• 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 #23 - "Night"

Status
Not open for further replies.

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Theme - "Night"

Word Limit: 1900

Submission Deadline: Wednesday 3/11 by 11:59 PM Pacific.

Voting begins Thursday, 3/12 (Cyan's birthday!), and goes until Saturday, 3/14 at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Optional Secondary Objective: Frame Story

Wikipedia says, "A frame story is a narrative technique whereby an introductory main story is composed, at least in part, for the purpose of setting the stage for a fictive narrative or organizing a set of shorter stories, each of which is a story within a story. The frame story leads readers from the first story into the smaller one within it." Basically, someone within your story is telling a story, or describing a dream they had, or reading a letter aloud, or relaying something somebody else told them.

What's the point? Well, you can do some fun things with the narrative. You could have an unreliable narrator (he's crazy, or a liar, or biased, or just has third-hand information), you can play around with narrator asides to the reader without breaking the fourth wall, you can break things up and change the pacing of the story, you can anticipate reader reactions and put them into the story (as in The Princess Bride). All sorts of fun stuff. Some famous examples of frame stories: 1001 Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales, Alice in Wonderland. Or to use more recent examples from various media: World War Z, Slumdog Millionaire, Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time.

I've given a higher than usual word count to allow for the additional story space this takes up.

Submission Guidelines:

- One entry per poster.
- All submissions must be written during the time of the challenge.
- Using the topic as the title of your piece is discouraged.
- Keep to the word count!

Voting Guidelines:

- Three votes per voter. Please denote in your voting your 1st (3 pts), 2nd (2 pts), and 3rd (1 pt) place votes.
- Please read all submissions before voting.
- You must vote in order to be eligible to win the challenge.
- When voting ends, the winner gets a collective pat on the back, and starts the new challenge.

NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge FAQ

The Entries:

AlternativeUlster - "they fell in love with a dead boy"
Assemble! - "Night Jogging"
Ward - "Bodie Braun"
ZephyrFate - "A Choice, An Answer"
TimeDog - "Electric Burn Victim"
Great Rumbler - "Ebon Pinion"
RurouniZel - "The path to Knighthood"
BlueMagic - "Death at Night"
2DMention - "The Game Coach"
darkbanjo - "Not a rapist"
Gattsu25 - "Cradle"
Diuretic - "Olber's Story"
MorisUkunRasik - "Midnight Ride"
ronito - "Sleepless Man"
botolf - "Dreams Under The Stars"
crowphoenix - "Where?"
Darkpen - "Waking up to the Melancholy Twilight"
DumbNameD - "Sundays"
Cyan - "Army of the Night"
 

Great Rumbler

Member
Feb 12, 2006
4,640
0
1,305
Oklahoma
Hmm...this one's going to take some thought on my part. I had a certain style in mind that I'd like to try again, but the objectives here don't really seem to be conducive for that.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Great Rumbler said:
Hmm...this one's going to take some thought on my part. I had a certain style in mind that I'd like to try again, but the objectives here don't really seem to be conducive for that.
Well, remember that the secondary objective is optional. If you have something else you want to do, go for it.

crowphoenix said:
Dang. You got this up quick.
Heh. I had a list of possible themes and secondary objectives left over from last time I made the thread.
 

Great Rumbler

Member
Feb 12, 2006
4,640
0
1,305
Oklahoma
Okay, I lied, it really didn't take that much thought at all. I'm already up to 800 words and I've got a good, if utterly bizarre, story going. It's kind of light on the secondary objective so far, but we'll see where things ultimately end up.
 

Scribble

Member
Mar 10, 2007
5,845
0
1,280
32
Great Rumbler said:
Okay, I lied, it really didn't take that much thought at all. I'm already up to 800 words and I've got a good, if utterly bizarre, story going. It's kind of light on the secondary objective so far, but we'll see where things ultimately end up.

You don't waste any time, do you? I should be doing the same.
 

Darkpen

Banned
Mar 14, 2007
11,246
0
0
dark-pen.deviantart.com
man, this secondary objective is gonna be easy D:

am I the only one who immediately thought both Seinfeld and Catcher in the Rye when they read the description for the secondary objective? :lol
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
So, I've been thinking that with the number of challenges we've had, the OP is starting to get a bit unwieldy. It may be a bit hard to swallow for new folks just coming in for the first time.

Sometime later today I'm going to have a go at cutting down the OP and moving some of the extraneous stuff to an FAQ, a la the photo challenge threads. We can see if it works or not, and if not, we can just switch back. But it might be a fruitful experiment.
 

AlternativeUlster

Absolutely pathetic part deux
Dec 10, 2006
10,611
0
0
Austin, Texas
“they fell in love with a dead boy”
a short story by Chris Knudsen

1

I knew Jackie, well, sort of. I didn’t know him that well and most people really didn’t either. He was one of those characters that weren’t really popular nor was he the type that fails his classes and wears oversized black t-shirts with obnoxious dragons on it. Jackie was the type that would not be remembered in high school so much like he didn’t do anything special but he wasn’t creepy by any means. I think, though, Jackie did the best thing he could possibly do and that was to die in a car accident.
When Jackie died, people cried probably not because they had lost a dear friend but because they worried too that they were going to be next. So, the question is whether or not my character is angry that we had lost a student and these peoples’ tears are what is that hip thing to say, fake? I actually don’t care about his death. Jackie was there and now he wasn’t. He got a nice one sheet in the yearbook, his mother brought a nice picture to the staff, it was one of those fancy senior pictures that parents overpay for.
There was a funeral, of course, took place at the church where he was an active participant of our school’s FCA group. There was a wake, the food wasn’t too good, I remember that much. The party, though, was something else. People got rowdy and a little out of hand and then one of Jackie’s good friends Steven got a little too drunk and raped Candice, Jackie’s sister. Before that night, I didn’t even know Jackie had a sister.
Candice was cute and later on, I had a chance to meet Candice in a parking lot for the college we both attended.
She asked me, “Oh hey, you were my brother’s friend, weren’t you?”
I was not.
“Yeah, I am Steven.”
My name is Steven by the way but not the same Steven who raped Candice.
“I haven’t seen you in about two years.”
“I think I might remember your name, it is Candice, right?”
“Yeah, it is.”
We talked for bit to the point where I got her number so we got coffee the next day. We talked about trivial things and decided we should go back out in a couple of days.
We dated for the rest of college. Candice graduated with a Psychology degree and myself in Pre-med. After a very long and deep conversation, Candice decided that it would be best if we would go to grad school together somewhere and I wasn’t too sure, so we broke up.
I decided that was a stupid decision so we got back together a few days later. As some months passed, we married in a court house so that we can save money on taxes. I graduated grad school while Candice dropped out to work at an office. After being a doctor for a couple of years, I noticed Candice’s depression growing. I knew what she wanted.
Candice got pregnant and our baby was born in November. She wanted to name him Jackie after her brother and my “friend.” I allowed it even though this baby was going to live a lie; there was a way around it, though. His middle name got named to be Scott so I just started calling him Scott instead of Jackie but most called him Jackie. Not a kid who did anything really and Jackie didn’t have much friends. He would die in a car accident his senior year just like Jackie. My wife would send in a nice picture to the yearbook. I thought about both of the Jackies, my son and my wife’s brother. Then I realized, what did I do that was so important?
That was it.

2

“Seriously, that fucking blew,” exclaimed one of the students of Professor Greenbaum’s Creative Writing class.
Laughter arose.
“Well, it is still in a draft form, I was thinking of making it a little more dramatic but I was shooting for the simplicity and maybe a boring story,” the writer defended.
“I thought it sucked, too,” said a female member. She was the professor’s favorite.
Professor Greenbaum stood to help the writer, “Now, I like his idea of what he is trying to discover. Now, the ending could be a little more explored and this was still too short for the assignment. Make it longer and we will see what it will look like in a later draft. Reread it next week and explore more depths of your characters and of your world.”
The writer exclaimed, “I will do that and next week, the conclusion will more satisfying.”
And that is it.

3

“OK, you just said what you did last week but this time you thought you would add our comments to make it a little bit longer,” said the same pissed off student that was pissed off last week, “This is just sad.”
“I think he is sort of right, here. When I asked you to explore the characters, you very well didn’t do that. It was another unsatisfying ending but I am not just asking to write a happy ending but maybe at least add some more character development,” said the professor.
“I will do that, for sure,” said the writer.
“I bet some money that all his going to do is write what we just said and tag it to the ending,” said the female student who was the professor’s favorite.
And that is it.

4

“Sorry but I have to flunk you, you didn’t do what I asked you to do and I can’t allow this foolishness of writing pass in my class,” exclaimed Professor Greenbaum.
“I understand,” cried the writer.
The writer stormed out.
The professor left his class room without a worry in his head. He was hungry so went home to eat a turkey sandwich.
There was a knock on the professor’s door. It was a police officer.
“Do you have a minute Professor Greenbaum?” asked the police officer.
“What is this all about?” replied the professor.
“One of your students committed suicide and he left this suicide note that was addressed to you and I thought you would like to read it,” said the police officer.


Dear Professor Greenbaum,

When you read this, I have killed myself by suicide. It is because you don’t appreciate the arts at all and I like to consider myself to be a modernist that is beyond your so called skills. I am a better writer than that girl who is your favorite and I know why you like her so much and it is because she sucks your dick. Don’t act like you are surprised, everyone in the class knows. You think you are so smart and if I was still alive, I would of killed you pervert. You also go to elementary schools and give kids candy….pervert.

Sincerely,
Jackie Williams

P.s. I am not sincere.

P.s.s. And that is it.

5

“OK, this is fucking intolerable, Jackie. First off, no one likes the whole I have been “dead the whole time” shtick. It started and was over in 1999 and it can not be used again. Another thing, everyone knows your name is Jackie Williams and saying your name in your story is not that clever to make a stupid twist. Finally, I don’t like threats so that you can get good grades,” scorned Professor Greenbaum.
“I didn’t really think you were sleeping with Jenny,” said Jackie.
Jenny was the girl who Jackie said was giving Professor Greenbaum oral pleasure in his imaginary suicide note.
“You have to admit, though, that maybe all of this can be a little exhilarating and it is maybe better than you think and maybe over exercising this formula to this excess can be seen as something new,” Jackie laughed off.
“I really think you just wrote something that no one should care about and had no idea of where to take it. Leave my god damn class, Jackie,” complained Professor Greenbaum.
Jackie left the classroom hall. An attractive female student followed him outside.
“I really liked your story Jackie,” said the fairly cute female student.
Jackie asked, “What’s your name?”
“Its Candice actually; it is just like the first act of your story. It still feels like there is something missing.”
“You know, there is and it is you Candice.”
Jackie had a crush on Candice when he first enrolled in the class and he secretly had followed her to her car many times. That “You know, there is and it is you Candice” line sort of slipped out of Jackie’s mouth and Jackie’s reaction was a little shocked that he said such words.
Candice seemed a little puzzled. Candice knew that Jackie was following her for a while and she was going to confront him about it and that was her original intention of following him out. For whatever reason, she decided to use her liking the story as an ice breaker. That probably left the wrong impression to Jackie and Candice now realized that she had made a grave mistake.
“Wait, Jackie, I know that this can’t work out.”
“Why can’t it Candice?”
“It is because you are my brother that died in high school.”
And that is it.

6

“God damn it, why did you come back to my class with this dribble. Don’t remember any of this, don’t use it. I am not going to allow to use any of this, this is just awful, I should kick you out of my class,” said Professor Greenbaum. At this point he really should have. “And everyone knows that Candice is your sister and it feels a little sick taste in my mouth that you following your sister to your car.”
“Oh that stuff isn’t true. I just made that up,” replied Jackie.
“I just really don’t see how anything I could say would be a satisfying conclusion to your mess,” sadly said the professor.
And that is really it.

7

“And those were the final writings of Jackie Williams. A true modern writer that was beyond his time,” said his friend Steven at Jackie’s funereal. The crowd mostly looked confused and baffled. His sister Candice just looked hungry, though.
“I don’t think Jackie was a nobody in whom I think he was implying in this writing but we should listen to some of his words and think, ‘Man I can’t believe an 8 year old was able to write that.’”
The audience looked even more confused. Steven waited for it. Steven waited a little longer. Then someone in the crowd said, “Oh, I get it now.”
That person didn’t really get it.
Jackie wasn’t 8 and was really in college when he died of a purely coincidental car accident. Jackie wasn’t a nobody but most people forgot about him as the months rolled by. The title of this short story is not implied to this.
A week after Jackie’s funeral l; some grave robbers dug up Jackie’s grave during the night and humped his corpse for hours upon hours. The title now is now relevant.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Submissions:

Is it safe to post my story?
If you would like to link your work here on GAF but are worried about publication rights, the consensus is a password-protected pdf on Dropbox or another cloud drive service. This gets around any possible issues with the language in the TOS, lets you remove it later, and allows you to set a password and make it non-public, which means the work will not count as having been published. If you're looking to publish your work later, this is key.

How do I interpret the theme?
Any way you want. Literally, metaphorically, homophonically. Just remember that others will have their own interpretations and may vote or critique accordingly.

Can I change my entry after submitting?
You can submit and then edit if you'd like (all the way up to the deadline), but finalizing before submitting is encouraged. Some people start reading/critiquing before the deadline, so if you submit, you should be ready to have that version judged/critiqued as is.

Can I submit but opt out of critiques?
Yep! Everyone has their own preferences for giving or receiving critique. If you're not comfortable or would otherwise prefer not to get critiques, just note in your submission post that you're opting out. Totally fine.

Is the deadline strict?
The previous challenge winner/thread starter is the final arbiter. Typically there is a six hour grace period, after which entries are cut off.

Is the word count strict?
Yes. Nobody wants to be a word count nazi, but everyone else goes to a lot of effort to fit under the word count, so it wouldn't be fair to let some people ignore it. (Plus, it's good practice in learning to cut unnecessary words!) Please note your word count in your submission, so we know you're paying attention.

Is there a minimum word count?
Nope. We've had some really short entries in the past. But if you want to win, that haiku had better be top-notch.

How do I do a word count?
There is a handy word count checker at www.wordcounter.net, or just use your word processor's count function.

Are there any format or style requirements?
Any writing style is welcome, but remember that most people are probably going to vote for the well written short story over an elementary acrostic poem. Also, know that making a series of apparently serious posts that you later reveal as your entry has been done.

Do you guys care about spelling and grammar?
Spelling and grammatical errors can be used to great effect when the story, characters, and setting demand it. However, proofreading and spell-checking your writing will probably result in a more positive attitude towards it when people are voting.

Why can't I use the topic as my title?
We prefer if people don't do this. These challenges get a large number of submissions and if entries share the same title, it's difficult for the readers to separate them out come voting time.

Voting:

Do I have to critique to vote?
No. Critiques/comments are appreciated but not required.

I didn't write anything. Can I vote?
Anyone can vote, even those that do not submit a piece during the thread.

What happens if there's a tie?
In the event of a tie, the story with the highest number of first place votes will be declared the winner. If they are still tied after this first tiebreaker, the previous challenge winner will decide any further tie-breaking measures (2nd Place votes, longest since winning, etc.)

Do I have to vote?
You must vote in order to be eligible to win.

My story was super awesome. Can I vote for myself?
Nope.

What happens if I win?
You will get a collective pat on the back and will be in charge of posting the new challenge. Thus the cycle continues. Pick a theme, word count, and secondary objective, and copy/paste the following format into a new thread:

Thread Subject: NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge #[##] - "[theme]"

Theme - "[B][theme][/B]"

Word Limit: [B][word limit][/B]

Submission Deadline: [B][day], [date][/B] by 11:59 PM Pacific.

Voting begins [day], [date], and goes until [B][day], [date][/B] at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Optional Secondary Objective: [B][secondary objective][/B]

[B]Submission Guidelines[/B]:

- One entry per poster.
- All submissions must be written during the time of the challenge.
- Using the topic as the title of your piece is discouraged.
- Keep to the word count!

[B]Voting Guidelines[/B]:

- Three votes per voter. Please denote in your voting your 1st (3 pts), 2nd (2 pts), and 3rd (1 pt) place votes.
- Please read all submissions before voting.
- You [B]must[/B] vote in order to be eligible to win the challenge.
- When voting ends, the winner gets a collective pat on the back, and starts the new challenge.

[URL="http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=14966005&postcount=15"]NeoGAF Creative Writing Challenge FAQ[/URL]
[URL="http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=36942622&postcount=14"]Previous Challenge Threads and Themes[/URL]​

Things to keep in mind:
-Word limits of ~2000 are common and have worked pretty well, although you can change it up if you like.
-The writing period usually goes for a week and a half (Tuesday to Friday), then voting goes for three days (Saturday to Monday). You can change it up if you like, but be careful.
-The secondary objective should be something you think is a useful tool, concept, or method, that we can try it out to see if it works for us. This could be a writing technique (e.g. in media res), a format (epistolary), a style (noir), or something basic that we already know but can specifically concentrate on (dialogue). See below for further examples.
-You may need to supply some additional explanation of your secondary objective, so that people understand what you're getting at.
-A list of submitted stories (with links) is extremely useful to people in voting and critiquing. This should also go into the OP once submissions are closed.

What if I win but I am too shy to make the new challenge?
You can pass on the new challenge honors to the second place winner.

Miscellaneous:

I missed this until too late. When's the next challenge?
They generally run every two weeks. The writing period goes for eleven days (Tuesday to Friday), then voting goes for three days (Saturday to Monday). If you've missed one challenge, you only have to wait a few days for the next one.

I want to read this story, but it's asking for a password?
If not otherwise noted on the submission, the password is probably (quote to see) .

I'd like some critique on my novel/screenplay. Can you guys help me out?
Try this thread: Writing-GAF |OT|.

Didn't there used to be a list of old threads and winners here?
Ayup. Now it's here.
 
Cyan I don't think you mentioned in the FAQs that you need to vote to win.
I'd also put something about word limits being strict.
I'd also appreciate if you mentioned that while you can certainly edit the entry after submitting but since some people (like me) start reading/critiquing before the deadline in order to have time to do so if you submit it you should be ready to have that version judged/critiqued as is.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
ronito said:
Cyan I don't think you mentioned in the FAQs that you need to vote to win.
I'd also put something about word limits being strict.
I'd also appreciate if you mentioned that while you can certainly edit the entry after submitting but since some people (like me) start reading/critiquing before the deadline in order to have time to do so if you submit it you should be ready to have that version judged/critiqued as is.
Good points, I've added those in.
 

AlternativeUlster

Absolutely pathetic part deux
Dec 10, 2006
10,611
0
0
Austin, Texas
Cyan said:
Holy crap! :lol That's pretty awesome.

Thanks Bad Religion dude. I just did a reread and discovered I was missing a word in the sucide letter and I think missing words is my biggest typo. I had to edit the suicide letter down a lot to make it fit but it was probably for the best.
 

Ward

Member
Jun 4, 2008
507
0
0
I finally decided on an idea. This was the longest I took to decide yet.
I going to try something a little different this time; and I might meet the secondary objective with it too.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
crowphoenix said:
I keep thinking about the opening from Symphony of the Night. That can't be a good sign as far as prose is concerned.
You steal men's souls. And make them your slaves!

Timeless, man. Timeless.
 

Mato

Member
Sep 23, 2006
3,851
683
1,625
I've never won these competitions and I've mentally taken part in every single one of them I just don't think it's fair to not have my imagination championed and tramping all o ver you littles.
 

crowphoenix

Banned
Aug 5, 2007
11,563
0
0
Auburn, Al
ronito said:
These really are challenges, and not at all about winning. I think of it as writing weight lifting.
I'd still like to place one time. It'd be nice to know that I actually really did a good job on one of my pieces. This is under the assumption that everyone else writes and writes well. I'm not counting a victory earned after the zombie apocalypse.
 

Mato

Member
Sep 23, 2006
3,851
683
1,625
What's really frustrating is not getting any commentary for your story. I see why this happens though. I almost never read other peoples stories.
 

Egg Shen

Member
Apr 17, 2008
419
0
0
Congrats to Cyan and everyone that participated!

I'll try and get one in on this challenge, but this week looks like a rough one. I'll keep up on my reading, though. Good strong start from AlternativeUlster, can't wait to see what everyone else comes in with.

Mato said:
I've never won these competitions and I've mentally taken part in every single one of them I just don't think it's fair to not have my imagination championed and tramping all o ver you littles.

ronito said:
These really are challenges, and not at all about winning. I think of it as writing weight lifting.
That's how I look at my own participation, too. It's a good workout to keep the juices going and challenging yourself. It's all good fun as well as a learning experience.
 

Assemble!

Member
Sep 2, 2006
326
0
0
“They’re back,” said the lieutenant. “Everyone is back.”

“Everyone? Well, we can thank God… or, whoever.” The commanding officer leaned back in his desk chair. “All-accounted-for is a rare things these days. What of the village?”

“No survivors, as we assumed. The village itself was intact… working water supply, lights blazing.”

“The day lights?”

“Yes.”

“How is that possible? How is it they were in danger during the day?”

“I don’t know. The research guys are on it now, but my team was dumbfounded. Even the food was left, but nothing more that a bone or two of the settlers.”

The commander shook his head. “All of them gone… even my son.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” The lieutenant held a folder towards the commander. “We found a journal. It was his.”

The commander paused for a moment. He had known this day would come, even before the distress signal was received. Slowly, he reached out and took the folder. Inside, there was a small leather journal.

“Thank you lieutenant,” said the commander. “Even on a fool’s errand, you are my trustworthy partner to see the job is performed to its end. You are dismissed.”

As the lieutenant made his way out of the office, the commander opened the journal. It’s pages were thick, and filled with drawings, notes, and stories of the experiment. He flipped through the pages, not wanting to stop and read anything, lest his feelings get the best of him. But he could not resist.

He let the journal rest on a page. It was written a year past, in October of ‘22. He breathed heavily, and then read the entry.


The Journal of Samuel Briggam
October 10, 2022

I thought back today.

Back to when we said goodbye to the sun… back to when the creatures came… back to when we spent our first day in artificial light… and back the first time the night fell once again.

I ran into cute, little Jenny Hillard at the common store today. She asked me why I went jogging at night. I told her it’s night all the time, we just pretend it isn’t. What she should have asked me is this: “Why do you go jogging after the lights have gone off… after curfew… when it’s safe for the creatures to come out and do their worst?” To that, I don’t know how I would have answered.

Perhaps I’m a creature of habit. Before my world became such as it is, I would go jogging at night. Then, the streetlights would guide my way, but it isn’t so different now. The main difference is that I am now perceived as one who invites death at every step. But I do not provoke the creatures, or wish to, and thus far, they have left me alone.

My job here is to keep us alive, sort of. The gardens are mine, and they are thriving. I have never seen such conditions as are here to grow greens. If nothing else brings a smile to some of the faces around here, it is the taste of the freshest greens and vegetables one could wish to have. So people count on me to deliver, and I do. But beyond that, I wish to be left alone. And I wish to go jogging at night, or “night,” more appropriately.

Keeping us alive is getting harder and harder.

The plants are as they ever have been. Enough care and attention and light, however synthetic, is enough to keep them happy. But people are not the same way. Maybe that’s another reason I jog at night: to watch over this camp. Not that I have ever saved a villager from the hands of the creatures, nor that I would even know what to do in a situation like that.

I have seen them. The light I wear on my headband is weak and only enough to light my way. They would not think twice about risking whatever danger my head light might bring. It would surely not repel them. I can only see clearly a few feet in front of me, and in the distance, everything turns to shadow.

Only once had a creature been in my direct light on a jog. It was feeding on a cat that belonged to my friend Sully, God rest him. In those days, losing a cat was a big deal. I saw a portion of its side and one leg as it scattered away from the scene. It scared the shit out of me, but I mostly kept my pace.

Now, we would be lucky to lose only a cat in a month’s time, and those who rank in high importance here are protected by armed guards twenty-four hours a day…even when the lights are on… as if we are becoming less convinced the creatures are only safe in the darkness.

The night, or our version of it, is certainly not the only thing to fear. The time I remember clearest being afraid was in the wash of the day lights. I walked off my front porch to find the remains of one of our scientists. The creatures had made a fantastic mess of her. Every bit of meat had been gleaned from her bones, and the snow covered ground was splattered with a pinkish color in a twenty foot radius. It looked as if a set of bones and some shredded clothes had been thrown onto a Pollack painting.

I knew it had happened in the darkness, but it didn’t make venturing out at day any easier. And the bars on our windows and locks on our shelters didn’t make me feel any safer the following night. But I still went for my jog.

It was that night, maybe now six months ago, when the grotesque nature of my own kind, humans, brought me to an even deeper level of fear.

The Donley brothers, Jim and Dan, were out in their rover. Out in the pitch black, they were squealing tires, drunk, and shouting obscenities at the creatures. They hadn’t known the scientist personally, but were making it personal. They shined flood lights off the top of the truck and drove further out than I had known anyone else to go. I jogged at a quicker pace that night and hurried back home to retire to my bed, all the while hearing shrieks and cries and guttural noises in the distance I had never heard before. And in the middle of the night, I woke to the sound of claws scraping the pavement of our roads and the Donley’s rover chasing fast behind. Then gunshots. Many of them.

The next morning, we saw the creatures fully for the first time. Their skin slick and black, their heads long and thin, their limbs long and powerful. And their claws… unreal. They were dead, fifteen or more, strewn about the village, far from their homes. Seeing the way they were drawn out and slaughtered only reminded me we are capable of the same kind of destruction they are capable of.

The next few days were quiet and somber. Probably to the Donley’s surprise, their were no toasts or pats on the back or celebrating what they had done. There was only fear of what might happen next.

And what might that be? I cannot guess, just as I could not have guessed our people would begin to hunt and kill these things.

I’m disappointed. Not only because I may have to one day discontinue my tradition of night jogging. I’m also disappointed because we have opened the door for something of an awesome spectacle. I hesitate to say “war,” but really, what else is there to call it? I’m most disappointed because we have called these creatures certain names for so long, and now some of the names can be applied to us.

Thinking back, trying to put the pieces together - to where we are now, there is one thing that makes me saddest about the fork in the road we now face:

We are on their planet, not ours.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Hey, another good entry already! This is shaping up pretty well so far.

I have no idea what I'm going to write about. :/

Mato said:
I've never won these competitions and I've mentally taken part in every single one of them I just don't think it's fair to not have my imagination championed and tramping all o ver you littles.
I'm not sure what you mean here?

What's really frustrating is not getting any commentary for your story. I see why this happens though. I almost never read other peoples stories.
There are a lot more people giving commentary these days, so you might have better luck now. I remember a few of your stories, and it was really difficult to find something to say, which is probably why you didn't get much commentary back then.

But I have to say, I have a hard time feeling sympathetic if you couldn't be bothered to read anyone else's stories.

crowphoenix said:
I'd still like to place one time. It'd be nice to know that I actually really did a good job on one of my pieces. This is under the assumption that everyone else writes and writes well. I'm not counting a victory earned after the zombie apocalypse.
Well, I was going to suggest you submit your story first, then get the thread locked until voting starts. But does that fall under the zombie apocalypse scenario?

Seriously though, you have to remember that we're a bunch of random people on the internet, voting based on any number of personal and subjective criteria. GAF is not the final arbiter of quality, and indeed, I've sometimes been surprised at the way voting has turned out. In short: winning doesn't imply quality. Nor the inverse.

Edit:
ronito said:
These really are challenges, and not at all about winning. I think of it as writing weight lifting.
Ha, I like that analogy.
 
Mato said:
What's really frustrating is not getting any commentary for your story. I see why this happens though. I almost never read other peoples stories.
No offense, but if this is the case then you're probably not ready for these challenges. You get out of it what you put into it.

edit: I agree with my pal Cyan here. The winner is not always the best entry. I view it as the person elected to start the next challenge instead of a "winner"
 

crowphoenix

Banned
Aug 5, 2007
11,563
0
0
Auburn, Al
Cyan said:
Well, I was going to suggest you submit your story first, then get the thread locked until voting starts. But does that fall under the zombie apocalypse scenario?

Seriously though, you have to remember that we're a bunch of random people on the internet, voting based on any number of personal and subjective criteria. GAF is not the final arbiter of quality, and indeed, I've sometimes been surprised at the way voting has turned out. In short: winning doesn't imply quality. Nor the inverse.
True, but it does mean some of us enjoyed it, which is a good feeling. Besides, it's not like winning is the reason I'm here. I'm here because I want to get better.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Man, with GAF down all morning I was vaguely worried something had crashed and everything would be gone. And all I could think was "Nooooo the writing threads!"
 

crowphoenix

Banned
Aug 5, 2007
11,563
0
0
Auburn, Al
About mid morning, I paused my reading of the Fifth Elephant and went "I can't get into the writing thread!" The day wasn't as good after that.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Anyone here ever join Critters? It's basically an online critique group, where you critique others in exchange for critique credits, and use those to get your stuff critiqued. Something like that.

Anyway, it sounds like a good concept, and I'd definitely like to get more of my stuff critiqued, but I'm somewhat put off by their critiquing guidelines. Seems like they want people to be really careful of hurting others' feelings... which is an ok sentiment, but they take it pretty far. Can't make an egg without breaking a few omelettes, you know.

So, anybody have experience with these guys?
 
Cyan said:
Anyone here ever join Critters? It's basically an online critique group, where you critique others in exchange for critique credits, and use those to get your stuff critiqued. Something like that.

Anyway, it sounds like a good concept, and I'd definitely like to get more of my stuff critiqued, but I'm somewhat put off by their critiquing guidelines. Seems like they want people to be really careful of hurting others' feelings... which is an ok sentiment, but they take it pretty far. Can't make an egg without breaking a few omelettes, you know.

So, anybody have experience with these guys?
I thought about it for a bit. But eventually came up with a few reasons not to.

1. Anyone can critique, but I find unless I know them rather well the critique means a lot less.
2. They're WAY too worried about hurting people's feelings. Even to the point of not allowing "I" or "the reader" there are some seriously silly rules.
3. I grown too set in my ways with this challenge and really don't want to have to set out and find out who's a good critiquer and all that.
 

ZephyrFate

Banned
Jun 24, 2008
14,214
0
0
www.paeantodreams.wordpress.com
Cyan said:
Anyone here ever join Critters? It's basically an online critique group, where you critique others in exchange for critique credits, and use those to get your stuff critiqued. Something like that.

Anyway, it sounds like a good concept, and I'd definitely like to get more of my stuff critiqued, but I'm somewhat put off by their critiquing guidelines. Seems like they want people to be really careful of hurting others' feelings... which is an ok sentiment, but they take it pretty far. Can't make an egg without breaking a few omelettes, you know.

So, anybody have experience with these guys?
This is random, but isn't the expression "Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs"? :p
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
ZephyrFate said:
This is random, but isn't the expression "Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs"? :p
A lot of people make that mistake.

ronito said:
Nah, it's just like kittens out of water.
You can herd a cat to water...


Back on the critters thing, I looked through some of their examples of how not to critique...
>>I liked the humor and the absentminded
>> feel. With a little cleaning up and added depth, you could have a
>> very good fantasy comedy for all ages.

Good on the "I liked..." but one the, "With a little...", that's
your opinion -- but you stated it as fact. That'll get you in trouble
every time.
Jebus.
 

crowphoenix

Banned
Aug 5, 2007
11,563
0
0
Auburn, Al
Cyan said:
A lot of people make that mistake.


You can herd a cat to water...


Back on the critters thing, I looked through some of their examples of how not to critique...

Jebus.
:lol I don't think any of us could make it there. I'm ok with trying to be nice, but that's ridiculous.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
crowphoenix said:
:lol I don't think any of us could make it there. I'm ok with trying to be nice, but that's ridiculous.
Pretty much. Being civil is a good thing, but they've crossed the line into milquetoast.

I'm still considering joining up at some point to see if actually might be useful, but I doubt I'd last long enough to get one of my pieces critiqued. o_O
 

crowphoenix

Banned
Aug 5, 2007
11,563
0
0
Auburn, Al
I've got a bit of an idea for this piece, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull it off well. I'm sure the critiques for this one will be very exasperated.
 

Great Rumbler

Member
Feb 12, 2006
4,640
0
1,305
Oklahoma
Okay, I finally finished up my entry. It makes no sense at all and has no point. But that's what's so great about it! I think. Really, though, I moved away from sticking to a genre and just let the words spew out randomly.
 

ZephyrFate

Banned
Jun 24, 2008
14,214
0
0
www.paeantodreams.wordpress.com
A Choice, An Answer
Word Count: 1899

When the world began to fall apart, back in the days of strife, torment, and death, a man was faced with a choice. I witnessed him make a choice that would either give the world a chance to start over, or forever shield it in darkness and despair. Apocalypse, or rebirth?... I often wish I was the one who could make the decision. This man was a fool, so entirely consumed in his own individualistic ideals that he sickened me. I would enjoy going back to that day just to kill the motherfucker before he could do anything more. But that's another story. The fateful day, the fateful choice... the following story contains both his own writing, scattered across parts of our 'despairscape', and my own account. However, I'm sure you'll find that his view of the world is banal, dull, lifeless. Lost in his own childish imagination.

Splashing around in those cerulean waves. Not a care in the world. Our little cove, cut out by God's swift brushstrokes. A canvas, never blemished by nature. The sun high above, transforming a generic ocean into a glittering vista. Those beaches, oh... those beaches. Dynamic in their existence, like a frustrated child constantly erasing an etch-a-sketch, never quite content with any product he created. And when the day began to wane, when that beautiful sunlight began to fade into the wellspring of darkness, we would retire back in that cove. We would welcome the dark like a newborn to its mother, and cradle its bosom with love and care.

The days when ignorance equivocated bliss and life was nothing more than one euphoric experience repeated ad infinitum. You and I, we loved one another. Passionate romance that could fill a thousand fields with beautiful blossoms. Each flower born into fruition coalescing its scent with every other, forming a symphony of smells, of delights, of beauty. Until you died.

The war came. Those fields became charred, blackened. A discordant, annihilated wasteland where the only symphony that could be heard was formed from a chorus of the dying. People bleeding out. Radioactive poisoning turning their skin different colors, diseases and illnesses rampant. As if all the petals of disease flew through the world, resting on every poor soul, blessing them with death. Funnily enough, those bastards poisoned the undergrowth. They bathed every crop, every field, every single existing piece of earth with flesh-eating antigens.

I lost you, then. I recall your last words...

“I'm with you, always. Whatever decision you make after... this. Remember those beaches. Remember that world we lived in together. I love you, Ramus.”

“I love you too, Ge--”


He has prattled on long enough about the good times. Hopefully you don't mind if I skip ahead to something much more... interesting? At least all of this isn't flowery, melodramatic metaphors, the pretentious piece of shit.

Tagell and I found this device in some rubble one day. We were on a small Polynesian island that day... we figured that retreating to the smallest, most remote place possible would help us escape some of the destruction and chaos. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we found that the people there had also been involved in this grand tragedy. It was a solid column, that could be spun around, and it did not reach much higher than our waists. It had a small crevice in its top, just enough for a thin object to be placed inside. We searched around the room for something that could remotely fit in there, but saw nothing. The room was a bit difficult to navigate, as we only had one lantern left for any real source of light. The war had not only blackened the earth but the skies, too. As if night became perpetual. We longed for the sun to come back, if only because it would mean warmth, safety, light. But that wasn't possible now. So we relied on what little light we had to try to decipher the carvings on the column. The language wasn't easily recognizable or made much sense. I took the lantern and began to shine it up against the walls, noticing that there was imagery all along it, carved into the brown stone. The room itself was a replica of the column, only hollow, so as the words stretched upwards, wrapping around the structure, we began to notice patterns.

Words going vertically, yet slightly diagonal, were likened to the sun, which was represented in this language as a circular snake on fire. We were not sure how the two were connected, but the repetition of that image throughout the text made it fairly apparent. Tagell noticed that the horizontal lettering that wrapped around the column and also tended to bisect the vertical text consistently referenced a large black hole, colored here and there with spots of crimson blood. Corpses could be seen being pulled in, grasping at the sides of the walls as if the material there could save them.

“An abyss.” He said, before looking away from me.

I could tell he didn't like me. We were not really friends. Forced acquaintance, I suppose. Survivors of the only plane leaving a small airport in northern California. It crashed when a missile destroyed the back half, divebombing the plane straight into the ocean. As him and I fled desperately from the flaming wreck, it exploded, incinerating any who may have still been alive. I guess I should have stayed to help. It doesn't matter now. We're all going to die regardless. I guess one works together with a person one does not like given the most extreme circumstances.

“I have a feeling this machine is meant for something. I mean, look. We know that all these inscriptions point to two different outcomes – the sun, light, whatever. Something being born again. The other, a swirling abyss that obviously seems to represent death. Whatever is meant to fit inside that contraption must bring about either. I doubt it, but its something.” I said.

“Well, if it can bring about death then why don't we just have everything end right here? I mean, we've fucked each other over. The war has consumed the world in its majesty. Every country has destroyed each other over nothing. Nuclear disasters, biochemical warfare. We are the harbingers of our own complete annihilation. If this thing can possibly, and this is entirely hypothetical, bring about an end to all of it through complete genocide... then why not? Why not finish the world?” Tagell replied.

Part of me wanted to believe him. Part of me wanted to flip off the world in my anger and my rage and if all it took was one action to end all this misery and all this tragedy then fuck I'll do it. But I remembered those beaches. There were places worth preserving. I remembered their beauty, and I couldn't just let it all die. No, there's a way to save it all and do what she would have wanted.

“There's still something worth saving here. The earth can recover from our destruction. We don't need to have everything pay for the price of our sins. Don't you have any memory of what life was like before this war? I do... I remember when things were better. When the waters weren't stained by the blood of unnecessary conflict. When we could breathe that soft, sweet air and not worry if it was tainted with some chemical that would rot away our insides.”

Tagell was silent for a moment.


He is wrong here. I think he twisted my words some. I never really... well, I didn't try to emphasize that death was the only answer for all of this. I just... figured it would be better for everyone. You know? If this mess could be stopped with just the press of a button, with just one picayune action, then everything would be fine. I mean, yes, there are some things worth keeping. I do enjoy nature to a degree, but that's all gone now. The war destroyed everything. There aren't any beaches anymore, and if there are, they're littered with corpses. The oceans are black. The skies are blacker. Trees have been incinerated. Oxygen has been replaced by biochemicals. We were lucky to even find a safe haven there. If there was a chance to just say, “Fuck it, this world is done.” then I would accept it.

We lay there for several days wondering what the best choice would be. Heated arguments that all too often lead to outright fistfights, our wounds staining the brown room with each other's blood. The lantern began to flicker and wane, as it too began to be eaten by the night. There would not be much time before we were lost to the darkness. So a decision had to be made now. I crawled over to the small construct and spun it a few times. The noise it made was similar to the whirring noise that most machines made when they were starting up. As I moved around to examine more of the inscriptions, I felt something prick the lower part of my leg. Feeling around the area as blood began to seep through the fabric of my jeans like a paper towel absorbing too much water, I found my hunting knife. Only about five inches long, but the blade was incredibly well sharpened. I pulled it out, looking at it in the weak lantern light. Blood fell freely from the blade, pit-pattering on the floor. Tagell sat beside me, slightly puzzled.

“What are you looking at this knife for?” He asked.

“I think it can fit into the hole. I'm tempted to try it. We don't have much time left before we lose the light.”

“Alright, well, try to fit it inside then.”

He watched as I began to slowly lower the knife into the slot. It fit perfectly, but not entirely. Nothing happened, though. I figured maybe that wasn't all there was to it. Spinning the column, the text began to glow and recede, illuminating the room. The outside walls began to react with it, their light ebbing and flowing like a lighthouse. The column began to spin of its own accord, as did the room itself.

“Here's where we make our choice. I think the inscriptions want us to decide which fate is better.” The room spinned faster and faster, the motion making it harder to communicate.

“So what do we want?! Life? Or death?!” I yelled to Tagell.

He gestured for me to make the choice.

“Have your peaceful little world back.” He said.

And as I reached for the knife, a large rock hit me square in the temple, blood spewing from the side of my head as I collapsed.


I noticed the knife was not pushed in all the way, so I shoved it in completely. I smiled as the world began to bleed into utter darkness, as a whirlpool of death began to form from the machine. Colors began to bleed together in the chaos, as if caught in a blender that had no off switch. The night began to eat everything around it, and as Ramus awoke, horror like a lightning strike across his face, I could not help but smile.
 

Timedog

good credit (by proxy)
Oct 15, 2004
29,501
1
0
Portland via Spokane
www.nutella.com
Electric Burn Victim
Word Count: 784



"You a sorry-ass bitch..." Malugo retorted, "you one SORRY-ass bitch."

"I'm am sorry 'Lugo. I'll make sure you get your money on time tomorrow. A john kept me out late, but I made an extra 50 bucks off him."

"You motherfuckin' bitch, two hours and all you got is a god damn 50 bucks. Yo' stupid ass is holding out. There should be another 150 here you fucking cunt." said Malugo in a fury.

On with the beating, she thought. Cici hoped it would be over quick, but it never was. He beat the snot out of her at least once a week. Malugo told her that she should feel lucky, it was a lot less than the beatings some pimps like to give out. Of course, he was right. He was always right. Ol' Lou from uptown would slap his girls around every night. When Malugo was talking business deals with other assorted shady individuals he would tell them that the reason he wasn't beating his girls as often is because he didn't want to scare away johns with girls that looked like damaged goods.

Of course when he and Cici were alone it was because he loved her. And he did, he fucking loved her. When you beat someone its because you love them and don't want them to hurt you. If she were holding out on him it hurt his bottom line. It hurt him deeply. He only beat her because she was holding out on him. He wasn't a mean person. I think she enjoyed getting slapped around, or else why would she continually do things that asked for it. If she lied about the money then she needed to get beat down, it was as simple as that.

She lay on the floor, drugged up and barely hanging onto consciousness. She knew it was going to happen. She took morphine, coke, and lsd just beforehand to try and numb the pain to try and put her somewhere else to try anything. It was so evident the times when Malugo would flip out and attack her. He was always right, and she knew when he would always be right. Which night and which time and which drugs. Her cheeks and eyes looked bad. Her face was puffed out and heavily discolored with blue blood clots sort of oozing out of severeral places. I'm sorry I should have known bgetter. The carpet became saturated with the blood that poured from nose. The bolcolors looked interesting. There was little pain everywhere. Everything is illuminated, like the movie Ejilah wood.

drip drip drip. the blood moved in slow motion. blue and black and dark little nuggets of her body pouring out of her orifice. the feeling, like electric fire. an electronic burn permeated her nose, like bbbeing in a computer. Like being inside of electricity and seeing electricity. This was similar to what people calle being born again. The electricity is similar to christianity. God works inside of machines. in ever blood droplet was a more condensed god. every cell a machine of interminable complexity. The blood was blue because she did not oxygen. She could barely see. Her face felt perfect. Everything was as it should be. He was always right.

An ant crawled across the carpet ploddingly, unaware of beating that were on her face and life.
He came to the pool of blood, looked and went on about the business he was after. What a little fucking bundle of instinct. No feelings. Not like Malugo. Different in complexity. Different in God's patterns. We're no different than an ant, she said as her face felt like ice cream. The differences in complexity between us are arbitrary. Since there's no macro level, the complexity is infinity, meaning the ant and me are infinitely close. We share wavelengths that are infinitely close, meaning that we can should assume that the both of us are equals.

I didn't feel anything. I started pass out. The pool blue blood was big enough to the carpet now that I could see the reflection of my face. my fucking fucked-up face. A something wa s around my neck. Malugo had that rope. He wasn' done with me yet. He was always right. I had learned that much. That much was certainly the true. Malugo was always in right. He was complex like machinery. I knew this as fact as if by instinct. The 200 dollars was 50 to him. His fucking mmoneyy, i stole some. He knew what I was doing. Right again, Malugo. I bought the electric feeling for the 150 of the 200 because I knew he'd beat me tonight. I needed to numb the pain.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.