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Colour Contagion · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 2
· · >>Rao >>Hagdal Hohensalza >>Anon Y Mous
A WriteOff during Thanksgiving's week?
Is this doomed to bomb?
#2 · 7
It'll be high time for non-Americans! It's your time to shine!
#3 ·

“Is this doomed to bomb?”

I’ll be thankful if it does not!
#4 · 2
I actually have a feeling this week’s writeoff will be good ngl.

In artists we trust.
#5 · 6

And it's an "art to fic" round. I'm behind the front desk at the library all day this Saturday, but maybe things'll be slow enough for some minific...

#6 · 4
Prompt? Turkeys! Turkeys everywhere! Break the Mold, Worse for Wear. A Personal Voyage Based on a True Story, The Anger Of A Gentle Man Destined to Succeed.

Bat Country. Why did it have to be lizards? Seems Dead in Here. Doomed to Succeed, Doomed to Fail… Don’t Look Behind You. Keep a Light Burning Behind A Closed Door.

After Life, Infernally Yours. Serendipity. Awkward Reunion! Existential Ennui; The Loss Never Gets You Down.

Soft Rains, Hollow Blessings. Colour Contagion Across the Sky. Space Yet for Little Things, Above and Beyond Mate in One.
#7 ·
· · >>Anon Y Mous >>MLPmatthewl419 >>Anon Y Mous >>Pascoite
I apologize for being late to the party and having to have things explained to him, but...since the prompt gets chosen tomorrow, but writing doesn't start until the 24th, what's stopping people from starting to write before the actual writing period?

Aside from the honor code, I mean

#8 · 3
· · >>devas
This week’s prompt is based off of the art. It’s pretty hard actually to write a story ahead of time without the art to go along with it.

You can try but it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
#9 ·
· · >>devas
Everyone needs to ask questions sometimes, so don't be sorry...

Anyway, in a round like this people do art that's based on the chosen prompt, and then people write stories based on that art. So while you could write a story ahead of time, there's no guarantee there'll be an art piece to link it to.
#10 ·
Also! You aren’t allowed to make a story solely on your own art.
#11 · 1
>>Anon Y Mous
That's very informative, thank you :-)
#12 · 2
Actually, the honor code is about the only reason. I used to do this years ago. I wouldn't actually start writing, but I'd start planning a story, then just pick the art that happened to fit it best. Chances are someone would have a similar interpretation of the prompt, unless I took it in an odd direction. However, there was one time none of the art fit very well, which is the only other problem, and is more likely the fewer art entries there are. I wrote the story anyway, and the artist understandably wondered how I'd used his art. We only did 3 art rounds I can remember back in the /fic/ days, so 1 of 3 left me without a good connection to the art, 1 fit a scene perfectly, but of a side character, and 1 fit perfectly after I revised the idea to work it in as a thematic item. So... just take that as a data point, I guess?
#13 · 7
Colour Contagion

That settles it, no Americans allowed.
#14 · 2
God damn it, I always miss the prompt submission and voting.
#15 · 7
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
#16 · 3
As usual, I'll be in #mentors or available via PM if anyone wants a critique before they submit. I'm traveling back home Saturday, so I may not be open for business until late evening.
#17 · 4
Great art this time! If I wasn’t on the road today, I’d be pretty tempted to write for one or more.
#18 · 5
· on Draining · >>Anon Y Mous
This one is quite nice.
#19 · 4
Looks like I'll be getting three stories in!
#20 · 3
I'm in for two!

Finger guns!
#21 · 2
· · >>Miller Minus >>Baal Bunny
Just the one story:

From me, but I would like to apologize for accidentally entering the art contest. In an idle moment last night, I uploaded something to see how the process differed from entering the prose contest, but when I tried to delete my entry, I couldn't figure out how to.

Clicking on the "Delete" link at the bottom of the art submission page brought up a page with the words "Confirm Deletion". Below them sat a text box with a cursor blinking in it, and below that, a big green "Delete" button. The button, however, didn't do anything when I clicked on it, and typing things like "Yes" and "Confirm" and my user name and password in the text box failed to activate the button.

So how do you delete an art entry if you decide against entering it? What's the secret word or phrase that allows for actual deletion?

Oh, the mystery!
#22 · 2
I am in.
#23 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
It's the title of the entry. It's not totally clear. But hey! Maybe you inspired somebody.
#24 · 1
· on All I'm Saying Is, It Could Work
So I found this pretty funny. I mean, it's not my favourite comedy premise I've ever seen, and I haven't played fallout so that may have hurt (or helped?) my experience, but the dialogue is good, and the jokes are evolving in a way that flows pretty well. I don't know how well this will do on my slate or on others', but I still enjoyed it. So thanks for writing!
#25 ·
· on The Burning · >>No_Raisin
So this is an early frontrunner, largely due to its writing. It's some of the most expert writing I've seen on this site.

But the "second edge" to knocking the prose out of the park is that I have a really good map of what happened in the story, so it's easier for me to find things I didn't like about it. And this has left me a little confused here? I mean... Why the burning? These gentlemen keep referring to combustible things as "fuel", but that implies they want to convert that fuel into something else... Yet as far as I can see all they've done is make a campfire. They even have wood! Why are they so obsessed with finding things to burn? Without that context this story is feeling very "post-apocalyptic for the sake of it". And I'm sure that isn't what you had in mind.

So my only comment would be to add a little more context. Unless I totally whiffed on it, in which case I look forward to the following comments pointing out how silly I am, and how ironic it is that I claimed to know what's going on. Ho ho ho.

Thanks for writing.
#26 ·
· on California Just Legalized Supervillainy. It May Be A Good Idea.
I fear to think what supervillains can emerge from California... Dr. Social Justice?
#27 · 1
· on The Coyote of Roseview Park · >>Miller Minus
Well, well.
Never trust a mangy canine.

It’d say this one is pretty much average. Not bad, mind you, but not riveting either. The first part, when you try to tell us why Casey foundit necessary to go after the coyote feels superfluous to me, at least. I mean, we don’t reall care much. We care about what happens to her.

And then, the story is – I mean it’s okay. We get an early feeling that something will go awry, and it does. No surprise here, that’s why I say it’s not particularly imaginative.

Middle slate, I’d say, but all will depend on how the other stories fare.
#28 ·
· on Pyrrhus' Defeat
I think this story suffers from a lack of focus. There are a lot of cool ideas on display, but they come and go so quickly that I'm floundering to grab hold of anything that's going. I might have enjoyed this more if certain elements of the exposition here were cut (wizard, warlocks, thrones) so we could focus more on what's going on. Or if it was longer--this story does feel a little big for the minific's limits.

It also feels like it's relying a little too much on the artwork. If I hadn't seen the art before I read this, then I worry I'd be even more lost.

But that's all I can say. Thanks for writing and best of luck, friend!
#29 · 1
· on Lecture: A World Without Dentists · >>Cassius
Wah wah wah, comedy crybaby coming through, wah wah.

I've seen these British gags a lot before, and although you've framed them a different way, that framing is kind of flimsy. I mean the amount of money dentists make honestly. Are they upset about people not taking care of their teeth? Because that only means more money.

I'm sure lots of people will like enjoy this, but I'm afraid you've been struck by the comedy crybaby. And I will undoubtedly strike again.

Good luck!
#30 · 1
· on Colourless Blues · >>WritingSpirit
This one reminds me a lot of The Sixth Sense. I don’t know what to think. I don’t really understand if the girl is living or dead, or what happens to her. There seems to be two different arcs interwoven: the “medium” boy and his friend who’s doomed to grow up, but I can’t really tell how they relate. It’s muddled.

Overall, it’s not bad, and I appreciate the gloomy atmosphere. But it’s really too confused for me. Don’t take it personally: I’m a dope.
#31 · 1
· on California Just Legalized Supervillainy. It May Be A Good Idea. · >>Samey90 >>AndrewRogue
Controversy erupted online this month when California voters approved Proposition 5, which authorizes private companies to sponsor and arm supervillains.

Of course it’s Cali. If it was any other state this would become quite unrealistic.

In other words: with no supervillains to defeat, that’s billions of dollars’ worth of superheroes sitting around, doing nothing.

I’d say this was a little on the nose, but then again wasn’t the entire story?

I really enjoyed this read. Every sentence was smoothly written and I felt like this was an actual article.

If only I could be a superhero...
#32 · 1
· on Too Pure by Half
Ahem. I’m not really into fantasy these days. But, even though, the story is quite bland. I mean, there’s no real plot or real stake. It just a mi-stake (rimshot!), and we’re done. You could’ve used the extra words to give a sort of background or some other information about the characters. As it is now, I don’t really see why I should care or get invested in both of them, unfortunately.
#33 · 1
· on Pyrrhus' Defeat
They thought that they could unseat me from my throne, and they were wrong. I destroyed the universe rather than let that happen

I can only aspire to be as petty as this guy.
#34 ·
· on The Beast of Luscioucr
Your Story's Theme Song: Ryan Vail – Above The White Wash

Having reread this a couple of times, I came away from it liking it more than I don't, and that's mostly because the tone throughout the story was consistently despondent. The town of Luscioucr feels like it's a few steps shy from becoming a Gothic hamlet, and honestly, that atmosphere alone drew me in for the first few paragraphs, except perhaps save for this glaring sentence.

Curious minds how these grow these flowers are dismissed with pleasantries.

Otherwise, I was hooked, up to when it starts telling William's story.

I'm not entirely sure if shifting the focus onto our one-off character was the best option. I feel it chipped away at the elusiveness of the beast, which in turn dissipates the mysterious atmosphere you had going for you, dear writer. I also find myself questioning the importance of using William to tell the story of the beast when you could've just focused on the beast itself. Also, the way William's story was told seems like the villagers knew exactly what William was up to and everything he was feeling in those last moments when I highly doubt that's the case.

I also don't feel like you really need to describe the beast exactly as portrayed in the artwork you selected and take a few liberties here and there. Or maybe perhaps expand upon what the artist has given you. Were its horns made of marble or ivory? What's the texture of its fur / skin? What's the color of its eyes? I just felt like you could've painted the beast to be more nightmarish than just 'it sucks color and kills people'.

Also, the phrase 'reverse-vomiting'. It doesn't exactly blend in well with everything else you've written and tore me out of my immersion the first time I went through this.

All in all, I quite enjoyed reading this, though I think it does need a bit of recalibration. Thanks for writing!
#35 · 1
· on Sibling Ribaldry · >>WritingSpirit
Alternate Title: I Puke on Your Grave

I'm assuming this is a comedy of sorts. I like the pun in the title, by the way, although I had to look up what "ribaldry" means because I'm illiterate. This is what we might call a story about family, in the loose sense that siblings pay their "respects" to their dead parents. I guess that counts as a family activity.

We're given two characters, Joey and Gen (I'm assuming that's short for Genevieve, which raises an eyebrow about who could've written this), and at first I couldn't tell them apart. Gen's distinguishing feature, in the context of the story, is that she's drunk off her rocker, and she also seems more sailor-mouthed than her brother.

That could just be the booze, though.

There is basically one joke in this story, that they accidentally kick over their father's tombstone. Does that count as vandalism, by the way? I think that's illegal. I'm gonna have to consult a lawyer (wink wink) about the legality of damaging a tombstone in a publicly owned graveyard.

This is a dialogue-driven story, so there's not much prose to judge. That's why I didn't bring up the actual writing until now. Because there isn't much of it that doesn't come out of a character's mouth. Aside from a couple arguable cases of tense confusion, though, this is pretty polished, at least in terms of grammar and such.

Whoever wrote this, and I have a couple ideas as to whom, might've been drunk or really tired, but also careful enough to give it a few passes. Even though there isn't much to be said about what actually happens in the story, unless I'm missing subtext that the author will correct me on, it's too solidly put-together to deserve lower than a mid-tier ranking in my opinion.

That sounds like an insult from how it's phrased, but it's actually a compliment, author.

Actually, I do have one more question. It seems like the siblings are "punishing" their father for touching Gen when she was younger, from what I can tell. That seems like something pretty cathartic, and a big deal for them, but then they act like they do this every year. What is their deal exactly? This is an area where we could've used more context.
#36 · 2
· on California Just Legalized Supervillainy. It May Be A Good Idea.
>>Anon Y Mous
Of course it’s Cali. If it was any other state this would become quite unrealistic.

Florida, on the other hand, produces its villains illegaly...
#37 · 1
· on Epidemic · >>Monokeras
They are coming from me!

Great hook! Buuuuutttt.....

It’s a misspell. I was hoping it wasn’t.

The story had my attention, but the ending kind of fell flat for me. I get that the end reveal was that the blood was for a vaccine but it didn’t feel like a proper twist. Maybe mention it in the beginning so we have time to soak the information in.

Also. A tiny nitpick, but I would have used “poof” instead of “pfft” for describing their mysterious disappearance.
#38 · 1
· on “That” · >>WritingSpirit >>Monokeras
Alternate Title: Whenever It Snows in Southern California

You know when you a story and you notice the protagonist shares the same name as you? Well this is one of those cases for me, so that was fun. I don't know how old Brian is supposed be here, but I'm guessing about ten years old.

Being from New Jersey, I've seen snow in the past 500 hours, rather than years. A lot of people here wouldn't mind a few centuries without that conspicuous white substance.

Part of me wants to praise "That" for surprising me in a very pleasant way; it's very cuddly for a post-apocalypse story, and will probably be the most benevolent of the family of such stories we'll no doubt encounter this round. At the same time there are stylistic choices that I take issue with, and they're too frequent to ignore.

The first problem lies in the title. Call it nitpicking, but wouldn't it have been better to add an exclamation point in there? Or at least a period? It seems like the word is dangling helplessly in the horrific prison that is those quotations marks, and it doesn't have a companion or anything. It just seems off.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have an overuse of "?!" as a way to end exclamatory sentences. You don't see this combination in professional fiction often, because it's kind of hideous. It might be convenient, in that it indicates a question that is also exclamatory, but it implies to me a lack of polish.

There are quite a few sentences that begin with "But," "And," and easily the worst of all, "Then." I think it was Jonathan Franzen (middle-aged white dude who won a few awards or something) who said you should avoid starting a sentence with "Then" at all costs, and unlike a great number of "rules" your English teacher gave you in high school I agree with this one.

Also, Brian seemed to undergo a very brief sex change in one sentence; you'll know it when you find it.

It sounds like I'm really ragging on this story, but I'm focusing on its lack of polish because it's otherwise a pleasant read, and it'd be a shame if the author abandoned it in its current state.

I know we have this collective habit of ditching our WriteOff entries as soon as the round is over, but please think this over.

#39 · 3
· on Draining · >>Anon Y Mous
I thought the white squiggles in the background were forming a map at first, which made me think of this as a sort of origin myth – a mythic beast gifting the world its colors.

Big fan of this. The creature design is wonderful, and the colors are so vibrant.
#40 ·
· on Broken Are Bonds We Forged in Life · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Great shot, albeit blurry. The red at the center of the grave is striking – what is that from?
#41 · 1
· on Howl of the Foul Vowel · >>Baal Bunny
This probably would have been more effective if the U had actually been drawn in, and not just typed.
#42 ·
· on The Last Connoisseurs of Warm Colours · >>Samey90
There's something amusing about the artist pointing out this picture's plothole themselves in the alt-text. That said, I'm not particularly enamored. Why are the figures so clear while the ground is so blurry? How is the rat surviving?
#43 · 1
· on The Chromovore · >>Miller Minus
Alternate Title: I'm High as Fuck, Boy!

I had to sit down and really think about this one. Not because its story was difficult to understand on a surface level, or even because I suspect there's a deeper meaning to all of it, but because... how do I put this...?

"The Chromovore" is a high fantasy story; it's high in that there's a dragon involved, but it's also high in the sense that it was seemingly written by someone who just came back down from a crazy-ass trip and was eager to tell all the world about this newfound pseudo-philosophy.

When I started reading it, I thought it was set in like a rural town, maybe one of those quaint establishments you come across once you head west of Philadelphia and start taking in the scenery. Certainly there's nothing that would contradict this at first. The narrator could be someone I know, honestly. He seems like a swell guy.

But then the wack shit starts happening, and there's a dragon that devours colors?

What? What the fuck is that?

See, this wouldn't be too out of place in something like Grendel, that postmodern fantasy novel that you may or may not've read in high school, which also involves a dragon, except that episode fell within the context of a world that had already been established as fantastical.

The fact that this whole story is framed as the narrator drunkenly telling the reader a story only makes things more confusing. Did this really happen? Did he really wander into a cave that appeared out of nowhere and defeated a color-eating dragon with the power of his fucking mind?

This is some weird shit, author. I'm gonna remember this one, even though I'm not entirely sure if I even liked it. I suppose it's one of those experiments whose eccentricities are only more pronounced with brevity.
#44 ·
· on Pyrrhus' Defeat
Alternate Title: I Swear to Fucking God if Cassius Wrote This...

Well, this is a "My Life Sucks" monologue with a fantasy twist, although I'm not exactly sure what brand of fantasy this is taking after. Or what religion this is supposed to be riffing on the most, because I swear there are about half a dozen references to different religions, none of which gets more than a paragraph to breathe.

Then again, nothing really gets the space it deserves. I find myself being bombarded with something new every paragraph, something to further complicate things, something to keep track of, even though there isn't really a story to speak of here. There are the ripples of a story, which at this point in time doesn't exist. The narrator, who is a very miserable fellow, seems to allude to a world that is much bigger than his monologue can contain or do justice.

I have something of an idea as to what is going and who the narrator is supposed to be because of the art pieces referenced as inspiration, more than anything. A story should be able to stand on its own, or at least have enough context to work as a singular narrative (with exceptions of course), because otherwise the reader will be floating about helplessly.

I don't think that was the intention. I think it's more likely that the author had something much grander in mind, maybe feeling that there would not be a future round where said idea would work better.

The key to making a minific work is to make it simple. The premise should be simple, and there should be only a few characters at most, with a scene or two to carry a plot that could be started and ended in under a thousand words.

I like complexity. I like ambiguity. But there is a time and place for those things.

You can make something truly epic out of this, author. Just remember that the minific format is ill-suited for epics.
#45 · 3
· on The Forest For The Trees · >>GaPJaxie
There are definitely some interesting bits in here, especially the thing about the lethality of the drone. But as a whole, this does end up feeling like a bit of a thought experiment, and I'm sorry to say that I personally didn't find it compelling.

There are a few things about this scenario that feel like logical discrepancies. I'm sure you have an explanation for them in your head, but the fact that you don't have to word count to actually explore your ideas really hurts you. For instance, I really can't see how Boeing (an American company) could openly sell weapons to enemies of the US, especially since they are involved in a lot of government defense contracts IRL. And speaking of the drone, $200 struck me across the face as an unbelievable price. Even $2000 would have stretched my suspension of disbelief as unimaginably cheap. For perspective, the US army recently purchased testing prototypes for their new submachine gun program for about $2000 - $3000 per weapon. In the world of modern-day military spending, (where a single air-to-air missile can easily cost half a million dollars), $20,000 might be a very conservative estimate. I originally had a couple more paragraphs of rambling why I felt that $200 is far too low to be believable, but I realize that it's not necessary to get my point across.

I know this sounds awfully nitpicky, but the truth is that so much of your story hinges around the 7th and 8th to last paragraphs. It's crucial that we are convinced that what the Czechoslovakian representative says represents the reality of modern warfare in this world. Since this piece isn't focused on creating a character arc or emotional plot, all of the payoff comes from whether or not the reader can convince himself that this is a scenario that might possibly happen IRL. And I know I really got into the weeds, here, but I do think that it's critical that you don't let little discrepancies derail your entire idea.
#46 · 1
· on Third Date · >>Dubs_Rewatcher
This is really smoothly written. You've got a lot of dialogue, but it never feels like talking heads. And the little snippets of atmosphere-building in the beginning are really effective.

But I do have trouble with what I'm supposed to take away from this one. Judging by our main character's reactions, I think we're to believe that Elizabeth is in the right, and that there's no real difference between feeling love and feeling an aura. The other theme of the story seems to be about the choice to believe in things that makes you happy.

But these themes do seem to conflict with the fact that the MC is awfully passive for the duration of the story. In the end, it sounds like Elizabeth convinced him that love is a choice, and it sounds like the MC is falling for her, but he still had little agency and is left wondering if he is in love.I can't really get over this dissonance.

I'll be interested in seeing if other reviewers had the same reading that I did, because I know I can get these kinds of things wrong. But right now I feel like I'm getting mixed messages, and it's a little frustrating.
#47 · 1
· on Cutting Edge Customer Service
I'm sorry to say that this was a little underwhelming to me. The premise is the joke, here, and while it's amusing, it is a pretty well-discussed subject. I mean, I've never played any Elder Scrolls games, but I'm still familiar with the concept just from osmosis alone. A bigger issue, IMO, is that I had trouble finding the actual story funny. A lot of the punchlines felt telegraphed, and since written humor relies pretty heavily on the element of the unexpected, I was never really struck by any of the jokes.

I mean, the prose is great, and I really like how Silver's wry snark bleeds into the third-person narration. But the point of this piece was to make me laugh, and I'm afraid I didn't.

My opinion on humor in the Writeoffs historically has often wildly differed from the consensus, however, so please just take this as one personal reaction.
#48 · 1
· on Third Date
Mostly agreed, although I think it skims too close to talking heads for my taste.

I spent most of the beginning thinking that Main Character was dick. What kind of person goes on three (seemingly) good dates with someone, then immediately writes them off as insane after one sentence?
#49 · 1
· on Draining · >>Anon Y Mous
Oooh, so many Artz.

This is a great one to start! The beast is well rendered, plausible in design, and creepy. I think I see the intended title at the top there - Dragon Discord? At any rate, a lesson to limit one’s intake of Skittles. Well done, Artist, this is a slate topper.
#50 ·
· on Alamo II: The Greyening
A thought-provoking image. Is this life starting out on the planet, or ending? I suppose the latter, as an Earth devoid of all life ab initio wouldn’t be all gray. I’m not sure what sort of disaster would not only wipe out green life, but also change the color of the seas and the clouds. The remote view, while needed to convey this idea, also tends to lessen the emotional impact. I’m rating this one at mid tier.
#51 · 1
· on Alone · >>Anon Y Mous
Lightbulb-head sits below a light bulb and awaits illumination. Simple but effective. I’m rating this as mid-tier
#52 · 1
· on colours of me and the colours of you are the colours we see
A digital ‘watercolor’, and the design is also simple and effective here. I expected we’d have a few “colorless figure / colored environment” pieces, but this conveys it effectively. I’ll call it upper tier.
#53 ·
· on Catching On.
Another “gray figure, colored background” pic. Here, we get a more specific emotional reaction. Her shocked expression and the little dab of color on her neck are effective at conveying contagion. Almost there.
#54 · 1
· on Colour Confinement
This is a neat idea, and I have to admit that once I figured out the gimmick wasn't supposed to be an accent, I was very amused.

The issue that I have with this one, is that the gimmick is really all there is. I mean, there's also the running gag about linguists being medics, but outside of that and the extra 'u's, I'm not sure if there are any substantial jokes. Which made for a bit of a muted reading, considering that this is a comedy.

And I need to note that even on my third and fourth read-throughs, I'm still having trouble understanding what the bit about the quantum rainbows and color traps meant. If it's not important, I don't think you should have devoted so much of your time with it. But if it is important, you need to find a way to make it easier to understand.

Granted, I can be a dumb reader, so I'll be eager to see what other reviewers think. But personally, I think right now the story is a little barebones, and the technobable in the middle really slows it down.
#55 ·
· on The Forest For The Trees · >>Samey90 >>GaPJaxie
Alternate Title: Genocidal Societies, Tremendous

Well this is timely.

On the one hand I have a soft spot for stories that point a finger at what the future could be like, or in the author's opinion what it will probably be like. These hypothetical futures are never sunny or optimistic, because where's the fun in that? I can't even blame them: the world sucks right now.

On paper, it'd be easy, with the right technology and enough outside support (this is where the problems come in) to wipe out a certain demographic if the government was behind it.

Sure, drones could do the job, I guess. They kill enough people by accident as is.

On the other hand... there's no story here.

That sounds terrible, but this is a common issue for minific rounds. Hell, I've seen non-stories get gold or silver before. We're weird like that.

The big problem is that the author asks the reader of a lot, in terms of believability. What even is the People's Republic of New Czechoslovakia, and what does it look like? How did it come about? How is NATO reacting to all this? How far into the future is this supposed to be? How do you get an attack drone for $200?

These seem like nitpicky questions, but the non-story doesn't have much else on offer, aside from a hypothetical that relies too heavily on a lot of things making sense when they seemingly don't.

It makes you think, though, if not necessarily about what was intended.
#56 ·
· on Forging
The title fortunately gives the scribbles some shape; otherwise it might be hard to tell what was happening here. The hand shape is rudimentary and messy, and doesn’t seem to be gripping the handle of the hammer (which itself is only suggested by one line). I’m sorry, Artist, but this is going in the lower tier. Try to keep control of your forms, and thanks for contributing!
#57 ·
· on Howl of the Foul Vowel · >>Baal Bunny
How about flour and velour and contour? Or pour or hour or your? Or our?
Just a simple idea here and very basic execution. In comparison to the other pieces in this round, this one will wind up in the lower tier. Sorry, Artist; thanks for contributing!
#58 · 3
· on California Just Legalized Supervillainy. It May Be A Good Idea.
I thought this was a really interesting read. There's a lot of cool little details, and you manage to fit in a lot of content for the wordcount. The academic, detached tone you use is really helpful in that regard, I think, letting you get down to business quickly while keeping it sounding like a news article.

My issue right now is that I didn't really interface with this one, emotionally. I mean, I don't expect everything I read to bring me to tears, but even for something like this, I do think you need to find a way to make your readers feel a bit invested in the stakes. Honestly, I'm not creative or competent enough to know what you can do to do this, but that's just the impression that I received.

I'm also having trouble with deciding whether or not this is a comedy, because despite the ridiculous premise, I don't really see any jokes. So I'm left thinking that this might be a pure political commentary, given the IRL situation the US is in with the government favoring supporting economic practices that may be out of date for the sake of a large working class. But as a political commentary, I don't really see this one really interacting with its real-life mirror, outside of being a re-contextualization/re-imagining. You didn't really pick a side, is what I'm saying.

And nitpick: I'm also wondering why super-powered individuals can't find work doing other dangerous tasks besides fighting super-villains. I mean, the world is not running out of natural disasters, or armed conflicts, or buildings to demolish, is it?

For now, I am rating this highly, because I had fun. But I do think you can take this idea further and make it more than just a neat concept.
#59 ·
· on Shades of White · >>GaPJaxie
Alternate Title: The Meh Emoji IRL

Okay, so I'm surprised I'm the first to comment on this.

I suspect this will be one of the more controversial entries, for one main reason: the supposed message to take away form this is kinda shit.

This would be easy to write off if not for the fact that it's also pretty decently written. There are a few gripes I have: the author used hyphens (might be en dashes, actually, but those are like if an em dash got circumcised anyway) instead of em dashes, and it took me a moment to realize Sarah was quoting a newspaper headline, because of the lack of quotation marks.

The opening paragraphs about Berkeley were also superfluous for the most part. The author lets us know that April is weird even compared to other folks, because that's how Berkeley do, but then he/she does this a few more times.

It was chuckle-worthy the first time, but you don't have to repeat yourself.

What really hampers my enjoyment of this story, though, is this creeping feeling that the author wants me to believe April is in the right here. And she's not. She's arguably doing more harm than good by not saying anything about the incident that apparently caused her to be a creepy husk of a person.

The color phobia thing is a tad ridiculous, but okay, most phobias are, and we're putting on our low-key sci-fi goggles for this affair anyway. But how am I supposed to believe that this condition, which is clearly harmful and was caused by irresponsibility on the government's part, should be left alone...? You could argue April is only applying this to herself, but she clearly sees curing oneself of a disease (like an actual disease caused by a fucking chemical weapon) as morally wrong.

I get that this might be an allegory for autism, and how a lot of people on the autism spectrum would rather stay as they are than be "cured," whatever that means. But autism is something that usually develops naturally, and most people on the spectrum are far more well-adjusted to everyday life than April here.

It seems like a bad case of false equivalency.

Unless you believe autism is caused by vaccinations, in which case I've got some bad news for you.

This bugs me. I admire how solidly put together the story is, but I'd rather not re-read it.
#60 · 1
· on The Burning · >>No_Raisin


First of all, I acknowledge the writing is good, but I fail to see why Andrew pushed it from "good" to "sublime". Blame my lack of English expertise, maybe. After all, you can’t expect an uncouth yokel like me to praise Leonardo's paintings or Shakespeare’s plays, right?

In any case, I debated a long time with Cassius over this one, especially about the takeaway. And while we almost concur – not that the message was so hard to dredge up – here also I’m just about lukewarm about it. The gist of it, if I follow Cassius’s path, is "savagery wipes out all civilization" or "savagery brings about more savagery", which somehow clicks in with the prompt. Yet, I think this is both a very somber and quite biased way of seeing things. The best counterexample being how our species managed to rise from the mud. This might be the case in isolated spots, but even in a post-apocalyptic, totally destitute society, I think there would be people eager to recover what little knowledge had survived.

Besides, I found that message a mite trite.

I’m going to be stoned for this – let me pick up my armor – but I think this will land in the middle of my slate. It’s not bad, but I can’t really say I was enthused. But don’t worry, author: true English speakers will rank it much higher than I do. :)
#61 ·
· on A Nice Walk at Night

Cassius thinks this is about the actual murderer, but I’m sure it’s just about what the fic' pretends to be: John Doe walking in the street and falling prey to a murderous impulse lit up by the sudden memory of a criminal being on the lam, and wondering what how it would feel to be in his (her?) shoes. Experience that moment of power you might feel when you kill someone else, not much unlike what (I imagine) happens with your first smoke or shot, just to try out and experience what the others do.

So it’s an interesting psychological portrait, and it’s fairly well written, except the lead is totally pointless to me, and ruins the hook. First, where are we? Portland, OR or Portland, MA? Cassius keeps claiming no one gives a fuck about Portland, MA, I insist that that city has a right to exist besides being a simple placeholder for "Maine's capital city". The decor (night, rain) is pretty much caricatural. And, frankly, we don’t really care where this takes place. Don’t lose words to describe a decor if you don’t build on it afterwards. Here, the most important thing is what the guy sees and what happens inside his head. You should have begun there like: “She was, what? Nineteen, twenty? and I was following her along the gloomy street.”
#62 ·
· on Poems About Dragons
I don’t rank poetry → ABSTAIN.
#63 ·
· on A Chromaday Carol · >>Samey90
Same as the Dragon entry → ABSTAIN.
#64 · 1
· on Those Purple Days, by Lord Fotheringay-Phipps
You haven't really leaned much on the comedy here, author. It comes off as more of a war drama, which is obviously going to look a bit silly given the premise.

It felt a bit like reading a police report summarizing the events of The Grand Budapest Hotel. There's a funny line in there or two, but I'd rather just experience the story, instead of get lectured on it.

Tone, tone, tone!
#65 · 1
· on Like Ships in the Night · >>Light_Striker >>Bachiavellian
It's not totally clear where this story is taking place, author. On water, underwater, or in space. "Boats" makes me think it's on water, but the lack of oxygen makes me think it's the other two. I'm guessing it's space, but I probably shouldn't be guessing.

I also felt that there was too much techno babble at the beginning for me to get hooked into the story. Some people really like that, but probably only when they know what you're saying. I felt lost.

I thought the second scene was nice, though, despite the talking heads.
Thanks for writing!
#66 ·
· on Third Date
Neat. It's like a romantic twist on Feeling Pinkie Keen.

Your main character is certainly a dick here, but I do think that's your intent. Even past his reaction to the auras, he clearly states that he's only in it for the poontang. And his inner rationalization for having experienced love before is particularly eye opening.

But it is for him, too. He has an opinion, and suddenly he's not so sure about it, from an unlikely source. I like that stuff.

I just wish he had gone further down that character change. He gets challenged in the story but we don't really see the growth, which is important in a story with an unlikable lead, at least to me.

Thanks for writing! So far you're in higher ranks.
#67 ·
· on If At First You Don't Succeed...
Talking heads galore. Sorry, but I struggle to follow what happened here. If your story is too long, cut out scenes, not descriptions! The phone call might not have been necessary at all, or it at least didn't have to be that long. And by the way, did our colourful protagonist lose their accent as the story went on?

Also, is the end of the title supposed to be ...Tye Dye again?

...I can get behind that.
#68 · 1
· on Too Pure by Half
This seems like one of the tricks people use in minific rounds: rather than write a minific, they write something that seems like a fragment of a longer story (I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of that too). In this case it's a rather unimportant part of the story, I'm afraid.
#69 · 2
· on Rebirth · >>PinoyPony
The Wolf.

Dear God, not this again...

Seriously though, it's not badly written, but it seems to me that it's just a generic description with some colours thrown in to fit the prompt. Probably the middle of the slate for me.
#70 · 1
· on A Chromaday Carol · >>Monokeras >>Baal Bunny
I'm torn between abstaining and pointing out that some rhymes are really painful and basing my rating on this. Will probably abstain, though.
#71 ·
· on Downtrodden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Your Story's Theme Song: Lorenzo Naccarato Trio - Osmosis

Skimmed this on my first go by the time I reached the third paragraph. I had an inkling that it was going to be a dense ride and I don't think 4 a.m. me can handle it without setting the comment section on fire.

Having now gone through it a couple more times, all I can say is wow. There's honestly a lot of information compacted into this entry. It had me tracing the tangents as to how they all fit together in this amalgamation of a jigsaw puzzle and, suffice to say, I came out of it with more questions than answers. Why this group of survivors? Why did the author suddenly decide it to be a prophecy? I'd spend paragraph after paragraph picking the logistics of the story's universe apart, but I don't think it changes the fact that despite its deeply-flawed concept, the story still delivers its message in my case.

Focusing my sights on the 'moral' of the story itself, however, I find myself questioning: why do these sequence of events have to happen in a post-apocalyptic society? It would seem highly likely that a cetacean miracle such as this one can occur even without society falling apart at the seams in the aftermath of a nuclear war. I guess it's because of the art you're referencing from, but then I would hope that the integration of the art into the story was a bit more smoother in that regard.

Also—and this is me being absolutely nitpicky here—I don't think whales and dolphins were your best bet. Sure, they're probably the go-to animals when it comes to endangered species that are magnificent, but I find there are more creative options out there. Could you imagine the sorry faces of all these people if the lights beam up something like, say, cockroaches or snakes? Or dung beetles, or possibly mosquitoes? Or even something like a tree— those things are alive as well! The most heartbreaking option I can think of is to have the infants and children of the remaining survivors be abducted instead. They're probably the most downtrodden of them all, being born in a world destroyed by their own parents.

As for the narration and the dialogue, they feel very exposition-y, the dialogue in particular. I get that there's a lot to unpack in this story, but trying to explain all this away just opens more room to pluck at the already loose threads tying this story together. It sacrifices characterization for concept, which I don't think helps in this case since the stuff they're talking about, again, only leaves me with more questionable information that, in the end, I need not the knowledge of as it in no way affects the story at its core.

Honestly, the fact that I can spend hours talking about this particular concept is because it's a genuinely great concept, and one I wouldn't hesitate to see fleshed out and turned into a proper story. It's just the little intricacies that need ironing out for me, that's all.

Also, this reminds me of The Leftovers.
#72 ·
· on The Beast of Luscioucr · >>Monokeras
Alternate Title: Colors for the Color God

This story gets some points right off the bat for having good world-building in its first few paragraphs, and I was curious to see what the twist with this town was inevitably going to be. You don't have a town with this kind of supernatural aura about it and not expect something creepy to be lurking around the corner.

The descriptions of Luscioucr are honestly some of the best prose I've encountered so far in this round; it kind of verges on poetry, though it leans closer to being a very well-written Golden Age high fantasy story. Or maybe something Ursula K. Le Guin would've written in her prime.

It certainly invited a comparison to "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas," one of Le Guin's finest short stories. Hell, for the first few paragraphs I'd say the comparison is well-deserved.

But then the author, in my opinion anyway, misfires by deciding to focus the bulk of the story on a character we know nothing about and whom we're inclined to not care for much.

Mind you, the story doesn't go totally to shit from there on, but there's definitely this feeling that something is out of place. Maybe the author felt it necessary to write about a person instead of just a place, even though as Le Guin (and also Italo Calvino) have shown us, you don't need people in your story to make it compelling; you just need a world that is compelling in itself, which isn't exactly easy to do, but it can work wonders and sometimes even be the best option.

Protagonists in minifics are always kind of flat because of the format, but William suffers this more than most because we don't even meet him until like a third into the story, so when he gets killed by the beast I didn't feel much of anything.

Aside from that there are a few awkward phrasings (as tall of a man?) that sneaked into an otherwise very finely put together entry, in terms of the prose. Even when the stuff with William was going on the author kept this borderline poetic vibe, which I liked, even though it didn't make for compelling horror material.

This is also one of those entries that relies a little too heavily on the art piece that inspired it, but at least I can say it stuck close to the prompt (unlike a lot of other entries in any given round). It's fine, honestly.

I probably won't put this at the top of my slate, but definitely in the upper half. I wish I could guarantee you a safe passage to finals, author, but I think it'll get there. You can also kick my ass if it doesn't.
#73 ·
· on A Chromaday Carol · >>Baal Bunny
In all fairness, I could probably detect bad poetry easily. But, to give all poetry a fair shake, I prefer to abstain on all poems, rather than upbraid the bad ones and abstain on the good.
#74 · 2
· on A Nice Walk at Night · >>Bachiavellian
Alternate Title: American Psycho 2: Electric Boogaloo

I'm pretty sure I've read this before.

I don't mean that in like the author plagiarizing, but I know for a fucking fact a lot of us have read this exact kind of story several times before, in these WriteOff rounds alone.

It's distracting because, taken simply in a vacuum, this is a fairly well-written entry that would probably be in the upper half of my slate. We get a good impression of the narrator's mindset, what goes on in his head and so on. There is also a decent building of tension, even though it's not really tense because we've seen this before.

Okay, let me start from the beginning.

"A Nice Walk at Night" is about a serial killer on the prowl, and it takes all of five seconds to realize this is the case. Even before the narrator mentions murders happening you think, "He's a killer." Aaaaand he is! There's no actual twist beyond the narrator being this stalker/murderer of young women, which in itself is not really a twist. This is something you hear from some executive in an elevator and you ask him, "Okay, but what's the catch?" Because there has to be a catch, otherwise it would be pretty boring and none of us were born yesterday.

But there is no catch. The girl gets away, the killer is denied a victim for the time being, and that's it. I sound really jaded right now, but that's because I really wanted this entry to have more meat on its bones. It's clear that the author knows what he/she is doing from a technical standpoint (although there are these weird gaps between paragraphs, like the author pressed Enter three times by accident), and I can't really find any grammar problems here.

I just can't get over how derivative this all is. There seems to be a philosophical implication in here somewhere, like the author had read American Psycho and wanted to squeeze some of that into 750 words, but in the process basically cut out all the parts that made that book so compelling and disturbing.

On a final note, you can replace Portland with literally any other city and it wouldn't make a difference.
#75 · 3
· on Sibling Ribaldry · >>Monokeras >>WritingSpirit
The incest vibes are strong in this one, and I'm not talking about the father / daughter.
#76 ·
· on The Last Connoisseurs of Warm Colours · >>Samey90
Earth is under attack by a giant letter T! Someone call Letterman!

The helmet looks more like a green beret. The rat is sufficiently rodentine. As the only clear details in the work, they are commanding more attention than the artist perhaps wanted them to receive. It’s true that, being so sharply outlined, they do not seem to fit well with the blurry and almost impressionistic background. I am classing this as mid tier.
#77 ·
· on The Queen's English
Ah, so 15 years from now, we’re still arguing over Gibraltar, but have started using psuedo-Latin in front page newspaper articles. Could this new blue wave from the 13 be called a Brentrance? A cute idea, and I will class this as mid tier.
#78 ·
· on Broken Are Bonds We Forged in Life
A very dramatic image, with lots of story potential. Did you shoop in that red color, or was it there already? Creepy if so. Nicely composed overall, though the sides are a bit tight. A mid to upper tier shot.
#79 ·
· on Emergent Properties · >>Baal Bunny
Are those trees in the window, or nuke clouds? I’m calling trees, because of the birds flying with apparent calm. Another Skittles addict faces the consequences of her gluttony. That, or she just did something not suitable for public mention with a unicorn. This doodle conveys its idea for the most part, but the bare execution will lead me to place it in the low-mid tier.
#80 ·
· on Kitchen Scene
This is a decent watercolor still life. It could use a little more contrast, particularly around the shading of the grapes.

Aside from the painting being colorful, I can’t see a direct connection to the prompt unless I reach a bit. (For instance, it’s a billion years after Alamo II: The Greyening, when the Green Goo swept over the planet, feeding on light itself, contaminating all in its path and befouling all the water. Here we see some revolting “seed pods,” instances of how the Goo spreads its vile presence.) For this reason of prompt connection, the entry will likely go in my middle tier.
#81 ·
· on United Violence and Crime Organization · >>Monokeras
Help, the earth is bleeding orange juice! I don’t have much more to say about this one, though. Sorry, Author. Thanks for contributing!
#82 ·
· on No, I am alright
Another of the fifty schadenfreudes of gray. The foreground figure looks real enough to have been drawn from a photo. The background figures are more rudimentary and rushed.

There’s a measure of hope in the green figure, which is facing our heroine and may be approaching with friendly intent. In real life, depressed people (even those who would value human contact) are actually sending out large “Stay Away From Me!” signals that no one they’d really want to meet will violate. Such is life, so it goes.

I will class this as an upper tier effort. Thanks, Artist!
#83 · 1
· on Cutting Edge Customer Service
I found myself smiling while reading this story, but never actually laughing, unfortunately. It's almost there, but I do agree with Bach that it feels a little one note. As an intro to a larger scene, I think it's a great setup (minus the ending paragraph) but since we only have 750 words to tell a whole story, this does feel like it falls a little short.

But still. If you had been allowed to keep going, I would have been interested. So good job! And thanks for taking the time to submit.

P. S. Was the sword sharp or not?
#84 ·
· on Colour Confinement
And here I was, wanting to call up the typou in the first sentence.

This reads to me like the authour knew full well houw fast this wouuld get ould, and needed to put soumething in ounce the 'ouu' gag ran its couurse. Unfourtunately, thouugh, the gag can't be stoupped, and it's drouwning in talking heads, sou it's not that surprising that the rainbouw... sidequest... made absoulutely nou sense.

But I goutta admit, I was *snrk*-ing a little at the ouriginal gag. It's toup tier silly, and I feel like a child four laughing at it, but ouh well.

Thanks for writing, and gououd luck!
#85 ·
· on Epidemic · >>Monokeras
I know it's already been mentioned, but that first line is really, really problematic. Even if you don't have time to proofread, always double-check your first sentence. It's too important.

This story leaves me kind of at arm's length, and I think it's because our narrator isn't the most interesting character in the story, or the most crucial to it. If we had been told from the boy's perspective, or the girl's, or maybe a doctor first discovering that it's about to go down in a major way, then the stakes can be raised much higher. It's a common thing I see in the writeoff--a choice of narrator or perspective that's on the fringe of the story. Better to be dead-center, if you ask me.

There are also a few typos and strange word choices that could stand to be cleaned up.

But that's all from me. Thanks for submitting, and good luck!
#86 ·
· on The Chromovore
Wot 'e said.

I'm very thrown by the tone in this story. Because it's very casual the whole way through, despite the amount of whatsit that goes down. It feels like it should be heavier, or perhaps funnier? But our narrator is very nonchalant, as if telling us a children's fable. But what is the moral of that fable... To never let someone stop you from seeing colour...? Hm. Peculiar.

And since your tone is so subdued, I can only assume that this really is just some drunken schmuck lying through his teeth, and that kinda sucks. But if that's not what you're going for, I recommend adding in something, at least a glimmer, that points to it being true. Like he has leftover qualities from the confrontation or something.

Thanks for writing!!
#87 ·
· on Downtrodden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This story greatly offended me for one reason.

Shamu 102, who was one of the few orcas left from when Seaworld had not only resumed orca shows, but orca gladiator-style fighting as well.

How DARE you gloss over this sentence like it isn't the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Okay, I'll be serious.

I think this story suffers from having very little setup to such a large topic and idea. I have two thoughts: either you moved through your story too fast, or you were referencing something I whiffed on and thus felt like you didn't need to dwell. I don't know, but the topic at hand felt like it came out late, and we were at the cetacean ascension awful quick.

But the writing is smooth, and the story is complete. So good job with your whole thing.

So long, and thanks for all the writing!
#88 · 1
· on A Chromaday Carol
I'll rank you, author. I may not know much about poetry, but I know what I like!

The abac rhyming scheme is a peculiar one, although Google tells me it is a thing. But I can't help but stumble at the end of each stanza, for obvious reasons. I think your degree of difficulty may be a little too high here, and that many of us will not be able to appreciate the scheme enough. I wonder how a poetry fanatic would respond to this.

As to the story itself, I'm not sure exactly what happened, I can only give a grand scheme of things: that this is a Christmas myth with colours instead of toys, and the chromatist instead of Mr. Claus. But the rhyming, because it's not perfect, leaves me at arm's length. And, not to mention, I actually think some of this comes off a little too purple. I can't help but wish the story had been told regularly.

So I think it's a good attempt, and shows a lot of skill, but it's just a little hard to get into from the reader's side of things. Thanks for writing!
#89 ·
· on A Chromaday Carol · >>Baal Bunny
P.S. What even with those headers. That's a violation of the KISS rule, soldier.
#90 · 1
· on Downtrodden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Here’s to your efforts, author. At least one person got the references to Hitchikers Guide.

As soon as the orca started to lift up I immediately knew what was happening. I’ve only read a couple pages, seen the movie twice, so I don’t quite get the rest of the references (if there are any)

As a story on its own I think it fulfills its limited job. Idea of landscape, introduction to characters, and problem they’re trying to figure out.

It does kind of feel like talking heads, but hey, I was engaged in wondering who it was gonna be. I was not disappointed.
#91 · 1
· on No, You! · >>Baal Bunny >>Miller Minus
Alternate Title: I'd Like to Be a Tree

I have to really think about this one. In fact I didn't even notice a certain something about this the first go around, and I have to give the author kudos for this: you made me pay attention to the details.

It seems like Mary literally turned into a tree, or is in the process of becoming a tree, for this play. I don't know how that works or how it happened, but it'd be even weirder if it was metaphorical, because what the fuck is the point?

This is a comedy entry, I think? It basically builds up to a single joke, which at most is chuckle-worthy. Otherwise this is a weird kind of urban fantasy where the fantasy part is the twist.

Or it could be neither and I'm wasting my time.

I don't know, man, that penultimate paragraph gets me. Assuming this is literal, it's pretty clever, in terms of describing the reveal. The author just doesn't go, "Hey, she's a tree now." Ain't that swell? It's also the best-written part of the story, prose-wise, but then again much of the story is dialogue-driven.

I'm not biased against dialogue-heavy stories, I swear. I just like my juicy prose goodness, okay?



At the same time, if this is meant to be like a dark-ish urban fantasy then it didn't quite hit me like it was supposed to. Hell, it took me a second read to get an idea as to what the twist is, and even then I could be wrong.

I like it, but I can't claim to understand it entirely.
#92 ·
· on Lecture: A World Without Dentists
Plot twist: This is the highest comedy on my slate.
#93 ·
· on Confusion Fusion
Alternate Title: Honey, We Gave Ourselves Radiation Sickness!

Okay, Mr. Comedy Man...

I like this on paper, if that even makes sense (nothing else does). Companies like FedEx and Amazon seem to have either robots or idiots for their packaging and shipping, and this is like a jab at that kind of stupidity, taken to its extreme.

The problem is I wish this was goofier, believe it or not. It's not a shitpost, or at least I don't think it is, and I say that because it's too lucidly written. There are a few other entries I've read so far that read like they were written by a crazy person (or maybe it was Majin Syeekoh) and that's partly what made them interesting, if not necessarily "good."

I probably won't remember this entry as much as those for that reason: stupidity aside, it's not particularly funny. Maybe it's not wacky enough? It's hard to tell, because you can only shove so much insanity into your minific before making it an outright shitpost, and there's a delicate line that must be straddled.

On the bright side this is pretty polished; I didn't notice any grammar oddities anyway. Although maybe it was polished too much, because in trying not to make this a shitpost the author might've overcompensated.

Far from terrible, though, and I don't see this being at the bottom of anyone's slate.

Unless you work for FedEx maybe.

Also, you'd think a color-blind person would tell their employer of such a thing, especially if their position involves knowing what color is what. That's some dumb shit.
#94 ·
· on AB: Arrogance Broadcasting
The characters here are really strongly voiced, which really made it easy to keep track of who was talking, especially in the early part of the story when the reader's still getting their bearings.

I'm afraid this is another entry that I didn't really understand the purpose of. It reads easily, succeeds in making me dislike Donny, but the payoff feels odd. Firstly, the fact that we never see Donny do anything remotely admirable here makes it hard to care when we're told (almost 3/4 way through the story) that he used to be a swell guy. In fact, the Donny you portray seems so hopelessly despicable and incompetent that I find myself frustrated at Paunch for sticking with him. I suspect you want us to feel empathy toward's Pauch's situation, but I can't help but feel like he must be stupid to let himself be such a doormat.

I really think that you need to make Donny at least a little sympathetic for your payoff to work. Humanizing him a bit (even while keeping all the nasty things he hurls at Paunch) will go a long way in making Paunch's absolute faith in Donny seem more tragic and less plain silly.
#95 ·
· on Colour Confinement
Alternate Title: Fuck the British

At first I was really annoyed with this entry, because I didn't know why there were superfluous u's being added all over the place, and I almost wanted to give this a bad review because of that.

But then I realized what the joke was. Then I laughed.

Really hard.

I don't know why, but this got a healthy gut laugh out of me. I remember some folks in the Discord talking about entries that rag on the British spelling of "color," but only now do I realize this entry was one of them.

Considering some of the other comedies I've read this round didn't get a single laugh out of me, this already has a leg up on those. A comedy that makes me laugh is at least doing its job as a comedy. I know this is a really subjective thing, and for all I know nobody else found this worthy of a laugh, but author, just so you know, you made me laugh.

Unfortunately you also did something else I noticed as I was reading: this is entirely dialogue-driven. And I do mean all dialogue, no prose. The author must be allergic to it or something.

Or maybe you made a couple of talking heads so you could fit everything inside 750 words.

It doesn't help that the two characters involved sound pretty much the same, and I couldn't get attached to either, so it was like I was reading texts between a couple of randos. And that's not cool, bruh!

The joke also wears itself pretty thin by the end, even within such a small word count, so sadly this is another one of those one-trick-pony entries.

For what it's worth, though, the trick worked for me.
#96 · 1
· on Epidemic · >>Monokeras
Alternate Title: Bloodborne: Stephen King Edition

I want to like this more than I do; maybe it's because conceptually this is one of the more intriguing entries I've read so far. It could also be that with some polish this really could be a contender for the upper third of my slate.

But fuck, man.

I don't need to bring up the first sentence; it's been mentioned already, and I'm sure the author knows what's wrong with it.

There is also a tense change a few paragraphs in. And a few other rough grammatical points that tell me that maybe this should've been revised more. Or revised at all. I don't know how you people work.

It's a huge shame because for a while I was on the edge of my seat, even when I figured out there were vampires involved (not in the way I expected either, so good job). But something about this narrator rubs me the wrong way. It could be that he doesn't have much of a personality to speak of, or that he's slightly obnoxious and I'm confused as to why he's talking to me.

The fact that he apparently shares my fondness for sailor talk doesn't help either.

In one of my other reviews I mentioned that it's a very bad idea to start a sentence with "Then," and this entry actually doesn't something worse than that: "And then." Twice in a row.

The ending is also really goddamn abrupt, but once I got the hang of what was going on and what it meant I was honestly fine with it. Probably not the ideal amount of words for the author, though.

This is another entry where I recommend not abandoning it. Orphans are sometimes raised by wolves, and if they ever find you they'll beat your ass so hard. Best to take care of it probably.
#97 ·
· on AB: Arrogance Broadcasting
This is meh. Bachi says the characters are strongly voiced, which may be true, but frankly, I don’t care. They don’t act or interact in a meaningful way, or at least in a way that caught my attention. I skimmed through this and really I can’t even say what it was written for or what the takeaway is. It seems to me it’s been written only for the sake of fitting into one of the pictures.

Sorry author, but this left me really unconcerned.
#98 · 1
· on Colour Confinement
Bottom slated for overworking spellcheck.

Yeah, this didn't work for me at all. It might just be both that I'm tired and was walking my dog while doing it, but the primary gag here made the reading incredibly tedious for me as my brain just wasn't quite processing words. Long stuff wasn't too bad, but all the tou and sou stuff ends up making me take an extra fraction of a second to get the word to work mentally.

The dialogue only stuff is also a bit of a problem in that it isn't necessarily easy to identify characters that are speaking. You generally tagged them off well enough, but right after this bit
"It stands four, uh... quantum chrome something? It's some kind ouf string theory thing. But what's important is apparently they study houw tou capture rainbouws our something, sou they knouw what they're douing."
it is very easy to lose track of who the speaker is since the voices aren't super distinct.

Which sorta brings us to the final issue that, joke aside that this is more a scene than a story. There isn't really much of an arc and nothing actaully happens outside some technobabble being presented as a potential solution. And technobabble itself isn't really compelling, it's the characters and how that techno babble effects them. And that isn't really present here.

The core joke here definitely can work and the setup works, but I think you need to either weld it onto a slightly more faux compelling story (e.g. pit it in the middle of the tense resolution of the linguistic assault) or go out on a stronger punchline. I realize my review sounds super critical, but I do think you have all the pieces here; you just need to rearrange them a bit.

Thanks for writing!
#99 · 1
· on All I'm Saying Is, It Could Work · >>Samey90
Well, first, paving a room with smooth concrete sounds a bit odd to my ears. "Paved" evokes cobbles, not concrete. Layered? Covered? Coated? W/e, anyway who cares?

The dialogue feels like talking heads, because nothing really much happens aside from it. Also, please, avoid Equestria in OF rounds. It’s like you can’t get rid of your pony plushie when getting out in the real world.

Otherwise… It’s pretty linear and one-track. I mean, we know pretty much from the start they’ll be stupid enough to push the button, because otherwise the end would be quite bland, wouldn't it?

So, yeah, there’s some good lines in this, but it’s not super peachy either.

PS: Cassius had to explain me the video game references that I obviously didn't get. Let it be repeated here that you’re not supposed to write for a clique or a happy-few. If you put “dog-whistle” like sentences in your fic, that’s bad. Subsequently demoted the ranking by a few notches to account for this :/
#100 ·
· on The Beast of Luscioucr
Overall, that’s not bad, and I agree with what >>No_Raisin says here about the initial description of the village, which is pretty nice.

The story, however, is too on the nose for me. I mean, you took that picture and bolstered your story on it in such an obvious way that when I arrived half-way through it, I had the picture right in front of me and couldn't get rid of it.

Cassius asks if this is bad. I mean, it’s not bad per se. Somehow it bugged me. Maybe because this is too straight an interpretation, so straight that I find it devoid of originality? I was expecting more subtlety, maybe. I’m not sure.

Sorry, author.

(Yeah #100, last message of the first page!)