Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Results)  (Read 2441 times)

Ponch

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #20 on: 11 Jan 2019, 23:30 »
Best Character: Baron
Best Plot: Mandle
Best Atmosphere: JudasFM (nice twist at the end)
Best Writing: Mandle
Best Ending: JudasFM
*

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #21 on: 12 Jan 2019, 03:43 »
Best Character: I'm going with JudasFM's Dirnec.  The trophy "merlfriend" was a bit flat, and the princess was pretty one dimensional.  But I liked the patient scheming Dirnec demonstrated and his "they'll never beat me on the inside" attitude.  :)

Best Plot: I'm going with JudasFM here as well.  I was ready for a climactic "third act is the charm" story, but Dirnec in his wisdom decided not to draw the whole process out, which was refreshing.

Best Atmosphere: I'm saying JudasFM again.  The exotic culture of the merfolk was well-balanced with sufficient description to help the reader understand the important things (i.e. how the manacles worked).  There is the little stretch of the woeful princess choosing to mope in the prison pit, but I suppose it's no more of a stretch than a husband making a wife see sense with regard to pets.  (roll)

Best Writing: Again JudasFM gets my vote.  I liked the short paragraph style, and the reliance on dialog to drive the story was a plus for me.  Some turns of phrase were also clever: the subtle undercurrent works on so many levels, and "Meruna" wilts (since she's basically just a flower, a pretty object).

Best Ending: I'm going with Mandle at last, mostly because the cat unexpectedly died.  I hope this vote doesn't help you win though, Mandle, since yours was easily the most depressing "happily ever after" story I've ever read.  :tongue:  Mine was bad too, but jeez!  It was hard to wade through the story for all the dead cat corpses bunging up the way.  Why didn't they just find a dead baby under the up-turned wheelbarrow while you were at it?!?   :-\  ;)

JudasFm

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #22 on: 12 Jan 2019, 10:56 »
Best Character: I'm going with JudasFM's Dirnec.  The trophy "merlfriend" was a bit flat, and the princess was pretty one dimensional.  But I liked the patient scheming Dirnec demonstrated and his "they'll never beat me on the inside" attitude.  :)

Thank you so much :D The flatness of the 'merlfriend' (love that!) was semi-intentional.

The full story (touched on but not explored) is that she was taken prisoner as a young girl in the war, and was so beautiful that the prince basically ordered her reserved as his personal sex slave, and that of his friends, the rest of the royal family, or any visiting dignitary who might fancy her (the magic of the manacles also prevent conception, as pregnant - or rather, gravid - mermaids aren't seen as much use ;)) The psychological trauma of being repeatedly raped by different people caused her to withdraw inside herself. Dirnec treats her decently and is the only person in her life who isn't interested in forcing himself on her, which is why "Meruna" interacts more with him.

Unfortunately, since the issues of rape, sex slavery and psychological trauma - whether interrelated or not - are so serious, I didn't feel comfortable handling them with a couple of throwaway lines such as, "Oh yeah, she keeps getting raped and so now she doesn't talk. Tragic backstory! Everyone feel sorry for Meruna! And now, back to the wedding thing..." If I'd had more time (that is, more free time on my end) I could have handled Meruna's story and issues sensitively enough to really flesh her out as a character. I didn't, so I felt it better to let her be a flower and just mention the concubine/sex slave thing without dwelling on it too much (the world of the merfolk is actually pretty dark and gritty; if you think it's all singing pretty songs and sitting gracefully on rocks, you're very wrong :P ). I do plan to use this particular world in future rounds though ;)
« Last Edit: 12 Jan 2019, 10:58 by JudasFm »

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #23 on: 12 Jan 2019, 16:01 »
Best Ending: I'm going with Mandle at last, mostly because the cat unexpectedly died.  I hope this vote doesn't help you win though, Mandle, since yours was easily the most depressing "happily ever after" story I've ever read.  :tongue:  Mine was bad too, but jeez!  It was hard to wade through the story for all the dead cat corpses bunging up the way.  Why didn't they just find a dead baby under the up-turned wheelbarrow while you were at it?!?   :-\  ;)

My "story" was non-fiction and while there is actually an upturned wheelbarrow in my land-lady's vegetable field I don't think there is a dead baby under it, but now I'm kinda scared to go look.

And yeah, my story is very depressing in a way, but I also feel that it is honest about what the concept of "happily ever after" means in the long run.

"And he/she/they lived happily ever after..." has an expiration date whether it be a long or a short one.

I find it hard sometimes to tell when you are joking but I must admit I found your comment about hoping I don't win because of your vote a bit jarring in this instance. This feeling will not shade my own votes though, which I will place tomorrow.
 

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #24 on: 12 Jan 2019, 16:48 »

I find it hard sometimes to tell when you are joking but I must admit I found your comment about hoping I don't win because of your vote a bit jarring in this instance. This feeling will not shade my own votes though, which I will place tomorrow.
 

Well, you were supposed to place them by yesterday  :P but if you promise, I can wait.   ;)

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #25 on: 13 Jan 2019, 00:13 »
My "story" was non-fiction and while there is actually an upturned wheelbarrow in my land-lady's vegetable field I don't think there is a dead baby under it, but now I'm kinda scared to go look.

Well, you can't not go and look now.  You'll always wonder otherwise....

But joking aside (and you can pretty much assume that I'm always joking, since I'm rarely very serious), I did find your story sad (emotionally, not as a story), and what I meant to say in a not-too-clear way was that I would find it highly ironic if you were to win given the theme of "happily ever after".  I concur wholeheartedly that happily ever after is a matter of perspective, but as a cynical being I have a hard time equating happiness with naked Darwinian failure.  I guess maybe structurally there weren't enough of the happy moments in your piece for me to really empathise with Panda.  Even the cuddling bit kind of came across as the adoptive family possibly suffocating the poor orphan.  I apologise if my feedback sounded harsh, but my gut reading of the story was "life is brutally harsh except for tiny stolen moments, so the tragedy of senseless death is ok if there were some good times squeezed in there somewhere," which in my opinion is too raw to qualify as a "happily ever after."  But maybe I should get a second opinion: I'll read it to my 9 year old daughter and see what she thinks.  ;)   

Having said that, I don't feel I did much better with the theme, so please feel free not to vote for me either.  :=

Ponch

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #26 on: 13 Jan 2019, 02:09 »
I don't feel I did much better with the theme, so please feel free not to vote for me either.  :=
If it makes you guys feel better, you can both vote for me. I'm a neutral party in this affair.  :=
*

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #27 on: 13 Jan 2019, 02:15 »
Okay, Baron, understood... and I was a bit drunk when I typed that last post so don't go thinking I'm getting all sensitive in my old age or anything... Just sometimes when I'm drunk. Cheers!

And, I shall be voting soon, gotta go to lunch first though.

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #28 on: 13 Jan 2019, 04:12 »
Mandle loves me again! ;-D  Except sometimes when he's drunk.... :undecided:  But sometimes when I'm drunk I love him even more, so it all balances out.  :=

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Voting!)
« Reply #29 on: 13 Jan 2019, 14:38 »
Best Character: Baron
Best Plot: JudasFM
Best Atmosphere: Baron
Best Writing: Baron
Best Ending: JudasFM

AGS forums were down for me and so no time for comments before bed, I'll try to write some tomorrow.

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Results)
« Reply #30 on: 13 Jan 2019, 16:58 »
And we are closed!


... Ehm, guys, are you... are you alright? You didn't have anything dropped on your head or something? Because if these are your definitions of a Happy Ending, I am a bit afraid.  (laugh)


Let's go through them one by one:


Baron:

I think I wasn't quite as confused as JudasFm and think this story could work as a short story. But in general, the scenes feel rather unconnected. We don't get a lot of background information but it makes sense that a rebel group wants to steal money. Sure, I can see that. It also makes sense that they seduce the director of the bank to get some information. The problem is that it doesn't have any consequence. You could leave the venus trap out and jump from the meeting to the (failed) robbery, you could leave out the meeting and just have the last part and the reader wouldn't lose much information.

All in all, it feels a lot like you were going too much for humour. The scenes try to be funny with the classic two people in one coat or through pure grossness but the inner structure of the story suffers as a result.

As for the ending - I was confused. I'm not even sure if they escaped. And if they did, do I want it? The characters did not endear themselves to me at all. That isn't absolutely necessary for an Ending to be defined as happy, but it certainly makes it easier. Also, I think to some degree a story sets its own goal as to what it would need to make it happy. And as the meeting in the beginning sets the bar as "For the Cause" (as in, their revolution) the win the characters do get, no matter if it feels happy in and off itself, just feels too small.


Mandle:

In general, I really enjoyed this story. I like how the narrator, having lost his pet, isn't ready to get a new cat but finds some happiness in watching the stray. The kitten finds a family, even though it doesn't look all that good for it in the beginning. Also, the descriptions of the cats are lovely.

But (there's always a but, isn't there) the ending is hardly happy, is it? "If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." According to google, that's a quote by Orson Welles and I think it fits very well on your story. Had you ended it with "On the way back home from a shopping trip I saw two of the grown-up cats of Chibi's litter crossing the road and Panda was behind them, in tow, glancing around nervously and I could imagine that he was just like a young kid out on a lark with older brothers and saying stuff like "Hey... guys... are you sure we should be..." but tagging along nonetheless." and maybe a sentence or two to round it up, that would be a happy ending. But having Panda die? Yeah, I can't see this as happy.

Without the condition of this FWC that the story is supposed to end happy, I think it's a great ending. It's emotional, it has a melanchloc vibe that works well. But that's just it, it's a sad ending.


JudasFm:

I was so sure you were going for a fairy tale structure there with the three days of the ceremony. You surprised me there.

The stroy has a lot of small details about the culture of the merfolk, which I quite like. I think it's a bit strange that the princess would find her way into the slave pits and would have liked an explanetion for it, or better yet, a real reason why the princess and the slaves interact with each other. Maybe they are the servants who are ordered to dress her (assuming the merfolk wear clothes), just something that makes it logical for them to meet.

Your ending was the only one that feels at least like it could be happy. The slaves are freed, the wedding allows them to escape... Unlike Baron's story, your characters' proclaimed goal also isn't to overthrow the government, just to get away, so they do manage to achieve what they set out to achive. At the same time, this doesn't feel like an ending, it feels like the beginning of a story. Dirnec and Meruna still have to get away, they still need to build a new life - difficult, considering they seemed to have spend a long time as prisoners and at least Dirnec was too young to be useful when he was caught. Also, they probably started a war, leading to more people ending up as prisoners. Still, this story comes closest to a real happy ending.


Alright, let's add my votes to the mix:

Best Character: Baron
Best Plot: JudasFm
Best Atmosphere: Mandle
Best Writing: Mandle
Best Ending: JudasFm


And that leaves us with the following results:


JudasFm wins with 10 points.


Mandle reaches a second place with 8 points.


Baron comes to a close third with 7 points.


JudasFm, your turn!

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Results)
« Reply #31 on: 13 Jan 2019, 18:34 »
Congratulations JudasFm!  A well-deserved victory.  :)

My original concept was that "happily ever after" for a revolutionary is a fiery death for the cause, as to grow old is to sell out.  I agree 100% with the feedback I've received, though.  I felt obliged to set up the cloak & dagger atmosphere (hence the secret entrance), give some background for the reason for the revolution (hence the meeting), and the importance of the cause over well-being or dignity (hence the two misadventures with the bank director and the armoured truck theft), all building to the chase scene which I really wanted to write.  But it ended up feeling a bit convoluted and unnecessarily long.  Next time I need a cleaner concept and a more ruthless editor.  (roll)

As for the ending, realistically they did achieve their happily ever after in a fiery death.  But given that they were magical beings with magical powder in their possession, and there was no direct evidence of their demise, perhaps they did get away in the end?  You have to believe in magic, after all, if you're going to believe in happy endings.  ;)

JudasFm

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Happy Ending (Results)
« Reply #32 on: 14 Jan 2019, 01:53 »
I was so sure you were going for a fairy tale structure there with the three days of the ceremony. You surprised me there.

I'll let everyone in on a little secret here; the original plan was for three days. The way to get out of the second ritual involved a plot that required sticky slime from the nest of a Deep Sea Snail, skin from transparent fish, and some baby Deep Sea Snails. Except this is Dirnec we're talking about, and I seem to remember I was writing this at around 2am, so I bumped it up. I think it works better like this in any case ;)

The stroy has a lot of small details about the culture of the merfolk, which I quite like. I think it's a bit strange that the princess would find her way into the slave pits and would have liked an explanetion for it, or better yet, a real reason why the princess and the slaves interact with each other.

There aren't organized slave pits as such, but there are a lot of caves where slaves are kept (otherwise the slaves could easily spend as much time commuting to their work as doing it!) The princess is a visitor from a foreign clan and so she doesn't know her way around. She's miserable, she's trying to find some time alone...it's just coincidence that she ends up in a slave cave ;)

Your ending was the only one that feels at least like it could be happy[...]At the same time, this doesn't feel like an ending, it feels like the beginning of a story.

It kind of is, in a way. This is a very precised version of an idea in my head that struck me when I was writing this, and that I plan to develop into a full-length trilogy ;) Their time as slaves is over; now it's setting up for the next book  ;)

Also, they probably started a war, leading to more people ending up as prisoners.

I think you're mistaking Dirnec for someone who gives a damn (laugh) This is his happy ending; he's free, he's freed the one he loves, and if the ones who enslaved him get killed and/or enslaved themselves, that would suit him just fine.

JudasFm, your turn!

Thank you so much everyone for your votes! The next round will be up as soon as I can manage it ;)