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Creative Production => Competitions & Activities => Topic started by: Baron on 13 Aug 2019, 03:43

Title: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Results)
Post by: Baron on 13 Aug 2019, 03:43
Years ago ( we had a fun little competition where we only had to write the first chapter or even the first paragraph of a novel.  Oh, how our imaginations titillated at the promise and possibility of those unfinished works!  Now the challenge is to do the same thing, but in reverse.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am interested in reading...
The End

Requirements: Write the last chapter or last paragraph of an epic novel.  You also need to write a back-cover blurb about the story in general. 

From these two fragments the reader should be able to infer to some degree what just happened, but you need not answer every question or explain every detail.  Ambiguity is fine, but readers will likely find nonsense exasperating.  Subtle clues about what has transpired over the course of the story would be apt.  There are no restrictions in terms of genre. 

Submissions are due by the close of business on Tuesday August 27, with voting to commence the following day.

Should you be tempted to write strategically, potential voting categories might include:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Atmosphere: which piece creates an unforgettable mood for THE END?.
Best Writing: the technical category for polish, word-choice, conciseness, etc.
Best Ending: which ending will stick with you forever?

S'all right?  S'all right.  Go, be creative!  ;-D 
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Durinde on 16 Aug 2019, 03:39
The Timbershot Companions

Chapter 37 - Samantha's Story

The Mad Wizard Jal stumbled backwards. He reached up to the cut on his cheek, touching it for a moment before pulling his fingers away, and observing the modicum of blood on his fingertips.

As he gazed at the blade in my hand, I saw realization flash across his face. It was the blade, the very same poisoned dagger, that had killed my mother all those years ago.  "Where... Where did you get that?" 

 "Even under your rule, there were still those that were loyal to my father," I said.

The Wizard's knees buckled as the demonic poison took hold. He started coughing violently. Clutching his chest, he fell to his knees and looked at me with rage-filled eyes. "You, " he wheezed. "You think you have won!" 

I watched dispassionately; I knew he had been beaten. No matter what was said at this point, it didn't matter.

Another coughing fit overtook the wizard. He hunched over and placed his left palm on the marble tile, his right hand clutching his chest, trying to keep himself from collapsing entirely.

The coughing turned into to a horrible wheezing laughter.

The wizard weakly raised his head and stared me once again, a cruel smile flashing across his now blood-stained lips.

 "You thought your father merely a prisoner, but he was more than that to me... much more," he chuckled, spitting blood upon the ground. "In fact, you and he had many an encounter during your travels." 

I felt a jolting coldness rushing from the base of my neck all the way down my spine.

"No.." I whispered.

"It's a shame that in all the years that had passed, you didn't even recognize your own father."

I turned and ran, leaving the wizard to his fate.

My legs burned as I raced through the dark castle that had once been my home. The hallways and corridors that had been an almost impassable maze only a short time ago, were now somehow untangling themselves as the Mad Wizard's power faded. As the surroundings turned to a more familiar configuration, I picked up my pace, angling for the quickest route to the courtyard.

Vendrix later told me that he and the other companions tried to wave me down, but I flew by faster and more on target than one of Eplashe's famed magic arrows. There was no stopping me - not until I reached my destination.

As I arrived in the courtyard, the early morning rays of what would soon turn into a bright summer's day edged over the far snow-covered peaks of the Timbershot mountains.

He was still there, trapped under the statue of The Great First King.

He didn't notice me at first. His claws raked fruitlessly, trying to find some weak purchase against the colourful mosaic of now the bloody emberstone tiles that covered the ground. His damaged and broken leathery wings, which once haunted my nightmares, lay limp on the ground.

I approached cautiously, angling in from left, where the milky white eye that had been damaged in our first encounter stared unblinking into the distance.

It didn't matter, as I drew closer, I saw the great beast pause and sniff the air. He grunted and turned his long neck so he could see me with its remaining good eye.

I stared and him, and him and me. No longer was I staring at the eye of a wild beast, ever bent on a crusade to end my life, but they eye of my father.

He roared, it the same roar that had for years summoned a prickly dread at the pit of my stomach. The same screeching "Sssssaaaaaaaaaammmmmaaaaaa" that had harrowed the souls of my companions and I as we bided our time in the hidden valleys of the Timbershot Mountains, praying for the terror to pass by us unnoticed.

"Ssssssssaaaaaaammmmmaaaaa," he screeched again.... only this time it was filled with an almost air of melancholy.  A tear rolled out of his one good eye.

"All this this time....," I said in wonder reaching out my hand for the snout of the great beast.


I felt a lump forming in my throat as my hand press against the warm dry scales of the twisted form of my father. The corners of my eyes felt wet.

"What, " I choked. "What did he do to you?"

The good eye closed, seemingly taking reverence in my touch.

I pulled my hand away, shocked with the horror that my father was dying... and I had been the one that killed him.

I started rifling through my pouches, throwing aside scrolls and reagents, looking for something, anything that might stop the bleeding. Perhaps there was a drop or two of Vandor's elixir left?

"Saaaammmmmaaaannnnnnnnntttaaaaaaaaa." he screeched again. Shaking his head sadly. He knew what I was trying to do.

"Saaammmmannnthhhhaaaaaa nooooo." Words now. The deep rumbling tenor of my dad's voice came through. Some how, despite his twisted form, it was the voice of the man who, while I sat upon his knee as a small child, had read me stories of The Great King and his many adventures.

I stopped. "I'm sorry," I said, wiping the tears from my eyes. "I didn't know..."

"Saaammaaannthhaaa..... ammmmm....sssssooorrrrrryyyyy.... toooo," my father wheezed, laying his massive horned head down wearily on the emberstone tiles, the warm rays of the sun now glinting in a prismatic rainbow on his scales.

I hugged my father's beastly elongated neck as best I could. He grunted in appreciation. His breathing was becoming increasingly shallow.

I moved to my father's right side where he could easily see and sat upon the single stone bench that remained undamaged in the battle. Shifting through my pouches, I located the one item that remained in my possession ever since that night my father had sent mother and I away for safety those many years ago.

"Stories of The Great King. Volume 1."

I opened the book and located the maple leaf that we used to mark our place. I held it up, and my father smiled sadly.

"You said," I sniffed. "You said that next time we saw each other, it would be my turn to read."

I used the back of my sleeve to clear the tears from my eyes. I swallowed the lump in my throat as best as I could and remembered the words that my father spoke to me during a happier time.

"Remember Samantha, speak loud, speak clear, and say what you mean. Your words can be your most powerful ally."
I mustered all I could and began.

"In the great time before time, when gods and angels still walked the land, and proud giants rules from the mountain, there lived a ordinary mortal man........"

I read, line after line, paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter until the sun hung high in the sky. My father lay there, smiling as he slowly breathed in and out. Just as I reached the part where the devious Zeke would betray the Great King, my father made one last groan.

"Loooooovveeee yoooooouuuuuu."

"I love you too father," I whispered. He gave a slow nod and closed his eyes for one final time.

"Goodbye father."

I closed the book. For this first time in years, no maple leaf was used to mark the page. There was no need.

I stood up and walked over to the still figure of my father, still half-buried in the rubble. I gently pried open one of the massive clawed hands and placed the book in it. I closed the talons around it.
I turned and saw my companions standing sheepishly in an alcove.

"We wanted to give you space..." Vendrix said embarrassed.

"It's alright," I said, packing my gear into my bags. "Thank you."

Beam placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I nodded appreciatively at the gesture.

"We should get moving," I said.

"You're not staying?" Beam asked surprised.

I looked at around the ruined courtyard and the now quiet form of my father laying peacefully. "No," I shook my head. "There's nothing for me here now."
My companions nodded. We turned toward the gates and started the long trek back towards to foothills of Timbershot, back to the place where we all met and where our adventure began those many months ago.

The End


Back of book blurb:

Thirteen years ago, Samantha and her mother were sent away to the foothills of the Timbershot mountains to escape the bloody coup of the Mad Wizard Jal. After waking one morning and finding her mother slain by an assassin, Samantha finds herself being pursued by a murderous cult, and an ungodly flying creature seemingly hellbent on hunting her down. Joined by the gregarious swordsman Vendrix, the crafty archer Eplashe, and the charismatic bard Beam, Samantha sets out on a journey to try and strike back at the Mad Wizard and hopefully free her father who is rumored to be alive after all these years.

Author's Note:

I was trying to recreated the feeling of the fantasy novels I read growing up in the 80s and early 90s. Hopefully I managed to do so.

Edited for some minor corrections.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Mandle on 16 Aug 2019, 17:03
That Fucking House On That Fucking Hill

Now, for a guy like me, this is hard to write down here, right at the end of everything and after I just told you how fucking awesome I had been planting boots against the frothing mass that used to be Reggie with my over-and-under, and the whole deal with the ceiling slugs.

But, if I'm gonna finish this in honest standing with you, then I gotta tell you that I hauled my ass outta that fucking house on that fucking hill like it was on fucking fire and the next water hole was two clicks yonder behind twelve yards of razor-wire.

Mr. Arnold roared to life on the first kick and I rode that hog down the twisting driveway, the back tire fishtailing east of Eden and west of Wednesday the whole way.

Even if Edith might have still been alive and still herself after I seen her embedded halfway through the mantelpiece of that gateway to Hell or worse, I did not give the last two fucks of a sexagenarian on Viagra.

I ripped road and rubber the fuck away from that halfway house to Hades.

Out those vine-twisted iron gates, and onto the foggy road between the Fangorn-fucking-Forest trees that lined it.

Pumped Mr. Arnold up to 120 and blew through like a bottle-rocket.

I started to feel less like my mind was crawling out my ears after the first two clicks and even part-way normal again after five or so.

Yeah, I started to tell myself, yeah I could go on. I could just tell myself all that shit never really happened. I could go back to the dives, back to the Death Riders, back to the tattoo parlors, back to...

I felt two sharp taps on my shoulder.

And there, there on my right, there he was.

Keeping pace along aside me like it was fucking nothing, no effort, no strain, his long, long white face locked in a rictus grin with his huge yellowed fence-post teeth sticking out from gums with no lips to hide them.

Jumping Jack, leering at me all up close and personal, had survived the spell from that fucking book we had tried casting on him after all and fuck me if I no longer cared.

I hooked my thumb back and he took the message and got on the bike behind me.

We rode.


Back of book blurb:

The house had sat alone on the scrub-encrusted hill for decades. It sat squarely, but seemed to lean. Its lintels met its uprights at square angles, but seemed askew. It sat in silence, but seemed to scream.

On Halloween, 1981, five late-teen friends visit the house on a lark to see for themselves if the legend of Jumping Jack is true.

Jumping Jack is a figure of local urban myth who is said to be possibly the Devil himself. According to the legend he frequents the house every Halloween night and brings with him hordes of his hellish buddies for the most terrifying All Hallows parties never seen by mortals.

At least never seen by anyone who has lived to tell of them.

The friends enter the house to find the legend "alive" and well and what they experience there, as the horrors ramp up to indescribable levels of grotesque atrocity, will leave them scarred for the rest of their potentially short lives.

Who will live? Who will die? Who will wish for sweet death?

At that fucking house on that fucking hill.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Baron on 16 Aug 2019, 23:23
But.... what about the back-of-the-book-blurb?  :undecided:
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Mandle on 17 Aug 2019, 01:34
But.... what about the back-of-the-book-blurb?  :undecided:

Yeah it was late and I ran out of time. I'll write one soon.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Baron on 17 Aug 2019, 12:38
Do you mean conventionally soon, or Mandle soon?  ;)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Mandle on 17 Aug 2019, 15:56
Do you mean conventionally soon, or Mandle soon?  ;)

I died!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: JudasFm on 22 Aug 2019, 11:19
I died!

Again!?  (laugh)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Mandle on 22 Aug 2019, 12:38
I died!

Again!?  (laugh)

Meh, it happens. But I came back for long enough to write the back of the book blurb in time. (With the appropriate nod to Shirley Jackson, not plagiarism at all!)

Now, back to the sweet embrace of the tomb.

Where's my blankie?
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Sinitrena on 24 Aug 2019, 02:06
Kimberly's Choice

You do as you‘re told. You do not ask questions. You keep quiet if you think something should be different. Better yet, you don‘t even think it.

And why would you?

For Kim, this life is normal. Perfect even.

And then she meets Wilfred. New at school, he immediately catches the attention of all the students and the teachers, not least because of his wild hairstyle and recalcitrant words. Rebellious to the core and tauntingly sexy, he will change Kim‘s life forever.

From the author of the best-selling novel Kristine‘s Dream and its sequel Kristine‘s Nightmare comes the new fantastic YA book Kimberly‘s Choice. (New York Times)

Romantic and exciting, this new dystopian love story with a twist will keep you enthralled from beginning to end! (Rowena Voth)

Chapter 34

When the door closed behind the guards, Kim sighed with relief. The screams and yells still echoed through the courthouse. At least for a few steps. At least until they had dragged him down the hall.

In her mind, they stayed longer. The accusations and the sheer bitterness, all the venom in his voice made her shudder with the last remnants of suppressed fear and even dry-retch again. Part of her knew that this feeling, this sickness might return again and again to her when she just thought about him.

He is gone. He won't return, she told herself over and over again. The Mantra, she reminded herself, just repeat the Mantra and it will replace the lies. She felt the truth of these words now. No matter how often she had heard them before in school, now they finally started to make sense. ”He is gone. He will not return,” slowly replaced the screams in her mind, the cat-calls and the laughter. She didn't realize it then, but there were other Mantra's in her mind. ”He's going to hurt me,” had been there a long time, but now she would replace it. Consciously. Maybe it would return from time to time, but now the Thought Teacher's words, the words that would be her Mantra from now on, were there to fight them and they were stronger.

They had taken him away. They had not failed her. What they taught her was true. Wilfred would never return. He would never hurt her again.

The other voices in the courtroom had disappeared from her mind: her parents reassuring her, the court-assigned Thought Teacher who had worked for the last couple of weeks with her, the Mind Prober's accusations against Wilfred – thinking of him, of the thoughts he had dragged from Wilfred's mind still made her shudder – the Judge's verdict... They were all gone from most of her thoughts, only occasionally dragging themselves to her when her concentration failed and the Mantra slipped for a split-second.

All in all, she felt alone. And safe in this loneliness among the people, finally able to see herself and what she could become, not the figurehead and lie Wilfred wanted her to become, tried to force her to become, but the person who supported her society, a society that would keep her safe.

That had just proven that it worked.

She took a deep breath and opened her eyes again. All through the final speeches of the court officials, even through her own final statement, she had kept them close, kept herself shielded from the world around. It was a conscious effort to open them again, to return to the world of the living, and in a way to open them up to the future.

It was like waking from a dream, like finally walking out of the suffocating smoke of a forest fire. The air felt clean, the smothering atmosphere, the darkness of the courtroom suddenly felt light and enlightening. Had she seen the wooden panels on the wall as dark and intimidating before, now, free from Wilfred and his words, them finally revealed  to all as the lies they were, the panels now seemed inviting and comforting, like the old libraries she only knew from pictures.

Her hands had played with Wilfred's trinket all through the trial. The little antlers of the stag had pressed dents into her skin and their sharp tips had even cut it. You will always remember me through it, even if something happens to me or you and we get separated, he had said.

“I don't want to remember you,” she now whispered to the little stag, letting it slip through her fingers. The silver made a reassuring little cling when it hit the hard marble floor.

It was louder than expected. In the now nearly empty courtroom, it drew the attention of her mother and father, who had thankfully left her mostly alone up until this point. Now, they sat down next to her again, one on each side and put their arms around her shoulders. But now she was ready.

She still couldn't stop a little sob from escaping her or her eyes from watering.

The Mantra, she reminded herself again and with pure will she pressed the emotions down.

“Are you alright, dear?” Kameron asked.

She looked up, staring at the Judge's table in front of her, studying it. Judge is a good profession, isn't it?, she idly thought, so is Thought Teacher.

“She will be, love. It's over, now.” Miriam answered, stroking the back of her head.

Kimberly gingerly moved her fingers up to the fading bruise over her left eye. “Yes,” she said, “I will be.” The smile was forced, but it was there. “Now, I will be.”

As if to punctuate her thoughts, the first shot of the execution squad rang up from the yard deep below.


Author's Note:

I found this topic rather challenging. For the topic I had set (linked in the first post) the connections between a first chapter and the blurb are usually pretty strong. But for an interesting ending, you want twists and surprises, so the connection gets far more tenuous.

So, I'm not sure how well I conveyed my idea. Read the hidden part if you want to know what I had in mind:
Spoiler: ShowHide
You often get dystopian YA novels where the protagonist, usually a teenager, ends up in the center of the fight against an oppressive regime or fleeing from it, more often than not dragged there to some degree because of a love interest. It's often so formulaic that it hurts. Also, the love interests in YA novels tend to be not really good for the protagonist when you think about it – dominating, aggressive, manipulative... In short, abusive.
Note the word often above. I'm not saying that's all there is.
So, what if a YA protagonist actually likes the system she lives in, because it hasn't failed her, no matter how oppressive it might seem? How about she realizes that her new boyfriend is actually a really big a..hole? And what if she actually trusts in the system and gets rid of the guy?
Well, obviously, you get Kimberly's Choice.
Like the standard YA novels mentioned above, this would send a really bad message, just in a different way. This is intentional.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Baron on 25 Aug 2019, 02:38
Three entries already, and three days left to go.  How will our adventure end?  Only YOU can answer that!  8-)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Deadline August 27)
Post by: Baron on 29 Aug 2019, 03:08
And now it is the end of The End.  Or at least, now it metamorphoses into it's voting phase, where it must fly around for three days of desperate mating before succumbing to the inevitable....  :undecided:

But for now, it's voting time!  ;-D  Here are your entrants, in order of smell:

Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Mandle with That Fucking House on That Fucking Hill
Sinitrena with Kimberly's Choice

Entries are to be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Best Character: the most believable/captivating/magnetic/unique character
Best Atmosphere: which piece creates an unforgettable mood for THE END?.
Best Writing: the technical category for polish, word-choice, conciseness, etc.
Best Blurb: who sold you best on their unwritten work with a clever hook?
Best Ending: which ending will stick with you forever?

As we have fewer than five entries, convention dictates that you only get one vote per category.  Voting will extend through to Monday September 2 on account of potential voters potentially taking advantage of a potential long-weekend to potentially procrastinate.   :-D 

Happy Reading, everyone!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Laura Hunt on 29 Aug 2019, 07:11
I find it hard for some reason to split up my votes this time around, as I've read all three stories without paying attention to specific categories. For this reason, all my votes go to Mandle. His story is funny, white-knuckle paced, and grabbed me by the neck since the first word (ok, actually the second) and didn't let go until the end. Still, I enjoyed all the entries and as always, thanks so much to everybody for taking the time to entertain us with your imagination and your writing skills :)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Mandle on 29 Aug 2019, 07:57
Best Character: Samantha's Father in "The Timbershot Companions" by Durinde (The piece was written in very purple prose which fit well with the melodrama of it. I noticed a possible homage to "Big Fish" and possibly "The Notebook" in there where the child ends up telling the story to the parent.)
Best Atmosphere: "The Timbershot Companions" by Durinde. (The writing really took me back to reading fantasy novels aimed at teenagers in the 80s. A lot was put into words that didn't have to be for a mature reader but for teens it was perfect. Younger readers need thing pointed out for them that older readers don't and would find annoying if the author did so.)
Best Writing: "The Timbershot Companions" by Durinde. (I wish I could have voted for Sinitrena in this category as she is usually a very good writer, but sentences like "The accusations and the sheer bitterness, all the venom in his voice made her shudder with the last remnants of suppressed fear and even dry-retch again." which could have been written like "The accusations and venom in his voice made her shudder. The sheer bitterness that she heard in his voice was unbearable! The fading remnants of the suppressed fear from being with him made her dry-retch again.". Sometimes breaking emotions into shorter sentences has more impact on the reader. Longer sentences when describing emotions don't feel as real to me. They don't feel like how we feel emotions. This is just one example but there are many sentences like this that seemed rushed to describe what was happening but didn't evoke the emotions the writer would want the reader to feel.)
Best Blurb: "The Timbershot Companions" by Durinde. (Again, I would have voted for Sinitrena if her blurb had described a bit more of the dystopian backstory of the novel but it could just as easily have been describing a typical teenager in high-school in modern society. Which would be amazing for the over-reaching theme of the novel but not a great hook for the back-cover blurb. Teens want to hear about why the world is all screwed up and in what specific ways.)
Best Ending: "The Timbershot Companions" by Durinde. (I almost copped out and gave this to Sinitrena just because I feel guilty about giving all votes to Durinde. The final coda in Sinitrena's story with the gunshot providing the full-stop at the end of the tale is awesome and that is why I was tempted. But the companions all forming back around Samantha after her father's death and being that true band of companions that understand her and will follow her into the next adventure. That was just too good to ignore.)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: WHAM on 29 Aug 2019, 08:51
Dammit! I missed the writing deadline again! :C Had to organize a LAN party and moving to a new flat... excuses, excuses! ENDLESS EXCUSES!
Oh well, I shall do what I can and vote.  :-D

Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Nostalgia duly fulfilled. I think we might have been reading the same kinds of fantasy books back in the day, and while the final chapter starts with a bith of a hasty tone with the wizard (in media res -style), what follows later manages to catch the right feel.

Mandle with That Fucking House on That Fucking Hill
Overuse of expletives put me off at first, I'll admit. First person narratives also rub me the wrong way, so I feel I may not have been the right target audience for this one. I got a good chuckle out of the ending, though, so that must count for something. As long as that comedic undertone was the intent, that is.

Sinitrena with Kimberly's Choice
Points for using the back-cover blurb to set the premise, rather than treating us to it after the main story like the other two. Helps give the reader context and eases the mind into the setting better. As for the story, I feel it shows that you picked a challenging topic. To show the aftermath of a court case without knowing the specifics, the aftermath of a love story without knowing more than the blurb provides, it's difficult to read into. At least for me.


Best Character: Mandle with That Fucking House on That Fucking Hill
Best Atmosphere: Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Best Writing:Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Best Blurb: Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Best Ending: Durinde with The Timbershot Companions
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Mandle on 29 Aug 2019, 09:25
I got a good chuckle out of the ending, though, so that must count for something. As long as that comedic undertone was the intent, that is.

The ending of the story or the ending of the back-of-book blurb?
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Mandle on 29 Aug 2019, 09:36
I've started to write the full book as the first entry in a potential YouTube channel I'm considering where I present a weekly audio book reading of one of my original stories that subscribers can look forward to on a set day every week for the next installment.

For this one I could probably read it myself but for future episodes I would need other actors as they won't all be first person stories.

Anyway, just out of interest, after people have voted and it's been decided I will post the first chapter here, or link the YouTube channel if it's already out as audio book.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Durinde on 29 Aug 2019, 13:19
Wow, I had fun with this one. I'm always wary of entering any of my writing because I know I'm not the best technical writer on the planet.

Thank you to the positive feedback so far. I've been reading a lot of classic pulp stories so I used those as the inspiration for the purple prose.

As for the other two stories, I was really split on my votes.

Best Character: Mandel: Even in the briefness of it all, I was able to get what I felt like a complete picture of the main character. I have a nitpick with he sheer amount of profanity though. I think reading a full novel stuffed with a single expletive would be well... exhausting. Hell I was even in the navy and found the amount of profanity a little unsettling. In a theoretical novel, I hope there would be a slow build and the fucks who just be unleased in the final chapter as presented.

Best Atmosphere: Sinitrena: Even before reading your spoiler section I was able to parse what the world you were presenting. The clues were all there.

Best Writing: Sinitrena: Great solid stuff. I was easily able to envision the environment and the people.

Best Blurb:  Mandel: As I mentioned, I've been reading a lot of pulp recently, and I love a classic haunted house story. I felt there was a little disconnect though with the blurb and the main character, I felt that he was older than late teens.

Best Ending: Mandel: I was REALLY split on this one. Sinitrena's story presented a nice finality to the situation, but I'm wondering in the context of a full novel if I would have been surprised by it at all. Mandel's character deciding to straight up team up with the creature felt like something out of Tales from the Crypt or Twilight Zone.

Mandel: Funny you should mention the audiobook thing. I actually recorded a version of my story shortly after writing it. 

Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Mandle on 30 Aug 2019, 00:20
Who is Mandel?  (laugh)

And, yeah, the main character is supposed to be swearing a lot as this is a stressful part of the story for him to talk about, how he just ran away like a scared kid, but it might be just a bit excessive I agree. I'll probably tone it down a bit in the final version.

Cheers for the advice!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Sinitrena on 30 Aug 2019, 17:55
I don't have time for long comments this time, so just the votes and a few words, sorry. I haven't even read what you all commented.

Best Character: Durinde - We find out so much more about Samantha and her companions than about Mandle's group.
Best Atmosphere: Durinde - My love will always rest with fantasy. Samantha's final realization and saying goodbye to her father is also very heartwrenching. And with Mandle's entry, I'm not sure if this was supposed to lean more towards horror or comedy.
Best Writing: Mandle - I really enjoyed Durinde's writing, but there were just too many errors of the missing word kind. You posted very early in the competition. You should have let the story rest on your hard drive for a day or two.
Best Blurb: Mandle - It leaves more mystery to be discovered. I was confused with the apparent age of the friends, though. The text made the main character seem older than late teens.
Best Ending: Durinde - It was very heartwrenching and felt more final, despite the companions being ready to go on new adventures, while Mandle's could be an end, or a sequel hook or even the end of a chapter (if you remove the beginning of the text).
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Durinde on 30 Aug 2019, 18:43

Best Writing: Mandle - I really enjoyed Durinde's writing, but there were just too many errors of the missing word kind. You posted very early in the competition. You should have let the story rest on your hard drive for a day or two.

This is my own personal bugbear. I actually came back several times over the course of the week and made some edits. Even doing so, my brain doesn't seem to pick up on certain things that seem obvious to everyone else. Heck I didn't even get Mandle's name write in the voting. It's part of the reason why I don't post that often.

Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Voting to Sept 2)
Post by: Baron on 04 Sep 2019, 01:25
Even doing so, my brain doesn't seem to pick up on certain things that seem obvious to everyone else.  It's part of the reason why I don't post that often.

That's unfortunate, Durinde, since your writing has won the competition!!!  ;-D

That's right, folks.  All good things must come to an end.  Especially The End, for obvious inherent reasons....  I've gotta say it's been a long time since we've had as many works of such high quality.  EXCELLENT writing everyone.  If I could listen to audio books without falling asleep I'd subscribe to all three of your YouTube channels in a heartbeat.  (nod)

I don't actually have any trophies on me ATM.  :-[  I think I left them in my other pants....  I'll try to get them posted shortly.

As for the breakdown of votes, it came down to just one vote right at the wire.  Durinde is our winner with 12 votes by my counting.  Although you eked out a victory by only the narrowest of margins, I think the voters made the right choice.  I for one liked the abrupt start to your chapter; indeed the first five sentences concisely imply a huge amount of backstory.   I've got a soft spot for flowery language, so the purpleness of your prose was no drawback for me.  The twist of the dragon actually being Samantha's father was inspired.  Congratulations on a well-deserved victory!  ;-D

In second place by a hair we have Mandle with 11 votes.  I thought your narrator, whoever he was, locked down the best character category with his raw honesty.  Yeah he's a chicken who probably left his friends to their doom, but he wears it proudly.  I also liked that in the end his mindset was flexible enough to see a new path forward in joining with the devil rather than being perpetually haunted by him.  He's despicable and opportunistic, but say what you will he's also a realist and a survivor.  If I wanted to read about how to agonize over making the right choices in life I could just read the Bible: your character opens up so much more potential for insane adventure.  You are also to be commended for your clever twists of phrase, although I too would recommend dialling back the swearing enough to enhance its impact.  The twist at the end was also great.

Unfairly placed in distant third place was Sinitrena.  I really liked how you presented the back-of-book blurb first, as realistically that's where a prospective reader would look first.  Knowing the overall direction of the story first made the last chapter more powerful, in my opinion.  I found the harshness of Wilfred's punishment at the end shocking, but I suppose the reader would slowly learn of the strictness of the society throughout the book.  Nevertheless, I thought it made for an intensely abrupt ending, which was perfect for this competition.  I thought your imagery of "walking out of the suffocating smoke of a forest fire" was brilliant for the end of an intensely emotional firestorm.   :)

But, alas, there can be only one winner.  So now it is incumbent upon Durinde to start a new competition with a theme of his choosing.  Thanks for the great stories and for all the thoughtful votes, everyone!  I hope to see you all out for the next exciting instalment of....

...The Fortnightly Writing Competition!!!!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: THE END (Results)
Post by: Durinde on 04 Sep 2019, 12:46
Wow, thank you to everyone who voted for my story!

Congratulations to everyone else as well. I enjoyed the fact that we all took on a different genre.

I have a theme for the next contest, but it might take a day or two to put together the post.