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The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
No sooner had the first duel erupted, than two more gates were slowly opened, and two more masked figures ran out and fell to fighting. The crowd cheered and jeered and threw rotten cabbages, but all waited to see who would be left standing from each fight to go on to face the other.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
Story C: The Ceremony "NOOOOOOOOOO...!" Chilali screamed at the top of her lungs. The little five year old had somehow managed to scurry up a nearby tree in less than thrity seconds. The girl's poor mother, Tareva-Chineshanay, walked over and tried to reach her but came just shy of the branch her daughter was clinging to. Tareva-Chineshanay sighs, "My little Chilali, please come down. We must go or we will be late. You don't want the Meda or Danan to be angry at us because of tardiness, do you?" Chilali's little lower lip began to quiver. "N..no...", she wimpered. "...But...I don't want to go!" She started to cry as she pressed her face against the tree's trunk. "I like my hair...I don't want to see it go away...!" "Chilali..." Before Tareva-Chineshanay could finish her sentence, Chilali's two friends, Honiahaka and Sakari, appeared, heading in the direction Chilali's mother was tring to get her to go. "Háu kola, Chilali!" Honiahaka shouted up at her as he tried and failed to hide the amused smile on his face. "Osiyo, Honiahaka and Sakari," Chilali sighed as her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Sakari waved sweetly up at her friend with a shy smile, "Háu kola, Chilali..." Sakari tilted her head to the side as she stared up at her. "Why are you in a tree, Chilali?" When Chilali didn't respond, Tareva-Chineshanay answered for her, "My daughter refuses to go to the ceremony in honor of the late Istas." Her mother slowly shook her head, disappointed. "She doesn't like ceremonies?" asks a confused Honiahaka. He gave a sharp cry in surprise when Sakari elbowed him. She raised a finger to her lips to shush him. "She doesn't want her hair to get cut," was the reply from Chilali's mother, who was again trying to climb up after her daughter. The closer she got, the higher her daughter climbed. With a heavy sigh, Tareva-Chineshanay slowly but surely descended the tree to stand next to the two children. "Perhaps you two can convince her to come down? Please?" Tareva-Chineshanay pleaded to Honiahaka and Sakari. The two children nodded. "We can do that!" Honiahaka exlaimed, with a mischievous grin. He turned to the tree and looked up at Chilali. "They have Saututhig for when you get your hair cut as a reward for being good!" "That's not going to..." Tareva-Chineshanay started, unconvinced that the child's tactic to lure her daugher out of the tree with a star berry dessert would work, but one look from Sakari told her to wait. Sure enough, the sound of rustling leaves could be heard as Chilai descended. Not long after, she was leaping from the last branch, landing on her bare feet. Standing from the recoil, she dusted herself off, a look of determination on her face. Tareva-Chineshanay stared at her daughter, shock etched on her face. She turned to Honiahaka and Sakari for an answer as to this wonderful miracle they just preformed. "What?" asked Honiahaka, a little nervous with the expression on Tareva-Chineshanay's face. "Chilali loves Saututhig. It's her favorite dessert." "Yes..." agreed Chilali as she walked up to the trio, "The sugary, gooy goodness....the burst of the berries...." Her face took on a far away look as her daydreams floated around in her head. She licked her lips....and her stomach growled, loud enough for all to hear. Honiahaka and Sakari burst into laughing fits as Chialai's face turned a bright red. "Stop laughing!" she groaned as she hid her face in her hands. "Talking about Saututhig made me hungry...." As Honiahaka and Sakari calmed down and wiped away the tears from all the laughing, Tareva-Chineshanay ushered the three children along, "Come children, we can still make it on time if we hurry." Chilali's stomach turned when her mother said that, but she trudged along with her friends and mother through the woods. As they walked, she tried to think of only eating Saututhig when it was all over, but the thought of loosing parts of her beautiful black locks shook her to her core. She had never gotten a hair cut before, since it was tradition to only cut one's hair after a tribes member passed. Their soul was belived to fly to the stars like the fowl or songbirds and watch over the rest of the tribe from the heavens. It was a way of honoring them, by cutting away the old to make room for the new. Though it's a nice sentiment, Chilali didn't understand why they couldn't just remember the departed some other way. Why not cut the hairs off of one of the animals? Or plant the seeds from a dying corn stalk? If anything, they could be like other tribes and make tapestries depicting the tribemember’s life. Chilali sighed to herself. She didn't think she would ever understand. Moments later, the group of four arrived at a large clearing not far from the tribe's encampment. Danan Cheveyo and Meda Takoda were preforming the sacred hair cutting ceremony on one of Tareva-Chineshanay's friends, Dyani. Chilali watched as the woman's hair fell like feathers to the ground, terrified. Chilali franticly looked around for some thing, anything, that could save her from this nightmare. Her mother gently pushed her into the line of people waiting their turn and instructed her to wait while she talked to Meda Takoda. Kissing her precious daughter on the head, she gently said told her, "Don't worry, my sweet little Chilali, it will all be over soon, and then you can have a slice of Saututhig." Chilali's mother pointed to a table full of the sweet treats being served by the Danan's wife, "Maybe if you are especially good, Olathe will give you two pieces." With that, Tareva-Chineshanay headed in Meda Takoda's direction, who had just finished with Dyani's hair. Chilali was too distracted by the sick feeling in her stomach to care about dessert. No amount of Saututhig could possibly be worth it. Suddenly, an idea came to her. Looking behind her, she saw more people had lined up behind her. Perfect... Chilali thought to herself. Quiet as a rabbit, she slipped in and out of the line until she was at the very back. She looked ahead with satisfaction. If any more people came she could just as easily slip in behind them too. Perhaps if she kept delaying her turn, they would forget about her and she wouldn't have to get her hair cut! Smiling to herself, she settled into a routine... As the day turned to dusk Chilali would slide through tribe members like a trout gliding through water. She started to play a game with herself where she would see how many diffrent tactics she could use to cut backwards in line. She was up to forty-seven when she happened to glance in the direction the hair cutting was taking place and, to her horror, spotted her mother going next. Chilali froze. The world seemed to slow down as Meda Takoda started to speak to Tareva-Chineshanay. Chilali was too far away to hear, but what she saw next made her believe she would have nightmares for the rest of her childhood, if not her life! Meda Takoda held a sharp stone knife to Tarena-Chineshanay's hair and began to expertly cut it. The once long hair slowly but surely was cut to shoulder length, the discarded bits falling to the matted grass below. Chilali felt like she was going to throw up. From the glint of the sharp stone to her own mother's hair slowly descending to the ground was too much for the little girl. Before she could turn away, Chilali saw Honiahaka and Sakari walk up to Meda Takoda. She gasped when the Meda motioned for Danan Cheveyo to approach Honiahaka while she herself approached Sakari. Chilali's breath caught in her throat and her legs began feeling weak as she witnessed the same terrifying act that was done to her mother be done to her two best friends. No longer able to bare it, Chialai fainted. When she came to, Chilali found herself surrounded by what she thought were Angenis, but once her vision focused, she realized it was her mother, Honiahaka, Sakari, Meda Takoda, and Danan Cheveyo, all of which had their hair cut. "What happed....?" Chilali asked with a sleepy groan when she saw the worried expressions on everyone's faces. Their new hair styles were strange to her, but she found herself more fascinated than scared. "Oh, my sweet Chilai!" exclaimed Tareva-Chineshanay as she embraced her daughter in a tight hug, sighing with relief. "You passed out, thank the ancestors you are alright! Are you hurt? You didn't hurt anything, did you?" Tareva-Chineshanay franticly checked over her daughter, like a mother hen counting her chicks. "I'm fine..." Chilali assured her mother. "Little Chilali, what caused you to faint like a flower blown down by the wind?" asked Meda Takoda. "I...." Chilali paused, ashamed, before she continued. "I'm afraid to get my hair cut...." Chilali felt like crying, having revealed her secret to the two respected leader, her friends, and her mother. "Oh, my little Chialai..." soothed her mother as she pulled her daughter close. Chilali burried her face in her mother's neck to hide the tears streaming down her cheeks. "I'm sorry..." Her voice wavered and her lip quivered as she spoke, waiting to see what fate the Danan and Meda would had instore for her. Danan Cheveyo smiled softly at her. "Fear is a natural thing, little one," he said, "Everyone fears something. Even me sometimes." "Really...?" Chilali asked in awe. The brave Danan Cheveyo was afraid sometimes? This came as a huge surprise to the little girl. She had always thought the Danan was without fear, leading the tribe into a better tomorrow for thier betterment. "How did you over come it...?" asked the wide-eyed child. The Danan stretched out a welcoming hand to her. When she took it, he raised her to her feet and answered, "By facing it head on." With the encouragement of Danan Cheveyo and the presence of those close to her, Chilali's nerves were calmed as the group helped her sit so she could get the long awaited hair cut. Her friends gave her reassuring nobs while her mother started to tear up with pride at the fact that her baby was facing her greatest fear. "Little Chilali," said Meda Takoda, "before we continue, I must ask, why are we doing this?" "To remember Istas," replied Chilali. It seemed obvious. Everyone in the tribe knew that. "Yes, the action is to remember her, but why?" pressed the Meda. Chilali stared at her blankly, "I don't know, Meda. Why?" Meda Takoda smiled, "We do it to remember the souls who have passed, yes, but also to remind ourselves that everything comes to an end. But with and end, there is also a beginning, new and clean. With each death, there will be a birth. With the end of a cold winter comes a warm spring. This, little Chilali, is why we cut away one's hair, so that we have a reminder for the years to come constantly with us, wherever we go... Now let us begin..." Chilali closed her eyes as the Meda began to gut her hair. Her mother held her hand, wispering words of encouragement to her daughter. Her friends also whispered encouraging words. After a few moments, Meda spoke, "You can open your eyes now, Chilali." Chilali did as she was told and looked around. Was it really done? That fast? Her friends excitedly dragged her over to the nearby pond to look at her reflection. What she saw made her gasped in awe. Before her was a girl who looked like a slightly old version of herself, her hair the length of her shoulders. When she reached for her face, the reflection did the same. Was this really her? Yes, it was. She looked at her reflection again. Maybe this hair cut thing wasn't so bad after all...

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
Story D: You CAN(not) ESCAPE ZEBRA!

Where one stripe ends, another begins...



You drive your jeep across the desert landscape as you let the air coast over you, taking in the beauty of the African savanna. The sun is about to set on the horizon as the day comes to a close, lighting up the sky with a soothing orange light.



The jeep hums to life as you eye vultures hanging over the sky above you.



But just as you speed by the birds of the sky, the fauna of the ground, and even the speeding cheetahs that mistake your vehicle as some kind of obstruction, you allow yourself to relax and take in the view.



As you take a sip of water to ease yourself to rest when night finally beckons, you manage to see something of particular interest in your rear view mirror. You can clearly see said thing getting bigger, closer, by the second!



You take a closer look…



You see a zebra chasing you. Its running faster than any zebra you’ve seen! Its head is down yet as it inches closer and closer you see it has blood pierced red eyes fixated entirely on not just your jeep, but you! Specifically you!



Despite all of this you don’t bother speeding up. You mean, why would you? Its not like its going to…



SLAM!



Before you can even register what happened, the zebra crashes into your jeep at blistering speeds! You feel the impact at full force! Your jeep gets sent flying into the air, flipping over and over as it hits the ground 4 times in succession before landing. Your body isn’t handling all the G force being applied to it, you give out, pass out, lose consciousness as the only thought that goes through your mind is ”What the frick was that?!”.



Where one stripe ends and another begins is not always clear...



You wake up. You no longer sense your jeep’s presence to be anywhere close to you.



Your sitting on a chair. Just what in the frick is going on?



Some people you don’t recognize take off a towel that’s over your head, allowing you to finally see where you are. Its certainly a more calmer atmosphere, despite the situation you find yourself in.



You also see various huts and various African tribesmen running around. You didn’t expect to come into contact with any people on your wildlife venture, that’s not why you came here. In any case there’s 3 tribesmen right in front of you, with one of them stepping forward as he seemingly waits for you to react in some way.


You stand up cautiously and eye the tribesman in front of you.



“Who…what’s going on?!” you manage to muster out. You straighten yourself out as you await a response.



“You were in an accident my dear brotha! We did what we could as soon as we saw you were in danger! I am Zathura! The chief of the humble Tikka Village! Your just in time for a special ceremony we are to commemorate tonight!”



You have doubts about your rescue. But you decide to focus on the supposed ceremony instead.



“Ceremony? What’s so special about it? You don’t even know who I am? Aren’t you just supposed to be giving me hospitality?”



You start to take more notice of the tribesmen’s outfits. The red strips on their faces and the jagged beige shorts seem to stick out to you. Are these people warriors or is this simply a custom they have?



“The ceremony is an ancient custom passed down from our ancestors that we only started to practice for the last 3 generations. For the prophecy deems that now is the time!”



“Time for what?!”



“We must offer a sacrifice every 3 moons to THE ZEBRA GOD! His name, which should only be spoken by those deemed worthy, is KHORRAAKASHAA! He demands human sacrifices to ensure that our village’s population remains under 100 people, alongside other sacrifices on special occasions. Other nearby villages also worship THE ZEBRA GOD, for the consequences of not doing so would be very drastic!”



And with that Zathura and his helpers walk away, leaving you to ponder the situation to yourself. It would seem as if there was a silent gesture that, yes, you can indeed stay at Tikka Village for the night if you so desire.



Under normal circumstances you would think this was all BS. But given how you got into this situation in the first place, the explanation isn’t too far fetched. Still, you can’t shake the feeling that something fishy is going on. It doesn’t take long for you to start to feel tired.



The sun finally sets into the horizon, making way for the moon to take its place. You start to feel assured that you’ll finally get some rest. Until you hear the sound of drums beating, a stark reminder of the special ceremony that’s about to take place.



The drumming heightens in intensity as the supposed ceremony draws near. All the villagers start to gather sitting on the ground cross-legged in front of an altar waiting in anticipation for the occasion to start. Zathura and two of his helpers can be seen on the side carrying a young boy and girl to the center of the altar as they both cry, scream, and shake their bodies for dear life!



You instinctually run up to Zathrua and say “Are you out of your mind? These are children! Clearly you could have picked someone else!”



“These are orphans brotha! Noone will miss them when they are gone!”



Your not sure what to do. Are you really going to go against an entire village just to save two kids? Maybe that’s what you should do but then again, what if…



You don’t get to finish your thought. As the drumming finally stops as the ceremony takes a turn you didn’t anticipate.



Not all stripes are made equal...



The two kids are not thrown onto the altar but rather right in front of it!



To the other side of the altar, comes along a man dressed up in beige pants is covered in shit, his leather shoes blend in too well with his skin, his chest is as hairy as can be, but most importantly, he’s wearing the skull of a zebra!



He’s also carrying two sharp daggers and has a pole attached to his back.He keeps holding them above his head as he seemingly dances his way up to the top of the altar as if it was a stage. The villagers all cheer loudly at this.



The short yet ever present man takes center stage as he lifts his daggers as high as he can into the air as the crowd cheers as loud as they can. Lights go off on each side of the altar, like fireworks but more primitive. Something about this guy’s aura seems off in a way you can’t explain.



“Make way brethren! For it is I, KHORRAAKAASHA! Heirbringer to the throooooooone!”



The villagers all start cheering like if they were watching some sort of wrestler put on a performance. Just what in the literal shit fuck is going on?



The man starts banging his chest like a possessed demon and then says “I am most welcome here! FOR I AM THE ZEBRA GOD!”



The village chief speaks up saying “It is great to have you here brotha! In the flesh!”



The Zebra God then says with a voice that sounds bass boosted and ethereal in nature:



“YOU SHALL KILL ALL THE VILLAGERS!”



All the villagers start arguing with each other in confusion. Then confusion gives way to fear, and the rest is history.



All the villagers pull out their weapons and start fighting each other. No clear sides seem to be taken, knives and daggers and spears are pulled out as blood and body parts start flying everywhere! Thankfully your in the back so noone notices you yet. “Fucking shit!” WTF are you supposed to do now? Fight? Defend? Intervene? No, you’ve got to escape! You’ve had enough of this shit and need to get out of here ASAP!



The village chief speaks up saying “KHORRAAKAASHA! What is the meaning of this? I have done everything you asked of me!”



“YOU FOOL! I ASKED YOU TO KEEP THE POPULATION UNDER 50 YET YOU ONLY WENT TO 100!”



“I thought you wouldn’t notice!”



“I…CAN…SEE…ALL! EVERYTHING!”



The Zebra God then takes the poll off of his back and attaches his two daggers to its end, making a spear. He then jumps off the altar with his long spear in hand as he holds it behind him while yelling at the top of his lungs. He comes down with his spear and opens up Zathura’s neck, blood pouring onto the floor as his head slowly falls apart. You wouldn’t put it past The Zebra God if he managed to break Zathura’s skull in the process!



Several people start coming to you. You pull out your pistol and start shooting them.



Bang! Bang! Bang!



3 shots. 3 bodies down. No time to think. Just survive!



Your aware you don’t have many bullets left, hopefully you scared off everyone else from approaching you.



The Zebra God eyes you curiously. You can see a red glow coming out of his zebra skull as he starts to make horse noises while prodding his foot on the ground over and over, seemingly preparing to charge at you. He then scoffs and laughs at you!



“THIS MAN IS NEITHER WHITE NOR BLACK! VILLAGERS! GET HIM! FOR HE SHALL BE THE PROPER SACRIFICE FOR MY CEREMONY!”



All the villagers stop fighting each other and look at you as they slowly start to change their course towards you.



Fucking shit!



This is not good! You decide to save your bullets in case any of them get to close. You waste 2 to try and scare them off, but it doesn’t seem to be working.



You run across the village in hopes of escaping as the villagers follow you. Your not losing them. Fuck! Then, not only do you feel it, but see it.



Your jeep is parked just on the outskirts of the village!



Wait but how? You couldn’t sense it before! Was it hidden to you until now?



No time to question it. You run up to it, hop in, and frantically try get your vehicle running. You quickly turn the key and go full speed out of Tikka Village! Goodbye fuckers! Hello freedom!



You breath a much needed sigh of relief as you drive off into the night. You rush back home ASAP! Can’t take any risks! The further you can distance yourself from what you just witnessed the better!



You start to take in the beauty of the night sky. You look up, if just for a moment, and appreciate the countless stars you see in the sky exclusive to the wild. Your not sure what to make of the cosmology of the universe anymore, but if your entire life led to this one singular moment, then maybe that’s all the reason you need to justify your own existence.



Your victory only lasts for so long however...



Some stripes are better than others...



Out of the blue you see a giant zebra simultaneously come out of the ground and sky at the same time. The two versions merge as the zebra whinnies and charges at you at full speed. Its eyes glow blood piercing red as it eyes you, the red light overpowering every other light you see. Everything becomes dark, as if you were in a void. Its going to hit your jeep any second, its ethereal presence feeling more real than anything else.



“YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME!”



You hear a loud booming feminine voice say. You feel doomed, trapped, existentially dreaded to your core. You die all alone…



THE ZEBRA GOD ALWAYS WINS!



ALL HAIL KHORRAAKAASHAA!



Black or white, doesn't matter, you'll die all the same...

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
Vote here:

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
Well.

My vote is for Story A.

Story A read like a nice wholesome childrens story, complete with conflict, crisis, morals, etc. The names and rituals started to blend together somewhat when skimming through it quickly, but I believe it's important for the authenticity of the culture. The presence of a few misspellings alongside the plot itself gave me a pretty good idea of who wrote it.

Story B is such an outlandish and ridiculous mess that it manages to be somewhat funny.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago

Ahhhhhhh.  Thunderdome, blood on the ground.  Here we go:

 

Story A:  This story was nice.  It was developed and paced pretty well and the cultural tradition was introduced and described without some large info dump.  The characterization of the little girl, Chilali, was well done and the story resolved in a very satisfying way.  Also, I thought that the custom was well thought out and reasonable.  Another thing to note, when I dumped the story into Word, it showed exactly 2000 words.  So, extra credit for hitting the word limit exactly.

Story B:  Well, that was different.  I liked the idea of the zebra god.  Having a monsterous crazy zebra with red eyes running around terrorizing folks is pretty cool.  However, for me the story just didnt come together completely.  It was funny, and strange, but probably could have used a little more develpement.

 

Vote is for Story A

 

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago

I like these votes for "A" when the contest is between "C" and "D."

I read "C" and said, well, it doesn't matter what "D" is like, it's going to be "D" as the winner, because I didn't really like the writing of "C" at all.  But then I read "D."

So the winner for me is "C," but there is little honor in it.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago

I try to be as objective as I can with these things. This contest wasn't much like the previous ones, however, where I could read the prompt and come away with certain things I would be looking for from this genre and then score them accordingly, or at the very least compare and contrast where the story and my own internal visions diverged. It was broad enough of a subject that I could only operate entirely on vibe. And I think that was ultimately the deciding factor here. Both stories failed the vibe check for me and I didn't much like them.

By all accounts, I should like the first story better. It has everything going for it, a complete story arc, competent SPAG, for some reason it even reminded me a little bit of Avatar TLA the way that my brain filled in the blanks, but ultimately I dunno. Something felt like it was missing, I didn't feel there, there just wasn't enough to put me in that place, other than a bunch of made-up names that my brain didn't want to memorize for a 1000 word story.

But then there was the other story. It was not as "good" as the first one, but at the same time, I was completely enthralled by what I read. I laughed, I wept, I clutched my skull in confusion, I stuck my fingers in my eyes. It was incredible. Whoever wrote that story needs professional help, and a not insignificant part of my vote is owed simply to the fact that I don't know who the author is or if I should worry about them doing me harm, which is an emotion that the first story simply failed to evoke in me. I think my vote has to go to Story D here.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago
Both of these annoyed me. I think that story C annoyed me slightly less, so it shall have my vote.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago

Both very drastic sides of the writing spectrum here (and maybe the autistic spectrum too).

 

Story C: Had a good story and moral along with it. I could see it as a kids book or something in the $2 bargain bin. It was just a nice complete wholesome story. Not too much to critique, besides the names/ random words in another language.

Story D: I think I'm with everyone else here about wtf did I read. Language wise, started out with frick and stuff but eventually matured into shit and fuck and even a wtf. I don't really care for the story at all. Also how the hell would the MC "sense" his jeep was outside the village? Are we magical? Maybe seeing the jeep would have been a better choice rather than sensing it. The MC also just pulls a gun out of no where. It doesn't say he was a hostage at all but I feel like the gun could have been brought up a bit earlier besides when all hell breaks loose. I do like the concept of the Zebra God though, just not the execution of this story.

My vote goes to Story C.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago
I hate both of these, but I hate Story C slightly less.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

6 days ago
I vote for story C. It was wholesome, albeit a little hard to read. Basic proofreading is your friend.

Story D gave me heartburn and quite frankly I don’t know where to start to give constructive criticism. Whoever wrote this has to be trolling. It kind of reminds me of the time somebody I played D&D with insisted on giving his character a Jamaican accent despite not knowing how to do that accent beyond calling everyone “mon”. Very hard to listen to for 3 hours. This was like that. Anyway, overall an interesting premise with mid at best execution and overall too disjointed.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

6 days ago

I went into this thinking I was going to vote for Story C. It had all the right pieces: decent writing, great pacing, ample use of the word count, and a good idea for the story. But as I was reading Story D I laughed... out loud. A genuine laugh, instead of one of those fake contagious ones I pick up from other people. The story was so ridiculous and absurd that I was able to get into the mind of simply enjoying it without having to scrutinize every sentence. It was fun. 

My vote is for STORY D

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

5 days ago

Story C

Maybe it's just me, but I think reduced ellipses use might be an easy way to improve the writing. (Their impact is stronger if not overused -- I also suggest keeping a consistent length, no need for four dots instead of three).

Then again, I was in the ellipses thread not long ago, so I might just be scarred. Still, while I can forgive the kid for using them, did you have to end the story with ellipses?

The ending felt conclusive, which is good. There's a message too! Emotions are present as well!

Keep at it! Biggest thing I recommend is to read more alongside writing more. Not a unique tip, and it can probably apply to me as well, but there's a reason 'read more' is popular advice for writers, aha.


Story D

The Zebra God reveal felt weak, because it felt like exposition. I wonder if you could reword this to be a bigger moment. A bit more of back and forth might work? Or, maybe introduce the Zebra God when they show up, and till then leave it nebulous (tho easily inferred).

Humour is hard to write, and I'm not the best judge of it, but I can say the style was consistent. I wonder if a gradual descent into madness would work better, not that this didn't have an escalation of its own.

Driving all the way home from Africa was weird, ruined my suspension of disbelief a little. The ending is also odd saying 'black or white' when the Zebra God called you out as specifically as 'NEITHER WHITE NOR BLACK', but this is beginning to be nitpicking.

Good job on having a message! Ending was also conclusive, but it didn't feel paced well to me. Maybe a little sudden? Or perhaps the all caps rubbed me the wrong way.

I believe that, with a lot of careful consideration, this could be a very funny and good story if it were written with a lot of thought and profound insight, but alas, I don't feel this is the case. Still, good job on writing it.


Vote

My vote is for Story C. If both story's were written with a lot of thought and profound insight, I think I'd still like C more. But who cares about that, because currently, I still like it more. Good job to both contestants for submitting something (tho more of a good job to one of them than the other, but I won't say who)!

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

10 days ago
It's been pointed out to me that the first paragraph got cut off of Story B during the pasting process.

Everyone, please go back and reread Story B in its entirety, slowly, now with this error repaired.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago
b

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

9 days ago

My vote is for Story C.

Story C is an earnest attempt to fulfill the prompt and deliver a sincere and heartwarming children's story. It has moral lessons, good dialogue exchanges and conveys a strong cultural identity. I greatly enjoyed it.

Story D is a ridiculous experience that revels in dark comedy, but doesn't seem to be sincere to the prompt. That wouldn't be so much of an issue if I could enjoy the delivery of the story's concepts, but the narration grated on my nerves quite a few times.

It may be a matter of personal taste, but I think Story C deserves more recognition in this match-up.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

5 days ago
I vote C.

C:
Holy shit is the custom stupid as fuck, and the plot keeps going and overturning the same hairproblem. But I guess aside from the plot, the piece is written alright.

D:
What the frick did I just read. Maybe there was something in it, but the one-sentence paragraphs of screaming just bounced me off completely.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

5 days ago

If its not too much trouble can you elaborate on your issues with Story C? Just curious is all. How exactly is the custom "stupid as fuck"? What do you mean that the plot keeps going? (and overturning the same hair problem? Is it a problem that the whole story focuses on one problem?!) Isn't the whole point of the plot to set up for the character arc that happens at the end?

Like I get that you could technically shorten the literal events that happen and you'd still get the same effect, but given it progresses naturally and makes sense given that the MC is literately dragging the problem out...I personally didn't see much issue with that specifically. This isn't me trying to impose my opinion or say I'm more "right" or whatever. I'm bothering to make this reply at all cause I feel I don't fully understand the logic behind your opinion even though I'm sure its really obvious and I'm probably just fixating on your specific word choice.

Whatever though...I feel a more in depth critique would indirectly help with my own writing anyways so I figured it was worth asking! :P (You could also elaborate on Story D on the basis that you just read it, but that story seems to be a whole different beast so its kinda whatever if you do or don't! lol :P)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

5 days ago
Well, didn't want to go too in depth, but here it is.

It does make sense that the MC is literally dragging the problem out in the same way it makes sense that I am sitting an hour on the toilet whenever I'm constipated; I wouldn't want to read or write 2000 words about either ordeal. At some point, the pacing of a piece should take a look at what is entertaining and what isn't, unless it's an autistic focus point of the author (because I can always appreciate that).

Now let's go from generalizing statements to the specifics: C's plot. We start with a kid who wants to keep his hair. Then the kid gets bribed with sweets. Then the kid's hair gets cut and the kid faces their fears but also passes out. Then it thrice again gets repeated that the haircut is to remember the lost ones. Then she likes her new haircut.

With the 2000 words spent on the plotline, it fails at either being interesting or offering depth. There are missed opportunities to make it more personal by letting the MC grieve a loved one or actually come to terms/offer a response at the whole regrowth mythology.
It fails at depth by underexplaining why long hair is such an important facet of the tribe (like it being tied to strength and power like in Samson), or tying more elements to their regrowth mindset.
It fails at being entertaining because it's a story about cutting hair without any subplots.

That aside, when the prompt was a tribe's unique custom, there are so many possible and cool worldbuilding elements you can hook your plotline in, that I feel like this is wasted potential, but now we're straying dangerously close to personal tastes.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

5 days ago

After getting that answer, do you feel more confident in voting now?

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I already voted...check the other thread! ;)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Gotcha. I assumed you'd put your vote for this bracket here instead of in the other one.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I actually sent Miss Mizal my votes in a dm. (I can say dm now because I know that it means direct message and not Discord message now! Lol XD) 

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
And Alien voted for D, just leaving that as a note for when I tally these up later today.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

You're tallying today?! OMGosh, I can't wait! XD

(I was serious when I wrote you saying I highly enjoy the whole of the Thunderdome experience and that I'm now addicted to it and get a serious adrenaline rush! :D ...And that I so want to do it again sometime!!! :D)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Story C has won, congrats to @Ravenic_Virtue! This 13th edition of the Thunderdome was interesting, neither set of duels became the total landslide these have been known for, both stories were VERY different but even Story D managed to get a few votes. Story C was a bit of a struggle with how fast it threw out the dreaded Made Up Fantasy Terms, but the tribal aspect was certainly focused on. It had a lot of sincerity behind it and was unexpectedly wholesome, and with some edits (to either streamline it or flesh it out) it'd be a very good children's story even as its own thing separate from the contest. Story D meanwhile just sort of missed the mark with me. I know some clicked more with the batshit comedic aspects, but that's always a challenge with writing humor. It can be subjective and so there really needs to be something else of value there if it falls flat. But yes, @Alienrun was our final entrant. And so while I hadn't intended so much delay in kicking off the duel, once he made it clear he wanted to join after all, I really really wanted to see what he would turn in and so was happy to make those little extensions to the deadline. Thank you both for showing up, these are always a lot of fun for everyone, although I guess we'll just never know what might have been had superteller entered the fray.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

As Alienrun removes her hood and mask, I feel tears prick the corners of my eyes, and I soon follow suit with my own disguise... I hadn't realized my opponent was none other than my best CYSia friend. This doesn’t feel like a win, but a loss, since I had voted for my own story over the other, simply because I felt it didn't hit the mark of the theme.

But as I walk out of the Thunderdome Arena, I can't help but smile in excitement and anticipation for the next duel...because now I have a taste for blood...and I'm quite thirsty.....

Thank you everyone who voted for me, I greatly appreciate all of you! Your criticism will be helpful in the next duel.

 And thank you @Alienrun for a great fight, and for being my friend. I wish you luck in your future and any battle to come your way. :)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

We gotta toughen this kid up.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I've already got a taste for blood. What more do you want? A clinically insane persona? Cause I can do that if you want. 

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Some social awareness would be a start.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Alright, how do I do that?

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Commended by Mizal on 7/8/2024 9:16:03 PM
I didn't vote because I was busy lying in a disgusting puddle of my own diseased fluids, but I commend you for your victory. I also have to assume that you've come out of the closet since I last looked at the sight, so congrats on being a homo ultrafag as well.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

._.

...no, I was never in the closet... But it's good to hear from you! Hope you got that fluid situation under control. :P

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
I agree! You were never in the closet!

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Oh thank GOODNESS!!! Someone doesn't tease me about it! T^T Thank you Madam Mizal!!! T^T

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Oh! And now that this bit of the duel is over, I can explain the weird names! I saw a lot of people commenting about that. They actually aren't made up! :D The names are all actually Native American names, even the name of the dessert. The dessert itself is actually a blueberry tart type thing, and blueberries were called 'star berries' back in the day because of the star shape where the stem connects to the berry. 

Anyway, here is a list of the names and their meanings!

 

Chilali = snowbird
Sakari = sweet
Honiahaka = little wolf
Tareva-Chine(shanay) = beautiful eyes
Cheveyo = spirit warrior
Olathe = beautiful
Takoda = friend to all
Dyani = deer
Istas = snow

 

Other words used:
Danan: Chief
Meda: Priestess
Angeni: Spirit Angel
Osiyo: Hello
Háu kola: Hallo friend
Saututhig: Blueberry baked dessert
Star Berries: Blueberries

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Cool stuff! I appreciate the peak behind the curtain here. The terms here added to the story's worldbuilding.

And...Congratulations!

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Thank you! I told, I'm pretty sure, DB I was going to do some research and this is what I cam up with. Lol

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Which of the about 250 native american languages did you use?

In any case congratulations on the win. A nice debut with the potential to grow.

And what the actual fuck Alienrun, that was the closest you'd get to the essence of TikTok being compressed into an entry.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I did a mix from the ones around the Grand Canyon. And thank you! :D

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago

Lol!

But nah...

If I really wanted to do that, I wouldn't have bothered trying to come up with a cohesive plot or tried to balance serious/silly moments or keep in mind proper pacing or any of that. I would have just had characters yell at each other via one sentence paragraphs and have nonsensical descriptions to tie it all together! (Was tempted to type up a short example but I'll spare you that! lol :P)

Also you've always given off "resident memer" vibes to me so to see you be so opposed to low attention span humor to this degree is a little...uh...surprising I guess! (thought that's most likely just me projecting stuff lol :P)

But alas...this is what happens when you spread your plot so thin across a 2000 word count limit...there's not much time to develop anything and every scene has to be very blunt for better or worse! I could have made the plot...less...but then I'd actually have to detail crap! :O

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago
Never before have I been dealt a blow this low goddamn man

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago

oooo..... :o

Alien: 1

enterpride: 0

:o

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Congrats on the win, even if it was over, well, alienrun

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
It's okay, because pretty sure Alien knew who they were up against and still voted for themselves, lol. Gotta toughen up, kid.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I know. But I didn't know I was against her! D:

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Congratulations to Raven & Wizzy for their wins! Excited to see what you both put out for the final match, especially since Raven now has a taste for sweet sweet blood. Alien & Yummy, nicely done and props for submitting where other challengers had fled.

For future reference, are you allowed to vote for yourself? Seems kind of dishonorable.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I asked Miss Mizal herself about it. She said it was fine. Also, I was originally going to vote for Alien's story no matter how it was written, but then I read it and it didn't fit the theme. So I wasn't meaning to be dishonorable (and quite frankly I agree with you), it ended up being based on my thoughts of how well the theme was interpreted. 

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
I think authors typically abstain, but not always. It's not unfair as long as they both have the opportunity. And it would be either for valid reasons they can back up, or else it would be extremely funny to watch, so win/win really.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Lol. Entertainment? Or fair fight? Hmm... Well we now know Miss Mizal could go with both. XD

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago

This is literately why I didn't want to vote btw.

Was wondering if there was some secret rule that an author's vote "doesn't count" if they vote while being a participant (also given in this specific case where voting for the other side would make it harder for you to win).

I was tempted to give a fake review for my story to let the idea slide, but I decided to air on the side of caution since I didn't know if that would look scummy or not in retrospect...I guess I know better now for next time! :P

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Congrats to both duelists. And congrats to Raven for her first victory.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Thank you Dire! :D For the first time, you aren't drunk and gave a rather nice complement! Well, at least, I don't think you're drunk. If you are, then have some painkillers handy for the foreseeable hangover. :)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I'll have you know my drunk rambling was put together with the best intention to help you submit something for the contest.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

I know! And I appreciate your ramblings and don't mind them at all! :D

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago
Nice job Ravenic, I was correct to guess that you wrote C.

Somehow, I also knew Alien wrote D.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Lol, you said "I think I know who wrote C" earlier in the week and I was like "Oh shoot, he's on to me!" XD

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Congrats to both for showing up.  And nice job on the win to raven.  Both were better than I would have expected and aliens was fun even though it read like a peyote trip. Nice work both of you.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Thank you DB! :D Thanks for voting for me too! 

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Congratulations Raven and Alien! You exceeded mostly everyone's expectations and you deserve to be commended for that. Good job!

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Thank you Suranna! :D Good luck to you in the Crisis Contest btw! :)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago

Glad to see expectations of noobs is pretty low these days!

Needless to say though...you better not die on August 1st! Since you seemed to jive with my humor the most compared to everyone else I'd be the most interested to see what you think of my upcoming contest story! You may not like it as much (though there are a few parts that have a similar kind of humor to be fair) but you'd probably at least get a kick out of it, or find some enjoyment out of it ironically. Point is I wanna see what you think and it would suck if I couldn't due to you dying...

(Also congrats to Raven! But I already told her in private that I liked her story so...yeah...haha! :D)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Congrats Ravenic. Good luck against Wizzy.

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

4 days ago

Thank you! I'm definitely going to need it.... -_- :,)

The Curse of Thunderdome 13, Duel B

2 days ago

Not that I expected you to trash my story or anything but this was more nicely put than I expected!

Given that you were one of the only people to read my horrid "story" from last contest, I'm guessing you think what I wrote here is better?

I can probably posit on my own why that is but, considering you felt my last story was cringe...I have to ask...was it really just cause I broke the 4th wall (alongside other meta shinanigans) and addressed the player directly? Or is there something I'm missing here? Or does it really just come down to the context of how I decided to present each story? (Since they are both pretty different admitedly! :P)

The simple answer is probably just that I put more care into the overall presentation of this new story but...I guess I was hoping to see if there was some sort of extra lesson I could learn here, and figured you extending your perspective could help me see that lesson...assuming there is one of course! :P