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Messages - Baron

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1
....but with just two (real...fake) entries...

I'm pretty sure if you added up all the real and fake entries the total would be three...  ;)

I think it's time to close this round, don't you agree, Baron?

Oh, very well.  Announcing the results of the fake writing competition!  Can we have a synthetic drum roll, please?

Sinitrena with 3 well-earned votes.

jahnocli with 6 well-deserved votes.

Mandle with a record 137 somewhat suspect votes.

So the fake winner is Mandle!!!1!!!  He was a dark horse, yes, but sometimes even in democracies you get some serious flukes.  Some people speak of the wisdom of crowds, but some other people look askance at those first people because, seriously, sometimes you just gotta look at the crowd and wonder wtf??

I made some fake trophies for everyone.  Mandle gets the golden sloar of Uruk.  Jahnocli receives the silver jabberwocky which is quite brillig and slithy in the wabe.  Sinitrena gets this imitation knock-off Lough Ness platypus.  I'm not sure what to tell you about that one.  Congratulations?   (roll)

If I may be permitted to give some feedback?  I thought Sinitrena's entry had a great set-up.  I love how the faker's downfall was the product of her own hubris AND design at the same time.  I hated that Gracie was such a shallow narcissist, but I guess that made her a great character for the purpose of the story.  Jahnocli's story reminded me more of an Ocean's 11 style caper, with everyone doing their small part.  I'd heard of this deception before, but not the details, so top marks for combining a well-researched historical event with the mandatory ruse of the theme.  I'm not sure you achieved the suspense or comeuppance that was recommended, unless you fast-forward 75 years to Britain's xenophobic rejection of the benefits of cooperating with the continent.  :P  Mandle.... well, what can I say?  In terms of the fakiest fakeness, you are the black-belted doctorate-bearing chess-master guru! 

 ;-D

2
Well, some input is better than none.  :P

3
Gah, I goofed by not changing the OP title to advertise the voting. :P   I'll extend the voting to Saturday in hopes of garnering more input from the reading community.

4
And that's a wrap, folks.  We've got three incredible entries to choose from:

jahnocli with Who Ya Gonna Fake?
Sinitrena with The Music of Grace
Mandle with Fake Invisible Entry

The voting categories are, as promised:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  You be the judge!

Voting closes Tuesday December 11, but I won't get to wrapping everything up until the 12th in case you're planning on cutting it close.  Good luck to all participants and may the best writer win. :)


5
Two entries doth a competition make, but it would be nice to have a few more.  One more day!!!

6
I'd like to thank you all for feigning faking interest in this topic. ;)

Just a reminder: you've got about 4 days left to fake up an entry!

7
What do Bridget Jones, Krusty the Clown, and Neville Chamberlain all have in common?  A façade of competence and the sword of Damocles dangling just above their heads.  A player's gonna play, and a hater's gonna hate.  So what's a poor faker to do?
 
Faker's Gonna Fake


Nobody likes a phoney in real life, but god they get into such great predicaments for story telling!  Teenagers trying on new personas like they're clothes-shopping at the mall, corporate yuckity-yucks throwing around buzzwords like they somehow make sense, politicians lying through their teeth just to disprove the rumours that someone just shaved a monkey and put a tie on him: it's a faker's paradise out there!  Your mission in this competition is to create a character self-delusional enough to believe that, despite a lack of genuine skill and experience, they can do it just like the pros!  It'd be great if there was some sort of reckoning at the end, actual or implied, but that's just for bonus points.

Deadline: All entries are to be submitted by Friday December 7.

Word Limit:  It's gotta fit all in one post.  Faker's not gonna put in extra work, why should you? ;)

Possible Voting Categories: I might change my mind over the next two weeks, but right now I'm thinking:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  Hmmmmm....  A wild card indeed! :=

Good luck to all entrants!

8
Thanks guys. ;-D  It's not a universal brand of humour, but I'm glad there's still a market segment for absurdist fiction. ;)

I'll try to get the next competition up and running soon.

9
Who's making excuses? ;)  I assumed I had until the end of the 18th....

An Alliance by WHAM

I thought this was an awesome story.  The atmosphere was moody, the characters strong, and the background world pregnant with possibility.  I agree with some of the comments already posted that it might not necessarily make for the best short story, but I think the world, characters, and plot problems all have terrific potential.  I especially liked the clanish-ness of the rodent tribes and their distinct characters.  My favourite character was the one-eyed mouse of the woods, just because his body tells quite the backstory and he's obviously got quite a complex set of motivations.  Obviously this wasn't something explored in depth in the story, but I want to find out more about him, whereas other characters were more easy to figure out off the bat (e.g. the quick-tempered Red Tooth, the cerebral Old White...).  I also liked your use of language in describing the setting as "wreathed" in fog as moonlight "crept" down the stairs.  Nice strong verbs there.

A fox knows many things... by jahnocli

I very much liked the atmosphere at the beginning of the story.  It had this grim foreboding feeling, which unfortunately didn't quite pan out in the end.  My favourite character was Prickly, mostly for his "Dickensian" manner of speaking (who uses the term "mutual advantage" anymore?).  I thought their plan was sound and the story-world plausible, except for the incongruous internet gambling bit.  While painting a vivid picture in my mind, some of your descriptions also jarred a bit with the rural setting: "the fog teased like dry ice" speaks of a degree of scientific familiarity that doesn't quite seem to fit in with animals living in a forest.

Ice-cream by Sinitrena

While you've adhered to the rules, I think your entry  bends the spirit of them a bit too far.  Yes, we know there's something different about Kessy even before she goes all Elsa-ice-queen on the creepy fae guy.  But outside of her weird look and powers, there's nothing really inhuman about her.  In fact, she seems to relate more to being human than to her "real" people, right down to the shallow teenage sassy-ness of her attitude.  I was intrigued by the ending about the longer backstory of her adopted family and the fairies, but shocked at her cavalier attitude in not even enquiring after her lost sister, so self-assured she was that the fairies would try to make contact again shortly (after 15 years of nothing....).  Kessy is for sure the best character in your piece, because you've definitely nailed down the frustratingly impulsive attitude of the human teenage girl, but I'm sorry to say that I can't actually like her.

Votes:

Most Convincing Protagonist: Prickly, by jahnocli
Best Story: WHAM
Best Writing: WHAM



10
You have until November 14 to get those votes in!

Gah!  I'll never make it in time! :shocked:

11
Leave No Stoner Unturned

   “Aw, c'mon Toad.  Don't be such a stick in the mud.”

   “That's how I hibernate....” Toad grumbled, squelching himself deeper into the chilly muck.  A brisk north wind foretold the coming of the snows.  Like it, lump it, or stick it, now was the time to hole up for the winter.

   But Mouse would give his friend Toad no peace.  Mouse was a mangy looking creature with a crazed glint to his eyes, the product of too many long seasons sleeping rough and living hard.  His claws were cracked and caked with dirt, and his teeth were stained an unhealthy orange.  Yet although his scars and creases belied his years of hardships, his voice as always conveyed a sense of lazy mischief.

   “I mean....” Mouse drawled on casually, “That mud looks awfully wet and cold.”

   Toad grimaced unhappily and sniffled despite himself.  He was, in many ways, an unlikely friend for Mouse.  Toad was fat while Mouse was thin.  Toad was vain while Mouse was unkempt.  But the biggest difference was in terms of their personalities.  Whereas Mouse was perfectly content to ride out life's hardships with a joke and a smile, Toad was perhaps the world's most miserable whiner.  He made such wretched company, in fact, that none but the most desperate extrovert would ever seek him out intentionally. 

   Mouse was, of course, that desperate extrovert.  Sociable to a fault, he was also careless in his reckless hedonism and had long since burned through the goodwill of all his real friends.  But still he needed someone to share life with.  Toad, for his part, just needed someone to complain to.  And so each got something of value from what seemed on the outside to be a pitiable arrangement.

   Toad licked his eyeball and frowned sullenly.  “Well?” he asked at length.

   Mouse drew his lips up into a crooked smile.  “It's over the hillock and across the field.  Nice place.  Warm.  Good food.  You could nap in style in a warm bed and on a full stomach.  And when you're feeling up to it, we could play bones and smoke mushrooms!”

   Toad licked his other eyeball.  He was rather fond of smoking mushrooms, if only because it distracted him from the misery of his existence.  “Sounds too good to be true,” he moaned.  “You're not squatting again, are you?  I remember what happened last time....”

   “No, no, no.  It ain't like that, buddy.  This is more of a.... co-habitation arrangement.  It's all above board.”  Mouse gave Toad a double wink.

   Toad farted in the mud.  He didn't much like the sound of it, but anything was better then another half-frozen winter hibernating in the bog.  Last year he developed an ice-lens in his sinus that gave him a splitting headache until it finally thawed out in May.  Reluctantly he hauled his corpulent body up and out of the muck.

   “Gaaaaah!  How can the air be colder than the frigid muck!” he complained, stepping gingerly onto a rock. 

   “Hey, hey!  The faster you hop, the faster we get in out of the cold,” Mouse coaxed.

   “Hrmph,” was Toad's reply.  He'd get there when he bloody well felt like it.

   *   *   *   *   *   

   “You gotta be kidding me,” Toad groaned, staring up at the towering wall of masonry in front of him.

   “No, no no.  This is great,” Mouse said.  “Here me out.  So the people here are 'over-housed'.  You ever heard of that?  They got too much space.  Gotta fill it up, see?  We're gonna help them out.”

   Toad groaned again.  He felt the buyer's remorse, just like after his third sex-change.  “They got any cats or dogs?  What about snakes?”

   “No, no, none of that.  I cased the place, man!  This place is meant for us.”  Mouse flashed an orange smile at his friend.

   Toad groaned for a third time.  “Tell me at least you got the mushrooms,” he grumbled.

   “Hey, yeah, sure thing!  Well, not on me.  They're in there!  I've already moved in.”

   Toad and Mouse hopped under the porch steps and through the accumulated detritus to a small crack in the foundation of the house.

   “You gotta be kidding me,” Toad complained.  “I can't fit through that!”

   “Ah, sure you can, buddy!  I've seen you singing in the springtime.  You're two-thirds air!  You just gotta deflate yourself a bit, and I'll bung you through.”

   Toad half-heartedly tried to squeeze his mass through the crack, but ended up looking more like someone had tried to plaster over the crack with a wad of warty goo.  “This isn't going to work,” he said flatly.

   “Sure it is!  Toads are made of rubber.  You just gotta bend your bones into the gaps.”

   “What.... That doesn't even make sense!”

   “You're breathing too much.  You gotta deflate.  You want me to suck at one end?”  Mouse drew up close to Toad's face with puckered lips.  A waft of foul breath settled around Toad's airspace, and he instinctively recoiled deeper into the fissure.

   “That-a-boy, Toady my man.  Keep going!”

   “Oh god, it hurts!”

   “All the more reason to squeeze through faster!”  Mouse pulled out a miniature toilet plunger from under a pile of rotting leaves.

   “What the-?!?  What is THAT??” Toad asked in a panicked tone, willing himself to recede further into the tiny gap and away from Mouse's new toy.

   “I made it!” Mouse chuckled proudly.  “Out of a broken pencil and a plastic popper toy!  You should see the humans use them when they're playing with their droppings!”  He aped a human dancing around a puddle of scat, jamming the plunger furiously in and out and in and out.

   Toad whimpered in fear.  “Mouse... I don't want you to stick that thing on me.”

   Mouse gave his friend another double wink, then raised the plunger.

   “Mouse...  I thought we were pals?”  Toad squeaked, lamenting inwardly that he did not have the eyebrows required to make his expression more pitiful looking.

   SMLURP!  Mouse jammed his improvised toilet plunger right into toad's face and started to agitate it vigorously.

   “Mrrrrmmfummmuggurrrr!” Toad screamed in a distant, muffled kind of way.  Mouse could not see it, but he would have surely chuckled at the way that the changing air pressure inside the plunger made Toad's eye bulge to twice its normal size on every upstroke.  Slowly but surely the mangy rodent was able to drive Toad deeper and deeper into the crack.  Only when he was dripping with sweat and exhausted from the effort did he relent.

   Toad gasped for breath with two disembodied lips, the rest of his body being now hidden in the twisted depths of the crevice.  “I can't feel my legs!” he whined.  “My arm is bent backwards, and there's something sticking up my ass.  It might be one of my legs!  My head is pinched to half its width and stretched to twice its normal height.  And there's something jagged sticking up my nose!  Oh god, the pain!  Mouse, there's no way this is worth it!”

   “Huh?” Mouse muttered pensively.  “Yeah, maybe you're right.  Maybe I should just go off and smoke this mushroom here.  All by my lonesome.  Thinking on what a bad idea this all was.  Well, see ya buddy.”

   “Mouse!” Toad squeaked desperately.  “Mouse, you bastard!  You can't leave me like this!  You gotta pull me out of here.  But let's have that mushroom first, to help with the pain.”

   Mouse was a generous creature at heart, if rather thoughtless in deed.  Quickly the mushroom was lit and with some considerable dexterity on Mouse's part even Toad was able to partake in the psychedelic pleasures of the purple smoke.  And then, more then just a little addled, the two tried to extricate poor Toad.  They tried pushing and pulling, and lubing him up some jelly Mouse had found in a bedside drawer from the house.  They even tried tying a spider thread around one of Toad's exposed limbs and tying the other end to the people vehicle out in the driveway, but due to some remarkable non-newtonian property of toad-flesh it managed to rip through his body and out the other side without budging him in the least.

   “I'll be stuck here forever!” Toad lamented.

   “Nah!” Mouse countered, ever the optimist.  “You'll slowly starve, thinner and thinner.  And then come springtime you'll slip on out of there.  Like the droppings out of a rabbit butt!”

   “Ooooooh!” Toad groaned.

   Mouse did his half-assed best to jury rig a shelter over the opening of the crack using broken chunks of wood and a few torn bits of plastic bag.  He was then obliged to spend the whole winter heating the tiny space by burning through his considerable stores of mushrooms.  Toad complained frequently, of course, but one might argue somewhat less than usual, and at least now with a great deal more cause.  Five months hot-boxed in a contortionist's nightmare might even have changed his perspective on life for the better were he not mistakenly hoovered up by a rogue anteater the following April, just as he was starting to loosen out of his predicament.

   The anteater, for his part, got a wicked crazy mind-trip out of the experience.

   As for Mouse, he became a boxcar hobo after that, drifting from town to town like a scruffy skeleton-ghost, cackling gleefully sometimes for no apparent reason and always responding to voices that no one else ever heard.  Well, that was until he was converted to an esoteric branch of evangelist Christianity by a hard-speaking street missionary, but that, my friends, is another tale entirely. 

12
I'm also working on something.  About half-finished.  I should easily be able to make a Wednesday deadline.

13
All righty then!  I figured Sinitrena had this one in the bag, so all the trophies are skull-sperms. :=  Sorry!

First place goes to JudasFm for her Blade Runner-esque tale of flawed clones escaping from flawed humans.  I was a little confused by a weak introduction of the fifth member of the party (Astra), but in the end I was able to piece it all together.  Your notes on the broader story make me intrigued to read further as well!  I liked how all of your characters were so distinct from each other physically and personality-wise, although I suppose that's also why their alliance crumbled so easily....  It's like a rogue mutant clone just can't catch any breaks, right?

Second place goes to Sinitrena, which hopefully results in some sort of fraternal twin scenario since otherwise the second place sperm is sadly redundant.  I for one would be interested in at least a synopsis of your lost work....

So I guess that's it for another round.  True to any Dwindling Party horror trope, the real heroes are the supporting cast who crashed out of the competition in order that our two finalists could successfully submit their entries in the end.  Hopefully everyone shows equal dedication next round by sticking to the theme with equal vigour. :P

Take it away, JudasFm!
 

14
Too busy to close this properly at the moment, so I'll leave it open for voting until Friday.  Sorry! :-[

15
Brilliant, we've got a competition! ;-D

Our contestants are, in order of brevity:

Sinitrena: Sperm
JudasFm: Measure of a Man

Entries are to be judged on the following criteria:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Misfortune: best death or misfortune that removes a character from the group
Best Atmosphere: the eerie, suspenseful, or possibly comical sense that anyone could be next!
Best Writing: the technical category for polish, word-choice, conciseness, etc.
Best Unpredictability: could you figure out who would make it from the outset?  If so, don't award this vote!

Voting will remain open until Tuesday October 23, 2018.

16
Very well.  All competitors now have until Thursday Oct 18 to complete their entries.

17
24 hours left to top that! :=

18
CaptainD got his arm stuck up a vending machine, and WHAM fell into a vat of liquid mutagen.  Sinitrena got stuck on a velcro wall, and Stupot fell down a well.  Mandle got kidnapped by a flock of ravens, and Frodo got thrown into prison for tax fraud.  Kyriakos got sucked into another dimension, while Ponch slipped between the cushions of his lazyboy recliner and hasn't been heard from since.  Who is left to see this competition through to the end, I wonder?  This party is dwindling like the booze ran out.... (roll)

Something approximating a week left.  Get on your horse and write!

19
You announce an exciting writing competition theme.  Several friends volunteer to participate.  But then mysteriously they begin to drop out, one by one.  It looks like you have yourself a serious case of...

The Dwindling Party




But that would never happen here. :)

In all seriousness, the Dwindling Party is a long established trope in fiction.  Done properly, it can be full of mystery and suspense.  But beware of the pitfalls!  Don't kill off your poor Red Shirts before the reader has a chance to empathize with them.  The misfortunes themselves need to blend into the plot, and not be glaringly obvious from the offset.  Three misfortunes, that's possible.  Seven misfortunes, there's an outside chance.  But nine misfortunes-- I'd like to see that! :=

Entries will probably be judged on the following criteria:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Misfortune: best death or misfortune that removes a character from the group
Best Atmosphere: the eerie, suspenseful, or possibly comical sense that anyone could be next!
Best Writing: the technical category for polish, word-choice, conciseness, etc.
Best Unpredictability: don't make it obvious who's next, but don't make it so not obvious that it's obvious either. ;)

You have until Monday October 15 to submit a story, poem, or the best dang op-ed piece that anyone will ever read!

Good luck! ;-D

20
Whoa, a come from behind victory!  Thanks for all the votes folks! :)
   
It was really interesting how the three of us entrants took the theme in completely different directions.

I'll try to get the next competition up and running soon.

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