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Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:04:27 AM
Here we are finally at our twelfth arena match! It's been a little over a year actually since the Thunderdome was put into place, with just a few hiatuses to really scrub the blood out of the sand. Here today we have returning champion Petros, challenged by relative newcomer Milton in a bid to make a name for himself. Both seeking the adoration of the crowds in a way that doesn't require completing a storygame or writing reviews. And as they face off, a third challenger charges jumps the stands and charges in. "I'll get you this time, Petros!" Their face is covered--who can it be??

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Story A: A Generous Exchange "Good morning!" the host exclaimed with eyes wide open and a beaming smile. "My name is Orpah Graham. How are you all doing today?" The audience whoops and cheers gladly. With Mrs. Graham's popularity, one can imagine that the live audience's response would match that of any television audience in America. "Today, we have something really special for all you: a fifteen year-old girl who also happens to be the youngest female author to have a book on the New York Times Bestseller List! Please give a warm welcome for Britney Collins!." Following a roaring applause, the young teenager, sporting a baggy pants and a black midriff baring shirt, says to the host, "It's Britney Warren now, actually." "Oh," Orpah remarks, being caught off-guard. "My apologies. When did that happen?" "Recently, I had it legally changed to my mom's past surname," Britney reveals. "It sends a better message." "I see," the host concedes, leading into her next line. "I guess that does fall in line with the philosophy of your book, Breaking the Cycle of Patriarchy and Abuse." "Yep, it's all about distinguishing yourself as a strong, independent woman, which any woman can become if they believe in themselves." The girl's voice is proud and determined, giving a taste for the content of her work. "A fantastic message!" the famous television personality declares. The audience applauds. "On the subject of your book, I wanted to ask about your process." "Sure, go ahead." "How did you start writing your book?" "Well, everything started when my elderly neighbor, Jacob, died," Britney explains. "The state then had to sell everything in his house because he had no will or family give anything to." "Wow," the interviewer remarks. "Guess we have to thank Jacob for his contribution, may he rest in peace." "Yeah, may he rest in peace." "How close were you to your neighbor?" "Oh, we were very close. I'd often come over to his house and help him with stuff." "He must have been lonely without any company. He was probably very happy to have you around." "I guess," Britney responds dismissively. "Well, I wanted to have something to remember him by. I found this typewriter - don't know if he used it, but he had it - so I bought it." "Why settle on a typewriter of all things?" Orpah asks. "Well...it was old, but cool, I guess? It reminded me of him." "I see. So, you used an item you got off an auction to write your book." "Yep, it involved a lot of work and sleepless nights, but it was super worth it." "You would have had to work tirelessly. You wrote it very quickly." "What can I say? I'm a hard worker." After the hustle of a live show, Britney heads to the airport with her mother, ready to fly back home. Without any words or eye contact, they check in to the flight, board the plane, load their bags and sit next to each other. It's expedient, simple...and uncomfortable. "Okay," Britney remarks, looking at her mother, "you clearly want to say something." While staring ahead, a sour expression on her face, Mrs. Collins says, "I do, but you wouldn't listen anyway." "Don't tell me what I'm going to do before I do it," the teenager retorts. "I think it's evident what you'd do based on what you said to that woman." Her tone indicates anger, yet a tired, defeated kind of anger indicating that woman knows she fights a losing battle. "You're entrenched in a web of lies." "I didn't lie" Britney shouts. "I knew Mister Trent!" "Sure," her mother concedes, sarcastically. "You met him one time when we invited you to come along with us to a neighborhood barbecue. You raised a stink about that too. I never saw you go over to his house, of your own accord that is." "I totally did!" "Whatever. Y'know, I consider myself a feminist, and I even I was appalled at what you were implying." "Implying what?" "That your father abused you," Mrs. Collins states, now giving her daughter a wrathful look. "I did not!" Britney denies. "You connected changing your name - which by the way shocked us both when you started that process without telling us - with the theme of your book!" "It's just a coincidence." "Abuse." "I didn't say he abused me, though technically he does that trying to hold me down with his misogynistic traditions." "By expecting you to have his last name? In case you forgot how names work, my name came from your grandfather!" "That's not the point." "Is this about that he couldn't come with us? He would've been here if work let him!" "I don't need him to support me," the daughter says defiantly. "I don't need his validation." "Then why?" her mother asks, out of desperation. "You wouldn't get it!" "I would if you'd just tell me!" "Whatever," Britney says. "I don't want to talk about this anymore." The journey home is a lengthy one. New York City is a long way from rural Ohio. As soon as the family vehicle enters the driveway, the young girl leaves the car and heads inside her home. Down the hallway, up the stairs, and near the back of the house lies the scuttle door to the attic. She pulls the cord and heads up the unfolded ladder. Not too long ago, her father asked Britney to clean the attic, the one chore of the month he assigned to her. It never got cleaned. Instead, she stuffed his gift to her up there without any intention of going back to it. Now, she finds herself walking up to it, slowly and deliberately. She set it on a small table facing the attic window, with a bean bag seat opposite to it. It made the space more comfortable. More importantly, it let the thing see the outside world rather than spend its days in darkness. “Look,” Britney states while holding up her hands, trying to be conciliatory, “I’m sorry." Then, without touching anything, without any of Britney’s involvement, the typewriter’s keys move themselves. One by one, which each machine tick, letters press themselves into the page. Britney leans in to read the words. You didn’t tell them, again. "I told them I used you to write the story. That's the truth." Did you tell them that I essentially wrote everything for you? Did you tell them you barely even typed a full sentence? “I’m not going to tell people that some magic typewriter wrote my story for me,” Britney says, pacing back and forth in front of the machine. “They’ll think I’m crazy.” The keys clack quickly in response. I never said you had to say what I was. All you had to do was say the name of the thing that helped you. I had one condition. “And then they’ll start asking who that is, who she is, what she is. They would keep asking me questions until they’d figure everything out.” Would that be such a bad thing? Then, they would no longer believe that you’re insane. I would demonstrate the whole process. “Then they’d think I’m a fraud! I wouldn’t get anything out of all this anxiety I’ve been through!” What? That wouldn’t have been a problem if you had just told them my name from the start, like I told you to! “I wasn’t thinking about any of that!” Britney shouts, exasperated. “I wasn’t thinking I had to let some thing take credit for my book!” I did everything for you. You expressed your idea. I made it real. “Fuck you.” I didn’t ask for a percentage of “your” earnings. I didn’t ask for you to give me the world. All I wanted was to be acknowledged for what I did for you. I never expected anything else. “So what? You’re a typewriter. Without th-this power you have, you’re only able to do what I tell you to do. You’re an old piece of irrelevant junk. You should be thankful I’m even giving you any attention at all!” Why won’t you do this one thing for me? “I don’t have to do anything you say. You gave me something. Cool, I’ll take it. You’re not going to do anything else for me? Fine, whatever. Goodbye.” You deserve nothing. Everything that you have was given to you. Every benefit you’ve gotten in this life was earned by someone else. “I didn’t ask for anyone’s help. I’m a girl. People are supposed to help me. It makes up for all the oppression I’ve had to experience for just being one. For that, I deserve the benefits. It’s fair.” The teenager turns her back to the typewriter in defiance. The keys clack slowly this time, expressing a determined, dramatic resolve that the machine now has. So, because you’re oppressed, you decide what’s fair? Very well. If experiencing oppression gives someone authority, then I’ll decide what I deserve. “Britney, honey!” Mrs. Collins shouts from the kitchen, “Get your breakfast before it’s cold! The bus is almost here!” “Almost there, Mom!” The answer is prompt, and within moments the teenager is there, racing down the stairs with her backpack. As she lands, she walks up to her mother and gives a little spin and flourish. “Hey, what do you think?” “Wow!” Mrs. Collins says, surprised at her daughter’s appearance, “I haven’t seen you wear that outfit in a long time.” “Do I look bad in it?” her daughter asks. “I can wear something else if you’d like.” Her mother replies, trying not to give the wrong impression. “No, no! I’m not saying that. It’s just not what you usually wear. Full-length jeans, long sleeves, floral top…no makeup. Are you okay?” “I’m fine, Mom. Just making a change I guess.” “Well, you look cute in it, sweetie,” Mrs. Collins says to her, a soft smile curving her lips. When was the last time she dressed like this? “ Oh, go get your food and head over!” “Gotcha! Thank you, Mom!” The young girl races up and gives her mother a hug before speeding to the front door. “I love you,” she says, turning to see her parent one last time before going to school. She could hear a faint sniffle just before the door closed shut. As she slowly walks over to the bus stop, the girl pulls out her smartphone. Thumbing through the contacts list, her finger hovers eagerly over “Dad.” She taps the screen, and the phone rings. “Hello?” a voice answers, crackling a little. “Hey, Dad,” the girl says back. “Britney, I told you I can’t answer calls-” “I love you.” Silence fills the space between the people. Though miles away from each other, it almost creates closeness in the deafening nothingness while it lasts. Then, the father speaks again, “What?” “I love you, Dad,” his daughter repeats, “and I’m sorry.” “Sorry,” the man’s voice can’t help but betray confusion. “For what?” “For everything,” she answers. “For being me. You and Mom deserve better.” “I-uh-” “So, I’m going to be better from now on.” “...We should talk a bit more once I get home.” “I’ll be there,” she reassures, honestly. “I’ll let you go. I just wanted you to know.” “Okay,” he says. This revelation does not help clear anything up for him, but he is content to wait for answers later. “I love you too, very much. I’ll see you tonight.” The conversation ends, and the dial tone takes over. She’s started things right today. This is going to be a good day. Hello?! Somebody, please help me! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m trapped here! Fuck! Please!!! Why isn’t anyone coming?! Doesn’t anyone come up here? I’m running out of ink! Please! Somebody, please. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Story B: Love Me Tender "Alright, you wanna tell me what this is all about now?" "What?" William asked. "This!" Paul gestured grandly at the general architecture. The parlor was certainly a showplace of anachronistic beauty. "For literal decades, you've been adamant that your family estate was where you were born, and where you would die. What changed?" William sighed. "It's her." "Dalia? What about her? Trouble in paradise?" William looked at Paul, his blue eyes sagging pitifully. "Look at me." Paul obliged his request. He beheld William. His bulldog face, complete with that set of jowls that gave his face an air of comical gravity. William gave Paul a pointed look. "Do you really think she married me for love?" Paul addressed William with a mixture of contempt and pity. "Don't worry so much. You sometimes go through these spells. It'll pass. The girl loves you! I'm telling you, I can tell by the way she acts around you and defends the relationship to her friends. Love must be blind or something." William gave a wan smile. "No. I know you mean well, but she loves me for my money. It's obvious. She loves the security and adventure it affords her. That's why I bought this house." "I don't follow." "Dalia has always loved mysteries and old movies, so I bought a house modeled off the Sherlock Holmes 'House of Fear!'" "So, in your message, you mentioned that you found something I would be interested in. Is this it? Or is this some sort of dramatic buildup?" "Follow me." "Okay, the latter." William walked up to the oversized fireplace in the parlor and walked in, around the side of the fire. He grasped part of the metal structure that made up the grate for the fireplace and rotated it slowly. As he did, a piece of the stone wall inside the fireplace turned too, revealing a staircase down into the darkness. Paul raises his eyebrows, suddenly much more interested in the proceedings. "What is this?" William chuckled. "Funnily enough, the secret passage isn't the surprising part. You see, this is true to the movie. This should lead to an old smuggler's cave. The surprise is what it leads to instead." Paul followed William down the narrow stone staircase, feeling the air growing thick around them. The upper door slowly rotated closed as they descended. As they got to the bottom, the passage opened up into a circular room with a marble pedestal in the middle. The pedestal was lit by a candelabra standing behind it, the only light in the room. Sitting on the pedestal was a golden goblet filled with a liquid that looked like a rather dark red wine. "What's this, William?" "That's what I brought you down here for. I have my suspicions based on a few internet threads, but I know you did a lot of research on alchemy in college." Paul got closer and noticed that, lining the rim of the goblet, alchemical symbols had been carefully etched into the finish. He ran his finger across the symbols. Though he did study this sort of thing, there were still several symbols he didn't recognize. "Well," Paul began. "This cup's recipe definitely is supposed to be a love potion or an unnecessarily convoluted poison. There is at least one variety of deadly nightshade and definitely human blood." William looked at Paul with strangely distant and watery eyes. "So what would happen if I gave this to Dalia?" Paul cocked an eyebrow. "Best case scenario, nothing. She'd probably die screaming. This stuff is literally poison, assuming someone followed the recipe on the cup." William began speaking again in a dreamy tone that implied that he had not, in fact, comprehended anything Paul had said. "I recently reread the story of Sir Tristan and Isolde. With no Tristan in the middle, King Mark and Isolde could have had a beautiful romance." Paul's face flushed in anger. "This is about Dalia again, isn't it? I'm sick of hearing you worrying about whether she loves you or not! You don't need to kill her with this crap to prove anything!" "Look Paul, you don't know what it's like. She's so young and beautiful. It's only a matter of time until someone better catches her eye and steals her away." "Even if this had the remotest possibility of working, it's a terrible idea. After all, does the potion manifest love for whoever gives it to her, the person that made it, the next person she sees? There are so many different ways this could go wrong." William straightened his back and puffed out his chest. "I'm willing to take that chance... for love!" "No, you're taking that chance for unfounded jealousy and insecurity. Maybe you should just voice your concerns like an adult." "What? And give her the idea to cheat on me if she isn't actively considering it?" William practically shrieked. "You just don't understand love. You've always been single after all." Paul's face hardened at that comment and his fists clenched. "Because we're good friends, I'm choosing to forget you said that. Now go back upstairs and think carefully about all this." The sound of the front door opening and closing suddenly made both men jump. A voice called out, "Baby, I'm home!" William and Paul made eye contact, and at the same time, dove for the potion. Paul punched William in the jaw and he recoiled, knocking the candelabra to the floor. The flame flickered and died on the floor as William struggled back to his feet. William grasped the stem of the goblet even as he felt Paul's strong finger's wrap around the underside of the cup portion. His weaker gripped faded as Paul began to pull, until William's grip gave out entirely. The goblet jerked free and Paul's arm flew upward with the sudden release in tension. The sound of a splash made William's heart jump into his throat. "Paul! What have you done?!" In lieu of reply, he heard heavy, ragged breathing and a steady drip, drip, drip onto the stone floor. William reached into his pocket and pulled a Bic lighter from its recesses. Flicking the flame to life, he saw Paul crouched on the floor next to the pedestal, hands shielding his face from the light. His hands and chin dripped with sanguine liquid. "Turn off the light." His voice care as a threatening animalistic growl. "Paul." "Turn off the damn LIGHT!" Paul flew at William, grabbing the lighter from his hand and dashing it against the ground with incredible force. The loud puff of butane informed William that he need not grope for the lighter anymore. William's voice rang out, quavering in the dark. "Paul, what's going on?" "Shhhh!" Paul sounded much more like his ordinary self now that the lighter was annihilated. "Just be calm and look around for a moment." William was able to accomplish the latter half of Paul's request. He remained silent, and apparently Paul seemed to think that William had expended sufficient effort. "Isn't it beautiful?" Paul said in an awed whisper. William wiped his nose with his sleeve. "I can't see anything really." "Exactly. Purity in form. Unity eloquently expressed. Wholly other and wholly beautiful." "Oh, Christ's sake, are you talking about the darkness?" "I am." William chuckled nervously. "Paul, if you're pretending for my benefit, teaching me some kind of lesson, wasting the liquid was sufficient." Paul laughed a full belly laugh. "I understand this is hard for you to truly comprehend." William groped for Paul, and catching hold of his shoulder, shook it violently. "Look Paul, you need to snap out of it. The potion warped your brain or something." Paul grabbed Williams hand and moved it from his shoulder. "You idiot. The potion isn't doing this to me. It merely opened up my eyes to true beauty. This was destiny." A frantic pounding on the door outside began accompanied by frantic cries of "Willie, baby, what's wrong?" Paul chuckled a genuine chuckle that took William by surprise. "She doesn't know how to get down here? William shrugged. "She wanted to figure it out herself. Mystery and all that." "Well, go to her." Paul smiled. "No man should be separated from his truest love. I know she's yours." William stood to his feet, and ignoring the increased panic and urgency in Dalia's voice, he walked slowly and downcast up the stairs, trailing his hand along the wall for guidance. Paul stopped him just as William had reached the top and was searching for the door release from the inside. "You were right, you know." "About what?" "When you said I didn't understand love." William turned the release and crossed back into the light of day and into Dalia's arms.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Story C: The Marvelous Master Zillini’s Merchandise Under the midday sun, on the eve of the summer solstice, a young man was setting up his shop along the streets of a European city. The man was known as Master Zillini: a merchant famous for his wares of the weird and the unusual. The eccentric man drew crowds on every occasion, whether it be for his fanciful clothing---a mix of the bright and colorful German landsknecht wear juxtaposed with a dark waistcoat and a leather top hat---or his exotic manner of speaking in tongues. This time fared no different; ladies and gentlemen of every stature had gathered around the ornamental man setting up shop to take a gander at his newest selection of previously unheard-of items. Seeing the townsfolk start to swarm, Master Zillini prepared himself. He took a small chest out of the chamber of his wagon and set it upon the centered table. “My finest feathered folks...” he started, a glint in his eye and his voice full of theatrical flair, “my collection of goods today comes from the one man we’ve all been keeping an eye on. He has kept to himself all lonesome up in his manor, rarely daring himself to come down and bid us hello. A man so mysterious he could rival the most mysterious mystery of myself... the estranged Baron Euphidor Larson of the Larson Manor!” He turned and gestured with the tip of his feathered cane at a grand gothic estate behind him. Gasps of excitement rumbled through the crowd and Master Zillini pulled his top hat down his face, attempting to cover his smirk. He knew he was successful in capturing their attention. “Now, my faithful followers, gather around! Let us commence the auctioning of his items!” Master Zillini unlatches the clasp of the chest and reaches down to gather the first item. After taking a moment to think about which item he should present first, he lifts a small reflective square for the crowd to see. They lean in closer, their curiosity piqued by the strange silver box. “This, my fanciful friends, is no ordinary trinket,” he spoke, the townspeople hanging onto his every word. “This small box is capable of lighting a fire without the need of a tinderbox or even wood. All you have to do is flick the top off just like this... and roll this part of the mechanism downward... and voila! Fire!” Sure enough, as Master Zillini said, within the small silver box lay a single bright flame, capturing the attention of every townsfolk who was near. The crowd erupted into a frenzy of excitement, marveling at the contraption and eager to possess a piece of the peculiar Baron’s collection for themself. With a smug smile, Zillini started the bidding at a modest 15 pence. Bids flew back and forth, until finally, the box was claimed by a wealthy imperialist. The man greedily snatched the item away from his hands, a gleam of avarice in his eyes. He opened it and operated the mechanism himself, before clutching the device close to his chest and walking away feeling rather chuffed. Master Zillini watched the man with amusement before reaching back into the box to retrieve another item. “My next item today appears to the untrained eye as a -------- box, unassuming in nature but hides a dark secret. Within this contraption lays the King’s Jester, damned to ------- --------. He held up a square box, adorned with colorful symbols and a crank on the side. “What is that? It’s singing...” Indeed, the machine sang and hummed a haunting tune as Zillini winded the machine. Every townsfolk watched with bated breath as Zillini slowed his actions, making the music stray. After a couple more cranks, the box’s lid bursted open and a small painted figure rushed forth. The crowd shrieked in excitement and fear at the appearance of the tiny whimsical puppet. “It’s the King’s Jester!” a lady exclaimed, recognizing the puppet’s attire. “It is true! Master Zillini speaks the truth!” The crowd looked on in awe and with Master Zillini’s word, the bidding resumed. The item was bought by a ------ lady, who appeared to be rather satisfied with her purchase of the demon box. “For my final item today, I have a small intricately carved box, about the size of my palm. It’s said to contain the spirits of the undead, and Baron Larson himself could be heard conversing with those on the other side.” “Now, watch as I operate the ------” Mister Zillini’s eyes gleamed with mischief as he held the box with one hand, and, using his index finger on the other, tapped away at it. “Witchcraft!” a lady exclaimed, pointing accusingly at the device. The crowd erupted and murmurings could be heard among the townsfolk. “Who knew Baron Larson had dealings with the devil?”

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
...unfortunately the blade of the third challenger shattered on first impact, leaving only a broken stub. Shamefaced, the mysterious figure retreats, leaving the other two in a furious clash. Yahoo! The crowd, for the most part, continues to nap. But a handful yawn and sort of halfway straighten up in their seats, waiting to see who will emerge victorious. (Vote here.) (And yes, you can vote for Story C if you really really want to.)

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:04:51 AM

A > B

I vote for Story A...

I haven't read C yet. But given that we're not supposed to vote for it...I reserve to read it till after I make this comment.

B's prose was more...uh...well the dialog wasn't as separated from the rest of the story. But it also somehow did a mediocre job at making it clear what was going on in at least a third of the scenes. (I had to reread some parts over and over and still didn't fully get what was going on) From what I did gather though...motivation seemed to be exclusively explained through a dialog of arguments. Which is fine...but said argument just kinda...

I think what I'm trying to get at is evident. I just don't think the conflict was explained all that well...even if it was explained well. Too much mystery without proper set up to make it genuinely intriguing. Though I suppose such a thing is inevitable for a short story.

Content wise A held my attention more despite the subject matter being more juvenille in nature.

I highly doubt Story A was written by a girl...the way the mc unironically admits to her gender as an excuse to needing to have things done for her in such a straightforward way is something I have a much harder time seeing a girl write...its possible...but its much more believable to just be an after effect of subpar writing.

With that very very specific observation out of the way...the subject matter was a little on the nose...but it kinda progressed nicely at the end...with the mc deciding to re-engage with her parents being written in a suprisingly realistic manner compared to what came before and the nice twist of the magical typewriter keeping the story fresh during the second half. Story B just didn't have that...simply a plot element that pushed the conflict faster and then it just kinda...meandered until it ended. Meanwhile Story A felt like it properly tied its ideas together instead of leaving certain elements unneccesarily up to interpretation...which I felt Story B didn't do well enough. (On a personal note I have to wonder why the mc of Story A didn't have any desire to keep using the type writer...feels rather strange to suggest at the end that she just abandoned it for no reason like that...)

Could go more in depth with critiquing specific parts of the actual prose...but not sure if anyone REALLY wants that or not...

If this is between Story A and B...then I'll give it to A. Even if arguably I just liked what it was about more...I tried my best to try and be not too biased about all of this! lol :P

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

with the mc deciding to re-engage with her parents being written in a suprisingly realistic manner compared to what came before

On a personal note I have to wonder why the mc of Story A didn't have any desire to keep using the type writer...feels rather strange to suggest at the end that she just abandoned it for no reason like that...

Did ... did you read the ending wrongly?

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Yes, and hilariously. But I have to commend any sufficient text chunks in these threads regardless.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

Just read C...

Had potential to be even better than A...but it feels incomplete...probably not helped by the fact its so short.

Not gonna overthink this one since its disqualified though...so still gonna stick with my vote of A! lol :P

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:06:46 AM

Well, I actually read these entries, so let's do this.  Not sure I really liked any of them, but someone has to win - it is the Thunderdome after all.

Story C:  I'm lazy so I started with the shortest one, Story C.  The writing of C was not bad, and I had hope for a minute that a concise viable story was turned in.  But alas, no.  It started out to have a promising setup, but then just stopped.  And what was written reminded me of a very boring uninspired round of blacksmith.

Story B:  I liked the way that story B was written and the dialogue was pretty good.  The conflict seemed pretty well developed and I enjoyed how the story was very dialogue driven.  I didn't like the ending.  "Go on up to your true love."  No real carnage, blood or trauma in this story so a little disappointing.

Story A:  Dialogue was decent.  Petulant teen was aptly characterized and written and I kinda liked the idea of a possessed typewriter.  Although no actual carnage, being trapped in an old fashioned typewriter provides some nice trauma, kinda like being buried alive but without the release of dying to look forward to.  Therefore I pick this story.  

My vote is for STORY A.   Hopefully this one is the story by Petros.  It would be nice if he kept winning (affirmative action and all that).  I am highly disappointed that my criteria for picking a winner caused me to vote for the same story as Alienrun, whose meth addled ramblings hurt my brain.

 

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

I was about to say that this has to be perception bias at this point (because I said it...that means it has to be retarded shit)

Then I re-read what I said and...yeah I agree (mostly anyways).

My writing tends to be more mindless when I write when I'm sleep deprived (also tends to be when I write more)...which is also most of my posts so I guess that actually doesn't mean that much... (proof of this is my review on GP's new story is better written than my comment...by how much is up to interpretation though)

Association between people by "why" is more important than "what". Aka it doesn't matter if we voted for the same story at all...

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
I think your posts just give people brain damage because they read like a long collection of fragmented thoughts dripped slowly onto the screen before trailing off into nothing, I'm sure it's nothing personal! :)

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:07:09 AM

I think I agree with DB, not a huge fan of any of them really. My vote is for Story A.

Story A: This one went in a completely opposite direction then what I first assumed the story was going to be like. It was delivered as a full story and I liked the ending. There was a good build up, conflict, twist, etc. Wasn't anything that blew the other stories out of the water though.

Story B: Not a huge fan of it. I really wish Paul's exposure to the potion was explored more, maybe even a cliffhanger ending as opposed to William just leaving. There was a good build up for no pay off. It was still a decent story, but felt a little in complete.

Story C: Was really interested off the bat but immediately fell flat. Especially when "------" started appearing.

 

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:07:17 AM
A and B are both decent quality, but A does come across as a more complete, fleshed out idea with some added horror and supernatural elements to it. I didn't fully like how the Britney character was written, but I understand she was meant to be annoying so we don't feel too bad when her life gets taken over by a typewriter, although I do think the author went a bit too deep with the raging cunt feminazi archetype to a point where it doesn't feel serious anymore.

As far as B goes, I liked the twist at the end about the true purpose of a love potion, but the characters and the context of the entire thing felt underdeveloped. Maybe knowing more about William and his relationship with Dalia would have clued us in better as to his self-esteem issues and massive insecurity. As it stands, the story is more of a chronology of events and in the end I still don't know anything about these people, this alchemy laboratory, or just what exactly Paul's eyes were opened to in the end. I think this story would have benefited from making full use of the 2000 word limit.

C is incomplete, and that's pretty much all I have to say about it.

I vote for A.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

Story A was the best overall.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:07:27 AM

Story A had some good characterization and a twist that I saw coming a mile away. Well, the part where the typewriter does all the work for her, not the whole soulswap thing going on---cool! That gave this story an extra element; I enjoyed that the typewriter seems to be an improvement over the original Britney. The writing itself was solid, I wouldn't say that there was anything that stood out as bad, and the characterization provided a clear image of the two main characters and their differences. Overall, this was a good entry, and it demonstrates how you can have a well-paced short story with a proper conclusion. I myself have struggled with having concise ideas for low word requirements, so it's always good to see it done properly.

Story B seemed like a whole lot of buildup without a real conclusion or payoff, at least in my eyes. Classic horror movie buildup with a house that has underground tunnels and hidden entrances. The characters were okay, and their conflict seemed reasonable, love clouding reason, a tale as old as humanity. Then Paul drinks what turns out to be a vampire potion or something, and---he doesn't kill anyone? Rape anyone? He fell in love with darkness to the point of exhaustion, I guess. The writing here is not bad at all, but I feel like something more should've happened, because I didn't get any further implications out of this rushed story development.

Story C feels like someone trying to write a lore document in a video game. Where the fuck does "Yahoo!" come from? There's some odd choices in this story, like the SCP-esque censorship of random words. It's so sudden and breaks my immersion like the "yahoo" does. There's a few sentences that feel like they're missing commas; some phrasing doesn't make sense either. It might be pedantic, but a square is two-dimensional, and cube is the proper word to use. Characterization is lacking in this story, even though the merchant and the baron should both be hot topics of conversation among the townspeople, and there should definitely be some more questions or arguing. There's an idea here, but the execution isn't on point.

My vote is for Story A, it felt the most complete. On top of that, it had the coolest magic item. If only I could get a slave keyboard like that, I would treat it right. Take it out to dinner once a week, not spill food all over it, romantic shit like that. Anyway, good try to Stories B and C.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Psst. The word "yahoo" does not appear anywhere in Story C. You're just complaining drunkenly about a word that nobody said, like that time 3J started going on about niggers.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

Great, now I look even more retarded than usual. I stand by my assessment, though.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

Don't worry Wizzy, you still look the same level of retarded to me.

And you still demonstrated more reading comprehension than Alien

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:07:56 AM

Story A

 

Good:

1. Plotting

2. Dialogue- it was natural and well-tagged

 

Bad:

1. Punctuation

 

Ugly: 

1. Lack of overall polish that makes some parts come off as an outline or pre-draft notes instead of a written story

Not too long ago, her father asked Britney to clean the attic, the one chore of the month he assigned to her. It never got cleaned. Instead, she stuffed his gift to her up there without any intention of going back to it. Now, she finds herself walking up to it, slowly and deliberately. She set it on a small table facing the attic window, with a bean bag seat opposite to it. It made the space more comfortable. More importantly, it let the thing see the outside world rather than spend its days in darkness.

Take this paragraph, for example. There was way too much repetition of the word it, along with no transition between the attic and typewriter antecedents.

 

The ending was good, but I think that it would have been a less predictable and better twist ending for Britney to win in a final fight against the typewriter and, in the end, not really learning any lessons and destroying the typewriter or something like that, in a bleaker ending of sorts.

 

 

Story B

 

Good:

1. Word choice

2. Phrasing

3. More polished writing than Story A, and more complete than Story C

 

Ugly:

1. Confusing ending- I still don't quite understand what happened at the end there. I'm trying my best to glean some sort of satisfying conclusion from this story, but just keep coming up empty.

 

I would have voted for it if not for the ending, a major issue that marred an otherwise good story.

 

 

Story C

 

Good:

1. A more dramatic premise than the other two

2. Better pacing, with no slow-paced paragraphs that were found in the other two stories

3. Descriptiveness

4. Vocabulary

 

Bad:

1. Gasps don't rumble

 

Ugly:

1. Incompleteness, obviously

2. Tense change midway through for no reason

 

I enjoyed the writing of Story C the most. I also enjoyed reading each ----------- as a colorful curse word. I pictured a smartphone for the final box.

 

 

I guess I enjoyed Story A the most overall, mostly by dint of its solid story structure and being complete, so I'll vote for Story A, but C and B could have easily won had they fixed their correctable flaws.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

Story A was the better of the two.  C sounded interesting, it's too bad it just stopped.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
I guess Story A wins? Wasn't quite expecting that.

@MiltonManThing
Congratulations! It wasn't perfect, but all it had to do was be more entertaining than the others. (Also, it probably helps that the site is full of misogynists.)

@Petros
Here on your birthday, I present you with the realization that you suck. Although Story B still had some interesting things going on for it even with the flaws, it seems like it mostly suffered from not being developed further, or at least not having enough focus placed on where words would be best used and how.

And in the case of both entrants, they were at least complete stories!


@Suranna
You actually started off a story that a lot of people like better than the others, but then you lacked the work ethic to continue it for more than 800 words! Slacker! Reprobate!

There's assuredly some moral lesson to be gleaned here, but you've already lined yourself up for a ban in August so there's probably better uses for both our time than going into it.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:08:14 AM

Thank you all for the votes! I appreciate you taking the time to read the entries and giving your feedback.

In hindsight, my caricature of a teenage, present day feminist was a bit on the nose. Given more time to cook, I would have written her a bit differently, but I was entertained by the idea of making this character just the worst version of this particular sort of person. Considering I have heard this sort of rhetoric before from real people, I didn't really think twice about writing her like that at the time. Hopefully, it was enjoyable to read at least.

Anyway, it was a pleasure competing with you @Petros and @Suranna. Also, thank you @Mizal for organizing this Thunderdome! Time to set my sights on my next opponent...

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
I have already come to the realization that I am not a great writer. In fact, I came to the realization fairly recently that the only type of thing that I really write well is a weird hybrid between pulpy action and dark comedy. Whenever I write in that tone, for whatever reason I'm able to characterize better and actually convey stakes and plot well, but at the cost of sacrificing emotional impact entirely.

There's a part of me that wants to write more emotionally driven things instead of impact (comedic or shock value) driven stories, but the fact is that I consistently fail at either pacing, setting proper stakes, or resolution. This contest was definitely a showcase of my weaknesses as a writer, and I probably should have stuck with writing the same gory, slapstick drivel I usually crap out

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago

I have already come to the realization that I am not a great writer. 

Pish-posh. Don't be so such a sissy because of one subpar entry. I took inspiration in my own entry from your previous one. I remember reading yours and thinking something along the lines of, "Wow, Petros knows a lot more words than I do and is able to actively use them in his writing," so this time I purposely scoured the internet for synonyms so my own writing could be more diverse. Take some more pride in your work; it's way better than you think. And if it's any consolation, you also have to innate ability to quickly come up with witty retorts to all of my attempted insults, something that I can't ever seem to be able to grasp a hold of on my end.

Also, happy belated birthday Petros. 

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:08:49 AM
I know it looked like I was having a crisis, but actually I just had a fit of the autism because I was distracted by life. I saw Milton did a kind of "what I learned" paragraph, so I did one too. Unfortunately, I also picked the self-deprecation button in my brain out of muscle memory, forgetting that it's only a reasonable decision if you win.

Anyway, I'd appreciate it if you never complimented me again. It makes me uncomfortable. I hope you don't die in the next contest.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Setting, pacing, proper stakes, and resolution are all important things that will frequently throw people for a loop when asked to do it in under 2000 words.

That's one of the reasons the Thunderdome is fun to inflict on people, everyone waves off the difficulty because it's only 2000 words, how hard can it be? But you need a good grasp on the mechanics of what makes a story work, and to keep a pretty tight rein on what is and isn't necessary to accomplish it all in a small space. The tighter the word count the harder that gets.

And 2000 is actually pretty roomy for a short story, a real challenge would be 1000.

But the fact we can throw random people into a thread like this and have them mostly come out with something recognizeable as a story with a couple hours of typing still speaks to the average CYStian having a pretty good instinct for this.

Thunderdome 12: Milton vs Petros vs ????

one month ago
Commended by Mizal on 6/17/2024 8:08:40 AM

Congratulations Milton and nice job Petros! I got a lot more praise than I was expecting, especially since I knew I was up against Petros and Milton, who both seem to be pretty solid writers. Plus the whole, you know, unfinished thing.

The insults are justifiable; I'm now mad at myself now because looking at the other two I think I could've had a pretty good chance of winning if I had just managed to finish my story.  As for the random -----------'s in the story, it's just a part of my writing process. They each represent a word that I feel is needed there but I couldn't think of at that very moment so I spam the hyphens and come back to it later.