I preferred story 1.
Both are better written than anything I've read from the previous writing battle, so kudos to you writers!
While story 2 had a nice build up with a lot of nice sensory description, it kind of lacked the nice flair story 1 had. When I read the first story, the reader gets the initial impression that the mom had passed away due to the infection and that the dad was only sad about her passing and worried that the son will follow soon. Then this perception slowly shifts and the big reveal is that the dad is actually infected and it is heavily implied that the father killed the mom. A pretty fun bait and switch with the dad dying instead of the son.
This twist makes the second read also a lot more interesting since you knew who this "her" was in the sentence "after what he did to her". There's also a very nice callback that wraps up the ending really well in story 1: “I'm sorry. You'll join her soon.” and at the end that he told his friend that his dad joined his mum. I think that this is my favorite moment in the story. There's honestly a lot of thought put into it.
Story 1 also did weave the exposition of the virus/infection thing pretty well in the narrative. I always like it if a story doesn't force the player to sit down and listen to some uninteresting virus blabla apocalypse blabla exposition. It was rather competently interwoven with the dialogue and the thoughts of the boy.
Story 2 did the resort stuff; couple goes into a motel/hotel etc and get horribly killed/sacrificed. I just have seen this kind of story so many times, that it just isn't that appealing to me. There's nothing that is really terrifying to be honest, especially when I was the whole time thinking; why can't you just LEAVE.
The couple also doesn't have a single lick of personality even compared to the boy in story 1, so it's actually hard to care about them. I know that it's difficult to make a character's personality shine with such a low word limit. However, in story 1 we at least know that the boy cared deeply about his mom, resented his father, has a friend and that either the virus had gotten him too/he is pretty cold hearted about killing his dad.
My vote goes to story 1. For a lot of the reasons already stated by Darius. I also think that the first story is my favorite of the 4 because it feels complete. It had a beginning, middle, and a conclusive end. The other stories struggled a bit to me in that regard. They had exposition, rising action, and climax, but falling actions and resolution seemed to be missing. Or, at the very least, not prominent. The last sentence or two of story 1 definitely made it too. By far the best part of the story, and was the difference between being open ended and close ended in my opinion. Kudos to the author there.
As for story 2, the writing itself wasn't bad. In fact I could argue it was some of the best, easiest to read of the 4 stories. It suffered from blandness. I wasn't very engaged, and the story was predictable. You know how much more fun the story would have been if the husband had gone missing, but only to find out that the husband was the killer all along? The reason that they went somewhere so secluded was so he could finally get rid of his wife. Something like that would have caught my interest more, and, assuming the writing was as good as it is, may have even placed it above the first one.
Both were well written though. I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of all the entries.
Definitely Story 1. The mechanics of writing were much more polished than Story 2, and the pacing and narration were smoother. I felt much more authorial control in Story 1. Story 2 clearly had some interesting stuff going on, but I thought it had too much set up, making it too bottom-heavy, whereas Story 1 had interesting writerly stuff going on in the prose right away.
I like the 1st one better. I never thought a zombie story would have a more interesting flavor than most, but this had a psychological take on an otherwise familiar premise that made the other one harder to get into by comparison. The copious violence helped too.
Story #1 is decent. It would be more effective if it had time to show Duke actually being level-headed before his mother's death, as it is, we have to take the story's word for it. It's not too much of a horror story, either, as the ending is ultimately as positive as could be expected, and there isn't much suspense. It's more of an action story.
Story #2 is also decent. Right away, I thought the writing style was less clunky with description than any of the other entries. That said, not much happens. There's a suspenseful buildup that fails to actually include any real foreshadowing, and a conclusion that leaves the story completely unresolved.
Props to both authors. Story #1 had a clear plot that knew exactly where it was going, while story #2 had a firm understanding of description that doesn't distract.
I guess I'm voting for story one. Despite the slight edge story #2 has in terms of sentence structure, the plot itself doesn't make enough sense, or create enough tension, to beat out the clear direction story #1 has.
Gonna have to join the masses and vote for story 1. The lack of payoff by itself in the second story, after all that build-up, is enough to finalize that choice. Good efforts from both of you, though.
It's a pretty close one for me, but I'll vote for story #2.
Once again, time for more reviews! It didn’t feel right to write detailed feedback for only the first duel, hence the reason behind this second text wall. Usual disclaimer: I’m not a professional writer by any means, nor am I a seasoned reviewer, so do conduct your own research and bear in mind that not everything here may be correct. As for potential readers, beware of spoilers galore.
I've just finished writing notes on the first duel's stories, and this one has a better start than the ones I've read so far. Right off the bat, there's suspense and questions to be answered. Then... we suddenly see a shift in tense. But maybe that just signifies that the dad had been sobbing but no longer is?
The 'child thought so strong' part comes off as a bit confusing to me. Might just be my morning tiredness though.
I like the ominous tone in the story, which maintains my interest and compels me to read on.
There are some formatting issues where the 'enter' key must have been accidentally pressed.
You use third person limited to show Duke's inner thoughts, then the second section shifts to Tex as the point-of-view character. Although it's separated by empty lines, maybe adding 'xxx's pov' might prevent the break in immersion? It's nothing major although it distracted me momentarily.
Tex stating that Duke is levelheaded seems jarring, especially since this trait doesn't seem to be present in Duke in the first segment of the story.
Turns out it's third person omniscient instead? Although the dad's thoughts are never explored so I’m not entirely sure if this is the case.
The sudden power shutting off is unexpected and executed well. Suspense is conveyed through minor details like the verbal conscious shutting off too and the mum's corpse disappearing.
I knew the dad would be evil, yet the way it's described and the use of sentence fragments enhances the narrative as well.
The fight scene might be better if it's spaced out a bit more, and includes less ambiguity surrounding who 'he' refers to at times. That will reduce my need to backread.
It's a bit 'this happens, then that happens' without any pauses for a while, so maybe changing the pacing a little could work? For instance, letting the reader register Duke's injuries while the pair try to hide from one another in a darkened area might add suspense. It could also make the gory details more impactful before launching into the next stages of the battle and diluting the whole fight.
Ooh, I quite like the last line. It shows Duke's complete change in character and makes me wonder whether he's the villain instead.
This story seems well-written. There's a logical sequence of events, a satisfying conclusion, and well-defined characters. Emotions are also imbued through the text. This made me able to empathize with the main character a bit more. Overall, it's a good entry.
I start off by wondering how air can be 'glowing', although I suppose you get points for piquing my curiosity there.
Action beats after dialogue should be followed by full stops, whereas commas are reserved for dialogue tags.
I'm getting Christmas vibes from the descriptive sections at the start. Not sure if it is intentional or I’m just in the Christmas spirit, yet at least it's somewhat immersive.
Slight grammatical errors are present; still, nothing too distracting or major.
Lots of details are mentioned, like the room number and the contents of the magazine. These can be useful if they are foreshadowing future events or grounding the reader in the scene, but if it doesn't seem to be the case, it might be best to remove unnecessary details. That will give you more words for the pivotal scenes, like the climax or conclusion.
The shift in tone when Linda gets frightened is a good way to gradually build up the tension in the story.
This story is kind of a slow-burn in terms of the way the events unfold. It gradually gets more mysterious as I read, especially during the dining hall scene and the scene where Linda lays in bed unable to sleep. Tone and atmosphere are effectively used to convey a sense of dread.
At the end, the blackout scene was... well unexpected. I'm also not sure where the dagger that Linda used came from.
The vividness of the gory scene made it impactful.
While the ending was decently written and descriptive, the concept falls short a little. I suppose there are too many questions left unanswered, like what the smaller spread meant during the dining hall scene and why the manager is such a sadistic villain.
Just like the previous bracketed duel, I will use the same metrics for judging this round. While grammatical errors are fewer in these stories compared to the previous two, I would say they're both at roughly the same level unless I missed something major. I hope I didn't. Both stories seemed to be considered horror (or so I think, since I don't read horror often) and they hinted at a smart villain. Then comes the enjoyability factor—I'd personally say that I enjoyed the first story more. The satisfying conclusion and more well-developed characters ultimately means it stood out more for me than the concept of a couple visiting a desolate resort.
My vote goes for the first story.
Voting for story number 1.
I vote for Story #2. The prose was much better, though I feel like the ending was rushed, like the writer just ran out of ideas or time. Lines like "'It feels like forever since you’ve had time off work,' she rubs his palm with her thumb," "She stood, staring in awe. It was perfect," and "Linda let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding" were the most elegant sentences I read this whole contest. Story #2 had the best balance of word economy and descriptive details. Story #1 did the best job of making me care about the protagonist, but it didn't have anything resembling a smart villain as per the instructions that I could tell, some sentences were overwritten ("A child thought so strong turns into a toddler within an almost unnatural instant" and "His ears are filled with the sound of air, and his eyes focus in the dark" are examples of lots of words that say little), there were times during the fight scene when it was confusing as to who your pronouns were referring to ("he" was used multiple times not to refer to the last male character mentioned, but rather the other one), and there were some jarring transitions from third-person limited to a more omniscient POV.
If it's not too late I'd like to vote for the first one. The second one just didn't have enough of the actual horror part and there was way too much build up for such a short story. The first one had problems too, but I liked the overall mood of it and the last line was amazing!
Current Votes (In case anyone is curious how close things are)
Story #1: 16
Story #2: 4
The plots and the protagonists' actions don't make any sense. I get that horror stories like to use mystery and confusion for suspense, but they still have to make sense at least in hindsight. Neither of the stories felt particularly "horrific" in terms of increasing my heart-rate either. It seems that I'm in the minority on this, but I would vote for either of the stories from bracket 1 over these 2. I don't have a preference between these two stories, so I'm not casting a vote on this one.
As stated, I don't intend to vote. This is purely commentary.
ah my bad
btw I like your eagle pfp
I swear to fucking god are you literally autistic
It would be more fun to let him though. Mizal's protection can only go so far until he digs a pit so large that he can't get out.
I mean you tried but ya can't fix stupid.
do none of you get the joke
I mean since we all laughing at you, obviously we get the joke that is your life.
ok let me explain it to you numbnuts
penguin did an uh oh and I called him a silly goose, not relating to his status as a penguin. Lux took offence and said he was a penguin, implying I was dumb enough to think he was a goose. I then sarcastically apologized and said his pfp was a eagle when it is obviously of the corvid varitey, as a parody to the previous "incident". I then asked if he was autistic because he doesn't seem to get jokes or social cues.
The thing is...when you routinely foam at the mouth for, objectively, no reason, it is really easy to assume your words are the result a lack of mental capacity instead of a fine tuned humor. You'd also get more respect if your merits were larger, and you weren't so deep in debt.
Look at this faggot here.
You have no points worth taking.
Such "in depth" observations for someone who has read only a few of my posts, and seems to think they know so much about me. The reason for why I made that post should be obvious if you actually took time to breathe and think before posting an insult that automatically categorizes you with the "autists" that were arguing here earlier.
Sidenote: Tmana and Lux are actually a bit more fun to have around, and i have some level of respect for them.
Depends on how you look at it.
Edit: If you actually want to read something pretentious, then go find End's romance story contest a couple of years back. I was way more of a braggart back then than now.
Ah yes, indubitably, just be "dismissive" of the "offending" post, how else would someone like "you" ever reply?
Strange you would just assume you knew how many of your posts I had read, but then it's obvious you do think you know everything.
Yes correct, that is what I said.
y'know it really doesn't have the same effect with different pfps
I have no obligation to answer someone I have never had a conversation with. Let alone one who insults me out of no where. If you have read more than a few of my posts, as you claim, than you would know that I much prefer to settle disagreements through actual bouts. Insult-derived arguements don't really tend to go anywhere useful, and the only real winners there are the by-standers. If you have a problem with me or my attitude, then go join the contest make an additional bet against you beating me there. I listen to people who back their anger or annoyance up with action.
No, I am not gay, a faggot, or whatever other word you would like to use.
But clearly your problems with me are not based on sexual orientation. Hence, the rest of my posts are directed towards that. I guess its my mistake to assume you can a read post and understand what the words there mean. I'll re-word it simply.
You are a user of low importance. Get good by writing something in a contest that doesn't land you 11th place.
Oh, and while you are at it, go hang up your white knight armor. Of all the people to come aid, you decide Bonfaggle is the one. Although it does make sense for two users that are in the negative in points to be in bed together.
Yeah no your aren't as smooth as you think you are. Your stupidity just overwhelmed any possible comedy. I got it, your just a fuck up so I don't care for your feable attempts.
This thread goes hard as fuck. Feels like "old" CYS
Well deserved but funny, unlike a certain chucklefuck
Lux took offence and said he was a penguin, implying I was dumb enough to think he was a goose.
Lux took offence and said he was a penguin, implying I was dumb enough to think he was a goose.
That was obviously a joke. Are you autistic?
I'm almost feeling bad for Bondo's surefire upcoming point deduction.
Thara, whatever you do with the frog, you have my useless approval. Mizal is just too good-natured.
Edit: aargh, I really had predicted this scuffle
I wanna make a guess on this bracket: Story 1 is Voldy's and Story 2 is Bondo's. Reason? I have higher expectations for Voldy than Bondo, gut feeling.
Honestly haven't paid much attention to the thread, let alone the stories but I am amused by the new rivalries and feuds brewing.
Oh, also glad to see a lot of the newer members (and returning/lurking old ones) fully immersing themselves in the rich inclusive culture here.
I know we the butt of the joke here but it's been entertaining so your welcome.
I pretty much knew I wouldn't win, but this was really fun! I really appreciate all the critique y'all gave, and I think I might fix it up a bit and repost it later. I did only spend a couple hours writing mine so hopefully next round I'll have more time. Congrats Voldy. :)
oh we can change that