Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Beautiful Brevity (Results)  (Read 1581 times)

CaptainD

    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • CaptainD worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      CaptainD worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Okay, it's been forever since I entered one of these so here goes...


At least the darkness kept us from seeing the horrors around us, but it couldn’t shield us from the sounds.

“Ready?” I whispered.  My wife nodded.

We crept towards the perimeter fence and found the section we had painstakingly weakened over the last 4 months.  We waited for the searchlight to pass over us – we now had exactly 125 seconds till it came again. 

Pushing against the weakened area of fencing, we struggled to force it free without making too much noise.  At last we managed; sweating from the effort, we scrambled through and put the section back in place, diving for cover as the search light illuminated the area just behind us.  For an awful moment it seemed to linger in place, or maybe it was our frenzied imaginations.  It moved on.

Okay, we were outside the camp.  Now came the hard part…

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
CURSE OF THE MOON

He’s DEAD?  NO!  He CAN’T be dead!  I love him!  He is my LIFE!  Yet here he lies, in my arms.  His beautiful body, torn to shreds.  Because of ME! 

He only ever tried to help me.  Even after he knew the truth about me, he wasn’t afraid of me.  But he SHOULD have been.  Look what his love has done to him. 

He KNEW the moon was full last night, but still he stayed with me.  I remember his comforting words, as he locked me in the cage.  And how he held my hand through the steel bars.  How could he know that I would break through the cage door? 

His gun was loaded with silver bullets - why didn’t he use it?  Why is it HIM that’s dead, instead of me?  Now his death is on my hands! 

Wiggy

  • From the tropical north Queensland
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Great story Frodo! Seeing as how Mandle has had "two bites of the cherry" as we say here, here's something to think about:

Climate change – the real cause.

In 1930 the population of the Earth reached 1 billion people after 250,000 generations. In 1969 men walked on the moon, and the population was 3 billion, after 39 years which included a war which killed 50 million. Today it is closing on 8 billion. Can any of you see where this is going? Everyone of them wants a western middle-class lifestyle with cars and appliances.

Overstock a paddock, and all feed is depleted; the whole herd dies. Already people are making protein from insects, and harvesting Antarctic krill for human consumption; save the whales?

People with large families are actually proud of their acheivement, and smile like the newly lobotomized. Mathematics says carrying capacity will be reached by 2150, and you cannot run from mathematics.

But we’ll be dead by then, so it’s not our problem, is it?
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2018, 13:33 by Wiggy »

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Where are all the double entries when we set the 3000 word limit, I wonder? ;)

I'm going to allow double and triple entries, but NO QUADRUPLES! I'm not putting up with that bullshit.  >:( ;-D

However, this is slightly going to complicate the voting process.  If voters specify which particular story by that author they are voting for that's fine, but if I get any unspecified votes for an author then that vote will be automatically assigned to that author's less popular story.  Agreed?

Well, it doesn't matter if you agree or not, because this is a dictatorship!   The only way to topple me is to type like you have huntsman spiders grafted on to your wrists instead of hands.  Well, that and not vote splitting. :)

Four more days!
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2018, 15:31 by Baron »

CaptainD

    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • CaptainD worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      CaptainD worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
I vote for a change of dictator! :grin:

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
The Other Dolphin...

...breaks the sweet point of the cresting wave, has a moment in the air where she is a bird, and then spashes back into the surf.

I'm still powering through the following wave, trying to copy her feat, when she darts in and rubs up beside me in that way that only means something to me and her.

My dolphin cackle makes her cackle back as she surges ahead. I've forgotten all about the next wave and I chase her, hoping to... hoping to...

Something cold comes down over my head.

NO!

No. Everything is fine.

I'm in the place where nothing can hurt me. I've caught up to her and I nuzzle her tail to let her know.

I deserve this.

I...

...deserve the forgiveness of my victims!

Don't I?!

Electricity surges through my body.

The prison lights flicker.

Her...


KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Ok, here my is own story...: (tried to make it adventury := )
(note: edited the story a few times, but I am now finished editing; also now the story has 144 WITH the title itself!)

196

The clue said “196”, and that “This is a heathen place”. Which I take to mean that the correct chess piece to move can only be the rook (14^2 distinct possibilities for two consecutive moves, for a total of 196; no bishops allowed). Fine, but which of the two rooks?
Does it matter? Can I pick either of them, without running the risk of activating whatever deadly trap has been installed in this room?
But I don’t feel like ignoring the possibility that just one of the pieces will lead me to safety.
So I examine both of them, for any minute difference in their form or texture; which might render one as false in some way. And I find none.
I am sure that something will happen at the moment I pick up the rook. I observe the chessboard, powerless to decide.
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2018, 19:02 by KyriakosCH »
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
Can I suggest that voters are only allowed to vote on one story per author?  :cool:

Otherwise, it's just a case of, the more times you enter, the more advantage you have over single entrants.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I'm not so sure.  Consider this (possibly) ficticious voting card:

Best Whatsamajigger: I vote for Mandle II
Best Voice Modulation Through the Use of Fonts: Gotta be Frodo
Best Serifs: A tough one, but I'm going with Mandle's first
Best Contrary Opinion: Easily Frodo by a mile.
Best Use of Dim Sum in a Diversion Very close, but I have to give it to Mandle by a nose hair.

Mandle gets three votes, and Frodo gets only two.  Is it unfair because Mandle had more chances?  Not with the new Baronic Uber GeVoteschaft Mechanism! ;-D  In this scenario Mandle's votes are split three ways between his first, second, and third entry (because the last vote was unspecified, it goes towards his least popular story).  Frodo wins!  The crowd goes wild!  Rhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! :-D :grin: ;-D :cheesy: 8-) := (roll)

But wait, there's more!  The new Baronic Uber GeVoteschaft Mechanism also slices and dices!  It saves hours of food prep time.  And look, no more pesky rinds and leftovers: the Baronic Uber GeVoteschaft Mechanism digests them into a futuristic bio-fuel cum soylent green product!  It simultaneously feeds the starving and prevents overpopulation!  Teapot dictatorships the world over are ordering them by the thousands, so don't delay.  Buy now! :=

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
Quote
The new Baronic Uber GeVoteschaft Mechanism

Gotta love that terminology.   :cheesy:

WHAM

  • WHAMGAMES
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • WHAM worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Brevity

Papa-Six, this is Zulu-One!
The barrier is breached! I say again, barrier is breached!
I'm seeing lots of movement across sectors two through six, additionals around eight and niner. Seven looks clear for now, recommend using that for immediate evac. Over.

Negative, I have no clear line of fire. Too many civvies and... Sir, that would... No Sir. Negative. Yes, sir, danger close, understood. Over.

All allied forces across sector six, fall back, I say again, fall back! CAS coming in hot. You with me Zulu-two? Aim for the bigger clusters, disregard the civvies, we need to put them back down! Confirmed! I'm rolling in now... GUNS, GUNS, GUNS!

RADAR SPIKE! I'M LIT UP! Who the fuck is... Negative, I know it's close, but we're friendly! FRIENDLY, DAMMIT! DO NOT FIRE! DO NOT- INCOMING A-A! Zulu-Two, take that A-A out, now! NOW DAMMIT!
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Bear

You run on the ice and breathe in the cold air. You expect your paws to slip but your steps are sure. With every one you become more aware of the power in your muscles, of the force you are.

Ice-cold wind rushes through your fur, ruffles you, cools you.

You hunt. You stop in your tracks, you sneak up to a seal not too far from you. It doesn’t notice you.

Then a church bell rings. You don’t remember a church being here, but the bell echoes loud and clear through the ice beneath your feet and your very muscles. The seal slithers away on melting ice. The bell brings heat with it, invading, hurting.

You close your eyes and roar, a primal scream from the depth of your very being. When you turn off the alarm, the summer’s heat is back.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
About thirty-six hours to go!  We've got an astonishing 12 entries so far, and something resembling 8 entrants. ;-D  But I think we can beat that with a surge of last minute entries.  Get typing, folks!

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
So that's a wrap folks.  Get your scorecards out 'cause voting might get a bit complicated this time! :P ;-D :undecided: :~( :=

Let's start off with our entrants, in alphabetical order:

CaptainD: Okay, it's been forever since I entered one of these so here goes...
Frodo: Curse of the Moon
KyriakosCH: 196
Mandle I: The Ball
Mandle II: Buzz...
Mandle III: The Other Dolphin...
SilverSpook: Feetshot
Sinitrena: Bear
Stupot: Something Dark
WHAM: Brevity
Wiggy I: Is the Glass Half Full, or Half Empty?
Wiggy II: Climate Change - The Real Cause

That's twelve entries.  That's almost exactly 123 words, depending on how you count.  Whoa..... (roll)

So voting.  Read this carefully so there won't be any confusion later on.  Votes are to be cast for entries, not for authors.  As this runs somewhat against our usual conventions in this competition I will accept votes for authors as implying that you are voting for their least popular work, unless you specifically specify which work of the author's you are voting for (e.g. Mandle III).

Also, by convention when we have five or more entries we allow multiple votes per category for those of us who see merit in multiple entries and just can't make up our minds.  You are under no obligation to cast multiple votes per category, but be aware that each vote carries the same weight regardless of how many votes a given voter casts so, heck, you might as well spread the love around.  Usually we just have two votes per category, but if you write your reasons out I will accept three due to the large number of entries.

Finally, as an experiment to incentivize voting this round you will receive one bonus vote for each of your entries if you bother to show up to vote.  Theoretically this will completely balance out.  Theoretically.... ;)

The categories for voting this round are:

Best Character: the character that most seized your imagination, for good reasons or bad.
Best Word Choice: which story got the most mileage out of each individual word?
Best Overall: which story combined the above categories but also had great atmosphere, entertainment value, heart-string tuggery, etc?

Finally, voting will extend to Friday August 10, 2018, partly because we have a lot of stories to read through, but mostly because I'm off camping and won't be around to close the competition until then.  Good luck to all entrants, and happy reading everyone! ;-D

Frodo

  • Welcome down... to my Planet Hell!
My votes  :smiley:

BEST CHARACTER:  Something Dark

BEST WORD CHOICE:  Is The Glass Half Full Or Half Empty?

BEST OVERALL:  Okay It's Been Forever Since I Entered One Of These

CaptainD

    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • CaptainD worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      CaptainD worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Best Character: Bear
Best Word Choice: Climate change – the real cause.
Best Overall: 196

Wow... tough choices!

Wiggy

  • From the tropical north Queensland
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Thanks to Baron for a great comp, and wonderful to see the engagement of the community!

The competion has been tough, and I have read and re-read all posts - but my voting goes as follows:

Best character : Captain D - I look forward to the sequel:-)

Best overall: MandleI -the ball; I love that story as I have said before.

Best word choice: KyriakosCH - it really made me think. Well done all, and hoping for similar or greater participation in the next one!

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I think people might have either missed the rule that two or three votes per category are allowed or didn't like that rule and are ignoring it.

I might also ignore that rule as (sorry) I didn't really like it:

Best Character: 196 (I love the theme of feeling powerless over a vital but random choice. Feels like real life.)

Best Word Choice: Brevity (I had to re-read this a few times to understand the story which I think is about soldiers rebelling against an insane order by a superior and making a moral choice to kill the superior instead of the innocents. I'll just think I'm right and award this category to this story for telling that story so well and so briefly.)

Best Overall: Something Dark (The classic O.Henry ending of this brief story reminded me a lot of the writings of...erm...O.Henry who was famous for writing stories with twist endings in the briefest form possible. He wrote stories like they were 4-panel comic strips before that structure was even a thing. He never lost the attention of the reader. He provided character sympathy and motivation. Yet his strories were rarely even a page long. And he didn't have the advantage of the 4-panel comic where the reader already knew the characters. Oops, went a bit off point there but didn't want to delete my wise insights...)

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Really high level contest! I loved some of the stories!!!

Not sure if i can choose the same for more than one category? (no one else seems to have, so i won't, to stay on the safe side- but i really loved The Ball!!!)

So:

Best Character: Bear (inspired by the north euro heat-wave? I loved the rest, but imo the ending was a bit of a common twist := )
Best Word Choice: Something Dark (i like this type of story; there are a few very creepy ones using a similar progression)
Best Overall: The Ball (just excellent. Well done, Mandle!!!)

« Last Edit: 07 Aug 2018, 10:32 by KyriakosCH »
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    •  
The following are random thoughts I had to all the stories and might sound harsher than I intend them to be.

CaptainD: Okay, it's been forever since I entered one of these so here goes...
It is incredibly difficult to create a mystery and provide answers in such a short piece. You delivered on the mystery part but not so much on the answers, which leaves the reader unsatidfied at the "end" of your story. This reads like a (very short) scene from a much longer text. That's not a bad thing, but it makes it more difficult to like or not like it because it is not actually finished. You do manage to build a fair amount of suspence for such a short piece, though.

Frodo: Curse of the Moon
Someone has werwolves on their mind. Did you, by any chance, lurk in the werwolf game threads? Kidding asside, this is a strong character piece. The two characters have motivation, tragic circumstances, sorrow. This story also has a fair amount of plot for the allowed length. We learn what happened, why it happened, what could have gone differently... In short, very well done.

KyriakosCH: 196
This is a good clue for an actual adventure game. It's also an interesting (short) look into the emotions an explorer might have in a situation like that. But due to the limit of the word count, it leads to nothing. We never learn if his decision is right or wrong, not even if he decides at all. There is also no sense of urgency or necessity. We don't know if he has to choose a shess piece or if he could just walk away. He lacks motivation, which makes it difficult to put oneself in his shoes and feel for him.

Mandle I: The Ball
Plot, drama, a clear end. This story uses the limited word count to great effect. It manages to catch your attantion and create an appropriately horrified reaction. You mentioned that you are not sure if readers understand what is going on; I can't speak for everyone, of course, but for me it was clear, no problem understanding it at all. Good job.

Mandle II: Buzz...
Well, you cheated. Kidding. It's a good way to use the limitations of the rules. I just wish there was more of a plot here. It's basically just an "illustartion" of the saying "to be a fly on the wall". There's really not much else to it. It made me smile, though.

Mandle III: The Other Dolphin...
I... have no idea what is going on. The beginning seems clear: Two dolphins play in the ocean. Then one gets caught? Possibly, maybe? But what is this about "victims"? Did you change the perspective? Is this suddenly the one who caught the dolphin speaking? But why would he deserve forgivness? No, sorry, I don't get this story.

SilverSpook: Feetshot
It's no secret between us that I don't like your stories. I still try to be neutral in my comments. This is a fairly accurate description of what comments on a stream can be like - which usually means the moderators are not doing their job properly. What this is not is a proper story. It really feels like something just, randomly, copied out of a chat-log. There is no beginning, no plot, maybe a proper ending. The last line works fairly well as a "punch-line" (not exactly the right word, but I think you get my meaning.)

Sinitrena: Bear
(I can critizise my own writing.) The All Just a Dream trope is usually not a good way to end a story. It's a cheap way out. In my defense, it is incredibly hot here right now and I would really love to be a polar bear right about now.

Stupot: Something Dark
For some reason I immedieately though of driving when I read "en route" which gave the story a far more surreal spin than you intended (How the hell do you see an SD card on the ground when driving?) But, yes, I realize I was mistaken. Why do I even mention it? No idea. These comments are all fairly random. I liked your story, even though it feels like a fairly standard set-up for a timetravel/horror story and the situation where the writer would give it an original spin doesn't come up, because the story ends before it could. It still doesn't feel unfinished. The end is a mystery but fits the rest of the story.

WHAM: Brevity
Okay, it is clear that this is some kind of military operation and I think it's one that goes fubar. But other than that, I can't really tell what is going on. I can't even tell how many people are talking, let alone who is talking when. There's also a lot of "useless" information here, or unecessary repitiotions that are words that yould have been used more efectively ("The barrier is breached! I say again, barrier is breached!") It might be that people would repeat certain things in such a situation, but with a word limit of 144 words, you don't have the luxury to go for autenticity over clarity.

Wiggy I: Is the Glass Half Full, or Half Empty?
That's not a story. Admittedly, it is not a requirement of the FWC to write a story, even though Baron actually talked about stories in his introduction. Still, this is a philosophical contemplation, which is, unfortunately, about a topic that's philosophied to death.

Wiggy II: Climate Change - The Real Cause
Again, not a story. It reads a bit like part of or the introduction to an essay. You might state correct facts, but that doesn't make it interesting to read. Basically, it's going nowhere. It might work as the beginning of a story set in a dystopia, but even for this purpose, this text sounds a bit dry, unemotional.


Votes:

Best Character: Curse of the Moon by Frodo
Best Word Choice: Curse of the Moon by Frodo
Best Overall: The Ball by Mandle