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NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #222 - The horror

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
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0
So I completely scrapped my first idea and am now hurrying through a second one that, hopefully, I should be able to finish if I stay up long enough. It's 3:30 here in Britain but I'm actually motivated to pull through and get this done. First story was just getting way too hectic and cliche; where my story was and where I wanted the story to end had veered away from each other way too much.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
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A London Street (1,522 words)

#entry

I feel so great for finishing that in time. I barely did any editing so be prepared for some messed up grammar, but it shouldn't be too bad. I just wanted to get something out there that I could feel OK with and I think (hope) I've done that.
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
Unfinished business

Well here's my #entry.

As you will discover, it is unfinished. I just don't have the energy or the creativity right now to bash out an ending to this. Sorry.

Ignore if you want. I will try to get to everyone's stories and provide some feedback.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Votes

1) mu cephei - The Dead
2) Charade - The Hound of Hanging Hills
3) Dongs Macabre - Snooze

Some really spooky stories all around. Good work, everyone!
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
No Mike again has me sad! I hope everything is going okay in his life. Honestly he was so consistent I thought he would never stop. But i guess life wins out in the end :/
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Super fast feedback and votes.

Flowers - this was entertaining but a bit vague for me in the end. The dialogue was fun, though.

Dongs - You write the weirdest stuff and seem to know a good amount of details about...a bunch of concepts. Felt a bit jumpy to me, but still enjoyed it.

Alucard - This needed a couple more edits. The writing doesn't flow in places, but I liked writing the final interaction.

Plum - I liked the ending, and I liked the slow reveal of the guy actually being a zombie.

moustacheman - Too many characters in the end for me. I know there were only...four? (five with the monster) Also reading this bright and early, so maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type of story.

kingofrod - A world in a duffel bag...sure. That works. Found this one a bit jumpy too, but still a neat enough ride.

mu cephei - Was this inspired by The Road? Nice writing here.

Charade - Loved the writing, only kind-of-liked the story. But your prose are getting strong, so keep that up.

choodi - maaaaaaaaan, you keep pulling this shit. :) I'm still more frustrated by the non-ending to the assassin story, but this was just getting interesting too. Finish it next time!

Votes:

1. mu cephei
2. Charade
3. Plum


Nice work, everyone. Some quality writing in this challenge and a lot of interesting ideas.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
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Plum - I liked the ending, and I liked the slow reveal of the guy actually being a zombie.

Knew I shouldn't have used the literal term because I wasn't meaning for the people to literally be zombies or even just paranormal. My bad! Glad you liked it, though :)
 

kingofrod

Member
Feb 18, 2006
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38
Lexington, KY
kingofrod.googlepages.com
My Votes:

#1 - Charade - The Hound of Hanging Hills
# 2 - Dongs Macabre - Snooze
# 3 - mu cephei - The Dead

I read a lot of horror short stories (not that great at writing 'em though), and all three of these fit right along with published collections I've read. Nice job all - this was fun!
 

Charade

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Nov 23, 2013
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305
Votes! Very hard to narrow down this time.

1. mu cephei - Really felt in the MC's head. Also loved how you did the tertiary objective.
2. kingofrod - My mind is still trying to wrap around the ending, but the build up to that moment was great.
3. Alucard - Nicely written and liked how you tackled the tertiary in a different way (like in a happy ending, there's more struggle to come but we'll find a way kinda thing)
Hm: Dongs - Man, she should've listened to the doctor, hah. I really liked your ending here, and how it bookends the intro.

Flowers - Liked the dialogue, and how it's written slice of life style but has that darker edge underneath it all.

Plum - Interesting cliffhanger. I'm really curious what she saw at the end... unless I totally missed something.

moustacheman - Cool traditional monster story, especially that little twist with the child, and the bit with the amulet at the beginning to gauge the old guy's reaction. Though I would think the monsters would've tried to destroy the amulet instead of leaving it in the living room.

choodi - This does end just as it's getting really interesting. Takes a while for the story to get going but the beginning does set the tone/mood. It reminded me of a modern Call of Cthulhu, with a narrator unraveling a mystery based off the notes/journal of a dead person (or in this case disappeared).
 

choodi

Banned
Aug 23, 2007
2,735
70
955
Yeah, I'm kinda annoyed at myself for not finishing it up, but I have had a very tiring couple of months with my new job and I just didn't have the energy to finish it.

My bad habit of just making stuff up as I go along didn't help here either. I have no idea what the ending would or should have been.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique
May 13, 2014
3,774
1
0
Maine
Yeah, I'm kinda annoyed at myself for not finishing it up, but I have had a very tiring couple of months with my new job and I just didn't have the energy to finish it.

I super feel ya right now. I just kind of pulled together that story out of my own personal fears but it wasn't that good and I really wanted to enter the challenge with some weird and terrifying, but like you said I just didn't have the emotional energy. I'm hoping by the next one I'll have a bit more pep in my step.


Anywho some feedback

Dongs Macabre - Snooze: I want to say, despite having parts that aren’t very original (ai gaining sentience being the big one) this came together in an unexpected way that made it work. I really love the fact the monster is the thing that gives the AI “life” not the scientist. I also like the idea of accidentally discovering a horrifying creature in the earth's crust (or however deep it is). I think the biggest problem with this is hands down the character motivation. Early on, I had no idea why there was such a rush that the MC felt they needed to send out drones instead of waiting for testing, why she would think of waking something she only knows as “big,” and in general her motivations just felt all over the place. I understand that the world is being destroyed via earthquakes, but you don’t make that clear enough early on to make us feel like there is some kind of rush to figure out a solution. Especially a solution that involves waking up something “big.”

Alucard - Eternal Afterlove: I feel like a lot of my thoughts on this could be summed up by the fact you described dark hair as obsidian :p (ie its a bit much). Your descriptions outside of the hair) were fine but they didn’t really work with me this time around. I think it's because we skip from door to love in a heartbeat and don’t really have time to process “where” this hellscape is. I think some of the words you spent on descriptions would have been better spent on strengthening your characters. On a similar note, not too sure who Jason is as a person, other than he’s a little dramatic and has never heard of the term “Monkey’s Paw.”

Plum - A London Street: I don’t like when characters talk to themselves. That’s the kind of thing that works in comics (I guess?) but all it usually serves is distract from what’s happening. Obviously some exceptions, like a character who is having a conversation with themselve that serves to further the story. Though Zombie was a good twist, the creepy homeless angle being weird while you’re working at night creeped me out more.

Moustacheman - The Monster’s Garb: there was some pretty crazy escalation there at the midway point. There feels like some real disparate tones between the first half and last half. The first half reads like the setup to lovecraft style horror, where two old friends talk about some ancient something. The second reads like a survival horror game where the MC has to fight off a monster. Neither parts were bad (I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the last half), but they just didn’t gel together. It felt like I read two different stories.

Kingofrod - Concorde Street: Welcome aboard. Right off the bat, I like your descriptions and you give a very good visual idea of what the man looks like. Maybe too good an idea, some of your descriptions class, mainly the hood covering like a ski mask, but the kid says they’re eyes are cast downward. But isnt his face completely covered by the hood? Again, descriptions are good, just keep an eye for descriptions that might not go with, or contradict each other. Then again, that’s kind of an editing phase thing. I liked this because it started as a good old fashioned ghost story with a creepy old man doing a thing and someone coming back into town to find the creepy old man still doing the thing. Though your ending did feel a bit confusing to me? Are the old who occasionally walked down concorde street men various people possessed?

Mu Cephei - The Dead: Kay, this was really good. Your descriptions were clear and on point, and their short nature(along with short sentences) lended well to the bleak tone thought out. The revelation about the gun was fantastic! And just the general feeling of this from start to end was great! If I had one problem, it’s that I had trouble figuring out who the MC was. I know now that it was Anna, but it starts off with such a heavy focus on Michael that I thought it would be about him at the start and I honestly glossed over the fact Anna was there. She just doesn’t have much of a presence. Also, the sword threw me a bit for a loop. Night vision goggles are kinda of a weird accessory I can kinda buy that he found but a sword and that just feels like too much. Though I do appreciate the silence the sword brings in a survival scenario.

Charade - The Hound of Hanging Hill: I want to give you props for a great opening paragraph, tells us abit about Bruce, our immediate location, and you go one step forward by putting us in a map which is a step extra not a lot of people take, but it always helps add to the story. Overall, the quality of your writing was good, but it was a bit too jumpy with scene transitions and characters that I didn’t have a good grip on what was going on. I think a bit more focus would have gone a long way for me.

Chodi - Unfinished Business: This read as a shotgun shot of ideas and some of them worked for me and some of them did not. The ones that did was the stream of conscious and general idea of addressing me, the reader to try and stir up some paranoia. That worked best with the casual haunted house stuff because my home creaks and has dark spots I don’t like looking at. The part that didn’t was monsters being real and you name dropping things like Slender Man. That just felt a little too silly for me. And the eldritch stuff too, because that was just a little too out of the realm of possibility for something trying to make me paranoid in my home.


Votes
1. Mu Cephei
2. Dong Macabre
3. Kingofrod (it was a tie between this and Charade's for me tbh)
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
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Thanks for the feedback as always, Flowers. I knew that Jason himself was a weak character and needed more characterization. I also wasn't sure how people would take to my deacription in this one. I was shooting for more flowery than usual.

Thanks again.
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I think my main issue right now is that I need to start coming up and, more importantly, sticking with an idea earlier on in the challenge. Gonna see if I can rectify that next time.

By the way, will there be another challenge before NaNoWriMo? Not sure what the policy is there.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
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Good question, Plum. I wasn't around last year, so I don't know. Could probably look back but I'm on my phone and feeling lazy.
 

Charade

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Nov 23, 2013
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Unless I am totally misreading my calendar, I thinkkk there will be one more challenge and then a break for the duration of Nano.
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
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Unless I am totally misreading my calendar, I thinkkk there will be one more challenge and then a break for the duration of Nano.

I think you're probably right.

I started Nano prep yesterday. It'll be my first time ever giving it a go. Gonna try to push through a story idea I had at least two years ago that I just abandoned. Mostly starting fresh, but I have some background details in mind.

Working on character sketches the past two mornings, and then onto outlining before November hits.

If there's one more challenge, I may take part depending on...things. :)
 

mu cephei

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Jan 22, 2010
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

mu cephei - Was this inspired by The Road?

Yes :) There are several scenarios from The Road I'd like to explore, it's set up shop permanently in my imagination. I should probably rub off the serial number though!

Mu Cephei - The Dead: If I had one problem, it’s that I had trouble figuring out who the MC was. I know now that it was Anna, but it starts off with such a heavy focus on Michael that I thought it would be about him at the start and I honestly glossed over the fact Anna was there. She just doesn’t have much of a presence. Also, the sword threw me a bit for a loop. Night vision goggles are kinda of a weird accessory I can kinda buy that he found but a sword and that just feels like too much. Though I do appreciate the silence the sword brings in a survival scenario.

This is really on point. There are two or so instances at the beginning sorta from Michael's point of view, and I just... was too lazy to change it. So thanks for calling me on it. Also the sword. I wondered if I was stretching it a bit but again... left it in anyway >.<
 

Alucard

Banned
Jun 9, 2004
39,737
2
0
Canada
Calling it.

1. Mu cephei (17)
2. Charade (13)
3. Dongs (7)
4. Alucard (5)
5. Kingofrod (4)
7. Plum (2)

Congrats to mu on their post-apocalyptic horror trip! Well done. :) Looking forward to the new challenge.
 

TetraGenesis

Member
Jun 22, 2013
6,971
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Hey guys, I just came upon this thread for the first time and though the contest has wrapped up, I was still hoping to read the stories. Does everybody have separate passwords for their pieces? Do I need to quote a certain post to access them? Or is it customary that they're all locked once the final submission date wraps up?

(If it is relevant, I wasn't logged into Dropbox when I tried to access a couple.)
 

Plum

Member
Aug 26, 2015
8,679
4
0
Hey guys, I just came upon this thread for the first time and though the contest has wrapped up, I was still hoping to read the stories. Does everybody have separate passwords for their pieces? Do I need to quote a certain post to access them? Or is it customary that they're all locked once the final submission date wraps up?

(If it is relevant, I wasn't logged into Dropbox when I tried to access a couple.)

Quote to see the password:

Unless specified otherwise it'll be that one!

Enjoy reading and maybe join in for the next one,
if you dare!
 

TetraGenesis

Member
Jun 22, 2013
6,971
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Quote to see the password:

Unless specified otherwise it'll be that one!

Enjoy reading and maybe join in for the next one,
if you dare!

Gah! Thank you!

I might consider writing for one sometime, for sure. It's been a while since I've written fiction and I'm certainly no author, but it would be a fun exercise!
 

mu cephei

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Jan 22, 2010
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:D Thanks!

I shall come up up with a rather hasty challenge shortish (it's late here). But because half of us are preparing for Nano, it'll be flash fiction (1000 words) if that's ok. If people would rather I left it till after Nano, let me know.
 

Plum

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Aug 26, 2015
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Gah! Thank you!

I might consider writing for one sometime, for sure. It's been a while since I've written fiction and I'm certainly no author, but it would be a fun exercise!

You should :) Last time I wrote something creatively was nearly 2 years before my first entry!
 

kingofrod

Member
Feb 18, 2006
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38
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kingofrod.googlepages.com
Thank you everyone for the feedback and congrats to mu - that story was awesome! Thank you all for letting me be a part of it - I'm looking forward to the next one too. I'm not sure if I'm ready for the November novel attempt just yet - the story I submitted was the first thing I'd written since college (2005... good Lord...)
 

JoJoShabadoo

Member
May 17, 2010
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790
:D Thanks!

I shall come up up with a rather hasty challenge shortish (it's late here). But because half of us are preparing for Nano, it'll be flash fiction (1000 words) if that's ok. If people would rather I left it till after Nano, let me know.

I've yet to participate in a challenge but I'd like to. A 1000 word challenge would be perfect I think.