Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Feb 3, 2017.
I've never seen a head explode before...
It's settled then. We do a multi-poll and watch @NIGHTBRINGER 's head explode. For science.
Pollbringer is the master of internet polls. You are in my realm. We shall see who is the learner and who is the master.
Last to the finish line!
Story One: Hope Is In Order: I like Yami and want to see him succeed in his struggles. He is an engaging character I want to know more of. I enjoyed the evocative setting description.
Multiple readings I’m not sure why Yami is in his situation or where he is going. This feels like the introduction or even the middle of a long saga. This piece could use more structure. Both technically (paragraph spacing, minor editing) but mostly in story structure. I find it helps when writing a short story to answer the basics. This is what I want to tell, this is what I want to show and include. This is the introduction, conflict, and resolution that will fulfill my goals.
Story Two: Those Left Behind: I do not have a problem with the female characters. There are no rules for what the gender identity of asexually reproducing magic lizards. I do not believe the Lizardwomen made the story better or worse. The idea of gender amidst alien creatures is fascinating to me, but that is a discussion for another time.
I like the priestess character very much. Very strong protagonist to root for. This story cleaved to the theme of hope and vengeance better than most. The pacing and rising tension was excellent.
The piece was short. I admire short pieces because I have trouble writing a piece without it going long, but as impressed as I was with the writer’s economy of words, but I would have liked to see more exposition. A paragraph or two extra would suffice. Where are they are at, how did they get to the point where one priest has Skaven literally on her door step?
I do not like the names. Bob makes fun of my dislike of apostrophes but I’m not trying to be a jerk, and I’m not trying to be cute. You can simulate exoticism with names filled with flashy spelling, but if it’s long and hard to pronounce with a human tongue, the reader (or at least me) will paper it over in his/her mind as “that lizard character.” This piece had two: Br’kk and G’tt-taax. I read this piece two extra times. One extra time because I liked the piece. One extra time so I could keep the characters straight.
Story Three: Hammer of the Lost: I was expecting to say, this piece read like a narrative battle report not a short story. A very good battle report, but still not a short story but then the author turned it around at the end to put it back on short story footing moving from the grand event, a large battle to the relateable scale, a Skink mourning his lost friend pretty seamlessly. Also managed to work in metaphysics without slowing down the flow. This isn’t the first time a L-O author wrote about Seraphon heroes represents Lizardmen ideas, but this is a very good representation of it.
I get that Kai-Otl is awesome, that is the key takeaway from the extensive battle scenes but the main emotional story is Rex-Op mourning his lost friend and consoling himself with the fact that the memory of his friend lives on, figuratively and literally. If the author built up the friendship between two characters throughout more of the piece earlier. The ending would have been even more bittersweet. Scalenex feels happy when other people feel sad. To make other people sad, you have to do more than kill characters. You have to show that the characters killed are beloved by others.
Story Four: A Whimper: The author did a brilliant job bringing the protagonist and the setting to life in a vivid and compelling way.
Too short! I want more. This doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end. The entire piece reads like an introduction. It built up my interest than let it go, like it was chopped off prematurely.
Story Five: The Next Generation: It made me laugh. I got all the references. In fact, two of the jokes were my suggestions. This was one of the first pieces submitted to me and I couldn’t resist chiming in. Rest assured, the author took my joke ideas and cleverly inserted them in better than I could have done.
I am never 100% sure how to critique a comedy. I guess there is some structure. Introduction: This is a Star Trek parody with Seraphon. Conflict: The Unclean One won’t leave, the slann wants more ships, the wizard is both annoyed and annoying. Resolution: Blast stuff. Despite this it kind of felt like joke after joke. I wanted a bit more story. I was thrown off by the Spawn name. I kept thinking of this guy before I realized you were setting up a khan joke.
Story Six: Sacred Duty: This piece was phenomenal. I am a sucker for Jack London-esque pieces. We had a lot of great pieces about the bond between man and beast with a Saurus or Skink as man and various cold blooded beasts but I do not recall a piece like this with a Trogladon. I guess we’ve had pieces with Troglodons before, but I do not think we’ve had one with this much emotional resonance. Scalenex is happy when everyone else is sad.
I struggle to find any suggestions for improvements. This is getting one of my votes. I do have one small suggestion. Play up the alien-ness a tad. The characters are human enough you can picture a bond between a man and a horse, but we need to play up the mystical lizard thing. More focus on the Troglodon’s smell and hearing. I want to describe sickening bone crunches. Let the Troglodon recoil at the reek of burning skaven while still smelling something appealing that might be worth eating. Play up the mystic skink’s mystical senses and instincts.
Story Seven: Sacred Spawning: Epic setting and build up. I wanted to know more about the characters and I felt my tension rise as the characters’ tensions rose. The setting was well described. I could picture all the buildings, the bubbling pools, and the assembled crowds clearly in my head.
This read as an introduction to me, not a complete story. Granted there was a conflict (the impeding Chaos hordes) and a resolution (several simultaneous spawnings), but we still don’t know if the new spawnings turned the tide or not. For all we know, the spawnings could be tainted. This was clearly a cliffhanger. Cliffhanger endings can be fun sometimes, but I feel this is incomplete. In my opinion, a short story cliffhanger should suggest to reader the likely outcome and this one leaves me hanging too much.
Story Eight: Call of the Stars: We have had a lot of pieces concerning the transition from Lizardmen to Seraphon. I have no problem with the repetition. The stories continue to pull in multiple directions and they continue to be well told. This was well-polished and well-structured. We had an introduction, conflict, and resolution and the physical conflict mirror the internal conflict perfectly. All with a relatively short word count.
I can’t find much to critique. Well I did, but this one of the first story submissions, so the author got my critiques early and implemented my suggestions, thus making this piece go from excellent to perfect (the original piece was a bit shorter). I probably shouldn’t be tooting my horn that much. The author did the hard work. I guess this didn’t really have vengeance, but it did have hope, in this case the Slann’s hope for a champion.
Story Nine: Purpose: As for vivid descriptions of epic battles. This is hard to top. The author moved skillfully between the greater scene and the personal situation of the protagonists. The descriptions were visceral and gripping. The ending showed both hope and a desire for vengeance. The theme was nailed better than most. This was well polished and it was under 2000 words.
This is a hard piece to find fault with. While the descriptions were good, I would have liked it to be a bit more personal to the narrators. Visuals are good, but I want more sounds and smells. Smell and taste is something most writers overlook, but we really shouldn’t if the protagonist is a Lizardman, Skaven, or Beastman.
Story Ten: The Ritual of Words Yet Unvoiced: I liked the fun tone overlaid with a serious conflict. The characters were an excellent mix of relatable and alien. The conflict had a nice scope and the order was well paced.
I’m not sure the quote at the beginning was the best way to set the exposition. The introduction sets the tone for a story and the quote was a very formal tone and the rest of the tone of the story was light and fun. The “***” transitions were a little bit jarring. I had to reread the paragraphs after each skip to reorient myself to the new viewpoint. Other than that, strong piece.
Story Eleven: Commune: I enjoyed this fresh human take on the Seraphon. Given how rigid the Lizardmen were in the World That Was, it would make sense that they would require their Order allies to be exacting in rituals now. A sacrificial altar is very fitting, even though Seraphon are Order, they represent harsh Order. The prophetess and the acolyte were very compelling well described characters.
The ending lost me. When the acolyte stabbed the priestess, was he possessed? Did he go crazy? Was he trying a desperate move? Was he making a legitimate if blood sacrifice? He seemed to hate her guts the whole way through, murder her and then be upset she was dead/dying. I like the idea of a character regretting such an act, but I’m not sure how the character development built to that. I wish I had a more concrete idea whether he summoned Seraphon or something else.
Story Twelve: Warlord of Sorrow: Well first off, this is a story about a Lizardman zombie. Bonus points for that. I’m not sure if this hits “hope” but it certainly hits “vengeance” on the nose over and over again.
One problem, it’s not a short story. The whole thing basically reads as a lengthy character and conflict introduction.
Story Thirteen: His Own Hands: A nice chilling piece with a well-played Faustian story and good characterization on Harti with an economy of words. The story had only a tentative link to Lizards but that neither helped nor hurt this story.
This was marred by several typos and sometimes it was hard to keep track of the supporting characters. Apart from Harti, every character was an old man or small child. They needed more individual definition.
Story Fourteen: Duty and Hatred: this got one of my votes. It was well-paced, well-structured, well-polished. Good characterization and setting description. The author could have set up the scene, then showed the battle but instead the author skillfully wove the descriptions of the setting and characters during the conflict. Hence why I said it’s well-paced.
There is not much I would change. I would have like a bit more characterization. I got that the Saurus protagonist was noble, brave, and determined, but I would have liked to see more of his own thought processes. What did the Saurus think and see and smell. I’d more to see more fear and doubt or if not that, prideful arrogance.
Story Fifteen: Vengeance’s Fire: I really enjoyed the Fireblade’s Challenge and this is a worthy prequel. Good characterization, good set up, and evocative scene building. Juicy conflict.
This is just barely short of the Fireblades Challenge in quality. I think this wasn’t paced as well. Good introduction, good resolution, but I want more conflict in the middle. The ending hit kind of abruptly. I wish Thanqol could have spent more time obtaining the blade and maybe more time reasoning out what to do with it.
Story Sixteen: Hope For Sun: When a short story (or longer story for that matter) speaks of a large battle, I like the viewpoint to shift between the individual and the group often. I liked the twist ending too.
I think the twist ending could have been a bit better if there was an extra or paragraph playing up the Slaaneshi stuff. Their chaotic-ness, their rivalry with Nurgle, etc.
Well written critiques, and a lot of great advice.
No it wasn't me. I would never ever write Age of Sigmar. Okay maybe I would, but I didn't write this one. I do have three characters with Kai in their name. It will be four soon, eventually unless I choose to not name my next auspiciously spawned protagonist not to follow the legacy.
Anyway I wrote a different piece, and after reading some reviews, I think i should never ever post something online without running it by @spawning of Bob or @Slanputin first.
I like McManus too.
That's a lot of programming time and money. By money I mean Red Devil's money. He is still paying for the operation of our beloved site.
This is our biggest contest yet, but it's only our biggest contest by one entry. The contest format I stole from @Y'ttar Scaletail had a maximum entry limit of 20 pieces. I decided to drop the official limit just to prevent a slew of private message and forum posting asking "We still have room, should I write a piece?" cause the answer will always be yes.
I do not see us needing to make major changes just because of a high volume of writers. I did set a hard limit of 2400 words, but we do need to set concrete rules very often. I asked politely to try to keep things under 2000 points and the average story length has gone down noticeably. Yay for self-regulation.
But I'm open to suggestions for changing future contests. Please post your suggestions here.
Meanwhile we still have a draw!
We still have six days left for voting. Which is plenty of time to break the time, or you, cause a 3-way tie if past trends continue. That's why I made it so you can't see the tallies under after voting. I suspect we had a meta voter on a first 3-way tie.
We could have a run-off, or we could just let both make name a theme since most of our themes are _____ AND _______
In the event of a tie... should we go through a small period of time to vote which of the two (possibly three) stories people enjoyed most?
Personally I think ties are great. No reason we can't have multiple winners.
Extending the vote past the deadline just adds extra toil imo. Let the tie-winners select a theme either a) together, or b) two themes. We practically had two themes this session so I don't see it as an issue.
Saying that, @Y'ttar Scaletail - what was the non-english word for the theme?
And yet I've not had the pleasure of reading and (slowly) critiquing for an age. Unacceptable. I'm allowed to rescind from creative writing due to the pressures of research. You rescinding due to demanding job responsibilities to uphold a career and income is not an excuse because reasons and i'm thirsty for amateur writing.
...as I am but a lowely participant with no real power to decide, I will respect whatever those above my station agree to do.
Competition is such a dirty word. Competitive is like poison in my mouth. This is more a community writing experience, growing us all in the process.
Winning is a bonus. Achieving greater skill is the real prize.
*cheesy 90's end credit music*
In the event of a tie, I recommend booking a stadium and having the finalists battle to the death with sharpened bamboo sticks while a jeering crowd of pandas eggs them on.
On, second thought, that is too horrific. What a waste of good bamboo.
I have managed to read only six of the batch.
Should I vote blindly?
How much time remains?
Four days remain.
lol. I like it. But like I said, I'll respect whatever the admin here decides.
However, in response to your philosophy, let me respond with a bit of my own.
Competition is one of the most pure and true words in life, as throughout all of our lives we will be driven to compete. It's not always against someone, sometimes it is against ourselves, and many times it is against our circumstances. Competition is a cure to an otherwise lethargic mindset. Without it, we have no drive to do more than we did today. Without competition we are all left with a world that is content with being mediocre while those with natural gifts go on. Competition drives the man without natural gifts to work harder than those born with them. It builds character in the many trials it forces the less talented man to face and, in the end, the less talented man has earned his place and is head and shoulders above those that had it given to them. Had that man not been driven to compete for his place, he would never reach his potential. This is a very supportive community writing experience set up with a voting system based on the best story, the very premise of competition. Going into it, we know we are going to be judged on our merit and those judgments allow us to evaluate our skills and grow.
*Epic DragonForce guitar solo*
Lustrian Darwinism at its finest