Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition "ALLEGORY" Voting till May 2  (Read 1838 times)

Baron

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Welcome to the FWC, a writing competition that theoretically takes a fortnight to complete (although, as writers, our ability to keep to strict deadlines keeps the length of the competition constantly in flux  :)).  It plays out like this: you have about two weeks to write a submission on this fortnight's topic, there's a voting period of between 3 and (2 * m) days (where "m" is the Mandle factor), and then the winner sets the theme for the next competition.  All submissions must be on topic and previously unpublished, and technically this is a short story competition, so try to keep your work shorter than a chapter.  It is considered classy to vote if you are a participant, but participation is not a requisite for voting.  Come on in, get drawn in to some amazing stories, and enjoy the word play as we explore this fortnight's exciting theme....

Allegory



An allegory is a story that contains a hidden moral or political meaning - hidden in the sense that it isn't an overt lesson.  The very best allegories become bywords for the lessons they represent.  Think Animal Farm (power corrupts ideals) or Newton's Apple (what is gravity, anyway?).  To be perfectly frank most allegories go swooshing over my head like bats in the night, but I like the idea of some hidden truth somewhere in the stories I read.  So, as a courtesy, please indicate the lesson in hide tags at the bottom of the story, so those of us who are a little slower on the uptake can have half a chance of cottoning on.  :)

Requirements: A hidden lesson or meaning in a short story, disclosed in [ hide] tags [ /hide] (without the spaces) around your explanation at the end of your work.

Deadline: Tuesday April 27 at midnight Hawaii time, unless otherwise extended

Voting:  It is considered sporting to tell the participants how they will be judged.  Voters will be allotted 10 votes each, and may distribute them as whole numbers however they see fit (split 5 and 5, say, or 1 each to all ten participants).  Voters can determine their own criteria for who has earned their votes, but are encouraged to write a brief note giving feedback in order to help us all improve as writers.  Any votes not designated will be pooled and given to the needy (i.e. those who didn't receive votes), so try not to be lazy.  An example: "I vote for story A" gives one of your ten votes to story A, but leaves 9 unassigned votes to be divided evenly (as whole numbers) between story A's competitors.  Thus, if there were three stories, story A would have 1 vote, and story B and story C would have 4 votes each.  You can think of this little yarn as an allegory for reading instructions properly before blundering forward in life.   ;)

Good luck to all participants!

« Last Edit: 29 Apr 2021, 04:56 by Baron »

EjectedStar

  • I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother?
Sand

Never in a million years did Alaine think she’d cross the Kuhran desert, but here she was, sitting on an unforgiving wooden seat watching a never-ending sea of sand dunes pass by her. Two Beranths, massive furry beasts of burden tugged her cart along, long strips of leather ropes strung along their sides and into their collars. Kulail, her sister, sat on the lead beast’s neck, her legs buried up to her knees in its wiry, thick fur.

“Gonna just sulk down there?” Alaine shouted down from her bench seat toward her sister, “I can’t think riding on a Beranth’s neck is the most comfortable way of crossing a desert! Plus,” she paused as she sniffed the air, “it can’t smell too great either!”

“Give it a rest,” the younger girl called back, staring forward and not turning her head, “I’d rather have my back ache and my nose wrinkle than sit next to you for the rest of the trip.”

“You are as stubborn as the beast you’re riding,” Alaine muttered under her breath, wanting to scream it out at the girl, but instead she clenched her fists, bit down on the tip of her tongue and let the moment pass. They had both been through so much in the last few days, their village being raided and its people being scattered like dust in the desert wind, and the urge to fight drained away just as quickly as it had appeared.

Up on the bench seat of the rickety cart, she could spy nothing but harsh blue skies and yellow dunes as far as the eye could see. She slipped the reins of the beasts around a small wooden knob embedded in the bench seat and leaned out over the side of the cart; her hands tight against the sun beaten wood. Sand sprayed away in wide arcs from the large flat skis that kept the cart from sinking into the soft desert sand. She eyed the leftmost ski with distrust, but the wobbly joint that held it in place hadn’t given up the ghost just yet. She pulled herself back into the seat and leaned back with a sigh, staring up into a vast canvas of uninterrupted blue above her.

Never had she thought she’d be separated from her family and the rest of the villagers. The raiders had come in the night, brandishing curved swords, fiery torches and menace in their eyes. Their mother had ushered them out of the back of their tent and off toward the pens where the Beranth were kept. Kulail had been crying into her robes, unable to be comforted and was quickly deposited into the back of a nearby cart while Alaine and their mother secured it to the nearest two beasts. As Alaine reached down to help her mother up onto the bench seat, a raider, swathed head to toe in dark robes appeared from the darkness. Before Alaine could react, her mother flicked the reins, sending the beasts into a surprised frenzy and leapt down and into the man. Alaine strained at the leather in her hands, urging the beasts to stop as she craned her head to look for her mother, but all she could see was a cloud of dust.

“Gonna just stare at the sky and daydream?” Kulail said, pulling Alaine from her thoughts. The girl had turned to look back, her words drenched with purposeful annoyance that only a younger sibling can dream up, “we won’t get to Valeria if you aren’t even going to pay attention.”

“Let me have the barest of breaks, will you?” Alaine replied, sitting up and rubbing her face, which only came away slightly wet this time as she thought about her mother, “it’s a straight shot there from here. We’ll make it, I know we will.”

“You keep saying that!” Kulail yelled, almost shocked at her own outburst, “but how do you know anybody even it made it out of there? What if they’re all dead? What if they won’t ever make it to the rendezvous point and we won’t ever see them again?”

Down in the pit of Alaine’s stomach, she knew the concerns that her sister brought up mirrored her own, but she couldn’t let the younger girl see it. “I just- I just know that they’ll be there. We have to keep going, or else we’ll waste away out here in this godforsaken desert.”

“Never,” the young girl said staunchly, fully turning around to face Alaine, her body rocking back and forth from the animal’s shoulders lifting and dropping beneath her. She had her arms crossed and a stern look on her face, which looked comical as she bounced along on top the large beast.

“Gonna have clarify yourself a bit there, kid,” Alaine said, confused, “Just a second ago you were moaning about everyone being gone and dead and that we won’t ever see them again.”

“Run back what you said to yourself,” the girl said, arms still crossed.

Around and around the words played back in her head and she finally caught Kulail’s intent. “You’re talking about us wasting away out here and-“

“And nothing!” Kulail said, “Never gonna happen. Whether or not we meet them, whether they’re all dead and just skeletons in the sand… you and I are still together. As much as a pain in a Beranth’s side you are, we will make it.”

Desert dunes drifted past, and wetness once again pushed its way out of Alaine’s eyes as she stared down at the rocking frame of her sister. For the first time in days of misery, heat and unending desert, she knew everything would be okay. It would still hurt, if the outcomes that met them at the rendezvous weren’t what she hoped for, but as long as she had her sister by her side, everything would be okay.

“You just get us there, yeah?” Kulail said, turning her body back to face forward, knees sliding through the thick fur of the Beranth beneath her, “that’s what big sisters do.”

Allegory:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Don't stop believin', hold on to that feeling. If you're goin' through hell keep on going, don't slow down, if you're scared don't show it, you might get out before the devil even knows you're there.


Extra Spoiler, Don't Read:
Spoiler: ShowHide
I'm not a huge allegory kind of guy in my writing, but I do like foreshadowing and hiding *stuff*. Read the first word of each paragraph.
« Last Edit: 15 Apr 2021, 08:41 by EjectedStar »

Sinitrena

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    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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Devotion


Two young men enter the temple of their god for the first time and admire the bronze statue in the middle of the sanctuary. Soon, they, as new novices, are set the task to polish the giant feet of the statue.

With vigour, they begin their work, polishing every stain and tarnished bit until it shines bright and divine.

The next day, they are set the same task and so they kneel down on the cold stone and honour their god, murmuring prayers as they do their work.

The next day is no different. One of the novices polishes the left foot, the other the right, united in their service to their god.

And so they keep working, day in and day out, until one of them starts to wonder. He wonders why and what they are learning from this and why they are learning nothing else. Why they don’t learn the rites and the services, why the temple around them keeps moving and they stand still.

After a while, he stands up and does not return and so the second novice wonders as well. But he also wonders if the other novice was so weak and faithless that he would not do the work their god has chosen for him.

Soon he goes to their master and asks: „Master, why do I have to polish the Lord’s feet day and day out?“

The master of the novices looks over his glasses and at the young man and says: „Have I not told you your work? And is it not work that honours the Lord? Is it not obedience that pleases him?“

Chastised, the young man returns to his work.

After weeks of polishing, there is no spot left on the foot that doesn’t shine as bright as the sun, and a clear border to the rest of the leg begins to show. But his orders are to polish the foot and so he obeys.

But when another week has passed, he sees the second novice pray in the chapel and in another he recites the rites of the morning, the first of the seven.

Meanwhile, he still polishes the already clean and shiny foot.

Some more time passes before he returns to his master.

“Master, why -”

“Have I not told you already? The orders of a god are not yours to question.”

And so, again, he returns to his work.

A year later, another novice kneels down next to him and begins to polish the left foot.

“How long have you been here?” the new novice whispers one day, so as not to disturb the quiet of the temple.

“A year.” the first one answers and just receives a moan as an answer.

But the new novice doesn’t stay a year. After a few weeks, he, too, is gone and learns the rites.

And even more time later, his first partner takes his oath, and then his second and then a third novice kneels down next to him.

A third time he goes to his master, then a fourth, then a fifth. The words differ, but not their meaning. It is the god’s will, it is an order.

At some point, he stops asking questions. When the priests pass him, many former novices that polished the left foot, they look down on the right foot that seems slightly smaller now and sigh.

The young man becomes a man, then an old man. And the polished bronze shrinks. After a while, the toes seem to melt into each other, after a while they are not recognizable any more. And still, the old man polishes. His knees long ago crushed, his bones tired and old, he always returns to his duty.

Until his body can no longer get up in the morning and the call to work no longer reaches his deaf ears, until his shaking finger can no longer hold the rag and his legs no longer carry his weight.

Finally, he stands before the great doors of eternity. They open for him, but only slowly. He is not welcomed as an old dutiful servant, as he expected. The souls of the beyond look at him with confusion, and some with pity.

He makes his way through them to find his god and offer his services again. In the middle of the beyond, the goddess holds court. When he reaches her, she does not recognize him.

“WHO ARE YOU?” she asks.

“You do not know me? Was I not your dutiful servant? Have I not followed your orders every day of my life? Have you no use for me now?”

The goddess seems confused but slowly recognition comes to her. “I REMEMBER.” she says. “BUT HOW DID YOU SERVE ME? HOW COULD YOU SERVE ME? WHEN DID YOU OPEN YOUR EYES? WHEN DID YOU USE YOUR MIND?”

The old novice is equally confused. “Did I not follow your orders? I did as I was told! I obeyed!”

Pity replaces confusion and her voice becomes gentle. “WHY DO YOU POLISH BRONZE? AND FOR HOW LONG?”

Spoiler: ShowHide
It is not enough to follow orders. It is not enough to question them. Orders and authority are not inherently wrong, but they can be. It is important to understand them and judge on your own. In other words: No blind obedience but probably not blind disobedience either. (In case it’s not clear: all the novice had to do was go to his master and say that the work is finished, instead of asking questions.)




-------------------------

@EjectedStar
Spoiler: ShowHide
Did you just fricking rick-roll me?  :-\

Baron

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Holy sprint-writing, Bat Man!  Most impressive.  Hopefully we won't wait around for another eleven days only to discover that yours are the only two entries.  :P

Sinitrena

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  • Wheel of Fate
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Wait, I have 11 days left? And here I thought in order to get back on schedule we would shorten this round.  ;) (laugh)

Mandle

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The Jammerston Estate Deal

Richard Jones, "Rich" to his friends (as embarrassingly normal a nickname for his first name as his last name had been) flopped out of the relaxed muscles of the mouse vagina his new mother had birthed him from.
His tiny pink baby-mouse head whipped to the left and the right and, where he was expecting to see the usual faces of Jean (from Accounting, who he hated but was currently fucking on and off) on his left and Greg (who he would still go to war for, as promised, but slightly resented for undercutting him on the Jammerston sewer contract) he saw instead, through his unfocused and mucus-coated tiny mouse eyes, the horror of blurry slimy pink pointy baby mouse faces at once poking their noses against his own pointy face and, at the same time, scrambling away from his own flailing little limbs to climb up the massive edifice of the grey furry belly of the mother mouse to suck the sweet mouse milk from the rows of erect nipples up there that looked, to Richard, as big as the rows of protective bollards outside the headquarter office of "Hard Concre" ... but that memory was already slewing away in his new tiny mouse brain like paint thinner poured over an oil-painting.
"But thaat wasn't eeven the right metaphoor" he thought, as his previously human cognitive functions slewed away as well, "It shhhoooulld haaave beeen thaat the oiiil preeetty piiiicture thiiiing shoould haaave been the focuuuus of the allleeegggoorrr...".
And then, whatever remained of the previous life of Richard "Rich" Jones was gone.
In his simple new mouse brain he thought "HUNGRY! NEED MILK!" but not in letters or words.
He clawed his way up over two other of his siblings still flailing around on their backs at the bottom on the sewage pipe and used their soft bellies as footholds to almost reach his twitching, whiskered pink snout up to the life-giving milk of the massive pink nipple almost within rea....
But, a massive roar of something huge and wet approaching from down the dark round tunnel that he only knew as "home" washed over the towering grey furry cliff of his mother's still swollen belly, himself, and the rest of his mewling brothers and sisters and they were all washed away.
The tiny pinky mouse baby that used to be Richard Jones managed to paw its way up and get purchase on the long white floaty thing washing along with them but then a turn in the pipe came up and tore him away from the potential life-raft and eventually himself, his siblings and his mother all drowned and died.
Jean Wilson finished peeing on the pregnancy test she held between the thighs she wasn't AT ALL happy with and pulled it out and wondered to herself what to do with the next 2 minutes until it showed the result. Greg was still talking with the potential buyers of this "lovely home" on the Jammerston Estate Projects that she wouldn't consider living in even if it was the last home in Heaven. She could hear him through the door of the cramped bathroom and picked up a few words of his spiel like "...dream home for you to have your children in...", and "...a modern sewer system developed by our own..." and then the result showed up on the pregnancy test and it was negative.
Jean breathed out a huge sigh of relief. She thought back to the moment, 2 months ago, when Rich suddenly face-planted on the meeting desk and then slid sideways and landed, face-up, at her feet, eyes wide and staring, one pulled too far inwards towards the nose she used to kiss while they...
"Nope! Not gonna think about all that old shit!", she whispered out loud, confident that Greg and the clients wouldn't be able to hear through the closed bathroom door.
It would have been... "complicated" if the pregnancy test had come up positive. She might have been bearing the child of a man who had died from a massive stroke, or of his best friend, Greg.
But she wasn't doing either. Thank God!
Jean smiled, turned around, and tossed the used test-stick into the bowl of the never-before-used toilet of this shit-hole house of The Jammerston Estate and pushed the flush lever.
« Last Edit: 19 Apr 2021, 12:14 by Mandle »

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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Yup, I'm a hypocrite, a slouch, and a hack.

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
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    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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    • Sinitrena worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Yup, I'm a hypocrite, a slouch, and a hack.

And someone missing part of the rules:

Requirements: A hidden lesson or meaning in a short story, disclosed in [ hide] tags [ /hide] (without the spaces) around your explanation at the end of your work.

And to be honest, I need a little help with your lesson.

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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    • Mandle worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Yup, I'm a hypocrite, a slouch, and a hack.

And someone missing part of the rules:

That's covered under the "slouch" clause I mentioned.

Baron

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Mandle, you inveterate rule sloucher!  I like you.  :)

BarbWire

  • Purify the World!
    • BarbWire worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
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    • BarbWire worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
DECISIONS

In the heart of London, at Westgrove Co-ed School, a new term had begun. The teaching staff, who had arrived early, were hunkered down
in their designated classrooms, busily preparing lessons. Most were slightly apprehensive at the prospect of teenagers, fueled by rising levels
of oestrogen and testosterone, being unleashed upon them. No doubt, they would be a force to be reckoned with. It would be a case of brace
yourself, exude authority and hope for a favourable outcome.

Tilda Martin, immaculately dressed as usual, entered her office, acknowledged her secretary and settled down at her desk, painfully aware
that her days as Headmistress were numbered. She was temporarily fulfilling her duty, by remaining at the helm, until a suitable candidate
was elected to replace her. The position was inherited when the previous Headmaster, Dylan Croft, had unexpectedly resigned. Negotiations
with an overseas counterpart had broken down, leaving him with no other way out.

Saint Julienne Academy had been paired with Westgrove since 2006 and the schools had shared an amicable association. Highly successful
was the student exchange programme, as was a monetary agreement making funds available wherever needed the most. However, the
relationship soured, ten years later, when Saint Julienne began to make unreasonable requests, were dictatorial towards Westgrove and
demanded more money. Dylan Croft had argued, strongly, to continue dialogue with the academy, but following a vote involving pupils,
governors, parents and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, it was decided that all ties with Saint Juliennes would be severed. Unfortunately, the
Academy refused to go, without a fight. Mr. Croft resigned. Some might say very sensibly, others that he had let everybody down.

In her two years as Headmistress, Tilda had been sorely tested. Firstly, she had the unenviable task of continuing the battle to gain
independance for the school. No agreement was ever reached, because Mrs Martin, quite often seen with her Husband in tow, didn't seem
to possess the persuasive powers required for such a task. She often appeared to be awkward and uncomfortable in certain situations. As
if this weren't bad enough, she also had to deal with a pupil running amok, brandishing a lethal looking dagger, later discovered to be
plastic, muttering incoherent gibberish. Also, on her watch, there was a blazing inferno caused by faulty electrics. The east wing was
reduced to ashes. 'Oh, happy days' she thought to herself. 'I can't wait for it to be over.'  So, who would be her replacement?

This subject would be discussed with the pupils at morning assembly, in a few minutes time. The most popular choice, in her view, would be
Brian Jarvis, a former Westgrovian. This young man had a shock of unruly blonde hair, had bucket loads of charisma and was a favourite
with the girls. If anybody could sort things out it would be him. An uneasy feeling suddenly swept over her. Brian would face a far greater
challenge, than she had ever known. Life changing in the extreme. Tilda wished him the best of luck.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Brexit. UKs struggle to leave Europe. Dylan Croft=David Cameron. Tilda Martin=Theresa May. Brian Jarvis=Boris Johnson
« Last Edit: 23 Apr 2021, 11:58 by BarbWire »

Baron

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    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • Baron worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Look's like we've got ourselves quite a competition shaping up.  (nod)

Four more days left if you want a piece of this action!

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
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Mandle, you inveterate rule sloucher!  I like you.  :)

I also like-like you. Good to see another entry! I'm hip-deep in writing my book and also proof-reading and correcting the text of "Dreams in the Witch House.", a soon to be released AGS Lovecraft click-and-point horror-survival game by rongel with multiple paths. And, as it should be with any Lovecraft story, getting the "good" ending is not the goal of the game. There are so many ways to play the game and just as many outcomes.
My mind and sanity is currently blasted today as I crest the wave of about 7,777 lines checked/corrected with still about a third of the way to go according to my scroll bar so I will now just duck off to bed and hopefully not get a visit from Brown Jenkin during the night.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with voice acting
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • Baron worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Alrighty, then!  We've got four marvtacular entries vying for allegorical supremacy!  ;-D  In order of reverse psychology, they are:

Decisions by BarbWire
The Jammerston Estate Deal by Mandle
Devotion by Sinitrena
Sand by EjectedStar

So on to voting.  You will be allotted 10 votes each, and may distribute them as whole numbers however you see fit (split 5 and 5, say, or 3-3-4 amongst 3 participants).  Voters can determine their own criteria for who has earned their votes.  If you think authentic characters are more important than clever wordsmithing, cast your votes accordingly.  If you're an atmosphere kinda gal and all the fellas are serving is comedic dialog, well, you know what to do.  If, say, hypothetically, a judge is a real stickler for strict adherence to the published rules of this competition, then, well... you see where I'm going with this, right Mandle?  ;) 

Any votes not designated will be pooled and given to the less-fortunate, with the proviso that excess unspent votes can not be inherited by a voting contestant's own work.  An example: "I vote for story A" gives one of your ten votes to story A, but leaves 9 unassigned votes to be divided evenly (as whole numbers) between story A's competitors, unless the voter is in fact one of those competitors, in which case the undesignated votes will be divided as evenly as possible amongst the remaining competitors.  Thus if the above voter was author B, story A would have 1 vote, and story C and story D would have 4 votes each (with story B getting no votes). 

A final clause is that the traditional classy move of participants casting votes has been hereto formalised as a requirement for this contest.  Not voting actually means you cast zero votes for an undesignated work, which means all of the other works divide up the 10 votes while yours will receive none (in this case 3-3-3-0).

The idealistic me thinks this system will allow the voting public to award points proportionate to the merit of each work.  The cynical me thinks this system will soon be an allegory for hubris before ruin.  :~(  But, at least we'll have fun watching it all unfold.  ;-D

Voting runs from now until it is no longer Sunday May 2 anywhere on Earth.  Results to be released on Monday.

Good luck to all competitors!  :grin:

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!
Well, let's see how well I can work with this new voting system. To give a clear as possible picture of my thought process, the following coments will have (+1) (-1) (0) or something similar added to them, reflecting the points. Hopefully, in the end I will have an amount that's easily converted to 10 votes total for all of you.

EjectedStar: The story is overall well written (+2) and gives a pretty good sense of the scene we are in (+1). Unfortunately, I don't think it gives off the correct atmosphere: the two girls are far too - what's the best word here? - nonchalant about the whole situation. Yes, they talk about it, there is concern in their words, but very little in their actions. In the beginning, they seem even happy, playful (-1), and thus, the story gave me no small amount of emotional whiplash.Though how you do show their emotional state through small things, like the eyes that are not as wet as before, I do like (+1). As I said, in general, I think the story is well written, but it does suffer from the joke you had to put in. For one, it does not fit the intended tone of a serious story taking place in a serious situation (-1) and for another, it makes for some not so ideal wording, though that is offset by some obvious talent dealing with such a difficulty (0). The supposed lesson is difficult to judge. In the one hand, it might be possible to look at this story in the intended purpose, but I can't say I think it's really what this story is about, not in the literal sense and not in the allegorical sense either. (0) I think one part of the lesson is problematic: if you're scared don't show it Really? That might be good advice when an enemy (in the most general sense) can see you, but among friends? As I don't see this part of the lesson at all in the story itself, I'll ignore it (0).
----------------------> 2 points

Mandle: I like this story, I don't know why, but I do like this weird little tale (+2). But honestly, it left me with far too many questions. I don't know what the Jammerston Estate Deal actually is or why the house is not up to Jean's standards (-1), or what any of this is supposed to tell me (comming back to this point later). I can only assume that the story is not told in chronological order and that the thing that kills mouse-Richard is Jean's pregnancy test, but that leaves me with a strange timeline, because in the beginning it seems like the reincarnation happens right after death (retaining some memories) but then the pregnancy test happens two months later. (0) I always found it a bit weird that women in movies seem to take their pregnancy tests at work or when otherwise out and about. Why would you do this? It's just for comedic storylines thinking the wrong person is pregnant and such shenanigans and doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially when these women also seem too stupid to get rid of a little stick properly. Seriously, throw it in a bin outside if you want to hide the test, that's not rocket science! But this is not really an important part of the story, so that was an unrelated rant (0). Now, what exactly was the allegory here? Rich talks, well, let's say tries to philosophise about allegories, but that leaves the reader at best with a smile but no actual allegory. Sure, you can discern meaning from just about anything, but that would mainly be speculation here. Due to not following the rules (-1) and therefore not providing us with the intended meaning, I'm just at a loss here (-1).
----------------------> -1 points (uuuuuuuuuuups)

BarbWire: Yours is probably the trues allegory of all entries (mine included) in that it clearly tries to mirror the real situation in a different setting (+1). From a technical writing point of view, this story feels rather dry and unemotional. There are certain aspects that get a bit of detail, but overall its a very matter-of-fact tone (0). The focus here is clearly on the attempt to convert a political situation into the school setting, but there's little the setting offers to illustrate the situation or explain it. It doesn't even step away from the largest political aspects of voting, finances and replacements. It's just the same here as in the real world (-1). It's clearly a very detailed transformation though, mirroring the people involved and referring specific events (blazing inferno = grenfell tower fire?; pupil running amok = don't know, honestly, but I'm sure you had something in mind) (+1) but at the same time failing in some very specific details. The allegory in this story puts Westgrove and Julienne at the same level - they are both schools with the same amount of influence and the same amount of rights. But that's not a good mirror for the EU and UK situation. The UK was a member in an organization that has other members with the same rights and influence. It's an overarching organization. Saying that Westgrove, Julienne and XXX and YYY are in the same organization would work here, but them just being partners does not. This is a rather large part of the whole mess, after all (-1).
----------------------> 0 points

Now, how to convert my ramblings and points allocations to actual votes. Hm, it's 10 points overall, so let's start out with giving each of you three, then adding or subtracting what I got above and then see what I have left and need to tweak.

EjectedStar: 3+2=5
Mandle: 3-1=2
BarbWire: 3+0=3

Hey, that works out great! (In case you're wondering, yes, it really did just work out like that, I did not have to go back once and change anything. Lucky.)

Official votes:

EjectedStar: 5 points
Mandle: 2 points
BarbWire: 3 points





BarbWire

  • Purify the World!
    • BarbWire worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • BarbWire worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!

You were correct about the Grenfell Tower fire, Sinitrena. (+10) Go to the top of the class.  :) The pupil running amok was a reference to a terrorist attack,
on Westminster Bridge, though not very obvious.

Baron certainly set us a task with his allegory topic. It is very difficult to try to explain a scenario, in a different setting, without revealing too much or not enough.

Anyway, I will now allot the points:

EjectedStar = 5 points  (I really felt that I was riding in the cart, with the girls, sharing their experiences and emotions. Liked the second spoiler idea, though this didn't influence points.) 

Sinitrena = 3 points  ( Your story was well written, as usual, but didn't really capture my imagination.  I think the novice would have been banished from the order, by his Master, long
                                  before he reached old age, for defacing a precious statue. The Godess would have been pissed, as well.  :-D )

Mandle = 2 points  (Your story was decidedly weird!  You do seem to have a knack for this sort of thing. I'm still not sure what the point of it was. A spoiler would have been nice.)

Voting ends at midnight tonight. Please don't do what Ponch did, last month, and vote after the deadline. Naughty Ponch.  :)



EjectedStar

  • I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother?
Hey everyone!

Almost forgot to log on and vote!  My kiddo and I are pretty under the weather this weekend, and my pregnant wife is doing double duty watching over two mewling babes. Sorry if my responses are short.

Sinitrena: I enjoyed this! Quite well written and I really liked the visual of the bronze foot slowly wearing down into a nub over the decades.

Mandle: This was weird, but I liked it. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions of what the hell is going on. The kind where you curl up one side of your lip and your eyebrow raises when you get to the end of the page... and then you continue on, intrigued. I'm sure someone out there could glean some allegory out of it.

BarbWire: This was well written and packed full of information/references that I'm sure almost all of it flew over my head.  (Most likely because I am very ignorant to the subject matter)

Sinitrena: 5
Mandle: 2
BarbWire: 3

I had been hoping to take part but wasn't able to come up with a satisfying allegory.
I was able to read all the entries, however, and if you'll accept my late votes, here they are.

I have no special criteria for allocating points, so I will just rank them and give some thoughts about each one, and give  points based on the rankings (1+2+3+4=10, so it works out well).

EjectedStar I really liked this story. The flashback scene was particularly heartbreaking. I got the sense that the girls had been travelling for a very long time but was unsure how long, perhaps this could have been specified. I genuinely hope they reach Valeria. (3 points)

Sinitrena This was my favourite. This one reads like a proper old-school parable and I really liked the message. You feel sorry for the guy just wanting to do what he's told for acceptance but also feel that he's a rather pathetic. I might read this story back again every time my wife asks me to do the vacuuming. (4 points)

Mandle - This was a delightfully weird story. It's a good spin on the concept of reincarnation. I didn't really like the characters though. Especially the woman, her attitude stinks and she basically kills this guy twice, haha) (2 points)

BarbWire - This was a clever analogy for Brexit and I liked all the little touches about UK politics of the time. But it feels more like you are laying out the situation rather than telling a story. I think you would be better off choosing a particular scene from Theresa May's tenure and retelling it as a little tale, using all the other details as background information. (1 point)


There are my votes. I hope they count.

I liked that all the entries were a little bit more bitesized this month. One of the things that has put me off entering and/or voting in recent times is that the other stories can be quite long and the TL:DR sets in. This says more about my own laziness (and genuine lack of time, sometimes), but often those walls of text are off-putting.

Some writers don't want to be limited and I'm not suggesting to stifle them, but I wonder if the occasional (like once every two or three competitions) could include a tighter word count limit. This might encourage a few more people to join in. Just my deux centimes.


Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with voice acting
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • Baron worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Baron worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Guh, tired.  I will wrap things up tomorrow.  Sorry peeps.

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Mandle worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Glad everyone appreciated the weirdness of my tale. Hopefully it sticks with you. I barely remember writing it myself I was so drunk. I'm sure it meant something though, or possibly not. At least a 50/50 chance of either.