Okay, I'm calling it. Thanks to everyone for participating, especially the new and returning faces!
Tangent (16 points)
Mike M (15 points)
Cyan (12 points)
MilkBeard (10 points)
Flowers (5 points)
Song of Fire (5 points)
Alucard (3 points)
Congrats, Tangent! Won by a hair at the very last second. I thought it was Cyan's for sure after the early votes went out, then Mike snuck in there, then Tangent came out of nowhere to steal it. Check my math if you must, friends!
My day has actually been long, and typing these up from my notebook took longer than I thought. So here are some late comments for people. Congrats Tangent, see you all next time.
Cyan: Early on I found it kind of hard who the main character was, Thorack or Merodin? I landed on Thorack as the main character and focus of the narration. Its a really fun concept and I really liked your breaks in narration as Thorack tried to focus. One thing that bothered me was how neatly the ending wrapped up, did Anika really need help? And why would she hire these two bozos? Also, I enjoyed the quick rundown you did of the necromancer quest, and thought it would have been fun if you did something similar for the other quests too. And in kinda a response to Chodi's thoughts, I understood the reason. It's cause she was hawt.
Ashes - Trip to Southend Planned Tomorrow: Hey poetry! I think? Gonna be honest, all of this flew over my head.
Royal Duke - The Bureau: I'd recommend breaking up that first paragraph. Though, that might be a personal bias. Believe it or not, I used to write super big and heavy paragraphs like that too. First paragraph is way too thick, second one I think is a more acceptable thickness if you like to write big paragraphs. I want to talk about the dangers of big paragraphs, when you condense all of your information into one chunk, it's very easy for the reader to gloss over and miss the important information. I'd recommend trying to keep paragraphs to one subject/idea, and if you want to talk about something else, well then that's where you break your paragraph. Also you have this bad habbit (I remember this from your other stories) where you focus too much on catching the reader up on lore and not enough time setting the present scene. When The Smoking Man came(Cool name btw) I was utterly lost as to who the MC was, where he was, or what was going on in general. You have a lot of neat ideas, and if I read this right, it's basically a mix of Men in Black meets lovecraft in WWI(?) which sounds really neat, it's just too tough to parse out these cool bits though.
Ward - Yarbrough & Peoples Don't Stop: Hey welcome back Ward! I also totes forgot you had a website! And after reading this, i missed ya more. This was a really neat idea I kind of wished you expanded upon more. Like maybe another 200 words? Still keep it short, because I think the shortness really helped accentuate that great punchline that he was in this bizarre challenge room trying to win a gift card. Ha! I got a pretty big laugh out of that at the end even though you can put a lot of money on a gift card.
LaMagenta - Mena: So I was pretty into this at first, but about half way through Eos's explanation of the story, it lost me. I understood what was happening, but I just didn't care. That story of the events around Mena's parentage and birth was way too long, which is a shame because I really liked Mena in the beginning, the fact she was a ballerina, the classic attribute of greek demi-god tales being attributed to her, and in general you had a lot of really good bits of writing. If it wasn't for that really long story, I would have probably dug this a lot more. Also, just a thing to keep in mind with the future, always be careful with the word ”was" Was tends to weaken verbs and there were a lot of cases where I thought if you got rid/replaced the ‘was' the sentence would have been stronger.
Song of Ice - Weather the Storm: Short but sweet. You're descriptions were top notch and really carried a visceral feeling of being in a storm. I just didn't get a feel for the MC, not that I needed it, but I think it would have helped. I had no idea of his past or even really his personality. And again, while not needed in this type of short scene, i do think would have helped accentuate the ending.
Mu Cephei - Orbital: This felt like it was less of a story, and more designed to explain a setting. Which, to it's credit, I thought did a really good job. Normally I find stuff like setting details to be kinda jarring, but a lot less so with this. It also helps that the setting was pretty interesting and it feels like you've given it a decent amount of thought. As for the plot? I found myself caring less about Benay's quest for Shara as much as I did the politics surrounding it.
Mike - Masters of the Art: Listen Mike, this was great. A+ great. There was so much fun to be had, but also a lot of problems for me. While I love the start, I'm not 100% sold on them working together. I guess the ”Half the work for us!" is valid, but neither of them came across as particularly lazy. Also, I feel like there is a surprising amount of lack of communication between the crow and the cat despite the fact they now live together. The girl says they're ”Perfectly awful behind teh other's back" but we rarely saw them be not awful to the other's front. Finally, I thought the resolution, while very sweet, felt kind of hollow and unearned when most of the story is just them talking shit about the other. I honestly didn't think they were friends until that. You should come back to this later, it was really good. One of my favorites from you in recent memory.
Alucard - The Guilt of Innocence: I was honestly taken aback at how well I thought this was written. It was very clear and reminded me a lot of classical fantasy adventures. It might also be because I don't ever read about Griffins so that got point right out the gate. Sadly, I'm not actually a big fan of fantasy tbh. Just not my cup of tea. Still, even as not an avid reader of the genre, I had fun reading the battle and end.
Milkbeard - The Fiend of Galdratia: Honestly, this just didn't work for me and I can't really piece together why? I've been wracking my head around it and the best I could come up with was what Alucard said about the surroundings being unclear. There were no elements I thought were bad persay though. I just don't think this was for me at the time :/
Chodi - The Nighthawk: Wow, she just straight up got transported into a fantasy world and just rolled with it. That was a little jarring for me tbh, but it kept things going alteast. Though that jarringness did kind of bother me going forward into the fight, and into the fake out of ”Was it a dream" to the reveal of the painting and, again, how she just rolls with it. I did really like Borax though, I thought he was a really neat design.
Frexifox - Dissolution:Whelp that did not go where I thought that was going to go. That got.... A lot more steamy than these challenge tend to get. But in seriousness, this was good, I remember you from previous challenges and you've always had pretty exception descriptions, glad to see that's still true. The switch to first person (I'm pretty sure there was a switch?) was certainly an interesting choice. Not sure if it works, but I am leaning towards a yes it does atm of writing.
Nezumi - Clockwork: 10 points right out the gate for a really interesting setting. Ains and the whole clockwork aesthetic was really cool and I would love to have seen where that ended up going (without the limits of a word limit).
Flowersisme - A Thousand Spelling Errors: Boy this was rough. Too bad I wrote it at the last minute, because it desperately needed another run through. I don't normally do reflections, but I tend to do a lot of little experimentations and challenges outside of the secondaries and thought I might share what I've been doing lately. Putting in descriptions(specifically character descriptions) has been a long running difficulty for me, so for awhile I've been trying to learn how to seamlessly putting them into my stories. And I honestly think I've improved tremendously. My descriptions aren't perfect, but I think I've gotten the hang of even giving nameless grunts a quick visual look. So I'm moving on to trying a new things for the next few challenges. I did two in this challenge. One, which I'm going to try and keep up with for the rest of the year, is immediate setting details, answering ”Where?" in the story as soon as possible, even if it's just to tell the reader's people are on a road or something. I can already see how I need to improve. Second, one I might not do again, was I tried something different with dialogue. I've been doing weird things with dialogue for awhile, and in this case, i just tried what I'd consider a non traditional structure(Where ABAB is traditional) of AABABABB. It came out alright. May mess again with in future.
Tangent - Reaching for the Stars: Large yet small. That's what I really loved the most about this one. It was a story spanning from the ocean to the sky but really it was just about two friends. I thought your writing was particularly on point with this one, mostly with your descriptions. I thought big scene with Luna was really well done. Part of why this one hit me so hard was because the music I was listening to at the time synched up perfectly to your ending. It's mostly because you and Mike were kinda neck and neck for me that I want to talk about the big difference that put you above him, and that was the friendship. The friendship in your story felt a lot more realized and it's simply because of that scene you have in the beginning where they just talk about their days. Really strong beginning and really strong ending. Well done Tangent, you deserve this win.
Milkbeard - The Fiend of Galdratia: Honestly, this just didnt work for me and I cant really piece together why? Ive been wracking my head around it and the best I could come up with was what Alucard said about the surroundings being unclear. There were no elements I thought were bad persay though. I just dont think this was for me at the time :/
I appreciate the response. There are a number of things I wanted to portray but was unable, and it would be exceedingly difficult to squeak them in while still adhering to the word limit, so I just felt I would edit it so it read well enough.
The important thing I want to learn is to hook a reader who may not be so interested in the setting, or the theme I am portraying. This story was more about the theme than the setting, although I realized toward the end that I needed more specific detail to help visualize the setting. I made a few edits but any more would be like working with a complicated puzzle which takes a long time to figure out. I am also going to work on reducing a few cliched elements that I relied upon for quick writing.
There is an important theme I was unable to portray in the story as is, so I'm making a number of edits to the final version, and seeing that some readers weren't able to visualize the setting helps.
Tangent - Reaching for the Stars: Large yet small. Thats what I really loved the most about this one. It was a story spanning from the ocean to the sky but really it was just about two friends. I thought your writing was particularly on point with this one, mostly with your descriptions. I thought big scene with Luna was really well done. Part of why this one hit me so hard was because the music I was listening to at the time synched up perfectly to your ending. Its mostly because you and Mike were kinda neck and neck for me that I want to talk about the big difference that put you above him, and that was the friendship. The friendship in your story felt a lot more realized and it's simply because of that scene you have in the beginning where they just talk about their days. Really strong beginning and really strong ending. Well done Tangent, you deserve this win.
Wow, this is incredible. I can't tell how you amazing this feels. To be honest, I thought my story was mediocre. It's funny because sometimes I write something I really like but readers are less interested. And then I write something that I don't like, but readers like it. I actually thought the dialog in the beginning was sort of flat. I'm so glad to hear that you were able to glean that they Chlorella and Stella were solid friends, and perhaps in a friendship that was difficult.