Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition "SOMETHING PUNCHY" Results!  (Read 1061 times)

Sinitrena

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    • 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!
I am seriously getting worried about Baron...

So am I. That's not like him at all.
Baron, please tell us you're okay!

(As for the competition, I guess we wait a bit longer for Baron and then, if he doesn't show, do an open voting, because we don't have a neutral person to adjudicate?)

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!
I am just gonna post my votes and feedback here, although hidden:

Spoiler: ShowHide


Sinitrena: 6
I must admit that I did think you took the "punchy" writing just a bit to the extreme, and that it took me two readings of your story to really understand what had happened. But, the image of a confused old lady going ballistic on a Christmas Tree salesman is one that will stay in my mind. A great story!

Stupot: 4
I also had to read your story twice through to really understand what was happening. I still wish that the gang boss' name had just been simply "Herb" to distinguish him from the others as their names kept me confused as to who was who at points. I did love the finale that explains the bombastic title. I wish I could have voted 5.3 vs. 4.7 but, sorry, Sinitrena's tale won out just slightly for me.

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!
Thanks for looking out for me, folks!   ;-D   I assure you that any reports of my premature demise are shamelessly exaggerated.  The sad truth is I've been spending most of my spare moments after work at various hockey arenas and shuttling kids between them.   :P

So, on to the voting phase of this comp.  Votes can be sent to me via PM, or hidden in hide tags in this thread, or punched out in Morse code using the hanging chad voting machine out in the AGS lobby (no, it's not a slot machine  (wrong) ), or handwritten in reverse alphabet code and attached to the leg of a homing pigeon (or perhaps an arena pigeon, since I seem to be rarely at home....  (roll) ).   As I'm a bit late I'm sure everyone has already read the stories, so voting will end firmly on Saturday November 20. 

Voting procedure is that you have 10 votes to distribute in whole integers between the participants as you see fit based on how meritorious you believe each submission to be.  As always, feedback in the thread is appreciated by the authors as it help us hone our craft.

Good luck to all entrants!  I'm looking forward to some good reads!   :)

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 everything is okay, mate. I never lost my belief in the Baron as an unstoppable force but was still a bit worried.

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!
I guess having to read twice comes with the style of the writing this time around. I also had to read your stories twice to fully get them.

Mandle:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Some kind of zombie apocalipse, I presume? This husband has a confusing number of children that all don't really matter. If it's ten or two children doesn't really impact the story. I can't say that I like your main character. He seems abusive, though I admit that he's probably in a very stressful situation, so slightly extenuating circumstances. But I probably would like him slightly more if what he tells the children is actually important, but it doesn't feel like it is. His point might be: Kill, even if it is a loved-one. But the way he goes about it? No. And there's nothing more important to tell the children in the last moments of his life, like where the shotgun amunition is, where the food is stashed, how to start the car... I don't know, there's about a million things people need to know to survive, especially children, but the exact circumstances of how one zombie was killed is not one of them. Additionally, he goes about it in the worst way possible, adding to the trauma by being an asshole. Again, stressful situation, so he's probably not rational, but threatening his kids is not going to help, especially threatening them with throwing them out to the monsters. Yeah, I really don't like your main character. As for how the story unfolds - due to the way the character tells his story and how he reacts to the children, I'm missing the element of urgency that should be there. It actually comes across as if he has all the time in the world, making for a rather slow pace of the plot. The writing's good, though, so kudos for that. Actually, overall, I liked the story, in a way, I just hated the husband. (Maybe I was supposed to? I think I was supposed to.)


Stupot:
Spoiler: ShowHide
I like the theme naming you have going on here and the idea of the gang framing their (now) former member is pretty well executed. It's also incredibly stupid from the point of view of the characters. What's stopping Mint from ratting them all out now? (Fear, probably, but the boss didn't kill Mint before, so...) The beginning of the story is good, the ending is good, but the middle gets a bit meandering, especially when they do or do not tell each other jokes. Yeah, I get it, they are waiting, it's boring, but you don't need to bore the reader with bad jokes. That sounds harsher than it is meant to be. But it does feel like you were running out of ideas and depereatly trying to built a stronger connection to the topic. But I think the one with the punch bowl is enough, even though it's not particularly strong.



I'll send my votes in a minute.
Spoiler: ShowHide
For me, it's a small lead for Stupot this time around.



I am just gonna post my votes and feedback here, although hidden:

Spoiler: ShowHide


Sinitrena: 6
I must admit that I did think you took the "punchy" writing just a bit to the extreme, and that it took me two readings of your story to really understand what had happened. But, the image of a confused old lady going ballistic on a Christmas Tree salesman is one that will stay in my mind. A great story!


Spoiler: ShowHide
I think it's interesting you seemed to imagine an old woman. I had a fairly young war veteran in mind, but I guess the text doesn't say either way. And thinking about it, I do like the image of the old lady going ballistic, so I think I'll just change my menatl picture.

I have voted and here’s my feedback:

Mandle
Spoiler: ShowHide
I also didn’t like the husband for most of the story, but I actually enjoyed the twist. I knew there would be some twist as you wouldn’t have just written a gratuitously violent story about a wife-beater without some kind of heel-turn. The When it dawned on me what was actually going on, it didn’t make him much more likable but I did enjoy going back through the story and seeing the clues and double entendres that you had laid out.

Some of Sinitrena’s criticisms are valid, like the amount of detail he goes into in such an urgent situation, but I can understand his desire to drill home the point to his kids. And the story certainly fits the criteria in terms of punching.


Sinitrena
Spoiler: ShowHide
The short, sharp sentences certainly fitted the definition of ‘punchy’ writing but it was a bit too much for me, to the point where it was distracting me from the story.
I couldn’t really get a sense of place, or who was doing what, and where, so I didn’t fully understand it. Perhaps this is the purpose, to reflect the woman’s frame of mind. In which case, that is something to be admired, but on the whole I would prefer to read a more dialed down version.


Thanks both for your feedback on my attempt. It was not my finest work and Sinitrena was spot-on that I just added the joke as a way to pad out the word count. I didn’t think it would be so obvious though, haha.

I take umbridge at that being called a “bad joke” though. Haha.

I’m also aware that it’s unrealistic that they would have gone to so much effort to frame Mint in the way they did, rather than simply bump him off. I thought it was a neat twist, nevertheless.
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2021, 12:11 by Stupot »

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!
Well, it just hit me that I didn't even name our participants in my voting post.  I know, I know, it's a bit of a slap in the face....  Allow me to strike a note of contrition by listing our authors and their works now:

Mandle has written How I Beat You Mother
Sinitrena composed Christmas Tree
Stupot wrote and presumably scored A Fistful of Punch

I thought all of our participants did an excellent job of cleaving to the theme this time around.  Nobody held their punches, so to speak.  In fact, more than once I was thinking "Fewer punches!  We need fewer punches here!"  Which is a good thing, in reverse logic, since it means that your works were punchier than I expected.  ;-D   It's just, you know, the stories hit me hard in my soft pudgy underbelly of humanity.  Next time I think I will set a Somewhat Punchy theme and see if that restores the universe to balance.   ;)

But, we all work with what we are given, so here's my feedback.  No hide tags, since the competition is over:

@ Mandle  Ah, the exasperated dad that never developed parenting skills because, hey, the game is on and someone else can deal with the little monsters.  Basically he's everyone's favourite punching bag, but, y'know, in his own way he's trying to do right by his kids in the few moments left to him.  I think relaying a few more critical survival tips might have been a good idea (like letting the kids know exactly how the condition is spread and how long they have once bitten?), but as previously critiqued I get that he's not in his best frame of mind.  The writing was superb and disturbingly realistic: keeping kids' attention is like herding ants.  Oh, and there was all that punchy gory stuff too.   :)  Great job!

@ Sinitrena  Ooh, flashback trauma!  I felt like this wasn't an uncommon occurrence for Mary and Joseph, which makes me wonder why they weren't a bit more proactive, but maybe I misread the degree of Mary's instability.  I liked Mandle's idea of her being a little old lady, but I didn't get that impression myself (did I miss a clue?).  Yours was definitely the punchiest in terms of writing.  Thoughts were.  Very.  Abrupt.  It took rereading to put together exactly what was happening, but this was part of the challenge so kudos to you for slugging away at it.  Nice story!

@ Stupot  Well, I thought it was a funny joke.  (roll)  Honestly, they are bored in the car and you want to show the simmering antagonism beneath the surface and the story would be too short if you just had the set up and the ending so... yeah, they have to talk about something.  Maybe the joke wasn't the best option, but at least it revealed a discord between characters.  Maybe discussing the last job would be more rewarding as it would slowly reveal how each character felt about it?  But then we run into the danger of bogging down what was meant to be a short, punchy story.  I thought the bowl gag was great, although true criminals could surely find a less expensive way to set poor Mint up (I mean, they already went through all the work of stealing the thing....).  I critique the loose ends because I liked the garment - good work!

And now to the results.  A punchy drum roll would be appropriate at this point:

In third place we have Mandle with 10 points.
Also in third place we have Sinitrena with 10 points.
Finally, we have Stupot in third place with 10 points.

I don't think we've ever all shown up to write, and all we got was a draw.   :=

So it falls to me as contest administrator to choose a winner.  All the works are very meritorious, each with their own slight flaws, and thus they appear to measure up almost... equally.  Oh dear.  Well, I, hrmmm.....   OK, I vote Stupot by the thinnest of margins, mostly because he has not won the competition lately, but also ever so slightly due to his story being a punch above the others.  Congratulations Stupot!  We all look forward to the next writing theme and the new administrative regime which should prove more timely and effective than the last.   ;) 

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!
I take umbridge at that being called a “bad joke” though. Haha.

I just agreed with Sage, that's all.  ;)

No, to be honest, I was tired when I read and re-read your story and I simply didn't get the joke - at all. Now I do, and it's better than I thought.

@ Sinitrena[...]I liked Mandle's idea of her being a little old lady, but I didn't get that impression myself (did I miss a clue?).[...]

As I already pointed out above, I had her in mind as a youngish war veteran. There's one teeny tiny hint as to their age: They have a new apartment and Joseph treats decorating the tree as something they haven't done before (if you squint), implying that they have more room now or are just moving in together - which would hint at them being younger (older people usually (very generally speaking) don't change their traditions too much and don't move into larger apartments). But again, this is the smallest of hints to their age.


Congratulations on the win, Stupot. Looking forward to the next round.
« Last Edit: 21 Nov 2021, 20:29 by Sinitrena »

Well, thanks for the win. I’ll take them however they come.

I’ve got an idea for a new theme so I’ll post the thread shortly.