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It's All Rather Confusing, Really
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#1371 · 8
· on Revolver · >>Aragon >>Bradel
This story:

Seems to be largely plagiarized from Z.Z. Packer's short story "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere."

The opening sounded familiar, so I Googled the first line and found this match in Google books.

So I think this makes this our third disqualified entry this round...

#15244 · 7
· · >>007Ben
On Friday:

I sat down and wrote more words in one 24 hours period than I ever have before. Now to figure out if I can arrange those words into a story before tomorrow morning...

#15659 · 7
· on Monsters · >>Trick_Question >>regidar >>Monokeras >>Pascoite
First of all:

I'll apologize. Among the many things I didn't think through while putting together this draft was the effect it might have on readers.

Which is a weird thing to say, now that I look at it typed there. But the Writeoff to me has always been about putting up a first draft for comments, not putting up a story for readers. In my mind, readers come later in the process after I've taken the comments from here, revised the story, and turned it into something closer to what I want it to be.

That was a mistaken belief on my part, especially for a story like this. If I'd been thinking, I would've put the thing into a Google Doc and asked for comments from readers after warning them that the piece was completely different from anything I've ever tried to write in the more than 25 years that I've been putting stories together.

Here's the background, if anyone's interested. I got a PM through Fimfiction in the middle of November asking if I did story commissions. I never have, so I asked what sort of story they had in mind. They asked if there were any subjects I would never write about, and I sent back that I'm no good at sex scenes--I've tried, and the things I write don't seem to be at all what other people call sex scenes--and I'm no good at villains--I keep trying to make them sympathetic, and that pretty much leaches the villainy out of 'em. So for stories involving either of those or the two combined--and here I mentioned rape or pedophilia--I probably wasn't the best choice.

My correspondent assured me that, in this particular ScootaDash shipfic, all the sex would happen off screen, and I declined to take part. "I believe" I wrote, "that pedophiliac urges must be resisted under any and all circumstances," so I wouldn't be able to realistically portray a Rainbow Dash who had entered into a sexual relationship with Scootaloo. My correspondent thanked me, and that was that.

Except that I started wondering what it would be like for Dash to live constantly resisting these urges. There could be a story there, but it would be way too dark for me to write. I regularly get words like "fun," "cute," "romp," and "meringue" applied to my stuff, and that's the way I like it.

Still, the idea wouldn't go away, and then I got the e-mail saying a Writeoff was coming up the next weekend. So I figured that if I could work the prompt into the mix, I'd see what I could put together, get some comments, and try to make a story out of it. I knew it'd be controversial, but I could write deep and serious on a deep and serious subject, I was sure. "Comfortably uncomfortable" is the phrase >>Trick_Question uses, and that's what I felt. I'd never written anything like this before, but I was certain I could do it.

Turns out I was wrong there, too. Turns out I have limitations as a writer because I have limitations as a person. I can write lightly serious adventures where the stakes are a broken heart or the destruction of the world, but something as real as this? Something I can't fake my way through or pin a happy ending onto? Turns out I can't do that. I'm fairly shallow, I've discovered over the years, and every time I try to get out of my depth, I end up nearly drowning.

There's still a story in this idea, I'm convinced, but I'm almost equally convinced that I'm too emotionally stunted and not skillful enough a writer to tell it in the way it would need to be told.

So again, I'll apologize. I acted without thinking, and I'll try not to do that next time.

#16862 · 7

I had a suddenly idea for a Ponyfic yesterday, one that would never fit into the minific's word limits. So I think I'll likely spend the weekend working on that rather than this. I mean, I've already found the perfect cover image and everything!

#1292 · 6
· on The Necromancer's Wife · >>TitaniumDragon
Peter and Sabriel:

Are great characters, and the story you put them through is a lot of fun.

But I of course have suggestions. First, there's a little too much terminology for me. In a novel, it'd be fine since you'd have room to do more than just drop the terms scrimshaw and decimal litch and cheiromancy and omoplatoscopy and all. But in a short story, as they used to say, you come up with a beginning, a middle, and an end, then start in the middle and race as fast as your fingers can type toward that ending. Just the essentials will be enough to suggest the larger magical world around the characters.

And second, the coincidence of the guy performing his dark ritual in the graveyard on the very same night that Peter and Sabriel have their anniversary was a little too much for me. Maybe this is their anniversary because it's the best night every year for necromantic doings. Then it'd make sense for the guy to be there, too. Better, though, would be to have Crowley's overall plan depend on Peter and Sabriel being there--he needs the vial with her soul in it or something. Eliminating as many coincidences as you can always helps tie a story together, I've found.

Good stuff here!
#1388 · 6
· on Revolver

Once again:

I demonstrate my uncanny ability to stumble into other people's schemes and inadvertantly desrupt them...

Mike Again
#11828 · 6
· · >>Baal Bunny
I'd forgotten all about:

This being the Writeoff weekend till Saturday afternoon. Then I made the mistake of looking at the gallery and got hit with a story idea. So now I've got, what, a day and a half to squeeze something together? Yeesh!

#18372 · 6
· · >>Moosetasm

These are:

My favorite sorts of rounds, actually, writing a story to go with one of the submitted pictures. I'll be down in San Diego for Comic-Con this Thursday and Friday, but I hope to have time on the weekend to actually enter.

#20075 · 6

And it's an "art to fic" round. I'm behind the front desk at the library all day this Saturday, but maybe things'll be slow enough for some minific...

#1646 · 5
· on The Precession of the Equinoxes
Thanks, folks!

As others have said, we had a good bunch of stories this round. I'm quite happy folks thought enough of this one to give me my second medal in the year-and-a-half I've been entering Writeoffs.

This one came straight from the prompt. "Have Fun!" it said, and my mind immediately flashed on the old fable of the grasshopper and the ant: the grasshopper sings and dances all summer while the ant works, and when winter comes, the grasshopper isn't ready while the ant is. Bix and Mauli came straight from there and were originally silkworm moths as >>Not_A_Hat surmised, but as the story evolved in the writing, I realized they needed to be more colorful sorts of lepidoptera for the climax to work.

Now for the clean up! By removing both God and at least 50% of the Goddamns, I can monkey with Kiloa and Mauli's characters and add a few more paragraphs to the discussion Mauli and Teb have at the end: Teb can ask "How?" the way he does here, but Mauli can tell him that the question he should've asked is "Why?" Then the revised version is getting e-mailed to Fred Patten as a submission for his upcoming Gods with Fur anthology: he asked me a couple weeks ago if I had a story about the Twelve Curials from my Blood Jaguar books that I could send him, but I this is as close as I'm likely to get before the May 1st deadline...

Thanks again!