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One Shot · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 11
· · >>horizon
“Hello and welcome to Radio Writeoff! I am Calamus Squeak—”
“And I’m OnTheBrim!”
“Today we’ve decided to interview a few writeoff regulars to ask them how they feel about the round which starts off now. Oh gosh I’m so excited about it!”
“Yeah, me too. But let me begin by repeating that this is a minific original fiction round. So 750 words tops and no pony!”
“That's right. You can even write 750 words on how to rightly place a comma in a sentence. So cool!”
“Wow, that looks exciting for sure. That would made for a future top contender—”
“—and the complex and intimate relationship between commas and semicolons! Their interplay, their mating dance as the words deftly and gingerly take their proper position around them, the subtle sound—”
“Okay, okay. I think we got the drift of it. Time to begin with our first guest, BudsRelistener. Hey Buds!”
“Hi there Brimstone!”
“Heh. So what’s your feeling about this new Writeoff Buds?”
“Eh? Why's that?”
“Skyline will win again, and I'll finish in the dregs.”
“Skyline always wins OF mini, eh?”
“Skyline is a fucking good writer, yeah. A bloody bastard, but I love him.”
“By the way, he's accepted to join us. Skyline?”
“Yeah? Who's this?”
“It's OnTheBrim. Remember you've accepted to say a few words about this new writeoff, right?”
“Uh. Yeah. I mean—maybe.”
“What's up? You not feeling right?”
"Yeah. I mean… My sleep schedule is fucked.”
“How so?”
“I kept looking for my car all yesterday.”
“Gosh. What happened?”
“Well, I got out with the intention of running an errand but my car wasn't where I'd parked it the night before anymore. Or anyplace else.”
“You called the cops?”
“Yeah, did that and had to walk all day.”
“Did they found it?”
“Well… err… yes and no.”
“Turned out my car was in the garage. I'd forgotten I'd parked it inside.”
“… Okay… I see. So, anything to tell us?”
“Well, not really. I'm not sure I'll enter. Maybe I'll have time to snatch something of low quality in the last five minutes. I can definitely put up with the bronze this round. Anyways… Yeah. Good luck to Gold for the silver!”
“Oh yeah. Gold for Chavez are you with us?”
“Hey team!”
“How do you feel about that new round?”
“Tough competition expected.”
“You say that each time, but you still manage to get well ahead of the pack. What's your secret?”
“Writing, then writing again and on top of that more writing.”
“I feel we should create a platinum medal especially for you.”
“Don't! Besides, Skyline is ahead of me in the scoreboard.”
“That's true, but it's sorta dead heat. You'd both definitely be eligible to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gold.”
“My pleasure and viva la revolucion!”
"Man, sometimes I imagine Gold as an explorer putting down his memories, much like Colombus. Speaking of which, Calamus, you know how they call Colombus in Spanish, don't you?”
“Oh my god such a gorgeous name! Was his travel punctuated with ellipses as he dashed forward to America?”
“Well I guess that's for you to find out, as elaborating into that fascinating question would drive us into too long a tangent. Next guest is Éclair au Chocolat. Hey Éclair!”
“Speaking. Yes?”
“So how do you feel about the next writeoff.”
“Like a brick. I don't feel. I merely passively register.”
“You know winter has passed, right? Time to shuck that meme off!”
“Bricks disregard seasons. They endure in spring and summer alike. Now I feel like a brick in spring.”
“And what a brick in spring feels like?”
“I don't know. I haven't thought about it yet.”
“But bricks don't think!”
“Who knows? Maybe there are sapient bricks? Maybe they all think but they just can't reach out to us? Maybe… Wow that would made for such a good prompt: ‘Like a Sapient Brick’.”
“Hum, okay… And I suppose if you use sapient bricks you can't complain walls have ears, eh?”
“Wow. Such another good prompt ‘Walls Have Ears’.”
“You know it's a single prompt per entrant. So you'll have to choose.”
“Yeah, I guess I'll toss a brick to decide…”
“Right, good idea, and don't break a window. Last guest is Marett. Hello Marett!”
“Hell… oh! giggles
“Ahem. How do you feel about this writeoff?”
“All wright off course! giggles
“Right-o… I think we're running out of time. This is Radio Writeoff signing off. Good luck to all!”
#2 · 1
I'm too tired to match the names to the Radio'ers. Good luck on your prompts getting in!
#3 · 6
· · >>horizon >>Spectral
Y'know, the previous thirty-seven times somepony submitted it as a prompt, Ot wasn't funny. But this time it's hilarious!

#4 · 1
· · >>horizon >>georg >>Cold in Gardez >>Trick_Question
Finding my car in the garage was the third weirdest thing to happen to me that day.

The second was finding out that the thief had left a freshly written, gold-medal-worthy minific on the driver's seat.

The first was realizing that I had accidentally found my car two days early, so I couldn't enter the story into the competition. :V

Seriously though, I'm sitting this one out. I'm staffing a convention this weekend and most likely won't have the free time, but actually that wasn't what drove my decision. I'm so ruinously overdue on posting Time Enough For Love that I'm sticking myself in the penalty box and forcing myself to use my writing/commenting time here for story editing instead. I won't even be checking the thread unless someone tags me (>>horizon).

See you all in the short-story round! (Current plan is to skip the MLP minific too, for the same reason, and because I like writing short stories more anyway.)
#5 · 1
· · >>horizon
>>horizon Tag! (Just kidding. You may now return to your regularly scheduled activity, already in progress)

Original minific. 400 words. On ot. Yeah, I could do that.
#6 · 7
>>Trick_Question >>georg
I will change my mind and commit to entering on one condition: if Ot wins the prompt voting. ;)

I am *so* going to regret this joke if it somehow wins
#7 · 1
· · >>The_Letter_J
Someone please explain what Ot means. I never learned, and I've been afraid of asking.
#8 · 3
· · >>Monokeras >>GroaningGreyAgony
A combination of a typo and accidentally​ hitting the submit button resulted in "Ot" being on the prompt list once. Everyone immediately realized this was hilarious, and it has since been submitted most rounds, to the continued amusement of all.
#9 · 3
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
to the continued amusement of all.

Bemusement would be more correct.
#10 · 6
· · >>Monokeras
>>The_Letter_J, >>Monokeras

It’s a ‘ot topic, I see
#11 · 2
Of OTter importance indeed!
#12 · 3
· · >>Stupidhand14 >>Kritten >>Trick_Question
I just realized this'll be on the same day as Season 7 premiere
#13 ·
... *sigh* Writing or watching the episode 20 times... choices...
#14 ·
thanks for reminding me
#15 ·
Another contest approaches. And hey, I might be able to participate in this one.
#16 · 6

I'm suing
#17 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Oh heck. If Ot wins, I'll do this one too. And I don't do genfic rounds!

(Note that this may serve as motivation not to let Ot win)
#18 · 5
There are some interesting prompt here, even if I have already seen the half of them.

I swear, if Ot wins, I'm gonna submit 10 entries with a typo on EACH word.
#19 · 1
· · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question

Christ, you haven't posted Time Enough for Love yet?
#20 · 1
Well crap. I'm going to be hosting a party all day tomorrow for the S7 opener.

>>Cold in Gardez
I know, right?! That story is my favorite from all the Writeoffs! :raritydespair:
#21 · 6
· · >>Monokeras
>>Cold in Gardez
Also don't call horizon Christ. It's true his ego could use a boost, but not THAT much of one.
#22 · 7
· · >>Hagdal Hohensalza
Besides calling somebody Christ on Good Friday is somewhat ominous.

Unless you want to nail it.
#23 · 4
· · >>Monokeras

Careful, now. That sort of humor can make some folken a bit cross.
#24 · 1
>>Hagdal Hohensalza
I hope your real name is not Brad :P
#25 · 4
This weekend is actually pretty free for me in the first time in a while. I've been thinking of trying to write a basic story idea for every prompt both as a challenge and because I'm rather bored, so I'll be hoping to post those in here after all the voting is done. I'm seeing a lot of prompts that could be neat to write about, so here's hoping we don't get Ot! I'm excited for the result!
#26 ·
"One Shot," huh?

Alrighty. I can do something with that.

Good luck, everybody!
#27 · 4
I wanna do the right thing
I wanna be the ONE SHOT
I wanna have my mind straight
I wanna have my point got

I wanna be a good man
I wanna have my act down
I wanna be the future
And I wanna be right now

Sometimes I feel like I can change the world
But I don't know where to start
I dig and come up empty
Clutching an empty heart

*trumpet solo*
Post by Shadowed_Song , deleted
#29 · 10
> prompt isn't Ot


> prompt is Onesh Ot


(Back to the con. Have a fun round!)
#30 · 7
Identity Loss, Missed Connections, Nth Time’s the Charm. One Shot-ot!

On The Air, The World in Sync with the Music. The Perfect Present. Perspective Influences the Design.

Best Kept Secret: William Antonelli Is a Fraud While The Cat’s Away. Unequal Exchange. The Egg’s on Your Face! It’s Not Your Fault We’re All Screwed, Kinda. The Wages of Error Are Death.

The Man Who Has Everything: A Lever Long Enough, A Blue Shadow, Modern Warfare, Sins Not Tragedies, What Might yet Be!

A Letter to My Future Self: Time to Leave the Nest. Fly Me to the Moon. Sunset, Remembering Home. The Stars in the Distance Harden the Heart.

I’ll Be Back. Going To Try Art and Genocide!

Where Are We? Who Do You Think You Are?

The Revolutionary!

If Walls Could Talk, Running at the Mouth… That’s impossible!

And Then, Things Got Worse…

Not Again!

Welp, There Goes the Round.
#31 · 4
All my available time--about four hours--yields five disjointed stanzas of iambic septameter. Curious experiment, but my hat is not to be in this ring. Here's to some piercing reviews, maybe. Good luck, everyone!
#32 · 3
Well self, looks like we're saved from the scourge of Ot.

Until next time...
#33 · 6
I'm in. First time I've submitted to an original fiction or a minific round.
#34 · 7
BWHAHAHAHA I did not see that one coming!
I only submitted the One Shot promp 'cuz that's the name of the game that made me bawl my eyes out last weekend. I dont even have any real ideas for my own prompt! Good job, me.
#35 · 3
I am in!
#36 · 7
Aaaand, done. Now, if only the warm glow of a job well done wasn't so strongly offset by the cold spikes of apprehension at the possibility of a job poorly done.
#37 · 5
Well, one story remains in the trash no matter how I attempt to dress it up. At least it served it's purpose on specifically what not to do when writing a story, no matter it's length.

Hope to have fun.
#38 · 5
Oh boy, just barely made the submission.

I am so going to get destroyed this round! Heh
#39 · 4
Welp. This was a stupid story idea.

But hey, it's in now.
#40 · 5
And done.

I'm deeply sorry for this one.
#41 · 5
. . . Ugh.

I really like my story idea. I really do not like the resulting story I wrote.

Eh, frell it. At least I submitted something.

Good night, and good luck.
#42 ·
· on One Shot, One Heart
I was relieved that this wasn't the story of a sniper. Good job, you took me by surprise.
A cute and funny little story.

Small nitpick.
Hopefully at school at least I'd be treated like a normal person.

A bit awkaward here for me. Think about putting some commas or change the place of some words.
#43 ·
· on Vaccine
Solid comedy throughout the whole story, never running dry and always adding something new.

I wish to be that optimistic and I usually disregard that kind of speech but here, delevired by the four Apocalypse Horsemen, it worked perfectly and I laughed more than once.

Very good job.

‘with strange aeons even Death may die.’

I expected some quotes from the Bible, not from Lovecraft but it works even better.

Small nitpick
that Malthus guy’s preaching

I didn't know that guy. A quick search gave me the answer and normally, I wouldn't point it out in a longer story but since it's a very short one and every words count, consider not making references to things that readers won't know. (I might be just dumb though)
#44 ·
· on Fridge · >>Garnot
Okay. Well. Um.....

I totally don't get this one. O.o

Is this some sort of pop culture reference I'm simply oblivious to? Because I am totally lost here.

I'll keep an eye out for other reviews on this one. Maybe someone else can explain it to me...
#45 ·
· on The Panopticon
Ooooh. the Stanford Prison Experiment as a corporate model... Very interesting, and very dark. thumbs up!
#46 · 1
· on Off the Top · >>AndrewRogue
I can't tell if this is supposed to be dark, a comedy, or a dark comedy... but I love it.
#47 ·
· on A Journey in the Dark · >>Monokeras
Well. That ending.

Dialogue-only is an uncommon choice, and one that I'm not entirely sure was necessary - you only ended at 563 words, so you had plenty of room to throw in the occasional bit of narration, and it should have been possible to add without spoiling the end.

Punctuation might seem an odd thing to complain about in a dialogue-only story, but it seems to me that you're missing a number of commas. None that really took me out of the story, but it's a thing to be aware of.

Despite those complaints, I thought this was an entertaining little story. The interaction between the two characters in the first section was well done, and the ending does a good job of recontextualizing what came before.
#48 · 1
· on Redundancy
There are good points in this story, the premise is excellent and the idea of redundancy is vast enough to explore.

However, there are some flaws in the execution. They aren't huge, just small flaws but they add to each others and I'm afraid they harmed the story too much. Let's try to cover them.

First, this quote:
my client and friend, Anne,

I noticed this during my second reading. For the rest of the story, I thought that Anne was just a client, especially because the narrator doesn't really show his feelings. He seems neutral before Anne's illness so I don't really what to do with this information. Does the narrator doesn't express emotions because he tries to hide them or doesn't he just really care for her anymore?

Second, the comment.
There's that nasty fact we don't want to face: we're redundant, too. We often take pride in individuality, and cherish being unique, but the truth is that there are more than enough humans to continue the civilized world, and that's what really matters in the long run. We are always passing the torch and there is always someone there to take it.

This is an interesting comment on humankind and life. However, it felt like a statement, it isn't really tied to the narrator's journey, nor his emotions. It's just kinda there and thus, the impact is weakened.

Third, the action.
The narrator isn't doing anything. It isn't usually a problem, there are many great stories without any action, but here, for me, it harms the theme you have chosen because, with the word redundancy comes the word repetition, and I was kinda expecting the narrator to repeat some actions.

Fourth, the time frame.
The story starts with the narrator in his home in the present. But after two shorts paragraphs, more than half of the story is just telling us what happened.
So I have the old file server, a little black box on a shelf.

It's only with this sentence that we go back to the present.
Once again, I'm not saying that building a story around time frames switching is a bad idea in itself but here, I think the balance between the present and the past isn't, well, balanced.

And fifth, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with these two quotes.
It's not a life I can live for her. I have my own, and we all only get one. I won't spend mine in listening to her music and reading her words and trying to rebuild part of her soul in my own mind. But I still haven't wiped her data from the file server.

Anne doesn't care about any of this, now. She has lost the ability. I still do care, for what it's worth.

For the first quote, I understand why the narrator doesn't want to relive Anna's life but the second one makes me wonder what does it has to do with redundancy. If he had relive Anna's life, I would have got it. If he would have simply erased the data, I would have still got it (it would have been a much darker take on the idea).
But here, I just don't understand why he's keeping the data. Does he feel bad for not having been here for his friend (see first point)? Does he feel that he actually has the power to erase the last shred of Anna's existence and that's something too big for him?

To sum up, the story falls short from being great because of these small flaws and I'm pretty sure that with only few additions here and there, it could shine brighter. I'm also afraid that the words count didn't play in its favor. Trying to contain a big idea in such a small space isn't easy but this story still managed to convey the main part. It's around the edges that there is a problem.

Anyway, I hope my review didn't sound harsh, author, because despite what I've said, the story was still enjoyable.
#49 ·
· on The Picture · >>Fenton
This is a nice little story. Of course the trope is not new, nor does this story add anything remarkable to it. But it’s pretty efficient in its brevity, and the awkwardness of the cashier scene is adequately conveyed. Doesn't shoot for the stars, but what it does, it does it well.

My only gripe would be its obvious sappiness. But that's a personal matter.
#50 · 1
· on A Man is Dead · >>Fenton
I don’t have much to say here. The story is short and straightforward and the conflict simple (if not simplistic). I don’t think you have reached the 750 words you were entitled to here, so I think you could have used more words to beef up your story.

Even for a minific, this feel much more like a backbone than a full-fleshed story.
#51 · 1
· on From Above · >>Ranmilia >>Misternick
There's a general clunkiness in the writing. Sentences are sometimes ponderous, sometimes redundant, sometimes on the brink of grammatical incorrectness such as: “The sea of local faces had lessened as the day wore on, most of who were at work or school.”

The story tackles the “one gunshot” take on the prompt in a fairly square way. I wish we learnt why this particular guy is targeted for termination. While we do have fairly low information on that point, we do have a passel of long winded sentences about some aspects that add nothing to our comprehension of the plot.

Frankly, the end didn't make much sense to me, unless that's some mob slang I'm unfamiliar with.
#52 ·
· on From That Day Forth, God's Hand Was Orange
On first reading the title, my mind immediately went to the idea of God eating Cheetos.

What we actually got, um, I'm not really sure. On the upside, the prose is pretty. The words have a nice meter and flow, and the scenes they paint are vivid. What the scenes actually are, though, I'm afraid I just don't follow. Maybe there's some meta or another layer of symbolism that I'm not getting.

I'm not particularly well versed in literature, but I can't help but wonder if the author wasn't influenced by Bad Horse's recent post on modernism.

Color me confused.
#53 ·
· on Tidying up
This kept adding new elements, which made it feel super unfocused, and had the ending come totally out-of-left-field. This might be better if it was more succinct or longer, but it felt confused and campy to me.
#54 · 1
· on Off the Top · >>AndrewRogue
"Sorrow's Council"? "Hiemsurb"? Are you capturing Writeoffers and sealing their souls in cards here? :P ...or, is this a meta-commentary on 'writeoffs used to be more fun'? This feels like it wants to be comedy, like Yu-Gi-Oh abridged or something, but I think it's playing things too straight for that. Not that that can't work, but this feels like it's caught between being a drama and a comedy.

EDIT: Story references I noticed:

Donal's cards:
Sorrow's Council - Not_A_Hat - A Word of Warning
Agent of a Foreign Power - Cold in Gardez - Staring Into the Abyss

Reynard's Cards:
Hiemsurb - Anonymous - That Winter Feeling
Noblesse Oblige - Baal Bunny - Has That Always Been There?
Crepuscular - Xephyr - The Twilight Zone
The Path - Novel Idea - Rising From the Ashes

Also, google says Caorthannach is from Irish folklore. Also also, Reynard means fox, and he plays Vixens. Plusalso, I'd team up with CiG any day. Although if he's been sealed in a card, the only logical explanation is that Horizon is the bad guy. :P
#55 ·
· on Theodicy
This is wonderfully weird, but didn't really hook me with meaningful conflict until the 'justice' line - at which point it was basically over, and the ending felt fairly plain. Great worldbuilding, but this seemed either too opaque or too transparent by turns.
#56 · 2
· on White Savior Narrative · >>Filler
Several sentences in here felt subtly wrong to me. I feel like I should know who James Ray is, but I don't. Roy/Ray felt needlessly confusing to me; why not call him Guy? Pleasant enough time-travel adventure on the surface. I feel like it's reaching for deeper meaning, but I can't grasp it at all.
#57 ·
· on One Shot, One Heart · >>Orbiting_kettle
Interesting worldbuilding. I'm not sure about the for-money aspect here. (I'm alright with mind-control, but not paid for mind control...?) Still, it didn't totally ruin things for me. I think there's a lot of mileage to be gotten out of a bitter, sarcastic Cupid who criticizes your fashion choices and isn't a very good shot. That being said, this is really very light on the conflict; it feels like a 'here's a neat idea' story, without going any deeper than that. If you make a longer story out of this, let me know.
#58 · 1
· on A Man is Dead · >>Ranmilia >>Fenton
Ehhh… This had some great emotion in it, but I don't like the ambiguity. If he really is guilty, and he pleads guilty, than maybe he's following his heart to stand up for justice. That's cliched, but I can live with it. On the other hand, if he's not guilty and he pleads he is, then this is a man creating a miscarriage of justice in order to assuage his own feelings… and I don't really like that. I can tell how he feels about this, so that's good work, but I can't decide if he's actually guilty. And that's a bit of a problem for me, because In the end, his feelings don't really determine if he's guilty or not. Making the truth vs. his feelings clearer here would make this a lot less frustrating for me.
#59 ·
· on Plug'n'Suicide · >>Kritten
Double smash-cut opening? Hrm. Well, I feel like you're trying to make a point with this, but I'm not sure it's coming across. I did laugh at some of the jokes though. :P
#60 · 2
· on From That Day Forth, God's Hand Was Orange
First thought: aaaaargh second person. :/

Second thought: What the what?

Final thought: Pleasant enough word-salad, I guess, but trying to extract meaning from this feels like looking for cloud shapes. It's mildly entertaining, but it's all fluff and illusion, with no actual form or substance.
#61 ·
· on Elevator
Quintessential elevator pitch? Huh. This works alright as a character piece, but drama/conflict wise, it's very mild. And even as a character piece, it's basically just the one guy; we get very little form the viewpoint character. I didn't even know she was a woman until the purse line, and that was a good ways into the story. Nice work, but sort of lightweight.
#62 ·
· on Fridge · >>Garnot
Talking fridges is a good start. I'm not sure about the slipstreaming going on here; while avoiding infodumping is good, dribbling in details too slowly can sometimes confuse the audience, or leave the continually reacting to the most recent fact, and that makes for a less pleasant reading experience I think. Elder god humans and literal talking oranges? This is interesting, but I feel like the weirdness is sort of underutilized. Drama-wise, this felt fairly tame.
#63 ·
· on Perception and Consonance
Nothing really caught my interest until the line about the dreams. But those are quickly sidelined, and then dismissed, and the story just kinda ends. Character-wise, this is a nice enough piece, but although this feels like it's trying for drama, I think it starts too late, and doesn't carry through enough, possibly because the middle feels unfocused. Each individual piece of this is nice? They just don't feel like they're working together cohesively.
#64 · 3
· on A Journey in the Dark · >>Monokeras

I wasn't sure how I felt about this until I reached the end, and then… it worked. The all dialogue trick is used to good effect here, I think, because it obscures the surroundings without feeling to cheaty. The ridiculousness of the conversation fits with the ridiculous premise. This doesn't feel super original, but it got a snicker out of me, and I'm happy with that.

Oh, and good job fitting the story to the word limit. It's not overly ambitious, but it doesn't feel too long or too short, either.
#65 ·
· on Second Shot Pending
That block of italics is really throwing me off. This does get some explanation at the end, but I don't feel like there's much holding this story together besides weirdness and curiosity. And... well, I can't see any themes in here, but maybe that's just me missing them.
#66 ·
· on The Last Shot · >>MLPmatthewl419
I feel like this is trying for subversion, but it doesn't actually do anything with the subversion? Like, the idea that pranks can compete with actual traps, but then there's a gun is clever, but after it's clever it just sorta fizzles out.

At first I thought this was all dialogue, but now I don't. It's more like… all monologue? And that's a bit odd. It's understandable, and I hope it was interesting as an exercise, but it feels rather artificial to me here.
#67 ·
· on The Great Filter
This seemed like several micro-tragedies. I didn't see a plot thread that connected them; they each basically repeated the same story, without linking/building on each other, and that story didn't really do anything new or surprising each time, just varying the details enough that it wasn't a complete re-hash.

As such, I found it difficult to really care much here. This is competently written, but without relatable drama or conflict or a reason to be sad for the civilizations/planets, I found it difficult to engage. Not even Earth really got me, clinically reported as it was.

Well, the idea of the Great Filter is not exactly new, and this doesn't seem to do anything especially innovative with it... so that didn't really help.

Good craftsmanship, but I think you've undercut yourself pretty hard with the style/content you've chosen here.
#68 · 1
· on Vaccine
This is very Pratchett-esque, and that's totally not a bad thing. I think that 'this is a disaster!' line is a much better hook than the vaccine headlline; switching their positions might be more attention grabbing. The concept was strong and some of the jokes were great, but it just kinda… ends, without really resolving much of anything. Decent open, strong middle, weak end.

Also, I had a pretty good idea who Malthus was, but don't take me as representative. I know all sorts of weird and obscure things, and miss tons of totally common and obvious stuff.
#69 ·
· on One Chance · >>Fenton
...I dun get it.

There were some nice words here, but this is so very abstract that I have no idea what I'm looking at. Best guess: three siblings outside on a cold night.

That's basically all I can concretely say I saw in this story. Something seemed to happen, but what it was and what it meant... I honestly have no idea. I can't even tell if they succeeded or failed in this one chance they were given, and that feels like it's something I should know. I think it's important to the story.
#70 · 1
· · >>Cold in Gardez
Welp, that's my slate+some.

Happy Easter, folks!
#71 · 1
· on White Savior Narrative · >>Not_A_Hat
I didn't understand it at all either, so I looked it up--looks like James Ray assassinated MLK on April 4, 1968.
#72 · 3
· · >>Not_A_Hat

Bonus points to Hat for getting so many reviews done in the first day.
#73 ·
· on White Savior Narrative
>>Filler That makes the story much more sensible.

I googled James Ray, but the top result was some 'motivational speaker' who apparently can't be trusted to operate a sauna.
#74 ·
>>Cold in Gardez
Thanks! :)

Car+Laptop FTW.
#75 ·
· on White Savior Narrative
I guessed the significance, but yeah, I had to look up James Ray also to be sure (and wade past the sauna guy). Even after that, though, I still don't get the 'Guy de la Roy' humor.

Other than that, quite a straightforward story. The first sentence came on a bit strong, but other than that the descriptions were serviceable, and nothing really pulled me out of it.
#76 ·
· on A Journey in the Dark · >>TitaniumDragon >>Monokeras
Amusing. Agreed with the others on the effectiveness of the twist.

The one thing that bugged me was that I had a hard time telling the two voices apart. For all that some of the humor rested on 'baby is a genius'/'dumb sperm winning' juxtaposition, I never perceived why one might be smarter than the other, besides self-proclamation (which is dubious at best).
#77 · 1
· on The Vendor at the Stall · >>PaulAsaran
I'm wondering if this was intended as a children's story. The first couple of sentences, in particular, have that kind of feel to them:

"Will you throw the ball?" asked the vendor at the stall.

Mr. Cormerick with his cane read the sign at the vendor's side, with its glittery glitter and silvery silver:

The first sentence has an internal rhyme (ball/stall) and enough rhythm to it that it feels like verse (almost Seussian, though the foot size is two syllables instead of three and Seuss didn't write much with two-syllable feet), and the two combined give an impression that either one alone might not. The second sentence, of course, has "glittery glitter and silvery silver", and I have trouble believing that was unintentional, but those aren't phrases you generally see aimed at anyone over the age of about 5.

Beyond that, this story as a whole has a lot of monosyllables, which tend to slow down a piece of text and make the reader take a little longer. This, of course, makes them ideal for younger readers.

If that was, in fact, the goal, then it seems to be decent, though the pacing feels a little off in a way that I can't identify as clearly, and there are a few commas missing. However, since it seems written for a much younger reading level, I'm having trouble rating it high (Tier: Misaimed).

I do like the repetition of the opening sentence at the start of each scene.
#78 ·
· on The Last Shot · >>MLPmatthewl419
I feel the formatting of this story is unnecessarily confusing. It takes a couple of lines to realize that the main character is essentially talking to himself in a campy 1950s golden-age-of-comics-esque manner, and the story loses a lot of momentum from the get-go as a result. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a sort of wink-and-nod, like the fact that he's talking to himself is supposed to be funny or if it's supposed to be taken seriously.

The effect I get reading this is that it is intended to be a kind of parody of the stereotypical scene where the main hero is absent or indisposed, and the uncertain, slightly incompetent sidekick is given the reins, with a touch of Home Alone added in. But if that's the case, the whole scene is played far too straight to be comedic. Most of the observations are pretty mundane and serves more as exposition to describe the situation than a crafted joke. In particular, the bit with the Code Lavender seems like particularly extraneous and tedious framework to describe how and why the main character got in the situation he is in, which really isn't a point of interest for the reader. I read over that section, and asked myself, "Hm, but why does this matter?"

The ending line for the bad guy (I'm assuming) is also not nearly as punchy as it should be. It goes on just a bit too long to really leave an impact like a cool bad guy zinger should be. Or just a zinger in general. Because I assume that's supposed to be like a twist. Again I'm doing a lot of assuming here.

I think perhaps with a bit more refinement with the identity of this story and sharpness to the progression, it could be a serviceable little story, but as it stands, it's feels far too plodded for a minific.
#79 · 1
· on From That Day Forth, God's Hand Was Orange
The second person in this is used well. I hope nobody votes this down because of a kneejerk/subconscious reaction to it.

Is it possible the orange itself has no special meaning, but rather it's just color in general that carries meaning? Or maybe this ghost is just named Clyde.
#80 ·
· on Tidying up
This story is a pastiche of different ideas that ultimately fail to gel together, not due the fact that the ideas are irreconcilable or ill-fit, but the ordering of the exposition. The primary issue with the exposition is that it fails to inform the reader of pertinent details of the story before they become relevant. Instead it chooses to inform the reader as it as happening, leaving me with a sense of befuddlement as new ideas of what the actual situation is begin to be added. First the audience thinks that we're dealing with a very strange case of a modern man who hates salesmen, who then is revealed to be a hoarder, then it's revealed that he's actually a fantasy adventurer type hoarder that I assume most exist in some modern setting, and then it's revealed that the hoarder expert is actually a mythical trickster, which I'm not exactly sure what that is in this context .

The setting is so nebulously defined at the beginning that all of these revelations of new information feel like they come straight out of the blue. Imagine if I told you a story about a man going to visit a monk, but halfway through the story, the man shoots a lightning bolt from his mustache, and I tell you that the man has been a wizard the whole time, and when you get to visit the monk, he's actually a dragon monk. Nobody in universe acts surprised when the monk is actually a dragon, and you get the feeling as the listener that I probably should have told you the monk was a dragon at the beginning of the story instead of when we meet the monk. You'd get confused and probably try to beat me with a club.

What I'm trying to get at is that the presentation of the information is what needs to be addressed here, and the author needs to get out these important details in the beginning, especially if they're trying to tell a story in a compacted form like a minific.

Anyways, this was a fun idea, but I think lacking in execution and polish.
#81 ·
· on Atlantis 2050 · >>Ranmilia >>Monokeras
When tension between the major powers had escalated past the point of no return, and global nuclear holocaust seemed inevitable, a secret group of Earth’s brightest scientists, backed and funded by several neutral countries, which had begged to remain unnamed, settled in one of Africa’s remotest places.

Holy god is this a long opening sentence. A man named William Shakespeare famously penned, "Brevity is the soul of wit." It also doesn't help that this does not work as a hook. This is pretty much all straight exposition. Something like that might work in the opening monologue of a television show like Star Trek or something, but it is very tedious to physically read.

Speaking of exposition, the majority of this story is that, exposition. It very much reads like a synopsis of a story rather than a story in that of itself. There's a whole lot of things that happen and the story is mainly detailed to stating that these things happen as opposed to illustrating their significance, emotional impact, or providing colorful description of the event as it occurs. The phrase "Show, don't tell" comes to mind.

The problem I think is that the story is not exactly that it's too grand a scope to fit into the minific format, just that it is taking the wrong thing to focus on. Setting up the exposition to get to Mars and the reasons behind it comes at the expense of establishing a human element, a character whose perspective we can relate to and experience events with. The events that happened on Earth don't really need more than a line or two to convey what the write gave several paragraphs for, which is: the Earth is doomed due to war, and we're going somewhere else. The details of how, why , and under what circumstances this occurred are ultimately irrelevant to the overall proceedings of the story itself.

What we want to experience is the uncertainty of the new world and then the Planet of the Apes-esque reveal that we've been here before, in real time so we can get a sense of the weight and significance. Otherwise, it comes across as just clinical note-taking of things that happen.

The ending note is preachy in a way similar to a lesson at the end of a child's television show. It's not like, obnoxious or tone-deaf, but it does come across as a bit naive. AND EVEN THE MESSAGE THEY LEFT IS EXPOSITION ON THE BACKSTORY OF THE PREVIOUS CIVILIZATION BUT I DIGRESS . Very inoffensive, but really not substantive either.
#82 ·
· on Plug'n'Suicide · >>Kritten
Well this was... British. The humor reminds me a bit of a Monty Python sketch. Some decent jokes and banter, but no big guffaws from me. Good premise and concept, and I've written something similar to this in the past, so I appreciate what you're going for.

On the other hand, you pay lip service to having a grander commentary in the subtext, and I don't think you really commit to anything grander than "the way we talk about suicide is pretty fucked up", which while I agree, isn't exactly a mind-blowing revelation. I'm not quite certain what your angle is here. Ah well. Fun enough while it lasted, I suppose.

Good ending lines.
#83 ·
· on The Picture
I'm with >>Monokeras on this one.

Good and solid writing but didn't engage me much, probably because of the sappiness.
#84 · 1
· on Off the Top · >>Monokeras >>AndrewRogue
Goddammit. Not only is this amusing to me on a personal level, but the prose is also technically solid, and almost all the jokes land. My only recourse is to pick a fistfight with the author. Come at me, bro.

If I can lobby a critique of it, it's that the subject material probably won't resonate as strongly with people who have never played games like Magic the Gathering, or are a middle-aged French man . It's most likely too niche for the general write-off crowd.

The gimmick of adding other people's stories is a fun little touch. Story told good for the format, paced well, exposition unobtrusive, we have an ending that calls back to the themes established in the beginning. Textbook examples of writing for quality. Goddammit.

Probably the biggest weakness of this entry is the detail that goes into explaining how the functions of the cards work in the dialogue. I understand that this is a jab at every card game show ever, but to most people (especially those unfamiliar with MTG), their eyes will likely just glaze over and not get the in-joke. The extensive focus on creating these in-jokes I think will end up hurting this story's ratings with other people.

Also this is a comedy. I don't know how anyone could be mistaken on that. The joke is the contrast between the drawn out, over the top Donal with the blase and grounded straight-man Reynard, in a somewhat affectionate parody of television shows like Yu-Gi-Oh. This isn't rocket science, guys.
#85 ·
· on Coup: Last Chance
Where is the rest? That's a godd beginning but it's just that, a beginning. Im' not even sure to understand who is the traitor.

Sorry author but I can't ranked this very high because I just don't get it.
#86 ·
· on One Chance · >>Ranmilia
Hmmm, this one feels very close to a prose poem. I was like >>Not_A_Hat at first, I didn't know what to do whith it but instead of going for the next, something caught me, I wanted to understand.

After three careful reads, I still don't understand it but I love it, and instead of trying to understand it, I'm gonna feel it.
The picture you're drawing feels beautiful and tragic. The three siblings are clearly waiting for something, vainly trying to protect themselves from the elements, waiting for their unique opportunity. To do what? Who cares? That's not the focus of the story, the focus is on the waiting, that dreaded feeling when you can't do anything but wait, wondering if it's worth the cost or if you better let everything go. And the longer you wait, the stronger is the feeling.

To the point where you miss the opportunity. That's what I got from the ending. The three siblings have watched the opportunity happening and haven't taken it. And the metaphor of the sky closing is brilliant.

So good job author, very good job.

To the next readers: as long as you're willing to carefully read this one several times, you may be able to get many things from this particular story.
#87 · 2
· on It's Going To Be Fine · >>TitaniumDragon >>shinygiratinaz
Last time around I percolated everything, tried to write huge comments and ran out of time and wound up posting nothing. This time I'm going to try something new: straight down the line, all 32 (hopefully) and briefer "first hot take" type comments, at least to begin with.

So this is a... disaster movie type scenario? Bomb? Earthquake? Something? And then there's flooding, in what is apparently the worst designed school shelter of all time? An unfortunately high amount of my reading brain went into wondering exactly what was going on, when apparently I was supposed to just be absorbed in the atmosphere. I wish the intro gave me a little more concrete detail to go on.

I also wish it wasn't center aligned and simultaneously full of Subject Verbed Object sentence structures. These elements combined for me to make the opening difficult to process. Consider sticking to standard formatting conventions unless you have a definite reason to do otherwise. Center alignment has a cost, it makes the reader have to jump their eyes around to find line starts, and I'm not seeing anything particularly gained by its use here. Repeated sentence structures are both boring and add to the sense of confusion. Maybe the idea was to express confusion? In that case, mission accomplished, but maybe not the best of goals.

As to the meat of the story, it goes for evoking emotion, and does a serviceable job at it. I don't feel particularly connected to the characters, but I'm happy to see them rescued.

The devil is in the details here, though. I still can't get a good mental image of the situation, and the main chain of events seems implausible at best. How is there a partially spent magazine outside of its weapon, floating in water, and somehow not ruined by the water? And a generic schoolteacher knows how to assemble, load and operate a law enforcement firearm under such conditions? (Also she shoves the loaded gun into her shirt - why?!) And it works and she manages to not hit a rescue worker firing blind? My suspension of disbelief is vacationing somewhere in the next hemisphere by the time we're through.

But such is life in mini rounds, some balls get juggled and some get dropped. The focus here is on the emotional angle, and if I put aside the lack of supporting detail, the execution of the evocation is pretty okay. We do get a complete narrative arc as well, congrats on that. Falling short due to insufficient detail and implausible action is one of the better ways to fall, all told - there IS action there to critique, and probably less than half of mini entries actually manage a complete arc. Good hustle, guessing it'll land mid tier when all's said and done. Thanks for writing!
#88 · 1
· on Perception and Consonance · >>Fenton
Wow, this is pretty great! Very well written, strong prose, reads well, pulls me in, great characters, great description work, and fantastic development for a mini. I loved the characters and was deeply involved and hooked on what was going to happen next and then it runs out of wordcount and just ends.

Aaaaaaaaaugh. What a shame. For all that this manages to pack so much into so little, it still doesn't pack enough. The narrative arc does not complete. At least not to my satisfaction - one line of watered down Richard Cory isn't enough to put much of anything to rest here. Not enough to get at the meat of why she feels that way, what the dreams might mean, or what either character is going to do about it.

That's really all I got here. Amazing technical skill, would be a whopper of an entry if it was 1000-1500 words with an actual conclusion, but 750 isn't enough for it to fully execute. Ah, the pain of having an idea that just doesn't quite fit the format length. Author has my congratulations and sympathies, and probably an upper-mid or lower-high tier vote. Thanks for writing! Expand this one in your writing venue of choice!
#89 ·
· on Second Shot Pending
So this is in a fairly common genre for Writeoffs: "I thought of a cool sci-fi concept and wrote some worldbuild and a basic scenario around it." Overall par for the course in that genre: it has some flash, but lacks substance, and puts most of its eggs into the basket of how it lands its twist.

Unfortunately, the twist doesn't land well for me. So Ridgemont's a clone. So? I'm not surprised that a society with battlefield resurrection technology also has cloning technology. The two seem to go hand in hand, and cloning skilled personnel sounds like a very reasonable thing to do. Indeed, probably easier than resurrecting them! The only surprising thing here is the question of why Ridgemont wouldn't know that he's a clone.

And that question is impossible to answer, because we're in minis, and there's no room to give any real detail on the situation. We don't know what war's being fought, or which side (if any) we should root for. We don't know anything about the assassin or his employers.

Prose is fine. I'm not a fan of block italics, but they're relatively inoffensive here. No, the issues here are more with the initial outline rather than its execution. Medical resurrection followed up by a clone twist... just doesn't work for me, I'm trying to think of ways to land it but I'm not coming up with anything that's easily achievable within mini limits. Perhaps writing from the assassin's POV instead? Even in this version, I'm way more interested in him than I am in Ridgemont.

But such is life in mini rounds. There is a complete-ish narrative arc, fair execution of the basic worldbuilding, and some characterization. That's still pretty decent all told. These sorts of "technically achieved its goals, but needs better goals" entries are some of the hardest to place - probably roughly average? Thanks for writing!
#90 · 2
· on Hacked Beyond the Arc · >>Fenton >>TrumpetofDoom
Okay, first off, thanks for choosing basketball rather than, say, American football or baseball. At least, I know what’s going on with basketball.

The story is fairly simple, but failed to grasp me for a very straightforward reason: we don’t really get the sense that the foul shot is that vital to the player you describe. We get the shot is important within the purview of the game, to get into extra time, but the rest (turns out that shot is the most important of the player's career) sounds tacked on and hokey. You should raise the stakes to hook the reader more.

However, I acknowledge the original take on the prompt. Writing sport stories is difficult, so kudos to have taken up the challenge!
#91 ·
· on Hacked Beyond the Arc · >>TrumpetofDoom
I'll lazily echo what >>Monokeras has said. Thank you for choosing basketball indeed, but also, thank you for going beyond the last second point that will make the team win trope.

I think that, to make us feel better how important that shot is, maybe start by pointing it.
#92 ·
· on Perception and Consonance
but Emmie St. Augustine sat still as stone. No kid?? You have a passion for alliterations or tongue twisters?

I have – alas – to concur with what the other commenters said: this stops abruptly in the middle of the scene. I think you sacrificed too many words at the beginning to describe the surroundings and set up the scene. Had you been a little more skimpy, and hemmed it in but a paragraph or so – even at the risk of being telly – it would've given you a sort of gusset (© Cold in Gardez) – free space – to expand and maybe conclude the scene. But, as such, it remains very unsatisfactory, as everyone is left with their hunger (French expression).
#93 · 3
· on Drip · >>TitaniumDragon >>Fenton >>georg
Hmm... I don't think that company knows what they're in for with Oliver. Truth be told it might have just been cheaper to call a plumber but, this piece is an exercise in absurdity. I did chuckle a bit at the situation in which he found himself. I find the story somewhat relatable, in that there were times I'd tried to fix something only to find out what I was trying to fix was either outside my skill set or wasn't what was actually broken.

That said it could have stood to have just a bit more meat on its bones. A few reactions from Oliver might have reinforced Oliver's decent into madness and if possible seeing some of his failed attempts at fixing things could have been fun.

The story is fun it just needs more.
#94 ·
· on Theodicy
I'll have to abstain on this one because of reasons.

However, I think it still deserves a review since it's on my slate.

This is a good story, with a solid writing and a nice worldbuilding. The balance between the world building and the narrator's motivation is enough, well, balanced, but the latter comes a bit late. I don't really know how it could have come sooner though.

Also, I would have prefer to see more of his emotions but that's only me nitpicking.
#95 ·
· on The Great Filter
This sounds like a catalogue of every apocalypse that could happen to us. Prophets of all nations, be welcome to our shop!

We don't get to know what the * means.

The text, I suppose, is written by the few AI that survived Earth's humanity. Pretty imaginative. I liked it on the whole, though I can grok Hat’s reaction. It sounds more like clinical post-mortem examination reports than anything else. It is not a story, but an interesting experiment into something different.

But, eh. Don't take Japan as a role model. Though I reckon we may evolve in the long run towards a controlled scheme such as the one outlined in Brave New World, where babies would be “cultivated” and sex would remain only not as a creational, but recreational activity
#96 ·
· on Elevator
I deeply apologise, author, for what I'm about to say.

I don't know what to do with this story. I didn't like it and I didn't dislike it. Reading it was pleasant but I didn't get anything from it.

The dialogs were good, biting for the poor Josh and I smiled a little at his misfortune. Can it really called a misfortune though? It doesn't seem like it will harm his chances to join this company.

I really don't know what else I could say, this story didn't really give me much.
#97 ·
· on Second Shot Pending
I thought the story was pretty good. It sets an even tone and works Ridgemont's perspective nicely given the limited amount of space there is to tell the story. Would additional details be helpful in a longer story? Sure. But as it stands a lot of those additional details aren't really necessary to this particular story at this time.

It's a story about a guy who has something happen to him wakes up and discovers that not only did that something happen to him but what he thought would happen wasn't the case. In fact one could argue that this particular version of Ridgemont had, "One shot," to get it right after he was put down and ... well it he didn't.
#98 ·
· on One Shot, One Heart
Let's start with a new round of amateurs doing stuff despite knowing better, AKA me doing reviews.

Usual premise: while I try to be helpful and give useful criticism, I'm not offended if my opinion is discarded without a second thought.

There will be some spoilers in the review, but that's what the tags are for.

The bait and switch was interesting and worked quite well. It was a nice play on the expected tropes of the genre. So, congratulations on that.

I also agree with >>Not_A_Hat that a sassy Cupid who inherited the family business is an excellent idea and a character that can give a lot.

I'm actually fine with the idea of the family getting paid for what they do. Offerings to deities to get their favor are nothing new, and we live in a modern world were some cash may be more enticing than burning a goat leg.

The writing is nice, and the story, while not being exceptional, is a pleasant read that made me smile.

The ending needs a bit tightening, as it is a bit too long after the turning point and the last paragraph is a bit weak after the rest of the story.

To summarize it, nice story, good writing, a solid entry that still needs a bit of work. Thank you for having written it.
#99 · 2
Mom's Spaghetti!

Radio Writeoff: "One Shot"

Will Record

Barring Noodly Apocalypse

On this coming Saturday




8pm BST


2pm Central

That should be about five days after two hours before the time this was posted. :P

Screw timezones.


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#100 ·
· on The Panopticon
I need a hug.

This was dark, depressing, and felt perfectly plausible.

The opening could be stronger, but that is probably most of the criticism I can move toward the story. The couple of scenes we see helps to set the tone, and the ending is a laconic stab in the side, which meshes well with the overall theme of the story.

Alls in all, a very good entry that made me queasy. Thank you.