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Contest July-August Short Story Contest Reading Thread

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Aug 3, 2021.

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Which story or stories do you like best? (choose up to two)

Poll closed Sep 1, 2021.
  1. Story One: "A Question of Profit"

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  2. Story Two: "Sprouting Flower"

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  3. Story Three: "Giddyup"

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  4. Story Four: "The Enemy Inside"

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  5. Story Five: "Only in Death"

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  6. Story Six: "Common Ground"

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  7. Story Seven: A Skaven, a Dark Elf and a Chaos Dwarf Walk Into the Jungle...

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  8. Story Eight: "Saved by a Sacrifice"

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    You did a good job, indeed.
     
  2. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Some people got the joke and played along in good fun. Others seemed annoyed (although I won't name names). :p

    A little bit of laughter and levity, delicately mixed with a dash of irritation. I think my job here is done!

    I am Chaos :cool:
     
  3. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Here’s my nonsensical thoughts.


    “A Question of Profit”

    Reminds me of those 90s System Shock games where you’re all alone on some kind of space craft with cyborgs, mutants, and deadly A.Is, and the only company you have are recorded logs left behind from various characters that are dead. Really cool, and the concept of space-faring dwarfs is something I’ve never thought of, but the author still pulled it off nicely with the inclusion of dwarven tongue. Makes the story more flavorful, and at the same time, it doesn’t hinder my understanding even though I didn’t know the majority of the dwarven words and phrases used. The ending also segues well into a potential sequel with not too many loose ends in the story.

    I think this story missed a very large opportunity when it came to the ending of the journals part of the story. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting if the main character feared his death, rather than causally putting it off? I know he’s a dwarf and all, but from a narrative point of view, if he was more fearful of his death, it probably would’ve injected a lot of tension and suspense into the story, which the piece was lacking a lot of imo. It would also contrast beautifully with the popular notion of dwarfs being loyal and fearless.


    “Sprouting Flower”

    I really liked how the story first started off with a saddening tone, but ends with a high note. That kinda character growth was beautiful to see, and so was the concept behind the story. It’s a pretty cool perspective to see a saurus as some kind of gardener rather than a warrior, and the interactions between him and the kroxigor was pretty cute and awesome.

    I think this story could probably do with more world building. I had lots of questions surrounding what was going in the story, especially about the kroxigor and its garden. I wanted to know… why was the kroxigor an avid gardner? Why does he own a garden all to himself atop a hill? The lack of world building doesn’t fundamentally hinder my understanding of the story, but I think the inclusion of more bits of it could complement the characters a lot.


    “Giddyup”

    This was very well-crafted imo. I like how the skink’s bond with the thunder lizard is steadily built up throughout the story until that epic ending which releases so much emotional resonance. I especially like the stakes in the story that details the incredible odds the character has to face and what would happen should he fail. That aspect of the story kept me on the edge of my seat.

    There isn’t anything wrong with this, except maybe the ending which was a mixed bag imo. On one hand, it was cathartic. On the other, I actually had to reread the story a few times to get a full grasp of those cathartic emotions I was talking about. I think it’s because the story doesn’t spend enough time emphasizing those moments that show the skink’s bond with the thunder lizard, so on my first read, I kinda skipped over them even though I wasn’t skimming the story.


    “The Enemy Inside”

    I love inner-conflict and self-reflection so much in stories, especially for the lizardmen, and this one in particular has scratched my itch very well. Seeing krenn-qu trying to come to terms with giving host to some kind of parasitical daemon, and that scene where he was contemplating whether or not he should kill himself was nicely constructed.

    Imo, I would’ve liked A LOT more of the story’s positive traits I listed above. I think there was a few lost opportunities for more self-reflection for krenn-qu, like how would he perceive what other lizards would think of his corruption? What would he think about what his life meant up to the point he was corrupted by the daemon? This could probably be fixed with a few sentences that touch on how other lizards view him. And additionally, Krenn-qu agreeing with the daemon’s argument that sauri shouldn’t kill themselves wasn’t convincing imo. I think it would’ve been a bit better if Krenn-qu’s reasoning for not wanting to kill himself was wishing to continue fighting alongside his comrades, or some other reason that would partially be affected by the daemon’s corruption.


    “Only in Death”


    The biggest strengths of this piece, imo, is its imagery and tone. I could picture most of the things that were going on with not a lot of words, which was really nice. And the tone easily immersed me into the character’s thoughts and feelings.

    Like story three, there’s isn’t really anything negative I can say about it except for the ending. I think I would’ve liked this story’s ending a lot, since it’s ironic, but I couldn’t really resonate with it since it finishes too quickly imo. Maybe the last sentence could’ve been lengthened a bit more for better emotional resonance.


    “Common Ground”

    I really, really like the relationship building between Kurr and Leletoca; their shaky alliance that eventually grows into a trustworthy, friendly bond. It was nice to see both the seraphon and greenskins steadily rely on each other more as the story progressed due to the rising stakes, which made for some engaging tension in the story and interesting interactions between the characters.

    When I first checked, this story was 12 words shy of the 2400 word length limit. I guess it’s pretty impressive the story came so close, but the story could also be much shorter imo. I’d say there needs to be substantial cut on the start of the story, which is the part that ends at the moment the lizards meet the orcs. Imo, there isn’t much here that adds to my enjoyment of the story. Next, I think I’d probably simplify the descriptions of what happens to the no-name sauri and orcs for mostly the same reason, and focus on Kurr and Leletoca. I don’t think much needs to be changed about the scorpion fight, although once again, I think it’s just a tad too lengthy, even if it and the ending are the best written parts of this story imo

    In general, I think the story should employ ‘show don’t tell’ like story 5 in order to use less words.


    “A Skaven, Dark Elf and Chaos Dwarf Walk into a Jungle”

    The characterizations in this story are done very well. From Gharluk’s nihilistic world view of strength makes right, to Kathos’ sadism, and to Skirrik’s opportunism, the characters in this story represent the many quirks and peculiarities of their respective races well. I like that It captures so much of what makes Warhammer's world entertaining (the diverse races and their ideologies), but isn’t TOO extreme and cringy like the OG source material.

    Imo, the way the story developed wasn’t that interesting. While the story’s development and its ending captures Warhammer’s spirit well, I found it pretty predictable that such diverse characters who aren’t on good terms with each other would of course turn to betrayal. I think it would’ve fitted the theme nicely if somehow the author found a way for these diverse characters to somehow form bonds and relationships that resemble friendship or anything else bordering on teamwork despite their races having bad history with each other. At least that’s what I would’ve done, I guess.


    Saved by a Sacrifice:

    This is my personal favorite story of the bunch and also the receiver of one of my votes. What really, really made me love this story was one of the last lines in the ending: “Gromglut was alone on the Square of Sacrifice looking out over the city, his face warmed by the sun.”

    It’s packed with so much emotion as it shows Gromglut’s acceptance with his cruel fate. For such a savage character, his decision to sacrifice himself and his friend was a very noble one. And that last bit of imagery, “his face warmed by the sun,” contrasts beautifully with the violent and disturbing death of his friend that came moments before. I really like it when characters are either forced or motivated to make difficult decisions that goes against their personal nature. It’s just so beautiful and awesome and interesting for me to read imo.

    While the ending was very emotional, I believe it could’ve been even more Impactful if the author explored Gromglut’s emotional state in the beginning of the story, but still keep it vague. This also could’ve used some more editing.
     

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