starlight, the Seraphon, and their quasi-lives. The constant memories of the Old World and everything that was lost helps define the daemonic rage and power the Seraphon fight with, they've already lost one world, they don't want to lose another. Great emotional points from our lead mixed with engaging stealth sections make this a story to definitely check out.

    3: The Visitor

    A lost Necron crashes deep in Lustrian jungle and tries to find someone in charge. Divided into 3 "Phases" each detailing this creature's advance on the city we follow the city's occupants and their encounters with the odd metallic creature, mostly ending in their demise with their weapons being ineffective against the invader. The climax is the meeting between the Necron and the city's Slann, an impressive slinging of magic from the Slann and some quick thinking leaves the invader dead and theLizardmen with some new "celestite" weapons to work on. Great atmosphere builds over the story with pacing almost building like a classic horror movie, I truly did enjoy this one as something different.

    2: Orders are orders

    Ok so I started writing this review set like a week and a half ago, but I write excessively slow so I may as well show my hand, yeah, dis was me. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, I originally made it to tell a story of absolute obedience and how it can lead to some bleak outcomes and try and draw a comparison with the joys of free will. But yeah I can never really stick to a plan, so I ended up with a character piece about a skink priest's devotion and unyielding resolve. I agree that I could have shortened it in places and trimmed some of the parts that prattle on, but overall I'm pretty happy with how the narrative ended out, as I mostly write as it goes with nary a plan in me head. A huge thanks to everyone who reviewed and praised the story, this was my first time since high school that I actually sat down and wrote something, so I'm really glad you all liked it.

    1: It came from above

    Ok so I really enjoyed this one, starting with the death of a bunch of filthy rat-spawn we follow the many follies and mishaps that lead up to the drowning of the ratty cohort. I've seen a lot of talk about how the out of place timeline is kind of jarring, which is certainly true at some points I did get a little confused on my initial reads. But after going over it again I do find it easier to follow, which helps me enjoy all the little character moments a lot more. The cast of skinks and their own individual interpretations of a single word lead to some very entertaining moments, I especially loved the Kroxigor at the end, who got it right by complete accident. Lighthearted and a pleasant read, really making me wish I had another vote for this one.
     
  12. WhenTheSkinksMarch
    Saurus

    WhenTheSkinksMarch Active Member

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    And also, a massive congrats to all the winners!
     
  13. Infinity Turtle
    Cold One

    Infinity Turtle Well-Known Member

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    A big conglartualtions to all entrants! I have been victim subject to many conversations in which all entries were highly praised. Very impressive content from both new and old writers alike.

    However...

    I’m always thoroughly disturbed and concerned when people start treating Bob like a god...

    There goes another... blinded and lost to the dark side...






    They might not be able to see it, but I’m on to you, @spawning of Bob ...
     
  14. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    He he he. Nothing to see here.

    (Shun the heretic! Shun the heretic!)
     
  15. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. DeathBringer125
    Troglodon

    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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    HERESY!!!! DIE HERETIC!!!! BURN IN FIRE! (In a nice way though)
     
    Paradoxical Pacifism likes this.
  17. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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  19. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Are you surprised?
    To call "heresy" in a warhammer forum is almost like to shout "fire" in a crowded theatre.
    You won't have panic, but pretty sure half of the people will react automatically. :D
     
  20. DeathBringer125
    Troglodon

    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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