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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » 2012 WotF trigger challenge entries (Page 1)

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Author Topic: 2012 WotF trigger challenge entries
snapper
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This is the entry thread. Please do not post in here until all the judging is done (I'll let you know when).
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Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter

Dearest Belinda,

My heart breaks to have to tell you this. Oh how I wish I had good news for you, my beloved Godmother, news that would bring a smile to your face and let you believe in love again, but alas I cannot. The tale I have for you is of such woe and sadness that I weep to put the quill to parchment. Alas, you must know.

We sold my favorite dress.

Yes, the blue dress, with the beadwork, the lace, and the panels of silk. I hadn’t even worn it yet, which is why the tailor gave it such a high price. And all because that beastly girl… no, I shouldn’t say it. That comment is mean to the beasts of this world. That rat of a person, the reason my life is in misery and bereft of a perfect blue dress, won’t stop asking for food.


####################################


Cinderella? From the otherside? The story intrigued me but I wasn’t sure if I should hate the protagonist, sympathize with her, or be grateful she showed a bit of self-reliance. Solid writing but the tale didn’t really stand for much. Spoiled child grows up a little bit, doesn’t get the prince but gets a nice consolation prize – not the type of story that really stands out. Expected, I don’t know, revenge on someone’s part?

#

I wasn’t hooked by the first 13. Letters are a tough way to tell a story since the reader is never really put into the midst of any action – it’s all related second-hand. I ended up quite enjoying this story, though. It was a clever spin on Ella Enchanted, and the format provided a brilliant character piece on Mariah. You captured the tone of a petulant stepsister perfectly. I liked that she ended up making her own happy ending. Nicely done.

#

The voice in this piece is its biggest strength, but at the same time, perhaps, its biggest weakness. The spoiled brat sister comes through loud and clear and it feels humorous and entertaining, but at the same time it makes it difficult for me as a reader to feel any sympathy for her. I was glad to see that you Mariah managed to make something of herself at the end, and I get the feeling it is intended for the reader to believe that was the Godmother’s intent all along. An enjoyable read, but I couldn’t really feel much empathy for the narrator.

#

Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Excellent voice, just right for her complete self-absorption. I loved the requests for dresses – Sparkles! The ending was satisfying, too, in that she found her happiness in independence. Nits: Until I understood the viewpoint, there was some confusion as to who was who and what was going on (the brother coming back, the inheritance, the beastly girl, etc.)

#


Interesting concept, interesting delivery, interesting additions to the legend. Really interesting . [Smile]


The writing isn’t bad at all and I think the whole thing was done well. I like the hints of what type of person Mariah is without having to come out and say it. I don’t know biolopital though. Spelled wrong but is it a made up word? Even though I’m sure there are things I’m missing even after a few reads I think it could be one of the first of these stories to sell. But I’m not sure how it fits with the trigger unless it’s love of self. But I might have missed something obvious.

I think number One is the best done over all here but I’m not sure how well it fits with the trigger phrase.

#

Brilliant! I love this spin—so original. My one concern is that I don’t know whom I’m rooting for in the end. Because it is in letter form, it’s hard to figure out who I’m supposed to be sympathetic towards. I think the fact that Ella is traditionally the poor picked on girl makes me distrust the stepsister. And you seem to go back and forth—selfish dress worshiper vs sensitive victim.

#

I'm sorry, but I couldn't get through this. The MC, or letter writer, just whinges all the way through. If this had been a physical book it would have hit the wall. I like the idea of her writing to her fairy god mother though, just not the content of the letters.

#

Nice take on the old fairy tale theme. Seems like everyone is doing it this year. I did like the perspective change to humanize the step sisters in the tale. I thought the story flowed nicely and had a good pace to it.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:40 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry #2 She’s In Command Of Love


Durasa looked beautiful as she stood in her study. A smile twisted her lips slightly. I made a point not to glance at the book on a stand in front and to one side of her. My eyes were on her or the shelves behind her that held her souvenirs...and power instruments.

Magical energy filled the air around her. Her shoulder length black hair flipped around like she stood in a hurricane yet I felt no wind five feet from her. Her red and black dress didn’t move. I had to stop her, with very little of my power.

Along with her hair the energy flipped pages in the book and created a multicolored lamp which twisted up from the book like a mini tornado. A small flame burned at the top as if it imitated an oil lamp. I could taste the peppery, ozone flavor of


#########################################


This needs quite a bit more editing. There is talk of voids and then all of a sudden there are Magic-eating bugs. The emotions need to be more nuanced. The antagonist is all evil and that makes her a cliche. I like the MC's voice. He's in control… maybe too much in control. I think his victory is too easy, too assured, even though he has to battle to get through her machinations, he has the confidence to do so and the ends up lessening the conflict. I couldn't fathom a reason why she was acting as she should.

There are opportunities to increase the interest with the power things on the shelves. Did she clean out his apartment? I didn't quite understand the timing of their relationship and why she was even messing with him.

#

Power-eating cockroaches! What a great magical concept. Some really good phrasing here - I loved “burnt, feral words” and “peppery, ozone flavor of her magic.” Nice. The trigger was definitely well used. Some of the writing has structure or grammar problems; a good revision would likely help that. Finally, I would like to know the MC’s name, and perhaps learn a little bit more about what led to this showdown

#


Strengths: An interesting magic system was the primary selling point for me. It also had a clear trigger point for this challenge. I loved the potential of an inconsistent narrator, especially given the last line. (Do we really believe him? Does he understand that his very willingness to walk away and not end any future conflict may simply be residual effects from the spell he was under? Good stuff.)

Weaknesses: I didn’t understand the purpose for the conflict. There was obviously some previous history between the two, but the snippets of this didn’t give me enough to understand what the conflict was really about (as opposed to the surface elements, that she was evil). Although he stated that he loved her, irrespective of the knowledge of the spell on him, yet he never explored the reason for this, or their past history. Another weakness was the monolog by the Durasa – evil people always somehow monolog.

Additional: I wondered if a reveal that the MC had already created a backup book (or books) and hidden it somewhere may have added to the finale.

#

This story was O.K. Strong trigger. The writing is a little too flow-of-conscious for my tastes. Less story telling than information giving. I also felt the story could have been bigger. Seemed nothing was really at stake beyond these two characters.

#

I liked the idea of the protagonist being in love with her independently of the Command for Love. However, I have no idea why he loved her, and I think that’s very important. She’s supposed to have been driven power-mad, but the way she’s presented doesn’t give an impression of what earned his love to begin with.
I had a hard time with your opening line because you don’t detail why he thinks she’s beautiful--you’re telling me something without giving me any information.

#

This started interesting, but about at the climax of action you lost me. I just don't know enough about the characters or the relationship to care. Good writing, I just need more character investment.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry #3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life


It was a hard rain.  Raindrops fell like spears that pierced any exposed flesh.  The sky was a tarnished shield, clouds rolling against each other with spite and anger, rumbling threats. 

Though it was noontide, the darkness of twilight suffused the heath in shadowless gray.

The wind whistled another volley of rain.  I lowered my head and bore the brunt of it upon the drenched hood of my cloak and listened to the staccato of Aror’s hooves sucking mud from the track and splattering wet clods against the bedraggled copses that lined the road.

A faint cry that was not of wind nor stormcrow crested over the next assault of rain and I lifted my head.  It was followed by the echoes of unkind laughter.


#########################################


Did the horse just talk? That was utterly unexpected. This piece has a lot of very nice imagery, but tends to take it just a hair too far for my taste as a reader in terms of its poetic nature. What I really missed in this story was a feel for what it was the narrator was doing or what he wanted. Why was he riding in the storm? I understood why he saved the girl, but I wanted to know more about his nature. I also felt at sea in terms of where/when we were. The term stormcrow felt like a fantasy world, so when the reference to a Jew came up, it was unexpected and jarring. If I had a better feeling for the narrator’s aims, this might be enough to encourage me to continue reading if it were lengthened into a novella or novel.

#

This one surprised me. I really wasn’t expecting an anti-Semitic fantasy world, and you did a nice job of surprising me with the magical elements. I almost think the talking horse pushed it too far, but that’s just my opinion. It was well told, plenty of suspense, satisfying resolution. Lots of boxes ticked.

#

Let me get this straight, the protagonist was holding the demon prisoner? And the would-be highway men freed it? If this is the case, a bit of clarification and this may stand a chance in the publishing world. Quick paced. I liked the story.

#

There were some wonderful phrases and descriptions here. The piece could have been strengthened if the mc hadn't just stumbled upon the scene, but had some emotional connection to the other characters. Also, some foreshadowing of his power would have built tension. As it is, this seems more like a vignette than a story with a satisfying arc.

#

Good descriptions, Great story, Fine tension, mostly nicely done. One reason I say mostly is the phrase “bedraggled copses “ I usually don’t think of groups of trees like that. Of course that could be me but it’s too close to bedraggled corpses. I was a little confused about who paid the ransom, at first I thought they thought the bag with the demon was the ransom. And it took me a second reading to see how the trigger worked in this story. Again that could be just me. But beyond a few tweaks I think this one also should be one of the ones that sell. And it’s even short which means more chances for it. [Smile]

#

I had a hard time following this story. The talking horse TOTALLY threw me out of the story. I don’t know why—I can take demons in leather pouches, but throw in a talking horse and I’m confused. The story was good though, and it kept me interested to the end. The mc seemed distant and unemotional—that may have been on purpose, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

#

I liked this, it was a good read. But there was no sign of the prompt and you did gild the lily a bit with some of the prose. It feels more like the opening to a novel than a short though. Only one nit pic, he clambered up on the horse behind her, yet she clung to him as though she were sat behind.

#

This one had an interesting, if somewhat familiar story line. I liked the M/C and it was interesting using a Jew as the heroic figure in this setting. It was also interesting using the arcane language, but that is tough to pull off. I found the writing distant at times, maybe because of the language. Also the author becomes so wrapped up in the use of it the story became unclear at times. I also thought the author tried a little too hard at times to be literary in his writing, and that became cumbersome at time.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry #4 A Ship Called Love


Scroggit stared at the fleet. Most of the ships were already manned. Some were casting off. Above, the high ceiling of the world glistened and threw back the dirty light cast by dozens of smoking torches dotted about the docks. The air was filled with the sound of distraught wailing and angry cries. Boggars everywhere were either weeping their grief away or bottling it up to fester into a vengeful rage. Scroggit shook his head and watched the ceiling. Long ago his family had been banished to the world above. That had been before his time, but he knew what was up there all the same. He knew about the beasts and their world, he could even read some of their words. That was how he knew that Boggarville was not the centre of the world, but a dingy, dirty


###########################################

I was exhausted after reading this story. Don’t get me wrong, the writing itself is quite good, but there was a lot of strange to get through. I liked Scroggit’s cynical attitude and his heroic actions in the face of certain destruction. The ending was bit of a let-down for me. He gets rejected by his lady love and then he dies? Really? I would be much more enchanted with this story if it had made me understand the existence of Boggars within what is an otherwise recognizable world.

#

I had to strive to ignore the typos. This story didn't really have an ending unless Flutter's anticipated rejection was the climax of the plot. I did like the perspective and the voice of Scroggit. They were green little people and not mice, however, and I think that might have made them more unique and prompted a bit of curiosity on the part of humans. I don't think the metal legs made much sense as it didn't match the darning needles and scraps of wool and tin foil armor.

This needs more work and more length with Scroggit saving Flutter at some point and achieving some kind of redemption. How did Princess Delicate die anyway? A cat?

#

Strengths: This builds a great world in our imagination. It has a real Ratatouille feel to it, so it is easy to imagine this as a 3D cartoon. This was a real fun romp.

Weaknesses: A couple of times the description was about things that Scroggit had no idea about. In one case, the narrator said such, which just made the reader realise that the narrator was impinging onto the story.

Additional: The end could have occurred one paragraph earlier (especially if he had saved her). While I thought the last phrase was good, the earlier part of the sentence held too many concept to juggle, which diluted the impact of the final phrase. Furthermore, it was overshadowed by the rejection of Scroggit just a paragraph earlier.

#

Fun story: Lots of excitement and building tension. Very well written in that regard. On a sentence level, this read more like a first draft, with lots of room for tightening. I didn’t count that against the story in terms of voting.

The ending was disappointing. It went against several expectations and that lowered my overall enjoyment of the read.

Lastly, while withholding the nature of the creatures from the readers may have created curiosity in some, caused mild annoyance in me. I believe the Boggars should be revealed for what they are right away. Then we have an image of what they are, which lets us know more accurately how futile (and cute) their war is. Hiding this gains nothing, and in my case, detracts.

#

I really liked this story. I like the writing, and I like the POV. Very well done. I did not, however, like the ending. On the upside, it was unpredictable, but the story ends without a balance of justice. That makes the story end with a sour note. I think if there were a bit more justice this well written and unique story would be the stand out.

#

I think that you need to be up front about the appearance of the Boggars. At 900+ words in, I only know that they’re not human and they have green skin. However, I appreciate that you didn't give them an origin story. Their origin isn't useful information in this story and would have seemed artificially implanted.
The ships’ names should probably be italicized.
Scroggit is an interesting, likable protagonist. This was an original take on the trigger. I really enjoyed your writing. But that’s not an ending. You stopped at the middle of the climax. You need to finish the climax and then write a denouement. Since you have about 350 more words to play with, I’m not sure why you stopped there. He doesn't have to redeem himself in Flutter's eyes or win her affection. He might decide to save himself instead. Whatever. But you need to leave us with more than the *impression* that they *probably* get squashed. If they get squashed, at least say so.

I would read more of this—it’s probably my favorite from this group.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 5 Love and Politics


Mat Meridin waded through a churning sea of reporters to get to his office. The gleaming steel door slid shut behind him, reducing shouted questions to muffled gibberish.  A definite improvement, in his opinion. He’d talk to them later.

The room was dark except for the flickering flat panel, blinds drawn across a wall of windows that normally offered an expansive view of the capital. Without looking, Mat knew that the street below would be seething with people, protesters and supporters alike, all watched by stone-faced law enforcement personnel. He slipped out of his Ferragamos.

Quiet sounded good. Mat loosened his tie and moved towards the sleek black sofa, ignoring the television shimmering on the wall. Even muted, the broadcast shouted the news via text crawl - the


#########################################

Not bad. I wish there had been more of a build up to the attack - more background on why the issue made some people so angry. I clearly saw the trigger in the story, and I liked “A giggle like birdsong”.

#

I had a bit of difficulty settling into this piece. The changes of POV in the beginning made me a bit confused and off-kilter, but the story itself is strong. It features a concept that seems viable and a powerful character in Gilead, who demonstrates exactly what the synthetics are not supposed to be able to do--have real emotions. I enjoyed this.

#

The climactic scene of this tale was first rate. It is the part that stood out. However, the large exposition made everything up to that drag on. Too much was made of what Gilead’s master’s thoughts and not enough of Gilead and Emmy’s relationship – the real meat of the story.

I did have a problem with the premise. Gilead throwing Emmy onto a buildings balcony in mid fall wouldn’t have saved her. Falling 40 stories would have had the same result as falling 54. The G-forces would have killed her just the same.

#

Well written, easy to read language, and a very interesting exploration of humanity and rights. I loved the Gilead/Emmy relationship. The ending fell a little flat for me, although I can understand it in light of the point being made.

#

Not bad at all, it fits the concept of the trigger well. But “oozed unctuousness “-- another word to look up. Not sure how many readers would know it either. I’m not sure if Mat would say that he hadn’t decided to run for office yet like that. It sounded too ordinary. I think he would sound a bit intellectual. I wondered how the two men got in the apartment without anyone hearing. On top of that he’s a famous, rich lawyer wouldn’t there be security measures? And I wasn’t quite sure about the ending was Emmy angry at her dad even while doing the political thing by showing a happy family? Or was she going along with her dad and just calling him a liar in approval? And what happened to the two men? The “The Honored Press” line seems too cliche-ish for a politician to use in the future.

#

The first 14 did nothing for me, but I really liked this story. It starts out slow, but the relationship between Emmy and Gil is very nicely done. I didn’t care for the ending—I think it was too abrupt and not as poignant as it could have been.

#

The POV is a little muddled at the start. Then again in the second scene you seem to start with Mat again and then switch to Gilead.
I like the twist of the selflessness of Gilead, but am a little lost at the ending.

#

I liked the plotline on this story, it mimics the great science fiction of my era, using sci-fi to make a statement on social issues. It also dealt a little bit with the P.K Dick concept of what is human, or what is reality. Nice little twist at the end as well. There were a few rough patches and it did leave unexplained how the assassins got into the apartment, which left an open question. It made me wonder if it was a set up by her father.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure


I was born with an electronic chip in my arm. Not that, that makes me special or different. All pregnant woman are required to have their first born child implanted with a military chip, and their second born with an entertainer chip. It’s the law: The first child belongs to the country, the second to the people, and the third to the family.

As a second born female, my chip tells me who to be: who to like, who to hate, who to trust, who to betray. None of it is real. I’m not real. Hundreds of cameras watch every move I make, and if I don’t do what the chip tells me, the Director zaps me with a painful jolt.

Right now, I am in the cast of CTD (Crash Test Dummies, and yes, I’m one of the dummies). It is one of those crossover shows that


#########################################


This one just didn't seem to be properly developed. I think the problem was I never got properly connected to the main character. She fought against the Director, but other than a sense of rebellion, we don't get any sense of what she really is. Joe is doing the same thing, but again, it seems that they can't do much.

This is a variant of the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show. People being controlled by a big director. My big question was that if everyone had an implant that controlled them, then why go to the expense of having entertainment? Just put everybody to work for the greater good. I couldn't get past the story not really having a purpose. Now use this as a platform for a much longer story, a novel or novella where the characters actually rebel and fight off whatever dread overlords control their lives might be a better use of this story. As a standalone, I just don't think the concept gets developed well enough and the story arc isn't really fulfilled.

#

Such a cool idea – the reality show of the future, with the actors’ strings being pulled via technology. Great use of the trigger. For me, the only thing this story lacks is some description, or something that adds another layer to the action and dialogue. Right now, the story seems almost skeletal, but it’s a really great set of bones.

#

Strengths: Good concept, expertly drawn out into a story. Terrific pacing, with the key revelations perfectly timed – I was impressed by this, given the limited space available. Strong sense of character, whose changes in understanding led to a very satisfying ending, with hope for later change in the MC’s circumstances.

Weaknesses: A couple of typos in the opening two sentences. Although you elicit pity for the MC at the start, she comes across as a touch catty, which loses true sympathy for her. It was only when she softened to Joe, as she realised that he was in the same situation as she was, that sympathy started to return.

Additional: You may consider changing her final shout to the sky to resonate with the new control – “rewrite me” is giving it all back to the directors.

#

Argh. Abrupt ending. I was really into this story, hanging on every word, then...?

As for critiquing, I believe you can lose the explanation in the first few paragraphs. This world is drawn very well through plot, so the initial setup isn’t necessary.

As for voting, this is high on my list, but the lack (IMO) of a satisfying ending hurts.

#

Given the nature of this story, I would not use any analogy to a game or games--even if you're intentionally going for a HUNGER GAMES vibe.

This story had my interest, but I was really surprised to see it stop there. That doesn't feel like an ending. It doesn’t even feel like you approached a climax. You've got another 1,000 words before you reach the contest limit. What happened?

#

Ohhh... I like this one too. Well done. I like Larissa and Joe together...I might be biased... Anyway, well done.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 7 Veneration

“Flash mob in the food court.” The voice crackled and popped, just like in the movies, old ones, before full immersions arrived. Nate silently swore at the noise.

“Dang implant,” he repeated aloud. At least it didn’t echo anymore. He walked under the nearest loop and cocked his head to close the distance. “What was that?”

“Hearing voices again, Nate? Or just forget where you were?” It was Jon. Nate could tell by his laughter. Funny, ha, ha! he thought. Young whippersnapper. Jon’s tone turned serious.

“Better get down here. I really need your help on this one. There’s about twenty of them, just feeling the ground – don’t know what they’ll do next.”

“Yeah, coming.” Nate instinctively straightened his uniform and


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An enjoyable story. I liked Nate. He made an engaging narrator. I did feel like there might have been a little bit too much explanation of how the disease spread. I got the general gist, and didn’t think I necessarily needed all the technical data. I may be in the minority on that, however. I wonder if we’re far enough into the future that people have chips in their heads whether contact lenses would still be in common enough use to be found in a mall. To me, the level of tech involved in the chips would infer that vision could be corrected0 without lenses. Not a major problem, just something that struck me.

#

What a cool concept – a nano virus. This had a great story arc, plenty of suspense, and I loved the way the MC saved the day. I got slightly bogged down in some of the explanatory dialogue, but an enjoyable read overall.

#

Excellent job! Nate made for a great protagonist and the dilemma made for great sci-fi. Interesting how personalities coupled with implant technology will amplify the pack mentality of a group, just the type of idea sci-fi magazines crave for. I also liked how the author subtly inserted background props to show the setting of the story as a near future (i.e. $5 store – as an example). Smoothly written, clever solution, amusing ending. Only nit I can point out is a weak link to the trigger – but I’ll let that slide.

#

Very well done. From the excellent idea, to the twining of internal and external conflicts (and using the internal one to save the day), this was a great story. Not much to nit or pick here, except maybe it took me a little too long to orient myself at the start. A little more description of setting in the first 13 would go a long way.

#

Interesting story, nicely done on the whole. Not sure if you should leave to the readers to guess what a loop is. And “naughties” is that the term for the first decade of the 2000s? “Only this time they were uncanny “ don’t think uncanny is the right word there. And Sarina seemed to turn Gena on--as in robot not as in sex-was that done on purpose or did I misinterpret it? The statement at the end though that he wouldn’t remember it the next day seemed to be thrown in without warning. Some good tension but at the same time that could be better. There was talk of Alzheimer’s disease but not him forgetting each day. Or was that just a put down?

#

What a great idea. The plot is good. It read a tad slow for me: there is some room to tighten this up. Nate seemed to have an above average learning curve. He said some things that seemed too advanced for his understanding. I would have liked to know who started the contact lens search in the first place.

#

The first scene pulled me in but after that it struggled. The prose became a little abrupt and there were a few technical mistakes in there that threw me out.
I liked the idea, but couldn;t really connect with Nate, he seemed a little flat, merely there to observe the flash mob and swap dialogue to explain it all.

#

Well someone finally found a use for those tin foil hats I've been making. I liked the humor and thought behind this one. Nice pacing and I couldn't find too much to fault with the writing. I do thing there were a couple of things that were out of place. "Whippersnapper" for example. I know it's being used to demonstrate that the guy is older, but I thought it was a little arcane for this story. A couple of times there were some small disconnects, but nothing that lost me. I did like the innovation demonstrated in finding the solution for the problem and I liked the ending, although I'll probably forget it tomorrow.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:47 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden


There were faeries in the garden, Nana told me so. And brownies under the bed. They came out at night and rode around the house on their dust bunnies collecting single socks, and sometimes Nana’s reading glasses.

I believed Nana all that summer I was seven and slept under the crazy quilt in her little, peaked attic bedroom. When she came in the moonlight and drew me to the window with a wink, I stood by her side and watched as the mist rolled in from the hills, seeping over the board and batten fence to pool among the hydrangeas. Little lights flickered under the old apple tree, and Nana tugged my braid and whispered that it was not lightning bugs, but Will O’ Wisp coming to call. He wanted to see if there was a pretty girl to court.


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I really liked this story. Beautifully written, and it went a very different direction than I had anticipated from the first 13. I like being surprised. My only quibble is the postscript-ending which implies she dreamed her grandmother’s return. If brownies and faeries can be real, why not an appearance from dead Nana?

#

Although I knew where this was headed, I thought it took a bit of time before we got down to what was going on. It's a very predictable tale, but nicely written nevertheless. The voice was just right. I would have liked a little more real-time Nana before she grew up because the only real bit of her character is derived from the MC's musings and not from Nana herself. I think the preponderance of creatures (Will O'Wisp, fairies, brownies, pixies) took a bit of the magic away because there was never any evidence that the garden was full. Perhaps just concentrating on a single type, the brownies, would work better and allow you to give them a bit more personality. However there is a complete story arc and there are characters the reader can invest some emotion in.

Overall a good story.

#


Strengths: Beautiful description, and a pacing that never seemed rushed, but still was full of movement. There was a sense of depth about the story, as meaning developed about the nature of childhood memories and adult loss of belief and imagination. A well-developed plot and scene setting.

Weaknesses: Hard to find many, but I did think that the line about being too old for hugs and tears went a little too far, given the circumstances.

Additional: Lovely, really lovely. I thought the previous story was a standout. This one is a real contender, even against the previous story. This has really made my voting difficult.

#

Beautiful story.

Initially, the writing felt abstract and rushed. Likely because there was so much movement, and time to cover. I wonder if showing the early days are necessary, and could be told more briefly in drops of memory flashbacks. (not actual written flashbacks.) But as the story slows, the writing improves and I was able to enjoy the rising tension to the conclusion.

(Incidentally, why is the quilt crazy?)

I also like the ending, and appreciate the MC staying true to her character.

#

Beautiful. Made me cry. So well done. Clear favorite.

#

This story has a complete, satisfying arc. However, it seemed to take a while to get where it was going. The tension felt artificial to me because I expected Liam to be a Will o'Whisp and for him to reveal that the brownies were behind the trouble.

I didn't expect Amora to be the one he was after though, so that was a nice surprise.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 9 The Spell for Love


Phera avoided the piles of horse dung as she threaded her way through the throngs of the Outer Ring, where the poor of Hettera mingled with the rich. She pulled out the rumpled page of parchment. Her destination was "Lady Renalda's House of Infinite Possibilities." What a nice name for the brothel that Phera's stepfather had indentured her to. She restrained herself from spitting on the parchment every time she read its words. It classified her as a housekeeper.

Perhaps the contract would keep her from having to soil her soul with forced love. Magic drove the city to wild excess and she didn't want that excess to rub off on her.

#

"Oh, you won't have to sell your body, dear," her mother had


#############################################

I found this world interesting and it held my interest to the end. Though, I found the end to be supremely unsatisfying. It's clear that you reached the end of your 3K and truncated the ending. You spent a lot of time describing how Phera is the most stuck-up seventeen year-old ever, but not nearly enough time on plot elements. For instance:

The reveal that Madam Bella is a man-- "What's this?" Madame Bella said, throwing a notebook into Phera's stomach. He sat wearing a string vest showing his hairy chest. --is super abrupt. I had to read it three or four times. I thought a third person was in the room and had thrown the notebook. This is interesting. Spend some time allowing Phera to be surprised that the madam is a man--or if she already knew allow her to mention it to the reader before now.

And the reveal here-- Phera's heart began to beat faster. "I'm sure there is some mistake," she said coldly. She went to her tiny room and pulled out her contract. Sure enough, the clause had disappeared and the term now read ten years! --is glossed over. The sentence that starts with "She went to her room" should at least start on a new line. What's her reaction to him saying that to her? Does she think he's bluffing? Does she know instantly that the contract will have changed? On her way to her room does she console herself that it can't possibly be a ten year contract? Does she hesitate to look at it? Do her hands shake? Eyes water?


Other nits:

At first, I didn't realize that the cook was suddenly polite because Phera was the head of the household. I thought she was going to be a maid.

"I never cared for fat men" --I just can't like Phera. She's mean. Fat does not equal evil. You don't have to have a likable MC though, and if you were trying to make her unlikable you've done a fabulous job. Her characterization is good, I understand who she is. I just don't like her.

Korsk said waving his/her arm. --Crossdressers are typically referred to as the gender they are dressed as. So, a man dressed as a woman would just be referred to as "her" rather than "his/her."

#

This story had some issues for me. I found myself temporally lost between the flashback and the scribe shop and the Renalda’s house. Phera’s described pity for her mother and step-father confused me. I didn’t understand her response to their treatment. This story would benefit from careful proofreading to catch duplicated words and for consistent spelling. I was most intrigued by Durell and by the nature of the city. Durell came across as a likeable and interesting character and the city and its magic system were neat. I’m not sure how I feel about a character named “Potty.” When the little girl was told to go back to Potty, I thought maybe they were telling her to go to the bathroom.

#

This was one of my favorite 13s, and I liked that the actual story went in a different direction than working in a brothel would suggest. Very well-written, I could really visualize the world you created because of excellent descriptions. One thing that bothered me a bit was that Phera, who started out so strong and resourceful, seemed to lose her mojo at the end. Would she really just accept that her employer had nefariously doubled her indenture? Nicely done, though. I enjoyed it.
#

A lot to like about this one but it read as if it needed to be longer. I suspect the author had to chop it down to make it fit. Phera has had plenty of history working for unscrupulous men, makes me wonder why she would trust Durell so readily. I wonder why she continued to do such a good job for cheating employer. If he forces her to stay employed because she is so invaluable, why not lessen her value and start doing a crappy job? Such a man doesn’t deserve a smoothly run business.
A rewrite with a smooth arc in the storyline and I think you’ll have something special. As it is, it’s too compressed. Dulls the tension.

#

There's a good story here. The first 13 were among my favorites. The setting and the magic are very intriguing. You tried to incorporate so many elements and so many names, though, that I wonder if this story is just too long and complex to be told in 3k.

#

Opens with a very long sentence. Usually that’s not good. I don’t think she really had all that much dealings with Durell and company for the ending. Maybe a couple of more visits and/or conversations? Speaking of that the copies of the contract was changed but the original was still whole being protected from changes. Why wasn’t she able to use it after all? And even while short I still feel like the story is too long. Too much time on her boss, his changes and her job I think.

#

The choice of setting here is perfect. The contrast between Phera and her place of employment gave me a better handle on her personality. The pace was slow for me though. Tighten up the middle, because the part about Durell in the beginning and the end is the meat of your story.

#

There are quite a few errors in this and a lot of telling rather than showing. The story just seems to bumble along, as thought it was being made up on the fly with quite a few, ooh I forgot to mention moments.
The characters were flat, with many just there for decoration and, by the time I'd reached the end I'd forgotten who most of them were.

#

I found this story fairly common, but pretty well executed. I think it demonstrates one of the problems with fantasy in short stories, particularly shorter ones. It's difficult to set up the new world and carry the storyline along at the same time. This author did a pretty good job, but there were still places where the flow of the story was broken up by the need to set the background. There were a few little flubs with either the syntax or sentence structure that I found a little odd, but nothing too serious.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee?

“Quick! Assume an inferior face-sucking capitulation posture!”

“No! An aggressive dominance pose is what is effective! Seize the opposing mating candidate and commence fluid exchange!”

Pofreoldo ignored his shipmates. There was a reason why he remained the lone pilot of Juliet. He was the only one who had the slightest clue on how to operate an alien bipedal biobot-mimical effectively (at least well enough to pass for a member of the species). His shipmates had a tendency to rush into things, such was the nature of extro-ecoparasites. Sure, they had valid reasons for their desperation, but desperation had a way of backfiring when it came to socialization protocols with this strange species.

Pofreoldo attempted to absorb the sensory data of Juliet’s


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Yes. This just might be 'R' rated. I am impressed that the gag played all the way to the end. There were a few typos, but it certainly was quite a ride on Juliet and with a little sidetrip to necrophilia at the end. I enjoyed it. Great voice. The setting - unusual. I thought the world of the mamboworms needed to be a bit better developed. I didn't understand why the Anthrapods built Julia? Anthrapods under the influence of the mamboworms? I think we needed a bit more motivation of the diaspora from where ever the mamboworms were from. But those are nits. This was well done, despite the warning.

#

A fun read. I loved the names of the sex groups – shir, shim and sheesh? Hilarious. This story had some writing flaws, mostly grammar and sentence construction, that could easily be cleaned up. I have to say, though, that the ending made me go “Eeeewwwww.” When necrophilia walks in the door, humor exits, at least for me.

#


Strengths: Very funny. Well plotted. Loved the resonance between the last line and the amorous methodology of the momboworms. This was gGreat world-building and the writing readily pulled me into this world.

Weaknesses: The warning made me look for something worse (perhaps that was the intention).

Additional: Oh, oh, oh. This is now a very hard choice. Glad I am not in this group.

#

Ha! I totally think I know who wrote this, and once again wish I had. Alas, I am not up to this level of... insanity.

Written with humor, and abandon, and just plain fun, the only thing holding it back were the typos. (which is my only official critique of this piece. Watch for are instead of our, etc.) However, those small potatoes were easy to overlook as this wildly frenetic story hurtled forward.

While humor wasn’t the name of the game, I greatly appreciated it. Good show, fine... sir?

#

I found the opening to be word soup. Too many five-dollar words. It didn't pull me in.
This story reads like a Mel Brooks movie. I found things like the "infecting specialist" and the fifth sex of their species being called a "sheesh" very funny.

I found this story to have a solid arc, and to be very funny (it needs a good proofread), but I'm not sure where you'll be able to sell it. Certainly not to WotF.

#

Funny at first, got old fast, then got gross. I like the idea of the story, but the ending is distasteful, and risks alienating an audience.( and an editor.) Change the ending, and you have a winner, as is...no thank you.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE


Nighttime had come at last. As I approached a Pleasure Palace, I knew that if I went inside I’d prove my father right. The only girl who’d ever f*** me was one I’d paid for. His words, not mine.

I wanted more than just sex, I wanted to be loved, but since real girls couldn’t be bothered, I’d decided to end to my drought on the evening of my twenty-ninth birthday.

I stopped just outside the open doorframe and listened to a ragtime piano auto-playing The Entertainer. A woman, or a recording of a woman, distantly crooned to the lonely souls of downtown Manhattan.

Men flowed around me like water, jostling my suit jacket as they paraded inside, eventually blending into the multitudes


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Not sure how I feel about this one. It’s well written and the protagonist has a clearly established goal, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable that it was sufficiently resolved. In the end, he experienced pleasure and felt more comfortable in his own skin, but he did not actually achieve his goal of being loved. I’m also uncertain that simply because of the invention of tech making it possible to have a child without a partner for either gender that love would become so very rare. Perhaps it was just the narrator’s father who had no experience with love, but I would think that at 29, the narrator would have been able to observe it in others. To believe that it does exist as a viable reality, and to maybe make the connection that the problem was his father, not women in general. Thought-provoking, for sure.

#

The poor MC in this one definitely needed something, but I’m not sure getting laid by a synth was the answer to his problems. There’s some really good writing in here; I loved “Today’s Sirens wear three piece suits.” In the end, though, despite the MC’s belief that he had gone through a life-changing experience, I still thought he was pathetic.

#

Today’s Sirens wear three piece suits.--I liked this a lot, but the next line is a mess. Why so many adverbs?

The invention of the Fetal Incubation Chamber had made children available and affordable for all.--The cost of having babies isn't the incubation part, it's everything that comes after. People in poverty tend to have more children because getting and being pregnant is cheap. Contraception is expensive. You can just say that his dad couldn't find a woman and had a baby made from spite. We get that this is a world of future tech, so you don't need to bring this world-building into it, and since it jarred me out of the story, I think you should cut it.

I, the great disappointment, wasn’t anything like him. He blamed my mother, whoever she was.--Unless a significant plot point involves him searching for/discovering his mother, I don't think this is necessary. In fact, it's distracting because you're raising questions you don't intend to answer that I will be left with after the story is over. That is the way to an unsatisfying ending. Which, I actually like your ending, it illustrates someone coming out of an existential crisis quite well. But I'm still wondering about his Mama.

#

This is an idea Heinlein or Philip K Dick could have dreamed up. The problem is it is difficult to separate our today, with our morals and expectations, with this cold, disassociated, future. I believe you could have done more with less exploring of his father’s motivations and faults. You did make me wonder about this future. Are their less couples because of a purveying attitude in society? Or are women a shrinking minority?

Writing is very solid. Thought provoking. A rewrite with a shift in focus and a rethinking on the way you brought the information and this will be ready for submission. Perhaps a different ending might make it more appealing.

#

The prose was clear, but the story fell flat for me. It didn't seem possible that his conflict could actually resolved in the manner that it was. Didn't he just justify all his father's criticism and still didn't find an actual loving relationship?

#

Nice descriptions, nice inner conflicts, interesting idea with the synth women. Over all it’s a nice story...not my type but I think there are those who would like it. But just nice unless it’s a study in human emotions and conflicts then it raises a bit. And another new word “predilections”.

#

Good use of the trigger. I’m having a hard time critiquing this, because subjectively, I don’t like this story. The mc ends up doing all the things he’s determined not to do. But, I don’t think the author’s intent is to get me to like this. It’s a much more literary, thinky kind of piece. So even though I didn’t enjoy this, my hat is off to the author, because I think you achieved your goal and the writing is solid.

#

I struggled with this in the first thirteen and reading the full version didn't make it any better. The MC seems so self loathing at the start that I got images of Thomas Covenant (some like it, some don't, and I'm in the latter camp). A self pitying MC doesn't do it for me, no matter what the ending.

#

I liked the writing in this one, very evocative. I could almost feel the smoke in the Palace and the feelings came through really well. I felt the growth in the main character and his experience. However, I thought the story didn't have enough meat to really stay with me. It was a nice little diversion, a quick study in the human experience, but that was it. Like a half hour TV show instead of a whole movie. I also found the underlining for emphasis to be a little annoying for some reason.

[ June 01, 2012, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON


Harry Groves sat at the kitchen table drinking his morning coffee. Normally he would be watching the blue jay outside his window build its nest in the juniper tree. But Harry wasn't sitting at the kitchen table in his house, that lay under a pile of rubble on the surface. Harry was in the kitchen of the power control module, nearly a kilometer underground. He had come down here yesterday to service the room sized turbines used to generate power from the magma dome underneath the site. Harry was so engrossed in the task at hand he was completely oblivious to everything else. He'd worked through lunch, he'd worked through breaks. Harry had even worked through Armageddon.

At four-thirty Harry had crawled out from under the huge motor, wiped the grease from his hands and pulled the master switch


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This one started off so strong that I didn’t even mind the long passages of Harry did this or Harry did that. I guess I began falling out of love with it when the android showed up, and the fact that “she” had supposedly engineered the end of the world was too far-fetched for me, even for a fantasy. There’s real writing chops here, great pacing and deft phrasing. I just didn’t believe in the lady-in-red.

#

This is a great idea and a super title, but the execution didn't work for me. Harry doesn't do anything. He doesn't really interact with Eve. So he tries to hit her with a crowbar and then what? She bends it in a pretzel and Harry is predictably depressed. That's it. No real conflict. Harry has no control over his surroundings nor any power to do anything about his predicament. We really don't get to know Harry. Andria has the personality of a hammer, so we don't connect with the characters, there isn't a story arc, just a setting. In order for this to work, Harry needs to solve his problem, not succumb to it. By the way? What is his problem other than being stuck half a mile underground with 37 years worth of food and unlimited water? A great opening seems to be wasted here.

#

Strengths: The opening, naturally. Up to the point where he realizes that he is alone, and the world outside had ended, is very well done. Had it continued in this vein, I would have voted this first, as cozy catastrophes are among my favorite sf subgenres.

Weaknesses: I had high hopes for this story, however it didn’t live up to the standard expected at the start. There were three reasons. The first is that the android “wife” was introduced too late – and the android nature is a second world-twist (after Armageddon) for the reader to take in, which is always dangerous. For this to work, at least a hint of the technology should be given prior to the point where she speaks, even if her existence is kept secret until that point. I was too bedded down in my current understanding of the world when it occurred, and was reeling at the existence of the technology, not the application of the technology, which I should have, when she arrived. The second weakness is the fact that it is an Adam and Eve story, which is so well ploughed ground that it isn’t sustainable as an idea story. The third weakness is the character arc. It needs a much stronger character emphasis. In this story the MC is reacting throughout the entire time. There is no point where he moves from reaction to proactivity. Therefore its character arc feels flat

#

I loved the 13 on this, but unfortunately, for me, the hook that drew me in failed to come to fruition. Much of the action was too mundane and I found my thoughts drifting as I read on. Lines like: “While he was pondering the problem, he happened to be perusing the labels...” are what slowed this down for me. Armageddon has occurred and shortly thereafter the MC is pondering and perusing. I can’t help but think his actions would be very different from this.

I did like the introduction of the android and the reasons she did what she did. Very creepy.

#

Best title of the bunch. I like the idea of this a lot. I just don't find Harry appealing enough to buy that the robot would kill billions of people to be with him. It's a really depressing story, without any hope. it's well written, but not my cup of tea.

#

I felt like you spent a lot of time describing the lead into him finding the camera feed that showed the destroyed surface. You told us in the first 13 that Armageddon had happened, so all this lead in seemed like poor pacing. You don’t need to list every step.

I think you meant wavered instead of waivered. (I’m pointing this out because I always make that mistake and know first-hand that spell check doesn’t catch it.)

This ending doesn’t complete a thought. Why did she decide she was in love with him? What does he decide to do now that he has all this information? Why does he make that decision?

[ June 01, 2012, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 13 Heartless

I want very much to leave him in the dark, face-down on the dirt path where I find him. Entangling myself in the affairs of the Shebeast is high on my list of things to avoid. But the chance that he still lives draws me in.

Grunting puffs of fog into the chill air, I turn his limp form to rest on his back.

Like delicate red ribbons, his heartstrings splay from the wound in his chest. Drained of heat and color his face is lifeless--handsome with amber hair and strong brow, but empty nonetheless. She’s left him here for dead.

The sounds of unseen things prowling in the night pull my attention to the woods. I give him one last regretful glance and see a wisp of vapor escape his lips. He stirs and coughs. Alive,


#######################################

Well-executed story. The daughter of a Shebeast working to save a man cast aside by another Shebeast. I was mildly disappointed that the Shebeast was basically just a woman. A woman with magic, but still human in appearance and general behavior. With such a dramatic name, I had expected something different. As a thought, if the narrator knows that she lives in the sphere of influence of the Shebeast and she knows the nature and power of Shebeasts, it seems likely that she would have anticipated her showing up at her doorstep. I think I would have enjoyed seeing her trying to get him to leave, for his own protection, then having him stand up for himself would be even more satisfying.

#

I’m one of those first-person, present-tense haters, but I ended up liking this story. Great imagery in use here, and I liked the main character. Good job inserting her backstory while still moving the plot forward. I think the ending would play better with a little more prior notion of attraction on his part, though. He seemed pretty noncommittal until then. Despite that, a well-told tale.

#

A well-executed tale. Strong writing with a sweet ending. Nice magical world but the tale is too familiar. Take out the magic and this could be anyone’s tale. One of the strongest protagonists of the bunch.

#

What an interesting allegory. The spare writing style is effective and evocative. I thought some extra time could have been spent on her own conflict of trying to find the balance of love without compulsion, but overall, very good.

#

Interesting metaphorical or allegorical tale there. Great descriptions and good tension. That last could be better but still good. It gets to the matter quickly which is good for this story. I assume the capital pronouns for Her were done on purpose.

#

I’m not usually big on details, but in this one I wanted more world building. There are so many questions that this story brings to mind and doesn’t answer. The characters seem a little stiff. I liked the story though, and it held my interest.

#

I didn't think I'd like this one. I'm not a fan of first person present, but this paints good imagery in an intiguing setting. The MC is dark and caring at the same time, or comes across that way to me. Liked it.

#

Another one with good writing in it. Pretty nice story, I like the play on losing one's heart. The writing was clear and crisp, interesting change up having the non-main character do the changing. I found the underlining odd, I'm guessing pauses?

[ June 01, 2012, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Entry # 14 Eviction Notice

It happened while I fastened the final button on my pajamas. I was in mid chuckle, watching Conan O’Brien deliver his nightly monologue, when the frightening familiar feeling of sharp knives in my chest returned.
I sat down on the bed, cold beads of sweat formed on my face. I turned and looked at my wife, Janie. She was nestled in the bed reading Oprah’s latest recommendation. She lifted her eyes from the pages. The look on my face said it all.
She dropped the book and threw the covers aside. “Oh god, oh god,” she said, running around the side of the bed. “Are you having a heart attack?”
I nodded between labored breaths. “It’s like the last one.” I swallowed that lump in my throat. “Except this one is worse.”


######################################

This is the best of the lot. The voice is there, the story arc is very good. There is pain, sacrifice and triumph. A complete deal. The writing was very good and the pacing worked. There is a world defined, although I didn't really buy the Sunspire beacon thing. That didn't make any sense to me. I've seen the plot before, intended self-sacrifice that leads to an ultimately happy ending, but the journey was just fine. I enjoyed reading the story... the characters were sympathetic and we understood the feelings that both of them had and I think that becomes the strength of the story.

#

Pro-level writing makes this a true pleasure to read. While strongly reminiscent of Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, the strength of the main characters kept it from feeling like copycat work. There is a “the” missing in …. then stooped to pick up forgotten circlet. Some might argue that there’s not much originality in this piece, but I read mainly for enjoyment, and this was most a most enjoyable read.

#

Strengths: Oh, wow. Loved the execution of this story. It moved the emotions. It has a voice that is so enjoyable to read. Its character arc seems real, even though predominantly he is reaction most of the time.

Weaknesses: Although the application of the sunspire idea was great, the initial idea isn’t fully sustainable, or else hasn’t be sufficiently developed to assure me that it is a workable system in this world.

Additional: After reading this group, I think the bar has been raised.

#

Well written. A little extraneous in the early going, but settled in to the story and then each sentence counted. I particularly liked: “Despite his forge-wrought strength, Joreth couldn't help but feel outclassed and outmanned.” This is great character. (incidentally, *couldn’t help but feel* could be replaced by *felt*)

I didn't know the motivation for why someone would attack an acolyte. "Acolytes were rare and they were valuable. That value made them a target." Doesn't tell me why a citizen would attack one. "... every person ... with suspicious eyes. It didn't matter that he'd known most of them all his life." What would they gain from the attack?

I’m confused by the conclusion. I liked: “If he loved you enough, you would live." and felt this was a great way to say he’d sacrifice his life for hers, but to what end? He’s bound to her, and he’s going back to the smithy... Where will Maia go? With him or back to the spire?

Lastly, I liked the reversal of the trigger.

#

This story is sweet. It's a good fit for a contest with a 3K word-limit, but it feels a bit like a set-up or world-building for a larger work. I expect that these characters have an important role to play in this world and go on to have much more interesting adventures. In a similar vein, I was caught off-guard by the information that the acolytes can burn the personality out of someone with no apparent legal recourse. That aspect felt like a set up for the ending and I think it would have come off better in a longer work where it could have been introduced before she’s about to use her power on him.

Overall, I enjoyed it, and found the Sunspire interesting. I would read more of this.

#

Dang. This round is tough. Brilliant beautiful work. I have no doubt this story will be published. It felt very Wheel of Time-like, but in a way that complimented rather than copied. It did seem a bit predictable.

[ November 04, 2012, 01:36 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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13 line opening comments

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter

This opening is adequate. I might read on, but I'm not too excited about women's dresses. Other men might be, but not I. The bit about asking for food, to me, confuses more than urges me on towards hookdom.

#

A strong opening. It gives a sense of relationship and timescape in the first paragraph. It then hits us with the twist of seeming mundanity, but what is a very clever one sentence paragraph. Intrigued.

#

Intrigued. A soft hook so far. Voyeuristic view of a letter make for an urge to read on.

#

This sounds very old fashioned to me. I see a Bronte kind of setting, only with a particularly whiney character. The opening, far from hooking me, puts me off. It puts too much effort into telling me just how bad the news is going to be. Just tell me the news.

#

An old fashion tale by the words and the way they are used. Might read on...probably for a few more paragraphs.

#

Nice entry, smooth and lets me into the story well. The last phrase of the last sentence seems out of place, not quite joined to the rest of the sentence somehow.

#

At this point I’m trying to figure out if this is going for funny, or serious. I’d read on, but I’ll be disappointed if not humor. Writing is fine.


________________________________________
Entry #2 She’s In Command Of Love

Well well...Not too bad--Very interesting(As the short Germain soldier would say). Well done use of words and phrasing. Gets right in there....Or so I hope. [Smile] Actually I can see where it could use two changes. And that’s just me others will see more.

#

The NC made a point of not glancing at the books behind her, but makes the classic mistake of removing his eyes and placing them on the shelf anyway. The rest is fine, it doesn't really grab me though. Again, in the last paragraph, some odd wording. Is her hair being flipped about by the energy or is it flipping pages along with it? As if it imitated and oil lamp? It either did or it didn't.

#

This has nice imagery, but a bit too clever by half. He didn't glance at the book, yet there is some kind of tornado lamp was beyond my imagination. The mention of lamp twice in two sentences also hurt the flow. I'm a little leery about continuing to read.

#

Very sensate, but I don’t know enough to know if I want to keep reading. Written well enough to go further, but I come from the other end of the sensate-intuitive scale, so in the first 13 I am looking for more tangible information about the conflict than the simple fact that he had to stop her.

#

Not bad but the picture you painted sounds a little over the top at this point.

#

I liked the feel of this, but there are some issues with the writing that caused me to stumble a bit. "..at the book on a stand in front and to one side of her." This phraseology seemed a little odd. "My eyes were on her or the shelves behind her that held her souvenirs.." which were they on, her or the shelves. Probably better to indicated that the MC is drawn to the shelves even though they are trying to focus on the subject. "Along with her hair the energy flipped pages in the book.." this seems like an afterthought to her hair being flipped by the power, though I suspect you want this to be the primary effect, I would suggest revising to show that if that is your intent.

#

The writing was too choppy for my tastes, but I’m interested to see where this is going.

#

Static opening. I don't know enough to care.


Entry #3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life

Yea and nay at this point. Mismatched visuals.
I lowered my head and bore the brunt of it upon the drenched hood of my cloak and listened to the staccato of Aror’s hooves sucking mud from the track and splattering wet clods…
Is outstanding! While…
Raindrops fell like spears that pierced any exposed flesh
…is a bit much.

#

This hooked me, though I noted the misuse of 'nor'. It reads well, though some of the wording is a little harsh, I found raindrops like spears to be a little too much.

#

Another sensate opening. Very beautiful, and that is a hook in itself, but it is fundamentally about the weather. Still, it may be the weather that is killing the people, so there is an urge to read further.

#

The opening sentence could be ditched all together as it got in the way of 'Raindrops fell like spears' which I thought a good image. In speculative fiction, the spears that pierced flesh might be taken literally and I found myself looking for a bloody mess somewhere. It wasn't to be.  A horse that is struggling through the mud will hardly produce a staccato sound. I felt the images a bit too jerky. The last sentence was a good hook. I'd read on.

#

Kinda long sentence there in the third paragraph, I noticed it immediately. I think the copses could be mentioned earlier though. I would read at least a few more paragraphs.

#

This one had some nice imagery, but suffers from overwriting. I got the setting from the first two lines, but then the author started all over again. "The wind whistled another volley of rain." This sentence is an example. How, exactly does wind whistle rain, it's a mixed metaphor that only serves to confuse the reader and muddy the waters, so to speak. I get the feeling reading this that the writing is saying, "see how classy I can write", rather than setting the scene for the reader.

#

Lose the first two paragraphs, and I’m hooked.

#

I'd keep reading although it feels a bit overwrought.


Entry #4 A Ship Called Love

Kinda of plain and abrupt but it could be that way on purpose. I would read on.

#

I'd read on just to know what the heck a Boggar was. The title clashes with the opening scene. The biggest stopper is Boggar's family had been banished to the world above before his time… if that's so then why is he in Boggarville?

#

Incomplete thus far. The opening hasn’t hooked me because I suspect the hook hasn’t been reached yet.

#

I loved the line about weeping or bottling up grief. But my need to know why the grief exists is making me skip the backstory that follows.

#

I really like this one, clear concise and conveys an interesting premise to draw me in.

#

Interesting. I wonder if he’s a goblin. I picture Mr. Copperwrench from World of Warcraft. I really like, “Banished to the world above.”

#

Not for me. Too much vague description, and not enough clarity.


Entry # 5 Love and Politics

The hook didn't make it in the first thirteen and that's problematic for this. The name of the MC sounds like the hero in Willow. Does anyone remember that flick? The voice of this is good, but I'll invest only enough time to know what the crawl said before making my decision.

#

This is a reasonable hook, though there's not much to go on. I have no idea of character or situation, but I'd turn the page and give it a chance

#

Not knowing why this man is being pestered dulls the hook. I guess we’ll have to read on to see what is going on.

#

Great movement established by the descriptions. It is a 13 that pulls me to read further, however, I am left wondering about why the media attention is on him - in a way that makes me wonder why the author is holding the information back for so long.

#

Different but intriguing. I would read on.

#

Nice, very nice. I sense a noir story coming on.

#

I have no idea what’s going on, but I don’t care... This is written too well to ignore.

#

Mat Meridan reminds me of Maid Marion. Not bad, I'd keep reading.


Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure

Another different one. And another intriguing one. Think the second sentence should be “Not that, it”. Makes me curious.

#

It's an interesting idea but It doesn't grab me at all. I'm just a little comfused that her chip controls her completely yet allows her to write a memoir complaining about it.

#

Hmmm. Different. That makes it hookish on its own.

#

This one did nothing for me. The Crash Test Dummy bit didn't draw me in and I didn't really get into the story here. This story needs to begin with an inciting incident and this isn't it. I'd pass.

#

(I got sucked into the idea of "The first child belongs to the country, the second to the people, and the third to the family." The dynamics of that could be just fascinating.)

#

Two hooks, both the political intrigue of the culture, and the unusual job. Great job.

#

The first line is dry, but succinctly communicates the premise of the story up front. The title is clever, based on what I can tell of the story. This story could go either way and be an interesting take on a sci-fi staple, or just be more of the same. I would continue reading because I like this genre, but if I didn't, this sample may not be original enough to hold my interest.

#

Nice entry, sets up an interesting premise. I do feel the author missed out on a chance to do something better with it though, seems the second child is the least interesting of the three.

#

Less facts, more story. This can be much more smoothly executed without losing a thing. Sounds interesting.

#

Love this. Unique. - Easy winner for me


Entry # 7 Veneration

Tale of a relic trying to stay in step with the technological times. Nice idea but I wonder if the author is starting in the right place.

#

I was lost here. Didn't get what was happening at all except the MC is an elderly gentleman with a questionable grasp on what's going on. I wouldn't read on. I'm old and senile enough as it is without having to struggle with this story.

#

Not sure about this one. We have the old timer and the young pup, but what's going one? There's not much ther to make me care enough to find out.

#

Mild hook. I am wondering about what the flash mob is doing. But it lacks the beauty or boldness of idea that other 13s have.

#

Interesting beginning for one based on this trigger. Wonder what a Loop is though. It might explain later but still want to know now.

#

A solid lead in. Good, but not great. I thought the use of "whippersnapper" seemed a little dated in the context of the rest of the paragraph.

#

Again I have no idea what’s going on, but unlike #5 when I didn’t know, here I’m confused, which is a negative.

#

I'm confused. I'd keep reading, but not for much longer if it doesn't soon start making sense.

________________________________________
Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden

Nice peaceful opening but there seems to be a hint that it changes. I’m curious.

#

This was a nice chilhood fairytale until I read that Nana came in the moonlight. What were those fairies doing?
Seriously though, this hook worked for me. I'm intigued to see if this turns out to be as sinister as I'm reading between the lines.

#

The hook "There are faeries in the garden, Nana told me so" would have made me pass this story up entirely if I hadn't been obliged to read more. It sounds trite. The description of her grandmother's home and behavior is rich and regained my attention (I can see this house; I know what it smells like and how her grandmother sounds). I'm undecided on if Will O' Wisp is a fresh enough idea to be interesting. I think it might be if handled properly, and the brief narration in this 13 (minus the two opening sentences) makes me think you can handle it effectively.

#

Some funny lines. Interested, but not as strongly as some other stories.

#

Nice enough for the female crowd. There is no bite here for a real man. I suppose the story will involve a little girl and Will O'Wisp. I would pass. I didn't detect a hook strong enough.


#

Not sure if this is a tale of a grandmother’s fairy tales meant to inspire a child or a magical world. Guess I’ll have to read to find out. Loved the writing in this one.

#

Pretty good. The subject is a little well trodden, but it was interesting enough to want to see where it's going. I think you could have been a little more active in places, such as, "I stood by her side and watched the mist roll in from the hills,..", instead of "I stood by her side and watched as the mist rolled in from the hills,.." That sentence also needs to be broken up a little, it's a little long. In the last sentence the "he", referring to the Will 'O the Wisp, struck me as odd and it took me a minute to figure out who it was referring to.

#

Creepy, I like this a lot.

#

This works. I love the lilting language here, great rhythm.


Entry # 9 The Spell for Love

This opening certainly is gritty enough. The first two sentences were too long and hurt the flow, but the voice was enough to propel me through it all. The hook is the city of magic that is driven to excess. That would drive me on.

#

The POV seems a little confused here and there is little to make me care about the character's predicament. It seems a little obvious where this one is going, but I'll be happy to be surprised.

#

This story seems to be going to a place I don’t want to go, but is drawing me there anyway. Well done. Nice description, without going too overboard.

#

Like this one. The trigger makes this very intriguing – adds to the hook.

#

First sentence is a little long for a First. But the whole opening gets to the point very quickly among some good descriptions. Got a feeling she will have to soil her soul.

#

Good entry, and solidly written.

#

Please don’t go into flashback so soon, I was just getting into the story.

#

Nice writing, though I'm biased against such an early stop. I'd keep reading.


Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee?

Took me a couple of readings to get the hang of what was happening. I might have been a bit slow though. Sounds like that movie a while back. But it could still work. I am curious so I would read on, at least a page or so.

#

Sensory Overload! Sensory Overload! This one is fun although I was unsure what was actually happening here. An opening like this presents a problem in keeping up the gag. The last sentence shows it has run out of steam. I'd read on to see if the energy of the first few sentences reignites. If it does I'd continue. If it didn’t, I'd stop. I can see how the title fits.

#

This is one of the funniest first lines I have read in a long time. Sucked me in straight away (though no fluids were exchanged.) A cool, men-in-black feel to this.

#

I like this, very funny. I'd definitely read on.

#

Not sure what to do with this one. It reads OK, and seems to set up and interesting premise, but not sure I really want to know where this is going.

#

And now we have the obligatory, “I freekin wish I wrote this one!”

#

Made me laugh. I can't wait to read this. Shows promise of a fun story.


Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE

Could be a competing companion to entry # 9. It has my interest.

#

Not sure I like the MC at all. He wants to be loved so he goes to a prostitue? No wonder he can't find a girlfriend. The writing's fine, I just can't connect with the MC.
Also, doorframes don't open, doors do.

#

I can understand the dilemma, but this felt too dark or downbeat for my taste. Given that feel, the line that men flowed like water felt oddly out of place.

#

I don't know if I'd read on past the first paragraph. I'm not into erotica and this might go that route. The last paragraph just didn't make any sense to me. How do men flowing like water blend into the multitudes in a bordello? I'd probably pass.

#

If he is quoting his father I think the pronouns should be changed in the quote. This way sounds like the father is talking about himself. So far though it sounds less interesting to my tastes

#

This was a solid, well done opening. The subject matter as a little familiar and I think the author could have avoided the "f" word by simply saying, "The only girl who would ever have me is one I paid for." Not only makes it less adult in nature and fit a broader audience, it gives you a little more flexibility in where you go with it. I don't object to more graphic language, but some editors may. I also didn't care for the last part of the last sentence, really doesn't fit the context of the sentence.

#

Good writing, just the subject matter repels. I'd keep reading, just with an eye out to make sure my children aren't peeking over my shoulder.


Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON

Hmm, another one that makes me curious on how it is related to the trigger. I think the “Harry had even” sentence needs to be changed. I feel like it disrupts the flow of the story. And not completely sure about the first two sentences. They seem not quite right. Almost like the blue Jay reference makes the whole scene too long.

#

This had the pacing and the concept to really draw me in. I loved the line about working through Armageddon. Great job.

#

I think this was an interesting start. Certainly the concept is fetching. I didn't like the lengthy paragraph. It needs to be broken up and I didn't like the sentence about his kitchen table under rubble. That needs to be reworked. The hook was very satisfying. What was going to happen when Harry pulled the switch.

#

I like this. Look forward to reading about his reaction when he finally goes back up.

#

Last line to that first paragraph has the strongest hook of the competition. Bravo.

#

“The magma dome under the site” threw me. Otherwise, good stuff. So deadpan. “Harry had even worked through Armageddon.” I can hear someone reciting this matter-of-factly.

#

I love this,"He'd worked through lunch, he'd worked through breaks. Harry had even worked through Armageddon." A bit confusing, but I'd keep reading.


Entry # 13 Heartless

I hate first person present. Unless it's done just right it comes across all wrong. I like the image portrayed here, but I'm stumbling over the prose. I wouldn't read on, but it's probably more from personal preference than anything else.

#

A man without a heart? I’d keep reading.

#

Although there is some lovely description, the opening is dominated by information that seems missing. In particular, who is the dying guy? What is his relationship with the protagonist?

#

In my very own tightly wound mind, I have a hard time thinking that a man lives when his heart is ripped out, so there was a bit of difficulty here. The writing was good and other than having no idea what a Shebeast was, I would certainly continue

#

Intriguing, though I think you need to make who “he” is in the third sentence a bit clearer. I wondered how a shebeast could be a he. Of course I could have been a but slow. I would read more.

#

A solid opening with an interesting premise. The use of present tense was a little unusual and could provide a potential pitfall ahead, it will be interesting to see if the author misses a beat.

#

Slightly confusing. Starting with, “the shebeast” when I don’t know anything about the shebeast reads awkwardly. However, sifting through the befuddlement left me wanting to read more.

#

Meh. I don't much like any of the characters yet, and I don't get the situation. Good writing, just not hooking me yet.


Entry # 14 Eviction Notice

Nicely done. A little cliche-ish but kinda hard not to be for this type of story.

#

I really went for this until Joreth does just exactly what I thought he wouldn't do… in my mind he caved. It just didn't make any sense to me and my sympathy for Joreth fled. I'm unsure if I'd read on if the guy genuflecting to his former girlfriend constituted any form of rebellion or anger or any other emotion other than capitulation.

#

Well written. Liked the second line – very descriptive and great tone setter.

#

This appears to be a basic fantasy world with little to distinguish it from other basic fantasy worlds. However, the characterization was interesting and I would like to read more. (As a side note I had to read "Her honeysuckle scent wafted past the acrid tang of the fire and curled into a tight fist in his gut" three times before I understood what was being communicated. I think "tight fist in his gut" takes the metaphor a bit too far for this to function as the second sentence of a story.

#

Another well written opening, full of conflict already. I don’t fully understand the nature of the conflict, but I can see it playing out in front of my eyes. Well done.

#

I find the first sentence a little confusing, getting a bit muddle netween Joreth and his father. Not sure about a smell curling up in his gut either.
I have a picture in my head here of him and her in a smithy, then suddenly there is someone else there. Is Halbor the MC's father?
I'm intrigued enough to read on, but I'm not sure how long for.

#

A good opening with an interesting premise. I thought the opening phrase, "Joreth knew when Maia entered his father's smithy,.." was a little flat and could have been punched up a bit. Nothing really wrong with it, but I think it was an opportunity missed.

#

“She’d made her choice.” Seals this as a solid story in my mind. There’s a history here, and the MC is obviously not happy with Maia’s choice. Lots of good tension to look forward to.

#

Works. I like the POV character. The situation, though still confusing, is in my wheel house of story styles. I'd keep reading.


Honorable Mention Votes

Entries 4, 6

[ November 03, 2012, 02:52 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Here are the results of the opening hook challenge. Using 3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd.

As usual, the votes were spread out. 13 of the entries received points. Here are the top five vote getters.

Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON 16

Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart 11

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure 9

Entry # 9 The Spell for Love 9

Entry # 13 Heartless 9

[ May 23, 2012, 01:35 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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I sent everyone an email with your story in it for you to proof read. If you did not get an email, or an attachment, or if I snet you the wrong one, drop me a line.

Oh, and you can start posting in this thread now.

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Everyone should have received an email from me with an attachment. If you haven't, let me know.
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Here are the rules for this round.

The top two vote getters from each group will advance to the finals.

The two 3rd place finishers will face off for a chance to join the other four.

Five stories will be sent to our esteem judges. Not only do we have the famous Nick T to judge, we also have enlisted past winners Aspirit and Ethereon to help out.

The top vote getter will win the prize - a signed copy of Writer's of the Future.

Good luck everyone!

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The first of the critiques have come in. They are posted under their 13 line openings
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More comments have come in. Posted above.
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Got more comments posted above...

Update: Ten have voted - four left.

The voting has taken a twist. What looked like two clear favorites has become a tight race. What we have is...

One group where 6 out of seven have received votes. What looked like a shoe-in now may be bumped completely out.

The other group has two that are neck and neck for first and another two that are battling for the that crucial third place.

In case it is needed, here are the tie breaker rules.

First tie breaker - entry that had the most 13 line opening points.

2nd tie breaker - entry that had the most first place votes.

Any objections?

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Got another set of critiques posted above.

3 more voters to go

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We have one last voter, he/she will decide which one wins. Comments thus far...

Heartless

It just doesn't work for me. The basic concept is interesting, but the characters aren't really developed well enough and the emotions are so tamped down except for the SheBeast that I'm not invested. It's like the three characters are on drugs, the MC and the guy are on downers and the SheBeast is on uppers. Reminds me of "Misery" with James Caan, a bit.

#

This story I found did not compare in imaginative depth and I found it too saccharose in theme and depiction and characterization. While I understand the use of first-person to create immediacy of the protagonist's feelings/desires, I felt trapped in her shallow perspective. The story may perhap be better told in third person, permitting insights into all three characters' perspectives (their melacholies, fears, and wants).

#

whilst I like both, the imagery in the second one does more for me than the humour of the first. There were also less mistakes and it was a much easier read.

#

Allegory is something so often missed by spec fic readers – we take worlds so literally - and the first time I read this I wasn’t looking for it. So I found this didn’t quite seem consistent – how could the Shebeast nearly kill the guy, yet put up such an insipid fight in the climactic scene? But reading with an eye on the allegory, I could understand it (from this perspective, the scene is a little bit soapy, but not contradictory as two women could really compete like that for a man). From a straight fantasy perspective, I would have liked to see more of what made the MC tick, as I suspect there is more internal conflict hovering over the entire story than I was able to see, conflict between her desire to be a healer and her natural urges as a shebeast. This could have created an arc that paralleled that of the man’s, making the story feel more like it was her’s to tell.

How Do I Love Thee

This story is disturbing, but also highly entertaining and memorable. The dialogue is hilarious and the world-building is great. Needs a good proofread (and perhaps a less necrophilic ending), but the momboworms will stick with me for a while.

#

I found the story exactly as the author warned: shocking and told with a certain tongue-in-cheek irreverence and silliness both in narrative content and prose. Yet it is very imaginative, displayed a multil parasitical alien culture with relatatble survival desires and even individual personalities among its members. If anything, it is the human beings depicted that are undeveloped (and stereotyped). The use of the trigger is blatant and it gave the phrase "alien invasion" a literal connotation. Butt-eyed monsters, as it were. [Wink]

#

Ugh, what a horrible choice! The most hilariously creative story and the most poetic. You just couldn't make this easy on us, could you, Frank?

I think I'm just going to have to go with How do I love thee, though if you ask me again in five minutes, I'll give you a different answer.

#

Nicely done, very funny and interesting take on the premise. I do have a couple of questions. First, isn’t Sheesh just another word for she? Inclining or Inkling?

[ June 03, 2012, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Got the results of the runoff round.

I often get the question "How do you do it?" when I go through the work of putting on these challenges. My answer is the 'why' makes the 'how' irrelevant. Case in point the fun I get to witness in this sidebar round. This is how it shaped up.

Less than an hour after I sent off the two stories I got 3 votes for How do I love thee

3 - 0. Looking like a runaway winner.

Then 3 votes go Heartless's way in the 20 minutes after.

3 - 3.

Over the following two hours I receive 3 more votes for # 10.

6 - 3, not looking good for Heartless, but it did have every possible tiebreaker I could think of so #13 wasn't quite dead yet.

Then 2 more voters went Heartless's way deep into the night. Bugged the last voter in the morning, their response was What?!? I'm the last one left? You just sent this out!.

A couple of hours later, with the fate of the world in the balance, I got the last vote.

quote:
I love #10.

But I'm voting for #13

Reason: Trigger.

#10 can survive without the trigger, #13 can't.

So congratulations to Entry # 13, Heartless. It has joined finalist winners...

Entry # 5 Love and Politics

Entry # 7 Veneration

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden

Entry # 14 Eviction Notice

Good work one and all!

[ November 03, 2012, 02:54 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Congrats to the finalists!
(At least I get to enjoy WOTF #28 on my Kindle).
Maybe next year.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Okay, now for the fun stuff. Time for the Mix-n-Match contest! This is where you try and figure out who wrote what. This year we have a very special prize, one that won't require a hair roller for your clothes.

This year if you are the first person to identify all 14 authors correctly, award winning author Nick T Chan will acknowledge your existence!

With this privilege Nick will return your smile, say 'Hi' back to you, and treat you as if you were his equal while in the presence of others, niceties most cordial human beings take for granted. A valuable prize if you ever want to impress a date or group of co-workers.

So with such high stakes, let's get started.
Basic rules: Guess as much as you want, just don't flood the thread with a pile of them all at once. Be a nice hatracker and take turns. I will drop hints as we go.

I know how much you like hints so let me open up with a list of the stories with an author next to it. I will let you know how many I got correct.

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Axeminister

Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - Brendan

Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – Estee

Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - History

Entry # 5 Love and Politics – LDWriter

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Owasm

Entry # 7 Veneration – PDBlake

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Rabrich

Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – RoxyL

Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Shimiqua

Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – Snapper

Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Strycher

Entry # 13 Heartless – Utahute

Entry # 14 Eviction Notice – Wirelesslibarian


Snapper got zero correct.

There you go. Narrowed it down for you a bit. Now go to it!

[ November 03, 2012, 02:55 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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pdblake
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My guesses, though I deliberatelt got two wrong so as not to give my own away.

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Estee

Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - Shimiqua

Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History

Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - Wirelesslibarian

Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Snapper

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – LDWriter

Entry # 7 Veneration – Rabrich

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Utahute

Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – RoxyL

Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Brendan

Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – Owasm

Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – PDBlake

Entry # 13 Heartless – Strycher

Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – Axeminister

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snapper
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PDBlake got two correct
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rabirch
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My guesses--again, at least two are wrong, so as not to give myself away. Given that I'm brand new, I expect many more than that are wrong. =)

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – RoxyL

Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - LDWriter

Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History

Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - Owasm

Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Utahute

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Shimiqua

Entry # 7 Veneration – Axeminster

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Estee

Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – Wirelesslibrarian

Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper

Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – Brendan

Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Rabirch

Entry # 13 Heartless – Strycher

Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – PDBlake

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axeminister
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I've devised a 100% foolproof way of NOT going 0-14.
Observe:

Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - LDWriter

Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life Dr. Bob

Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - Shimmy

Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Roxy

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Brendan

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Wirelesslibrarian

Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper

Entry # 13 Heartless – PDBlake

Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – Strycher

Bwa ha ha.

Axe

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Strycher
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quote:
Originally posted by axeminister:
Bwa ha ha.

Ha! XD

Congrats to the finalists! I think I'll have to participate again next time. [Smile]

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Utahute72
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I'll take a shot at 3 of them.

#3 - Dr. Bob
#10 - Snapper
#11 - Axe

Still working on the rest.

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History
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Well with 4 out 4 correct guesses so far, I need wonder if its good or bad to be so, um, distinctive--and if such recognition is apparent by subject matter or writing style?
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pdblake
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Dr Bob, I think it was such a knowlegde of the subject matter that gave you away. Besides, it was a good story.

quote:
PDBlake got two correct
Is that more than Axe? [Big Grin]
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History
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Not good enough, PD. [Wink]

If any have interest, the setting and the named royalty and clergy, and their conflict, are historical and not of my invention. Neither was the Assyrian god/demon, btw. You can look look them all up.

Again, snapper, thanks for the opportunity to participate. And best of luck to the finalists.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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wirelesslibrarian
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Congrats to the finalists! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading ALL the entries, and I'm very impressed at the quality of writing here. Makes me wonder why we aren't all famous. [Cool]

Snapper, thanks again for doing this. I was in a writing slump, and you got me out of the pit.

I've made some intentional changes to my list. Or have I? [Confused]

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Rabirch

Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - Owasm

#Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History

Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - PDBlake

Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Wirelesslibrarian

Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Utahute

#Entry # 7 Veneration – Axeminister

Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Strycher

Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – Shimiqua

#Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper

#Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – LD Writer

#Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Brendan

#Entry # 13 Heartless – RoxyL

#Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – Estee

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snapper
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Rabirch - 6
Axe - 3
Utahute - 3 for 3 (which still makes him 11 short)
Wireless - 3 but guessed her own correctly.

There is a chance I am getting the authors of two stories mixed up (on my phone and info is on laptop) but I'm pretty sure I got them right. If not I will post a correction. I will say with confidence that Ute's guesses are correct

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Utahute72
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OK then,

#1 - Rabirch
#2 - Shamiqua
#3 - History
#4 - LD
#5 - Wirelesslibrarian
#6 - PDblake
#7 - Stryker
#8 - RoxyL
#9 - OSWAM
#10 - Snapper
#11 - Axe
#12 - Brenden
#13 - Estee
#14 - Utahute

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wirelesslibrarian
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Round 2. Probably no better than the first guess.

#1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Roxy L

#2 She’s In Command Of Love - LDwriter

#3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History

#4 A Ship Called Love - Utahute

#5 Love and Politics – Wirelesslibrarian

#6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Shimiqua

#7 Veneration – Owasm

#8 Amora in the Garden - Rabirch

#9 The Spell for Love – Axeminister

#10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper

#11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – Brendan

#12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Estee

#13 Heartless – Strycher

#14 Kindle My Heart – PD Blake

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Brendan
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I took to my trusted algorithms to determine who the authors of these stories are – primarily to determine whether any branch stacking is happening. After analysing word counts, styles, artistic quality and other such measureable variables, I have come to the following conclusions. And you know the saying – when you start digging you end up in a hole. And this produced a whole lot of interesting information. Here are the true authors:

Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Cory Doctorow
Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - Stephen King
Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – Kurt Vonnegut
Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - Gertrude Stein
Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Neil Gaiman
Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – J. K. Rowling
Entry # 7 Veneration – Cory Doctorow
Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Mary Shelley
Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – Chuck Palahniuk
Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Cory Doctorow
Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – H. P. Lovecraft
Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Arthur Clarke
Entry # 13 Heartless – Anne Rice
Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – David Foster Wallace

Cory Doctorow?!! How could you? This is not just branch stacking… you entered it 3 times!!! Who do you think you are? Ahmadinejad? Putin? And Arthur C Clarke, it seems the rumours of your death have been greatly exaggerated. And Mary, I am truly impressed by your longevity – do you have any tips for us mortals?

These results put my original guesses to shame, which were
Entry # 1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Brendan
Entry # 2 She’s In Command Of Love - LDWriter
Entry # 3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History
Entry # 4 A Ship Called Love - PDBlake
Entry # 5 Love and Politics – Wirelesslibrarian
Entry # 6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Shimiqua
Entry # 7 Veneration – Roxyl
Entry # 8 Amora in the Garden - Estee
Entry # 9 The Spell for Love – OWASM
Entry # 10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper
Entry # 11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – AxeMinister
Entry # 12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – Utahute
Entry # 13 Heartless – Strycher
Entry # 14 Kindle My Heart – rabirch

[ June 03, 2012, 09:37 PM: Message edited by: Brendan ]

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Utahute72
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What, Brendan, no P.K. Dick?
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LDWriter2
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Having read some of the above stories listed after a trip through some trusted algorithms I most state that I be in a disagreement with one...two in the arraignment.

I really think Stephen King wrote #10 not # 2.

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Estee
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I love how you're all blindly sticking me to stories based on my name. I just posted in frags for books--see if that helps (because no one has guessed me right yet).
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Brendan
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Hmm, with that clue, would I be wrong is saying that you did quite well early on?
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snapper
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Ute - 6
Wireless - 5 (and she stiil has her own correct)
Brendan - 10, but missed his own.

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wirelesslibrarian
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Jeez, Snapps, I wish you hadn't outed me. In doing so, you foiled a fiendishly clever scheme to create confusion by switching my guess later on. Looks like it wasn't so clever after all.

The recent posts by rabirch and Estee gave me new insight into their writing styles. (Unless those, too, were fiendishly clever ploys. Ummm,is my paranoia showing?) Anyway, revised guesses follow.

#1 Your Ever-Affectionate Goddaughter – Roxy L

#2 She’s In Command Of Love - LDwriter

#3 Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life – History

#4 A Ship Called Love - Utahute

#5 Love and Politics – Wirelesslibrarian

#6 Choose Your Own Adventure – Shimiqua

#7 Veneration – Brendan

#8 Amora in the Garden - Estee

#9 The Spell for Love – Owasm

#10 How Do I Love Thee? – Snapper

#11 SYNTHETIC LOVE – Axeminister

#12 YESTERDAY WAS ARMAGEDDON – PDBlake

#13 Heartless – Strycher

#14 Kindle My Heart – rabirch

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snapper
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9 - wireless.

Hint: Entry's 1 and 4 are the only ones that haven't been picked correctly yet.

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Utahute72
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OK

1- PD Blake
2- LD
3- History
4 - Estee
5- Wireless
6 - Shimiqua
7 - Brendan
8 - Roxyl
9 - OSWAM
10 - Snapper
11 - AXE
12 - Ute
13 - Strycher
14 - Rabich

[ June 04, 2012, 05:09 PM: Message edited by: Utahute72 ]

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