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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » I am in a bad mood: Entries, Votes, & Crits

   
Author Topic: I am in a bad mood: Entries, Votes, & Crits
axeminister
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Format:

Entry #

[ b ] Title [ / b ] (no spaces)

Your properly measured 13 lines

http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000004;p=0&r=nfx

[ June 27, 2012, 04:04 PM: Message edited by: axeminister ]

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axeminister
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Entry # 1

The Other Side

Michen sighed. He glanced right, then left, then forward into the nuclear stricken distance. He had no idea why his ancestors had decided to blow up their only home, but that was none of his concern. He had a mission to complete. Lives depended on his crossing the war torn road ahead.

This was, and never had been, an easy task for a chicken.

Michen hoisted his backpack into a more comfortable position and frowned. The only thing that could sour his mood further would be if the sky opened up and dumped that damned acidic rain on his feathers. Oh sure, he had the medical supplies to deal with an acid shower, but he was instructed not to use them on himself. They were for the eggs.

The supposed eggs. Michen argued there was no way they'd survived...

[ June 22, 2012, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: axeminister ]

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RoxyL
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Entry #2

Friznyland!

Good! [Smile] , Bev texted one thumbed. Her other hand gripped the wheel. Of course it was good. She’d saved up for years waiting for Bella to be old enough to enjoy Friznyland, just the way she had when she was eight. She glanced in the rear view mirror.

“Jack, please be a good boy and stop adhering jellybeans to your sister’s face.” (It was so important to introduce a rich vocabulary at a young age) Jack stuck his tongue out in that way that was adorable at three, not so much at ten.

Friznyland, the funnest place on earth! They’d lasted half an hour and almost through Jack’s Cocolicious shake before it ended up on Bella’s head. At least her tears were cleaning off her cheeks. Bev set the phone down and used both hands to steer. My, her knuckles looked young and smooth when they were so white.

[ June 26, 2012, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: RoxyL ]

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Rhaythe
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del

[ June 24, 2012, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: Rhaythe ]

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Brendan
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Entry #4

Day of Fury

“Get back in here!” Jesse glared at his son, trying to laser print urgency into the teenage skull. “Can’t you hear the alarm, Gavin? Take Gracie and get into the bunker. Now!” Jesse turned and looked to the sky, clear and blue, hoping it would remain.

“Another drill?” Jesse could just hear Gavin’s murmur. “Why? The aliens are years gone.” Jesse strained to ignore it, but mentally noted it for later. He turned back, only to see Gavin grab his younger sister, nearly jolting her arm out of socket.

“’Nuff!” he roared, and then stepped forward, puffing up his chest and preparing to clip the insolence out of him. But Gavin just managed to stay out of reach, cringing against the wall. Then Gavin pointed back past Jesse, eye's whitening, terrified.

“Spaceships.”

[ June 26, 2012, 11:15 PM: Message edited by: Brendan ]

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rabirch
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Entry #5

Out of the Mists

Sweat plastered loose wisps of hair to Ami's face. Her dropline's rough surface bit into her waist, leaving angry welts as she dangled high in the mist-shrouded canopy.

Falling was bad enough. Falling when she left without telling anyone where she was going would forever bar her from the hunter's path, at best. At worst, she'd leave her skeleton as a totem offering to the jungle. She blinked back useless tears.

A brilliant blue skava flitted out from behind a curtain of fragrant orchids. The ruby feathers hidden on the underside of its wings flashed with each beat.

Ami grabbed for her net--the one that had spun down through the mists like a dead leaf when she hit the end of the dropline.

[ June 27, 2012, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: rabirch ]

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MattLeo
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Entry #6

The Ingrate

"Congratulations, Mr. Plimsoll," the voice on the phone said. "You've been awarded one of our annual fellowships."

"Just who the hell are you?" I demanded.

"Dr. Gallucci, from the MacArthur Foundation," he answered.

I hung up on him.

The phone immediately rang; it was my secretary. "Mr. Plimsoll, Ms. Alba called again. She needs to know whether you'll be free to escort her to the Academy ceremony."

"Ms. Paine I told you I am not to be disturbed. Put one more call through and you'll be looking for a new situation!" I slammed the phone down on her. What a day this was shaping up to be.

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pdblake
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Whoops - duff post.
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pdblake
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Deleted - the goal posts seemed to have been moved and I don't have the time or inclination to write something new.

[ June 27, 2012, 02:55 AM: Message edited by: pdblake ]

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Owasm
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Entry #8
Scryer

I wanted to kick the cat.
I wanted to kick the dog. But those teeth can go through my $150 trainers. I wanted to kick my partner in the butt, however the threat of fighting 260 pounds of lard and muscle even got through to me.
On the one hand, our last case had been taken away from us. “Political, needs a lighter hand, Henry,” the captain said. “Besides there’s no call for a scryer.”
Scryer. The word made me grunt. So I could sense things, pictures, words, deeds. Some of the guys called me ‘Blood’ for bloodhound.
On the other hand, the world really sucks when your ultra-unique talent tells you your girlfriend’s cheating.
So I settled on the cat.

[ June 22, 2012, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: Owasm ]

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snapper
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Entry # 9

Temper Tantrum

Queen Commandant Rox Ye L. slammed a fist into the console. “The Earthlings did what?”
The communications serf cringed. Rox Ye relaxed all six fingers.
“Madam, you wanted me to convey a message to as many natives as possible, so I did. I sent each Earthling a ‘text’ and ‘tweet’.”
“And?” said Rox Ye. “Do they not understand?”
The serf bowed low. “I do not know, Madam. They blocked us.”
She stood. The entire bridge crew dropped to all fours and pressed their foreheads to the floor. Soon this entire planet will be doing the same for me. She needed make an example for their insolence. A city, but which one? A cultural center, one filled with the creative and brilliant. Only one fit the bill.
“Destroy Salt Lake City.”

[ June 25, 2012, 02:11 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Tiergan
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Entry #10 (Assuming that Snapper cleans up his act and puts Entry #9 back in)

I Had a Bad Day


“I had a bad day. The camera don’t--”

Crack! Crack! I fired the gun, shattering the radio into a thousand pieces and sending my former band-mates diving for cover. “What the Hell do you know about a bad day? Me M&M’s man, the bitch, she didn’t take the brown the ones out." I turned for the door. "Try being kicked out of your own band. The one you started and worked twelve hours a day on.”

Liam peeked out from behind his bass drum. “Getting stoned and playing Iron Man over and over isn’t work, you jealous prick!”

“Screw you! There’s magic in my music. Magic!”

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Shaygirl
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Entry #11

Paradigms and Paragons

Gregory fell, along with the painful realization that his current best friend was a flop. He had been fighting this conclusion throughout breakfast, but it was time to be brutal. He could ignore Luke’s hood and cape, the raspy voice. He could even forget the scythe, and the fact that it called to him whenever he walked too close to it.

But that became impossible when the first ghost arrived. The screaming and swearing made it just too difficult to ignore. The spirit swarmed around Luke’s head, spit flying in flecks of blue as it shrieked. Luke flicked his scythe, effectively slicing the spirit in the middle of a particularly nasty phrase.

“Sorry about that. The damned are always a little feisty going down."

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shimiqua
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Entry # 12

For Sale

In truth, I should be in a good mood. We finally got an offer on the house.
The whole time I lived in this house, I hated it. I felt poor in this house. I eyed those expensive houses a few streets up, celebrating the day when I would be free of this anchor dragging me down.
This day.
Now that I'm free, I remember the memories we made here, the lives we aren't getting back.
I love my house, and now it's not mine.

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Utahute72
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Entry 13

A Dragon Tail

Sir David brought his horse to a stop and dismounted. He walked slowly over to the pile of spoor in the middle of the road and kneeled down to examine it.
“Oh ****”, he muttered, “Dragon Crap”
Squire Reece had dismounted and was holding both horses. He leaned in to examine the pile, then commented, “Well, Sire, you wanted a quest. Looks like this quest found you.”
Sir David looked up and gave Reece a crusty look. “If I’ve found a stinking dragon, I’ve found a quest for both of us.”
Reece grimaced, “Well Sire, I'd rather you found a pint and a Wench.”
“Of course you would. Younger pups like you are always full of piss and vinegar, until there’s real work to be done. Well this time you’ll have to earn those pleasures.”

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axeminister
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Votes:
1st = 8
2nd = 2
3rd = 12
HM = 13
Title: Paradigms and Paragons

Entry 2
I'll assume your name is avoiding copyright. =)
I had a little confusion with the her and she in the early going.

Then a slightly jarring experience with Friz being the funnest place on earth, them lasting - the shake being dumped - then back in the car again.

Lastly, I didn't see the bad mood much. Other than the kids getting on her nerves, but she's texting with kids in the car, so that puts ME in a bad mood.

Entry 4
The mood here seems to be anger, which I can understand from a parental point of view when a kid isn't listening, but then we get real serious with the arrival of spaceships.

I wouldn't mind an adjective or two more in this piece. I'm thinking the bunker. Does each family have one? The town's bunker? City? This would give me more of an idea where I assume the story is going to take place.

Entry 5
I'm not entirely familiar with what a dropline is, but that's my problem, not the story's. However, I'm trying to figure out if she hit the end of the dropline, where she'd go next?

Regarding mood. Bad. (I mean, good use, multiple reasons.)

Loved the totem line.

Can't entirely picture what's going on, but that might be my lack of knowledge again. See what others say.

Entry 6
I see the bad mood here, but I'm missing why. Sounds like good news? Harsh to the secretary, which is good characterization. Just need the motivation.

Entry 8
Owasm, you should enter some micro fiction humor contests. You have some great final lines in these. Lots of your world revealed here, and good tension from multiple fronts. Bad mood fully explained and understood.

Entry 9
Not really sure how to crit this one. [Razz]

Entry 10
Someone didn't take out the brown M&Ms? Is this a diva throwing a fit? Not sure why the MC is jealous. I think the camera don't-- line needs to be finished for me to understand what the rage is about.

Entry 11
I've got some POV confusion on this one. Plus, the scythe called to Luke when he came near, then he uses it to kill a ghost?

Interesting title tho. Not sure how it connects yet, but hints at a larger story.

Entry 12
Personally, I can identify with this one. I hate where I live, and may actually miss it when I move. I'll have forgotten the day to day reasons for my discontent and remember the broad strokes, such as the sunny, 72 degree, slightly windy days like today.

Not sure what lives the MC is referring to that won't be getting back. Seems important to know.

Mood might be more melancholy than bad tho, but you get points for tripping my heartstrings.

Entry 13
Let me suggest switching the order of the **** and crap. Sounds stronger that way IMO.

Definitely see the bad mood here, but the MC wanted a quest, so I don't see too much of a foul mood because I don't know exactly how rough the dragon hunt will be or what it entails.

Reece seems like he should be in a worse mood than the MC because he's not getting his pint.

Axe

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Owasm
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The openings were satisfyingly different. I liked most of them.

Votes:
1st Place: #11 Luke's force leads me on
2nd Place: #1 Clever, clever
3rd Place: #13 Best voice

Title: The Other Side (It matches the entire opening.)

Entry #1 I read this until the rain and the feathers hit and then sat back and enjoyed the ride. Very funny, very subtle until the end. This is a good 13, however I didn't really get a feel for the bad mood. You shouldn't have had to talk about it. Good hook. This would be my number one, but I don't think the joke would be sustainable.

Entry #2 This is more about restrained frustration rather than a bad mood. It is certainly a vignette one can relate to, but I can't say there was much of a hook or a reason to read on.

Entry #4 Fear is not a bad mood. This opening seemed to be more complex than it needed to be. There are three principle characters being introduced and it seemed to clutter up the opening, getting in the way of the anticipation of terror. I also didn't get a good sense of the relationships. The hook certainly would drag me to the next page, but I'd remain a bit confused when I got there, seeking clarity.

Entry #5 No bad mood, but almost poetic. NIce imagery, but I didn't understand enough of what was going on at the end. At the end of her dropline, she grabs for a net, but I don't know what it's going to do. Maybe my point of reference isn't strong enough here.

Entry #6 Bad mood, certainly. We don't have any idea why. I think the last sentence defuses the tension that they guy is building up. Something like 'can't they leave me alone!" would work better. I don't know why Ms. Alba is calling multiple times. Is it Jessica Alba and are those the Academy Awards? It seems to be Plimsoll's lucky day, yet I just don't understand why he's upset, other than the fact he's upset. Maybe a hint of an inciting incident would help.

Entry Whoops and Deleted. Seems incomplete, yet the frustration is clear. The MC is definitely in a bad mood and has given up. I'd read on.

Entry #9 This is cute *pinches cheek of writer* However I get the anger, but I don't get the motivation. Without the motivation, this doesn't quite become substantial enough. BTW, I live in Salt Lake City and that reason for her example is all true.

Entry #10 I could hardly get through 'The camera don't' since it doesn't seem like adequate English. It put me off. Maybe it's a popular song and I am oblivious to the lyrics. I can get the bad mood. I would have liked to see a bit of real magic if there is any. Lots of energy in this one, but I'm not the violent sort and I hate boors so I'd probably pass on this one.

Entry #11 I didn't understand 'Gregory fell' and I guess I have a different impression of flop. I liked everything else about this opening. Didn't get the bad mood, but I really enjoyed the setting. I'd certainly continue on the basis of learning more about Luke.

Entry #12 Another opening that struck me as poetical. I do understand the sentiment, but I don't know where this will go after the opening. It is more melancholy/nostalgia than a bad mood.

Entry #13 Har! A rousing tale to be read. This beckons me on. A good call to action, and I'm a sucker for action. The bad mood is very muted. This has a great voice that I quite enjoyed.

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Utahute72
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OK, if I must read these.

My votes:
1. #5 - Out of the Mists
2. #4 - Day of Fury
3. #9 - Temper Tantrum
HM #8 -Scryer

Entry #1 - The Other Side.
A new take on why the chicken crosses the road, to make an omelet. Nice voice, well written, but not sure there's much more to the story.

Entry #2 - Finzyland.
Again this showed some nice writing and I get the feel for being in the car, and with kids that's always a bad day. Again not sure I see a story in the first 13.

Entry #3 - Del
Well this one had the advantage of being short and succinct, but not much here to judge.

Entry #4 - Day of Fury
I liked this one a lot, set up a nice premise and since it's in my wheelhouse I would look forward to reading more.

Entry #5 - Out of the Mists.
Nicely done, keyed to the trigger. Well written and sets up for a story nicely. Good descriptive writing here.

Entry #6 - The Ingrate.
Well I could certainly see the bad day here. The writing is good enough, the problem I have here is I don't see where it's going and I don't think I care enough about the characters to read on.

Entry #7 - Whoops/Deleted.
Well said.

Entry #8 - Scryer
Nicely set up and well written. I can see the anger here and get a sense of the M/Cs issue. Still a little unclear where it's going, but Intrigued enough to follow.

Entry #9 - Temper Tantrum
Well written and fit the trigger, but I get the sense the author is projecting his real feelings on to those of the M/C, wishing for all of us to be down on all fours pressing our foreheads to the ground in obeisance. It's also obvious he's never spent any time in Salt Lake City.

Entry #10 - I had a bad Day
This one sounds like every musician I've ever known. Interesting take, if a little disjointed, but like I said, like every musician I've ever known.

Entry # 11 - Paradigms and Paragons
I had a little trouble deciphering who was what and why they were doing what they were doing. It took me a couple of reads to decide who the M/C was, never a good sign.

Entry #12 - For Sale
This was well written and I could get a sense for the M/C, but again as with a couple of the earlier entries I don't see where you're going from here. It looks more like flash fiction than a true first 13.

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rabirch
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My votes:
1. #13
2. #8
3. #12
HM #1

Title - Paradigms & Paragons

Entry #1 - The Other Side
This was clever, funny, and well written. I figured it would amuse my 12-year old son, and it did. I read it to him and he giggled a lot. I'm having some difficulty visualizing a chicken with a backpack, and getting some Chicken Run visuals.

Entry #2 - Frinzyland
Definite presence of bad mood. Competently written. I have a pretty visceral bad reaction to texting while driving, however, and am not sure really where this story is going. She is upset and driving home. Aside from crabby kids, I don't see a major story drive here.

Entry #4 - Day of Fury
Good voice. Good conflict. I felt a little lost in the third paragraph as to who was talking, and why Gavin was retreating. Spaceships is always a good hook. I'm not sure bad mood was what I got from Jesse. Fear and anger, yes, bad mood, not so much.

Entry #6 - The Ingrate
I'm afraid I found this confusing. I don't understand why Mr. Plimsoll is being such a ... well ... ingrate, but he ticked me off enough that I'm not sure I'd be interested in reading on to find out the answer.

Entry #8 - Scryer
This has a strong voice, several bits of conflict and world-building wrapped into very few words. Bad mood is clear. Well done. On the other hand, cat-kicking makes me sad.

Entry #9 - Tempter Tantrum
This is clever and funny, but I had some disconnects. I'm not clear on how every person on earth would block texts. That could just be me, though. I can't even figure out blocking spam texts on my own phone. Also, really not sure where this is going.

Entry #10 - I Had a Bad Day
I recognize the song (and it's been stuck in my head since, thanks! ...) There is a very obvious bad mood going on here. The voice is strong enough I would probably read on to see if a more specific conflict develops, but it would need to happen fairly quickly.

Entry #11 - Paradigms and Paragons
I was confused by the first sentence. Gregory fell-down? -from grace? After that I settled in better. It feels a bit more flash-like than story hook-ish, but I do like the Grim Reaper best friend and the fiesty damned.

Entry #12 - For Sale
This spoke to me, since I've had very similar thoughts myself. Bad mood is front and center. Well done.

Entry #13 - A Dragon Tail
This one made me smile. I enjoyed the repartee between Sir David and Reece. They've just discovered a quest, in a clever way, and I would read on.

[ June 28, 2012, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: rabirch ]

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MattLeo
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Ranking

1st: #8 Scryer
2nd: # 12 For Sale
3rd: #2 Friznyland!

Criteria:

What I'm looking for is an illustration of bad mood. A mood is a prolonged emotional state, shorter than “temperament” and longer than a transient reaction. A mood is an extended emotional state which *colors your perception* of events.

The salient point is that somebody having a reasonable and expected reaction to an event demonstrates *normality*, not *mood*. For example, if you reacted unhappily or angrily to finding a parking ticket on your car, that doesn't show you're in a bad mood. If you laughed and said “Oh, well. The city could use the money,” that probably shows you're in a good mood, and if you noticed you had a flat tire and said, “Well, I've got AAA and this'll give me time to catch up on my reading,” that'd clinch it.

So I'm looking for reactions *colored* by a negative stance, not negative reactions to negative events. So I've given 0-5 points for the degree to which the pieces *shows* negative stance, and 0-3 for how much I want read on (0 = you'd have to pay me, 1 = I wouldn't mind, 2 = I'd do it on my own, 3 = you'll have to tear it from my cold,dead hands).

The majority of entries don't seem to actually *show* bad mood (although in some cases they tell); only two entries got full marks. So the rankings are dominated by how well I felt the author captured the nuances of “bad mood”.

Critiques:

Entry # 1 The Other Side

Opening with a sigh is good, but not sure this shows a bad mood. Michen is fatalistic, which may be a mood or a character trait, but isn't necessarily negative. He is facing an apparently difficult task without enthusiasm, which seems like a normal, response uncolored by mood.

quote:
The only thing that could sour his mood further would be if the sky opened up and dumped that damned acidic rain on his feathers.
This is the narrator telling rather than showing. We have no evidence to support this assertion yet other than the opening sigh. Finally the narrator feels put-upon by not being allowed to use his medical supplies. This again is a natural reaction, although it might reasonably develop into a bad mood.

So this pieces gets 2 points for negative stance (opens with a sigh, gives us reason to justify a bad mood, but only tells us about this mood – doesn't show). It is apparently about a mutant chicken in a post-apocalyptic landscape. That's neither a must-read-more concept nor a deal breaker for me, but I think this is weird enough to scrape a 2. Net score: 3.

Entry #2 Friznyland!

While this entry is true-to-life, it's not clear who we are supposed to be focused on, the narrator or her kids. If it's her kids, we don't know whether it's that her kids are rotten by temperament, or whether Friznyland could justifiably seen as a big disappointment.

quote:
Friznyland, the funnest place on earth!
I really like the ironic tone here! Sarcasm is definitely negative mood evidence, so 3 points on mood. This seems like the opening of a vignette rather than a story. There's no problem set up, no mystery to be solved. On the other hand, as vignette's go it is written with a sharp eye, so I wouldn't be averse to reading a little more. I'll give it a 1 on read-on, giving a net score of 4.


Entry #4 Day of Fury

OK, this is an interesting situation, a kind of borderline case in my thesis that a bad mood is a predisposition rather than a reaction. Confronting your lazy kids is bound to put you in an anticipatory bad mood. Subsequently most of Jesse's frustration seems to be natural.

quote:
“Get back in here!” Jesse glared at his son, trying to laser print urgency into the teenage skull.
OK, this is just me, but outlandish metaphors in an opening are a turn-off. It makes me fear having to slog through purple prose. On the other hand:

quote:
“Why? The aliens are years gone.”
OK, this is a well-worn trope, but it's still a good one. Now this:

quote:
“Spaceships.”
I like the concept of the set-up and hook here, but somehow in light of this information which Jesse has, his tone strikes me as a little off key. He sounds take-out-the-trash peeved, not aliens-are-going-to-kill-my-kids frightened. The reaction of fright would be *normal*, not a bad mood, but he sounds like he's in a bad mood, which is weird. So while I'd give 3 points for bad mood given the mad-at-your-kids setup, I have to give only 1 here because the bad mood is inappropriate. Likewise the incongruity drops what might have been a 3 score on read-on to 1, so I'm awarding a net score of 2.

Entry #5 Out of the Mists

OK, some nice imagery here and a compelling problem, but no bad mood. Just understandable and objectively justifiable anxiety. This does actually give us a problem to read on about, but it's not quite pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands. So I'll aware 0 points for mood, 2 points for read-on for a net score of 2.

Entry #8 Scryer

This is an excellent example of bad mood! Note that we have a trigger for the bad mood (his girlfriend is cheating), but kicking the cat and the dog are pure peevishness. Full marks on mood. The hard-boiled dick with under pressure from the top is kind of another well-worn but still workable trope, so I'll give this 1 points for read-on, for a net score of 6.


Entry # 9 Temper Tantrum

While the comic style here is broader than I usually care for, the laconic humor of the concluding put-down bumps this up to a 2 on read-on for me. However the impression I get of Queen Commandant is that she is bad-tempered. This is a character trait, not a mood. Her reaction to being frustrated is normal – for her. So I'll have to give 0 points on mood for a net score of 2.

Entry #10 I Had a Bad Day

I found there was a certain compelling elegance to depiction of the protagonist's narcissistic, rampaging snit, but I'd have to rule this out as bad mood. For her this appears to be a *normal* bad reaction to being kicked out of her band, outsized thought that may be. Net score: 2.

Entry #11 Paradigms and Paragons

quote:
Gregory fell, along with the painful realization that his current best friend was a flop.
This appears to be an inscrutable metaphor.

He had been fighting this conclusion throughout breakfast, but it was time to be brutal. He could ignore Luke’s hood and cape, the raspy voice. He could even forget the scythe, and the fact that it called to him whenever he walked too close to it.

But that became impossible when the first ghost arrived.
quote:
The screaming and swearing made it just too difficult to ignore.
Again the point is inscrutable. Sure, screaming and swearing is hard to ignore, but the narrator seems to think we'd expect otherwise.

What we have here feels like a vignette: Gregory's best friend is a/the Grim Reaper. The intended humor in this situation is Gregory's understated reaction to his friend sending tortured souls to Hell. While this is a high concept scenario, I don't see the story and I think squeezing much humor out of the situation is going to be extremely tough.

What's more, I don't see any evidence of bad mood. Gregory is dealing with negative things, sure, but he seems remarkably and stubbornly upbeat, considering. I'll give this one point for read-on.

Entry # 12 For Sale

quote:
In truth, I should be in a good mood.
I like the use of antithesis here, but thus far it is telling, not showing. You'll have to back it up.

quote:
The whole time I lived in this house, I hated it. I felt poor in this house. I eyed those expensive houses a few streets up, celebrating the day when I would be free of this anchor dragging me down.
This day.

OK, most of this isn't bad mood; it's bad temper, or a persistent bad response. But what turns it around is the antithesis! Reasonably speaking, he should be thrilled and relieved, but he can only focus on the negative. Full marks for mood: 5 points. Net score, 6.

Entry 13 A Dragon Tail

Don't see the bad mood here. It seems Reece is having a natural reaction. His overeager young boss is looking for trouble. Reece will have to face the dragon with his master, only instead of shining armor Reece will be wearing a very flammable tunic. No points for bad mood, I'm afraid.

On the plus side, this at least sets up a story, so I'll award 2 points for read-on. Net score: 2.

[ June 28, 2012, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: MattLeo ]

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Utahute72
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Matt, I think you need to check your math. For example on the first story you gave it a 2 for mood, and a 2 for read on, for a total score of 3. (2+2=3?) I do like that you told us what you criteria were though.
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rabirch
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I agree with Utahute. That was a really interesting breakdown and analysis, Matt.
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axeminister
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With all the Deadmau5 I listen to, I've begun to think 4x4=12.

(1 person might get that reference. Please raise your hand if you do.)

p.s. agreed. Matt, you are awesome.

Axe

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Utahute72:
Matt, I think you need to check your math. For example on the first story you gave it a 2 for mood, and a 2 for read on, for a total score of 3. (2+2=3?) I do like that you told us what you criteria were though.

Well, that's an editing error; after scoring the entries I went back and recalibrated the scale on which I awarded points and didn't revise some of the scores. The scores really don't matter, and I think my choices in the end were reasonable. If I didn't rank you in the top three, it's not like the score I'm giving you is going on your permanent record. I think the top three entries stood out enough that they deserve to be recognized, although the precise ranking among them is debatable.


quote:
Originally posted by rabirch:
I agree with Utahute. That was a really interesting breakdown and analysis, Matt..

Thanks. I try to be specific and useful in my feedback to writers, which of course is the real point of the exercise. It's the analysis of each entry, and not the score or final rank that matters.

The reason I chose to score at all was to ensure in my critiques I acknowledged the extra challenge that authors taking a stricter view of the prompt undertook. When a character is in a bad mood the first time you see him, you're much less likely to read on. The top entries in my estimation achieved a "I wouldn't mind reading on" score -- I probably *would* read on a bit more if there were no distractions. That's quite an accomplishment given that they were outliers in their undertaking the challenge of the prompt.

Ultimately I wanted to give every entrant information he or she could use to improve their entry.

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snapper
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Entry # 1 The Other Side

Alternate Chicken Little story. Clever idea but I don’t feel the anger.

Grumpy


Entry #2 Friznyland!

Sounds like a fun place and loved the title, but where is the anger?

Irritated


Entry #4 Day of Fury

Cool alien idea. I feel the fear, but little else.

Ornery


Entry #5 Out of the Mists

Yeah, I can feel some elevated irritation, but what the hell is this about?

Riled


Entry #6 The Ingrate

This guy doesn’t appear to be happy, and this also has my interest

Pissed


Entry #8 Scryer

Ha! Like this one. Can feel the MC’s anger.

Furious


Entry # 9 Temper Tantrum

Did you know 18.87% of all submissions to all speculative fiction publications come from Utah? I love you people out there but I’m just saying….


Entry #10 Had a Bad Day

I can see the anger. Not understanding why he’s angry though.

Annoyance


Entry # 11 Paradigms and Paragons

A tale of the grim reaper??? Not feel any anger.

Ire


Entry # 12 For Sale

You know, I can understand this anger. Not fury but just the type of thing that would put me in a bad mood.

Incensed


Entry 13 A Dragon Tail

Not a bad entry. I can see the irritation. Have to think about this.

Aggravated


First - Entry # 12 For Sale

The one entry that accurately conveyed what a bad mood is all about


Second - Entry #6 The Ingrate

Solid opening with an irritated protag.


Third - Entry #8 Scryer

Loved the rational for kicking the cat


Title - Friznyland!

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Tiergan
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entry 1:
Well written, but didnt fell any true issues and the bad day theme seemed bigger than a bad day here.

entry 2:
As a father, I fear I related to this far too much. I could feel her anger. Not bad at all.

entry 3:
By far the best story ever written for a bad day. So bad of a day that the computer glitched it all away. [Smile]

entry 4:
It fit the theme of bad day for sure. It seemed a little forced, which probably means I didnt connect the way I wanted to.

entry 5:
A slow beginning, but not a bad thing. I can feel the bad day building where as most have the bad day thrown right in the face (I am guilty as charged there)

entry 6:
well I would have thought taking a date with Ms.Alba if it were Jessica would have turned anyones day around. So curious to see why it was such a bad day.

entry 7:
deleted [Frown]

entry 8:
I liked this. Seemed like a story in itself, a complete story in 13 lines tough to do. And for somereason I like the nick name blood, for blood hound.

entry 9:
Well having read all the threads on this challenge, I have to find this one rather funny, which kind of takes away from the bad day, beause I thing the writer was feeling pretty good at that point. Again, almost could be a story in itself.

entry 10:
Forced it. Was orignally 25 lines, and I cut it in half, lost all impact. But if I made at least 1 person sing that song in their head all day, then it worked by giving them a bad day.

entry 11:
Not sure on this one, seemed to take too much space building up the atmosphere.

entry 12:
[Frown] makes me sad. Truly a bad day. Felt like a omplete story here.

entry 13:
And we have winner. sort of. My favorite, but not as much along the lines of bad day as some of the others, so I kick it down to 2. But favorite to read. Had me at the great line of:

quote:
“Oh ****”, he muttered, “Dragon Crap”
Best title:entry 13 reminds of Dolphin Tale and seeing my 8 year old cry watching the movie. Happy tears are so awesome.

First place: entry 12
second place: entry 13
thrid place: entry 8

Strange I found 2 of the stories I thought complete in 13 lines, are ones I picked.

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RoxyL
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#1 – The Other Side – The voice and comedic timing are excellent here. I’d be interested to see where this one goes.

#4 – Day of Fury – For me Jesse’s frustration w. his son (who was obviously not taking this drill seriously) came through pretty clearly. The shock of the spaceships was a nice hook. The wording could be tightened and some clarity given, especially to who was speaking.

#5 – Out of the Mists – Like the way you revised your ending here, except, from the way you wrote it, it took me a minute to realize the net was gone (it could be fixed by saying ‘Ami grabbed for her net – the one that wasn’t there. It had spun…’ or some such) Otherwise, very well done. Good voice and an interesting setting and problem.

#6 – The Ingrate – Ha. I like Mr. Plimsoll. Very nice way to turn the tables here. I’d read on.

#8 – Scryer – I really liked the voice on this one. And the idea of the scryer is a real hook (very Jim Butcher-ish). The bad mood came through loud and clear.

#9 – Temper Tantrum – how could I not love this one? Not sure KDW will, though, what with you (uh, me?) destroying her home town and all 

#10 – I had a Bad Day – I could definitely tell the mc was in a pretty foul mood. But, it seemed disjointed and that made it difficult to understand what was happening.

#11 – Paradigms and Paragons – excellent idea. I would love to see this as a complete story. The first sentence was a little confusing to me, but otherwise, solid.

#13 – For Sale – Poignant. This feels complete, like a piece of beautiful poetry.

#14 – A Dragon Tail – nice set up for a longer story. I like the characters, and the objective comes through nicely. Well written, as well.

First - #8 – Scryer
Second - #5 – Out of the Mists
Third - #1 – The Other Side
Best Title: The Ingrate

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Shaygirl
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1st Entry 9- Temper Tantrum
2nd Entry 8- Scryer
3rd Entry 1- The Other Side
Favorite title: Friznyland
HM Entry 6

#1- I have heard many explanations for this event (mostly all punny and very annoying), but I really liked this one. There is nothing like a determined chicken. Just a nitpick, wouldn't he be a rooster? [Wink] .

#2- I liked the line about adhering jelly beans, it made me chuckle. However the rest felt kind of rushed to me, like you were trying to get a whole plot in 13 lines.

#4- Good tension in this story, however I feel that the father might have been overreacting. I can see the setup for the sudden discovery of spaceships, but I feel that this could be explained a little better.

#5- I've been climbing and this situation stinks. I'd have liked to have learned more about why she was there without having told anyone.

#6- Is Miss Alba really all that bad? [Big Grin] . This is one of the worst kind of days, and entirely unavoidable. But when he slams the phone, does he slam it on the receiver, or on her? I would have kept reading.

#8-This made me laugh. I understand that inner urge to completely destroy something when the day isn't going well. I feel that line explaining his talents was a tad mechanical, interrupting the flow of a very nice inner war. Poor cat...

#9- Aliens trying to communicate through texts? We have a hard enough time as it is, the poor things most have really been struggling!

#10- The idea is enjoyable, but the lines are a little cluttered which made them hard to sit down and read.

#11- Fell? I honestly have no idea where that came from...I am beginning to understand the merits of sleeping on what I've written, and then reading it out loud.

#12- This story made me feel sad, very thought provoking. But it felt a little like a story all in itself, I'm not sure how much you could have added to it.

#13- Silly Squires. If anything the only comment is this: is 'crap' medieval? It does set up well, I'd keep reading.

[ July 01, 2012, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: Shaygirl ]

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Brendan
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Entry # 1 - Fun joke. Even for a gag, it seems like it would be interesting to read on. Intrepidation rather than grumpyness.

Entry #2 - Oh, I loved the little black cloud. I liked the self-justification in this, but the last sentence threw me in terms of POV.

Entry #5 - Certainly reason to call it a bad day. I liked the over-reaction, which became clear when she started attempting to hunt again.

Entry #6 - Without knowing why he was so reactive(especially to the first caller who was giving him good news about something he had spent a lot of time on), the MC seemed simply a bad sort. Therefore the last line didn't elicit any simpathy, as it seemed to be inviting. Maybe that was the intention.

Entry #7 - Well, did the trolls take control of your mouse?

Entry #8 - The directness of the opening two lines didn't quite work for me, but the rest did. Love the potential unreliability of the MC (260 lbs, really? or is that statement colored by the lack of power?)

Entry #9 - You've got Rocs in your head, putting this up. Perhaps you've read another satire called "The Liberation of Earth"?

Entry #10 - Got the bad mood right. Didn't entice me to read on, which was the tough balance to make with this challenge.

Entry #11 - The potential that you are dead would make it a bad day, but I loved that the MC was attempting to ignore the fact.

Entry #12 - I felt the same way about my thesis - years of work, but when I finished it and sent it in, it felt a big anti-climax. Well, this got me talking about something other than the opening, well done.

Entry #13 - Of the all openings, this one made me want to read on the most. Not much of a bad mood though, rather character setting. And I am not sure whether a word that stems from the name of the inventor of the flush toilet is appropriate for the projected time period.

Votes
1st - A Dragon Tail
2nd - Paradigms and Paragons
3rd - For Sale

Title - Paradigms and Paragons

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Utahute72
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I agree Brendan, I toyed with making it dragon exrcrement, but it didn't have the same snap to it.
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Shaygirl
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Crap definitely has a character all to its own... [Smile]
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shimiqua
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Entry #1, Hilarious. This one was so good, that I think you threw this contest together just so you could post it...and win. Unfair!

Entry #2,Good writing, but jumps around a lot, so I'm not exactly sure what's going on. Good.

Entry #4, This hooks. Good.

Entry #5, This one isn't grumpy so much as it is hopeless. Seems a bit uneventful.

Entry #6, I think this one would improve if we knew just what the heck he was doing that made him not want to be disturbed. If he was close to finding the cure for cancer, or even just trying to find a seven letter word for strange, the context would tell us if we should love him, or love to hate him. Right now he just seems rude, but not in a way that is purposeful.

Entry #8, I love the voice on this, and the idea is compelling. I'd keep reading.

Entry #9, Hey! Don't destroy SLC! My mom lives there. [Smile] Good fun.

Entry #10, Um.... I'm probably reading too much into this, but...what? A guy is listening to the radio, and a song comes on, so he shoots the radio....and what? Confused.

Entry #11, Love, Love, Love. My kind of story.

Entry #12, Brillian...oh wait, I wrote this.

Entry #13, Funny. The swear that popped into my head was sh.., so the fact that he said sh.. and then crap is hilarious, and a valid character quirk. I'd read on.

Votes
Entry 11
Entry 1
Entry 8 and 4. I can't pick, and I'm not gonna.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Entry #6 - Without knowing why he was so reactive(especially to the first caller who was giving him good news about something he had spent a lot of time on),

FYI, a MacArthur "genius" grant isn't something you spend time on or apply for. One day you get a call, totally out of the blue, and someone says, "We think you're awesome. Please take this half million no-strings-attached-dollars and do whatever the heck you want with it."

Mr. Plimsoll isn't having a bad day. He's having a very *good* day that he happens not to be enjoying. Kind of like most of us, who are lucky to be middle class Americans rather than, say, Ethiopian subsistence farmers. [Smile]

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Brendan
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Thanks MattLeo

Being an Australian, I wasn't aware of this grant. (But I am very aware of the usual grant process.) Is it something that is common knowledge over there, such that most people would know what it was? Or more within some (for example, academic) niche?

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axeminister
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OK, 11 entered, 1 winner:

The digital wreath of goodliness goes to:

Owasm! #8, with 29 total points.

2nd place goes to Shimiqua #12, with 23 points.

Congrats to all the winner, and thanks to all for participating and critiquing.

Watch for my next contest starting July 6th!

Axe

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rabirch
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Nice work to everyone and congratulations to the winners! I enjoyed reading all the entries.
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