Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Beautiful Brevity (Results)  (Read 3113 times)

Character - Frodo’s Curse of the Moon (heartbreaking)
Word Choice - Wiggy’s Climate Change (bleak as Hell, I love it)
Overall - Mandle’s The Ball (touching stuff)

Honorable mentions to Captain D and Wham’s stories, either of which came 2nd in each catogory for me.

WHAM

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    • WHAM worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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Char: Frodo - Curse of the Moon
Word: Frodo - Curse of the Moon
Overall: Stupot - Something dark
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Word Choice: Kyriakos - The "Cube" (1997) vibes here, man. Right in the feels.
Best Character: CaptainD - Obviously, always.
Best Overall: Mandle - The best thing I have ever read. This is like the end of Sixth Sense distilled to a potent microfictive tweet-length elixir, except there's no one to sap its dankness! (More Bruce Willis next time tho) :)
« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2018, 22:55 by SilverSpook »

Baron

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Alrighty then.  After careful tabulation of the results I see a two-way tie for first and a three-way tie for second, even with extra votes and points factored in.  I therefore enact my right as contest administrant to bust this tie up, old school style! :=

So the contenders for first place are Mandle and Frodo with six votes each, including their bonus point for voting.  Mandle's work got five separate votes for best overall, but I refuse to allow myself to be swayed by popular opinion. :P  Frodo's piece had a much stronger character element, and several mentions for great word choice.  I thought Mandle's was the cleverer story, but for me it loses the lustre of perfection due to the awkward sentence that starts it.

...I was chasing bounces on down the sloping road past the point I am able to follow it beyond, and yet, somehow, I do follow it.

To be honest, it was because of this sentence that I had to read the work twice to really feel that I understood it.  I know as a writer you are really painted into a corner here with few words to set up a whole scenario, but I feel that Mandle tried to economise a bit too much here and lost some of us readers.  On the flip side, the concept was brilliant and the execution, besides the first sentence, was inspired.  The last sentence was simply haunting!

Frodo's story had great emotional intensity, and I liked how she dripped out the character development so that you only really understood the depth of the love felt by "him" for "it" by the end.  The one draw back for me, however, was the last sentence.

Now his death is on my hands! 

It just kills the pathos I was feeling for this clearly grief-struck character.  She's already recognized that his death is because of her.  Repeating this detail in the most important slot of a very short story seems to imply an egocentricism that I didn't detect through the rest of the piece.  It seems to cheapen her feelings of guilt.  But otherwise fantastic story!

So...  Eeny meeny miny oh heck let's just say Frodo wins!  For your trouble you receive the golden "to the point" trophy of succinct awesomeness!     

So let's sort out this mess at second.  Mandle's in for sure at 6 votes, but KyriakosCH, Stupot, and CaptainD all had 5 votes and I feel obliged to vote for one of them to break the tie (I'm counting Stupot's runner up vote for CaptainD if anyone's having a hard time following my math). 

I liked the puzzle concept of KyriakosCH's work, but I had a hard time following the logic.  Sure, it's possible that an unhindered rook could move 7 spaces sideways, or seven spaces front or back.  But it can't move to 14 unique places from each of those spaces as a second move, due to the fact that other pieces must mathematically block its progress (certainly your own king and the second rook, but also the implied bishops and perhaps other pieces).  This for me makes the connection between the clue and the rook less certain, somewhat spoiling the puzzle for me.  The sense of indecision and hopelessness at the end also detract from the story's potential power as a clever riddle to be solved.

Stupot's creepy horror story worked for me as either a time-warp-inevitability or a cyclical-serial-murder-place.  Bringing the camera as almost an afterthought really made the rest of the story work.  The real-life plausibility of it adds to the power of the story.

CaptainD's story had a degree of emotional intensity that was lacking in the other second place finalists, but the cliché ending just killed it for me.  C'mon!  We all know it's hard: toss me a bone to chew over as I contemplate their predicament. ;)

So I guess I'm voting for Stupot, bringing him up to tie Mandle with six votes.  So to the two of you I present the coveted silver trophy of brevity.  

Which means KyriakosCH and CaptainD share the bronze trophy of shortness!  

Congratulations to all the winners!

Some quick thoughts on the other entries:

Mandle II: Buzz...  Er, actually I don't actually have any thoughts on this one.  Great gag entry, though! :P

Mandle III: The Other Dolphin...   So I got that he was a serial killer being executed and that he was in his happy place for the final moment.  The ending was powerful, being his final thought in this life.  But... did he think he was a dolphin?? (roll)

SilverSpook: Feetshot Hilarious, despite the lamentable state of online interactions between youth these days that it portrays.  But... it seemed like aLpHaBruh was banned for being outed as a gayish incel hypocrite instead of for his abusive language toward the implausibly tolerant internet female?  I'm not sure if that's social commentary on the hopelessness of achieving civil interactions on a chat stream or if you're challenging the relevance of modding at all.  Anyway, the confused message seems to have cost you votes this time.

Sinitrena: Bear Your own comments show that you own the cliché.  But, what if it was the bear dreaming of being a sweaty human all along...? ;)

WHAM: Brevity  Not enough love for this entry. :undecided:  It was an awesome attempt to portray the confusion of battle in an action-packed 144 words.  If only your contest adminstrant had the foresight to invoke a Most Intense category....  Maybe Stupot's time warp murder SD card could help us out with that.  What could possibly go wrong? ;-D

Wiggy I: Is the Glass Half Full, or Half Empty? I appreciated the philosophical perspectives, but not quite a story.  Was the trailing off into drunken utilitarianism just a comment on the absurdity of over-thinking something?  In the end I think it was a bit too esoteric for garnering votes from the masses.

Wiggy II: Climate Change - The Real Cause This struck a chord with a couple people.  It certainly conveys a powerful message, but I think the reasoning is a bit simplistic (Malthus's followers are still waiting for the "inevitable" population crash 200 years on....).  Consider this: if you are one of the seven billion mouths that need feeding then you're part of the problem.  Given that humanity has yet to "solve" its overpopulation problem, but that solving it is certainly the desired solution (the alternative being the problem solving us), it stands to reason that the best shot humanity has is bringing fresher minds to the problem through a massive all-out around-the-clock propagation effort! :=

So that's it for me as contest administrator.  I've spent all my power at the height of my glory, like some kind of salmon way up the creek.(roll)  We turn now to Frodo to take us into the next round.  I look forward to seeing you all back, with friends in tow, for the next exciting instalment of....

The Fortnightly Writing Competition!!!!

Mandle

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I thought Mandle's was the cleverer story, but for me it loses the lustre of perfection due to the awkward sentence that starts it.

...I was chasing bounces on down the sloping road past the point I am able to follow it beyond, and yet, somehow, I do follow it.

The title was a part of the first sentence. So it should read: "The ball I was chasing..." etc. Is that the point that made the sentence weird for you? The bit about being not able, and yet able, to follow the ball is the moment the child's spirit leaves their body, although the child does not understand this.

Mandle II: Buzz...  Er, actually I don't actually have any thoughts on this one.  Great gag entry, though! :P

Mandle III: The Other Dolphin...   So I got that he was a serial killer being executed and that he was in his happy place for the final moment.  The ending was powerful, being his final thought in this life.  But... did he think he was a dolphin?? (roll)

"Buzz" was actually a serious entry but not done very well it seems. I was watching the news about the secret tape Trump's ex-lawyer released concerning paying off the Playboy model to stay quiet and thinking what a tempest-in-a-teacup the whole thing was. I mean, JFK was a huge womanizer yet he seems to be a lot less demonized for it than Trump. Why? Because he was good-looking? I really, really dislike Trump but sometimes certain media really tips its hand when blowing "scandals" way out of proportion. Anyway, the anchorwoman said "I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at that meeting." and I thought "Yeah, it's not like you don't buzz (drone) on enough as it is.". So, yeah, all the buzzing at the end is both the fly buzzing around the room and a representation of the media droning on about pointless stuff. Not very well done though I guess.

"The Other Dolphin": Yes, that's exactly what the story was about. A killer is sitting on the electric chair and his "happy place" he is escaping to is imagining he is a dolphin swimming with his mate. When the metal cap is placed over his head it breaks him out of this illusion for a moment and he tries to escape back into it as the chair is turned on. But no, he doesn't actually think he is a dolphin. (laugh)

Anyway, cheers for the great round, Baron! Really strong entries made for a great contest!

Can't wait to see what Frodo comes up with for the next one!

Frodo

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    • Frodo worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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Yippeee! 

Thanks everyone.  Really excited to have won first place.  :cheesy:
I enjoyed reading everyone's stories.   :grin:


Frodo's story had great emotional intensity, and I liked how she dripped out the character development so that you only really understood the depth of the love felt by "him" for "it" by the end.  The one draw back for me, however, was the last sentence.

Now his death is on my hands! 

It just kills the pathos I was feeling for this clearly grief-struck character.  She's already recognized that his death is because of her.  Repeating this detail in the most important slot of a very short story seems to imply an egocentricism that I didn't detect through the rest of the piece.  It seems to cheapen her feelings of guilt.  But otherwise fantastic story!

Thanks Baron, I'm glad you liked the story.  :smiley:
She loved him just as much as he loved her.  And the guilt and the grief are overwhelming for her. 
I was going to end it with 'How can I go on without him?' , but that took it over the word count, so I had to take that sentence out. 
Damn you and your evil word count, Baron.  Damn you, I say!   :tongue:

The next fortnightly competition will be up soon.  :wink:

KyriakosCH

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It was a nice contest :)
Mandle's story was excellent, really. It could be in a number of flash fiction collections of note, in my view (nod)

Re my own story, it should be noted, of course, that the chessboard moves of the rook are to be counted for when the chessboard is empty other than with the piece moving. Obviously those are 14^2.
If it was a game, one of the variations (not the only one by far) would be the chessboard having just two rooks and two bishops, the bishops being there to confuse you if you didn't solve the clue about them; to be taken out.
Really nice that so many liked my story. I actually do write (I am a published author := ) although English isn't the language I write my original work in (laugh)

Well done, everyone 8-)
« Last Edit: 12 Aug 2018, 11:17 by KyriakosCH »
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Baron

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@ Mandle:  Sorry for not being more clear.  Let's look at this in more detail:

...I was chasing bounces on down the sloping road past the point I am able to follow it beyond, and yet, somehow, I do follow it.

Yeah, so I did understand it, after a second reading.  So it is understandable.  I think it's just needlessly complex, which I found initially confusing.  He's chasing the ball down the sloping road, that much is obvious.  But then past the point I am able to follow it beyond.  Would a kid really think that?  Kids think they can do anything, so it's not a matter of being able.  A kid would probably think in terms of being allowed.  And you've swapped subjects and objects mid-sentence:  The ball I was chasing is the subject, but then I am able to follow it makes the ball the object.  And the beyond bit....  That's just extra complexity and most un-kid-like.  I would just say past the point I am able to follow it.  And then you contradict the complicated fact that he is not able to pass beyond the point by stating that he manages to anyway.  What?!  I think breaking the whole idea into simpler sentences, each with a distinct function and more kid-like vocabulary would have made the scenario set-up cleaner and stronger.  Something like:
 
Quote
The ball I was chasing bounces on down the sloping road.  It passes the point I am not allowed past.  Yet somehow... I do follow it.

Still 26 words. ;-D

Anyway, I guess it's more of a stylistic preference, but that's my two cents.

WHAM

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    • WHAM worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • WHAM worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Congrats to the winners!
My entry was heavily reliant on theme, of portraying a place and situation where brevity, but also clarity, are absolutely vital. In my mind this tale of mine was also connected to my past entry, but that's wholly beside the point. Suffice to say it was a lot more interesting in my head, than what those 144 words could rely in the way I used them.

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.

The jist of the tale was basically one of an overwhelming enemy, and military aircraft struggling to use the precious seconds they have to understand, communicate and confirm the situation, while also receiving conflicting orders and being put in a difficult position. In this case that difficult position was having to fire at positions dangerously close to friendly units, which results in a retaliation similar to those seen regularly in WWII as the allied aircraft had a tendency to strafe friendly positions, with infantry struggling, and often failing, to not return fire on friendly aircraft.

WHAM: Brevity  Not enough love for this entry. :undecided:  It was an awesome attempt to portray the confusion of battle in an action-packed 144 words.  If only your contest adminstrant had the foresight to invoke a Most Intense category....  Maybe Stupot's time warp murder SD card could help us out with that.  What could possibly go wrong? ;-D

You are too kind, as always, Baron!
Alas: no. 'Brevity' was barely a story at all, and thus deserved to fail compared to the more skillfully crafted narratives on offer this fortnight.

I already have an idea for the next competition, though, so I hope to redeem myself with the DRAGONS!
« Last Edit: 17 Aug 2018, 16:59 by WHAM »
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU