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Modern Fairy Tales · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 4
· · >>Monokeras
"Once upon a time..." The Good Fairy paused with her dripping quill held in mid-air.

"What is it?" asked the lion curled up at the bottom of her desk.

"Well, it's just normally something happens around this point." She sat there for a time, looking out the window at the beautiful morning. "Oh, to heck with it. Let's go bother some kindly woodsman. It's too nice to stay inside."
#2 · 1

#3 ·
Well, that will be a sub-par entry (assuming I’m not the only one to enter). I apologise for this. Cassius convinced me to watch ‘Blade Runner 2048’ at the beginning of the writing period, and the movie kept haunting me for a while.

Next time, I shall put off any distraction until the writing is done.
#4 · 2
· · >>Monokeras
In, and draft is edited. Good luck to all entrants!
#5 · 2
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Lol, I know which is yours :)
#6 · 2
Shh, don't tell me. I'm still working on which one you did. : )
#7 · 1
· on The Fairy Console · >>Monokeras
That puppy is the villain of this short tale.

We have a hand in the suffering which war, and teenage sexuality, bring. The fairy console is a meager consolation.

Puppies are innocent. This means they are free of the weight of regret. Ana, however, is bed-ridden by the conclusion, and "staring at the ceiling for a long time."

Perhaps she has a long-lost brother, a Gregor Samsa who has undergone a repulsive transformation. She cannot live with him. Soon she will be throwing apples, trying to repel its mocking presence. She will have to explain it to the neighbors. And it won't suffice to say that it came from the old toy. There is no excuse for it--only that's just how things are.

Maybe another war would solve the issue.
#8 · 1
· on Working Cats
The style is pleasantly onomatopoeiac. All the adverbs are in the right places; every action has no more and no less the proper amount of rogue. The writer is therefore effective at communicating a narrative without dialogue. He (she) is the funk drummer who, putting the backbeat on just the precise part of the pocket, signals the liquored patrons that it's universal time to hit the dance floor.

However, I am left feeling flat on the thematic level. The story seems to miss what is interesting about both what is modern and what is a fairy tale, and reads as a bit of a narrative portmanteau.
#9 ·
· on Aftermath
I haven't read the stories yet, so I don't know if there's a connection, but this has a very "Wolfwalkers" stylistic vibe to me. I have zero expertise in art, so I can't comment on technique or anything, but it looks really good to me. The only thing that bugged me is a "you can't unsee it" bit of personal stupidity once something popped into my head. The background color (maybe due to my colorblindness) looks fairly skin tone, and the way it darkens at the edges could make it look rounded. Add to that the way the wolf's bedding looks white and curly, and it looks like he's nested down in an old guy's chest hair.

Sorry. Good job on it though.
#10 · 1
· on The Fairy Console · >>Monokeras
Watch a bit of close repetition, like where you use "tiny" twice in the same sentence.

I'm guessing that the ending is the console using the last bit of its power to give her back at least one thing she used to have, but then why did the console disappear? It didn't need to whenever giving her something else, but maybe that's what happens when the charge runs out? If so, that wouldn't give customers an opportunity to recharge it, if it even can be. For her part, she at least seems certain it does have standard batteries.

The extra holes in the lid put me in mind of a Discworld camera, where there's an actual little creature inside making it work. I don't think that's what you were going for, plus since they're on the lid, and you have to open the lid to operate it, she would have seen it inside if that were the case. Just a thought.

I like the progression here, kind of a modern riff on "The Giving Tree," but it's a hard story to fit inside this small a package. You have to gloss over all the parts about war and destitution and just take your word for how bad it is than actually getting to see it, and I don't even think that part of the plot was necessary, unless you managed to make a stronger thematic tie. She would have outgrown it anyway, and still could have rediscovered it later. The only thing that approaches requiring it is how desperate and fervent she is when making her last request of it. It's kind of like throwing in an unneeded character death just to ramp up the pathos level. Readers will complain about "cheap feels," so make sure the story actually requires that plot element.

Likewise, the console itself seems to have some strong personal connection to Ana, but we never get to see why. That makes its final self-sacrifice-sounding promise come out of the blue, and is another spot where you just have to take the story's word for it that there was a strong bond that went both ways, instead of ever demonstrating it. You keep to Ana's observations of things, not really to the point that it's a limited narrator, but still, I could see where you felt it shouldn't jump into the console's "mind" to let on what its feelings ever were, but there are still ways to let the reader know, and that Ana could perceive even if she doesn't realize it. Like the last line it does say. But that's already at the climax without building up its side of the relationship beforehand. So maybe add some more things it says or some of the other things it might take initiative on as to how to interpret her wishes to really personalize them or deliver more than was asked in order to flesh that out before it's needed to deliver the story's emotional punch.

Man, I'm rambling.

I also wonder at the end if the gift of a dog shows some fundamental disconnect of the console's understanding of Ana's life. They've fallen on hard times, so can they even support a dog right now? I don't think you meant for this to be something that would cause them any hardship, so maybe drop a hint to make that clear. The battery issue might speak to that. I don't know if the idea is they're not available or she couldn't afford them. Either one would point to the dog being a burden, the latter more so. If you meant the console to have this lack of awareness that it couldn't read the situation, then show that happening elsewhere too so there's context.

Good story, though. There's a nice atmosphere to it and an ending that while seemingly upbeat could actually be an even sadder turn of events.
#11 · 1
· on Working Cats
I like the playful feel at times, like where you left some alliteration creep in. There's also good characterization of all concerned. At first I was confused as to who the cats were, but I think that's more on me. You mention Harry and Ester, and my initial impression was that they were people. The very next sentence starts with "mackerel tabbies," and that had me thinking we'd moved on to different characters. So when Harry gets ready to pounce, I wondere how one of the people had showed up again, before I realized he was one of the cats.

Given all the chemistry lingo, I like the strangely appropriate spelling of Ester versus the more standard Esther, but I'm not sure if that was a deliberate thematic tie.

There's also a pretty skillful shift from an omniscient narrator at the beginning (which is necessary, since the boggart isn't there to see) into the boggart's perspective. However, it does break from that somewhat. By that point, the narration is clearly voicing the boggart's thoughts, as it's shouting the things that would be going through its mind, yet it also describes the cats sneaking up on him before he notices them, so it's showing me things he has no knowledge of.

Though there's certainly an argument to be made that the narrator isn't actually adopting his perspective, and the shouting is just meant for embellishment. That kind of thing doesn't work well for most stories, but it's a common enough conceit in fairy tales that it works here.

The story doesn't really have a message. There's this reveal of a dichotomy that the cats inhabit both worlds, to the ignorance of the people working there, but beyond that pleasant realization, there's not a point being made, nor any consequences of note, just that the boggart won't be returning to this factory anytime soon. The fact that its way in had been seemingly intentionally obstructed, and probably a world-building item that it couldn't get in any other way, points toward humans not being completely oblivious.

Kind of one of those "world building for world building's sake" stories, but a fun example of it.
#12 ·
· on The Fairy Console

Thank you both for the comments. I really appreciate it. In those times, with the Writeoff in a trough, it’s nice to be able to still count on one or two people to read and comment. So ❤️ for that, and also ❤️ for whoever voted on my story. I’m a bit in a hurry tonight, but I’ll write a more complete comment ASAP.

Thanks again!