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#20626 ·
· on Three-Card Shuffle · >>horizon
A'ight author. I love you but this story annoyed me intensely. So let's just lead with quality of prose is fine, I think the idea is workable, and such.

First of all, we can add this to the list of stories this round that I really question our viewpoint character. Stories where the protagonist is ancillary to major events occurring in the world and those intrude on their life. But the story still needs to be -about- them. Fundamentally, this is a story about Mary to which the main character is merely narrating. Which typing that sentence, in and of itself, made me even more conscious about because I honestly could not recall the lead's name. I had to look at Baal's comment to remember it. And it turns out that is for a good reason, because it actually only shows up at the end!

Regina, at least as observed for the majority of the story, does not really do a lot. It is of course revealed at the end that she is more involved, but the problem with that is not only is it a fairly tail end reveal, but it is also one that raises a lot of questions that are kind of hand-waved. Why is she so interested in helping? Why does she inherently side with Mary? How does she have contact with the other super group (and enough pull to arrange what she did). There are implications, of course, but those implications do not necessarily imply the conclusions that need to be drawn.

Speaking of supers, while you use that word early, it is actually kind of unclear that you are talking about a superhero world. The bit about watching a video to learn vague psychokinesis kinda makes it unclear, especially since that actually puts me more in the mind of espers. The cape line attempts to supplement it, but it is just working against a lot of expectations since we're talking about a world where learning psychokinesis via youtube video is a thing. So I end up picturing somehting more My Hero Academia style which ends up not quite being right either. I get that you are trying to build organically, but I feel it just doesn't really end up actually providing enough detail.

This also ends up confusing because it really muddies the concept of what a "super" is, as does Regina's weasel wording about being a super. She has a demonstrable power. What does this mean in the context of the world since apparently it is enough that she can actively use it and pretend not to be a super.

Which, in fact, is sort of my broadest, largest problem with the story. The landscape feels like it is constantly shifting, with new information arriving that requires a reimagining rather frequently. A lot of details, I think, arrive a bit too late to be useful (both world and plot) leading to a very frustrating feelings of always being one-step behind the story, but less because the author is outwitting you and more because you just lack the requisite information to actually realize what's going on. Like, small example, the mask tan is supposed to be a hint about things, but that presupposes a TON of information. Starting with "Roulette - who we never actually learn anything about in this story - wears THAT kind of mask."

There is a certain smugness to the story (mostly as filtered through Regina obviously), and that is made insufferable by that feeling of being underinformed. And don't get me wrong here. Tonally you're right on for the type of story you are telling (noir/heist style elements where the lead is the smartest character in the room) but it ends up being surprisingly irritating when I as a reader am constantly having to rebuild my understanding because of newly introduced information.

And even then, we still end up missing a bit of stuff. For example, is tarot real in this world? It definitely seems to be, but I don't actually know. Is that her actual power?

Speaking of tarot, that opening line. It is a great hook, but by the end I'm really confused by it because you seem to go back and forth a lot on whether you can cheat at tarot. I mean, you state there at the opening line. Then you have her undermine that stacking the deck matters. But then you have her get super mad about stacking the deck (Which, to sidebar, I have problems with both those scenes in that the shuffling the major arcana to the bottom thing still really doesn't make any actual sense to me - do only supers get major arcana or something) and we end up... never really addressing the opening line. Near as I can tell she didn't cheat at Tarot. All the predictions were, as far as I can recall, accurate. So what even was that bit?

I'm rambling, so I'm going to round out with the the physical structure. The way this story reads is frustrating, because it basically amounts to "relevant scene from the past" "interruption to detective to explain a thing or have him be stupid" "relevant scene from the past" over and over and over. And the scenes are short enough that they really, really, really feel like interruptions. By the end I really wanted to slap him and just say "shut up and let her tell the goddamn story."

I dunno. I think you get the gist of it. If you really want I can ramble more at you about my issues but I honestly assume you just want to punch me in the mouth. So, like I said above, the actual quality of the writing is fairly on point, the idea is perfectly servicable, etc. But this rendition really, really rubbed me the wrong way.
#20624 ·
· on A Story of Water and Blood
This was fine. It was fine. Fine, fine, fine. That's just kind of how I walked away from it feeling. I was not amazingly blown away,.. and this review is starting to sound rather familiar.

Ultimately I definitely find myself in a very similar spot as when I read Antoine's Armory here. This is fine. It trades being a bit more in my wheelhouse for struggling a bit more to be as clean. The double opening is a really weird choice and honestly kind of a bad one. Both the first scene and the second scene more or less serve the same purpose, so there's not really much reason to have both. There's even less reason to have one be a random italicized flashback that makes the timeline of the following scene more confusing.

The ending also doesn't end up working out too well for me either. You are more or less done with the conflict in the queen scene, so it'd probably be better to focus on making the last scene a quick denouement with the two brothers having a moment centered around Teague doing this for Uilliam rather than fake dangling the result that everyone knows is going to be the case.

Sorry I don't have a lot to say on this one either.
#20622 ·
· on A Christmas Carl · >>Baal Bunny
Okay. I'm back. I stand by my opinion that >>horizon is wrong. The burrito line fundamentally conveys the same message that the final paragraph does: that Carl is a carpet that doesn't want to raise a fuss and is just going to roll with it.

Anyhow. The big issue here, in my opinion, is that very nearly 50% of this story is "wasted" space. It is interestingly written and evocative wasted space, but, by and large, the first 1553 words really don't serve a purpose besides faking you out for the actual story. And yes, I do realize there are technically things in there that matter, but there's really no reason for it to be 1553 words long.

The problem with a long fake is that you are really pleasing nobody. Anyone who was engaged in the first half is having the rug pulled out from under them and the people who are game for the second half... probably didn't want to read the first half and quit already. In general, these sort of swerves are better served by happening earlier. Like, take Zombie Land Saga (yes I'm using anime, fite me). Your main character goes from cute girl doing cute things to a head-on encounter with Truck-kun in 1 minute, 14 seconds. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfLkkUahRIE ). And realistically you've seen the show's title and maybe a description, so even that 1:14 isn't really a swerve.

But wait Andrew, you like Doki Doki Literature Club and doesn't that take forever to swerve? And you'd be right! If you weren't so wrong. DDLC swerves immediately with the content warning and associated marketing. It isn't really trying to hide what it is. The interest curve there stems from "how is this going to get to where it promised me at the beginning." And it still runs that too long anyway. And, functionally, the swerve STILL isn't as hard as what you do here, because the story is still, in a lot of ways, about the same thing it started as. Just the nature of the relationship to that thing has changed.

Anyhow, that really is the problem. You have two very different ideas bolted onto each other here. If you are interested in telling the second story, you really need to condense the front half of this. Especially since because the way you end up pacing the second half and jamming it all together into one brief ball of action and exposition it ends up as just a punchline with no real setup besides "Hey, so that thing you were reading... is not actually what you were reading!"

This sounds more critical then I really want it to, I think. I mean, fundamentally the idea can work. Plenty of stuff does it. But I just think in practice the way you've set it up here is going to just bounce off most people because you spend so long establishing another story entirely.

I do think the first half stuff is pretty solidly written. I think the second half, even as a joke, just comes too hard and too fast. It's just a relatively madcap sequence of events. They are amusing (though the lampshade hanging with The Santa Claus initially had me rolling my eyes really hard --- Actually, I guess that's another point. This story doesn't actually swerve once. It swerves twice. Which just kinda amplifies the problem in that there really isn't ever anything to grab onto and no real arc. It is just two extended gotchas in which Carl just kinda floats on through and ends up... basically where he started.

I'm really unsure how the fake Santa death worked on that note. Like, it seems like a shelf fell on him, but I'm not sure how that event keys to Carl opening the door, which really kinda impacts the punchline there. This should definitely be a joke you really lean into and it should be very clear how Carl is responsible (or otherwise very clear that Carl is in no way responsible).

I think that's all I've really got here. The writing quality is definitely solid but you can also count me in the people who bounced off it category.
#20602 · 2
· on A Christmas Carl · >>horizon
So I don’t forget later: this story is actually definitively two paragraphs too long. The burrito line was a significantly better ending with the flow you had.
#20599 · 1
· on Antoine's Armory · >>horizon >>Miller Minus
This was fine. It was fine. Fine, fine, fine. That's just kind of how I walked away from it feeling. I was not amazingly blown away, but the story unquestionable walked in, did what it set it to do, and left. It's a good thing. I'm a little less on action set-pieces like this for literature (I want my awesome action to be animated) so it kinda washed off me, but there is no question that it was solid.

The bits that stood out negatively were the staircase (that just seemed a little too "fantasy" for a "grounded" thing like you were doing - those words being used loosely obviously) and the unclear ending on what happened with the smoking man. Like, I assume it involved the second grenade, but I read that scene a couple times and have no idea what actually happens there.

Sorry I don't actually have a lot to say on this one. It accomplishes what it set out to do effectively. I guess it is worth noting that due to the story being rather brisk, Dorothy goes from somewhat simpering to very snarky in a very fast space. It is not wholly unreasonable, but you might want to tone down the earlier "Oh save me Antoine!" if you want to end at that snarkier spot.
#20597 · 2
· on Into the Skies Again
A big question to ask is "why are we with the viewpoint character?" This is especially important in first person narrations because you are so deep with them that the entire story ends up filtered through them. The problem here is I find myself asking "why are we with Nicky?"

He doesn't really change or learn anything. He isn't involved emotionally more than "Joren is my friend." He is very much an observer to everything going on and a very passive observer at that. The fact that you are confined to his view actually kind of hurts things since I legitimately forgot characters besides Leisha, Joren, and Nicky existed because their view is so filtered through him. Which I think is to the detriment of the story since the point, broadly speaking, seems to be about friends coming together to do this.

I dunno. I had trouble with this one. There is definitely some very good writing here (though I think you could stand to cut a fair amount - you just have a lot of what I would consider extraneous sentences or descriptive elements that go just a couple words too far, etc), but I ended up in kind of the opposite place of Horizon with my mind wandering as I read. There just... aren't really appreciable stakes (I get HOW these could be appreciable stakes but again, we are in the view of a character who I think is fine if this fails), there isn't really any dramatic tension (challenges are basically presented and resolved in the same space), etc.

Like, don't get me wrong. There is some good writing here and the ideas are all solid. I just think the positioning of the story is off and that's a problem.

The Liesha/Joren thing is (time for everybody's favorite word) problematic. At a general level because if you manage to skim over the one sentence, you totally miss that thing. At the other level because there are just kinda generally a lot of problems with the way you went about that insofar as the wide range of human sexual experience goes. Basically, either of them being what they are does not really indicate they will be fine with the other. There's nothing with that being the case, but the fact that you kinda create a sort of parallelism with something that definitely is not parallel is no good, if that makes sense.
#20591 · 3
· on Unreported Clairvoyant Events · >>Cassius
Oh, right before I forget again. In a story like this where you know people are going to be looking for connections, you should be really careful to strongly differentiate names. I had to do a doublecheck a time or two with Troy and Tracy, and Molly and Mica aren't particularly great either.
#20589 · 1
· on Unreported Clairvoyant Events · >>Cassius >>Rocket Lawn Chair
Very solid little vignettes that remind me I should actually work on developing prose that is not garbage tier. The metanarrative left me a little cold though primarily because I don't really have any investment in it. Initially I thought the nature of the visions was one of those "this is how things are going to turn out in the end" sort of things, happy days ending in tragedy, grim begetting grim, etc.

I dunno. Especially with Molly's proper story only appearing at the end, there just isn't a lot to grip onto there. Especially given most of the premonitions don't actually seem to have to do with, but rather Paul, which kinda further disconnects us from her section. Ultimately I guess I'm just not really sure what the metanarrative is attempting to do outside of exist. It is of course possible I am interpreting elements incorrectly, but I definitely ended up with a similar interpretation to >>horizon (though I don't think it is an alternate reality - I'm pretty sure Molly goes on to die here).

I will say, the positioning of time is also a bit problematic? Like, given the apparent timeframe and location, I'm a little... weirded out by her dying to a back-alley abortion? I mean, not to say it isn't impossible, but it just seems like an odd choice given fairly modern + California.

I dunno. There's definitely good stuff here, but I think, taken as a whole, the story just doesn't manage to narratively or thematically hang.
#20580 ·
· on Temporal Entanglement · >>horizon
Quick thoughts. I might revisit this when I am more awake.

The narrative arc here is kind of unclear. There is a definite series of events, but they don't actually add up to a cohesive story. Consider our viewpoint character, for example. What is he actually doing here? What does he want? What purpose does he serve in the story? He is very much a passive observer (yes, he intervenes in Sakura's fight, but that is more a moment of circumstance) to the whole series of events.

The character who actually does things, have drive, has a conflict, etc is Sakura. Everything in the story happens because of her. So why isn't the story from her perspective?

Introducing the idea that history is immutable puts the story in a weird place, because it kinda demolishes the only tension you had in the story. Was Sakura going to change history? Was the weird guy (whose story we never actually get) going to do it? If the reality of the matter is that history is indeed immutable then the answer is no and you have no narrative tension unless you really want to lean on the idea that history can sorta self-correct around the actually involved people dying (ala the Bell Riots episode of DS9). In which case, unless your story is explicitly about how that works out, it becomes a bit of a pointless distinction.

Ultimately, what this feels like is the first half of the first episode of a new show. We've got the hook setup for the big commercial break, then we're going to come back and really have the plot kick in.
#20571 · 3
>>Miller Minus Fuck you, I'm not fighting anyone.
#20323 ·
· on The Burning · >>No_Raisin
Bottom slated for getting so many comments. It makes me jealous.

Another one like Ships where the particular story being told feels fairly familiar. I would say this is probably the best executed of that trilogy as it leans more on the mood specific in the story rather than the events of the story itself, if that makes sense.

Fundamentally I kind of agree with both sides of the conversation here. Cassius' interpretation is consistent with what I see, but I do agree that the last line flounders a bit in its presentation, making it read like an attempted hook/twist when it isn't anything of the sort. Losing the italics would probably help a bit there, but otherwise I'm just not sure. you might want to just reconsider that line (in its current form, not necessarily the concept) altogether.

Thanks for writing!
#20322 · 1
· on Sibling Ribaldry · >>WritingSpirit
Bottom slate for "Not if I fuck you first!" Incest is not best. Do not put your sister to the test.

So I'd say the thing here is that, like many fics, this is more vignette and less story. Our viewpoint character is largely secondary to the action and, perhaps more importantly, his arc is already complete: he has decided to bring his sister to the graveyard. He has decided to go through with this plan. He already knows what it is all about. Etc. This is really just the end of several other stories.

And that... honestly kind makes the payoff a bit unsatisfying, because we don't get a real build up to it. The question is "what is the thing they are going to do" so the tension of the mystery being answered resolves... really before we actually reach the emotional peak of the story, leaving the end feeling a bit flaccid, if that makes sense.

Nevertheless, it is an entertaining enough romp, I just think it'd benefit from a little restructuring to better line it up both as a story and so that the emotional blow lands with the hammer swing.

Thanks for writing!
#20320 · 1
· on Third Date
Bottom slate for reminding me of my own writing.

No, seriously, this really does remind me Blind Dating in a World Gone Mad in a structural sense, for better and for worse. The main problem, as I see it, is that the turn doesn't quite feel earned (much like the aforementioned story as well!). Like it is delivered as this stunning revelation that shakes the man to his core, when it'd be really silly if he just said "Yes, I have been in love." The emotional shift is just so strong at the end that I have trouble buying into it. I think the overall course is fine, but you'd be better served by it being an amenable buy into the idea that she'd rather live in a world where all that is real rather than the emotional rocking.

If you do want to do the emotional rocking, I think you really need to establish earlier that this guy is a bit more of a sad sack instead of just somebody looking for a hookup.

Nitpicky, but the diners nearby starting to listen in to this mild level of crazy is weird to me. Like, you don't tend to pick up on surrounding conversations unless you are already listening in or they are REALLY loud/weird.

Thanks for writing!
#20319 ·
· on A Nice Walk at Night
Bottom slated for stalking. That's rude.

Much like Ships in the Night, this entry is a generally competent execution of a story that I am rather familiar with (though I am harder-pressed to think of a direct example in the same way that I can with that one).

I will say, the story doesn't really do much to explain why he decides against the murder. He outright states he could catch her if he wanted (and, I think even without him saying that, it feels obvious) and very clearly wants to, so the fact that he doesn't strikes me as strange.

Thanks for writing.
#20280 ·
· on If At First You Don't Succeed...
Bottom slate for no narration.

I am honestly starting to wish some of these script stories would just be scripts. Like, they mostly follow the correct beats, but maybe it's just because I'm trying to close read for Writeoff but having to keep making sure I'm confident on who is speaking is annoying.

The main problem here, as I see it, is that the payoff isn't really that strong. I was expecting something truly disastrous as opposed to a goofy suit. This is partly affected by the fact that my takeaway from their dialogue is that they are an indie band or something (comedians? stage actor? etc), so the suit having such a negative impact... doesn't really feel that intense to me and certainly not worth the build-up or climax we get. This miiiight work in a visual medium like on TV or something where they can really upsell the visual inanity, but here... I end up just imagining a tye-dye suit and going "Okay?"

Additionally, like a lot of other stories this round, the story kinda focuses on the wrong character as our perspective character... really doesn't do anything, they are just in the space of the actual conflict. It is a bit weird to say this about what is essentially a script, but the positioning of it really makes it seem like non-tye dye is hte "protagonist" and things are roughly observed from her position when tye dye is the one doing things, making decisions, etc, etc, etc.

Thanks for writing!
#20277 ·
· on Shades of White · >>GaPJaxie
Bottom slated for thinking white hair would at all stand out in Berkeley.

Okay. I'm kinda stuck on this one. I am going to let all the generalized suspension of disbelief stuff roll because, I think, functionally, the only reason any of that really bothers me is I'm thinking rather hard about the story. In the moment it hung okay.

The problem that I'm trying to grapple with is not so much the message of the story, but rather how it is delivered. Like, the comparison just... doesn't really hang correctly? I mean, even setting aside that some people WOULD take that answer, there is a bit of difference between being temporarily emotionally put out by events in your life and having severe impediments to actually living that life that "No, you" fails to adequately address.

Like, it crosses into really dangerous territory to discuss concepts of quality of life and what have you, but there is something to be said for the fact that April herself... doesn't really seem to be particularly satisfied with her own life? Which then makes it even harder to buy into the (as presented) questionable argument of "this is me and I don't need to be fixed." Like, if you want to sell that as the story's core concept.

I dunno. This is hard for me. The important thing to hang onto though is that my core complaint is not necessarily the message, but that the the message is delivered, at least I feel, inadequately. I don't buy it. There are people who maybe do not need to be/should not need to be "cured." On the other hand, there are people who do "need" or do want to be. And I think you fail to sell her on being either of the former.

Everything else here is fine (though I do think you'd benefit from being deeper in April's perspective to better sell her views), but I do think this particular hurdle is a big one.

Thanks for writing!
#20266 · 1
· on Epidemic · >>Monokeras
Bottom slate for the sucking. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha sorry I'll go die now.

So once again we discuss the subject of "not a story." The problem here is that everything interesting has already happened. We know because you tell us all about it. We don't even get to witness the downfall of this poor (and kinda stupid: you get bit by a thing and can't figure out why the biting spread disease things don't care?) farmer, really. It's all just a retrospective piece, which removes most of the interest.

I mean, it is a silly thing because everything in a story is inherently made up, but readers do fail to connect when they know they are events that have already happened. So while there is technically an arc in the flashback,it is fairly low impact because it is all setup for what we're expecting the story to be about: this guy's situation. Unfortunately, but the time we get to it, we're done. The story is over.

If you want to tell a story about this farmer, you need to actually make the story about the farmer, not the background to your setting!

Thanks for writing!
#20265 ·
· on Poems About Dragons
Bottom slate for making me think about having to do another quick limerick level joke to start my review. One was enough.

I might come back to this but I really can't offer any helpful insight at this juncture.
#20264 · 1
· on Lecture: A World Without Dentists · >>Cassius
Bottom slated for making me think about my teeth. I'm probably going to have the teeth dreams now. I hate the teeth dreams.

So, I liked this story up to "Fuck you guys." That was pretty funny. Just a good, punchy delivery.

After that you lost me. The problem with the bait and switch is often that the person who bites the bait LIKES the bait. They don't always like the switch. I don't here. It is basically one long "British people have bad teeth" joke which I really don't like at the best of times. Don't have much better insight for this one, unfortunately. Just very much not my cup of tea (ha, ha).

Thanks for writing!
#20263 ·
· on A Chromaday Carol · >>Baal Bunny
The bottom slate is what this gets:
A work of verse, not prose.
Doggy poems with no regrets
Force me to work o'ertime.

I hate reviewing poetry. I really do. I'm way less well read at it and trying to compare straight prose to verse is a motherfucker because the two emphasize different things and present their own challenges.

So where do I end up with this one. It's a cute little bit of mythology that goes some weird places (I was not really expecting this to an uplift story). It is a bit of a weird place to have it born out of though? Color to intelligence is not necessarily an intuitive movement. Its fine in context, but I kinda feel like you'd be better off stepping back from the prompt concept a bit.

Structually, yeah. Like, I'm not great here. The poem itself generally flows fine although there are some spots where you're torturing things to get them to fit that detract from the overall experience. I agree with a lot of the above that the ABAC repeating structure is a bit odd and kinda messes with the reading, especially given how often you try to go from stanza to stanza with a complete thought. It feels like you'd be better off doing like... ABABCDCDEFEG or something, that way individual sections glow into each other but break nice and hard in the sections.

Thanks for writing!
#20262 ·
· on The Forest For The Trees · >>GaPJaxie
Bottom slating in an effort to martyr this fic.

So, a major theme in mini rounds is the grand "not a story" thing. This is not an indictment of the quality of the work or anything, it is just that a lot of minis are more scenes or vignettes than actual stories. It is a structural deal. There is generally no real arc/progression, no real act structure, etc, etc, etc. This falls pretty firmly in that camp. It is the expression of an idea. And I always feel that is a bit of a problem.

There isn't really a character conflict here as we aren't really given much to go on there. There isn't really a story conflict because they are in... mutual disinterest. There isn't really a world conflict because I guess it doesn't matter and for some reason other countries aren't involving themselves in these humanitarian violations? It's just sort of a grim statement of a possible future that is intended to be moody. And it does succeed at that! But I think minis need to strive to be more stories, you know what I mean?

Thanks for writing!
#20261 ·
· on Pyrrhus' Defeat
Bottom slated for universe destruction. That's where I keep my stuff.

This is a very fanciful and evocative little vignette, but I do think it bogs itself down with a bit too much evocative language and, well, being a vignette. It makes for a solid bit of emotion that ends up a bit flat because we are basically in the same mood and same place from start to finish. Progression is good, even in minis.

Word choice is a little weird. Kalpa threw me for a loop, and all the grandoise stuff being offset by a "fuck" is really weird. Also probably too many capital letters.

Thanks for writing!
#20260 ·
· on California Just Legalized Supervillainy. It May Be A Good Idea.
Bottom slated for getting people to talk shit about CA in the comments. Fuck y'all.

Honestly I am a bit unsure what to do with this in that I am left sort of wandering what my take away is supposed to be. Much like Confusion Fusion this doesn't quite go absurd enough to feel, well, absurd, but it also doesn't feel silly enough to be considered silly, so it ends up sitting in this kind of uncomfortable middle ground where I walk away feeling nothing. Like, the words on page are fine - your prose and article approach (at least as an op-ed, I think - no sure this passes muster as a new article) is solid, but ultimately it just doesn't really inspire any feeling in me.

I mean, I guess there is the bit >>Anon Y Mous points out that could be referring to the industrial military complex, but I feel like if that's the metaphor/analogy/satire you're going for it doesn't track overly well (primarily because we can both maintain that military without active conflict anyway - for all that it helps and because we don't really have to make enemies for it to happen).

So yeah, that's kind of where I end up with this one. A competent and amusing piece that I am not sure what to do with at the end.
#20238 ·
· on Confusion Fusion
Bottom slate because I color coded my reviews and got them mixed up. Sorry.

It might be the late hour, but I am having trouble really formulating a critique for the story. Fundamentally, I think the problem is that it is enough enough. It is not silly enough to really push back against the really grim subject matter, and it isn't grim enough to allow for the punchline to be extra absurd. It is just sort of stuck in the middle. And I think that's what it needs to do: choose one of those extremes and make sure it fits in them.
#20233 · 1
· on Too Pure by Half · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
Bottom slate for barging into my territory of archetypal fantasy. That's what I do in the Writeoff, stop stealing. =( =( =(

All jokes aside, I want to say I disagree with a lot of the critiques above. What I think is the core problem is that you do not have a complete story present. You have the back half of the climax and the denouement, but not the rest. Simply put, we're not given any chance to see the arc here for Kavarn, which I think is a real problem because him being a colossal fuck up is integral to the story and without really getting to see what leads him to make what is a series of very stupid decisions it is very hard to sympathize with him.

The door said keep out. Don't fuck with it man. You need to justify it if you're going to.

However, if you can build in and show us a reason why he'd do this, then it is much easier to land the emotional punch you were going for. I'm not quite sure you can manage the full arc in 750 words, but I feel you should be able to get something close if you kept the breaking of the sword and the (somewhat deserved) smackdown short and to the point.

Thanks for writing!
Paging WIP