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Under New Management · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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“So… what is this?” Asked Steve “Fight Club but I’m self-aware?”

“Exactly.” Stephen said, pointing the piece of chalk at Steve. “Now that we can meet-”

“Civilly.” Steve added. He stared up at his opposite. Stephen was wearing a shirt and tie. Sunday dress, as they recalled it. Why did he have to be so formal about this?

“Civilly.” Stephen agreed, tapping his foot. “We can decide how to divvy up our time.”

Steve looked outside the window, at the three wooden crosses in front of the building. “Could we have met somewhere else? Somewhere where we didn’t have to explain our situation to the pastor?”

“Probably. But anywhere else someone would’ve called the police.” Stephen said. He drew a tally under his name. “Pastor likes us. Heh, or at least me. One point for me.”

Steve growled. “Give me a point. I think I deserve one for self-awareness.”

Stephen chuckled as he added a tally under Steve’s name, and then to his. “As do I.”

“Can we just decide on half-and-half?” Steve said. “I don’t know why you have to be the dominant split!”

“Keep your voice down.” Stephen instructed. “They are studying in the other room.”

Steve glared at him.

“Bad idea altogether. Last time we did that, you tricked me to taking the side of when we needed to sleep.” Stephan explained. “My lethargy only fuels your impulsiveness. The more tired I am, the more irrational you’ll be.”

Steve chuckled. “Heh, still cleaning up my mess?”

Stephen shook his head. He pointed to his black eye and then took the liberty of placing another tally under his name.

Steve surged up from the metal folding chair. “Give me that.”

Stephen again gave himself a frown and split the chalk in half. He handed the other half to Steve.

Steve smirked. “I kept my voice down, so that is a point for me.” He scratched a line under his name.

“And I gave you power, you abused it.” Stephen said as he copied his other half.

Both of them stood silent, staring down at each other like an old western, seeing who will draw first.

“What are we? A married couple?” Steve asked.

“No, just childhood friends.” Stephen said, just as Steve predicted.

“Look, man. As much as you gotta say you love yourself, I need the time.” Steve said. “I need to be free of you for a while.”

“So you can screw up everything I built?” Stephen folded his arms. “Sounds jolly to me.”

“I promise I won’t mess anything up. This time… it’s different. If you give me the time-”

“No. Stop there.” Stephen held out his hand. “You can’t keep promises; I know that.”

Stephen sighed as he took a seat on the folding chair. “Ugh, thanks. My legs were killing me.”

“So, we are back where we started?” Steve scoffed. He threw his hands in the air. “Teacher to stubborn student? One works while the other loafs around and drags the other down? Great! Why can’t we just be whole?”

“Still figuring that one out.” Stephen said, tossing the piece of chalk back onto the top of the chalkboard. It hit the top just right. “Yessss.” Stephen celebrated, pumping out a fist.

Steve took a seat on the floor next to Stephen. “Got any answers?”

“One.” Stephen said. “But you won’t like it.”

“Well, we don’t have any other options, do we?” Steve said. “Shoot.”

“We go to a psychiatrist. We both need help. I’d admit I’m not perfect, and neither are you.”

Steve laughed as he played with his piece of chalk. He put a tally under both names. “Self-awareness.”

“My only problem is what it would do to you. I'm personally fine with it if they decide to throw us in a padded room” Stephen asked.

Steve knew what he was doing. He knew it to be his fear- to be contained- to be controlled. He answered carefully. “Well, more time for you to talk to me, and less time for me to find trouble.”

“Self-awareness.” Stephen pointed to the board.

Steve erased both scores and put two sideways tallies between the names.

“So, we’re done now?” Steve slapped the chalk dust off his hands.

Stephen smiled. “Nope. Just one step forwards.”
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#1 · 1
Edit: I’ve never seen fight club. You can ignore all that was said below. Good day.

I’m not sure what’s going on first time through. There’s too much of them tallying when I can’t even get the names sorted out.

I understand that one of the guys created the other guy, but I don’t know who. It’s because the names are so similar. I know what you were going for in the name, but sacrificing that cool addition for all the clarity would really help.

First time through I know that:
They need a psychiatrist.
One of the guys might just be a voice in his head?
Or a robot he created.
The pastor let them in for some reason unbeknownst to me.
More tallies.
Equality? (Starlight, is that you?)
#2 · 1
“So… what is this?” Asked Steve “Fight Club but I’m self-aware?”

Yes, and you took the concept pretty well and quite realistically. Having both sides of Stef (and I'll call this unified human Stef just for convenience) agree to at least talk and negotiate their split-personality time slots compared to at least one side not being aware of it (as is in Fight Club) was not just fun but also enlightening to read. A more stable version of the movie, actually, that wouldn't end with the destruction of the world economy.

Your portrayal of Steve and Steph is pretty nice and consistent throughout, especially since the other is their foil. Sure, the dialogue could be spiced up by not having their names start off a lot of the sentences (because as I was beginning to wonder who was who halfway through), but your attention to detail regarding their expressions and visual reactions to each other makes them more whole.

The only thing that's dragging the story down is punctuation errors, especially with the dialogue tags. For example:

“And I gave you power, you abused it.” Stephen said as he copied his other half.

That should actually have a comma instead of a period at the end of the quoted sentence, like this:

“And I gave you power, you abused it,” Stephen said as he copied his other half.

The reason why I'm spelling it out here is because this error is consistent throughout the whole fic. It's nice that the rule doesn't apply to sentences that end with an exclamation or question mark, but those aren't as common as the ordinary replace-period-with-a-comma ones.

Overall, you've done a good twist on the Fight Club-esque split personalities! Just needs polishing up on the dialogue tags and this could be a stronger contender.
#3 · 1
· · >>TerrusStokkr
Alternate Title: I Repeat Myself When Under Stress, I Repeat Myself When Under Stress, I Repeat Myself When Under Stress, I Repeat Myself When Under Stress...

Something I liked:

Something I didn't give this entry enough credit for the first time around was how original it is, in spite of clearly taking notes from Fight Club, to the point of name-dropping in the first paragraph. The dynamic between the Stevs (Stephs?) is unique, and although it is kind of a pain to tell them apart, since their names are so similar, I get that this was likely intentional. The idea of not only having a double but being equal in every way to said double, to the point where you can't tell who's the original and who's the double, is ripe fruit for like a thriller plot, but you did something more comedic with it, and I can respect that.

Something I didn't like:

That said, though, this is rough around the edges. It's been said several times now, but you're not supposed to tag dialogue in this way; it gives the impression of someone just entering the writing game. There are also a few questions that are left up in the air, like what the pastor has to do with any of this. I'm not quite sure what the stakes are here. Would obviously benefit from expansion, not to mention revision.

Verdict: I like it. It's not great, and it's too unpolished for me to love it, but it's got a fighting chance.
#4 · 1
· · >>TerrusStokkr
I've never seen Fight Club, so if I'm supposed to get specific context from it, then I won't, but I can mostly keep up with what's going on here.

The idea's not bad, but there are a few parts of the execution that bug me. First, I never get a sense of what this guy is like. I can't root for (or against) him if I don't know him. Second, some of the dialogue sounds almost too fancy, like they wrote prepared speeches ahead of time instead of this being spontaneous dialogue. And third, nothing really happens. We get that these two are in conflict early on, and then the rest of the story just continues that without it evolving or leading anywhere. They kind of come to a decision to let each other be, but there's not a lot of gravity to it since I don't know what the stakes are. Plus, as others have said, I don't know what the church and pastor have to do with anything. In a story this short, a reader's likely to assume every detail is important.

You've got a good concept. It just needs a little more development.
#5 · 2
I was on the fence about this story for a while. Took me a couple more reads than usual to really gather my thoughts together on this, which usually ends up with me being a little bit frustrated to figure out what clicks and what doesn't. Can't say it didn't cloud my judgment, but ultimately, I think the issues I have with this story ultimately overruled any and all good I could find in it.

Straight off the first sentence, the concept of the story is nailed down. I'm actually pretty impressed that you could deliver the premise via that singular sentence, dear Author, even if it does require some prior knowledge of Fight Club to really translate. The semi-meta arguments and tallies of our two Steves here were nice, serving as a good introduction and giving the whole dual-personality concept a unique perspective.

The problem, however, is that past the ninth paragraph, there's nothing else the story had left to offer me.

Ignoring all the problems with punctuation, the dialogue between these two has been one of the most frustrating I've read in a while. There are all these conversations happening, yet I'm at a loss as to why they're taking place. We're given all these vague recollections and all these tallies as a result of them, yet we're never provided with a concrete-enough reason as to why they're doing this in the first place. And even if there was a reason that I somehow missed in the ten to fifteen times I've read this, what's the point of all these tos-and-fros when it ultimately doesn't contribute much to the greater conflict? What's the point of setting up a conflict this clear-cut, of all these tallies and reasons for doing so, only to deliver a resolution that actively undercuts the conflict in question via compromise?

Forgive me if I sound frustrated here, but as nice of a concept you might have on your hands, there needs to be more than just the concept itself being served on a plate. Personally, I don't think there's enough meat around the bone, or really any meat at all, for me to truly care about what this story set out to do. To put it really bluntly, the story as a whole lacked focus and conviction, the dialogue is ponderous to the point of masturbatory, and with how the ending was handled, the whole narrative of the story that had been built up was immediately thrown under the bus. I'm sure the other reviewers have some positives to say about this story—from the looks of it, it seems like they do—but I can't say this story really did anything for me.

Nevertheless, thanks for writing, and good luck!
#6 · 1
First rule about Fight Club, you don't talk about Fight Club.

Now with the basics out of the way, here are my thoughts.

I thought it was pretty good, but as >>Pascoite said, the dialogue seemed too planned. I mean, if Stephen knew about Steve beforehand (before the story started) it would be fine, but he didn't so the prepared dialogue doesn't make sense here. I do like that Stephen was aware that Steve was his Alter Ego before Steve enacted any crazy plans. Steve finding out sooner changes how the story could play out, and I want to see it now.

This story needs some polish (as others have said), but I want to see where you will take this.

>>No_Raisin (Character Identities, or my opinion of them anyway)
Steve= The Alter Ego
Stephen= The Actual Main Character