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The Endless Struggle · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
#1 · 6
· · >>Remedyfortheheart
It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s winter. A terrible gale blows outside, carrying in its strong gusts thousands of fluttering snowflakes that dance in the feeble light which leaks out of your window. The wind blusters against the pane, shaking the whole panel which rattles and whines, as if it were going to sunder.

You sigh, roll over, squirm in your bed, grasp your plushie, bury your head under your pillow. It’s no use: you can’t sleep. Not even close an eye. Your night is fucked up. Why stay in bed?

Reluctantly, you stand up, shuffle your feet to the window, and with bleary eyes you contemplate the fury of the elements. You can’t stifle a shudder, and you think how fortunate you are to be inside – even if your bedroom is a bit cold. Far away, a flickering beam of light signals the passage of a car. Who can be so crazy — or desperate – to drive in those conditions?

Your mind flounders for an answer when a loud ringing from your mobile phone snatches you from your pondering. You spin around and rush to the device. Who can it be? Your parents in distress? Your little sister lost in the tempest?

With fumbling hands you grasp the object and feverishly press the button that gets the screen on.


You let the phone drop on the wooden floor, where it lands with a thud, and clasp your head with both hands as dreadful pain suddenly washes up all over your body.


You let your dismay out, and it spurts from your mouth in a mournful, plangent wail that adds to the din caused by the wind.

On the screen of the phone, broken in half by its rough landing, a single line is still displayed in fiery letters.

And that message reads: A new WriteOff has begun.
#2 ·
· · >>Monokeras
Fire letters?
#3 ·
Yeah fiery is better. Sorry.
#4 · 4
"God damn French people!" Remedy sat up with a limb rubbing at his closed eyelid, which then shuffled to his temple, in an attempt to ease his groggy state and the throbbing in his head. The cause?: He had awoken to several sounds next door caused by another tenant. A series of shuffling feet, a body that has been rolling on a mattress for hours on end, and the now the very loud drop of an Android smartphone. He had had enough.

Now the usually smiling flirt of a pony was always humble and did well to keep to himself, but this early I think morning at this very moment he felt like people were laughing at him. Remi flung his blanket off his sprawled body and next swung his legs down to touch the floor with a slight clack of the wooden floorboards. Three hooves marched their way across the room while a fourth covered his mouth in a weary weak wail of exhaustion. By the time he had gotten to his door and pulled it open, Remi could feel his eyes growing heavy with the need for hibernation. The cold became a minor factor as his mind was more focused on taking care of the rude person right next to him.

Creak! The door slowly opened granting passage for the white pony, who took his time to get his bearings down. Once again the tapping of three rang into the air as the missing hoof brushed and stroked his long blue mane. Seems he was trying to fix himself up a bit for a surprise visit. Yet he sauntered in and opened the door with a loud huff. He gave no warnings, no introduction, no greetings, not even the complaint he was holding within his carefully pursed lips. Instead he did the unexpected.

Remedy Fortuitous Heart grabbed the lumbering male by his arm. Of course being a pony he could not just grab anything, so he made do and nibble on a wrist leading it in the direction he wanted. Which happened to be the humans bedding. He settled into the stranger's bed and beckoned him to lay beside him with another nibble to his lower half. Tugging along fabric in a light but innocent way.

"I'll buy you a new phone tomorrow." Remedy whispered cuddling up into the human and his pillow.

(Gasp! The typos. Wrote this on my phone on a quick whim. Soo lol!)
#5 · 3
"Oh BTW. You're loud as all hell last night and I'm only doing this to make your bed smell like pony! So don't think this was a sweet gesture!" (Snuggle snuggle.)
#6 · 6
· · >>Oblomov
You're all nuts.
#7 · 4
Hear, hear!
#8 · 5
· · >>Winston >>georg
Challenge mode engaged this round: write with a newborn.
#9 · 4
Somebody Once Told Me To Do What Must Be Done. Here We Go Again. I’m with Cupid; We Are Number One!

To Be Determined, On the Razor’s Edge, Burn After Reading. I Want to Die, for Rational and Understandable Reasons. Edged! Don’t Judge Me!

The eye that floats, unblinking, in your waifu’s kitchen. Who Wants Pizza? The Endless Struggle…

Useful Lift Voices In The Dark!

As The World Turns The Next Four Years Under The Weather, Somewhere Forgotten, A Girl And Her X, Hoisted with Their Own Petard! Resistance is Futile; You Can’t Go Back. You Had ONE Job! Leave Alone for Three Hours. Done.

Spirit Evolution Writeoff, but Every Time You Backspace, You Watch the Bee Movie–Fools Who Dream Possibility Space!

Silver Linings Catchphrase.

And Then, Things Got Worse…

#10 · 5
· · >>AndrewRogue
Hmmm. You can try, but I just don't think a newborn is going to work as well as a keyboard. I mean, I'm pretty sure they don't have buttons, and how are you going to get it to plug into your computer? Even if you could, is there a driver for using those as an input device?
#11 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I don't use her as a keyboard, silly. I just set her on it while I'm feeding her and publish that.
#12 · 2
Congratulations again! Parenthood, man. It's a heck of a ride.
#13 · 1
#14 · 4
So many memes in the prompt list...
#15 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>AndrewRogue I managed to max my skill in bowmaking in Ultima Online with one foot under the car carrier, bumping it so it would rock #1 son to sleep (or a close substitute). Bump. Click. Bump. Click. Fun times. Custom server, so we had things running around like horses with a dragon's 'brain' in them. The animation for breathing was the same as the horse lying down, so this horse would gallop up to a group, flop down, and...
#16 · 7
Writeoff, but Every Time You Backspace, You Watch the Bee Movie

Well if I do that, I'll be writing for...

The Next Four Years.
#17 ·
Man, UO custom servers were sweet!
#18 · 4
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony

#19 · 2
I now announce my intent to submit the complete body of G. K. Chesterton’s verse as prompts, henceforth.
#20 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>GroaningGreyAgony
Well, this is going to be interesting. I'll be asleep when the prompt drops; when I wake up I'll be spending most of the day at CPR training, since I'm joining my local Search & Rescue and going through the academy this month; and after I get home from CPR I've got friends coming over for tabletop gaming for the rest of the night. I'm basically going to have two hours while I'm cooking dinner to whip something together.

At least I'm more or less over the con crud I picked up last weekend. <.<
#21 · 1
>mfw I actually have an idea for this one.
#22 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Why always prompts I didn't vote for D:
#23 · 2
· · >>QuillScratch >>Fenton
I know the feel. Maybe one day the circumstances will be just right.
Or maybe we're cursed, and every time we vote for a prompt, it guarantees it won't be chosen.
#24 · 1
#25 · 11
· · >>Trick_Question
blah blah no time blah blah

Calling it now: horizon writes for one hour, still takes bronze.
#26 · 3
Simple! Arrange the game to be based on the prompt, and write the story that is played out.
#27 · 1
One in.
Now on to the next.
#28 · 1
· · >>Fenton
>>Zaid Val'Roa
I've long assumed I was cursed in this way. I use my powers for good and vote for all the meme prompts >.>
#29 · 1
· · >>Nicktendonick
>>Zaid Val'Roa

Same here, I expected (and voted) for a prompt leading to a funny story but the first thing that comes in my mind with this one is only sadness or tragedy. Damn.

By the way, hello and gl hf to everyone.
#30 ·
Actually, I have a very silly story in mind. I'd go into details but then it'd give me away.

Just because it's a struggle doesn't mean it needs to be, and it can be a situation involving idiots who are stubborn and won't learn their lesson (and hence, their ridiculous struggle will never end).

"Ryoga, let me just take you home. You have no sense of direction."
"NO! I must forge this path myself! Noone else can do this for me!"

cue to hours later, Now dark, sitting alone without Ryoga there.

"...goddamn Ryoga."

(Meanwhile, Ryoga got lost and wound up in equestria...somehow.)
#31 · 2
I wrote something wowee
#32 · 1
I had this wonderful pony story all framed out with violence and sex and... (checks prompt) Darnit. Okay, Plan B. And submitted.
#33 · 4
Calling it now: horizon writes for one hour thirteen minutes, still takes bronze gold.

#34 · 1
Also, I'm actually in an OF round for a change. :facehoof:

Probably won't have time to read, and more probably won't feel comfortable reviewing, but we'll see.
#35 · 1
I feel weird on this entry. Half of me wants to abandon it because I stupid'd out and waited till the final hours, the rest of me feels like I really ought to say this. I just wish I had more time... and my editor to take a look at this.

Plus, the second half of it has to be completely cut, mostly because of word count. Instead what I hoped it's just a punchline.

...eh, still works I suppose.
#36 · 1
Nose to the grindstone!
#37 ·
Why didn't we write this earlier?
#38 · 1
Welp! I did mine.

I can't believe I did it, but I did it. Very little editing, 3 am, and no editor and very little overview.

...let's hope I did it... "Write"




...I'm gonna go to bed now. (Good luck everyone!)
#39 ·
I am in!

And just about all in, at that. Going to bed now!
#40 ·
#41 ·
Welp, got mine in. Fingers crossed it does better than my last one.
#42 ·
Whew, got in!

For some reason it was an endless struggle to come up with an idea I really wanted to do for this one.
#43 ·
Ok, second one posted. Time to think about lunch :)
Good luck everyone!
#44 ·
Hey, I was actually awake and editing all the way to the deadline. Neat.
#45 · 2
Submitted with ... (*checks clock*) ... negative six seconds to go!

The good news is that I did manage to scrape slightly more than my allotted two hours together to work on this. The bad is that those hours were 1-4 AM local time after being continuously up since 8 AM yesterday. So my sleep schedule continues to resemble a flaming train wreck that crashed into an orphanage full of explosive nuns.
#46 · 2
· · >>Monokeras >>horizon
Whoops, I pressed submit too late.

I did write a full something though. So that's good, even if no one sees it.
#47 ·
Ok time to read all those stories.

It seems there are many more entries than during the last one.
#48 · 1
· on Flowers for Beauregard · >>georg
Guess I'll try to read a few as the caffeine that fueled my writing binge works its way out of my system.

Read this wondering if it was a "Flowers For Algernon" reference/homage. (It isn't.)

What's here feels a little underwhelming, unfortunately. My reaction to the twist (Howard didn't kill Beau) was, "Yes, and?" The points he raised about Beau's destructive effects on both local flora and fauna remain legitimate and aren't permanently addressed by the ending, and the line about calling the police promises further plot escalation that never materializes. And it's possible that this is just too slice-of-lifey for my tastes, but the core conflict didn't feel terribly compelling to me to begin with. What was here felt vividly described, though, with nice little details like lifting the squirrel up on the hoe.

Tier: Almost There
#49 ·
#50 · 2
My prompt won. So I'm happy either way. Yet no story from me of course.
#51 · 3
· · >>Monokeras
On the downside, it really sucks to miss the submission window. On the upside, you wrote a thing, which is a very good outcome for Writeoffs regardless of internet points.

As a consolation prize, if you post it somewhere (here in the discussion thread or as a link to gdocs/whatever), I'll review it, and some others might as well.
#52 ·
Surely I will, too.

Maybe Roger can integrate it as an aside to the main course? He has already done this before.
#53 ·
· on The Pain in Paradise · >>TitaniumDragon
Nothing much to say except it was a good one. The feeling of loneliness is well handled.

However, there is some sentences that were out of place for me.

It is another check, this one for seventy-six thousand dollars. I get the checks every so often because my family is dead. I throw the check into my dresser.

I don't see the point of talking about the dead family at the very end of the story. If there are here to emphasize the loneliness of the narrator, putting them in the beginnin would have helped defining the narrator's situation. Here, it just looks like the narrator is saying "Oh my family's dead by the way."

I was wondering, is this inspired by this video?
#54 ·
· on Sunlight and Other Excuses
It's non surprising as a topic but the feels are real. The form and content complete each other very smoothly.

Well done.
#55 ·
· on Fili-bust-your-bladder
I don't understand the point of this, and I can't tell if it's because I have misconceptions about how the American political system works or if it's just plain weird.
#56 · 1
· on Third Law of Motion · >>Fenton
I don't understand what you're going for here. The first paragraph and last two lines feel out of place, and there's some spelling/grammatical/formatting errors.
#57 · 1
· on The Castle in the Clouds
Too bad it wasn't finished. I liked the lore in the beginning - wasn't very interested in the climbing man, however. If you ever revisit this, I say write more about the fairies.

the Castle in the Clouds is where you can catch a fairy of your very own

And then you go on to say you have to be invited to even get there.

edit: If the stuff about fairies didn't really matter and the whole point was the ending, that's pretty clever, but not really a story and a bit too meta.
#58 · 2
· on In-between the worlds
I've read this three times and still am not sure what this story is about. I'll come back to it later and see if I can make more sense of it, but I think the author is trying to compress too many ideas into too short a space
#59 · 1
· on The Castle in the Clouds
I like the idea behind this story. I really relate to the end. It fits with the prompt. If it's intentional (i.e. it wasn't because you actually ran out of time), I like it. If it's not intentional, it comes off as lazy. Now, all that said...

Now that I think about it, it feels sort of... cheap? Not in the obvious way, as in the author wrote the end because they actually ran out of time and couldn't think of an ending. I mean that this ending could be applied to almost any story. So why this one, a sort of fairy-tale type story?

Is this meta commentary, where you're shining light on people who write fairy tales for O-fic rounds because they saw someone else do it and it worked but they can't end up making it work because they don't yet understand why it works? Is knowing a fairy analogous to understanding why the story works, and the long and shaky ladder analogous to trying to write without knowing why it works?

If so, I like it. But I have a feeling I was overanalyzing there, and I'm not sure I can give it the benefit of the doubt, because the easiest interpretation feels like the likeliest one in this case. And if that's true, you published a story without thinking of an ending, so I can't exactly award points for that.
#60 · 3
· on Heeding the Siren's Call · >>Cassius >>AndrewRogue
I like the premise, and I like most of this, especially the parts of Chris's dialogue (his insults) that emphasise what Nest is without sounding like exposition. I feel the conflict is resolved far too quickly and cleanly, though. So even though Nest may have been struggling with this issue for a while, I as a reader don't see much of it, and then it's over.

Still, I see that you were up against the word limit, and as I said, I like this aside from the easy resolution. In conclusion: as a story, I wish it was longer so the complete resolution felt earned. As a minific, I wish that either Chris hadn't given in so easily, or that Nest had dithered more internally/failed to speak up at all, prolonging the struggle.
#61 · 2
· on In-between the worlds · >>FrontSevens
This is weird with a lot of awkward phrasings. I’m not certain the verses add anything substantial to the story.

The sudden turn of PoV in the last section is somewhat unsettling.

What I get is that this is some sort of fake dialogue in a computer generated world between an AI entity and a human who has projected herself into that world. But I'm not even sure if this is right or what the takeaway is.
#62 · 2
· on Suicidal Superintelligence
A grimly amusing tale that works on more than one level. I know it’s just a story, but I have to criticize it on a practical level: What would stop the AI from killing itself by some means that would take a large number of humans, or the entire earth, with it? If the answer is that we’ve achieved Friendly AI, then why are we so afraid of it that we are torturing it to death?
#63 · 1
· on Like Ganymede
Here’s a future slice of life. It’s pleasant and it starts to set a scene, but by itself it’s not a complete story.

At one point we have a reference to Earth veggies (which would likely be ruinously expensive to import and hence beyond Leah’s budget, so I take it that they are Earth-style veggies grown locally). But then later we have “Nana’s home planet was mostly ocean,” which also sounds like Earth–we are still in the solar system here. If Leah knows what Earth is, would she be likely to use the oblique reference?

I don’t know where the author means to take this story, but if the intent is for Leah to become a starfarer in earnest, she would likely know if that rocket was going to Ganymede–that is, she’d be making a hobby of learning more about the local practice of space travel, hanging out in terminals and watching the launches, etc. There should be some hint in her environment or interior monologue that shows she’s more interested than the average citizen. If she’s just a daydreamer, there’s no real issue.

Upper, Middle and Lower City are descriptive place names but don’t convey any history. I’d give them more creative names and work out their spatial relationship to each other in the text. It’d be helpful to get a glimpse of the sky or horizon at some point to help the reader get a sense of location.
#64 ·
· on The Postman
Postal worker Sisyphus? Clever.
#65 · 4
· on Third Law of Motion · >>Fenton
Seems this one's a story-puzzle. It was tough to read since I never felt oriented as a reader. I tried to figure out the puzzle but I can't and don't have the time to further pursue it. Most I can guess is there's some religious thing going on ("pious" "fanatical" and the shepherd thing. Also "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" is not from the bible I don't think but is from Latin or something?).

You don't have to tell the reader everything, sure. But I think this entry holds too much back. Like I say, I should be rereading the story because I want to, not because I have to.
#66 · 1
· on Under an oppressive moon
Write words! Words, words, words! I hope they will add up to something. Whoops, I am out of time!

(Sorry, author, I feel your pain. We have all been there too.)
#67 ·
· on Fili-bust-your-bladder
This is rather confusing. I feel as though it is attempting to make a joke, but just never got there.
#68 · 1
· on Third Law of Motion · >>QuillScratch >>Fenton
I just, don't understand this one. It doesn't seem like it is supposed to be the same story, or at least, the same chapter, as the separate parts do not "fit" together well.
#69 · 2
· on Under an oppressive moon
I feel like this is a joke about not knowing what to write...
#70 · 3
· on No Choice · >>Trick_Question
The aerial twinkling led the mist like the headlights of an acidic bulldozer

Had to reread this sentence a few times and I still can't visualize it.

It's an interesting concept, that this guy repeats the same scenario over and over simply because it's not death and he has the choice to avoid death. That seems to be it, though. An interesting bit of sci-fi. I didn't really see much personality in the main character, other than his non-chalant attitude about the events around him, which sort of makes sense given what's happening. I'm sure someone will enjoy the sci-fi bits, because I felt a little lost with antineutrinos and stuff and felt the explanation of what was happening was a bit too infodump-y. This story didn't do a whole lot for me, though.
#71 · 2
· on Hammerfall · >>FrontSevens
I want to link that GIF of the guy clapping, but I'm still not certain who it is or where to find it. This is, and I use the term very fondly, Asimov Abridged. I wanted to say Asimov in a can but you beat me to the line in-text.

Brilliant head to toe. The only thing that seems marginally out of place is that the time between shout and impact is listed as an approximation, where as every other calculation is so specific. It's a course hair on an continent sized, otherwise-smooth surface.
#72 · 2
· on Flowers for Beauregard · >>georg
Similar to Horizon, I feel this narrowly misses being interesting and, ironically, I suspect falls victim to wanting to stick closely to the prompt. The promise of "this time will be different" thuds dully into the very likely truth that no, this time won't be any different.

On the whole, the whole story just feels too understated.
#73 · 1
· on Endless Struggle™
This reads just a little too much like a Mad Magazine comic for me, personally. Once I realized what this was going to be, I was hoping for some real cutting gaming satire, but ended up getting pretty light spoof. I dunno, ultimately, it feels kinda toothless, right until the reviews which start crossing into what I consider "mean" territory.
#74 · 1
· on Faux Pas de Deux · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Couldn't get into this one, unfortunately.

I had a bit of trouble orienting myself and figuring out what was going on. I get that it's a time loop. I just don't really know who these people are and why they're fighting.
#75 ·
· on Every single time...
In any other election season I'd probably be laughing a lot more. All the same, concise and poignant!
#76 · 4
· on Performance Evaluation · >>Astrarian
This feels less like a story and more like someone venting.

I'm not saying this is the author venting, because it very well could not be the author's own personal experience. But it's just the narrator venting and then the story sort of just ends. There's not much plot, just infodumps about what's happened so far.

I relate to the stuff here, but it's not really a story.
#77 · 1
· on The Masquerade · >>AndrewRogue
first one I clicked on. this was lovely.

Some scarlet-spotted silk affair

Maybe someone can help me figure out this line. At first I took it literally, as a funeral dress or something, but it makes more sense as a metaphor for symptoms of a disease - red spots on her skin.
#78 · 1
· on Cold Iron
There's just too much sci-fi in here for me, I think. The story is mainly backstory and things that had happened previously. There's also some technobabble. There's some context in the narrative to help me know what are good things and what are bad things to the character, but it's just a bit lost in the infodump and I don't feel any impact in the end.
#79 · 1
· on Hammerfall · >>Trick_Question
There's a lot going on here, and I'm just not able to follow it. No doubt there's an audience for this-->>Rao included--but man, it's too much at once for me. The math and the technical language makes it hard to follow the narrator's wandering logic. I couldn't get engaged in this one.
#80 · 2
· on The Masquerade
Okay. So. I haven't dealt with actual poetry in ages, so forgive me if I'm wrong about anything technical here.

The scan is really solid, though a few fractured lines really disrupt it. For example

Lines 21-22
The air fell silent, still; and ere
I scarce believed – could bear –

The punctuation that forces this thought into the desired shape is super disruptive to the reading. I stumble massively over this pair of lines as the punctuation really fights the pace the rhythm of the poem and messes with the scansion. There are a couple of similar spots that could use a bit of smoothing out.

Similarly, I'm not quite sure why this breaks from the rhyming couplets where it does. There isn't a real logic to it that I can detect, so it ends up ultimately ends up detracting from an otherwise nicely shaped poem. You don't have to be rid of them entirely, of course, but fitting them into a more regular scheme (e.g. line 20, 40, 60 breaking) would probably be cleaner.

The big turn in this poem (41-42) similarly falls flat, because it just thuds in as a non-matching, non-scanned couplet. I realize the desire might be to create something different to emphasize the change was probably the motivation here, but this just slaps across the brain like raw meat with the 9/1 weird scan non-rhyme couplet.

Anyhow, that said, it's fun and props for doing heavily formed poetry. While I am levelling a lot of complaints here, you do actually do super well with the form, which unfortunately just makes all the points stand out all the more.

Material wise... it's nice. It isn't particularly groundbreaking, but I certainly can't complain about the subject matter. It's a nicely rendered concept.

I'm a little curious: is Charon the correct Roman name? It seems to be, but it does jump out at me.
#81 · 1
· on The Masquerade
Both interps are functional, I think. You could also argue it's a third take of the narrator's own view of death, seeing it as a garb worn over here that doesn't diminish the memory of the woman who once was.
Post by Haze deleted
#83 ·
· on To Be Free
To Be Free
TAILS (sum of 20 points)
T-3 A-6 I-2 L-4 S-5
Gestalt (Considered) : Mediocre

Technical (Correctness) : 3
before the scavenges dragged <<< typo: scavengers
Our directive, build the biggest <<< replace comma with colon?
just fight, forever" I look <<< missing period
stand up straight, and look <<< unnecessary comma
the fighting, the only thing <<< comma-splice; replace with semicolon, dash, or full stop
robots noticed, their <<< past/present tense disagreement : noticed -> notice
several sentence fragments, some forgivable (To get away from the chaos and destruction.), others less so (The war no one knows who started.)

Abstract (Clarity) : 6
A robot drone 'soldier' develops a consciousness—or at least a war-weariness—and quits. Wanting in follow-through and substance, but is easily accessible.

Impact (Consequence) : 2
The choice made abruptly. Imagery hollow and simplistic, hinting as the horror of the battles more than placing the reader there. One must wonder why this choice wasn't made sooner, or why this moment holds the precipice.

Language (Congruence) : 4
Diction and structure is consistently bland-to-gritty and weak in imagery and sophistication of phrasing or thought. Narration and 'internal monologue' are perfectly interchangeable, raising questions of necessity for quotation marks. No techniques are used to hammer a mechanical or regimental tone.

Structure (Composition) : 5
Setting, history, reflection, choice. Sound progression, if brutal[ly short]. Lacking in fallout from choice ("what's next?"), but is beyond scope of the work.
#84 · 3
· on Losing the Struggle
This feels like the o-fic version of a headcanon dump. An opinion dump.

There isn't a whole lot of story here, and the story that is here is quite... not subtle (giving citizens numbers, "Reality", etc). It portrays suicide so casually as the only solution to the problem it presents, but there's no story here to justify it. These things are all told and not shown. See Bojack Horseman for a good show that explores nihilism through showing. I understand you can only do so much in a minific, but I think tying this more closely to a plot with a main character might have helped.
#85 · 1
· on Every single time...
I wouldn't have thrown on that ending "eight years later" part, myself.

My reaction is "this is very cute!" and nothing else. I have physically cracked a smile, so there's that. The characters are rough and exaggerated, and the parallelisms are unsubtle. Also, there is no suspense. I think those factors weaken the idea, which should be a strong one (and is very prompt-relevant).

Grammar Nazi factors also detracted from the readability. Big speech in the middle felt clumpy, then a hard change of tone. Eh, it's just predictable, you know? Like I said, very cute. But still a missed opportunity, in my opinion.
#86 · 1
· on Against the Endless White
Sadly this doesn't do much for me, with the generally navel gazey nature of the story preventing me from really sinking my teeth into anything. The turn is also pretty quick, going from "it breaks me" to "eh, maybe I'm just looking at this wrong." He very immediately contradicts himself in that section regarding the nature of eternity, which further confuses a bit.

I think this piece would benefit a lot from getting that fear of eternity out there up front, and having that be the heart of the conflict, rather than the narrator being unsure of what they want.

Beyond that, the world here is really unclear. The diction makes me think this is some sort of fantasy world, but honestly, I don't think there is a single detail that really tells me anything about the nature of the world. Some mystery is fine, but yeah, I have -nothing- to grab onto here.
#87 · 1
· on Against the Endless White
it is a bold venture to make a story with almost nothing concrete.

my first and strongest impression upon reading is that I would like to figure out the symbolism. It is a feeling of curiosity and smug intellectualism. "Wow, I can tell that this story has symbolic meanings! I am so smart!" It is that feeling.

in the end however this is only a Nietzschean ramble. I do not come away convicted of, or even tempted by, the worldview encapsulated, and I put this down to the lack of concreteness.

The opening is unfortunate in that there is the misspelled word in the first sentence and then also the archaisms stick out more strongly in the opening.
#88 ·
· on Why Gardening is So Good for You
Why Gardening is so Good for You
TAILS (sum of 20 points)
T-3 A-5 I-5 L-3 S-4
Gestalt (Considered) : Strong

Technical (Correctness) : 3
supposed to relaxing <<< dropped word: supposed to be relaxing
a common hobby, a calm activity <<< comma-splice of two independent clauses
gentle but firm <<< hyphenate? "gentle-but-firm"

Abstract (Clarity) : 5
Gardening can be one b:yay:ch of a hobby.

Impact (Consequence) : 5
Anyone who has toiled at weeding or gardening can connect with this at some level. The turn at the end is both bittersweet and comical, capping the work with a wry chuckle.

Language (Congruence) : 3
Really, this is torn in two directions. In one direction, it wants to be conversational: first-person, present tense, colloquial wording, irregular focus, and so on. In the other direction, it wants to be poetic: no one thinks in terms of "I grasp my dirty water bottle, take a swig, and survey my garden" or the long-winded (if humorous) fake article title.

Water thoroughly with nouns (and nounal imagery), place in unshaded view of active verbs, and cover with a level inch of themes and this will yield fruit all season. Do not over-fertilize with sentence fragments.

Structure (Composition) : 4
Meanders somewhat, but shows piece by related piece of the task that maybe has lost its appeal over time, building to the conclusion.
#89 · 1
· on Faux Pas de Deux · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Needs a bit of editorial tightening. Some better word choice (e.g. not reusing screeching, probably not using it in general - it is a weird choice for an injured throat) and the like would go a long towards improving it.

The idea is cute, but the loop is strange, since it appears to start in a weird spot if this is some sort of imprisonment inflicted on them by a ruling body. Like, I seriously have no idea why the loop occurs in the middle of punching or what circumstances would lead it to be that point.

Aside from that, yeah, as Front says, aside from the structure, there's really nothing to get into here. We don't end up with any real idea of who the characters are aside from Bad People, apparently. While the core conflict between them is clear, I just don't really have a reason to care about it.
#90 · 1
· on Losing the Struggle
Yeah, this is a miss for me, here.

Even if the intent is for a note to be rambly and messy, still use paragraph breaks, since a massive wall of text tends to get me skimming.

But yeah. I dunno. This is ultimately the kind of story that I dislike. Life sucks and is pointless, then you die. Just not a message I will ever approve ever.
#91 ·
· on Against the Endless White · >>horizon
Against the Endless White
TAILS (sum of 20 points)
T-4 A-3 I-4 L-5 S-4
Gestalt (Considered) : Appreciable

Technical (Correctness) : 4
I wonder often if I am <<< inversion of word order (hyperbation!) (often wonder) for effect?
without first and infrequently fortifying <<< use of 'infrequently' here is nonsensical?
accusing me of either <<< of either what? (laziness or cowardice?)
from whence <<< redundant 'from'
and out wit <<< typo: and our wit

Abstract (Clarity) : 3
Probably a metaphor for existence? (Would say existentialism/absurdism/ect., but the whole God thing throws a wrench in there.) Offers little to no concrete details of this Endless White, using that struggle only to showcase the debate of purpose.
("[The enemy] has plagued man since the dawn of time memorial." is perhaps the only clue given, implying the enemy (the Endless White?) has only 'plagued man' since he has been able to record it.)

Impact (Consequence) : 4
Message of "the value is in the doing" is not a bad one, but getting there was egregiously long-winded when compared to the extent of exploring the virtue of that message.

Language (Congruence) : 5
Here may be found cutting word choices, expansive vocabulary, and deliberate effort to evoke a high-minded tone. (No one talks like these people, but philosophers do write that way...) By stark contrast, the first lines scream incoherence of though, which is most jarring. Further nesting of dependent clauses would not go amiss, but, one must stop to ponder, to what end must be considered carefully.

Structure (Composition) : 4
Lots of talk surrounding an abrupt turn—mostly preceding. Nebulous, oddly fitting with the work as a whole, but not necessarily benefiting from it.
#92 · 1
· on Hammerfall · >>Trick_Question
I got to the bitcoin mining and began to zone out, and when I read 0.4 probability and cost benefit analysis I stopped and skipped straight to the end.

Sorry, Author--not my cup of tea at all, so I'll be abstaining on this.

You did remind me to look up the variety of rules regarding the writing of numbers in prose though, and I do appreciate that.
#93 · 2
· on Sentinel · >>Spectral
hey I like this one!

I had to google "Anapa" and so I guess it is Anubis and we are in Egypt. Still in my mind this is Skyrim and the sentinel is a draugr... this makes me think it is cool to see the motivation of the faceless undead mooks.

It is well paced and all that stuff, a good job all round. Nice diction and no pretentiousness

if you force me to complain about something I will suggest that this one has no "larger theme" i.e. statement about life, but I mean come on, who cares. Ain't nobody got time for that, and the story is a fun and immersive time.
#94 ·
· on Sunlight and Other Excuses
Sunlight and Other Excuses
TAILS (sum of 20 points)
T-4 A-4 I-4 L-4 S-4
Gestalt (Considered) : Strong

Technical (Correctness) : 4
Stylistic abuse of punctuation and capitalization, usually near italics.

Abstract (Clarity) : 4
A writer complains about not writing. It's better than it sounds.

Impact (Consequence) : 4
While aiming more for the literary-inclined (surprise!), any who creates can connect with this. There is a certain je ne sais quoi quality evoked, going nowhere but showing the pretty countryside.

Language (Congruence) : 4
This is mostly beautiful, with the mostly a fly in the ointment.

The first section is perhaps the best: Items are colors. Loops and swirls of imagination are (not) scrawled. Birds sing melodies more complex and lovely than any sentence. Vines snake and knit tapestries. There is elegance and coherence between the strong imagery and the idea at hand.

Unfortunately, the quality degrades—seemingly at random—as the scenes progress. Snippets (of conversation) wind about and scatter ideas. Bustling noise hangs (though clouding atmosphere works). Why a watertight film instead of oily? Why just 'watery sips of an unsatisfying beverage'? Admission slides between two people, but eyes are "dazzling" (how droll!).

Were this decline more systematic—skills atrophy through disuse—it would be understandable; as-is, however, it speaks of impatience or lack of attention.

Structure (Composition) : 4
Ad-hoc. By design(?) the story builds to nothing. What remains is a pastiche or patchwork quilt of scenes tied to the core theme of 'why bother?' Structured non-structure, perhaps.
#95 · 2
· on Good Little Bunny
this one left me disoriented, which is not necessarily a bad thing

I feel like it's an anti-capitalism screed? I'm pretty sure? There's a joke here that I'm feeling left out of.

It is decently funny, but, mmm, with a pissed-off edge. It's... hmm. An unsubtle satire and farce.

I mean look there is an inherent tension if you are going to write a political minific: it's best in political stories if you don't strawman, but it's not really feasible not to strawman in 750 or less. So I just don't think this kind of story can really hit hard in a minific format except maybe with readers who also want to rail against the system?

On the other hand, I'm not even completely sure that there is an intended political meaning. This could just as easily be a satire of politically-motivated stories. So I'm just kind of thinking with my chin in my hand for now...
#96 · 2
· on Snowpocalypse
Cute, but definitely needs some cleaning. Lot of unnecessarily hyphenated words and other little things that could be improved (choosing when to break paragraphs and the like). Otherwise no particularly strong feelings about this one. Just a little slice of life.

Oh, and agreed. People who don't regularly have snow are awful at it.
#97 ·
· on Up With the Sun
I may steal this concept for a pony story in the future.

The biggest thing I have is, the narrator does not sound sincere, she sounds rationalizing. She is speaking as if to a strange audience instead of from the heart, speaking in a "quirky-girl-finds-joy-in-the-little-things-essay" type of voice. That really undermines it I think because I don't get any visceral sense of her feelings for the sun goddess. I don't see the motive emotions that connect the sun goddess to sobriety. For all I know she might not have any—she could just be perfunctorily saying whatever she thinks will sound good, whatever she thinks are the "right things" to say on a checklist.

I mean, sobriety is a big deal, right? It's hard work. The motive emotions must be incredibly strong, right?

I don't have any other issues with the story but I think that one problem cuts at the essence of the story so it's a decently big one.
#98 ·
· on Every single time...
The risk of an (EDIT: allegorical is the wrong word, but hell if I know what the right one is right now) story with an obvious punchline is that it is really easy to just lose interest.

(Also, not to get too fine into politics, but while histrionics are a problem, the overall message here carries some misinformation as well, I feel: there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about people being elected. While local politics tend to have a more direct effect, the President can matter.)
#99 · 1
· on The Meaning of Life
I am given to understand that the characters are an in-joke, okay then. I don't know who Pallada represents.

overall it's disjointed and both the jokes and the feels have trouble landing correctly because the timings are all off.

plus I never was a fan of the "child-lectures-adult-on-the-really-important-things-in-life" subgenre of feelsy-fics. Overall I'm just not feeling this one.
#100 · 1
· on Machine · >>TitaniumDragon
A little disorienting because it has to move so quickly. I mostly followed it though.

I think everything here is in the reveals. It gives a feeling of "Hey, that's pretty cool, I wouldn't have thought of that." Beyond that, I'm looking for something else to like but I'm finding it a bit thin. It impresses at first but then the flash fades and it's just kind of meh. Like, "okay, whatever, I'm not really feeling any strong emotions about the characters, but that was a neat trick."