• 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.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #215 - "Searching"

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Special bonus #entry: One of the foxy ladies returns!

Um... No idea what her username was, now that I think about it...
Dissolution

Hooray! I remember frekifox and keleesto since they did have usernames on here. If it's one of the other two I can approve an account for them pretty easily. Might be easier than sending you everything. Ok ok I'm just hoping for them to come back regularly, I liked their stories. :p
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
Hooray! I remember frekifox and keleesto since they did have usernames on here. If it's one of the other two I can approve an account for them pretty easily. Might be easier than sending you everything. Ok ok I'm just hoping for them to come back regularly, I liked their stories. :p

I poke them with sharp sticks about it pretty regularly.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Kay, so I was maybe going to sit this one out, but seeing Ward's back, the foxy ladies are back, and just the air of possible sudden returns! I'm too excited not to write, I want in this challenge more than regular!
 

Tangent

Member
Mar 15, 2010
658
0
0
Kay, so I was maybe going to sit this one out, but seeing Ward's back, the foxy ladies are back, and just the air of possible sudden returns! I'm too excited not to write, I want in this challenge more than regular!

Do it!

(And yay for Ward and frekifox!)
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
I'm going to be late with my entry. Some friends from overseas are here and that has delayed my finishing.

If I take too long, just close it.
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,378
5
1,105
Greater London
date: 8th July 2007

I have this strange feeling of not wanting to trust
anyone for tomorrow's trip!! This is about the
surprise reunion trip!!! It might help to know that
I'm going with S**** B**, E**, K*** B****, K*******
etc. I am normally very trusting so I don't know why I'm
letting my head do the talking. Is my past finally
catching up to me? Hopefully!
The strangeness of the private numbers and the late
calls is I hope just paranoia induced from sleep
deprivation. I am going against my instinct. Anyways,
will delete this & fire away into the ether if everything is alright!
told mum and T*** where I'm going!!!

May Allah protect me from the wicked

And to those who seek it also
in books will find great solace
yet not my character
will sleep
till the day's work be done with.


------------
#entry
 

MilkBeard

Member
Jun 20, 2013
9,219
2
0
Missed my entry. Did I not do the post correctly for the algorithm?

EDIT: I had a space between # and entry, perhaps that was the issue. changed it.

EDIT 2: All's good in the hood.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Jun 20, 2013
9,219
2
0

Sorry, been a while since I used it. I did everything exact except I put a space by the hashtag. I'm gonna save the image for reference, lol.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
The Nighthawk

2233 words

#entry

Sorry for the late entry.

Not really happy with it. I trimmed so much to get it somewhere close to the word limit that I think I lost a lot of what I was originally going for. Much of the character development is gone in aid of moving the story along sufficiently, so I think it will be a little shallow.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Jun 20, 2013
9,219
2
0
Don't forget RoyalDuke's The Bureau.

I have also added that weird "#[nospace]entry" to my edit reasoning. That should work, no?

Both you and TheRoyalDuke should look at the image quoted in my post above, and edit your posts to match exactly. Title of story in the post title, story link, and the entry hashtag (no space ;) ).

Then, you must wait until Ashes comes back to update the entries list.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
I'm just skimming things to catch up and this caught my eye. I 100% agree. Alucard, it's really cool having you on board. Your excitement is awesome and obvious to see, your stories are thrilling to read, and it's fun receiving feedback from you too. I'm a crusty ol' curmudgeon in comparison who feels a bit chained down by writing at times, but maybe some of your enthusiasm will rub off on me!

Also, on a separate note, I was catching up on the LAST thread too, and responded to some people's comments (Alucard, Mike M, and Flowers).

Thanks. I'm enjoying the ride so far. I'm not so young either at thirty six, but my enthusiasm and desire to get better at writing are real. I'm already excited about the next challenge and wish I could start tonight.
 

Song of Fire

Member
May 19, 2015
420
0
270
Both you and TheRoyalDuke should look at the image quoted in my post above, and edit your posts to match exactly. Title of story in the post title, story link, and the entry hashtag (no space ;) ).
Got it. If you hadn't mentioned that, I probably never would have noticed everyone's posts were receiving titles.

Also, in response to everybody's favorite va Alucard's question-
As a reader, do you KNOW that Garaman is on top of his horse in this sentence, or do you think there's a chance they're walking side by side? Also, do you think he's naked when you read "exposed skin," or based on the context do you imagine that it's probably his face and neck?
-I just wanted to say that my immediate assumption when reading that is that he is on the horse, and that -at most- anything exposed beyond his face and neck -if even that- would be part of his shoulders. From my point of view, the sentence worked, but that's just my input.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
I just started another story that I already like more than the one I wrote for this challenge. Damn it. :p Ah well. Maybe this will be a book instead. Digging it so far.

By the way, do you guys read any writing blogs, listen to any podcasts, or have you read any books on writing you'd recommend?

My top two right now are The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird and The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester. Both are super practical and motivating.
 

mu cephei

Member
Jan 22, 2010
928
0
0
UK
^^ not me, but here's a thing anyway. I won't add the entry tags because it's very late and past the point of politely looking the other way.

Orbital

Nobody is obliged to read it. I'm just pleased I managed to finish something. Next time I'll work harder on meeting the deadline.
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,378
5
1,105
Greater London
Entries:

RoyaleDuke - The Bureau
LaMagenta - Mena
Alucard - The Guilt of Innocence Gone
Song of Fire - Weather the Storm
MilkBeard - The Fiend of Galdratia
Ward - untitled
Mike M freikfox - Dissolution
Mike M - Masters of the Art'
Cyan - Anika's Inventory Emporium
Tangent - Reaching for the Stars
FlowersisBritish - A Thousand Wings
Ashes - Trip to Southend planned tomorrow
choodi - The Princess and the Nighthawk
Nezumi - Clockworks

duplicate entries:
[['Mike M', ], ['Cyan', "Cyan "], ['Alucard', 'Alucard - untitled']]
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Wowzers. It has been a hot minute since we've had such a big pool of entries. Best of luck to everyone trying to read it. I don't think anyone'll scoff at people taping out this time around.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Jun 20, 2013
9,219
2
0
Wowzers. It has been a hot minute since we've had such a big pool of entries. Best of luck to everyone trying to read it. I don't think anyone'll scoff at people taping out this time around.

I've been picking them off since they were being sent in, and only have two left to read. That works better for me than having 13 stories to read in a short time, which would be insane for my eyes and brain.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
Reaching for the Stars

I'm wondering if I should have ended the story at "gasped." IDK... endings are tricky.

#entry

(usual password)

The answer to your question is yes.


Votes

  1. Cyan
    loved it, but i really wanted there to be a reason everyone spent heaps of money
  2. Tangent
    lovely story, maybe needed one more proofread
  3. Mike M
    loved the setup, but the story just sort of meandered without a good payoff

Not going to leave feedback on everything. Too many stories for that, unfortunately.
 

Alucard

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

MilkBeard - I think there's a good story somewhere in here, but my suspension of disbelief was broken right at the end with someone trying to have a conversation while apparently severed in half from collarbone to hip. Wouldn't that have required severing the spine? Otherwise, decent dialogue and description, but was a little hard for me to picture the surroundings.

RoyalDuke - Too many tense changes in the opening paragraph, and some awkward repetition like "the style that was curiously out of style." Also, a big tip...separate your paragraphs. Your opening is a massive lump of text that made me want to stop reading after just five sentences. You break POV too, as this seems to start in third person but switches to first for random sentences until committing to first for the bulk of the story. Not saying this to be mean, but to hopefully help you write a clearer story next time. You've got a ton of ideas, but execution is everything. This was hard for me. :(

LaMagenta - This reads more like an expository prologue than a full short story. I see that there are some interesting relationships, but I never felt invested because this suffered from white room syndrome...just a long dialogue between two characters and not enough movement. You also did some head hopping between your two characters...most contemporary fantasy readers prefer a writer sticking to one character perspective.

Song of Fire - I'd like to see this after at least two more editing passes. As is, I felt transported into your world. I appreciated the amount of detail you went into. There isn't necessarily a story here, but I still enjoyed it as an existential thought piece.

Ward - I liked the imagery but I'm not sure I got the gist of the story. Maybe I wasn't supposed to. Seems like a weird dystopian detention centre? You write relatively clearly, so you kept my interest the whole way through at least.

freikfox - Uhh...weird? Tonally it's a little uneven. The curse words and borderline porn lingo seemed to come out of nowhere and snapped me out of the story. Not sure I got what you were going for here. The early description was pretty good though...and please tell me "Murder Forest" is not the actual name of the place.

Mike M - This was a lot of fun. The recurring shortened paragraphs and scene changes were a nice touch and would work great in a screenplay montage. You have a talent for writing engaging dialogue and your descriptions are very clear. I did wonder why Wynnifer wouldn't just bring the two of them together sooner, but it still worked. Nice one.

More later...
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
More feedback...

Cyan - So much fun! Great job playing with fantasy and RPG tropes. I really enjoyed the narrow angle you took, and the ending was superb. I thought you dropped the Thorack romantic interest story a little quickly though. Maybe shouldn't have been in there at all?

Tangent - Cholera. All I could think of every time I saw Chlorella was Cholera. :) Otherwise, I really enjoyed this. It was...cute? I like your authorial voice. No mistaking anyone else's work for yours. You have a gentleness to your work that is very distinct.

More coming. Tired now and it's almost lunch time!
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
1. Song of Fire - "Weather the Storm"
2. Tangent - "Reaching for the Stars"
3. Mike M - "Masters of the Art"
 

mu cephei

Member
Jan 22, 2010
928
0
0
UK
Votes

1. Cyan. This was hilarious.
2. Flowers. Just absolutely loved the dialogue/ dialect.
3. Mike M. Perfectly formed.
hm. choodi. Great conversation and characters, story just a little unbalanced.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
hm. choodi. Great conversation and characters, story just a little unbalanced.

Yeah, I ended up cutting so much to fit the word limit that it ruined the flow. It's maybe something that I will revisit at a later date. Maybe for NaNoWriMo if I try to do it this year.
 

Song of Fire

Member
May 19, 2015
420
0
270
My Top Three Picks:

1. Milkbeard’s The Fiend of Galdratia
Very nicely crafted. The story simply flows well, and the pacing takes the reader gently from one point to the other, all the way through to the end. It also just seems grounded, fantastical as certain elements may be.

2. Mike M’s Masters of the Art
A delightful tale. The dialog is masterfully crafted, the pace keeps the reader engaged, and the characters are charming. Of special note, though, is the story itself, which is a clever take on the life of
mages’ familiars
.

3. Cyan’s Anika’s Inventory Emporium
Well done in concept and execution. I rather like how a large portion of the story centers around the same repeated scenario while still keeping itself interesting and maintaining forward momentum.


As for the others:

The Bureau
My thoughts are a bit divergent from –though include some of the same points as- Alucard’s. Fast-paced and riveting, with engaging description. A bit jumpy and hard to follow (is it supposed to be first person, or does it follow the
(projection of a)
man from the start?), and the sentences themselves tend to jump and swerve. Though the writing brought up questions of what it was intended to say, and the sentences did not maintain their own continuity, it kept me engaged throughout. I like the bent toward cosmic horror.

Mena (Scene One)
This was an engaging opening for what you seem to intend as a much longer story, and it does a fantastic job of pulling the reader in from the start. The story of the character, Mena, thus far is enjoyable and does sound like something one might find in mythology. Now, if this is the beginning of a book or a play, it may be worth considering not jumping into the start of the quest itself so quickly, but it works quite well as a stand-alone story as-is. The only real issue I see is that –and this may be just me- Mena just accepts the tale too easily. For someone who lives as near a normal life as she seems to, a dose of skepticism may be in order. For what it may worth, I was certainly ready to see the quest begin.

The Guilt of Innocence Gone
I certainly hope you intended for this to be a touching story, because you succeeded. I really like how well it fits the theme of searching; everyone had something they were looking for.

Weather the Storm
Absolutely not worth the time to read. You should be ashamed of yourself. (Note to reader: There is no need to be alarmed at the content of this perfectly rational assessment of this specific entry; I have not offended myself in any way.)

Yarbrough & Peoples Don’t Stop
But why? Okay, sorry; I had to. Anyway, I rather liked your story, and I can’t help but think that this is exactly something people would do
for a fifteen dollar gift card
. You portrayed the character’s struggles well and let us see his or her concerns in the situation.

Dissolution
Well, that was unexpected. The shift from
what I expect is a mundane location
to
a fantastical forest of death
was very good, and I enjoyed how you described the locations. Not so sure about the perspective shift, though. I take it the story was intended to move from third-person to first? If so, I am curious as to how you decided to do that and what you were looking to achieve with it.

Reaching for the Stars
I really like the tone of this story. It’s peaceful, and it just feels like something out of a children’s book. Very well done.

A Thousand Wings
Interesting, and, as rough as you made it out to be, well-told. Your writing was very engaging.

Trip to Southend Planned Tomorrow
Interesting. To be perfectly honest, I am really curious as to whether there is some special intended meaning to this, especially with the date provided. I haven’t much else to say at this time.

The Princess and the Nighthawk
I know you said you expect it to be a bit shallow character development-wise, but I don’t necessarily see it. The story moves at a quick pace, propelled by the continuing string of –at times urgent- events, and there simply isn’t time to see this lack of development, though that may be what you are talking about: the lack of time even available for character development makes you see the characters as more shallow because you know what they were intended to be. I will agree that Isabel
does jump from a bit uncertain of herself to quite confident
, but that manner of situation could, bring about that side of somebody. Regardless, it is a good story with great pacing.

Clockworks
Very well done with your writing. It would have been nice to see this as you had planned it, but the conspiring of time and word counts is an unrelenting beast. Sorry I’m not doing too well with feedback.

Orbital
Your descriptions give the story an added sense of life, and Benay’s personal struggle is well-conveyed throughout the story. The ending was something I did not expect, but it works with the darker atmosphere you convey.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
More feedback...

Flowers - clear descriptions and engaging dialogue. I think I missed something with the ending though. I mean, I know what happened with Gabriel and Greta, but think I missed something with how the sword played into it. I also just read this on the bus on my way into work at 7:25am.

Ashes - Too obscure for me, especially the ending. This is one of those things that probably makes total sense to you but is hard to decipher for readers. I miss your complete stories!

Choodi - Pretty fun! Way to use the art in the OP. Haha. The twist of Isabel being Lady Nighthawk came out of nowhere and probably needed more explanation, but overall, an enjoyable jaunt.

Nezumi - I was digging this until the non-ending. Did you have something in mind for it, or did you just run out of space and time to make one? Definitely could be something good here with a few more editing passes and an ending. Still, I liked what I did read for the most part.

Votes:

1. Cyan
2. Mike M
3. Tangent

Honourable mentions: choodi and Flowers.
 

MilkBeard

Member
Jun 20, 2013
9,219
2
0
Votes:

1. ) “Reaching for the Stars” by Tangent

I found this story to be quite enjoyable. I can imagine reading something like this to my (future) kids. Even if some of the story details were a bit predictable, it still ended with something nice and unexpected. The characters were adorable.

2. ) “Weather the Storm” by Song of Fire

The writing style is nice, and has a personal feel. I was interested in finding out what was going to happen. Towards the end, I was worried the story was going to end up without having closure, but by the last line, I kind of understood. I have to admit, that was a pretty good way to end a story of that length. There wasn't anything particular happening in terms of climax, but that actually played well into the meaning of the story. Still, I wonder if a few more details could have been described here and there, to help give more visualization.

3. ) “Masters of the Art” by Mike M.

This was an enjoyable read, and I found myself chuckling throughout. Smoothly written, as usual for Mike M. However, I feel the conclusion came as a bit expected. Or rather, the direction of the story was expected; however, the writing kept me engaged all the way to the cute, fuzzy ending.

--
Honorable mentions:

"Clockwork" by Nezumi

Admittedly the story does feel unfinished, and it's understandable. But it's quite good considering you put it together quickly. I like the impact of learning why the automaton was winding the key. However, I was left wondering why Pauline had a house connected to this strange place without knowing. I feel like this story has potential if details are filled in.

“A Thousand Wings” by flowersisbritsh

The dialogue and characters are the strong point of this story. I also enjoyed the events for the most part, especially the early sequence of Gabriel being tied up and Greta's gang. The weak points tend to be that the descriptions need some work, as they don't completely give the images that were intended in my mind. I think with some editing, this story has potential. The ending felt a bit flat, however; perhaps it's because the sequences leading up to the final scene ran a bit long, or that the reveal didn't quite give enough to make the story feel complete.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,923
5
0
Washington
I had started on feedback today, but then I was out of the house most of the day and only have time to finish up my reading and get my votes in for tonight. I may finish up feedback tomorrow.

The Votening:

1. Tangent
2. MilkBeard
3. Alucard

A rare honorable mention for Nezumi. If you'd gotten across the finish line on this one, I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd be placing in first for me. There's a lesson here to be learned about waiting until the last minute, but I think I've known you long enough to know that you won't change your procrastinating ways : P
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
I'm going to be cutting it close with my votes, but if it's really obvious who'll win, don't wait up for me. I really need some sleep, so I'll post a bunch of responses in the whatever my time zone is.
 

Tangent

Member
Mar 15, 2010
658
0
0
The answer to your question is yes.
Haha OK thanks!

I did it! It's been awhile since I did a story so last minute. But it was fun. Fun in a "Never do this again." kinda way.
I know that kinda "way" very well. We should come up with a word for it. Just like "deja vu" describes a feeling with a simple phrase rather than a ton of words.

Wow guys... I'm impressed with how many people provided feedback considering how many entries there were this time around. Thank you for the comments. Very helpful and thoughtful. Also, I was surprised to hear responses from you guys (the readers), such as my story being "gentle" or that I have that style -- interesting to self-reflect on! Thanks!! (I also agree that I need to edit more carefully for proper nouns!)

Votes:

(Was it just me or were there are a lot of stories set in winter storms?)

1. FlowersisBritish
2. Milkbeard
3. Mike M
Hats off to Cyan for the best first line.
 

Nezumi

Member
Aug 8, 2011
3,374
0
590
39
Small town near Frankfurt in Germany
A rare honorable mention for Nezumi. If you'd gotten across the finish line on this one, I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd be placing in first for me. There's a lesson here to be learned about waiting until the last minute, but I think I've known you long enough to know that you won't change your procrastinating ways : P

Please, don't ever stop telling me that I could have done better if I'd only... It's basically the only weapon I have against my personal demons...
 

Song of Fire

Member
May 19, 2015
420
0
270
Nezumi. If you'd gotten across the finish line on this one, I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd be placing in first for me.
I concur, actually; that was likely a major thing keeping you from shooting to first on my list as well.
Please, don't ever stop telling me that I could have done better if I'd only... It's basically the only weapon I have against my personal demons...
Might I suggest preparing some holy water? Or would that not suffice?
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
We calling it or waiting on a few more? Anyone still planning on reading and voting?

Glancing through the votes I think we've still got one writer outstanding, but he's not logged in since last night. Probably safe to call it at this point, but it won't kill us if you want to wait a bit longer. :p