There is a new version of the forums ready for testing. Please post here if you're willing to help test! We could also use the help of coders!

Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Punch-free edition “Before and After” (Result)  (Read 1894 times)

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!
Spoiler: ShowHide


How was this glossed over? The fence is litarelly right between them as they "dance", they have to embrace like humans because it's between them and they sway from "side to side" not forwards or backwards. It's a deciding factor in how they dance.

Ah!  There it is!  I think if it were mentioned between them it would have painted a clearer picture.  You say in the last line that they danced "above the fence", which made me think they had somehow trampled it to the ground.  It's just a small detail, though.  :)

Quote
How did Hal die? (If he actualy died - "gone" could, technically, also mean that he left)

Detective work often meant being one step behind the scumbags and one step ahead of burnout, as her old partner used to say.  Of course that was before he stuck a gun in his mouth and stopped quipping pithy phrases.

So, yeah, not entirely black and white, but by strong implication he committed suicide.   :~(

I struggled with the revelation at the end.  I didn't like the name on the keys as a device (why indeed would she not know her own name, unless in some kind of daze of amnesia?), but considered that it wasn't clear enough that she was actually working the case of her own death over in her mind without the name to prove that she was herself the victim.  So I guess her identity as Detective Brenner overshadowed her previous life to the point that she began to forget who she really was?  Still not a crisp, clean and clear ending though....  :undecided:

Regarding Detective Brenner's actual demise, it's a subtle detail at the end, but the keys and the gun fall out of her right pocket - Detective Brenner is thus right-handed - and the blood splattered flower petals are to her left: the implication is that she has in fact shot herself.  While most readers can hopefully guess this, I left the clues subtle in the tradition of a proper murder mystery.  Alas, in an attempt to get that impactful ending I was after, there was no time for proper explanation of the clues.  (roll)


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!
Spoiler: ShowHide
Quote
You say in the last line that they danced "above the fence", which made me think they had somehow trampled it to the ground.
I never even considered that one could understand this as them having trempled the fence down.  I struggled with the word 'above' though. I wanted to keep it short, but sometimes a single word is not enough to get the intended meaning across.

Detective work often meant being one step behind the scumbags and one step ahead of burnout, as her old partner used to say.  Of course that was before he stuck a gun in his mouth and stopped quipping pithy phrases.

How did I miss this line? I was convinced it was suicide after the first read-through but the second time around I must have just completely skipped this line. Sorry, it is clear how Hal died, I'm just a bad reader.

Quote
Regarding Detective Brenner's actual demise, it's a subtle detail at the end, but the keys and the gun fall out of her right pocket - Detective Brenner is thus right-handed - and the blood splattered flower petals are to her left: the implication is that she has in fact shot herself.
Which only works if we assume that she never moved in ghost form. The blood is to her left, not to the left of the shoes. Tiny detail, I know. Besides, we don't know if she was shot in the head, in the chest, from behind... (Technically, we don't even 'know' that Yulia is dead until we make the connection to Det. Brenner - Yulia's is a missing persons case, not a murder.)
I actually like my theory that Hal commited a murder-suicide better, simply because it gives Hal more importance to the narrative.

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!
Sinitrena:
Spoiler: ShowHide
 I am on my second reading of your piece as I did not understand the story very well the first time and I think I might have found the early-on moment where I went off-track:

"The young man put his head in his hands and leaned forward. The cheap IKEA table groaned under his weight. „Bed-sheets?“ he said.

The man opposite him stapled his fingertips onto each other slowly and nodded."


The word stapled and the position of "him" and "his" in this sentence made me imagine that the man opposite the young man was slowly stapling, as in with an office stapler, the young man's fingers together and that is why I thought the opening scene was a young man being tortured.

I think the word you were looking for may have been "steepled" and the sentence should read "The man opposite him steepled his fingers together slowly and nodded."

So, on my second read-through, I read on with the preconception that this was a torture situation out of my head:

A small comment on grammar:

"“Well,” Theodore Crain squirmed on the uncomfortable chair that had his massive form wobble over the sides." should be probably "that allowed his massive form to wobble over the sides."

And then, reading on, I was mildly entertained by the rest of the story up until the point where this happened:

"In the end, Alex just stepped forward and brushed a stray hair from Steve’s cheek. With the hand already in position, he pulled him closer. “You’re hot when you’re angry.”

As he knew he would, Steve melted into the touch. “I’m always hot.” he said and planted a kiss on Alex’s lips."


And then after that point I was fully onboard for the two characters as this felt like a really genuine moment between two young people in love with each other. It took me back to when I felt that way as a young man about the person I was in love with, to be honest.

And the flirty and dirty innuendos after that were also a trip down memory lane.

At the end of the day, a lovely little piece about two people completely in love with each other and out on an adventure together.

I also appreciated the subtle moments that hinted at the couple being a bit nervous about their same-sex relationship being a possible matter of conflict in front of the cops, as that is sure to be in the minds of anyone in that situation even in 2021, and also appreciate the fact that this did not lead anywhere bad for them, reflecting the massive leaps in acceptance we have seen over the past decade or so.

Loved it!


I am going to reread the other stories tomorrow and continue this feedback post then.
« Last Edit: 12 Dec 2021, 15:00 by Mandle »

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!
Spoiler: ShowHide
The word stapled and the position of "him" and "his" in this sentence made me imagine that the man opposite the young man was slowly stapling, as in with an office stapler, the young man's fingers together and that is why I thought the opening scene was a young man being tortured.

Who says he wasn't tortured? I mean, just thinking about these awful advertising slogans amounts to human rights abuse, right?  ;)

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!
@Sinitrena   (laugh)  (laugh)  (laugh)

The votes are in.

Crain and Company (Sinitrena1)  5 votes
Flora’s Dance (Sinitrena2)  7 votes
Green Sneakers (Mandle)  7 votes
Partners in Crime (Baron)  11 votes

So the winner is Baron! Well done, sir.

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!
ALL YOUR VOTES IS NOW BELONGS TO ME!!!1!!!!!   ;-D

I mean, uh, thanks for all the votes folks!  I think it would have been a closer contest if Sinitrena hadn't had her votes split over two stories, but I am happy to take my victories however I can get them.   ;)  I will try to come up with a seasonally appropriate theme for the next contest.  Stay tuned!

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!
From a 'I want to win' point-of-view, multiple entries are indeed a bad idea. But I wrote it, so I can at least post it.

Congratulations, Baron, your story was the best for me (including my own).