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Staring Into the Abyss
Original Short Story
Drier Than Gin
#9485 · 5
· · >>Hagdal Hohensalza
First submission! I've never done this before, but I really enjoyed writing for a prompt, and reading other people's interpretations of that prompt should be pretty interesting.

Hello everyone, by the way! I'm very happy there's something like this to get involved in, and you all seem like a great community. Glad to be here!

#9487 · 1
>>Hagdal Hohensalza
Thank you very much! Well done for getting something in too, that was very close.

#9491 · 1
· on Miskatonic Electronics
This was really enjoyable! Got a good few smirks out of reading this, and I like how you managed to make the prompt so literal.

The concept is very imaginative, and it's pulled off very well, great closing line too, and it feels just the right length.

I don't think I could deal with Dave as a roommate though, I get pissed enough when someone messes with the thermostat.

#9496 · 1
· on When We Yearn
This is an interesting way to take things, and demonstrated the author's ability to write from a myriad of perspectives. Kudos to you for pulling this off.

I very much like that you personified the void, saving it for last was a great way to do things. Not usually my preferred genre, but I enjoyed this in spite of that, meaning that it's definitely praiseworthy.

Thanks for the (slightly saddening) read.

#9506 · 1
· on Inevitability · >>Orbiting_kettle >>AndrewRogue
I enjoyed this, but felt that a lot more could have been said in regard to the plot. The idea was clever, but who is this man? We eventually learn his motivation, as simple as it is, but how is he able to keep on doing what he does? What makes him special? Why is he so determined to achieve his goal? How does being repeatedly killed not drive him insane? And why does God need a guard?

If he's been sitting in the tower since time immemorial, and doesn't need to leave, why does he make it accessible? He doesn't receive visitors, so why not completely destroy or block off the entrance, and prevent the risk of attack? That and the need of a guard stationed outside. Also, why is God so vulnerable? If he has the capacity to create all life, surely he can destroy also? I don't know if your version of God makes references to something that I'm unfamiliar with, but I'd assume that if we operated on Old Testament lore, we would have to assume that God (and his archangels), are capable of some pretty heavy destruction. The idea of a mortal, who will take thousands of attempts to kill Beylke, who is only an agent of God, killing the creator himself is a very tall order. In my mind, if Beylke were a tiger, God would be an apache helicopter made of adimantium. How many tries will it take to kill him? And unlike Beylke, can't God just erase his attacker?

The amount of questions the story raised in my head, whether some might have answers I'm missing because I'm silly or not, stopped me from being able to enjoy this as much as I wish I could have. As I've said, the ideas in the story are interesting, also, the action and dialogue both play out very nicely. The repetition mechanic the author used is well executed also, although I misread the third version at first and thought he had died of six stab wounds again, silly me.

This is an enjoyable fic, all in all, purely for the quality of the writing and storytelling, the narration, descriptions, dialogues, and many of the story elements are strong, the writer is definitely great at projecting a scene. If details had been added which served to answer some of my questions, and put my mind at rest over what I'm overthinking and what just sounds plain impossible, I would definitely read a longer version of this, consider me intrigued.

Thank you for giving me something enjoyable to read, it was good food for thought, and helped me to try and get my head into another universe for a while. Very much liked the author's writing style.

#9516 · 1
· on There's a Hole in My Chest · >>Chris
I very much liked this and I can very easily summarise why. It's funny, well paced, the joke doesn't get old, and I feel that there's a lesson in it all. The characters feel very representative of real life, if a little exaggerated, but this story makes it work.

Hope this one does well!

#9557 · 1
· on Skyward
This gets pretty good marks from me. Honestly, a couple of paragraphs did make me turn off a little, but that may be because I'm reading with distractions in the room. Most of it read really well. military jargon can be a little daunting if you're not completely in the know, yet this fic is descriptive enough that it isn't an issue. We're given a decent amount of information regarding the setting, and the story plays out nicely. I enjoy the abstract idea, and like that what our characters see touches them so. The ending satisfied me, in that it legitimately made me smile. Any story that induces a smile at the end (and not because it's finally over), is a success in my books.

As for further criticism, >>Orbiting_kettle summed it up nicely, but I would add/agree that the last part of the story felt somewhat impersonal, something I did not expect after becoming invested in the characters. You know when you watch a 'based on real life' film, like 'Legend' or 'Blow', and at the end it tells you about the character's death/prison sentence/institutionalisation/marriage, but because you're only being told about it, without any descriptors, or anything else to place you in the situation, you don't feel so much for the character, despite knowing you might have cried or been at least upset if you had seen them be arrested (etc.) on screen. But because it's a little written segment at the end you're like 'oh, neat.' It's kind of like that, except it didn't happen that severely, I still felt involved with the characters, and interested in what happened to them.

This was a good read, thank you for sharing it!

#9664 · 1
· on Sisyphus · >>Monokeras
The idea was good, but maybe a little clunky, and in need of an edit. I liked the read a fair amount, and thought some of the descriptions and words used were quite interesting. The paragraphs began to read more smoothly around the second act, from what I could tell. I don't have an awful lot to say other than that, except that I agree that Zolfran's decision could have been reached in a better way. I liked the epilogue though, that was an entertaining way to end things.

There's a good story there, slightly marred by small issues maybe, but definitely there. The author doesn't need to worry about the structure of the story, that seems to be well executed, but maybe work on including more descriptions, and making it easier to differentiate between characters.

Thanks for the read!

#9818 · 1
· on Drier Than Gin · >>Fenton
Well, where do I start? I suppose the first thing I should do is apologise for being away and unable to reply for a few days, but I was abroad, I hope you'll understand. (For those interested, there's a blog regarding that here) https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/723430/back-to-our-regularly-scheduled-programming

Now, onto the important bits.

First thing I would like to say on the story, before delving into individual replies, is thank you. I mean seriously, thank you very much. My story was literally on the word limit, that's quite a bit of reading, and to everyone who got through it, or at least attempted to, you've really made my week.

Now, I got the idea for this original fiction after reading a few fin de siecle type pieces that use aesthete-esque writing. As such, I wrote in an entirely different style to how I usually would. I thought that rather than writing from a post-modernist perspective, I could attempt to replicate the wording and verbiage used in that time, as well as the unique writing style.

I had a suspicion that it may come across as dry to some, hence the title. But then, that's how I felt about many older novels once, I much prefer them now.

This was a total experiment, one that I think I could have definitely written better, but also feel that certain things, which some people didn't exactly like, couldn't be changed without making this not what I intended it to be.

Now, let's address some comments:

>>Fenton I'm glad you liked the characters! Honestly, getting the characters right was my main focus. You know, I never even considered Jameson when writing Beaumont, but as soon as you mentioned it I saw the connection. Honestly, when I wrote him, I didn't have a specific character in mind, I just wanted to capture the important elements of his personality succinctly.

Incomplete? Yeah, I suppose it is. I've noticed a lot of people around here seem to like finality, but I don't see the issue with leaving something like this without a concrete ending. I suppose it's up to the reader to choose the ending.

Well it went to tenth, does that count? (Only joking, I'm really glad it made the finals!)

>>Obscure Well thank you for the compliment! All of my words are fresh and grown organically. It's not original, is it? The concept has been done almost to death, but I tried to put a bit of an original spin on it with Avi's characterisation, something I think I pulled off to a degree.

You might be right about that though, something more mundane may have served better, but if I were to revise the story to make it that way I'd have to restructure the entire thing.

>>Zaid Val'Roa Well if the pacing was strong in your eyes and the characters felt real then I'm glad I've done a satisfactory job!

Ah, that's a point I tried to subtly put to the reader, but may not have managed to. Beaumont isn't meant to be the main focus of this story. Well, not in the end at least. He leaves centre stage as soon as Avi enters the room, and continues to ride in the backseat until the conclusion, if you could call it that.

Beaumont has little depth of character, his individuality and moments of conscience are hinted at, but mostly he's everything that he's made out to be. Avi's ability to cause him indecision is what broke his resolve.

Thank you very much though, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

>>All_Art_Is_Quite_Useless Yeah, cheers.

>>Not_A_Hat First of a good few to have an issue with the pacing, and I can see why. Modern stories, the ones most commonly enjoyed at least, don't have fifteen page long, massive sprawling conversations littering their pages. Especially tangential ones. This can come as a little jarring to readers, I'll bet! Like I said, experiment with an essentially archaic style of writing.

First line of italics could have been placed better, a couple of people had that, and I can kind of see why.

He's meant to be that way. A typical, faceless representation of 1920's republican bureaucracy, not a terrible man by those times, but an unpleasant one. I mean yeah, by today's standards, this Beaumont prick would be vilified with his horrible, radical views and his terrible manners, but in context, there were many worse than him then.

I'd disagree there, I think the identity reveal was pretty well timed, but that's just me.

Okay so here's what I was going for. At the beginning of the story, Annie was bewitched by Avi, which he was only able to do by planting seeds in her head, using her attraction to him, and sympathy for his affliction as a means by which to subliminally convince her, and by extension Beaumont, that he was worth seeing immediately. Something similar is meant to happen towards the end. Avi explains that he cannot brainwash another, but he can influence them, if they are already disposed towards agreeing with him on something, in some capacity. That's why he chooses to sit and convince Beaumont to help him, rather than just busting out the potentially dues ex machina brainwave powers and winning him over.

I'm glad you enjoyed elements of the story, however, that's all I could ask for.

On a side note, I was interested to hear your thoughts during the podcast, you, Horizon and Quill all made some pretty interesting points regarding my story, it was great to listen to!

Can I write the rest of this later? A friend wants to go to lunch with me. Wait, why am I asking? I'll write the rest of this later. But I'll say it once now, and say it again later, thanks so much for your comments and feedback guys! Now, time to go eat.

#9489 ·
· on Concrete Masks · >>Orbiting_kettle
I quite like this. I like the way you characterised the nameless protagonist, and found the political side interesting, if a little obscure.

Only thing I would say is that it could have been longer. I felt there was more to the world which I would have been interested to see explained, as it was, I would have liked to have known the exact time period, and a bit more about IP's.

Dialogue was fast and punchy, internal monologue helped to capture the scene, and pacing was well done.

Would read further if it were expanded.


Ps. Mark Twain said that quote.