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Where the Shadows Run · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 1
· · >>No_Raisin
Somebody say something, for god's sake. D:
#2 · 1
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#3 · 1
·
>>Bachiavellian






















Ligma.
#4 · 1
·
*Sighs* Missed prompt submission again darn it. I'm always just a little bit off... .
#5 · 3
·
Slap bang in the middle of me moving out of Paris to some greener and calmer suburb! :/ I’ll try to churn out some lines though, it’s been a long time I've not written anything meaningful in English.
#6 · 2
· on The Insouciance of Introspection · >>KwirkyJ >>GroaningGreyAgony
I really like the dirty, metal-on-paint texture of this one. I've really got no idea how you did it, but lemme tell you, it looks pretty fantastic. The simplicity of the two figures (being done in only one or two strokes each) is also a really nice touch. Overall, the piece has a nice sense of foreboding.

Thanks for arting!
#7 ·
· on On My Way
I like your color selection, especially with how the background buildings interact with the sky. A couple of the details do feel a little off to b e (the hair, the shading on the rubble), but I think I like the overall composition you're going for.

Thanks for arting!
#8 · 2
· on Where Do the Children Go? · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I don't really know how to express this, but I think you did a great job on the shape and general feel of the trees. They're really instantly recognizable, and the fact that they're so easy to identify helps draw attention to the silhouettes. Nice stuff!

Thanks for arting!
#9 ·
· on The Sun Follows · >>MLPmatthewl419
It took me, like, a solid two minutes before I realized that this was a photo of chalk art. I really like how the texture/strokes of the chalk add to the piece, and how you use the IRL shadow as well. This definitely feels like it took a lot of planning and effort, so kudos for making it happen.

Thanks for arting!
#10 · 1
· on The Shadows Don't Rest Here · >>DuskPhoenix
From a purely mood perspective, this might be my favorite of the bunch. For me, it really evokes some of the surreal/horror artworks I've seen, like from H.R. Giger or the like. There's a really strong feeling of symbolism that gives the piece a sense of heft.

Thanks for arting!
#11 · 1
· on The Insouciance of Introspection · >>GroaningGreyAgony
As >>Bachiavellian said, the textures here combined with the colors really make this pop. The contrast of the white spatter/smears with the oilslick brushstrokes of the figures is really cool – however I'm torn by the mottling in the figures, guessing the underpaint showing through the thinner portions of the brushing. Very evocative.
#12 · 2
· on On My Way · >>Bachiavellian
As many an artist has noted, rubble is hard. Kudos for taking a hack at it!

It took me a while, but I finally noticed that there's one light in the skyscraper – being tucked up in the corner like that make is easy to miss, even though the person (guessing, woman?) is probably noticing it just the same way I did. Speaking of details squirreled away, that is a huge moon there on the left side, assuming that it is a moon and not anything else... Occam's razor would suggest... And is it intentional for stars to be there on the far right side?

I'm not sure about the perspective here. As it doesn't look like there is (or ever was) any form of railing, one would expect that the white surface we see is the floor; if this is the case, taking with other visual clues, it is probably near-level, but if that is the case then where is the horizon? ...unless, somehow, this city is really, really tall?

The person is fairly well-drawn. Good work on the hands, especially. The overlap of the legs suggests walking fairly well, but the belt line and shoulders don't fully agree with this suggestion – her(?) looking up like she is, taking the shoulders with the gesture, further make it less clear. Other main issue is the clothing: The lines-as-creases suggest a really stiff, unforgiving fabric for the top; I have no idea what's going on with the creases on the left arm, and the left knee/thigh is questionable; the left cuff also doesn't seem to be curled around the arm as reality would suggest (but good try?). The zipper should probably be dangling down, now upwards?

And don't bash yourself in the alt-text. Just don't. If you wouldn't write an author's note at the start of your story saying "My jokes in this one are all lame feghoots," the same principle applies. If, for some reason, you would, either have a very good reason for doing so, or don't
#13 · 1
· on Where Do the Children Go? · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This one is really creepy, and I mean that in all good ways. I really don't have much else to say about this one. I guess the figure on the left stands out as more sketch-y than the rest?
#14 ·
· on The Sun Follows · >>MLPmatthewl419
This doesn't do much for me narratively, as far as the art itself is concerned, and I did a double-take to check that this was, in fact, an Original round. That aside, massive props for the effort that went into this chalk art. Bummer about the "graffiti" that's crudely censored on the bottom-left.
#15 · 1
· on The Shadows Don't Rest Here · >>DuskPhoenix
At first I thought those were actually skulls of some sort, but skulls don't have cutouts through them like that, so instead I (agree with Bachi and) see this as a symbolic landscape of some sort. After looking at it for too long, I'm still not sure what that figure(?) in the foreground is supposed to be – I could be just not getting it. Also interesting to note that the shadows seem inverted – the areas that are "lit" are shaded.
#16 · 1
·
I am in.
#17 · 1
· on The Insouciance of Introspection · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This reminds me a lot of ancient cave paintings. Your choice of color palette is great, and the abstract figures tell a story the way you positioned them. Well done!
#18 ·
· on On My Way · >>Bachiavellian
I'm getting a "Last of Us" / "Mirror's Edge" vibe going on here. Excellent visual storytelling. The rubble is the least appealing part of this canvas to me, but as my friends pointed out, rubble is tedious and difficult to get right, so it's points for the attempt in my book. Very ambitious!
#19 · 1
· on Where Do the Children Go? · >>GroaningGreyAgony
The human-like shapes moving through the trees are just ambiguous enough to be super creepy without being overstated. Good job balancing those forces out!
#20 ·
· on The Sun Follows · >>MLPmatthewl419
Chalk!!! I love chalk. The medium plays a big role in the ultimate consumption of art. Here, though, I don't think the chalk medium really adds anything to the piece. It could have been drawn on a piece of paper to the same effect.

BUT

The nature of chalk art inherently makes it super tricky to nail down cleanly, so I give it up to you for your ambition and your solid execution of ideas. Well done!
#21 · 1
· on The Insouciance of Introspection · >>GroaningGreyAgony
The texture to this is fantastic, it gives it an especially otherworldly vibe. I actually like that you can see it through the figures, it gives them an added ghost-like presence on top of them appearing to be floating. Personally I think I would appreciate if the center of the painting maintained the effect of the white paint only being on the texture that it has towards the outsides, but I still love this piece.
#22 ·
· on On My Way · >>Bachiavellian
I'm wondering if this is somewhat Shadowrun inspired, or if I'm just getting that mood from moonlight and crumbling concrete in a big city. I gotta agree with Kwirky as well, don't put yourself down! Shadows really are hard, but you don't have to tell your audience what you think the weaknesses of your piece are. Make as best you can, and let people enjoy it how they will. I do enjoy this, as well! I like that you used a dappled brush for moonlight, and I like the mood that has. If you're working further on lighting, I'd say you should try to mess with multiple shades and intensities of light and shadow. Parts of the rubble pile on the left would probably have darker shading where multiple shadows overlap, and the edges of the light, especially moonlight, are often softer. I do like the composition here and the mood you captured, well done!
#23 · 1
· on Where Do the Children Go? · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I really love this one. You captured so much of the forest very minimally but very powerfully, and the figures are just present enough to be unsettling. It looks like this is chalk as well, and I really respect your ability to work with that while creating something that looks as crisp as this. Between the general sharp foreboding of the piece and the inversion of "brightest day and darkest night" in the alt text, this has a great, unnerving, wrong air to it.
#24 ·
· on The Sun Follows · >>MLPmatthewl419
I really like both this piece and the framing. I would really like the framing better if it didn't have a really obviously edited clump of white in the bottom left though. Even having it match the color of the brick behind it would've been an improvement in my mind, as it is right now it's really distracting unfortunately. I like the texture that chalk on brick has though, and I really like the contrast both in colors and lighting here.
#25 ·
· on The Sun Follows
I'm kind of, I don't know, not surprised this got last? It seems to be a recurring theme on here, such that I wonder if I should even bother posting stuff. And no, this isn't some plea for comments like "No keep going and arting" because that's a waste of your time and mine and won't actually change anything. We'll just have to see.

Anyway, in regards to this piece, some background! So this is drawn on like a 7-8 foot diameter circle in the center of a certain city block where I live, and definitely looks waaay better irl than in a picture. It didn't help that I couldn't seem to take a straight picture either, though. The question might come up, though, of why did I do it there? To which the answer is that my city has a yearly chalk drawing competition here and it got canceled, so I wanted to do some art here in tribute to that. So I went and killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.

>>Bachiavellian
Surprisingly, the planning didn't actually take that long. The execution, on the other hand, took quite a few hours in the very hot sun with no shade anywhere nearby. It was also kinda exciting because I kept running out of chalk and had to dig through the next container in the hopes of finding something. I'm not sure if the fact that it took you a couple minute to realize it's chalk is a compliment or a criticism, though xD

>>KwirkyJ
First up, your perception of "is this an original round or not" is entirely your fault. There is nothing non-original in it, and was drawn as an original piece. In regards to my little white stuff there, I'd rather have it crudely censored than not censored at all.

>>thebandbrony
I love chalk too! In fact it's probably my favorite medium to draw in, and was pretty well drawn in chalk simply because I love chalk. Also because it really was an impressive sight in real life, refer to the background section above. So could it have been done in some other medium to the same effect? Yes, but so could literally any other art piece in existence. Idk, that seems to come off rather harsh, which is definitely not my intent toward you.

>>DuskPhoenix
The contrast of each side was kinda the intent of the piece, so at least I pulled that off.

Otherwise: ok so like, dude. Oh no, there's a tiny edited clump of stuff that isn't my artwork still in the photo, how terrible. As I said before, I'd rather crudely censored than not censored at all. Also, about the color, I kinda thought it was such a tiny portion people would just not care and understand that shit happens sometimes. I mean, hell, some idiot skateboarders ruined the other chalk piece I had done nearby about two days before this one. So could I have color matched it? Yes. Did I feel like I needed to? No.

EDIT: And, I don't know, it's just such a frustrating thing to nitpick. Like, you didn't even mean to, but it's just the kinda thing that pushes all my buttons the wrong way. I'm not really angry with you per se, just the subject of your comment is so... urrrgggghhhh


In closing, I'm actually rather surprised I got a fic based on this. Thanks a whole buncho dude, I'll actually go and read that one.
#26 ·
· on On My Way · >>Bachiavellian
This is a dark moody scene with latent drama that holds up well. My main advice, Artist, is to try varying your line widths here and there; it will help to add character to the scene and accentuate certain details. It will also help your rubble to look more dimensional. Thank you for making this, Artist!
#27 ·
· on The Sun Follows
This composition makes excellent use of the round space allotted to it. I find that the stylized sun is easily the most eye-catching part of the image, and hence my main suggestion would be to carry this sort of stylization over to the rest of the image, forming bold and angular shapes and color contrasts for the trees, waves, grasses, moon, etc.
Good work, Artist, I appreciate the effort you put into making this real.
#28 · 1
· on The Shadows Don't Rest Here · >>DuskPhoenix
The inverse shadows are curious, especially as the skulls themselves have their own diffuse shading. The angles of the ‘shadows’ also suggest that the ‘light’ source is close by; just over the hill and not on a far horizon. The piece breaks the usual expectations of a landscape in unsettling ways.
The ambiguity of the foreground figure adds to the sense of unease. A creepy sketch, thanks for creating it, Artist!
#29 ·
· on On My Way
Retro: The Purble Place

In which I demonstrate once again, that I have no idea how to draw hair, shadows, perspective, clothing creases. or concrete. But at least I seem to be doing hands right, judging by the feedback from the last few of these. :P

>>KwirkyJ
... assuming that it is a moon and not anything else...


Yes, it's supposed to be. Dagnabbit.

And is it intentional for stars to be there on the far right side?


No, they're not supposed to be. Dagnabbit.

... but if that is the case then where is the horizon? ...unless, somehow, this city is really, really tall?


The girl is supposed to be on the thirdish/fourthish floor of a parking-lot sort of structure, with the buildings in the background being really tall (20/30 floors) and decently far. Mostly because I didn't want to bother with drawing streets or smaller buildings in the midground. :P

The lines-as-creases suggest a really stiff, unforgiving fabric for the top; I have no idea what's going on with the creases on the left arm, and the left knee/thigh is questionable; the left cuff also doesn't seem to be curled around the arm as reality would suggest (but good try?)


This is what I get for studying how to draw creased clothes for about half an hour before trying my hand at it. Thanks for letting me know what didn't work!

The zipper should probably be dangling down, now upwards?


DAGNABBIT.

If you wouldn't write an author's note at the start of your story saying "My jokes in this one are all lame feghoots," the same principle applies.


This is a really good point, actually. In hindsight, I'm a little surprised that I didn't think about it this way, considering how much I dislike how some stories start with 'disclaimers' about being bad or a first-time writer. I guess it has to do with my relative lack of confidence/experience with art, as opposed to writing. Thanks a lot for pointing it out. If I'm asking people to judge my art seriously, I should take it seriously myself.

Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

>>thebandbrony
Huh! The tone I was going for was actually "Last of Us" and "Dying Light", even though I haven't played the latter. So you get half-credit for that answer. :P

Thanks for your review!

>>DuskPhoenix
I did not have Shadowrun specifically in mind, but I did play a couple of campaigns like two or three years ago. So it might have been percolating in my subconscious somewhere.

If you're working further on lighting, I'd say you should try to mess with multiple shades and intensities of light and shadow


So this time, I tried something different which was to use a layer to set the whole piece to a middle tone and tint up for light and down for shadows. Honestly, I was kind of nervous about overdoing it, so it's good to hear that you actually had the opposite problem.

Thanks for the feedback!

>>GroaningGreyAgony
My main advice, Artist, is to try varying your line widths here and there


I know a lot of artists use their tablet's pressure setting to vary stroke width/boldness. So I should probably take it as a hint to hurry up and commit to getting away from my mouse and buying a tablet. :P

Appreciate your review!
#30 ·
· on The Insouciance of Introspection
>>Bachiavellian, >>KwirkyJ, >>thebandbrony, >>DuskPhoenix

The Insouciance of Introspection

Thanks for the comments and the gold! Congrats to DuskPhoenix and Bachiavellian, and a chalk-dusted thumbs up to MLPmatthewl419.

At my side gig, I handle reams of letterhead produced by a printshop. They are shrinkwrapped with pieces of thin cardstock at each end to protect them. The printshop seems to use whatever it has at hand to make the end protectors; sometimes, the cardstock has a shiny silver coating, much like the cardboard lids you sometimes get with takeout food. I took a couple of these sheets home to play with them.

There were fingerprints on one of them, and I tried spraying rubbing alcohol on it to clean it. Instead, it produced that interesting mottled-white texture. I went with it, using black acrylic paint to create the figures; I wasn’t happy with the first attempt and at first and wiped it away, which did more interesting things to the texture in the center. I tried again, sprayed the resulting figures to add texture to them, and got the posted result.

The piece as shown is reflecting part of its environment, including the green shirt I was wearing when I put it in my book scanner. Seeing it in person is a different experience than looking at a photo.

Don’t hold back from experimenting with art material; it may lead you to interesting places.
#31 ·
· on Where Do the Children Go?
>>Bachiavellian, >>KwirkyJ, >>thebandbrony, >>DuskPhoenix

Where Do the Children Go?

Thanks for the great comments!

I used a piece of black oil pastel, about an inch long, to do the tree trunks. Dragging its side along the paper produced stripes of interesting texture. I tilted the pastel to produce smaller trunks. I then went back with a china pencil and outlined the trunks, then added branches and the figures.

Sometimes simple techniques produce good results. Being playful is one way to discover what works.

The title and caption refer to the song by The Hooters.
#32 ·
· on The Shadows Don't Rest Here
The Shadows Retrospective Here

>>GroaningGreyAgony
>>KwirkyJ
>>Bachiavellian

Thanks for the comments! I did the initial sketch for this in a somewhat frenzied haze, and ended up liking the mood of it enough to try to expand on it better. It's certainly not very realistic with the skulls being hollow or the shadows being inverted on the ground, but those things just felt right to the mood I was making and I had a lot of fun doing it. It's been a long time since I did something with a ton of pencil shading, or really drew in pencil at all, and I'm actually still happy with it. I'm glad this prompt inspired me to do something, and this drawing inspired others to write!
#33 ·
· on Teach Us to Pray
Oh man, I'm always a fan of unknowable angels. I really like this world that you've built up here of demons raging like monsters or wild animals and angels being more their opposition than having any major care for the humans caught up in the middle. The story has a great air of desperation in big and small aspects, from Lana's need to figure out if her family is safe after her home was destroyed to the simple need for water and survival. I also just like how you wrote the angel's dialogue, I think you did a good job of making an obviously alien creature that could still be mostly understood by the audience.
#34 ·
· on Pocket Stars
Okay, so first off, you get, like, fifty brownie points from me for doing a story with my pic in it. It made me stupidly happy. Thanks. :P

But other than that, there's also a bunch of little things that I liked, like the obviously different physics of the alien world and all the little hints about the tech level of earth. The whole thing exudes a delicious punkish feel, and I'm always down for that kind of world-building.

Now if I had to level some critique, I'd say that I think the way this story handles its conflict(s) is probably the weakest element right now. Things feel just a little too busy to be coherent right now: first we get introduced to alien invaders, then we fight a human mugger, then we learn about parallel universes, then we're fighting aliens to save another alien in a parallel universe, and then things wrap up. Not many of these threads feel particularly resolved by the end, so it's a little tough to feel like there's a satisfying narrative arc, here.

My personal philosophy when it comes to writing short stories is that every element of the entire story should be built to serve one purpose, build one mood, or expand on one primary theme. It can be tough to juggle a lot of moving elements even in a long story, but when you're playing with only one reading-session's worth of words, I'm not sure how much mileage you can get. Pruning your ideas is always a tough call, but like Pixar says, it can be powerfully liberating.

Thanks for entering!
#35 ·
· on Twenty Four Shadows on the Earth
There's a lot of stuff here that I personally really wish I could do, like the high-level narration that blends with the moment-to-moment pacing. Every time I try to do something like that, I end up hating what I'm writing. :P

I also really like the feeling of big-concept sci-fi that you've evoked. It kind of feels like Three Body Problem (which I finally got around to reading) in terms of its tone and the way the story lets the implications of its events speak for themselves.

One thing that kind of confuses me, though, is how human-like the Ni'so end up feeling. They have similar government styles, they wear clothes, they have familiar weapons, they use buttons in their electronics, and they drink coffee. I understand that the point of the story isn't to focus on their alien-ness, but at this point, it's really hard to imagine them as anything other than human.

The first two sentences of this story does a great job of intriguing the reader, partially because we immediately want to know about the Ni'So and how they're different from humans. The fact that the story never quite pays off on this desire ended up disappointing me a bit. But keep in mind that I'm a bit of a world-building nutcase, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. :P

Thank you for submitting!
#36 · 1
· on Teach Us to Pray
It's honestly encouraging to find out that there's still some writing being done in these trying times. I can't imagine anyone really participating thanks to everything that's happening around them recently, particularly so in the States, so I definitely appreciate that there are some of us here still striving to keep the WriteOffs going in spite of the times. Everyone involved did an incredible job in getting these out, so I thought I might as well step in to do a bit of reviewing. It's the least I can do, at least until I'm done with the stuff I've piled onto myself that's supposed to be up on FimFic.

Now, personal doctrines aside, I think this story's primary plus⁠—and this extends to all the other stories as well⁠—is definitely the premise. To have the story take place during the biblical endtimes is a concept that's ripe for exploration. I really love how bleak yet mystical the atmosphere that this piece conveyed. The depiction of the angel and the scenes of it conversing with Lana especially enraptured me from start to finish. I reckoned their exchange was definitely your starting point when it comes to writing this story, dear Author? Regardless, I think you've done a great job with all that was depicted here in spite of my personal gripes with it, of which unfortunately there are quite a few.

I do find overall that the pacing of the story is a bit uneven. I'm thinking it's because there's a lot of instances of things being told to us scattered throughout the story. Not to say that it's inherently a bad thing, but I think it's the way they're structured that it impedes how it altogether flows. Some of the information being told can be condensed or moved around to help with the story's progression. Maybe a few omissions here and there too, especially if it doesn't impact the story in any major way.

The cackle's words, I found, were unintentionally hilarious. I can't say subsequent readings helped on that front. I get the idea that you're trying to go for here but I definitely think there could be a better way to depict the demons' behavior beyond them just being generically, or in this case almost comically evil. It would definitely help if the demons here were portrayed with anything more beyond screaming obscenities and setting houses on fire. Something nuanced would be interesting, especially considering our protagonist is sacrificing one of them later on.

One minor gripe I have is about Lana herself, who I find doesn't really stand out as a character. She has some personality traits I can glean from the story, sure, but whether or not they play any pivotal part in it is really the question here. As much as I can understand her desperate attempts in looking for her family, I don't really find myself rooting for her to do so. I think if we have a clearer idea of her as a character and what role she plays in conjunction to the greater premise, then it would be truly compelling. As it stands currently, I can't say I'm immersed as much as I want to be.

Another minor inconsistency⁠ I found—I say minor but it's honestly growing the more I brood over it⁠—is why Lana did not try to sate her thirst with the rain that fell last night? Why didn't she bother with stealing a few drops or even stockpiling with her canteen? On that regard, I do think the secondary conflict of her being thirst does feel a bit unnecessary. It adds a bit of desperation, sure, but I don't really sense that desperation in the writing itself. I think the story will do fine with just focusing on her family and it would still be as urgent as it is written here, personally.

In spite of all my issues, I do like and admire what this story is going for in the end. After all, since most of my advice leans towards expanding more of this and exploring more of that, it's safe to say that you're on the right track. Keep doing what you're doing.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!
#37 ·
· on The Sun Follows
Was the shadow falling over half the drawing intentional? Like, the bottom half is the night so it needs to be in the shade. If so, that's an excellent touch!
#38 ·
· on Twenty Four Shadows on the Earth
I'd like to draw special attention to the repeated use of: "string of bodies three lifetimes long" and the term "airlock'd" being used not as slang but what appears to have straight up become the word for "horribly murdered." They really sell how deep seated the issues that arose from the journey became in subsequent generations.

I feel like there's trying to be a theme about breaking generational cycles of violence, but then everything falls to shit again as soon as the second ship arrives, so maybe the idea is more akin to being damned by history rather than over coming it? Then again, for being an advanced alien race with big space science hobby, the Ni'so feel incredibly emotional, even in the opening paragraphs.

Still, the MIRVs were my favorite missiles in the old tank games, so 10/10 from me. ;)
#39 ·
· on Pocket Stars
This one really took me a while to form my opinions on. It certainly took me a while to figure out what was going on, that's for sure. I do agree with Bachi above that there's a lot of neat ideas at play here, all of which paints a really cool premise that's ripe for exploration. Whether or not any of these ideas come together in a cohesive manner however, I can't say for certain.

From what I can gather, the main focus of the story seems to surround this dimensional portal more than anything else, and that this was some kind of superhero origin story for our nameless protagonist. The premise seems similar to that of The Midnight Gospel, except with a greater sense of urgency involved.

When I look at everything this way, I can appreciate what it's striving for. I just don't think that what's being told here isn't all that exciting or intriguing in the grander scheme of things, mostly cause everything here feels like an exposition to something rather than a story itself. As it stands currently, the scenes feel weightless. There's not really much of a greater sense of purpose that I can get out of this beyond an interesting premise, which can only carry my interest in the story so far before it peters out.

On that regard, our protagonist is bland, no other way to put it. I don't know really know why we're seeing their perspective since they don't really add anything substantial beyond just telling the events as they unfold. A lot of their words seem to be spent moreso on describing the environment around them over their version of the events happening which, again, the premise can only be interesting for so long. The one time things do get exciting, however, we're suddenly switched to a different perspective, which implied to me that the protagonist couldn't carry the story by themselves. It's not really assuring, especially considering this is mostly written in first-person perspective.

In summation, I think if there's as much focus placed into molding our main character as there are in building the world, then perhaps there'll be something that'll allow me to overcome all the names and terms and whatnot, and that the story would hook me in and compel me to read it over and over again outside of just writing up these reviews. In its current state, however, I'm just indifferent at best.

Nevertheless, thanks for writing, and good luck!
#40 ·
· on Pocket Stars
I think the strongest sell for me on this story is how the three major plot things come together so seamlessly. We've got the giant smoke generating alien guys—we don't know exactly what they want but it's easy to presume nothing good, the portal tech, and then the glow sand. The sand in particular is cool, because it's introduced as a curiosity, but then it leads right back into how humanity is trying to cope with the Skurge. Plus, there's enough clue there to gather exactly why it's important on second analysis. Tightly composed thought process.

There's a bit of I-repetition in the beginning section, but it never really detracts from the reading. I only notice because I like to write in 1st person and learned to keep an eye out for it.

All in all a tight little doo a diddy with lots of room to explore more! Especially now that we're thinking with portals.
#41 · 1
· on Teach Us to Pray
Oh snap crackle and pop this was cool. Feels a bit like an alternate take to one of the bad Supernatural timelines, but somehow more hopeful because the angels aren't outright jerks. Just inconceivable creatures of heat and light.

There's a blend of mundane and divine, or maybe mundane and catastrophic, that hits my story brain just right. Sure, demons are real and might murder you, angels exist and are like tiny stars, but that doesn't mean folks don't get thirsty and tired.

I wish I knew the exact genre for this sort of story. It's like "slice of life" in that it's stuff everybody goes through, but it's the rare moments rather than the common—weddings, births, deaths, promotions, natural disasters. I think demon attack probably qualifies in this world.

At any rate, I was very happy to read this. Top contender for cool, even in a larger round I think.
#42 ·
· on Twenty Four Shadows on the Earth
This is a fairly straightforward tale here, though underneath it is a story that plays with rather weighty ideas. There's definitely a sort of finesse in weaving these kinds of concepts together to craft something that's readily accesible to even greenhorn readers, so that definitely wins points for me on that regard. The pacing is very measured as well, though it does kind of get rickety towards the end when the conflict begins to narrow down onto a more personal frontline, though that's something that even the most experienced of us here would have a hard time with if we're tasked with writing this so I wasn't all too bothered by it.

I kinda agree with Bachi's sentiment about how these aliens are a bit too human-like for me to consider them as fully alien, though it does make me wonder what other ways you could've done to make the species easier for us to connect with. I think this is where the idea 'less is more' could probably aid you, in which you could probably omit certain details about the Ni'so that still gives them an aura of mystique around them yet keep some things about them that gives us human readers some sort of attachment to them. It'll be hard to balance both sides of the scale, for sure, but it'll do wonders for your story if you can pull it off.

Overall, it's not flawless by any means but I think there's a lot of thought and charm in this story that really shone through in the writing. It's kinda hinting at me that you really enjoyed writing this, dear Author, though I can't really say for sure. What I am sure, however, is that I did enjoy reading this. Definitely worthy of a medal, even if it isn't written for these WriteOffs.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!