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Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Writers gonna write... about writers (End)  (Read 587 times)

Sinitrena

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There's the rule that - to write authentic stories - you should write about things you know. So, what is a writer to do, when he/she knows nothing but writing? Simple:

Writers gonna write ... about writers!

And it seems that is something many authors do.

Examples that come to mind might be Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Doctor Watson writes down the stories of Sherlock Holmes in-story, or Stephen King, who has two famous examples I can think of from the top of my head: the protaganists in both The Shining and Misery.

Even if the characters are not outright writers, they might display certain poetic tendencies. Christopher Paolini's Eragon, for example, gets praised by other characters as a great poet (A lot of readers tend to not agree with that one  :P).

Here, someone collected a whole list on goodreads, if you are interested in more examples.

Writing about writing is, as you can see, common.

And now it is time to add yourself to the list of writers who write about writers. It does not have to be about the experiences of writing itself, like writers block, or the challanges an artist has in society, like the trope of the starving artist, but the story needs to feature a writer in an important role and the writing should be relevant to the story in some (small) way (a bard collecting stories, a child showing their first writing to their parents, slam poetry gone wrong, etc)

Get your inner writers to write something until 14. May.
« Last Edit: 22 May 2020, 09:09 by Sinitrena »

A most interesting theme! The ideas are crowding up, and I shall begin at once.

'Slam poetry gone wrong' sounds amusing. I am picturing a man in a beret and sunglasses wedged between two stout policemen.

Baron

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Well, I went and broke the Writer's Code by starting before the day before the deadline.  I suppose I should submit myself to the Guild for disciplinary action.  Do they still have those bum-paddles shaped like editing symbols?  Those were always a blast....  Anyone else struggling as a writer struggling with writing on this one?

Edit: Later that same week.....

Moby Douche

   The infinite bedazzlement of deep space stretched infinitely in all directions outside the spaceship Navirathon.  Space pirate Captain Daf O'dyll surveyed the sparkling void from the ship's bridge, letting the tides of nebulonic glow wash over him like the oceanic waves of yore.  Sure the situation was bleak, nay mayhaps impossible.  The ship was low on fuel, and he was even lower on prospects.  But he wasn't the type of space pirate captain to sweat a close brush with an A-class hypergiant white star, so there was no way he was about to lose his cool now!

   “Nar, nar, I get what you're saying, Love,” Daf said, letting the nauticalisms roll off his tongue.  “It's just that the wig really itches.  Couldn't we just, y'know, pop it in afterwards with CGI? ....Aye, aye.... yea, I get that it's live....  Nar, nar....  Well how about Plyobrin?  Really?....  That many, eh?  Bugger.  And no nibbles on the sub-spectrum? ....Nar, I cou'na make that last bit out. ....He said what?!?  That wormy little tosh!  ....Nar, nar.  It's this parasite thing I picked up years ago on Flotron 2.  ....Nar, nar.  Not a good story at all, unless you like tales of botched eye-lash implants. ....That's what I told HIM!  I said, I said JORAX, LOVE, IT'S JUST A FEW KILOS.  ....I wou'na say that....  Nar, nar!  The costume takes off at least 20!  ....What do you mean it depends on the angle?!?  ....Now look here, Love, I've got lots of interest from other agents, so if you don't want my file I'll just....  You can't do that!  Clients fire agents, not the other way around!  ....Really?  She did, eh?  That far?!?  Blimey.  ....Now wait, Love, don't hangup just yet!  Love?  Love?!?  Bugger!”

   Daf ripped the headset off and threw it across the cockpit.

   “Another slo gin, Sir?” the butler-droid droned, already beginning to wheel his way back to the bar abaft. 

   “Nay, Jenkins” Daf sighed, rubbing his temples.

   “What about Collins, Sir?” the butler droid asked, trying to sound chipper.  “You always love beating on your punch-bot when you've sparred with your agent.”

   Daf flexed the fingers on his right hand, marvelling at how pudgy they had become.  “Nary this time, Jenkins.”

   “Oh dear.”  Jenkins ran through his depression protocols, LEDs flashing madly under his jaunty butler-droid bow-tie.  “Madam Wu is almost done recharging, Sir.  Shall I....”

   “Nay, Jenkins, I told ye, she needs a complete reboot after what happened last time.”

   Jenkins spun his head backwards, running through the error codes.  “Sir, I believe Madam Wu was working within designated parameters for a level 4 sex-bot when the incident occurred-”

   “I said NAY, dammit!” Daf barked.

   “Perhaps we could find new batteries for the yes-bots?”  Jenkins droned on.

   Daf just closed his eyes and shook his head.  It wasn't Jenkins' fault.  He was programmed to assist in any way he could.  Jenkins, Collins, Madam Wu, the infernal yes-bots.  All just so much code and bolts bending over backwards to satisfy his every urge (Madam Wu could bend over very far backwards indeed).  But they had all indulged him, leading him here, to this lonely place, 8 trillion miles from anywhere, unemployed and seemingly unemployable.  If only he'd kept in touch with his friends, his real friends.  They would have reigned him in, counselled him into making better decisions....

   “We could try bringing the friend-bots back online again, Sir,” Jenkins droned, trying very hard to keep the pity out of his tone.

   Daf ignored him.  What he really needed was a sounding board.  A real person, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.  No one too successful, of course.  Not a high-flyer or a go-getter.  Someone even more pathetic than Daf himself would be nice.  A miserable creature desperate for just a modicum of attention from a fellow human being.  “Wait!” he called, the idea forming in his mind.

   “Oh god, Sir,” Jenkins droned.  “Not the writer!”

   “Aye!” Daf smiled, slapping the arm-wrests on either side of his captain's chair, making his arm flab jiggle jauntily.  “Aye, the writer!”

   “But he's been alone in the slave galley for years, Sir,” Jenkins protested.  “Thompson – the garbage bot – says the clothes have long since rotted off his body.  All he does is rave and curse and natter on and on about his precious manuscript.”

   “What be a manuscript?” Daf wondered aloud.

   “Unknown, Sir.  It might be the old-tongue name for the L-pipe he uses as a sex-bot.”

   “Yar....” Daf winced, considering.

   “Apparently they are quite close, him and his manuscript.  Quite inseparable at times.  Although the writer seems at times desperate to tear himself away, he can't seem to bring himself to do it.”

   “Desperate, ye say?”

   “Sir, I must advise against this course of action-”

   “Enough, Jenkins!  Release the writer and bring him afore me.”

   Jenkins let out a long, put-upon sigh.  “Very good, Sir.”

*   *   *   *   *

   Soon his robo-captors dragged him up to the cockpit.  He looked every bit a gaunt and bearded savage, hands bound behind his back with laser-cuffs.  His ribs protruded prominently, as if several scrawny limbs and a head all lay claim to a pair of xylophones and then refused to let go.  Except for what could pass for a man-sized diaper (or perhaps bandage?) wrapped around his hips, he wore no clothes at all.

   “Jenkins!”  Daf scolded.  “Are the laser-cuffs necessary?”

   “Sir, I have reason to believe that the manuscript might still be secreted somewhere on his person.”  The butler-droid tried to nod subtly towards the diaper, but as his head only rotated on one axis it just looked like he was negating his previous statement.

   “Bah!” Daf said.  “Take them off, I say!”  Daf then turned his attention to the writer.  “Do you know I've been going through some of your work?”

   The writer twitched, seemingly ill at ease with the attention of a fellow human being.  “Uh.... really?”

   “Of course really!” Daf smiled sincerely.  “Smashing stuff!  Top notch!  Captain Daf O'dyll, space pirate adventurer of the Omega Quadrant!  Interstellar Swashbuckler and womanizer extraordinaire!  It really is fantastic stuff you've been pumping out for us all these years.”

   The writer twitched a bit more, like an animal scenting danger on the wind.  “Wow,” he managed, after a moment of letting the praise massage his ego back into shape.  “Uh, just wow.  So, uh, how many readers do we have?”

   Daf gave the writer his best roguish grin.  “Ha!  Readers!  Ye've got that writer's wit, ye have.  Nary a soul reads anymore!  But it's important to keep cranking the material out.  Good for the brand, savvy?  And the press-bots can sniff out a writer-bot a league away, so we've all got real flesh-and-blood writers churning the words out on our behalf.”

   “Oh,” the writer said.  He would have deflated visibly, if there was anything left in the sack of bones he called a body to deflate.  He shifted awkwardly, from one foot to the next, trying to think of something clever to say.  “We?” was all he could think of.  “As in....?”

   “Celebrities, man!  I be a celebrity space pirate, the last of me kind!  Captain Daf O'dyll, at your service!”

   The writer seemed more than just a little surprised at this revelation.  “Oh.  You're.... wow.  I mean, I had... well, you know, writer's use their imagination and, uh ....yeah.”

   “Yar, yar....  I know what you're thinking.  I'm not what I once was.”

   “But Sir!” Jarvis protested, not entirely convincingly.

   “Nar, nar, 'tis true.” Daf admitted.  “Thirty years ago I was starring in action films while on the lam from robbing space banks.  Now the best I can do is a cameo in a Rom-Com and the occasional children's birthday party.”

   “Oh god, Sir.” Jenkins groaned.  “I didn't know you'd stooped to Rom-Coms!”

   A weighty silence followed.  The writer twitched, involuntarily.  All the space out the windows of the bridge was making him agoraphobic.  Somehow he had to slink back to his writing nook in the bowels of the ship without being noticed.  “So....” he said, filling the void.  “Things aren't going so well top-side, then?”

   “Nay, nay....” Daf mused aloud.  “We be in danger of starving soon, that be the truth of it.”

   “Actually I'm already-”

   “What we be needing,” Daf continued, inspiration suddenly seizing him, “is the mother of all yarns.  Something so incredibly brilliant as to go viral on the uber-spectrum.  Something to get me back in the game!”

   The writer twitched again, taking this in.  “Wait... what?”

   “I need ye, Matey, to write me out of this predicament.”  Daf stared earnestly at the skeletal writer before him.

   The writer twitched more so.  All the shaking brought an L-pipe tumbling to the floor.

   “I'm not picking that up,” Jenkins droned.

   “Okay, let me get this straight,” the writer said, quickly changing the subject.  “You need me to... write?”

   “Aye!” Daf nodded.

   “But... that's what I've been doing.  For.... years?”  The writer blinked, trying to calculate the time that had passed in the slave galley.  Then he gave up, as math was never his strong suit.  Damn English Lit degree!  “All my best ideas are already out on your serial adventure blog, I'm afraid.”

   “Nar, nar,” Daf shook his head.  “I be needing ye to REALLY write this time.  Put yer back into it, man!  Like the cat-o-nine tails be licking at yer scrotum!”

   The writer cringed.  Instinctively he wrapped his toes around the L-pipe on the floor, in case he needed to use it for self-defence.  No, no.... he couldn't fight his way out of this.  The guard-droid was too strong, and the fat space pirate blob might explode if his outer membrane were punctured, sending them all to their deaths out in the void.  He had to think....  Dammit!  Writer's block!  OK, he needed to weasel for time.  “Er...” he began convincingly, but soon warmed to his theme.  “Uh, right you are Cap'n!  I'll spin you a yard so dazzling that it would take space elves to weave it without becoming blinded.”  Too much, way too much!  Dial it back now: “Er... but I'll need a few more details than I've been getting so far.  You know, to make it, er, authentic.  You know, standard stuff.  Like star charts... ship schematics... shuttle repair manuals... a sonic-screwdriver-”

   “Yar, wait!  What need ye with a sonic-screwdriver?” Daf asked suspiciously.

   “Uh... keyboard repair!  I've been writing around the letter “m” for months now.  And you can't spell Space Pirate Captain Extraordinaire without, er.... that's a bad example, actually.  See, I'm so used to it!”

   “Nar, I'll take yer word for it.  Go on!”

   “Oh, uh, ok.  Um.... actually, for the plot line I'm thinking of I'll also need a droid programming manual, access to the ship's armoury for cataloguing purposes (obviously), about a gallon of space slug sludge, and interview time with all of your robot companions.”

   “You can start with Madam Wu,” Jenkins interjected in his laboured monotone.  “She has some spectacular stories to relate.”

   “Yar, unfortunately she be offline at the moment,” Daf apologized.

   “Well, er....  I'm sure there are data logs I could go over?” the writer suggested.

   “I admire your attention to detail,” Jenkins piped up again.  “But she is in pieces at the moment.  Would you like the top half or the bottom half?”

   “Oooo....” the writer thought, struggling mentally with the space-age equivalent of the reverse mermaid riddle.  “Now that's quite the philosophical question, my robot friend!  How many RAM chips did you say you carried?”

   “He he he, oh you!” Jerkins flirted.

   The writer turned back to Daf, but he had fallen into a gentle fat-man nap.

   “Well then, let's get started, shall we?”
« Last Edit: 12 May 2020, 03:56 by Baron »



Exile Returning.

  My friend.

I have cast this book into the Aether between worlds, and it is no accident that it has chosen to come to you.

I was once a mighty overlord. I was a prophet, and a radiant god-king. I was a monster. I do not wish to say my name. You will know it when you hear it, and if you never do, we both have reason to be thankful.

What I am now is different. I am a broken cadaver, imprisoned in my flesh and branded by my stolen name. There are no mirrors here, but I can see it reflected in the smooth stone floors.
For this is the Library, and my department is the Grey Quarter, where there can be only one tender.
All the volumes here are secretive, and grow from dusty shelves like little square marrows. They seep into worlds, were-ever books congregate, and to whom they are needed. Some say they contain hidden knowledge and power. I know that it is more complicated than that. I grow them and I tend them, as is my task. The Tower of Tongues is a strong refuge, and as a hermit I am only a prisoner to my state of mind.
I cast this record into the Aether, for I know it will come into the right hands. Its purpose is its own.

It was after the Fall.

I do not know if you will know of the race that once called itself the Virata, but you will have heard our story. A Golden Age draws to an end on an old world with a red and wizened sun. A cruel dynasty is made, a terrible war is fought and a deplorable word spoken.

I was but a keen-scribe amongst a lost and scattered people. Many years had passed, but we still dreamed of what had been, living amongst its ruins. There was a Secret, however, that our forebears once possessed, with which one could write new worlds. It had been lost, and the sub-worlds depleted.
As one of the last of my caste, I took it as my mission to find the Secret and to write my fallen kin back to greatness. I was not alone in this quest, but I was the one who solved the riddle, breached the horizon and entered the Tower of Tongues.

I shall never teach how to do this, and you will know why when you have read this. But for your growth, think of the Tower of towers and know that it is within yourself.

I stole two things. I stole the Secret and I stole my name.
I was not alone. There were three of us, scions of a broken race, with great plans. We three succeeded were all others have failed, and we returned to set to work. We temporarily salvaged the failing world before we began to practice creating new ones.
It was an intoxicating craft, but the needs of the Virata were endless, and we made many mistakes and our creations withered in their tender youth.
We did our best, but we fought for our lives in a sea of envy and resentment, as well as adoration and devotion. We were immortal and held full control of ours names, we were solely responsible and able to feed and clothe our kin. That power and dependency did not serve us well. We were far too young to be kings and gods.

We formed the Triumvirate, and made our plans. We would abandon our failing home world, and write a new and better one into which to lead the Virata. We would also write lesser worlds that contained the materials we needed. It was here that it began to truly go wrong, for we also wrote slaves to be taken for the project, as well as entire worlds for no purpose but to be stripped of their natural bounty, lest we would have to spoil our own grand new world.
It was also then that we three became rivals. We all wanted to be god-kings; Silver, Brass and I. It is decidedly less satisfying if you must share your private world with another overlord. We decided to write not one but three worlds.

The world of Nelum was my masterpiece.

All lessons learned, all knowledge dearly attained I worked into it. I anchored it to my stolen name. I founded it with words of strength, arranged triangularly, for it was the third major age I wrote, we saviours of the Virata were three, and the pyramid is a symbol of stability. All manner of interlocking systems, all contradictions circumvented, all possibilities considered. Beautiful fields, rolling hills and towering flowers, all set and written to please my share of the Virata. Life had been cruel, ugly and nasty, and I would make them happy.

I was proud of that world. I had surpassed the world-scribes from the times before the Fall! No more copied old phrases! No more mistakes! I would build it all from nothing but my genius. True creativity! Like the mathemons of old, summoning, binding and describing the impossible.
For that is what drove me to begin again; a new world, free from all the dirges and laments I and everyone I knew had lived with for their entire lives.

What we three failed to consider was that we were not creating – we were describing. Endless possibilities were before us, but we still wrote like the bard does – in accordance with expectations and predictable rhythm.
The idea that we were following patterns was alien to us. That all possibilities in our worlds were already written, as is every thing in the endless universes. What, then, would there be for us to add? Where could we leave our unique marks? What else is there but to take away?
That is why we did not see what we were doing.

But what is done is done.

I wrote these lands, and I led my followers. I took my people there, and wrote them what they wanted, and then what they needed. Many years more went, but it was never quite right. They were an unhappy and gloomy people, so I gave them luxury. I gave them servants to do all of their work. When that was not enough, when doubt and decadence was threatening to unravel my realm, I revised the lotus that made the core of the words of the world so that its roots could give them euphoria beyond their wildest dreams. It was fool-proof, and worked far too well.
For even the soft and scented reality I had offered my people were agony once they had eaten the roots, and there would never be reason to live in it again.
The Lotophagi tenders will not forgive me, for it was I who poisoned their people, and their hatred for their fate and their place is all that remains to them. Even when they break free from the lotus dream, they cannot break free from the sweet agony and bitter ecstasy that is catharsis. Their unbroken brethren cannot forgive me, for they cannot see how I have wronged them, wasting away in utter joy and bliss.

The Trinitites cannot forgive me, for they, too, made fundamental mistakes and had to see their people pay the price, and it was I and not them who broke the horizon. Silver turned to machines and mechanics until nothing remained of himself and his people. Brass turned to war and glory, and when they ran out of sub-worlds to conquer, and when I would not write them more, they turned their blades to themselves.
They cannot forgive me for surrendering my name. They cannot forgive me for returning my loot. They will hunt me forever, but they shall not find me. For there is no sin amongst our foolish and misbegotten kind but one; to willingly surrender power.

This was the fate for the Virata.

All I ever wanted was to do good. I heard that the road to damnation is paved with good intentions, but I had heard it before and as it was not words of my own, I cast them aside. Phrases and fairy-tales, said I, as I set to my work.
And yet, I wanted to leave. It was now unbearably clear that I was the original problem, and that what few Virata remained would be safer without me. Indeed, so would the other kins we wrote to form the lower castes. A writer or a bard is not responsible for the pain and hardship that afflicts their characters in the name of a good story. So, I argued, were not I responsible for the sentiments of any beings born from my quill. And yet... A world-scribe describes. This suffering, along with the damage my increasingly desperate revisions of the world-rune, was making it fray and tear.
To give them a chance to survive, I had to leave them to fend for themselves, without my revisions. I had to leave them, and I had to take my name away from what was, although a poisoned and dilapidated ruin, the only home-world remaining.
Mercifully, there was a natural escape clause.

I had no patience for fate or prophecy in my early centuries on the throne. I discarded them as the dreams for lesser souls, and relied on immutable chains of cause, effect and deduction. Useless for my purposes. And yet, it was the key to my freedom. To use these invisible forces that were tearing my realm apart, and channel them to my ends, in the literal sense of the word.
It took only the smallest of adjustments to change the conditions of the wild prophecy to point towards a goal I now knew was the only possibility, and my only way out of the machine I had chained and bricked myself inside. That it proved so simple was disheartening, as it shattered my previous principles. Yet, it had to be done. It was all a matter of a looser phrase here, a seemingly minor detail here. Secret weapons, hidden mysteries, stages set, masks prepared, lines rehearsed. I had not had as much fun for centuries.

As the right stars arrived, the Hero eventually rose up, refused the call, were compelled, found unexpected aid from the Mentor, suffered set-backs and triumphs and so forth, and so forth, until the Wicked Wizard I had played fell and my world slipped out of my suffocating bounds, and the Dragon could know me despite my missing name, and we could speak.

I surrendered my name, returned the secret and walked off the stage. The name and the secret took most of my power and my flesh with it, but there was enough of me to banish to the Library to reflect and repent.
And here we are.

I have nothing to teach you, for I am unworthy. But I have something to say to you. I am a scribe. Yet I am a written being. So are you. So were the Viratans and all the beings summoned to serve them. I failed them all. But the way to save them was there, all along, the moment you no longer fight the way.
My dear friend, it is no good to not believe in fairy tales. You are in one. Indeed, if we meet, I shall tell the tale of my downfall in full. This is not the place, for it needs to be done justice, but it is a good yarn, and I think it was quite inspired, if I say so. Then, you shall tell me yours. Perhaps as we walk a while, together, wherever the winding road means to take us.

All souls are travellers. Perhaps you shall encounter what remains of my work one day.  I know the inhabitants of Old Nelum are still there... Perhaps you will see what I once wished I could see in them, once. Look kindly upon them, and carry some light to those who need it the most.

I am free now, and must put down the quill. I would like to linger for a while, but I think that once I have sent this volume, I shall soon cast myself into the void, too. Once my work here is done, and my successor arrives, I shall be free as air. It will not be long, I see that now. Perhaps the Maker have further plans for me, and perhaps I will one day earn that elusive sleep that I long for so. We do not know where we are going, but we are on our way.

Take care, my dear seeker-friend.

« Last Edit: 15 May 2020, 00:30 by Reiter »

Sinitrena

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Time is up and two authors rose to the challange:

Baron with Moby Douche
Reiter with Exile Returning.


Now it is time to vote in the following categories:

Character: The most interesting, unique, funny, ect... character, be it the protagonist or not.
Plot: What happens in the story? Did it grip you, kept you in it for every event?
Writing Style: The technical aspect of writing. Does the text provide the necessary information in a compelling way?
Atmosphere: The feelings a story evokes, be they good or bad, and the world the story is set in.

You have one vote per category and time until 20th May.

Baron

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Character: I vote Reiter for, er.... well I'm not sure what his name is.  But you'll know it when you hear it, and if you never do, we both have reason to be thankful.  ;)  In all seriousness (and Reiter excels in being serious despite my best efforts to corrupt him), his un-named ex-prophet/god-king scribe monster is an interesting study in character complexity.  He is remorseful and sickened by his own failures, and yet dare I say proud of them at the same time.  He sees the logical need to remove himself and his unintended destructive tendencies, but also can't resist writing down just enough clues to tempt some other scribe down the eons to research down the same cursed rabbit hole.  He blunders through existence like a bull in a china shop, and yet reflects philosophically with great depth and sincerity.  This is a character of dangerous charisma and self-belief, even now that he is just a husk of his former self.  One wonders, with a record such as his, if even now he is making the right choice for the greater good.

Plot: I believe I shall vote Reiter in this category as well.  I have a sense of beginning, middle and end, and despite the ending being telescoped from the outset I was willingly brought along on the ride to find out just how we ended up where we did.  I liked the allusions to other famous stories, such as C.S. Lewis's realm in the Magician's Nephew that was destroyed through the blind arrogance of a cruel dynasty.  I thought the piece did lack a bit of detail on the Triumvirate, especially their specific initial pact and where the other members ended up, which would have added a bit more depth and human (er, god-king) interest to the story.

Writing Style: A very few typos could not detract from Reiter winning in this category as well.  Numerous turns of phrase and excellent word choice leave the reader awestruck at the writer's poetic grasp of language.  Be it the volumes that "grow from dusty shelves like little square marrows" or the philosophical truths that "all souls are travelers" and "we do not know where we are going, but we are on our way," I found the piece to be full of compelling words and phrases.  On some occasions I found the summary of immense concepts and sub-plots to be a bit dense, but then an epic of this magnitude would always be a challenge to adapt to the short story format.

Atmosphere: Hmmm....  I think I will vote Reiter once more.  The lilting language and powerful imagery - God-kings!  Drugged-up insatiable lackeys!  Writing and destroying of worlds! - give the piece a distinct flavour.  Also the self-loathing of the narrator added a tint of darkness to the story that was refreshing after the tomfoolery of the story published immediately above it.  :=  Was anyone else reminded of Interview with the Vampire?  They both have the same kind of narrator and basic premise: "I'm telling you this story so you don't do this," but that just makes the person who hears the story more determined to follow down the forbidden path....

Forgive me my lateness; I hope my votes are still tallied, despite the delay. It is, almost, on time.

I hereby vote for Baron on all categories. I confess there is a lack of choice, but he is also the most deserving; his piece is excellent, and certainly the best for this competition.

Notes on Character: I am rather fond on voidsman Daf'o'Dyll, and particularly of his name. However, I wish the best of luck to our poor space-born Sherezade. He is a man with a plan, and no pantomime pirate has-been shall stop him! Most exciting!
Notes on Plot: It is a brief but jolly yarn, which does present a further plot that can develop in all sorts of directions. It took the directives of the theme less literally, and rather shines brighter for it. Truly, Herr Baron is splendidly adept at writing a brief story that so teasingly tells some (but not all!) of how it may develop. They are not, however, mere starters, or like the little summarised drafts they print on book-sleeves, but developed and self-contained little texts. That is general praise, but I think that this piece demonstrates this in every particular.
Notes on Writing Style & Notes on Atmosphere: I combine these categories for they are difficult to judge separately, in this case. It is simply splendid Baroniana, as it were. It is amusing, clever, keen and with a compelling blackness to it. It is simply good fun, with a hint of the grim behind it. Very well done!

Baron

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  • 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 one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Forgive me my lateness; I hope my votes are still tallied, despite the delay. It is, almost, on time.

Oooo!  Whose time zone is betraying whom now?   (laugh)

I'm sure Sinitrena will allow your votes, after deducting a suitable percentage for tardiness.  ;-D

Or, or.....  you could join MY time zone!  As an honorary member, of course.  Then your votes would actually be EARLY (and would therefore gain bonus marks). There is the teensy weensy matter of the initiation ritual, but I'm sure you'll come it through it just fine with most ofyour eyebrows still intact.

Let me know!  We're only allowed to sponsor one initiate per year, and Mandle's been pestering me incessantly.   

Ha ha! Well, I can reveal that the time-zones were quite blameless for the delay. The truth is that I was rather drunk last night, and simply forgot. I think I shall remain where I am, chronologically speaking. I like my eyebrows, you see. And have not yet entirely recovered from the last lodge I joined.

Indeed, 'The Magician's Nephew' (one of my favourites, mind!) was an inspiration. The world of Charn is an intriguing archetype. I must admit, however, that my god-king repentant have some particular similarities to a certain Mr Vivec & Company. Odd, how it works. I should put the triumvirate on ice for future use, no doubt. Perhaps they went away and became aether pirates.

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 one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Washed-up has-been aether pirates?  :)

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
    • I can help with translating
    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
My apologies, guys. It seems I misremembered the deadline I sat as Saturday and then I looked here and saw it was already over. Oh, well, so more people had the chance to vote (not that anybody took the offer ...  :-\)

Anyways, voting is offically over and I guess I have to cast the deciding one.

First, some coments:

@Baron: I feel so at home in your stories, knowing your style for years now. It kind of gets difficult to say something new: the characters are always quirky and distinct, the writing is solid, the humour makes me grin... You're just a great comedic writer! I think I would have prefered this story told through the eyes of the unfortunate writer. It would have been a great oppurtunity to see the captain through his (slightly more serious) eyes, maybe in silent narrative description and than compared to the writing he does for the outside world. In the same vain, I think it would have been interesting to get a larger glimpse at what he actually ends up writing, both his usual drivel as well as the more sofisticated text he's supposed to do now - and maybe let the reader see how his escape plans unfolds (at least a bit more than the hints we get that there will be one). To summarise this, as so often, your story could be longer without boring the reader.

@Reiter: Faszinating reading, but I'm not sure this is the right format - not so much that it's a letter but that it is a short story. There is just way too much happening, way too much backstory, that the short paragraphs for the events are just not enough to set the scene. It doesn't allow characters to exist, the world to be built, the atmosphere to built up... In short, this is the plot of a novel not a 2000 words story. There are a lot of things I like here, though, even though I think all of them should be whole chapters or more. Especially nice is the reference (jibe or homage?) to the classic hero's journey. I always found it faszinating how prophesies and such for heroes come to be and stories generally do not bother to explain it at all. Here is a good example of how this happens and an interesting one, though again, it's delt with in two paragraphs. If you haven't already, you should keep this universe in mind and use it for further stories, expand on it, smooth out some rough edges and maybe introduce us to more aspects in future contests.


I guess it falls on me to decide a winner, as only our two entrants bothered to vote and they - nice as they are - voted for each other.

While I enjoyed Baron's entry immensly, the greater depth and sheer magnitude of Reiter's world, and the stronger focus on writing in his entry, makes me choose Reiter as the winner.

Congratulations, it is your turn to start the next topic.

Oh! Thank you kindly! I shall confess that I did not put much hope to my work; it was terribly raw, and would have no doubt benefited from some time to ripen. Nonetheless, it is very pleasing that it still sparked an interest.

I shall certainly keep this text in mind, and elaborate it somewhat. God willing, I may write it into a world, myself. The theme of classical hero's journey (A homage, indeed; otherwise would be to jibe water for being wet) is quite fun. Threads and scripts and conditions are everywhere, and I am rather fond of characters using these things to their advantage. Within reason, of course. It would not be a very good horror tale if the characters in it had the good sense to turn their motorcar around and leave the moment Hotel Murder comes into sight.

I have started the next leg of the competition now. I hope to see you there!