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In Name Only · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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#1 · 6
· · >>Monokeras
💜💙💚💛🧡❤️Happy Valentine’s Day!❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

💝You guys are special
💘And beautiful

Take a heart, they’re free to give:
#2 · 3
>>Anon Y Mous
#3 · 2
Man, the holiday kinda snuck up on me.

The good news is, that's because I've been writing! Last round's Destroying Pedestria: yrotS evoL A (now called Devil May Care) is now at prereading and well over 14,000 words. Time Enough For Love broke the 22k mark last night. I'm super amped to get those collected into something publishable for the Bronycon bookstore.

Let's see if the prompt gives me an excuse to take an OF break on Saturday!
#4 · 2
If I can't do anything else at least I can submit prompts
#5 · 7
· · >>MLPmatthewl419 >>Bachiavellian
A Letter to Him:

Shattered Time Magic! In Association with Scientists, Innocence Lost Through the Heart. One Hundred Souls, Never Enough; Dead Men Do Tell Tales.

We Come in Peace, In Blindsight.

A Meeting With Destiny, Suitable for use Above Reason, Below Logic.

Soonest, Love...?

—Dancing on Air

Stuck in Denial. A Bird in the Kush, Hungry Like the Wolf.

Dead-End. Friends In Name Only.

Fix It Yourself.

—Significant Other
#6 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Daaaannggg, that's good man
#7 · 1
Will be in #mentors Saturday, if anyone wants to get a critique before the submission deadline.
#8 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is definitely my favorite so far.
#9 ·
Whoa, it won by one point!

Now, if I had any ideas about what to write for it, that would be nice. Self? Is this something you can potentially arrange for?
#10 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
I like how not even the person who submitted it voted for "A Bird in the Kush"...

And i'm seeing "We Come in Peace" and "In Name Only" as tied. How was the tie breaker chosen?

Now I need my brain to come up with something to use this prompt for.
#11 · 1

Roger's got:

Some sort of figurative dice-rolling program that makes the call when ties happen.

#12 · 1
Alright, we've got (at least) one submission in! Time to get back to my pony editing. ^..^

... I wonder, if there's only one author submitting, does that mean they're disqualified for breaking anonymity?

I'll try to give at least brief feedback this round. I don't like reviewing in minific rounds as much as short story rounds, since it's hard to dig in without typing a substantial fraction of the words the original author did, but it's been a while since I've reviewed properly.
#13 · 2
Well, I'm back. Wasn't sure if I'd make it here ever again, especially with graduate school gnawing on my back, but the opportunity knocked. Hope my story entertains some of you, and I can't wait to check out everything else you folks wrote.
#14 · 1
I am in, with something.
#15 ·
>>MLPmatthewl419, >>Bachiavellian

Thank you! I had a feeling while writing it that it would come out well.
#16 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Dang it! Assuming what I've heard about submissions actually staying open until 5 minutes after the stated deadline is correct, I literally missed submission by a single second due to trying to rush out a last-second title. (If you're wondering, note that I took a break before typing this, since at this point it's not time-urgent). Given that this isn't the first time I've run into title trouble, I figure maybe I should ask: is having a title actually necessary, or can you submit a story without one? Obviously I'd rather not submit something untitled, but if it's between that and not getting it in on time at all....
#17 ·
· · >>MSPiper
I'd recommend using a draft title early on. Just copy a few words from your opening sentence if you literally have nothing else. Then submit drafts of your story periodically as you revise it, so at the worst you'll have something in.
#18 ·
Thankfully, I've been able to do more-or-less that for the majority of my entries, so this is the first time I've missed the deadline on something I've actually completed. However, that does kind of assume you have a complete preliminary-draft story early enough to submit before the deadline and then revise – in this case I literally finished the last sentence and copied the sole draft over a few seconds before (theoretical grace period) time, then didn't quite manage to squeak in the first title idea I thought of and hit submit fast enough. I guess I could technically submit an incomplete story early and risk not finishing it, but... eugh, the perfectionist in me just shudders at the idea.
#19 · 5
· · >>Miller Minus >>No_Raisin
I'd just like to note that, in the span of 15 minifics, we've collectively managed to include:

* Spousal rape
* Spousal violence
* Patricide
* Child abuse
* Necromancy
* Adultery
* Repeated nudity
* Magical summoning of a sex slave
* An on-screen Lord of the Flies child killing
* An on-screen graphic motorcycle crash
* An on-screen drowning
* A serial-killer protagonist
* A serial-killer side character
* Serial-killer vampires
* A dragon wyvern destroying a town
* Baseball
* Whale murder
* Two different backstory apocalypses

All I can conclude is that we're all terrible people.
#20 · 2
* Child abuse

#21 · 1
· · >>Cassius
* Baseball

Oh no, not baseball...
#22 ·

#23 · 2
Kind of a weird round, overall. I looked at my top 3, and maybe one of them actually feels like a medal-winning story. But then Miller didn't enter, so that explains it.
#24 · 1
I am in, and not entirely sure why.
#25 · 2
Grats to Andrew, Dubs and WritingSpirit. Well done guys!

>>Anon Y Mous
>>Miller Minus

The Hangman

I’m going here to mainly respond to Horizon, because in a way answering to him answers to everyone else.

First off, thanks all for your comments 🖤!

No, the story is not about the kid trying to commit cop suicide. The boy Dave doesn’t want to die, and I thought that was pretty clear from his last line. Also, if the teacher is embarrassed, it’s not because she’s facing something unusual and has to find a way to explain it to Dave’s parents. It’s because she genuinely expected Dave to beat the game. Because he’s, in her eyes, a smart enough kiddo to do so. What she doesn’t know is…

What does she not know?

Well, the story is about Dave having…

A hang-up, right?

Indeed such a bad one that he’s incapable of uttering that word, because the shame is too difficult to bear. And so he chooses to die. But not because he wants it, just because he’s unable to overcome that psychological roadblock.

Now, someone figured that out but dismissed it as unrealistic. I can tell you it is not, out of my own experience. When I was a young kid, I was very shy. When I say shy, I mean it. I was, for example, unable to push the door of a bakery to ask for a baguette or sweets. I’d find whatever excuse not to do it, and even make up barefaced lies about the shop being closed, if necessary. Many times I thought of what would’ve happened if I was staring down a barrel (in a literal sense) and given the choice either to enter and ask or die. I really can tell you I’m not sure I would’ve chosen the first.

Because sometimes dying is the easiest way out, when the hurdle is too high to climb. It’s not cop suicide. It’s just… giving in? Or giving up? Or just thinking it’s something you’re utterly incapable of doing, however simple it may seem to others.

So yeah, Dave has a hang-up (in both senses) with uttering certain words tied to sexuality. His teacher doesn’t know about it, probably because she never had an opportunity to discover it. Although she thinks he’ll breeze through this, because he’s smart — and probably has already ridden the game out multiple times in the past — this time Dave is depressed, thus already in a weak position, and the onus of the game falls on Betty, who has noticed something was wrong with him, and just takes pleasure at rubbing salt in the wound.

The world of children is often ruthless.

Also I would add that whatever “bashing” comments this piece received, I’m very proud that it stood out as technically solid to Raisin — which to me means a lot. All the more that it was written within a couple of minutes Sunday morning between two chores, and received only minimal edition. So… Raisin thanks so much, I love you! :) ❤️

>>Miller Minus

By any Other Name

Of course here, the starting point was the Shakespearian quote. Including the Latin sentence out of The Name of the Rose wasn’t very smart, and I debated whether pulling it out, but at the end I thought it was a nice addition, so I left it — thinking very much it would give me away.

The background was inspired by P. K. Dick’s story The Penultimate Truth in which humanity has to take shelter underground because Earth’s surface has become inhabitable after a nuclear war. Probably they had to flee all of sudden, and only a minimal amount of vital things could be saved, so no books or databanks. Thus here we are, maybe one or two generations after, with memories of the former world slowly dying away as the elders pass, and a new generation which had only experienced that artificially lit subterranean dwelling presumably supplied with closed-circuit recycled air.

Under those conditions, you can infer the survivors would have prioritised saving seeds of crops and veggies (and maybe trees for fruit) over ornemental plants.

Thomas is both annoyed to be the teacher’s pet, because being so is probably enough to be bullied by the other pupils, but he resent very much when someone who is supposedly knowledgeable disagrees with his father, who for him is the ultimate source of wisdom. Also, of course, he doesn’t possess the necessary assets to argue against the guide on an even-steven footing, so all he can do when forcibly confronted is hush and sulk. But the guide knows this was a very much uneven tug of war, so she tries to make up for being unfair and feisty.

The story was pretty much unfocused because I had no real plot for it besides the basic idea. I somehow winged it (as I’m used to doing each time), letting the plot unfold as I wrote it. I wasn’t even sure how it should end.

I’m sorry to have left so many typos slip through, all the more since the story was edited (but not by Pasco) — it was certainly way worse at first. I must’ve failed to implement all the remarks my editor made, because Sunday morning I was already more focussed on The Hangman than on this story.

In any case, thanks to everyone for your appreciation and suggestions. Thanks for commenting, too! Love you all.
#26 · 2
Time to do a retrospective, yeeeeeeeah.

Time to channel my inner Noel Gallagher and shit on myself, fuck yeeeeeeeeeah!

Since I'm the other author with two entries, I'll be following old man Mono's example and get both my entries taken care of in one messy bam-bam-thank-you-ma'am response.

Let's go, bois:

>>Miller Minus

Son the Father

First of all, thanks to Cassius for believing in me when no one else did. That sounds like something sappy you would say when accepting an award at a ceremony, but actually it's like, "Fuck, who has the right opinion here?"

What a disappointment this turned out to be. I'm referring to the story, not so much the comments. On paper (well, in concept) I believed I was on quite the roll, because I had this horror premise that was also being lathered with subtext and a few moving parts that would incentivize re-reading and analsis analysis. Nothing in this story is made too explicit, by design; there are several things it hints at but never outright tells us.

However, this resulted in a paradoxical situation where some readers thought it was being too subtle while others thought it was being too heavy-handed. I don't know who to fucking believe here. I would rather be too subtle than heavy-handed, because at least I was aiming for more of the former with this entry. At the same time, I think the "heavy-handed" assessment was largely because how unpolished and tell-y the prose was; I think this is where Miller came out being the most right, and even before he commented I found myself unsatisfied with how little I had revised this story.

A quote of note:

I think this does at least nod in that direction with the first scene's foreshadowing about the atomic bomb. But that foreshadowing explicitly sets up a theme that's then left dangling. I'm kind of getting subtext of the famous Oppenheimer quote, but if the story or the title ever meant to explicltly invoke that, I'm not seeing it. That's probably the core problem if you intended this as a standalone: your subtext is buried too deep for me.

The best way I can think of to resolve this is to structure the plot in such a way where the A-bomb comes back somehow, towards the end, so that it reverberates. The Oppenheimer connection was deliberate, though; the synchronicity of Charlie's birth with the dropping of the first A-bomb was supposed to signal Charlie as a harbinger of death. I didn't feel the need to make this explicit in an in-your-face way, and I still don't. This story is not supposed to hold your hand, which is why I found Miller's assessment more piercing, because, considering my intentions, it had far more validity behind it.

Another quote of note:

This story is mad tell-y. The two italicized sentences are the biggest offenders here, but it's kind of happening everywhere. The relationship between the father and son is described in plain English and I don't get to see anything change between these two. There's an inciting incident (the spider) that should create change, but instead of seeing the change we just get the timeskip, and the narrator tells us that the son is now the father. Cool.

The two italicized sentences are indeed the biggest offenders, and I should've deleted them in a heartbeat. Words are precious in a minific round, and writing whole sentences just to add some emphasis is a poor move.

I think the solution to the prose, though, would've been to commit more to a pseudo-documentary POV, like what Pasco said,where the writing is more stripped back and the POV more pragmatic. Also would add a good dose of realism to the mix, since, aside from Charlie's power, this story is on the grounded sound.

Okay, one more quote:

Instead of exploring what possessing a superpower could do on the psyche of a boy, you tone it down, until you get a pretty tasteless result.

Thaaaaaaaat's the idea! The power itself doesn't actually matter, so much as how it illustrates something that happens in the real world, that being children growing up to become violent sociopaths partly because of poor parenting. There wasn't meant to be "suspense" so much as an enveloping sense of dread.

It was supposed to be a subversion of stereotypical 1950s good-guy parenting, where the white picket fence image of a happy family acts as a front for a child with a supernatural power and a disturbing lack of empathy, and whose parents are terribly under-equipped to deal with either. There are tones of stories about how abusive, obsessive parenting leads to the children being fucked up, but here it's the exact opposite: the ineptitude of the parents and so on.

I guess the mixed reception would inevitably lead to a Most Controversial badge, which I will wear with pride, thank you very much. I just wish I had spent more time and effort on this entry.


>>Miller Minus

My Beloved Husband

Okay, so.

I got a story to tell y'all, and this is gonna explain how this entry ended up the way it did. It is a tragic tale, filled with sex, death, betrayals, revelations, and so on, and it'll be sure to knock your cocks socks off.

It's not surprising that many, if not most, WO entries are conceptualized long before the round even started. You have a lot of story ideas floating around, orphaned, in your head, and a prompt comes along that inspires you to give one of those ideas a home. Well, this happened with me. Except the execution was originally quite different.

Originally I wanted to write a story about a woman talking about her sexual assault experience, in a very plain-worded, uncomfortable way. The twist would at first seem to be that this woman was actually talking about a dream she kept having; the real twist would be that when she woke up, the man who rape/assaulted her was her husband/boyfriend. This would explain that dangling final sentence; in the original context, it made a lot more sense, and had a great deal of power to it.

However, something happened. I couldn't come up with a good title for this piece. I was also unsure as to how explicit I could be in the sexual descriptions without getting DQ'd, so I did a naughty thing: I chickened out and compromised.

At least, it seemed like a compromise at the time. Sure, the premise was watered down, and the power of the last line was greatly diluted, but I thought I had reached something of a decent middle ground. And I had a good title for it! At the time that was really all I needed; I couldn't figure out how to make it more solidly structured, but that didn't bother me.

What does bother me now is that I could've both made this the compelling story I wanted and pushed the envelope even further with the descriptions. Maybe not much further, I was testing the limits already, but I wanted to make something truly erotic one moment and unnerving the next, in one seamless motion, like a good magic trick. I wish I had stuck to my guns at this; my chances of getting DQ'd would've increased, but I think the story would've been far stronger as a whole because of those chances taken.

How unfortunate. Unlike with "Son the Father" I'm actually inclined to agree with pretty much all the criticisms leveled at this entry. It's muddy in structure, it's too ambiguous, it has no clear message, the last line is awkward, and so on.

...so why the fuck did this place slightly higher than my other entry?