Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results  (Read 1585 times)

Sinitrena

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The main part just seems missing, though. We never even learn when Edward was taken or what it is he can do (what does "fix him" mean - we never get an answer) or how he ended up back with his father.

Cheers for the comment! I'm not sure what you mean here, however. I would be interested to hear why you thought Edward had been separated from his real father at some point before the fateful night in the motel room. It could be a flaw in my writing that misleads people to think that.

To avoid spoilers for everyone:
Spoiler: ShowHide
It was mostly small things, but my first thought in the heart-attack scene was that they were criminals on the run, even though that didn't match the characteristics of Jerry up to this point. Then, this line “He was gonna cry. He was under the spotlight and caught by the men from "The Cave", but he was still gonna cry.“ is probably what made my thoughts go in a different direction, albeit subconsciously. Thinking about it, “the cave“ just seems like a name for a place you know, you are familiar with, you have been before. And this seemed to fit with everything else; and it seemed confirmed wheb the secret agent (or whatever) said that Edward had escaped from an insane asylum. Granted, this guy pretty much screams villan and therefore what he says is not trutworthy, but it didn't contradict anything either, in the sense that it's close to what I thought was going on (but judging by your post was mistaken about) and therefore a good lie for an antagonist in this situation, if you know what I mean. Add to that that he can actually describe Edward, even though he didn't see him in the motel room, and the pretty large time jump between the beginning and the scene in the motel - everything seemed to fit.
I don't think one has to come to the conclusion I did, but I don't think it's very far fetched either. I assume it gets clearer in the rest of the story? Having it a bit unclear at that point is not necessarily bad.

I haven't read any further yet, will probably do so tomorrow.

And get well soon!

Mandle

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Ahhhh, cheers for the info. I will make a note to check for that when I do the next draft in a month or more.

I’ve voted. It’s really hard assigning points but what’s done is done. I’ll try to give a couple of comments if I have a moment. But for now just to say that Mandle’s story is worth seeing through to finale, it is absolutely bonkers.

WHAM

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Votes are cast, and just in time, I think. Damn near missed both deadlines this fortnight!

Stupot

Short, sweet and very effective. I feel there is room to tidy up the writing a little bit, smooth out things here and there for better flow, but the concept is very good!


EjectedStar

I feel the deadline of the contest gnawed at this tale toward the end. Just a little bit, though, giving it a rushed quality that sets it apart from the earlier parts. From a sickening start to an equally sickening finish, I found this tale a good read that seems to draw from a whole host of classic inspirations.


Sinitrena

Wholesome daemons? What slimy, sickening adorableness is this!? It reminds me of a Lovecraft themed webcomic callsed the Unspeakable Vault of Doom, with how the two worldviews are depicted and mixed. I like it!
I see we both could use a proof reader, though: 'Too much rows of teeth..' and '..hollered and jump towards him..' :) These only seem to come up toward the end of the story, so perhaps a looming deadline struck here as well?


Mandle

I'd need that extension to read all of this, but here is what I can say: I want pecan pie...
Beyond that I can't say much. I'm a little bothered by the frequency of F-bombs for some reason, possibly because of the way the story involves kids, but other than that it's an impressive effort for a fortnight.


As for my own little story
Spoiler: ShowHide
I was too lazy, left writing too late, and had no time for my usual routine of begging a friend of mine to read my work and point out issues before I put it up here. I should have fleshed out the tale more, possibly with a small flashback into the past of the Red Velvet Lounge to show how the three mobsters came to strike a deal with the band manager, believing that nothing could be worse than their 'boss' from back then. But, as the tale shows: a magical big band of the undead controlled by a wizard CAN be worse, after all!

This story was actually heavily inspired by a song I came across a while ago: Mr Pinstripe Suit by The Big Bad Voodoo Band.
Wrongthinker and anticitizen one. Pending removal to memory hole. | WHAMGAMES proudly presents: One More Fathom!

Sinitrena

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Sinitrena

Wholesome daemons? What slimy, sickening adorableness is this!? It reminds me of a Lovecraft themed webcomic callsed the Unspeakable Vault of Doom, with how the two worldviews are depicted and mixed. I like it!
I see we both could use a proof reader, though: 'Too much rows of teeth..' and '..hollered and jump towards him..' :) These only seem to come up toward the end of the story, so perhaps a looming deadline struck here as well?

It did, indeed. (Especially because I wrote a different story in the first week, got about halfway done, then switched to this one. My muse is annoying.  >:()

Mandle: I've read the whole story now. Great, just great.
Spoiler: ShowHide
It went in some unexpected directions and I loved it for it, the ending is amazing. I'd have my doubts people would actualy be on Edward's side after this display of... let's call it, ...gore. Yes, he's famous now, but liked? Wouldn't people (at least most) be more on board with getting this "thing", this "monster" off the street?
There are some questions that remain (or were added) with the whole story, though I don't think they take away any of the enjoment this story brings and are mainly background things: How come this drug was used in the first place? What kind of being is The Controller? (I guessed vampire or alien) Why does the government work with this being? And on a different topic: Could Edward create clones with his talent, as in create a new person while the original still exists? I would assume so.
Overall, the story as a whole is much better than just the first part, from a storytelling point-of-view. From a technical one, it was always good, of course.
I do wonder, though, how close to the word limit were you with the first part? Because I think actually adding the explanation of what "fix it" means  into this part (as in, the whole thing with the magic trick) would have made it better for the contest here, it would have made it feel more complete and not ending on a kind of cliffhanger.

Baron

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And that's that, folks!  I'm sure glad I didn't have to choose a winner this time around -Sheesh, that was a hecka good writing!  In the end, three stories were virtually tied for first place, and a fourth one probably could have made its way up there if the voters could consider it in its entirety instead of just the first (and in my opinion, weakest) part.  Great job everyone!

@ Stupot - The writing was solid (I especially liked the admiring but not admiring the decor bit), but it's the concept that really carries this story.  Both the idea of a psychic/magician who helps people retrieve their lost memories, but also the plot of the reasons for the the Smiths' fates.

@ EjectedStar - Beautiful descriptions of vomiting make for a great story hook!  ;-D  I loved reading about the necromancy learning curve, but as other readers have pointed out the last part of the story felt too rushed.

@ Sinitrena - The way my kids play with our cats, you'd think they were demons from the other side, complete with the claw marks on the floor as they are dragged into cuddle hell  (roll).  A fun concept, and well executed!

@ WHAM - I think the story has potential, but like other readers I was confused as to who was who.  I was also a bit confused at the band manager's motivation: what does he get out of lesser attendance at the lounge?  Or is he trying to bankrupt the joint so he can take over entirely?  Voodoo jazz zombies aside, something just doesn't fit....

@ Mandle - Full disclosure: I was just going to read the first part of your story, but the writing kept dragging me deeper in, and I'm glad I went along for the ride.  I'm a little confused at what Edward gets out of going public, especially as his main motivation seems to be to kill the Tall Man (whom, as far as I can read, he never meets or has any knowledge of).  Also the Rocky Mountains are EAST of Nevada (I think you mean the Sierra Nevada Mountains between the desert and California, although I don't remember a lot of farm fields between southern Nevada and LA....).  But otherwise it was really a top notch story, with the farm couple's personalities being my favourite part.  My only real disappointment is that you don't weave this kind of magical story spell every competition....  (wrong)

So, on to the votes.  Here's how it played out in the end:

WHAM got 5 votes.

Mandle got 8 votes.

Sinitrina and Stupot each got 12 votes.

...and EjectedStar got 13 votes, an oft-hexed number replete with ill-omens and darker tidings!  8-0  I hope this doesn't bode ill for the next exciting instalment of the Fortnightly Writing Competition, which EjectedStar must now conjure out of the ether.  :=  Congratulations on a hard-fought and well-deserved victory, EjectedStar!

EjectedStar

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #26 on: 18 Jul 2021, 07:00 »
There was some great competition this time around, and I was surprised I eeked out a win. Thanks everyone, I really enjoyed the other entries and their creativity. I can't believe we didn't get a Harry Potter-lite in there!

Here are some of my quick thoughts:

Stu - This was some great writing, all the dialogue flowed really nicely and felt distinct.  Honestly not much to complain about here.  I didn't like parenthesis within a narrative fiction piece, but that's just nitpicking at this point.

Sini - My favorite of the bunch.  I love the dark magic and concept, the differing viewpoints, the depth at which you described the ritual. *kisses finger tips* Magnifico! I think the only issue I had with it was the insertion of the differing viewpoint *within* the story, which deflated the experience of the Magician somewhat. My personal preference would have the demon bits after the story and getting that whole "Ohhhh!" moment.

Mand - This was long and had no magic!  Well, at least the first piece that I've read so far, and apparently with such glowing reviews, I'll have to make some time to read through! I really enjoyed the Kid and Dad parts, but was less endeared toward the yelling redneck couple, but then again, I've only just grazed the surface. I did just read the part about the 'magic trick' and all the blood, and now I'm intrigued.

Wha - Oozed atmosphere. I could smell the smoke wisps in the air, the clinking of whiskey glasses, and all I could imagine were the 'weasels henchmen' from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Unfortunately a lot of the 'deal/magic' was implied and we didn't get enough meat to the story.

Life and D.K. was my first attempt at first person storytelling in something like... a decade? So, hope it turned out alright. Definitely tried to get a little deeper into descriptions than I usually get.  I guess the tonal shift from necromancy to court intrigue was a little too sudden and I should have continued on with more of the singular musings of D.K. rather than going off into another direction. Sinitrena, the nod toward the kiddos from the previous story was definitely intentional, I wrote an entire novel about those two and their magical plights, so I might as well slip them in occasionally. Haha, the ol' 'EjectedStar cinematic universe'.

We shall commence with the next FWC on Monday, once I wrack my brain for a fun premise. I am a bit sad that Baron was the host this week and we didn't get to see him write about some weird magic system!

ALAKAZAM!

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #27 on: 18 Jul 2021, 14:13 »
Congratulations, EjectedStar!

Out of curiousity, did anyone bother to read the upside-down text or did you all jump right to the easier to read version?

See you next round.

Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #28 on: 18 Jul 2021, 15:48 »
Out of curiousity, did anyone bother to read the upside-down text or did you all jump right to the easier to read version?
Congrats EjectedStar. I look forward to your next theme.

@Sinitrena. I read the upside down text with little difficulty. There were only a few times I got hung up and had to look more carefully to work out a word. And occasionally my eyes saw an entirely different word than was actually written. Very cool idea but I’m glad it was just a short story. A whole book like that would drive me loopy.

WHAM

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #29 on: 18 Jul 2021, 23:25 »
Out of curiousity, did anyone bother to read the upside-down text or did you all jump right to the easier to read version?

I gave up on the upside down text after the first line of it. Would have worked much better if I had the text in a physical medium and could easily turn the page, but on screen it was a royal pain in the arse.

@ WHAM - I think the story has potential, but like other readers I was confused as to who was who.  I was also a bit confused at the band manager's motivation: what does he get out of lesser attendance at the lounge?  Or is he trying to bankrupt the joint so he can take over entirely?  Voodoo jazz zombies aside, something just doesn't fit....

A clumsy attempt at 'show, don't tell'. Did you notice that aside from the undead band, the patrons were changing as well? I wanted to imply that the manager was using them, enchanting their minds with the music so that they return to be bled of energy, their minds made pliable for him to control and manipulate. Such was his reputation, and his effect. I didn't want to just give that explanation out in the story, since it felt like explaining it too much would break immersion, as we were viewing the story more from the viewpoint of the three unnamed mobsters, not the band manager. I wanted him to stay something of a mystery.

Wha - Oozed atmosphere. I could smell the smoke wisps in the air, the clinking of whiskey glasses, and all I could imagine were the 'weasels henchmen' from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Unfortunately a lot of the 'deal/magic' was implied and we didn't get enough meat to the story.

Considering how much I love that movie, the weasels may well have been a subconscious influence, but I think I mostly drew my mental image of them from an episode of the 90's tv show Millennium. They could really have done with more character, though, and in hindsight I regret not giving them proper names in the story. Not sharing their names was intended to show how well the three knew each other, how they were reconizable as individual parts of an organization by their traits rather than names, but again: this fell short due to crude storytellin on my part.

Live and learn.

Congrats on the win, EjectedStar, and I look forward to the next contest! I'll have more time now that I'm on my summer vacation, so hopefully I can do better!
« Last Edit: 18 Jul 2021, 23:31 by WHAM »
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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #30 on: 19 Jul 2021, 03:54 »
So here are a few thoughts I had about each story. Not much that hasn’t been said already but anyways…

EjectedStar I loved the idea and you managed to create some vivid images in my mind with your descriptions. What you have here though is an epic fantasy saga summarized in few paragraphs. I would read the hell out of this exact story if it was given the page count required to tell it fully.

Sinitrena Maybe I was sucked in by the novelty of the rotated text but I chose this as my favourite. I loved the idea of the misunderstood demons who just want to play. I thought that would make a great concept for a manga and/or anime.

Mandle Part 1 had some solid world-building and set-up for the rest of the story. On it’s own I couldn’t choose it as my favourite, but I was glad I read all four parts because it really paid off, and then some. I’m very much looking forward to the next draft.

Wham The writing style was very cool and you managed to paint a vivid picture of the bar.  You also managed to create good tension between the three wiseguys and the band manager. But I didn’t really understand exactly what was going on. I also feel that the three men could have been condensed into one, maybe two if you really needed the dialogue to drive the first part.


Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #31 on: 19 Jul 2021, 04:47 »
Out of curiousity, did anyone bother to read the upside-down text or did you all jump right to the easier to read version?

I read the text in the upside-down version, but I did struggle with the names/named-things in that format.

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition "MAGIC" Results
« Reply #32 on: 20 Jul 2021, 07:53 »
EjectedStar I loved this story and picked it as my number one. Stupot already said pretty much everything I was gonna so screw him. I really felt like I was along on an epic journey of years with the main character. The twist at the end that he was a member of the royal court was very unexpected and very welcome. The incestuous feelings he has towards his sister was a great device to make the anti-hero even more unlikable, but it also makes sense in the setting of a royal family. Loved this piece from start to finish and it also doesn't hurt that Bruce Campbell vs. Army Of Darkness is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Sinitrena I didn't read the story with the upsidedown text but I DO agree that this device would work well in a physically printed book. Especially because it would just be really funny to watch someone reading a book and turning it upsidedown every now and then. That would get me intrigued about what they were reading. I had a thought today that the upsidedown bits could start at the back of the book and the right-ways-up bits start at the front, with "Turn to page 89" comments sometimes to go back and forth and then the texts meet up in the middle and go... I dunno... Sideways for the finale?!
This was my number two pick as I loved the misconceptions on both sides of the situation. Works quite well as an analogy for many relationships in the real world. Also beautiful writing.

Stupot This was the first story I read and it left a huge impact. If the characters had been given a bit more time to develop then this would have been my number one pick. But, seeing as this is kind of an outline for your book, you are very much sniffing up the right crack, mate.

Wham This piece felt to me like one of those scenes from a David Lynch movie that draws you in but leaves most of the questions unanswered. And this is in no way a bad thing! I LOVE that shit! I did find it a bit confusing at the end as to what was happening so maybe don't be nervous to throw the reader a bone now and then with what might feel like hackneyed "stage directions" from the writer. Just a mention here and there in the traditional style of where people are and who they are can work magic even when the piece is minimalistic in style.

I LOVED all the stories on this outing. Thanks for the feedback on my own, everyone! It was my intention, once I knew the story was exploding out of the constraints of one post, to just post it in parts (despite some excellent advice from Baron via PM) and test to see if anyone would want to keep reading just out of curiosity and not out of obligation.
Baron himself, probably made me smile the most by saying that the writing drew him in and made him keep reading to the end even though he hadn't intended to.
Could any writer ever need a better compliment than that?
Thanks also to Sinitrena and Stupot so far for reading through to the end. Your feedback was appreciated and valuable and you will all get a mention in the "Dedicated to" page if I can ever get it published for real.
« Last Edit: 20 Jul 2021, 07:56 by Mandle »