• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #207 - "Honour & Virtue"

Status
Not open for further replies.

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
How flexible is the deadline? I have something 75% done but probably won't get to finish it for at least a few hours?
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
The accusation - 1572

#entry

Sorry about the late entry. Hope it's OK.

I've kinda lurked this thread for months with the intention of submitting something, so I hope you don't mind me dropping in unannounced.

It's been a while since I wrote anything creative. I mainly write corporate and PR stuff for work and it was a bit hard to move out of that style as I have been doing it for more than a decade.

Not sure where this story came from. The opening line was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the theme, but more in a Pride and Prejudice type setting rather than what it ended up being.

I'm happy for feedback. As I said, it's been a while since I wrote creatively so it's probably not my best work. In addition, I literally just finished and posted it without any proofing or second draft.
 

mu cephei

Member
Jan 22, 2010
928
0
0
UK
I sometimes start reading as soon as I've posted mine, I don't always wait for the list or all entries (there's a chance Carlisle might post one still?)

Regarding the deadline, the grace period (deadline + 6 hours) is usually fine, but I woke up to a holiday booking disaster this morning so it's amazing I managed to submit anything remotely coherent.

Entries:

weemadarthur - Inquisitive
Mike M - Bygone Glories
FlowersisBritish - Just Trying to Pass on Through
Tangent - Lovely Pleasantries
Ashes - Blitzkrieg
choodi - The accusation
Cyan - Dig Two Graves
mu cephei - It's a dog
I expect you'll do a manual check later, but fyi Alucard's is missing. I didn't post the format reminder until after he'd submitted.

The accusation - 1572

#entry

Sorry about the late entry. Hope it's OK.

I've kinda lurked this thread for months with the intention of submitting something, so I hope you don't mind me dropping in unannounced.

It's been a while since I wrote anything creative. I mainly write corporate and PR stuff for work and it was a bit hard to move out of that style as I have been doing it for more than a decade.

Not sure where this story came from. The opening line was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the theme, but more in a Pride and Prejudice type setting rather than what it ended up being.

I'm happy for feedback. As I said, it's been a while since I wrote creatively so it's probably not my best work. In addition, I literally just finished and posted it without any proofing or second draft.
You're very welcome :)
 

Carlisle

Member
Oct 26, 2006
5,713
0
950
Pennsylvania, USA
Man, so sorry this is late and not even a full proper #entry. Busy week of travel means I got ¾ through my story and don't have it done :( So here's a haiku.

Another week's come
So where is my new story?
On my dumb hard drive.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
I'll add more impressions as I read through and will vote once I'm done with all of them.

I liked the theme, but the execution just didn't resonate with me. Maybe because it is such a short part of an obviously larger idea.

I really liked this one. I thought you had given the twist away too early, but then the real twist came and it was worth the wait.

Nice incorporation of the secondary theme. Your writing is quite descriptive without being overly flowery.

That was great. I really enjoyed the underlying theme of balancing honour vs instinct. It resonated with me because so much of what we do as adults is about taming our instincts because of what is "acceptable". Very well written too.

Nicely written story. Very emotive and I liked the use of repetition.

That was really good. Seems like there's a world/galaxy worth expanding on the too.

The best compliment I can give this is that I was disappointed that it ended and i wanted to read more. Well done.

:(

I was waiting for a twist, but it never came.
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,380
0
965
Greater London
1. Alucard - A Guard's Tale
2. FlowersisBritish - Just Trying to Pass on Through
3. Mike M - Bygone Glories
Hm. Tangent - Lovely Pleasantries
 

mu cephei

Member
Jan 22, 2010
928
0
0
UK
Time to start reading. Any chance of pushing the reading/voting deadline a bit? Like...til Wednesday?
Not really imo. It'll delay the start of the next challenge.

Votes:

1. Ashes......
2. Tangent...
3. Cyan........

Voting was very hard this time, they were all excellent, everyone pulled out all the stops. In the end I voted for the stories that provoked the strongest reaction, whether in disagreement or agreement.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Time to start reading. Any chance of pushing the reading/voting deadline a bit? Like...til Wednesday?
tbh I think this is part of what killed the poetry thread. We try to be firmer on the deadlines (even if we sometimes slip on the grace period...).

Remember that it's fine to read and vote without commenting/critiquing. And if you absolutely don't have time to get it done, it's ok, that does happen sometimes. All it means is you're DQed from winning.
And are a bad bad person.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,924
5
0
Washington
Feedback's done, but I gotta jet so I'll have to edit in votes later.

  • weemadarthur: By about the end of the second page, I was starting to get antsy and wonder where the story was going, only for it to end one paragraph later. The reveal that Yita was actually the apparent victim of kidnapping made her a bit more interesting than Hermione in Space Military School, but it was literally the last two sentences in the story and didn’t have time to go anywhere, nor did it cast anything that preceded it in a new light. We’re left with a story that is predominantly two people talking about stuff that would be world-building in something longer, but is ultimately inconsequential to this piece itself.
  • Mike M: The action scenes, such as they were, took entirely too many words out of the budget, but the beats seemed necessary. It didn’t leave room left for characterization of anyone but Almathad, and maybe a little for Valstadt. I’m still undecided if Kester really deserved to be punched in the face and humiliated on his big day, and I certainly didn’t give much in the way of anything that would support the reader in coming to the conclusion that he was in need of comeuppance. Kind of like Almathad as a character and may revisit him at some point.
  • FlowersisBritish: Hey! I thought we agreed you wouldn’t submit anything, you traitorous son of a bitch! The general idea of an incompetent buffoon being continually thwarted in his attempts to kill his better is good, but the execution was definitely a bit on the rough side. I was a little unclear on what exactly Lecon’s motivation was for going after Farem; it appears that he’s chasing a bounty for Farem having killed somebody, but he keeps portraying it as some sort of religious conflict with all the constant accusations of heresy. Also, Farem’s killing seems to be subject to regulation and sanction, given that no one else seems to care that he killed this guy and candidly reported himself to the city guard? Seems a strange system that would allow him to do this stuff within the bounds of the law, but that placing a bounty on his head would still be allowed.
  • Tangent: Now I have the theme song to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood stuck in my head. Which is really just the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood song, so it provokes all kind of weird dissonance issues. So thanks for that, I guess.
  • Ashes: Hardy and his scheme was immediately interesting to me, far more than anything else that had come previously or came after. A shame that he doesn’t stick around for long, because I came away thinking that he was the story I wanted to read.
  • choodi: I never attended private school, and perhaps it’s just the effect of the litigious nature of society in the US, but the fact that the headmaster was threatening to suspend this kid with no evidence whatsoever seemed a bridge too far. Also, if the wife is such an absent-minded bad driver who doesn’t even question that someone says she hit their car in an event she doesn’t remember, you’d think that denting her husband’s car would be something of a recurring event, or at least the first thought the headmaster would have. The twist at the end is an exhausted trope that didn’t really add anything to the story, but I liked it despite myself.
  • Cyan: It seemed an odd juxtaposition that the violence of striking a child was so frowned upon that this guy was rushing Ido with a gun. Hitting a kid is bad, but shooting them in response isn’t? Also, it’s difficult to comprehend why the narrator didn’t run from the start, and instead opted to kill the two coming for him, presumably with the full knowledge that this would just compound his sins in the eyes of their family and lead to results considerably more dire than the loss of honor.
  • mu cephei: I’m kind of confused at how smart the AI is supposed to be. It sounds like it’s perfectly possible to make AIs of limited intellect, but they discuss him and his potential decisions as though he’s near-human (if not equal) intellect. Which would seemingly open up a whole other ethical can of worms about the embodying an AI like that in a dog’s body. Or maybe AIs just don’t have enough concept of self to be put out by such a development? I’m just gonna go write fantasy.
  • Carlisle: Technically, I believe haikus are supposed to have some aspect of nature as their central focus.
  • Alucard: The formatting of this one made it more difficult to read than it needed to be, thanks to forum posts not having any indentation to denote the start of a new paragraph. That aside, I feel like this one could have been somewhere like half the length. The entire scene at home with his parents could be tossed wholesale, and the reader wouldn’t really be missing anything that they wouldn’t be able to get from the rest of the story. You spent nearly as many words on that as you did on the whole trial, which didn’t do the pacing any favor since it made us rush through the part of the story that was the most interesting and active.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
1st - Tangent
2nd - Ashes
3rd - mu cephei

Rating them was much harder than I expected.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Feedback:

weemadarthur - "Inquisitive"
I enjoyed the back and forth conversation. It read like a screenplay more than short fiction, and it suffered a bit from white room syndrome, but there was enough motion, and the content of the conversation was interesting enough to keep me moving forward. Nice work, though I felt it ended rather abruptly without a truly satisfying final punch. Still, you have pretty good dialogue skills, and the ability to keep a story moving forward.

Mike M - "Bygone Glories"
This was interesting. Basically, a heel turn in scripted knight fights? I'm not sure he kept his honor at the end of it, but overall, I enjoyed your prose and imagery. You have a pretty good grasp of writing action sequences. Nice job.

FlowersisBritish - "Just Trying to Pass on Through"
This was damn funny. It reminded me of the final confrontation in Doctor Strange, and it was good fun, especially the exchange at the end about killing. I didn't know what you were doing until a little into the second death, so bravo for keeping my interest. Nice idea for a short story, though I don't quite see the "honor and virtue" themes being explored too heavily. Either way, keep it up.

Tangent - "Lovely Pleasantries"
I have no idea what to say about this. @_@ Honestly. Haha. I don't think this type of fiction is totally for me, but I think I understood the point of it overall. Still, I wondered what would have caused the animals to suddenly change their behaviours after chasing Otis away for the same behaviour. That part was a little hard to buy, but overall, the world itself was jarring enough that I felt interested for the most part. The overly-formal speech was also consistent throughout. So...interesting out of 10?

Ashes - "Blitzkrieg"
Damn, son. You warped me into another world, and I liked the experimental second person. Grammar and punctuation were a bit off, but I wonder if the punctuation (lack of quotation marks, specifically) was a conscious decision. (know your "its" and "it's," though...) Overall, I "felt" the voice you were channeling here. It felt very fresh and original. Trying to decide if it fits with honor and virtue...definitely fits in with virtue and the struggle with it, at least. Good job overall. I really liked the energy of this one.

choodi - "The Accusation"
TWIIIIIST. Nice job, Shymalan. Going back to read it after the ending is pretty cool. You left little hints throughout that the ending was coming, which is always good. I've written a story like this before too about a homeless guy, and it can work well. Not super original, but I dug it overall. The only part that kind of pulled me out was the Inception discussion, though I'm wondering if that was key to the whole thing and being a metaphor for the main dude tricking his own brain into thinking Alma was real...

Cyan - "Dig Two Graves"
On the plus side, your prose are solid and your grammar is spotless. The closing two paragraphs were also very nice and felt impactful. On the downside here, I thought you did a ton of telling and not enough showing. It felt more like reading a history than an engaging story. Maybe that was the point? The information was also very dense at times. That said, it maybe would've been better with more focus on "on-the ground" actions and dialogue exchanges instead of the historical narrative vibe I got from this.

mu cephei "It's a dog"
I dig the concept here. I'm trying to see how the themes of the challenge play into it. Maybe the virtue of creating AI at such a level? Or trying to teach a robotic dog virtue? I think you could've done with a longer story or at least some more scenery description, as it feels like they're inhabiting a white room with a box and an AI German shepherd in it and nothing more. Otherwise, the idea is there.

Carlisle - ":("
The virtue of owning up to your mistakes. Well played, but not long enough! ;)

After going through these and giving them some more thought, here are my votes for the top 3, going on who stuck to the themes and engaged me/kept my attention the most:


1. Ashes - "Blitzkrieg"
2. FlowersisBritish - "Just Trying to Pass on Through"
3. Cyan - Dig Two Graves

Good night, ya'll. :) Looking forward to seeing the results!
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,776
1
0
Maine
Props to the new people for reading despite our deadlines. Doing better than me. Going to tap out, I don't have the time to read everything, but thanks to people who ended up enjoying my story.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
1. Ashes - Blitzkrieg
2. Mike M - Bygone Glories
3. weemadarthur - Inquisitive
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
38
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
Well might as well make it official!

1.) Ashes - Blitzkrieg

2.) FlowersisBritish - Just Trying to Pass on Through
3.) Cyan - Dig Two Graves

Vote count:

Ashes - 16 (4)
FlowersisBritish - 11 (1)
Cyan - 6 (1)
Tangent - 5 (1)
Alucard - 4 (1)
Mike M - 3
mu cephei - 2
weemadarthur - 1


Congratulations Ashes! This is normally the point where I say how I'm looking forward to the next challenge, but with your track record of confusing and/or obtuse challenges, I think terrified is probably a more appropriate term to describe my current feeling :D
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,380
0
965
Greater London
You're forgetting rule 42 under section d Nezumi. I can't win a challenge, where you didn't enter. It's a shame but thems the rules.
 

mu cephei

Member
Jan 22, 2010
928
0
0
UK
Thanks for all the great feedback, it was spot on and much appreciated. I'll try to give critiques more regularly myself.

... and congrats Ashes! (>.<)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.