Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement  (Read 3577 times)

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #20 on: 28 May 2019, 12:09 »

KyriakosCH, while the advertisement was in your story, I had no idea what was being advertised, so it didn't mean a great deal to me.


What was advertised by a shady company was the ability for humans to live for a vast amount of time, eg centuries.  8-)
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JudasFm

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #21 on: 28 May 2019, 15:42 »
Of course there is: https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/weight_2 It's the wrong one/not what I meant to say but it does exist.  (nod)
Ooh, okay then. Fair point (nod) I'm used to hearing it only as "weighted down" or "weighed down" not just "weighted" on its own, which it why it looked a bit odd. Still, The Squid and I stand corrected!

Oh, don't worry, that is exactly the kind of image my readers were supposed to get...  ;) Wasn't that obvious?
Heh. Yeah, I kind of figured that's what you were going for, but it's not always easy to tell. I've edited stuff for people in the past and had more than a few conversations along the lines of, "Hey, did you realize that in this language/country/dialect, X is a lot stronger/X means...?" "WHAT? It DOES? Oh crud!"

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #22 on: 28 May 2019, 16:19 »
Mandle, Very, very clever. I had to read it two or three times to get all the references - at first I thought your comment about Australia referred to the part that was being sold, and I think it would have been better without being hidden in a spoiler tag. Like I said before, I just wish we'd had more backstory.

Yeah, I tend to use spoiler tags on the last bits of stories when there is an O.Henry ending, which is often the case with very short stories otherwise there is often no substantial satisfaction in having read it.

I see opening the spoiler tag as like turning the page to see the reveal of the twist at the end of the tale. On a forum like this people could be scrolling up and down and have already read the last line in my story before the rest of it.

As for the backstory and the references that were supposed to reveal it upon re-reading(s) (MASSIVE SPOILERS):

Spoiler: ShowHide
The story does require at least one re-reading to get all the references to what is really going on:

The reader is supposed to imagine that this is just a normal human real estate agent showing a married couple around a potential new house.

But it's actually some kind of vast alien salesman showing a mated couple of similar vast alien beings around the Earth as their new purchase for their future home. It's an alien invasion of the earth from the perspective of humans considering the purchase of a new home, which may have a pest problem. More on that later.

The hidden references that might be noticed upon re-readings:

"Okay, let's just mind that first step there, it's a doozy..."

This is the vast alien beings experiencing what we humans call "re-entry" upon coming out of the huge speed of orbit into our atmosphere and gravity field.

"As you can see, your potential new abode has ample lighting provided by clean solar energy on this side and also a nice quiet retreat on the other for all your "nocturnal needs".."

This is referring to the sun illuminating one side of the globe while the other side is in night.

"Ample water supply of both the salinated and fresh varieties with both shower and bath facilities available. Sometimes you might have to wait a bit for the showers to come online but that's just par for the course really with this kind of property."

The aliens can either bathe in oceans or lakes or, if they wish to wait for the correct conditions, can shower when it rains.

"Now, here's a nice little feature: Over here and there are your deep freeze units... Any and all produce, be they vegetable or meat, harvested on your property can just be stuck in one of these, conveniently located at either end of the property, and kept fresh and edible for practically forever."

The deep freeze units are the north and south poles, at either end of the "property", and the image I was going for here was these vast alien beings scooping up earth animals, vegetation, and yes, maybe even humans, to plop down in their "freezers" for later consumption...

"Over here is the perfect placement for your entertainment center. All your power needs are provided by those outlets you can see positioned in an attractive ring formation. Direct access to all the geothermic energy you will ever need."

This is the "Ring Of Fire" of volcanoes around the Pacific Rim that these aliens might have the technology to just put a big plug into like we would into a wall socket.

"However, as an honest real estate agent, I must warn you that there is currently a bit of an infestation of pests which is why the asking price is what it is. In my experience these matters are usually dealt with within a few weeks if the proper professional services are enlisted. Here's a card for my brother-in-law's extermination service. Mention my name for a twenty percent cut!"

The infestations of "pests" is the human race. The humans are going to "fight back" against this "alien invasion" with little tiny jets and missiles and tiny nuclear explosions which these vast alien home-owners are going to view as what we would an ant or wasp infestation in our home. It's just annoying for them and potentially painful at times. A nuke could cause a nasty welt that might make the kids cry on the way to the interstellar hospital for treatment.

"Well, here's the contract. If you can provide your payment details and then just jot down your signature on the bottom line there then we can finalize the deal.

For ease of signing, I'll just put the contract down over here on this nice dry hard area...

I believe it was called "Australia" or some such..."


The equivalent of the real estate agent putting the contract down on the kitchen counter or such for the clients to sign while, at the same time, revealing the O.Henry twist ending of the story. (I really liked the way I did that double-take of the reader's expectations vs. the twist ending in one sentence to be shamefully honest)
« Last Edit: 28 May 2019, 16:31 by Mandle »

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #23 on: 28 May 2019, 19:48 »
Mandle:Very clever indeed, though maybe a bit too obscure. It's clear you want the reader to think that it's just about someone selling a house, and then slowly realize that that's not what's going on. So far, so good. But the next step, realizing what is going on was - for me - a bit too difficult and I didn't get it the first time reading. Like Judas, I first though it was Australia that's being sold, but the descriptions didn't fit. Only atfter Judas' comment I came to the right conclusion. So, clever, very much so, but maybe a bit too clever for it's own good.

KyriakosCH: I assumed what was advertised was eternal life or eternal youth or something similar, but it really could have been clearer. I'm not sure what to think of the character. It's clear the character is sceptical of the offered service and very dismissive of other people's concerns - scoffing at their reasons. But I don't really think we ever learn the main character's reasons. (S)he doesn't like it, (s)he thinks it's stupid, dangerous, money grabbing (maybe), all kinds of things, but because we never really learn what it is about and why exactly (s)he thinks so negative about it, (s)he comes across as a naysayer, instead of someone who warns of potential dangers or something like that. Also, this line: It is, of course, a foreign company, conveniently having its local branch assume a name in our language so as to make their services seem more legitimate and - most of all - noble. might come across as rather xenophobic.

Baron: You rush a bit too much through this story. It feels very fast-paced, missing a couple explanations along the way. Mandle mentions somewhere above that it feels like a piece from a larger novel - I have to agree, but it doesn't make me want to read more, it makes me wonder what explanitions I missed that would make the characters more distinct, their motivations clearer, the scene more lively, etc... I think you capture the general tone of advertisments fairly well, though.



Best Character: Baron
Best Story: Baron
Best Writing: Mandle
Best Use of Theme: Mandle

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #24 on: 28 May 2019, 21:14 »


KyriakosCH: I assumed what was advertised was eternal life or eternal youth or something similar, but it really could have been clearer. I'm not sure what to think of the character. It's clear the character is sceptical of the offered service and very dismissive of other people's concerns - scoffing at their reasons. But I don't really think we ever learn the main character's reasons. (S)he doesn't like it, (s)he thinks it's stupid, dangerous, money grabbing (maybe), all kinds of things, but because we never really learn what it is about and why exactly (s)he thinks so negative about it, (s)he comes across as a naysayer, instead of someone who warns of potential dangers or something like that. Also, this line: It is, of course, a foreign company, conveniently having its local branch assume a name in our language so as to make their services seem more legitimate and - most of all - noble. might come across as rather xenophobic.

I must accept that I just wasn't clear enough :) The inferred meaning was that the narrator believes the foreign company actually has a working immortality tech. So the world is to change, with everything up to now set to become in hindsight a lost paradise. The company tried to take a local name so as to make its clients feel more at ease with so radical a change if they buy the product.
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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #25 on: 01 Jun 2019, 00:49 »
So, uhh... the deadline for voting ended just now, and we haven't got a whole lot of votes.

Do we:
A) Extend voting over the weekend
B) Flip a coin
C) Have the host (me) cast a final set of votes and hope it results in a conclusive winner
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Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #26 on: 01 Jun 2019, 01:24 »
Option A please... I haven't had time to finish reading yet

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #27 on: 01 Jun 2019, 01:42 »
Me neither. I somehow expected smaller stories :)
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WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #28 on: 01 Jun 2019, 02:02 »
That's three for extension (including myself). And hey, now I'LL have more time to read, too! Win-win!
Cast your votes by 23:59 UTC on Sunday, please! May the best ad win!
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Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #29 on: 01 Jun 2019, 04:36 »
What's a 23:59 UTC?  Why don't you people speak American?!????  ;)  It's still May 31 here.  I'm still going to beat that original deadline, time-zones and logic be damned!  :P

@ Mandle: OK, it made sense on the third reading, and I pieced together all the meanings without any spoilers.  Except I pictured more god-like beings than super huge aliens, but whatever.  I appreciated the challenge of trying to figure out what exactly was going on, and I liked the mannerisms of your nervous salesman (whom I read as being just a mortal or at least a subservient super-being).  On the downside, I didn't detect any actual advertisement (although logically the prospective buyer is probably reacting to one).  Also, there wasn't much of a story arc.  I think the piece has a lot of potential if extended a bit so that we could get invested more in the character's stories, and then the pay-off reveal would be the icing on the cake.

@ KyriakosCH: I kind of got this mind-controlling vibe from your advertisement, with hordes of people lining up and the sceptical narrator describing how the ad sucked you in.  I liked the contrarian atmosphere he creates, and you have some good imagery with the toddler blindly waddling into danger, and your piece is very obviously about an advertisement.  But I have to agree with other comments that what was actually going on needed to be fleshed out a bit more to make sense to a casual reader. 

@ Sinitrena: I liked all of your characters, who despite the short length of the piece all stood out as distinct and well-defined.  Except for Peter, I liked how you made them all just dumb enough to make the plot plausible in the context of the story-world.  You had some great turns of phrase as well, from the "loud silence of nature" in the forest to Gerald's love affair with his artillery piece.  For me the sexual imagery fell a bit flat, as I was looking for a bit of a deeper meaning to the ending, but maybe it's just a case of this ageing male not finding misfires amusing any more....  (roll)

And to the votes...

Best Character: I'm going with Sinitrena's gun-nut Gerald who lets his enthusiasm for his own world view blind him to the obvious perils of revealing his pet-project.

Best Story: Despite a bit of anticlimax at the end, I still thought Sinitrena brought us on the best ride.

Best Writing: N'yeah, this one is tough.  I think I have to go with Mandle by the slimmest of whiskers.  He had great pacing (despite the fact that I wanted more), the way his salesman presented the property spoke volumes, and the double-entendres were hugely ambitious.  The piece had it's minor flaws as discussed, but so too did the competition.
 
Best Use of Theme:  I'm sold on Sinitrena for this one.  The whole story revolved around an overt and well-described advertisement to an extent that the others did not.

As for my own piece, I appreciate the kind feedback.  I concede that the piece was rushed due to other deadlines eating up my time, and that I could have described what was happening a bit better.  My premise was that inane radio-ads are actually coded job-offers for space mercenaries, but beyond that I didn't invest a lot of thought in characterization or plot, and it shows.  But don't worry: this kind of deal won't last forever!  ;)


KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #30 on: 02 Jun 2019, 02:05 »
I'm afraid I will have to abstain from voting. (i think for the second time, which is certainly very bad...). The reason is that i doubt i can focus on the two larger stories at the moment; i really thought the pieces would be brief :) Thus, having read in full only Mandle's story, it would be entirely unfair of me to cast a vote & all day tomorrow is going to be hard on my end.
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Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #31 on: 02 Jun 2019, 03:05 »
i really thought the pieces would be brief :)

What are you talking about?  8-0 They are brief! I didn't even exceed the character limit for a post this time around!  (roll)
 (laugh) (laugh) (laugh)

Seriously though, Baron's entry really isn't that long (just over 1000 words) and mine is packed into three neatly seperated chapters - easy to step away from and pick up later (about 4500 words all together). I always think stories look longer than they actually are on a computer monitor, but that might just be me.

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #32 on: 02 Jun 2019, 14:12 »
I do tend to blather on and on....  90% of my writing is just padding to make the length look respectable.  I advise just reading the first paragraph and basing your votes on that.  :=

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #33 on: 02 Jun 2019, 15:40 »
I do tend to blather on and on....  90% of my writing is just padding to make the length look respectable.  I advise just reading the first paragraph and basing your votes on that.  :=

Nice  :=
It does seem that everytime i take part in these contests i am about to relocate to Athens for some time... (although this time it will probably be for less than a month!)
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Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #34 on: 03 Jun 2019, 00:57 »
Gimme another hour or so to vote please... Fell asleep ridiculously early yesterday.

WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #35 on: 03 Jun 2019, 21:43 »
C'mon, Mandle! You can do it! Energize! I'm headed to bed now, had a busy day. Will close up the competition tomorrow during or after work so we can get a new one rolling along.
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Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #36 on: 04 Jun 2019, 02:33 »
I AM MANDLE'S KRYPTONITE.  He always goes weak in the knees when I'm around.  :-*

KyriakosCH

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #37 on: 04 Jun 2019, 02:44 »
I AM MANDLE'S KRYPTONITE.  He always goes weak in the knees when I'm around.  :-*

Here's an ad on the results long-term exposure to Kryptonite has:

 
Spoiler: ShowHide
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Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #38 on: 04 Jun 2019, 03:38 »
I'm pretty sure the old guy in his underpants in that video is Mandle 20 years back.  How the mighty have sagged further....  (roll)

WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Advertisement
« Reply #39 on: 04 Jun 2019, 10:33 »
Mandle didn't make it. I think he was eater by a Grue.

I'm throwing in my own votes, though:
Best Character: Sinitrena
Best Story: Mandle
Best Writing: Baron (despite the abundance of crude language)
Best Use of Theme: Mandle

And with that the final scores come to:

Sinitrena with 7 points.
Mandle with 6 points.
Baron with 3 points.

Congratumalations to the winner! I look forward to Sinitrena showing us some grand examples in advertising this competition all around the forums!
(You can always blame me, afterwards.)


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