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It's a Long Way Down · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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O'er the Edge
I was only a lad of about 23 when I first met the Captain. I had been hard at work compiling a full chart of the eastern shoreline, an undertaking that had been woefully ignored by my peers for the better half of a century. It would be my greatest achievement, or so I thought, a massive boon to my trade; as such, I had spent days devoting nearly all my time and focus to the task, and as such it is of little surprise that I did not notice the big, burly man who had entered my shop until he was standing directly before me (and even then, only because he had blocked the lamplight).

He introduced himself as Captain John Hadderflash when he shook my hand, leaning down over the counter and the mess of charts I was sat behind. His hand easily eclipsed mine, and his grip was firm.

"Atticus Sarten," I introduced myself. "What can I do for you, Captain?"

"People have told me you're handy with a map and compass, aye?"

I gestured to the mess between us. "I should certainly hope so, considering my line of work!"

"Good, good," he said. His grin revealed crooked, yellowed teeth. "I'd like to hire you, then."

That confused me for a moment, but I quickly decided he must have meant he wanted to conduct business; he didn't appear to be the most learned fellow, after all. So, I stood up from my stool and, legs creaking from disuse, made my way around the table and led him to the shelves of maps I had for sale.

"Now, Captain Hadderflash, I'm sure I can find you a map of any region you need. They're detailed and highly accurate, and I guarantee you, they won't lead you wrong!"

He cackled, a deep, scratchy thing. "No, Mr. Sarten, I didn't come here for maps."

"Oh?" I asked, taken aback. "Then why else would you come to a cartographer's?"

"For you, lad!" he said, clapping me on the back. "My ship needs a navigator, and you'd be perfect!"

"What? Me? But I have no experience—"

"You'll do fine!"

"But surely there must be others—"

"Those pickle-bellied 'others' sent me to you!" he said. "Said you'd be the only one brave enough to accompany me on this venture!"

I raised an eyebrow. "Brave?"

"Well, brave, stupid, same thing in my book." He sat me back down in my chair.

"That's not exactly reassuring."

"Well, at least let me tell you where we're going before you make up your mind, aye?"

Sighing, I reached over to a pile of charts and fished out a world map. Brushing my work aside, I rolled it out to its length and tacked down the corners.

"Alright, Captain, where are you headed? The western archipelago? The Sachen Isles? Rosterdann?"

He shook his head, and instead took one meaty finger and placed it down onto the table—past the mostly-blank western edge of the map.

"Here, lad. This is where we're going."

I looked up at him in confusion. "Captain, if this is some sort of—"

He leaned down, his bearded face coming level with mine.

"The edge of the world, my boy. The edge—and past it!"

"The edge? If you aren't joking, then you must be mad!"

"Aye, so they keep saying," he said, reaching into his coat. "But listen, I have proof!" He slapped a journal, poorly bound in worn and scuffed leather, down onto the table with a bang.

"My great-grandfather's journal, passed down through my family. He was a great explorer, in his time, but people thought him mad too! And look!" He opened it to a page marked by a strip of old fabric. "The edge of the world!"

I beheld the pages, upon which, well-rendered in scratchy quill ink, sat an illustration. The waves of the sea came to an abrupt end, a great falls beyond which there was only sky. And captioning it in large letters, "The Edge of the World".

"This proves nothing," I said, "except that your great-grandfather had a great imagination and a hand for illustration!"

"Aye, yes, but that's not all that's in here!" He thumped the pages. "There's a full account of his journey westwards, up to when he reached the edge and turned around! And I intend to make the same journey, except I won't be turning back, no! I'll sail right off the edge and into the seas of the stars themselves!"

He turned around and flung his arm out, pointing out my window to the softly-glowing moon. "That, my friend, is our destination!"

I knew he was mad, and I was about to tell him as much when he interrupted me.

"Now, I know you think me mad; I can see it in your eyes. So, I will leave the journal with you, so you can read my great-grandfather's account for yourself. I'll be back in three days’ time, that should be all I need to get my ship ready for the journey. I will see you again then, and I will hope that you will give me a favorable answer."

And with that said, he left.

I at first ignored the journal, instead returning to my work. Why waste time entertaining the fancies of a madman, after all? I had much to do if I was ever going to finish my chart.

And yet, my eyes kept slipping back to the book on the edge of my table.

And so, with a sigh, I picked it up and began leafing through the yellowed and stained pages. And quickly I became fascinated with the narrative they contained, a great account of the captain's travels westwards.

And then I noticed something astonishing. The Captain's great-grandfather had encountered an island on his travels, which he described as follows:

...a sandy beach that stretched about 12 meter, abound with shells that shone every colour, which ended at a forest of trees with leaves of red and orange, in spite of the season.

This description was a dead-ringer for the island of Galogoppas, well known for its unique flora and fauna... and discovered only four years ago, a good sixty years after this account claimed to have been written!

Following this, I began to spot many other details of similar nature that also furthered to validate the account, and slowly I began to be overtaken by the same madness as Captain Hadderflash. Assuming that the journal had not been falsified in some manner, then it was quite clear that the Captain's great-grandfather had indeed traveled westwards further than any other of his time!

And soon, the journal began describing things that could not be found on any maps. An entire ocean, unknown to us, waiting to be re-discovered! The thought excited me to no end.

As I at last came to the account of the edge of the world, I could come to no conclusion other than the same one the Captain had no doubt come to many years ago. Though, whether one could sail off the edge... I confess, in my excitement, I laid aside my doubts.

I then turned my attentions to the proposed journey. I asked around the naval yard if anyone had ever heard of a 'Captain Hadderflash', and to my surprise, many had. He was well-known as a sailor of good repute, if a little strange, with a good boat and a strong crew.

And so, I began collecting and sorting through maps and charts, selecting the ones we would likely need. I also purchased several reams of paper and new pens, for roughing out maps of the new areas we would be sailing through, as well as some cloth bags and cases for storing my tools.

On the third day, the Captain returned, as he said he would. I shook his hand and told him I would be proud to join him as his navigator.

He led me down to the docks, where his ship was moored. She was a fairly large three-masted galleon, and the golden letters on her side spelled out, "La Mariposa del Mar".

"She's a beauty, isn't she?" he said as we walked down the pier. "I've had her five years, now, and she's never once let me down!"

"She's a fine-looking ship, Captain!" I shouted over the cries of the seagulls, stepping out of the way of a pair of shiphands loading up crates of supplies. I noticed a fair bit of rum in with all the breads and salted meat. "And you're sure she can get us to where we're going?"

"'Long as this lot does their jobs, she'll get us anywhere!" a man said, walking down the gangplank to meet us. He was short but thin, with a wiry beard that stretched around his chin. "Who's this then, Captain?"

"This is Mr. Atticus Sarten, the navigator I was telling you about. Atticus, this is Mr. Silimus Quadree, my first mate."

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Sarten," he said, shaking my hand with enthusiasm. "Please, call me Silver."

"Likewise, and call me Atticus."

"Well, Atticus, let's get your things on board," Silver said. He took a case from me, which I was grateful for, and we headed up the gangplank. As we walked across the deck, he began naming the crew members we passed.

"That there's Mr. Pertree, and beside him is Mac Thompson, he mans the crow's nest... Oh, and that's Tommy Stanton, climbing up the ropes there... Mr. Dekker, the helmsman... And that there's Lucky Jack."

"Why do they call him Lucky?" I asked.

"Because they're lucky to have me!" the man in question hollered, to the laughter of most of the men on deck.

"Ignore him; we only call him that because half the crew owes him money at cards," Silver said. "And the other half doesn't play!"

This laughter was somewhat more meager this time.

We entered the navigation room, a small cabin at the back of the ship containing a table and a trunk.

"Here we are," Silver said. "You get settled in, now; we'll be departing within the hour."


He turned to go, but lingered at the door.

"Say, Atticus, you seem like a learned man. Do you really think we can, y'know..."

"Sail off the edge?"

He nodded.

"I'm honestly not sure; I'm still not certain as to whether there is an edge to sail off of in the first place. But, given the Captain's Great Grandfather's account, I'm willing to look."

"Oh. Well, that's something, at least. Our old navigator quit, y'see, he wouldn't have any of it. Said the Captain'd finally gone off his rocker!"

"What do you think about it?" I asked.

"I think I'll follow Captain Hadderflash anywhere, even to the ends of the earth," he said. "Anyway, you get set up. I suspect the Captain'll be 'round to get you in a bit." And with that said, he returned to the deck, leaving me alone with my things.

Silver hadn't lied; before the hour was up, we began to leave port by means of kedging. I watched from the top deck as the crew slowly dragged the Mariposa out to sea. The Captain stood not too far away, barking orders every so often, each shortly echoed with an "Aye, Captain!”

Soon enough, we were at sea. Before we unfurled the sails, however, the Captain gathered up the crew. We stood around him in a crowded circle on the deck, and waited for him to make his speech.

"Now, before we begin, I'd like you all to meet Mr. Atticus Sarten, our new navigator," he said, gesturing to me. "He may not have his sea legs yet, but he'll be the one plotting our course this time out, so go easy on him!"

This earned him a few whoops from the crowd, and me a couple hearty slaps on the back.

"So, you all know where we're going!"

"Off the edge!" a few people called out.

"That's right," the Captain said. "Off the edge of the world, and into the seas of the sky. We're going farther than any crew has gone before! We'll be going down in history, lads! No more shipping goods after this one!"

A few more cheers.

"But it ain't going to be an easy journey, no! We'll be sailing uncharted waters even before we get there, and who knows what the tides may bring! But, I'll tell you this: I couldn't make this journey with a finer set of sailors and scumbags than you lot!" He laughed, and the crew laughed with him.

"So, let's get goin' already!"

The entire crew cheered, and somewhat to my surprise, so did I! On cue, several men scrambled across the deck, untying and loosing ropes from posts. The great sails descended, immediately catching the northeastern wind and filling out fully, propelling us forward to the chorus of cheers.

Then, the moment passed, and everybody got to work. I watched Mac scurry up the main mast on his gangly limbs, saw Mr. Dekker man the helm. Many of the crew headed below decks.

"Now, Atticus, we'd best get to work plotting our course," the Captain said to me.

"Yes, Captain."

We sailed on open waters for about a month without stopping. I confess, the first few days were hard, but I acclimated to life on the ship quickly enough, and soon had my 'sea legs' beneath me. Meals were mainly salted pork and bread, with a bit of rum to wash it down, and were put together by the ship's cook, a Mr. Thomas Addler, who I found to be agreeable in conversation. We would spend the nights crammed onto the top deck, sleeping on mats under the stars. Excepting when there was a storm, of course, but in that case everyone was far too busy to sleep.

I went into my work with enthusiasm, working happily with the Captain to plot our route westwards. We planned to make one stop, that being outside the port of Liebernen, the furthest westward established town that would cater to us. There, we would restock on supplies before our journey into uncivilized waters, and then into uncharted ones. Past that, our course would be almost a straight line, barring encounters with any yet-unknown landmasses.

The crew was friendly enough to me; apparently the man I was replacing was rather temperamental, and thus I was a welcome improvement. I was even invited to try my hand at cards, though I declined, much to the disappointment of Lucky Jack. I did sit in on a few hands, though; the man was as good as they said, unnaturally so, but if he was cheating I couldn't tell you how.

And so, when we arrived in Liebernen and after most of the loading of supplies had taken place, I was invited into town by some of the crew for a round of drinks. It felt odd, being on land again after so much time on the waves, and I stumbled a bit on the cobblestones as we made our way to a pub.

The place was called The Boar's Ear and it was a merry place, with a rowdy crowd and a band of music-makers in the corner. We all ordered drinks, I went with a pint of ale, and we took a table for ourselves.

Alas, I've always been a bit of a lightweight, and after only three drinks I could feel myself going. I excused myself and stumbled my way back through the streets of the town to the docks where the Mariposa was moored.

Climbing up the gangplank, I walked towards the navigation room, intent on laying down for a while in the quiet company of my charts, when I spotted someone emerging from below decks. It was Mr. Silver, and he had a dreadful look on his face.

"Everything alright, Silver" I asked; he started at the sound. "I thought you went into town with the others?"

"Oh, no," he said, "I wanted to make one final count of our provisions 'afore we set off again."

"I thought that was Addler's job?" I asked.

"Oh, it is, but you can never be too thorough, 'specially when it comes to food. Are you alright?"

"Just a little drunk," I said. "I was going to have a rest in the navigation room."

"Ah, here, let me help you!" He took his shoulder under my arm and helped carry me the rest of the way, which I was grateful for, particularly on the steps.

"Now, you have a good rest, you here?" he said, once we had reached the room. "It's gonna be back to work tomorrow, and it only gets worse from here!"

"I'll be fine by the morning, don't worry."

He left me, then, and I laid down on the cool wooden planks of the floor. I fell asleep before I knew it.

We set sail again early the next morning, though our pace felt somewhat more sluggish than usual. It didn't last, however, and soon we were up to speed, our sails carrying us due west. Within a week, we had reached the island of Galogoppas that had been mentioned in the journal. I and most of the free crew had crowded the deck's starboard side, watching awestruck as we passed. The famed beaches were more stunning than I could have imagined, shells of every colour, shape and size lining the sandy expanse. They had an almost iridescent quality to them, shining in the light like an extension of the blue waters they bordered.

Galogoppas was only a small isle, however, and within a couple of hours it was far behind us. We were now in uncharted waters, and thus my role changed. Instead of sequestering myself in the navigation room, pouring over charts and only exiting to ascertain our location, I now spent much of my time on the upper deck, observing our surroundings and making notes. While much of what we passed through was open ocean, I needed to measure as precisely as possible how much open ocean there was. And, every so often, I would spy a small island or two off in the distance, and though I knew we could not afford to deviate from our course to better observe them, I still did my best to sketch out their visible shore via telescope, and determine their approximate locations. With any luck, I could use these notes on a future voyage to properly map out this region.

And I did intend to embark on a future voyage, for in my travels with Captain Hadderflash and the crew of the Mariposa, I had grown to love the sea. The air, the feeling of motion, the solidarity I shared with the crew... I suppose it's odd, especially after my scholarly upbringing, but I could no longer imagine living a landlocked life. But I embraced the sea, and the sea has still not let me go.

Another month passed, and still no sign of the edge. From what I and the Captain had read of the journal, we were still on course, and should have been seeing the edge any day now, but we both could sense the rest of the crew getting restless. There were whisperings in the night, of which I pretended not to hear, that the Captain had finally lost his mind completely, that this had been a fool's errand to begin with. I brought this up with the captain once, while we were alone in the navigation room.

"They're beginning to doubt you, you know," I told him. "They're worried that this is all a big wild goose chase, and that we'll run out of provisions before long."

Yes," he rumbled, "I've heard. But it's out there, we both know it. They'll see soon enough, don't worry. I have faith in them; they're my crew after all."

And, thankfully, we didn't have to wait too much longer, for only three days after that conversation, we heard a cry down from Mac in the crow's nest:

"Captain! Captain! On the horizon, I see it! The edge!"

Naturally, this got everyone on board energized. We rushed to the front deck, eager to spy our destination at last. The Captain was at the forefront of us, leaning over the rail with a telescope to his eye.

"There it is!" he exclaimed. "I can see it!"

This got the crew even more riled up, cheering and whooping. We had reached it at last, the fabled edge of the world!

As we moved closer, it became visible, a line on the horizon, where the sky dipped just a little lower than it ought to have. The green seawater slipped over the side in a constant stream that spanned the horizon, and the sound of rushing water grew louder and louder as we approached.

We set anchor about a half-kilometer away from the edge, where the pull of the cascades was weak enough to be safe, and we celebrated. The rum flowed that night, and Mr. Addler pulled out some dried fruit and some of the better cuts he had been saving for the occasion. Little Tommy Stanton played us a dancing melody on his flute, and Captain Hadderflash regaled us with tails of his Great-Grandfather's exploits, and we all made merry as the sun set over the edge and the moon rose high from behind us.

When the moon was at its apex, the Captain gathered us around. He stood tall, one foot upon a crate, and looked down at us with a smile.

"We've made it, lads!" he yelled, and we cheered. "It's been a long journey, but at last, we've made it! The edge of the world!"

"And when the sun breaks the sky tomorrow morning," he said, "We sail past it, and into the sky itself!"

"No, Captain, we don't."

Dead silence fell upon the deck. The Captain stopped, turned around.


Indeed, Silver was stood behind him, with a flintlock drawn and aimed at the Captain's chest.

"Silver, what're you doing?"

His gaze was dark. "Saving myself, the crew, and this ship."

Half the rest of the crew members stood up too, drawing their own pistols on the rest of us.

The Captain was aghast. "You can't... This is mutiny!"

"Aye," Silver said. "And I wish it didn't have to be, but this madness cannot continue!" He swept his arm towards the edge. "Sailing off that? Into the [i]stars?[\i] You'd have killed us all for fairytales!"

He took a deep breath. "We're turning this boat around and heading back."

"Silver—Silimus, we've been friends since we were boys, you can't do this!"

"I can and I will!" Silver spat. "I told you I would follow you to the ends of the earth, but I won't go any further! And not to my death! Now, either you order these men to turn around... or we'll tie you to the main mast and you can stay there until we reach port. Which'll it be?"

The Captain's response was to turn around and rush at Silver, arms outstretched. He only got a few paces, though, before a shot rang loud across the ocean.

He stumbled, fell to the ground clutching his leg with a shout. Smoke wafted up from Silver's pistol.

"The mast it is then," Silver said.

A pair of men came forward with a length of rope and walked the Captain over to the mast. They tied him securely, but from the way they worked it was clear that they didn't want to hurt him, and he didn't fight it.

"Now," Silver said once the deed had been done, "the rest of you. No tryin' anything, got it? This is for your own good. And his. Any objectors can join the Captain." He was looking at me as he said it.

"We'll all have a good night's rest, and tomorrow we'll turn around and depart."

I awoke from a troubled sleep to the sounds of shouting. I had sequestered myself in the navigation room that night, so the shouts were indistinct until I arose and opened the door.

"The Captain!" a deck hand was shouting, "He's gone! The Captain's gone!"

I looked, and indeed, where Captain Hadderflash had been tied the night before, now there was only a pile of frayed rope, a small dagger gleaming in its midst.

Silver burst out from below decks. "What!?"

"The Captain! He's disappeared!"

Silver's eyes grew wide. "Wha—how—"

The dagger's reflection in the morning sun cast over his eyes.

"Clever bastard," he muttered. "Well, he can't have gotten far! Start searchin'!"

"Silver, sir! The rowboat's missing!" someone else called from behind us.

"What!?" he cried, whipping around. "Then he—someone get me a spyglass!"

A spyglass was fetched, and he ran to the front of the ship, pointed towards the edge of the world. The rest of us ran after him, crowding the front.

"There, I see him!" someone cried; it might have been Tommy. He pointed, and the rest of us followed.

Sure enough, we could see the small figure of the rowboat, headed directly to the world's edge.

"The fool!" Silver yelled, "He'll kill himself!"

"We have to stop him!" I shouted.

"We can't, he's too far gone! If we get any closer, we'll be pulled in by the current and swept over ourselves!"

"Well we can't just leave him!"

"We have no choice! Look, there he goes!"

I watched with dismay as the Captain's boat was pulled in by the currents. Still, the front of the boat was kept pointed towards the horizon.

The boat slipped over the edge with no fanfare.

All was quiet on the deck of the Mariposa. We watched for some time, hoping that by some miracle we would see the Captain's rowboat reappear. But nothing happened.

At last, Silver was the one to break the silence.

"We'd best be getting to it, then. Prepare to set sail."

He was met by a weak chorus of "Aye, Captain". The crew slowly shuffled off. I stayed a bit longer, though, staring out into where the world met the sky.

The journey back was uneventful, largely; a cloud of morose depression had settled over the crew. The nights were quiet, and the days were long.

As time passed, though, we slowly began to resemble our usual selves again as we put the edge of the world far behind us.

Eventually, we returned to my home port, and it was there that the crew left me. I returned to my shop, and began properly charting and cataloging the things I had seen on our journey. Once that was done, I intended to return to my previous project of assembling a full map of the eastern shoreline.

However, I found myself unable to focus on it. My thoughts kept drifting back to the sea, to the edge of the world, and to that great expanse of ocean we had barely scratched the surface of.

And so, after much frustration, I gave up on the old task, and went down to the dockyard.

It's been twenty-three years since that day, and I've spent most of it at sea.
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#1 ·
· · >>AndrewRogue >>Fenton >>Pearple_Prose
I wanted to like this more than I did. the mad captain and his plan to go directly o'er the edge (do not pass go, do not collect $200) is pretty interesting. but it's revealed far too late to be an effective hook.

the opening paragraph tells me that this is about a young map-maker and a sea captain, and they meet. but it needs more! is this a comedy or a tragedy? are we heading into a thrilling adventure like in Treasure Island, or a cycle of despair and madness like in Moby Dick? both of these nautical stories establish their tone immediately, but here I had no idea what was promised to me as a reader. it wasn't until the story was wrapping up did I figure out the tone, and then it's too late for me to feel any tension.

I did like the captain well enough, but he's like the only character I remember. all the ship's crew acted about the same. I have no idea what made them change their minds at the climax. I couldn't say much about the narrator except that he's a scholar. that's just a job, not a personality. it feels like this should be his story, since he gets barged in like Bilbo Baggins and invited to go on a crazy quest. it sounds ludicrous at first, but he changes his mind.... for some reason. in the end it all turns out to be the captain's story, and Atticus just an observer. I guess the experience changed him at the end, I'm not sure how, but to be honest I didn't care much about him. I would've much rather jumped in after the captain and see what happens to HIM.
#2 ·
· · >>Ranmilia
>>Haze Is the idea revealed far too late? I mean it comes up in the first scene.

Which is actually a bit of my problem with this story. It really amounts to "people get cold feet about really stupid sounding idea at the climax." Like the plan from moment one has been to sail off the edge. I'm really not sure why so many people have second thoughts so late into the process.

Anyhow, prose is a bit rough in this one, which I think is one of the bigger demerits. Lotta places where, even accounting for narrator voice, I think swapping word order around and the like would've been better.
#3 ·
Given that the fellow's a shopkeeper I was a little surprised that he wasn't more reluctant to step away from his livelihood, at least initially. The actual means of convincing him were logical enough.

I'm less sold on the attitude of the crew. They're entirely too gung-ho about sailing off the edge of the world. I can see maybe some of them, but the whole crew? It would help if there was some nod to it being volunteers and/or a skeleton crew.

The journey was straightforward enough, but still entertaining.

The edge of the world scene is where we finally start seeing human nature reassert itself, and to some degree it's a little surprising it took so long. Maybe it might help to show hints of them not taking it seriously until then? It also might not hurt to share some anecdotes about just why this captain is apparently so beloved.

The captain's actions in sailing off the edge are nicely in character with what's been built up before.
#4 ·
· · >>RB
>>Haze has raised many good points. I agree with most of them so I won't repeat them. I ended up feeling the same, I want to like this story and, in a way, I did.
Each flaw aren't big when you take them individualy but when you add them to one another, I can see how this fic fails just short to get me into a great and epic adventure to the edge of the world.
Now, I still want to say that all these small flaws are things that are missing in the fic, not things that are actually in it. What it means to me is that, as it is, this story is still good and solid. It's just that the story doesn't shine enough.

the man was as good as they said, unnaturally so, but if he was cheating I couldn't tell you how.

This is the only address to the reader and it threw me off a bit. Is it something that slip your edit pass? Or is it something my poor French mind can not grasp?

I'll finally add that I liked how you fully included the image in the story without breaking your narration.
#5 ·
· · >>RB
Last one, here we go.

Huh. So there are two stories this round about a sea voyage off the edge of the world, starring the ship's captain and a guy who's a bit of an egghead and not normally a sailor, and the crew get cold feet and mutiny at the last minute despite having come all the way out there on the completely unhidden promise of going over the edge. Interesting.

I liked this one! The prose is fun, characters are cute even though most of them are cameos with joke names, and most importantly, it delivers a complete narrative arc. There's a protagonist with a problem, they work through difficulties to find a solution, there's rising action, a climax, falling action and a nice wrap up and resolution of the major themes in play. It told a story! That's the most important thing I look for in an entry.

>>AndrewRogue does have the right of things, though. It makes no sense for the crew to have gone that far and object at the last minute. But making this work out requires only a tiny change: make clear that the captain told everyone the voyage was to investigate the edge, promised them safety, and then pulled out orders to sail over the edge at the last minute. Boom, done.

The prose is a bit rough, but I was willing to roll with it more than I usually would be because of the strong genre tone. It's not the best, but didn't get in the way of the story. I can see some of the complaints others brought up, but such was not my experience. I got "comedic, vaguely dramatic, Treasure Island and Pirates of the Caribbean riff" as the tone from the beginning, felt clear on the captain being the protagonist, and felt Long John Silver played a fair role as a third character foiling the enthusiasm of the captain and navigator.

So, for me, this turns out a fairly high placement, since it contains both style and substance. Not the best in the world, but it hits the baseline competencies I'm looking for in a piece, entertained all the way through, never left me in the dark, and had some good jokes that made me smile. Good stuff, thanks for writing!
#6 ·
· · >>RB
I really like the writing in this story! It's very setting-appropriate and full of character. And the premise is neat, has a very comfy adventure feeling to it, but beyond that, I was quite disappointed with how this story ended.

Like, I get that it makes sense that he just dies/disappears and that's that? But I think I would have liked it more if there was at least the implication of there being something deeper to it beyond what the characters already believe or don't believe about it. Some hint of the fantastical nature of it being deeper than it appears at first glance. That might just be a personal gripe – but the ending just felt flat to me, is all, and the fact that the members of the crew changed their minds so quickly removed a lot of potential tension for it.

Honestly, the lack of tension or like, stakes in this story is actually kind of a problem. There's no real value given to going over the edge, besides that the Captain wants to and that they'll be remembered for it, and then the crew turn on him on a dime anyway. It all just feels a bit pointless, and the ending doesn't help that. I would have loved some more details about the world and the characters and the nature of the edge – stories, maybe, or some more details from the journal about it. As is, everything lacks weight, and the conflict at the climax makes sense but is short-lived and has nothing really supporting it beyond the obvious foreshadowing earlier.

Also, what >>Haze said – the concept of going "o'er the edge" really should have been established pretty quickly, like in the first paragraph maybe, and then expanded from there. That's the crux of the story, after all, and it would have given the opener a bit more of a kick to it.
#7 ·
Two big problems I see here, though they're entangled. A problem in motivation leads to a problem in story structure.

So let's start with motivation. Your problem is that there isn't any, really. The Captain wants to sail over the edge of the world just because. The crew want to go with him just because. The narrator joins up just because.

Now this breaks the structure, because in a story like this, motivation is key. It's fundamentally about people's choices – They choose to set sail together, the Captain chooses to go over, the crew don't. But because their motivations are so flimsy, all these choices seem arbitrary.

The first half is okay, story-wise. Atticus gets recruited – yeah, that makes sense. But once we're on the water, things go astray. We just potter from shore to shore, then up to the edge. Nothing of any significance happens. Here is where you should be laying the groundwork for the climax. Here's where you could, for example, talk about the Captain's obsession. His friendship with Silver. What drove the crew to come with him – what gave them confidence in him in the first place, and how he's losing it.

Now, I'm not saying you can't have an obsession. You don't need to fill out “He's obsessed because … ” Maybe the he's simply obsessed and that's it. But that comes with a sort of temperament, a certain personality. It comes with a certain set of relations with other people. And it also raises the question of why the crew were along for the ride in the first place. If you fill out those, you can – hopefully – earn your climax.
#8 · 2
Not enough story in this story.
The sad truth is, a lot of the things that people brought up were things that were supposed to be in the story. But... I don't want to give the excuse of not having much time, so I won't. My fault, folks. Thank you for your comments, regardless.

The idea was that most of the crew went into the adventure because of their faith in and respect for the captain. Silver, despite his immense loyalty, is the only one to question the plan. In the scene where the narrator stumbles back to the boat from the tavern, Silver has just come up from meeting with some of the crew, the crew that later mutinies with him.

Missed that! Probably should have been, "But if he was cheating I couldn't say how."

characters are cute even though most of them are cameos with joke names

Erm... If they are, it was fully unintentional. The only one I see really was Silver, and that was coincidental; I just figured anyone named 'Silimus' would want a nickname. Most of the silliness for the names came from liking the name 'Hadderflash' a bit too much and just running with it.

I'm glad you enjoyed the style, at least; I rather like writing in it.