The Weekly Review - Edition 24
A What is New Section giving the latest info on the Forums!
An Article on Procrastination by temporaryaccount!
An Interview of the fantastic site member Malkalack!
A Review of How not to Write by its author Will11 (SHAMLESS SELF-PUBLICITY ALERT)!
The Short Story Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child by the terrific writer Steve24833!
A Special Section of Will11’s entry for the ballad-writing competition!
After next week’s Edition 25 the Weekly Review will stop publishing for a few weeks while I go on my Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year (yes, really) Holidays. It will return in either January or February 2017; thank you to everyone for their fantastic contributions and kind support over the last few months.
- In Newbie Central newcomer Wattwables and GangGang Gang introduce their fantastic selves to the site!
- In the Lounge Shadowhills gets an enthusiastic response in his search for rap advice.
- In News and Updates Bucky’s ballad writing competition attracts a very impressive number of entrants…
- In the Parlour Room Briar Rose’s semi-ancient interesting comments thread continues to receive fresh material.
- In the Forum Games section Zaghero’s Land of Fiends remains the most-posted thread around.
- In the Writing Workshop Seto launches a “Stop Fucking Procrastinating” Thread, which ironically can serve as a great distraction from writing.
- In the Reading Corner Crescentstar looks for recent YA books.
- In the Advanced Editor Forum muddawg looks for advice on how to implement good battles in stories.
- In the Feature Wishing Well MinnieKing suggests a Rock, Paper, Scissors trophy.
- In Bugs and Problems section it is so quiet you can hear the crickets crick.
Featured Article – Procrastination by temporaryaccount
Writing. Ain't it glorious? A chance to roam around in the sea of imagination and construct something wonderful to share with your friends and fellow readers. Every once in a while, you'll even grab onto something good that you KNOW you have to write. Everyone will love it! No one's saying you have to be a professional author. Even better, on this site, you can write all you want and for free at that. So why doesn't everyone who has good story ideas aim to publish his or her works? I introduce you to the seven deadly sins almost every writer must overcome. Writer's block, loss of inspiration, fear of critism, lack of experience or talent, real life responsibilities, and the worst of them all. Procrastination.
The dreads of writer's block can be purged with enough writing. Just put something down and you'll find your flow eventually. Afraid of harsh responses? Don't be. Write for yourself until you're proud. Even then unnecessarily harsh comments shouldn't mean anything as long as you're okay with your work. Life can cut into your free time, but if you're devoted, you can schedule time for your writing.
Key word being "devoted".
Ah yes, truly, procrastination must objectively be the worst of them all. While all the other obstacles can be dealt with through other methods, procrastination works by not challenging your will to make progress but instead is involved in compromising that will itself. Distractions, laziness, excuses. Whatever it is, it must be trickiest to overcome, as while the others can be dealt with enough dedication, a procrastinator occasionally loses that dedication in the first place, causing the obstacle to be practically unchallengeable by default.
Worse yet, it comes in all sort of flavors. Whether it be as exciting as that new episode of your favorite show, or as mundane as watching paint dry. Even with a free schedule, you're unwilling to get to work, despite the love you have for your story. Strangely enough, although it seems there's nothing you'd rather be doing, you'd literally be doing everything else besides getting to work. Cleaning your gutters, making yourself a sandwich, listening to music, clipping your toenails, calling your friends, doing yoga, writing articles...
It also seems at the time there's yet another one of Bucky's fine writing contests. On the latest and rather infamous Halloween contest, only a measly two stories were produced, leaving the number of undevoted writers to their much dreaded SHAME. The current competition now requires a point penalty, which many hope will help to combat the laziness that rests within every procrastinator. But will this method be as beneficial as many hope it to be? Or will the vices of procrastination cause the apathetic surrendering of points from so many contestants? I believe (from personal past experiences) that one's rigid habits of indolence very well do stand a fighting chance even with consequences hanging in the air.
And at the time, there does seem to be a great many number of writers with stories that are incomplete. They remain unpublished as lethargic writers make only occasional pecks to the collection of text and broken links. Could there be methods writers use to overcome the very tactical opponent that is procrastination? Is it possible to defeat the leech that inevitably attacks us all? Are there actually foolproof methods in existence usable to defeat this dreaded and accursed obstacle, even though its victims have already submitted to its spell? Yes, writers, there very well are. And this article will help you discover just what they are, which ones will work best for you, and even how to apply them in real life so that you never will have to suffer the consequences of procrastination again!
In Part 2 to be featured in the next Weekly Review!
Featured Interview - Introducing Malkalack
A mainstay of the site, a popular presence in the Forums and one of the first people I can remember talking to when I joined two years ago this week I have interviewed the capybara-loving RPG-playing prolific-posting awesomeness that is Malkalack:
1: What first got you interested in joining the site?
Well, it's kind of embarrassing, but I was just banned from another website that I spent a bunch of time on and decided to check out CYS on a whim because there was some crossover of members.
2: What and who do you most like on the site?
I like the opportunity to write some non-traditional stories; interactive fiction has interested me ever since I first started playing tabletop RPGs, and CYS is a really cool vehicle to deliver some fun games and get feedback on them.
3. Who and what do you least like on the site?
I dislike the influx of low-quality games and low-quality discussions. I'll admit, when I first joined, I was what one might describe as "cancerous"; however, I wised up, took a look at my behavior and altered it accordingly. I wish that a lot of these newer members would do the same.
4: You helped co-author two very good stories. How did you find it working with Steve24833, Bucky and Iavatus?
Steve is great. Love that guy. He really did a good job of lighting a fire under my ass to submit something for the due date. I'll admit, his writing kind of intimidates me; I'm not entirely convinced that he isn't just some kind of advanced AI churning out awesome game after awesome game.
Bucky is also great. Very funny guy with very funny ideas. It was neat to see how all our individual mini-paths came together to form an alleged dragon story.
Ivy is just a great guy, all around. You see that picture of him riding a unicorn? That was him modeling for an artist. Not sure how he got that unicorn to stand still for long enough, though. You'll have to ask him.
5: Why are capybaras so great?
They're so cute. <3 I was mildly disturbed to read about all the incest and cannibalism they get up to, though.
6: You have weathered a lot of great "aggressive discussions" on the Forums, what has stood out as most memorable?
It has to be the one with Breezy (or was it KKK?). The highlight was me quoting the Navy Seal Copypasta at her and her interpreting it as a real-life threat. I was ugly laughing the whole time. Y'all need to up your game if you want to match that.
Kiel's de-modding has to be a close second, though. My god, what a colossal brouhaha that was.
7: You have already been on this site for a long time and experienced a lot, how do you feel the site has changed?
It's definitely on the up-and-up. The low point was, IMHO, shortly before the New Site Guidelines. There was a culture of immaturity and low-effort content that I'm ashamed I contributed to. 3J and the mods have done an awesome job cleaning up, and people like Bucky and Steve have done a good job contributing new, interesting content.
8: How do you see you think the site will continue to develop in the future?
I expect that it will continue to get better. Despite its flaws, I think CYS is in a good place right now.
9: What has been the most funny (intentionally or unintentionally) thing to happen to you recently?
I was playing some D&D with a group of friends. We decided to assassinate a local baron who was causing trouble, while he was eating a feast. Naturally, we infiltrated through the sewers and slit the guard's throats on our way up. Then, we encountered the distillery and things began to go South.
The DM (basically the narrator) intended for us to poison the mead being made and take the villain out quietly. Being idiots, we decided not to. We realized that alcohol fumes are flammable, and real-life science doesn't apply in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. :D
The DM realized that the feasting hall was right above the party. Naturally, we built a big ass bomb out of the large barrels of mead, and blew a hole right through the floor. The baron, failing his Dexterity save, fell through the floor, badly injured. We cut his throat and ran away, giggling like madmen. Still one of the dumbest things I've ever seen in an RPG. I'm still chuckling about it, a week later.
10: Finally are there any last words you would like to share, perhaps to newer site members?
It's basically a given that your first game will suck. Take a couple deep breaths, listen to feedback, don't be offended and you'll do just fine. Nothing puts you on the shit list faster than trying to defend your trash game; and I know, I've been there myself.
Featured Review: How not to Write – A Pokemon Adventure – Part 1 – Chapter I – Section A: The Beginning of the Start, an Everything Else Story written by Will11 (2015)
How not to write a Review (an example):
This was lick well shit tough. C u cant write well and u should to stik to ur easy stories. Tbf there waz bits I licked like da end wen I could stop readin and all. What waz in the middle though waz crap. Still, I think u tried so fair play. 8/8. Btw Warrior Catz rulez.
Five Easy Rules to write good reviews (Taken from Steve and GMB13carat’s articles):
Make sure your comments are free from spelling or grammar errors.
Balance positive feedback with negative feedback.
Make negative feedback constructive: don’t just identify the problems but suggest how to fix them.
Don’t make the Comment personal or insulting: that says more about the reviewer than the reviewed.
The more detailed the review the more chance you have of being featured and winning points.
Featured Short Story – Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child by Steve24833
“Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.”
The words were delicately inked on a placard that adorned the fridge, the most prominent thing in the barren kitchen. Ezekiel sat there, listing to the man’s words as he wanted for his father to arrive home. He knew punishment was coming when his father’s rusted truck pulled up outside. From his seat at the table, Ezekiel could watch the television as one of the more notable pastors lectured his audience on the evils of the modern world. Despite not knowing, let alone truly understanding most of the sins the pastor rallied against in his long-winded rant, Ezekiel knew well they were to be rallied against. He heard the clicking of the door as his father, a massive brute of a man, walked into the house. His father didn’t say a word, but simply took off his shows, grabbed a kitchen chair and nodded towards it. Ezekiel nodded in response, too scared to say a word. He knew he deserved what was coming and infinitely worse. He was a sinner. That fact had been instilled in him all his life. As his father prepared the belt, Ezekiel felt tears well up in his eyes, and assumed the punishment position.
Ezekiel sat in bed, crying quietly. He was in pain, hungry, alone and hopeless. His belly growled, a demand for food he couldn’t satisfy. It was his gluttony that had gotten him in this position in the first place, wasn’t it? In the back of his mind, he knew he was deserving of his pain. He had stolen biscuits from the cupboards without permission. His pain was his burden to bear, and his alone. As the old placard said, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”.
Decades later, Ezekiel sat in the back of a church, his hand clasped together. The scratches and small cuts on his hands made the gesture painful, but this pain was only a reminder of his place here on Earth. As he finished his prayers, he stood up, walking out the door to his truck. He looked up at the skyscrapers hanging overhead. The grand works of architecture had never ceased to amaze him since he had first moved here all those years ago. Although, rather than glorious monuments to the power of God, they were closer to the Tower of Babal. That’s all this city was. A den of treachery, betrayal, heresy, blasphemy, vice and sin. Every time Ezekiel saw them, he expected to see them topple as the wrath of God took them. They didn’t, and Ezekiel wondered if the sinners that dwelled within them were thankful they had been spared by the Lord for another day.
Ezekiel got in his truck, and began driving home. He stared out his window at the streets at all the sinners who populated this city despite its no doubt incoming downfall, like rats cloistered in a sinking ship. Men adorned in suits walked past the homeless and poor with no regard, gaining the undeserved respect of their fellow sinners. Teens and youths walked with bizarre and lust-filled costumes like the jesters they truly were, with no respect for their fellow man, their Lord or even themselves. Sinners, each and ever man in the city. Ezekiel truly wondered whether he was akin to Lot, the single saved soul in a wretched city that was the modern day Sodom.
It was the temptress that he decided upon. Driving slowly around the block, it was her, the modern incarnate of the Whore of Babal that corrupted all around her. As not only a child of the Lord, but a humble and eager servant, Ezekiel’s path was clear. The Lord commanded death to the adulterer, death to the whore and death to the sinner who does not find repentance through the works of his holy son. His apartment was close, and as dusk set into the city, he knew he’d have a short time where the sun had disappeared but the common filth had not yet blackened the city. Then, he would strike.
Ezekiel checked the glove compartment. A pair of worn gardener gloves that were a size too small but still fit, a length of fishing wire coiled around a small wooden piece, and a revolver. He eyed the revolver, but decided it would do him no good. The noise would draw every corrupt magistrate that enforced man’s law upon him. No, he would go for what had always worked. He drew his wallet, taking out a crumpled fifty dollar bill, and pulled up alongside the girl. She stared at him with dead eyes, showing a smile of yellow teeth that he realized with disdain was her attempt at seduction. He gritted his teeth, smiling. To her, he no doubt resembled the everyday costumers that frequented her. It didn’t take much luring to get her in his car, and little more to his apartment. Now was his time to strike.
As he clicked his door shut, locking it with the heavy bolt, Ezekiel felt proud. He was a servant of God doing his job. It was a good feeling to have. He turned, his fake smile disappearing. He expected the girl’s eyes to bulge in horror as he drew the garrotte. They all did. He expected her to try to scream before he got the wire around her throat. They all did. He expected her to claw at his hands desperately as he did what needed to be done. They all did. However, this one did not. Instead, she drew a 9mm Beretta from her purse, and began to fire.
The slug tore through him and he let out a pained grunt. He managed to grab her arm, twisting it upwards as she fired the rest of the magazine into the roof. Ezekiel heard screams from the apartments around him, and realized that this one would be the one to make enough noise to draw the police’s sword on his neck. So be it. If that was God’s will, he would follow it until the end. He wrapped his garrotte around her neck, strangling with some force as the girl’s screams were choked out. She attempted to hit him with the gun, but finding no strength left within her, dropped it as it clattered to the floor. Ezekiel gritted his teeth and strangled, as the girl fumbled through her purse. Ezekiel prepared to feel the cutting of car keys against his skin or the sting of mace in his eyes; sensations he was far from unfamiliar with. Instead, he watched as the girl pulled out a crucifix, clutching it tightly as she died.
For the first time in over two decades, Ezekiel faltered in his task. He watched as the girl, the epitome of sin, the literal modern day incarnation of the Whore of Babel, clutched tightly at the crucifix and began to pray. Such a simple gesture, but one that showed Ezekiel something. This girl, despite her sinful nature, was a child of God. Like everyone was Adam to Saul to Cain to Ezekiel himself, she was a child of God. Ezekiel released the garrotte as the girl collapsed on the ground, panting quickly. He reached down, taking the crucifix and stared at it. He was as much a sinner as the rest of this city, if not worse. It was not his place punish sinners, for he was among them, a sinner as bad as the worst of them, from stealing biscuits to stealing the lives of those he deemed worse than him. Ezekiel pondered this, staring at the crucifix. It was time he too was punished, and if the only hand to punish him was that of the corrupted magisters of this wretched country, that was his fate. Without another word, he walked out the front door, down the stairs of his apartment and into the open air. With the girl’s crucifix in his hands and a prayer on his lips, he sat on the stairs to the building, and waited for the police to arrive.
Special Section – A Mountain for my Acushla
This is my entry for the Ballad-writing competition, the metaphorical story of a mountain. I have some concerns about the content and length of this so if it doesn’t meet minimum standards for the competition I am quite happy to write and submit another ballad as they are rather fun to write. Anyway for those with the patience of a saint and a very high pain threshold here goes:
A MOUNTAIN FOR MY ACUSHLA
For Han Yi Qi
It stood alone, stretching to the heavens,
Darkness against the shadows of the sky;
There was no moon to illuminate it,
No silver stars to cast their lights down,
Naught but the wind howling evermore,
Over the silent and lifeless rocks below.
How long had the mountain stood,
Looking down on the valley below?
How many storms had it endured,
Never yielding like so many more,
Broken down and scattered to the earth,
Their names lost beneath the sands of time?
Sometimes when the storm clouds swirled,
And the thunder rumbled at its fiercest,
Electric strikes seemed to light the heights,
With a crazy fire and a spark of bright light,
A crack, a shift, a sudden flare of joy,
Only to vanish and face once more into the night.
How long had that mountain stood?
None now living below seem to know,
They avoid those treacherous slopes,
With their sharp rocks and long falls.
Detached and solitary it remained alone,
Ever had it been and evermore it must surely be.
But there is always doubt in these matters,
No knowing what the future may bring.
Chances and hazards, all as yet unknown,
May strike and change what always was,
Happening without warning or sign,
And even the hardest rocks must one day move.
It came like a fire from deep inside,
A dawning sun from a source within,
Unstoppable and relentless like time itself.
The flames burned bright and blossomed,
Fed by powers that can never be fully known,
Until they broke the surface to the world above.
With a blast of flame that shook the land,
The fires lit all that had been dark before,
Flowing down the mountainside the rivers of fire,
Looked just like so many years of tears,
It takes just one breach in the wall to break the chain,
And let all that is good and beautiful enter once again.
When the great upheaval had come and gone,
When silence fell and the storm clouds returned,
The people below wondered what came next,
What change was yet in store for that altered rock;
The new and unrecognizable shape that now stood,
Ready for the fresh change of new experiences.
The rain fell like waterfalls of purity and cleanliness,
Washing away all that had been ugly and bleak before,
Flowing into rivers down the altered face,
Of that reborn mountain – flowing free,
Down into the valley below,
Until the sun returned and ignored them with colour.
It took much time and many changes of course,
As these things have and always will do,
But gradually the fires cooled and died,
And the dawning sun lit up the soft streams,
That flowed down until they reached trees,
Green and rich with birdsong and beauty.
Journeying on these streams joined rivers and lakes,
Around which flowed and moved the sea of humanity,
Joining the world once more with this picturesque peak,
Dark and foreboding no more: calm once again;
People came from miles around to admire its beauty,
Dip in its warm waters and watch its fires cool.
Now it is a visiting place for young couples and lovers,
To tread the well-worn paths and stand on the summit,
Gazing down peacefully at the world below,
Now it is a place for the lonely and the thoughtful,
To wander and ponder on the intricacies of change,
The unpredictable beauty of unknowable forces.
We may walk there some time my dear Acushla,
Or take that long hike together to the mountaintop,
To gaze and reflect that if a mountain can change so much,
Then from some hidden fires deep within so can we,
All it takes is a spark to ignite the brightest flames,
And make the world that little bit more brighter.
Idea by Jaystarcat, Article by temporaryaccount, Short Story by Steve24833, Interview, Review and Special Section by Will11 and Special Thanks to Malkalack for the interview this week.
Finally thank you everyone for taking the time to read this Review.
Haha funny typo, the last line of Part II should be "ignited" instead of "ignored" :)
1-2 hours :)
I don't think it rhymed at all? Looked freeform to me. Anyway, amazing poem Will. Just hope you don't scare any of the kids off. :D (Though, End has their points either way, ahahaha....)
I'll sit down and read the interview and story here in a bit, I was just scoping out the competition for now. Be sure to repost it when Bucky puts the thread up tomorrow.
Yet another awesome review!
Bravo. Encore, encore! Keep these coming, please. :)
I love that you find time to produce these!