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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » ENTRIES: Pairs...

   
Author Topic: ENTRIES: Pairs...
skadder
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Use this format:
Entry Number: [starts at one!]

Title: Title in BOLD

Story: [Your story here]


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Corin224
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Entry Number: 1

Title: Shelter

Story:
Corwin Thorssen calmly watched the seconds tick by on his watch. To the rest of the crew, sunrise was a deadline, a time to be beaten. It might amount to the same, but to him, sunrise was a speeding bullet, death incarnate, and it traveled at exactly 2674 miles per hour. Frantically, the mechanics pounded on the burrower, hindered as always by their bulky environment suits. Ironically, the same protection that allowed them to survive the horrifying death by asphyxiation on this Godsforsaken plant was probably going to doom them all to a far more grisly fate: Sunflies. They floated quietly in the thin atmosphere, little dust particles, or bits of icy-looking fog to the naked eye. Innocent in the darkness. But when sunlight touched them, they came alive, becoming blazing, darting flashes of death.


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alliedfive
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Entry Number: 2

Title: Brother’s Keeper

Story:

“He doesn’t want to play anymore,” Jerl said, unable to hide his sneer in the dim torchlight. “I am the victor, no?” he tilted his face toward the arbiters floating unseen above the cavern.
Eason balled his dirty fists. “I didn’t quit. He cheated. The Hunter can use no weapon but the mind of his Abettor.”
Jerl spread his hands on his chest and managed to look confused. “I used no weapons, masters. Surely the terrain itself can be used to my advantage?”
Show them the knife, Eason’s Abetter whispered in his mind. Eason knew the other Abetters couldn't speak. “He chipped a stone knife from the wall and imbued it.”
“I did not imbue it. I threw it, only. Surely--”
“It followed me, Jerl. It... stalked me.”

[This message has been edited by alliedfive (edited March 31, 2011).]


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elilyn
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Entry Number: 3

Title: The Hacker

Story:

“UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO THE MAINFRAME, PLEASE ENTER PASSWORD,” a soft feminine voice announced. The words made Meg’s adrenaline pound as she searched. Digital strings of code blurred by as she frantically tried to pull out the right one for the impenetrable wall before her. She was jacked in without a buffer. Everyone warned her of the risks to her brain if the virus sniffers caught her, but she lived for the rush it gave her to work at the speed of thought.
“INTRUDER ALERT, INTRUDER ALERT." The hunters were closing in on her, should could feel them searching for her digital signature. There! She hurled the string at the firewall then slipped through the crack it made just as the hunters reached the code she had been hiding in.


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shimiqua
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Entry #4

Title:Occupational Hazard


Jav opened the fridge and pulled out a human head. Female, my favorite, but it smelled like aged garlic, so in my presubspecies state I couldn't cook without needing to hurl.
I drummed my tentacles on the granite countertop while listening to the sloshing slipping of Jav's knife. Jav was talking about his work, of course. That was all he talked about anymore, but I nodded and smiled like working near the furnace was an appealing occupation. Jav needed to know I still found him interesting after seventy years, and I needed a cozy place to birth this kumquat, so the smile/nod was the way to go.
He kissed my third eye and handed me half the face on a plate. My portion had both of the eyes and he left them open. I smiled.
It was the little sacrifices which made our romance last.

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited April 06, 2011).]


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skadder
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Entry 5

Title: The Final Cut

The buckshot clipped the angel’s wing. It tumbled from the sky in a blur of white feathers and red blood, then crashed into the reeds at the edge of the icy marsh. I lowered my shotgun.
The night before the hunt, I'd dreamed of flying; lines of silent swans soared with out-stretched wings on either side of me, only feet above the surface of a still, dark lake. As I glided across the waters, I glanced down and saw my reflection; my face was so beautiful, it broke my heart, and my wings glistened and shone--every feather, perfect.
When I woke, I wept, but my resolve remained firm.
I drew my hunting knife, clenched my jaw and walked to the fallen seraph. It tried to crawl away across the white snow, but its pale limbs were too weak. It didn't beg or moan, but sang with a voice so beautiful


[This message has been edited by skadder (edited April 02, 2011).]


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snapper
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Entry 6

Title: The Extinguisher


Jim Kemp stood with his arms crossed as he watched ten of the most powerful men in the world, their eyes glued to a movie screen, view a forty-year old lab experiment. Two men in white coats on the screen demonstrated a simple, yet secret, energy conversion process. Jim turned it off ten minutes in.
“That is what you are dealing with, gentlemen. A group of college students have replicated that experiment and plan on revealing their results to the press tomorrow at noon.”
“That wasn’t fake?” asked the CEO of Exxon. “Water can burn?”
Jim nodded. “It requires a freezing method involving the right frequency of electricity. Not easy, but if done correctly.” He held up an ice cube in a pair of tongs and lit a lighter under it. A blue flame danced on the cube. “Ice will burn like coal.”


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Utahute72
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Entry 7

The Old Man in the Cave

The old man sat at the mouth of the cave, warmed by the flames from the small fire at his back. Outside the wind howled and the snow was blown parallel to the ground. The old man could see the figure moving up the snowy hill toward him. He could see him not with his eyes, for the snow was too thick and the night was too dark. The old man could see him clearly in his mind, which flew over the frozen ground like a nighthawk.
The figure made slow progress up the hill, fighting both the wind and gravity. The old man sat still waiting for the visitor to reach him. His eyes were closed, his breathing shallow as he sat unmoving in his lotus position. After long minutes the stranger stumbled into the dimly lit cave. The old man still did not move.

[This message has been edited by Utahute72 (edited April 02, 2011).]


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Brendan
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Entry Number: 8

Title: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn

Hartly rode up to Tarka and pulled to a stop at the top of the cliff. His mount splayed its feet into the dry ice and happily stomped around. Hartly breathed deeply from its blowhole, letting the metabilised oxygen fill his lungs before speaking.
"Kalia says that it will be any sleep now," he said. Tarka gazed towards the south and nodded. His face looked strained, fighting hard against the thin air this far into the night side.
"The Great Sea," he said, nodding westward. "Drive them fast to the north, until they reach the plains. It will be easier from there. Keep ahead of the dawn."
"You're not coming? Who'll lead us in the way?"
"That role is now yours. My place is with Kalia in the fissures. At least, until dusk, until our unborn is weened."

[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited April 02, 2011).]


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Owasm
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Entry #9

The Desert Reaper

The stars seemed to cast tiny shards of ice into Brull's bare back. He cursed the gods for sending the cold and, if he could shake his massive fist at himself, he'd do so for ripping his cloak off in the desert heat yesterday.

He finally breached the top of a hill, breathing heavily from a night on the run, and gazed down at a blocky village broken up by the spiky profiles of towering palms. The sand-colored walls began to exchange blue for pink as the emerging dawn began to paint the coming day.

Brull permitted himself a grim smile while he loosened the fastenings retaining the Sword of Spells in the sheath on his back. The desert lay behind him and his pursuers now ran towards their doom.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited April 03, 2011).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Entry 10

Prey

I can smell them. Even through the mass of mutilated bodies I've burrowed under, the smell of rot on their collective breath turns my stomach. I can't move, not even the slightest shift, or these things will find me. What they'll do to me with tooth, claw and barbs is the stuff of nightmares. Short scuffs surround me as something drags across the rocks. I hear sniffing near my head and hold my breath. My throat is so dry, I dare not swallow. There is a wet thump and the bodies above me compress. One of the villagers' skin loincloths brushes my face. I know what signs the Scentfollowers seek, for I used to be the hunter. I try to give them nothing. Just then, something unexpected happens: blood trickles through the lattice of limbs above me and drips into my mouth. I can't help gagging.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 04, 2011).]


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philocinemas
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Entry 11

Silence is the Hunter


VANISHED! That’s what the headlines of my digital copy of The Post-Standard display as I access it for the hundredth time. It hasn’t changed. Underneath are the 180s of two men, one a prominent banker in his forties and the other a twenty-seven year old convenience store clerk with a goofy smile. Nothing in common but their names. My name – Michael Canter.

Before, the nightshift was never a problem for me. That’s the life of an aging disc jockey, gone from spinning records to CDs, clicking a mouse to touch-screen. No skeleton crew, just me. Gotta save on costs and all. I play the music in the studio, not just on the air, because I can’t stand the silence. That’s when I feel it stalking me. Then there’s the request line.

“Up All Night with Mike Canter, you’re on the air.”


[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited April 03, 2011).]


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Ethereon
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Entry Number 12

Volition

Kat felt the sick viral tingling all over her tongue: cells invaded, proteins hijacked, myriad copies shed into her saliva. Her head swam. A chicken sat on her pillow, its feathers stirring in the breeze that blew through the purple lace curtains of her childhood bedroom. Delerium. Her cell was windowless.

Teaming viral machinery swam down her throat. I'm under attack. She shivered despite the stagnant sweat that coated her body. Without questioning how, she followed the sensation inward, up her spinal cord and brainstem to the knob of tissue under the thalamus. The hypothalamic set point was already raised, but she pushed the temperature even higher.

The chicken nodded its approval. "Roast the little bastards," it clucked in her mother's voice.


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Wordcaster
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Entry #13

Ice Hunter

The sound of flapping wings was faint and muted against the powdered mountain, but Rand knew it was close. He bit down on his glove and tore it from his hand. Bearing down on the anchor's handle, he screwed it into the mountain's icy facade. His hand was numb against the cold metal, but he disregarded it and snapped the carabiner to the anchor's eyelet.

White dust blew from the mountain, but the dragon's silhouette cut threw it, swallowing the snowy shield with its retracted jaw. Its belly bulged and exhaled a storm of fire. Rand dove into the alcove, feeling the flame engulf his Kevlar suit. Grabbing the crossbow, he fired a grappling hook over the dragon's shoulder, snagging its flesh just under its back.

[This message has been edited by Wordcaster (edited April 05, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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Entry number 14.


Title Prey2hunter?


Story:

My life is about to turn into a cliche, I hate it when that happens. Damn my jacket snags on the bark as I pivet around a tree. I hope my hunters canÕt hear the rip. These two have chased me for a week; if itÕs the same two from that alley. Next they found me in a large, abandoned wearhouse, finally on my street very late. I made it inside my house just before one smacked into the wards protecting the place. Dark water flows as I leap a stream. I have no idea what they want. TheyÕre probably aren't ghouls but I'm not positive. TheyÕre not werewolves, unless they are the type that transform with a belt. They keep must of their interllegence that way. Maybe vamps or wizards. IÕm tired of this, the prey is about to turn into the hunter- I told you cliche.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 07, 2011).]


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APT
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Entry Number: 15

Title: Shattered Edge

Story:

A pained gasp was ripped from Varna's throat as she battled to control the raging torrent of power around her. The heavy metallic tang of ozone swarmed through the air, seeming to twin the sickly taste of blood in her mouth.

Gritting her teeth hard she dragged her hands through the nimbus of coiled light around her until her fingernails seemed to snag; to catch on the very edge between space and time.

Braced legs, a scream of agony and arms as strong as a rod of steel forced her fingers through that edge and gained purchase within. Twisting her arms like she was turning a wheel seemed to bend the matter of reality and slowly, so very slowly, the sun seemed to fade; day was cracking to make way for night.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Entry #16


Title: The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness.


The palace of the celestial king was always in a state of tumult. The cause of this were the king’s own twins, a boy and a girl. It was indiscernible that a pair of sentient beings, who should be naturally disposed to have the most identical congenital traits, were so thoroughly converse. Just recently, during a royal celebration, the twins had had a tiff over a thing and it had ended up in a full blown conflagration, literally.

Was it an accidental fire? No. The boy had started it; an infernal vortex amidst the royal chamber. Well, why had he started it? Because his sister had threatened him, “I will turn all your presents to pure ice!”, he’d kept fire ready.

‘Fire and Ice’, as the entire heavenly kingdom had learnt to joke, albeit discreetly, ‘can never make nice.’

[This message has been edited by mc1ate1mad1cow (edited April 07, 2011).]

[This message has been edited by mc1ate1mad1cow (edited April 07, 2011).]


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Tiergan
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Title: Eternal Flame

Dravid clenched his fists, again and again. Tendrils of smoke curled from between white knuckles. Steam hissed, rising beneath his feet, the snow melting as he fought the fire rising inside. “She comes.”

“Dravid, relax.”

He ignored his brother, and closed his eyes for the briefest of moments. Snow spiraled down the river frozen in winter’s icy clutch. He let the artic wind sweep over him, caressing his skin. For a moment he thrilled at its touch. Tears gathered in his eyes as memories came racing back. No! He shook the past free. Never again would she have such a hold on him.

The wind withdrew and slowed, and Dendrita stepped from the last of the dying swirls.


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Crank
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Entry 18

The Demon You Know

Jeff had no problem hearing the profanity blurting out above the music and the chatter, from the direction of the bar. Figured. His tormentor sat amongst a dozen recoiled postures. A neon beer sign added a reddish glow to the bulging veins on his thick tattooed neck. His bruised, hairy hand was clutching a whiskey bottle. A nearly empty whiskey bottle.

Jeff retreated back towards the door. "I’m not doing this."

"He is the one that has been stalking you? He is no match for us."

Jeff felt himself go flat-footed. Servant was doing it again. He clamped his eyes closed. With force. The strain stabbed back at him. "’Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,’" he spoke out loud.

"We prefer the more accurate version: ‘Do unto others as they


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Twiggy
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Entry 19

Title: First Kill

Mot clung to the rock ledge and peaked over the rim. An egg rolled toward him, bigger than a head and thrumming with cries of summoning. The answering screech sent him scrabbling. He ducked beneath the swooping Brooker hen and watched her settle on the ridge. The bird waddled forward, her head bobbing and her exquisite plumes splaying in challenge. She dipped suddenly, snaring Mot’s wrist with a claw.
“You do not need to die, hunter,” sounded in Mot’s head. “If you take my crest feather home who will know you didn’t make your first kill?”
Mot’s youthful face crumpled. “I will know.”
“Shame,” the hen said, fixing her stare. Mot's body trembled with the fear of the hunted.


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Josephine Kait
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Entry 20

The Middle Road

Fire and Ice, the Elementals danced their deadly battle, but no matter who won it was bad news for Sonya. She stumbled, the artic wind beating at her even as she fought to stay out of the path of the forest fire. A hundred miles from anywhere, she would have frozen to death already, as she was surely meant to, were it not for the fire’s warmth. Yet it could as easily turn and consume her in a moment, a mortal abandoned to die on the battlefield of Titans. Her thin t-shirt promised swift oblivion if she strayed too far from the fireline. It was only a matter of time before she made a fatal misstep. She gritted her teeth; it just wasn't in her to submit meekly to her fate. She topped a small rise, and her jaw dropped. The towering figures before her could only be real elementals. Weren’t they just a myth?


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sjsampson
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Entry 21

Title: Missing Person

"Have you seen my brother?" a boy asked. Ratty as a chimney sweep, he shoved a flyer at me, but barely spared a glance in my direction as I passed him by. The kid expected rejection and was already waving the paper at someone new.
The poor little snot. Ten years ago that was me, hunting for Lucas all over this gritty, smog-filled city. Now, thanks to a missed train, I found myself trapped here again for a night.
Hooves clapped against granite pavement and a hush fell across the lane. There are many ways to disappear. The patrols are one.
I diverted my eyes from the officers to the frozen grass where one of the boy's flyers lay. Someone had an amazing gift for portraits, but the well-drawn charcoal profile wasn’t what stole my breath. It was the pair of eyes staring back. They were mine.


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snapper
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Time to close the entries.

Skadder wants me to post the rules but I'm on my phone. I will post them in the morning when I get wifi for my lonely laptop. I know most of you already know the rules anyway. If you don't then you better wait until the morning.

So for those who can't wait any longer, vote away!

***Edited for the rules***

quote:
"Competition is now closed. No more entries.
PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER UNTIL YOU HAVE POSTED YOUR VOTES -- this encourages early voting and keeps everyone objective.

Please vote for your first, second and third place intro.

1st place will get 5 points
2nd place will get 4 points
3rd place will get 3 points

This scoring method makes it a closer game and we decided it was fairer a long time ago.

Also vote for you best title.

Please bear in mind smoothness of prose, adherence to the prompt and desire to read on (hook)...

If you can, people appreciate a line or two of feedback, but it is voluntary.


[This message has been edited by snapper (edited April 09, 2011).]


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Corin224
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I will venture on as the first to vote, having checked out the rules from past challenges. Here's feedback and votes.

1) Brilliant! This is a fine example of the perfect way to hook . . . wait . . . oh, that's mine, never mind.

2) This one threw me a bit until I slowed down and read it. I just got the dialogue mixed up between the characters. It made a LOT more sense once I got it straight. I liked this one, but I felt like I was missing a LOT of context. It still worked for me, though.

3) I like the opening sentence or two. I really dig cyberpunk, but I program computers, and it's a bit tough to sell me on a hacking sequence with a few buzzwords. The writing is very smooth, and despite not quite engaging with the story, I enjoyed reading it.

4) I loved this one! Such a tender little story with a gruesome little twist. Honestly, the only complaint I have is the word 'kumquat'. Associating that word with a fruit just ripped me right out of the story for a second. Maybe that was intentional, but it jarred me. Other than that, I LOVED this opening.

5) I really like the imagery in this one. It's quite forceful, and feels very important, but I really felt lost without a context. I know it's just an opening, but I couldn't even imagine what an 'angel' was. An actual angel? Is it just a swan? Whose viewpoint am I seeing this from? And how does someone with wings and feathers fire a shotgun. I just had a hard time visualizing this one, even though I liked the imagery.

6) Hmm . . . intriguing, but I feel like I need a better explanation to buy into this premise, even if it is all speculative fiction. Great setting and I'm actually quite curious where the story's going, but just a MASSIVE 'Yeah, right' moment for me.

7) I think I could like the long version of this story, but I don't really know what's going on, and I'd like to, since at this point I don't know enough about either the setting or the characters to care at the moment. That, and names would help me a bit, or a description of some sort to anchor these characters in my mind a bit. I just don't feel connected to this one.

8) I think you probably have a pretty good visual of the world this story is in, but I feel very lost. It sounds like a rich world, but I just don't know enough about it yet, and it's a bit jargony for me to get invested. I would keep reading, but I'm not hooked yet.

9) Great visuals and characterization. Somehow, I'm feeling tension already, even though I know nothing about the character or the setting. I get the feeling Brull's not human, though, and I'd kinda like to know that for sure. Other than that, I kinda like it.

10) The only **ONLY** thing I don't like about this story is the present tense. First person is the PERFECT viewpoint for this, and the pacing and suspense is done perfectly. For me, though, the present tense constantly yanked me out of the story, and reminded me that I was READING a story, rather than EXPERIENCING it. GREAT visuals, and I would love to read more, for sure!

11) I love the viewpoint, and the quirky character, but the first paragraph is a bit awkward for me. I had to read it 2 or 3 times to get that the names the dead people had in common was the same as the DJ's name. I finally got it, though, and I love this intro. Feels a bit like a Dresden Files story. (I mean that as a compliment, just in case you don't take it that way.)

12) Again, I just don't think I have enough context here. I think I COULD like this story, and I want to read on and learn more, but right now I just feel a bit disoriented, though I like the concept of being in such detailed control of ones physiology.

13) I hate to say it, but I just am totally not getting the setting, and I'm having some pretty big "yeah, right" moments, but I LOVE the idea of dragon-hunting with modern technology. As much as this wasn't quite to my taste, it got me excited about the concept, and this story more than any other here left me wanting to see the movie version. It'd be totally BADASS!

14) "My life is about to turn into a cliche, I hate it when that happens". BRILLIANT! I hate to say the rest of the story wasn't as engaging. Honestly, it was the typos. Between the odd encoding issue that messed up the apostrophes, and the numerous misspellings, I just kept getting yanked out of the story, as did the present tense thing. But what a spectacular opening line. Just oozes character and attitude. I love it!

15) Pretty good description, but I just wish I knew what was going on. I think 13 lines before and 13 after, and I'd be in great shape with this intro, but again, I kinda feel lost.

16) This is gonna sound shallow, but too many big words. I love the concept, and the pacing is great, but the wording felt awkward, and really kept me out of the story a bit.

17) Oooooh!!! I love it. Just two complaints: Who's Dendrita? Dentrita, queen of demons? Dendrita, the pixie from hell? Dendrita, the cuddly fireball of doom? I got NOTHING here! I'm ALMOST there, now HOOK ME! And I think your spellchecker is forgetting to correct "Dravid" to "David". Seriously, for some reason that bugged me, but it's prolly just me. Great entry, I love it.

18) Not bad . . . I just wanted about 10 more lines. I feel like I'm missing something and I'd have it with just a bit more.

19) I like it. The hunted trying to bargain with the 'hunter' and being in the position of power. It's great. A bit awkward, and I'm missing JUST enough context to get me invested, but I would definitely keep reading.

20) Spectacular! I love it. I've played with this 'keep from freezing to death by staying near the forest fire' concept myself, but never this well! I'm hooked! More please!

21) Oooh! Great final line! SPECTACULAR hook! I'm totally disconnected from the whole setting, and I feel like I'm in a bit over my head, but that setup right there got my attention. Great voice, great pacing, I'd love to read more.

Conclusion:

So . . . that's the commentary. Time to vote then. I gotta say, I loved this challenge.

Kept checking on it at least once a day. I can't wait to see who wins it. But, here's my $.02 worth!

1st choice: 20 - The middle road
2nd choice: 21 - Missing Person
3rd choice: 4 - Occupational Hazard

Good luck everybody! And good writing!

(edited to correct the story name on one of my votes.)

-Falken224 (posing as Corin)

[This message has been edited by Corin224 (edited April 09, 2011).]


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elilyn
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Vote:
1.) #10
2.) #15
3.) #21

I've never posted responses before, but I know I appreciate them on my own entries, so I decided to give it a shot. I hope my advice is taken with a grain of salt as I'm still a very (very) new writer.

#1. Interesting concept, Sunflies, but I was a little confused why the rest of the crew didn't fear them as Corwin did.

#2. Dialog was well written. Seemed like there was a lot going on in this short space. I wasn't able to follow it well.

#3. Mine

#4. First person was an improvement, but I didn't feel at all emotionally invested in these characters, (Maybe I'm not supposed to? I was unsure.)

#5. I liked the, "it broke my heart," and weeping. There was nothing wrong with it, but I just felt it needed more introduction.

#6. Interesting notion, I might read more, but it didn't cross the line into "MUST" read. It felt very emotionless.

#7. This is reminiscent of some scenes I've read before. I think it just needs a bit more action or suspense. The old man's silence/stillness didn't intrigue me much.

#8. A lot of information about mounts, geography, unborn. I think saving some of this for later would be appropriate.

#9. Nice balance between emotional connection, action and information. Would have voted #4. Didn't make the top because it was a very familiar concept.

#10. Gruesome. I definitely want to know what happens when they find the MC. My favorite.

#11. The second paragraph was the sticking point that kept this out of my top three. It seems like you were giving us a laundry list of how the MC felt. Something like, "the familiar office started to echo earily now that the dayshift was gone." Would have felt more comfortable for me.

#12. I know the point of this was to emphasize the MC's confusion, but it left me (the reader) pretty confused also. I would throw in a few more hints to keep the reader on track.

#13. Nice action, but I wasn't sure if Rand was angry, frightened, determined. It needed a bit more insight into his feelings.

#14. In most plays there is an imaginary fourth wall between the actors and the audience. Similarly a narrative must ask for a willing suspension of disbelief. Your stating that the MC's life was turning into a cliche broke this imaginary barrier for me.

#15. My #2. I liked the strong verbs, i.e. swarmed. I also liked the feeling like we were inside the MC's head.

#16. Too much "telling" us what happened, instead of describing the events themselves. I wasn't sure who the Point of View character was.

#17. Nice style, but I felt like Dravid had too much emotional "baggage" to drop on us right away. Made him a bit unsympathetic.

#18. Close to the top, but this sentence, "His tormentor sat amongst a dozen recoiled postures," kept it from being one of the top. I'm guessing it was a typo for "sat amongst a dozen men in recoiled postures" or something similar?

#19. The action was engaging, but I wanted to know more about Mot, and less about the bird.

#20. I was confused about the way the Elementals appeared in the first sentence, then seemed like a suprise to the POV character in the last sentence.

#21. My second favorite. I particularly liked the last two sentences and the part about the clopping hooves being an indirect reference to the patrols. I was a bit confused about "hunting for Lucas." Maybe this could have been added later?


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Wordcaster
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#1: Shelter -- Cool concept. Prose is overly descriptive about the coming sunrise (deadline, time to be beaten, speeding bullet, death incarnate, 2674 mph). This slows the action down at a time when the action should be moving swiftly. Also, there are problems with telling us what the dust creatures become. This should be showed to us, assuming that they are working to the wire.

#2: Brother's Keeper -- I don't know what it means to imbue a knife and I'm a little confused what is going on. I am intrigued by the premise, but it seems a bit strange to start right after an exciting action scene. I'd keep reading.

#3: The Hacker -- People plugging into mainframes has been done, but I'm curious to see where this is going. We don't know yet if there is anything significant with the code she stole. It does seem odd that virus sniffers would need an audible alert from the computer she was accessing. Prose works for me.

#4: Occupational Hazard -- Mmm. my favorite too This is a weird tale to say the least. Not the type I'd normally read, but it works for what it is.

#5: The Final Cut -- I like it.

#6: The Extinguisher -- for some reason using "the CEO of Exxon" completely puts a halt to the hook. Perhaps a generic description of an oil tycoon may work better. I'd keep reading.

#7: The Old Man in the Cave -- First saying that the old man could not see him with his eyes and then only later telling us that he could see him with his mind didn't work for me. Also, the hook is not really there. I don't know anything about the old man or the person coming to visit him. No complaints about the writing.

#8: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn -- I'm confused. "Hartly breathed deeply from its blowhole". Did the mount blow from its blowhole? And what is a mount? Then I am confused by the first line of dialog "...it will be any sleep now." Is this slang for any day now? Sorry... this isn't working for me, I'm having to think too hard.

#9: The Desert Reaper -- Not enough of a hook for me. I would like to see more concrete descriptions of what is happening. Really the only thing that has happened is that Brull reached the top of the hill after running and looked at the village, and then a mention of pursuers facing their doom.

#10: Prey -- This is more stomach turning that shimiqua's tale of eating a human head. Description is great and I have no major qualms.

#11: Silence is the Hunter -- Your title is a bit contrived as to say, "yes, look -- I followed the writing prompt!" Aside from that comment, I really liked your voice and the hook was good.

#12: Volition -- Odd tale. Is Kat hallucinating that a chicken is speaking or it for real? Good start.

#13: Ice Hunter -- Mine

#14: Prey2Hunger? -- Missing some commas; apostrophes come through with a weird ascii characters; "wearhouse?" Then there are a few tense slips from present into past. Too many grammatical errors are distracting me from a fair crit.

#15: Shattered Edge -- The prose could be tightened a bit. It is a bit awkward. Semicolons use is also a bit awkward (not used with completely independent clauses). THe hook itself is ok.

#16: The Celestial Twins -- cause-was or causes-were. Don't mean to harp on grammar, but it immediately takes me out of the story. I'm semi-hooked.

#17: Eternal Flame -- I like it.

#18: The Demon You Know -- Not bad. I would have cheated the first 13 and finished the last sentence I'd keep reading.

#19: First Kill -- This one works ok for me. No major crits.

#20: The Middle Road: I liked it, except I don't have a good vision for what the Elementals are.

#21: Missing Person: I feel like this story has been done before a few times, but the beginning was pretty decent.


My picks:
First -- #17
Second -- #5
Third -- #20

[This message has been edited by Wordcaster (edited April 09, 2011).]


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APT
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1: This intro adhered well to the prompt. I was a bit confused as to why Corwin was calmly looking at his watch when he is seeing the approach of a fate worse the death by choking, but I guess that might be his nature.

2: I thought this intro had nice smooth prose, though tried to fit too much into 13 lines. The introduction of two charactors, a magic system and a society is just a bit much for me. I would read more, just hope it would settle into an easier pace.

3: There was nothing bad about this one for me, though it didn't grab me as some of the other intros did. This may just be because I lean mor towards fantasy than sci-fi. A few well used terms like being jacked in has essence of Matrix in there, but I honestly can't think of a better phase to use. Logged on just sounds wrong. I would read on.

4: I took me a few moments to get that Jav wasn't the MC, so I was left a bit confused for a while. This one was just a little too out there for me to get into with just 13 lines. I found it difficult to form a mental image when I kept getting additions to anatomy.

5: I liked this one. Strong visuals and an almost slow motion cinematic feel appealed to me. I enjoyed the contrast between the elegant angel and the harsh nature of the shotgun. As I said, strong visuals.

6: This was enjoyable, but felt like a short 13 line story rather than an intro. I felt it had a full structure and closure at the end, so I didn't feel like the story would be going anywhere after the intro. I still enjoyed it, and the prose were solid.

7: This was too slow for my liking. I get the feeling that the old man's physical state was meant to contrast with his high powered mental state, which I really liked, but it was only stated in one line. I wanted to know more of the old man.

8: A lot seemed to go on in this one, though I am not sure what it was. I would read on, but I am not sure what plot I would be following as there seemed to be a couple.

9: Strong intro with an interesting MC. I would read on for this one, though I had to re-read a couple of sections to get my head around what was meant.

10: I think the best way to describe this one is visceral. I liked that it gave some good sensory feedback for the MC. I find that if I know what the character smells and feels that it really draws me in and creates a connection. Blood in the mouth was a cherry on the cake for me.

11: This one made me think of Terminator. (Sarah Conner? BOOM!) I enjoyed the more subtle use of the prompt and the prose were good. I would read on, but would wonder if the story would be ground I have walked before. I am sure it wouldn’t be, but the immediate similarities would make me wonder.

12: Haha, a chicken on the pillow. I love random and I love crazy. Good times. Prose are solid with that good old information on what the MC feels. Not too much going on. Good stuff in my book. Erm...or yours I guess.

13: I like the dragon in a contemporary setting. Good prompt usage. The only thing that bugged me was the name Rand. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but that is the name of the MC in The Wheel of Time series. If you haven’t read them it would be fine, but for me it just dragged me out of the narrative. Not a problem with your writing, but it was a problem for me.

14: For me, this felt like it was written be someone whose first language is not English. It wasn’t bad, it just had some odd word choices that kind of pulled at me. I like the story, but there were just too many errors to snag my attention.

15: This was mine. I wanted to do all the sensory feedback things I have said I like.

16: This had that feel of being a complete story to me. It had good concepts and locations. I enjoyed the conflict, which always makes for a good story, but it felt like it came to an end. If there was more to the story, I am pretty sure I would read on.

17: I think this one had some really strong mystery which would carry a reader into the story. Good sensory feedback. It doesn’t try to do too much. I like it.

18: I want to read more, even if it is just for the reason that it cuts off mid sentence. (That is not the only reason I would read on.) It was a good read and made me want to know what was going to happen, though I think it was trying to get too much in. My only other gripe was that a couple of the lines of dialogue felt a bit awkward.

19: I don’t know if this was intended, but I get the image in my head of a boy fighting a big blue chicken. That is not a bad thing; I get a strong visual from quite early on. I thought the chicken had a surprisingly normal vocab for a bird. I want to read more, partly to find out what happens, partly to see if it is a chicken.

20: This one left me confused, and I can’t resolve my confusion by re-reading. Are the elementals stated at the start a concept to represent the weather, or actual Elementals? If it is just the weather, then it is confusing. If they are the discovered at the end, then it isn’t much of a discovery. I am just confused as to what is meant to be metaphor and what is real.

21: A nice mystery and a nice visual. I get the image of a dark and dirty London from around 1910. I like the subtle use of the prompt and the twist ending. I would read on.

My Votes

1st: #10
2nd: #5
3rd: #12


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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#1: I really liked the storyline- it could make for an interesting read, in it’s entirety. It also seems to be quite relevant to the Fire/Ice pair thing. However, 4th sentence from the last, “Frantically…Sunflies” just seemed a tad bit clunky. The fact that it has some punctuation marks missing also doesn’t help. I’d rate this one of the better ones.

#2: This has a lot of stuff going on and I couldn’t imagine it properly until after having read it for the third time. It’s very interesting, no doubt, but some things like “I am the victor, no?” and the varied spellings of Abettor/er bring this piece down. I liked it though. It treads well on the hunter/hunted theme.

#3: This is clunky in many parts, e.g. the 2nd sentence. The capital letters were a turn off for me, although I know that they would’ve appeared so, on Meg’s computer screen. Some sentences seem vague, e.g. the third sentence. Probably, my general indifference to this type of sci-fi is the reason I wasn’t interested… Good luck, anyway.

#4: This is an amazingly interesting storyline. I’d definitely want to read it further. However, there are some drawbacks. E.g the 3rd sentence would make no sense to an ordinary reader – they wouldn’t know you were talking about Jav’s occupation. Kumquat sounds funny to read amongst the first 13 lines. Also, not very related to the Hunter/hunted pair. Overall, I liked this very much. 4th best.

#5: I found this very vague. That a hunter could conveniently spot an angel in a marsh and ‘In a blur of… and red blood’, sounds kind of unrealistic, don’t you think? I hate to judge the full novel by even the first 10 pages, so I wouldn’t dare to call this bad. Work hard?

#6: I was really hooked by the concept. However, I couldn’t get even a stray image of where the people were sitting. More importantly, I was confused by the fact that you showed that the experiment was performed on screen even though Jim could do it easily, with a pair of tongs, an ice cube and a lighter. Anyway, very relevant to one of the ‘Pairs’. I consider this the 5th best.

#7: My favorite. The imagery of this piece is extremely strong and more importantly, it sets a peculiar atmosphere. It actually reads like the first 13 lines of a good novel. There are no big, flowery words that serve no purpose. I liked this piece the best.

#8: This piece has too much going on. You should have not opened with such heavy dialog. I would’ve liked to see more of a scene. ‘Hartly breathed from it’s blowhole’ I didn’t understand that at all…Maybe this is not my cup of tea at all? Good luck.

#9: I simply loved the description in the 2nd paragraph. The last sentence needs re-working. I’d say I’d like to read this further. My 6th most liked piece.

#10: Love this! Again, the imagery is very strong. But, aren’t the bodies, bodies of dead people? How can they breathe? Maybe a different choice of words would do better? Without saying much more, and also as an indication to my intense dislike for this piece, I’ll say: my 2nd most liked intro!

#11: Are the two random people’s names common with Michael Canter? This point was unclear. Personally, my interest wasn’t piqued by it. But that’s only a personal choice. Good luck.

#12: Again, not for me. The first sentence is very off…Change the wording a bit? The last sentence was hilarious though. Good luck.

#13: I’m not sure ‘powdered’ can be used as an adjective for a mountain covered in snow. Good imagery, though. Didn’t follow which ‘snowy shield’ did the dragon swallow. Overall, this is one of the better pieces.

#14: I’m sorry but you should’ve edited this piece. Can others also see the weird symbols instead of the apostrophe mark? Good luck, though.

#15: I loved the 2nd and 3rd sentences. Very nicely done. However, it got vague after that. Couldn’t follow at all. A bit more clarity at the end would make this a better read.

#16: The worst entry. God, your writing is plain awful!

#17: This has very good imagery but doesn’t flow well. It seems disjointed, don’t you think? I loved the last sentence very much though. Try to bring a similar clarity as that in the other sentences?

#18: Again, not very clear. I cannot understand what you’re trying to convey. Good luck, though.

#19: It would’ve made it easier to imagine if you’d described how actually the Brooker hen flew at him. I loved the concept, it’s very pleasant and fresh and I also loved you how you spun this from the hunter/hunted pair. One of the best pieces(I’d say 3rd best.)

#20: ‘A hundred miles from anywhere..’ didn’t get this at all. Elementals, Titans- they sound a bit too familiar for me. However, I loved the image which you project with this. Also, it’s a good fit for the Fire and Ice pair. I’d like to read it further, definitely. One of the better intros.

#21: How can the eyes on the flyer be his? I didn’t follow. Was it his own face on the flyer? Anyway, a wonderful imagery. The second sentence needs to be restructured. I’m not sure how this fits in with the PAIR thing but I’d like to read this further. One of the better ones (specifically 7th).


Okay, so my 3 votes go to:

1st: Entry #7 : The Old Man In The Cave
2nd: Entry #10 : Prey
3rd: Entry #19 : The First Kill


Very nice writing people! Keep it up!
Best Title : The Demon You Know


(edited for adding the best title.)

[This message has been edited by mc1ate1mad1cow (edited April 09, 2011).]


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Ethereon
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1 – Shelter – Creative use of day-night trigger.

2 - Brother’s Keeper – Interesting stuff. "Arbiter" and "Abettor" sound sufficiently alike to cause some confusion. I am hooked and rooting for the MC.

3 - The Hacker – Very fun visualisation of hacking and a different interpretation of the hunter-hunted trigger.

4 – Occupational Hazard – Very amusing! I'm having trouble discerning any of the triggers though. I suppose eating a human head might imply a hunter-hunted relationship. Still, eating a ham sandwich doesn't imply that one hunts pigs, so my assumption could be a bit of a stretch.

5 - The Final Cut – Beautiful. I admire the layers of content in this short passage. Trigger discernable as hunter-hunted.

6 - The Extinguisher – Very fun and clever use of the ice-fire trigger. I'm having trouble suspending my disbelief (but that's the chemistry background talking).

7 – The Old Man in the Cave – The phrase "the old man" appeared five times in this short space. To me the repetition was a detractor. I liked the phrase "fighting both the wind and gravity" Trigger is ice-fire?

8 - Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn – Lots of fun alien details like breathing from his mount's blowhole and weening of the unborn. I'm intrigued. Trigger discernable as day-night.

9 - The Desert Reaper – Interesting. I like the description of the town's walls changing colour in the dawn light. Is Sword of Spells a cliché? Trigger discernable as day-night, hunter-hunted and possibly ice-fire. Nice job of including all three, though as skadder said, there's no extra points for that!

10 – Prey – I'm not particularly hooked, perhaps because I recently read a different draft that also opened with the protag hiding under a pile of dead bodies. Trigger discernable as hunter-hunted.

11 - Silence is the Hunter – Very ominous, cool. Trigger discernable as hunter-hunted.

13 - Ice Hunter – Lots of action right off the bat. One question - "feeling the flame engulf his Kevlar suit" - does he still feel heat through the suit, or is it some other sensation? Trigger discernable as ice-fire and probably hunter-hunted as well.

14 - Prey2hunter? – There are a lot of technical issues and choppiness here that interrupt the reading experience. The last line might keep me reading, but I'm not particularly hooked. Trigger discernable as hunter-hunted

15 - Shattered Edge – Some interesting images here although it's overall on the abstract side. I'm okay with that, but I'd need some more info about Varna or what's at stake for her soon to maintain interest. Trigger discernable as day-night.

16 - The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness – didn't really engage with this one though the concept of elementally opposite twins is interesting. Perhaps the writing style just didn't suit my personal tastes. I did enjoy the last line though.

17 -Eternal Flame – fiery man, icy woman, previously in a relationship by the sound of it… interesting. "Tears gathered in his eyes as memories came" maybe this emotional reaction could be toned down a little. It felt a little too strong in the midst of an otherwise active opening. Title is a pun?

18 – The Demon You Know – "blurting" in first line tripped me up, but other than that I quite enjoyed the opening and am hooked to find out more. Trigger discernable as hunter-hunted.

19 – First Kill – I misread the second line as "eggroll" instead of "egg rolled" on my first read and so was picturing a table of Asian cuisine on a giant scale! I must be reading hungry. As or the story itself, very cool. I liked the wise giant hen and the diminutive-sounding name "Mot" for the MC.

20 – The Middle Road - Cool concept, having to stay near a forest fire to avoid freezing to death.

21 – Missing Person - interesting opening scene and hook, but I'm having trouble discerning triggers. I suppose the kid with the flyers is hunting for his brother in a way.

1st – Entry 5 - The final cut – skadder
2nd – Entry 2 - Brother's Keeper - alliedfive
3rd – Entry 18 - The Demon You Know – Crank

Wow, this was a tough choice. Many great entries!

If we're voting for best title (are we?): Entry 4 – Occupational Hazard – shimiqua, because the title is a big part of the hook for me after reading the first 13.


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Brendan
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1: Sunflies are a fine concept. It may be an interesting world, but there is potential for it to be a simple horror story, which isn't my taste.

2: This has conflict straight away, between Jerl and everyone else. Well designed opening that shows enough of the world, some good dialog and tension.

3: This seemed a bit of a cliche, attempts to emulate Gibson or The Matrix.

4: This had me chuckling. Funny opening, but I was not sure about its scope to sustain it beyond this 13. Perhaps.

5: Nicely written, as expected. However, use of a dream sequence so early is a bit cliche, even if it is an interesting twist. Cutting off the last sentence were it did was a master stroke.

6: I actually have my own burning ice story - so the concept by itself is not new. From a physics POV, it takes more energy than it gives off, but it can store energy and release it later. As a payoff for the opening, it works well for a simple David vs Goliath story.

7: This is well written, but I couldn't find the implicit promise of the story. Where is it headed?

8: I think this one went a bit east. Well that was the only direction it didn't mention.

9: There were a couple of nice lines in this, and a couple of odd ones. Sword of Spells was too much of a cliche for my tastes, as all it promises is a fight, not interesting reasons to fight.

10: Good last line. It probably would need to be broken into a couple paragraphs for easier reading. Apart for violence, I am not sure what the story is promising. But there is a certain intrigue about it that would keep me reading.

11: This might have been better if the payoff was left to the third paragraph. It is diffused somewhat by the last sentence in the first paragraph. Still, it has that "read me" feel to it.

12: The more I read this, the more I saw the layering of the humor - from plays on words with roast chicken and bird flu, to comparison of her mother to a hen - very funny. The concept of that type of bodily control is intriguing, but the tension is created when we realise that her mother, the one that she is likening to a chicken and all the henpecked reality that represents, knows what she is doing. What else does she know?

13: The implied promise is definitely action in this story. Modern dragons, done before, but modern dragons with action...

14: I did like the opening line, but you do yourself a dis-service by the spelling mistakes. Stories that are all internal monolog aren't my taste, and that was the story's seeming promise.

15: This was a bit obscure - I have no idea where it is going, nor where it has been. Sorry. (It probably doesn't help that it's past midnight here when I wrote this.)

16: The narrator's voice dominated this opening. This did not draw me in. The idea, while ok, wasn't strong enough to overcome the existance of the narrator.

17: Using an Indian name gave this an immediate exotic feel, perhaps even a mystical feel as a result of the first paragraph's description. The internal thought let this down a little, sounding a bit too melodramatic - possibly because it was too early in the discovery of this character to accept such strong emotions so close.

18: This was good. It set the scene of the location, then the supposed antagonist and then the killer concept that would hold real tension throughout the story - Servant. Nice.

19: If it wasn't for the last line, and the fact that this was a hen, then this would have been an interesting story. Hen's don't incite fear in me. I'm not quite sure what the story is promising, but the interaction between the hunter and hunted was interesting.

20: I liked the use of the bush fire in the snow. I didn't like the fact that you started with a symbol (the Elementals), which took a while to understand that it was a symbol (fine), and then made it literal at the end (not fine). It makes me uncertain whether subsequent fantasy references are symbolic or literal. Very nice pacing and description, I would love to see other stories you write, but it didn't quite work for me this time.

21: Perhaps the best payoff last line of the group. I liked this opening. The similes gave an indication of the era, which felt really in character. Nice job.

Votes:
1st: Entry 12 - Volition
2nd: Entry 18 - The Demon You Know
3rd: Entry 2 - Brother's Keeper

Special Mentions - 4, 5, 6, 21

Are we doing best title?

Best Title: Entry 11 - Silence is the Hunter

[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited April 09, 2011).]


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Owasm
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Entry Number: 1
Title: Shelter
There's enough drama in this beginning, but all of the drama leaks out with the sunfly infodump at the end. I wondered why Corwin would be the only one so anxious, I would think they'd all be very, very concerned. I thought that the beginning could be rewritten to provide more urgency. Even the last sentence didn't link the crew and the sunflies. I might read on, not because of the sunflies, but I might be interested in what the crew did.

Entry Number: 2
Title: Brother’s Keeper
There is a major POV error in the beginning with Jerl's thoughts shifting to Eason that made me have to reread this. The terms arbiter and Abettor are too close for the first 13 and ended up being another thing that threw me out. I wondered if the terms were [i]imbued[/i ]. I also thought it strange to open with the initiating action just over and off the stage of the story. I'd probably not read on due to the technical errors at the start.

Entry Number: 3
Title: The Hacker
This was okay, but I OD'd on the jargon and would probably pass on this one. All I knew at the end of the beginning was that she was in a mainframe and stepped out just in time. I know nothing more.

Entry #4
Title:Occupational Hazard
I liked the voice at the end, but the eating of human heads is not an indicator that I would enjoy the story. There's something to be said about having some element of human-ness to hold onto in an alien story. I'd be moving on before getting there. BTW, What is a kumquat in this race's terminology?

I didn't think the fridge/furnace were quite strong enough for the prompt. No juxtaposition.


Entry 5
Title: The Final Cut
The dream took me right out of the beginning. I think there'd be a better place for it in following pages. I wanted to know more about the why and about the beautiful song. I'd probably read on, but only to see if there would be a more appealing hook than a dead angel.


Entry 6
Title: The Extinguisher
I thought the first sentence read clunkily and would have to be fixed before I'd get hooked. When I finished, I wondered what Jim Kemp was up to. Drama was lacking although the fact that ice could burn is a good reveal, it doesn't indicate what's going to happen to Jim. The reveal would get me to the next page, at least.

Entry 7
The Old Man in the Cave
I was ready to flow with the opening until I came to the old man not seeing and the tiny infodump about his sight. It didn't add to the beginning and the old man not moving in his cave didn't draw me into the story or get me to turn the page. I think there are some emotions needed for this.

Entry Number: 8
Title: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn
This beginning relies on setting for its cues. I didn't pick up that Harly was breathing the oxygen his mount emitted until the third time. I had some difficulty interpreting what these people were saying and I think that made the beginning a bit tough to get through. However the setting is unusual enough that it would pull me on.

Entry 10
Prey
This reminded me of Little Man and some other (hiding among the battle's dead) novels. I was riveted, but the MC talked about tooth, claw and barbs and then said that he used to be the hunter. Do the hunters use the Scentfollowers? How can't one move on when the MC is gagging on someone else's blood and they're not even a vampire?

Entry 11
Silence is the Hunter
I liked where this beginning was going and then just when I expected heavy breathing on the request line, you get his 'up all night' spiel and that deflated the build-up and extracted the hook right out of my mouth before I snagged. I liked the loneliness and could have liked to have gotten into Mike's head more than the vanished men's appearance. Rework this and it could draw readers in much better with just a little effort.


Entry Number 12
Volition
If you can get through the hallucinations, I really thought the descriptions were fascinating. I'd like to know if the viral machinery were nanobots or not in order to place the time of the event better. I think they way you've presented this, it's important for the reader to pick that up.


Entry #13
Ice Hunter
I think a little wordsmithing needed to be done in the first two sentences. 'It's' are a bit too prevalent and I had to read the opening a few times to figure out what referred to what. He tore his glove from his hand and then bearing down on the anchor's handle, he screwed it into the mountain. His hand? His glove? The anchor? I had to think too much and that ruins the beginning's flow for me. He dives into the alcove. What alcove? All of a sudden he's wearing Kevlar and has a crossbow that shoots in curves and finds flesh just under backs. Easy fixes. I did like the style of the writing, but the vision of the grappling hook into the dragon will get me to the next page.

Entry number 14.
Title Prey2hunter?
Too many spelling and grammar errors to get through this one.

Entry Number: 15
Title: Shattered Edge
Great visuals, but I couldn't quite get my head wrapped around what was going on.

Entry #16

Title: The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness.
I felt that this was more of an anecdote than a beginning. I think the twin aspect can be interesting, but if they are gods, perhaps less so.

Entry 17
Title: Eternal Flame
I think this has promise as a story, but as a First 13 competing here, it's a nice visual and we get the picture that Dravid has powers, but she arrives and that's it. What is there as a hook to get us to move forward?

Entry 18
The Demon You Know
Since we don't know who said that last line, the hook fizzles. If Jeff and Servant had not issues fighting their tormentor, then why is he being tormented? Too many questions for an opening. I did like the writing and the introduction of the MCs in the beginning.

Entry 19
Title: First Kill
After reading, I understood what Mot looked for, but when I found out that Mot's life was easily extinguishable by the hen, the hook lost it for me. It seemed too easy, to me, that Mot's life would be extinguished with his reply. Perhaps a question on the part of Mot, something to pull me forward to hear the answer would be a solution.

Entry 20
The Middle Road
I felt disappointed when the 'real' elementals showed up. I thought the beginning made it apparent that elementals were fighting and that deflated my interest balloon. You might try just assuming the elementals are there, since you come out an say it earlier.

Entry 21
Title: Missing Person
As an opening, I liked this the best. You've got the time period, some emotion, a glimpse of the main character and quite a little twist at the end, although I guessed it before the MC realized who it was. I'd certainly read on.


First: #21 - nothing I didn't like
Second #19 – Needs another sentence so we know the MC isn't toast
Third #10 – prose was gripping

Title – Don't know if we're voting on one, but I liked #18, The Demon You Know


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snapper
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Whew. I thought I erased the email skadder wanted me to post on his behalf. Thank goodness yahoo saves the sent files as well.
Skadder sent this before the last few entries came in. He apologizes for not being able to get to them and feels horribly about it, but said he viewed them on his I-phone and says it wouldn’t have changed his ranking at all. I pasted his comments and votes below….

quote:
Skad,
You worry too much. Have I ever done you wrong? I got you covered.
Snap

From: Skadder <Skadder@skadder.com>
Subject: 13 line challenge
To: Snapper <Snapper@snapper.com>
Date: Friday, April 8, 2011, 9:36 PM

Hey snaps,
Here are my votes. Post and don’t forget to erase what doesn’t belong!!!

Skadder's Comments:

Entry Number: 1
Title: Shelter

Has some promise, but I was unsure about what exactly was going on. Was it meant to be planet rather than plant?

Entry Number: 2
Title: Brother’s Keeper

Arbiters and abettors confused me a little. It made me think of Paul Atriedes at the beginning of the Dune film. I liked the ‘imbuing’.

Entry Number: 3
Title: The Hacker

I have a little trouble with people existing perceptually in landscapes of raw code. It doesn’t really work for me. I quite liked the execution of it though.

Entry #4
Title:Occupational Hazard

This was unpleasant, but well done. I didn’t get alien, though, I got human from the POV--but the voice was great.

Entry 6
Title: The Extinguisher

Well written, but didn’t really get me going. I think it has the potential to be a good start, but boardrooms don’t excite me. The burning ice is interesting, but clearly impossible (I think--convince me if you can!).

Entry 7
The Old Man in the Cave

I think there are to many references to the old man’s immobility. This wordage could have been used to greater effect. Still it is quite nicely written.

Entry Number: 8
Title: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn

A little too much going on that I don’t understand. They have blowholes and ride mounts. What is metabolised ‘oxygen’? Isn’t that oxygen bound with something else, i.e., no longer oxygen. I am no chemist, but I stumbled there. Drive who east? I figured this is probably from an existing story already written...

Entry #9
The Desert Reaper

Well written, but fairly generic feeling fantasy setting and character.

Entry 10
Prey

Well written and fairly disgusting! Good imagery.

Entry 11
Silence is the Hunter

Well written, but didn’t grab as much as some of the others. Not say it wouldn’t if there was more to read, but the threat (hook) feels a little vague...

Entry Number 12
Volition

I enjoyed this one, especially the last line! I think the prose could be improved. There are elements that could be removed--bits that feel a little like telling.

Entry #13
Ice Hunter

Well written. 'Threw' should be 'through'. Is kevlar fire-proof?I thought it was a bullet-proof material.

Entry number 14.

Title Prey2hunter?

This needed an edit as it has strange symbols in the text as well as typos.

Entry Number: 15
Title: Shattered Edge

A little over-written. It is also quite abstract, which makes it harder to visualise and get into the POV. Some passive writing . I am not even certain it is her arms forcing her fingers through whatever (I am, but the way it is written means it isn’t clear). Clarity is always good, sometimes it has to be sacrificed for a line or two if something is very complex, but here you could have avoided the confusions. The prose is nice, word choices are good.

Entry #16
Title: The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness.

Who is the narrator? This is not an invisible narrator. I am not certain the question-answer ploy will continue to work. The hook is weakish because the story appears to finish on the saying. I quite like the prose. Word choice is needlessly complex at times, especially for this type of fairytale style.

Entries 17 through 21
Bloody hell! Where did these come from? Cripes. Whatever happened to the days when we would get 7 or 8 entries? This far exceeds my capacity of reading comprehension. I’m going to pretend I didn’t even see these. Don’t forget to erase this paragraph!

I thought there were a lot of good quality entries, which makes choosing the ones to vote for harder--the content of the intros comes into play. There were at least 8 of them I like enough to normally vote for. I have had to split hairs to make the decision and had three entirely different ones chosen first, but changed my mind. This was the hardest voting I have done. Others in the frame were: 2; 6; 9; 13 and a couple more nearlys...still, you have to pick!

First place: Entry 10: Prey - I'm immersed.

Second Place: Entry 4: Occupational Hazard - nice voice.

Third Place: Entry 12: Volition - the last line hooked me in.

Best title:Entry Number: 8: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn


Here you go. Post that for me, will you bloke? I hope you won’t need me for the next few days. I told my wife and everyone else that I was going to France for business. Instead, me and my chums are headed to London to get snookered! We got special invites to Harry’s bachelor party. Hope you won’t need me because I am going to be hungover the next few days. BTW, don’t paste this paragraph either! To-do-lou.




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Twiggy
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1. Interesting hook but too much telling rather than showing to draw me forward

2. It was a little confusing and more of a squabble than a hunt, but I like the idea of the stalking stone

3. I like the idea. Too much jargon meant I didn’t invest in the character

4. This is original and weird enough to suit my strange tastes. I liked it.

5. This is the best for me. I can picture the setting and I really want to know why someone wants to kill an angel

6. I think this would benefit from tidying up the first sentence. The idea was really interesting but overshadowed any character conflict

7. This felt slow to because I couldn’t get beyond the overuse of ‘the old man’. I think if you tell us the character’s name it will help.

8. Some nice ideas but too crammed to give a solid picture, or feel for the main conflict

9. This is fine but I would probably be more interested if I knew something about why he was being chased.

10. Nice prose. This would be my 4th choice. It missed out because the hook wasn’t quite strong enough to grab me

11. The second line tripped me up. I think it could be tidied up. I thought of Terminator, but I still liked the hook

12. Lots of short sentences and phrases made this read a little bumpy for my tastes, but I like the last line and would probably read on.

13. Dragons have been written about so often it is hard to stand out. I like the writing but it could do with fresher angle for me. The name Rand also left me feeling this was too familiar. It has been used in a major series of books before.

14. Apart from the technical issues, this showed some good work. Sort the other stuff out so we can enjoy your writing.

15. Great dramatic imagery but I need more details to care about what is going on.


16. The voice threw me on this. It sounded like someone relating a story. I didn’t feel involved.

17. Interesting. There’s a sniff of a hook, but is it enough? I’m not sure yet.

18. I get the hook, despite random short sentences cropping up in odd places. They pose too many questions of the wrong sort and confuse me as a reader. Sort those out and I think this will be good

19.

20. I think this was the best use of the Fire and Ice trigger but I would like the whole elementals thing to be clearer.

21. This was good until the last line, and then it was great. I’m hooked. ‘Ratty as chimney sweep’ threw me because I immediately thought of it as a name. That’s probably just me. Great work.



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Twiggy
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I missed off my votes when I copied and pasted. Don't believe a word Snapper says. Skadder noticed instantly and sent me a message from France.
Votes
1st 5. The Final cut
2nd 21. Missing person
3rd 4. Occupational Hazard

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snapper
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Entry Number: 1

Title: Shelter

Sunrise has a speed? The sunflies sound interesting but too much is crammed in a short space in an effort to establish a hook. If you’re pursuing this storyline, slow down and spread out the info and atmosphere you are trying to establish. This opening reads frantic, not excited.


Entry Number: 2

Title: Brother’s Keeper

Nice scene. It has the same problem as # 1, too much crammed in a short space. I get the feeling this is shouldn’t be the opening but the paragraph or two after it. I’m left guessing on what is really happening. Likely not one of my favorites but I still like where it’s going.


Entry Number: 3

Title: The Hacker

Hmmm, very Tron-ish. Could use a bit of rewording. ‘adrenaline pound’ I don’t think is accurate. ‘adrenaline surge’ or ‘heart pound’ would be more accurate. Interesting concept. Would read a bit more to see where it was heading.


Entry #4

Title: Occupational Hazard

I really do admire this author is so daring at inserting humor into such a visually disturbing scene. This little slice of a very human-like family setting into very non-human characters makes this one deserving of high praise. Nicely written. Others might be turned off but I’m hooked.


Entry 5

Title: The Final Cut

Open season on angels! Where do I get the license? That thought may be disturbing to all but a few in Montana but this is very sharp hook. I found myself complaining because the entry was cut off in mid-sentence. That must mean this has gotten my complete attention.


Entry 7

The Old Man in the Cave

I like the setting of this opening but it needs trimmed back. Too much was put in so the reader would be certain of the old man’s psychic abilities. This is overwritten and is robbing the prose of the scene’s natural hook. The author needs to trust in his own writing and allow the reader to fill in the details in their own mind.


Entry Number: 8

Title: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn

This reads like a proper opening to a very long story. Well written with interesting characters. I would read on to see what this is about but as an entry for a hook challenge this isn’t meeting its mark.


Entry #9

The Desert Reaper

Not bad. The second sentence read very odd to me, though. Nice imagery and fitting opening.


Entry 10

Prey

This is pretty good but I am wondering about the MC’s choice of hiding spots. The Scentfollowers sound like Hyenas or jackals. I would keep reading.


Entry 11

Silence is the Hunter

Hmmm, sounds similar to the problem Sarah Conner had. The info in this opening is a bit herky-jerky to me. Perhaps the author had trouble compressing his opening to get the hook in the first 13? I am wondering if it would be better if the last line was the first.


Entry Number 12

Volition

You know, I really liked this last line. The opening wasn’t much more than a person coming down with a fever, until that line. Love delirious perspective. I’m hooked.


Entry #13

Ice Hunter

Mountain climbing to hunt dragons? Talk about thrill seekers. This sounds like its already deep into the story and not the opening. Nice writing though.


Entry number 14.

Title Prey2hunter?

I kinda like this one. The voice of the protagonist is drawing me in. Not sure if it will make my top (‘wearhouse’ (warehouse) and other misspellings didn’t help)


Entry Number: 15

Title: Shattered Edge

I am having trouble making hay of what’s happening in this opening. This sounds like the protagonist is experiencing a sudden loss of atmosphere in space. I’m likely wrong.


Entry #16

Title: The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness.

This opening doesn’t have the appeal of others. The opening is softer, easing the reader into the story. Not a bad way to start but it’s hook isn’t as sharp.


Entry #17

Title: Eternal Flame

Well written. I just wish I knew who the she was or how she relates to the characters. Liked how there was another character as a calmer influence for an agitated MC. Makes me think there is more going on than what the narrations attitude implies.


Entry 18

The Demon You Know

Too sudden of a start. I want this to backup a bit so I can know more of what’s going on. Perhaps a more active opening would be a better way to set this up.


Entry 19

Title: First Kill

Same problem some of the others had. Too quick of an opening, the author trying to hard to establish a hook. Not a bad idea but it needs to take a step back.


Entry 20

The Middle Road

A couple of things threw me out of this. ‘thin T-shirt’ sounds out of place for a high fantasy piece like this. Sonya also talks about the Elementals as if they are real in the opening sentence then is surprised that they are at the end. Reexamine that and you may have something here.


Entry 21

Title: Missing Person


Like the setup of this one. Good voice and nice imagery. Not sure what a ‘Lucas’ is but I’d keep reading to find out.


My choices. Hmmm, quite a few are deserving.

1st Entry 5 The Final Cut (sharpest hook, hands down)

2nd Entry 4 Occupational Hazard (loved this one a lot. Close call for first)

3rd Entry 21 Missing Person (could have put 3 or 4 other ones here instead)

Favorite Title Entry 18 The Demon You Know


Lots of strong contenders. Enjoyed reading them all.

So odd. I have had this overwhelming feeling that people have been laughing behind my back all day.


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Utahute72
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OK, aside from the fact that I think some of you could benefit from therapy, here goes.


Entry 1 – Shelter: This one seemed a little disjointed to me. I get that sunrise is a problem, but it was a little hurried to get everything in the first lines.

Entry 2 – Brother’s Keeper: I like where this one is going. I would definitely read on.

Entry 3 – The Hacker: Interesting concept. I was a little put off by the last line, seemed a little incongruous, but interesting enough to continue.

Entry 4 – Occupational Hazard: Cute story, but I kept tripping over some of the verbiage, like “presubspecies state”. I think it gets a little to cute at times that detracts somewhat from the overall effect. The story seemed to have little to do with the title also.

Entry 5 – The Final Cut: Nice imagery and I liked the concept, but not sure I like the overall effect. I didn’t get a good feel for where the author wanted me to go.

Entry 6 – The Extinguisher: As a Chemist this one intrigued me. I would read on to see where he’s going, but a caution it’s going to be difficult to not call BS at the end. Also bit of a disconnect between the title and the story.

Entry 8 – Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn: Nice setup for the world view, but it not sure what to do with it. Also seemed a bit of a stretch to meet the prompt.

Entry 9 – The Desert Reaper: Nice imagery here, but seemed like I’ve seen this play before.

Entry 10 – Prey: This is so real I gagged. It is pretty well written, but a little too stark for my tastes.

Entry 11 – Silence is the Hunter: The writing was clear, but it seemed a little familiar to me.

Entry 12 – Volition: Pretty well written and the take is unique, but not sure where this would lead to a story I would want to read.
Entry 13 – Ice Hunter: I liked this one. Nice action, good description. Looks like it would lead to a good story.

Entry 14 – Prey2hunter?: This one seemed disjointed, apparently on purpose, but it was just too distracting for me.

Entry 15 – Shattered Edge: Another one that seems a little disjointed, again too distracting for me.

Entry 16 – The Celestial Twins: This one had some odd sentence construction. I think it could benefit from a little modification in the structure overall.

Entry 17 – Eternal Flame: I liked some of the imagery here, but the scene was a little confusing. Some of the verbiage threw me off too. The last segment was a little confusing.

Entry 18 – The Demon You Know: This one is pretty good, and would lead me to read on. The sentence fragment early on was a little disconcerting, though.

Entry 19 – First Kill: I liked this one. Good premise and well written. Would read on.

Entry 20 – The Middle Road: Nice premise, well written and nicely set up.

Entry 21 – Missing Person: Well written, good premise and intriguing. It would have caused me to read on.

1st – Entry 6: As a chemist I had to go with this one, but as I said there is a big risk.
2nd – Entry 13
3rd – Entry 19

I also liked Entries: 2, 20 and 21.


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LDWriter2
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Okay some short comments than my votes but there could be a tie or three but we shall see by the time I get to the end.


Number One:

Got my curiosity going, not bad but not great.


Number two:

Got those strange symbols but other than that not bad. Curious to know about the Abetters. IÕm n ot sure if the play sentence really fits with the rest of it but I think I can see why it was used.


Number three: Third place

Not bad even with two strange characters. Reminds me of the hackers from the Shadowrun novels. I would keep reading.

Number four:

Clear, mostly that is, the long first sentence is a little confusing after the so. The so makes it sound a bit off too.

Number five:

Not sure what to say everything is clear to me.

Number six:

A couple of those characters that should not be there, and again I can see everything and I think I can see what the story is about. But the ÒView a forty-year old lab experimentÓ phrase needs to be cut off on its own. It messes up the pacing.

Number seven:

Not to bad except I think the See him in his mind sentence needs help. Too many Old man-s

Number eight:

I would keep reading, makes me interested.

Number nine: Second place.

Nicely done except for the long second sentence at the beginning.

Number ten:

Not bad, but a bit cliche-ish, specifically the Òwhat theyÕll do to meÓ sentence. The tension the person is feeling is there but still most of it is not new.

Number eleven:

Strange characters again. Wonder why he knows they or it is after him but it to sounds a bit cliche-ish. Especially the first sentence or two. It does get the point across but not as good as it could.

Number twelve:

Again not bad. It tells the problem and gives some idea she has special abilities or sheÕs crazy.

Number thirteen: First place

Very good, I can feel his urgency, at the same time it gives a hint of the time period with the Kevlar suit. Like to know what happens next.

Number fourteen.

Okay no vote here, but would like to know more about the grammar problems. But tried to have his thoughts mixed in with hints of where he was, obviously didnÕt work. Took me three tries to finally see that must and I know the difference between must and most--what is that three spelling mistakes? But speaking of grammar people do think in incomplete sentences.
Looks like IÕm going to have to try harder to get rid of the special characters. I donÕt have that one program someone suggest pasting to first but thereÕs one I could try. But either they have been there all along and most people didnÕt say anything or something changed since IÕve been getting a lot of complaints about that lately.

Number fifteen:

Not bad at all, I think I know what seeming to twin the taste already in her mouth means. ÒArms as strong as a rod of steelÓ? Only one rod? and a bit cliche-ish. And watch that last compound sentence itÕs too compound. But I would like to read on.

Number sixteen:

Interesting idea with the twins but the opening seems a bit too simple and overly intellectual at the same time. But the simple part might be done on purpose. Over all though I can see what is happening.

Number seventeen: Tie for third.

Not bad, gives a hint of the problem and says who everyone is, by name anyway. The second again is a little distracting though.


Number eighteen:

Funny thing one quote and two words have the funny characters. I can see what is happening and it also says something about what is happening.


Number nineteen:

Again with the characters. The basic idea seems good but it feels like it could be done better maybe itÕs the last couple of sentences, thatÕs throwing me off.


Number twenty:

A little confusing even though a good First sentence. I believe I can see what is happening but IÕm not sure that freezing to death is sweet oblivion--that can take a while from what I understand. And I think that last sentence is too ordinary-type of thing everyone uses.

Number Twenty-one:

Interesting idea, at least the way it sounds like itÕs going. I would read at least long enough to see if I was right.

Number thirteen: First place

Number nine: Second place.

Number three: Third place
Number seventeen: Tie for third.

The best title was harder: ÒThe HackerÓ, The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and DarknessÓ even though a bit long. And ÒThe Shattered EdgeÓ are all kinda of tied.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 09, 2011).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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1 - Shelter: Interesting. I loved the third sentence and its punch ending. I couldn't get past thinking "Godforsaken plant" was a typo. I went back and forth trying to figure whether I should be picturing a huge plant--to distraction. I finally decided "plant" was the cooler prospect.

2 - Brother's Keeper: This felt a bit clumsy. Honestly, the hook is there and I would push on, but tentatively.

3 - The Hacker: After just watching "Surrogates" this seemed even more cliche than the normal "hacker" angle.

4 - Occupational Hazard: I keep trying to wrap my head around this one. The only clear visual I get is the "dish." Though there is a definite alien race here, it seems rather mundane...to them. Almost like an alien slice-of-life vignette.

5 - The Final Cut: I would read on. My strongest caveat would be an explanation of why angels are being hunted.

6 - The Extinguisher:I like the timebomb inserted into the plot early on, but the premises didn't feel believable.

7 - The Old Man in the Cave: Nothing happened, and the omniscient is flawed because I know who neither of the characters mentioned are, nor their motivations. Astral projection is not enough of a hook--for me.

8 - Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn: Hartly is both "it" and "him" (referred to in the "his) in the third sentence. What or who is "them"? I think this could be more refined.

9 - Desert Reaper: This sprang "pursuers" on me out of nowhere. Until that last sentence, I had no idea there was any concern of being followed.

11 - Silence is the Hunter: If this was ended at the first paragraph it would've felt a little like terminator from Sarah Conner's PoV, but it would have hooked me. The second paragraph kills the urgency.

12 - Volition: After the first paragraph, the narrator seems untrustworthy. It could all be a dream or trip or something. I'm not grounded enough in reality to know what time period it is, or if it is speculative.

13 - Ice Hunter: Rand = Robert Jordan Wheel of Time (cliche). I guess for me Dragons are very cliche, too.

14 - Prey2Hunter: Turned of by the "texted" title. "Pivot" around a tree, not "pivet," which threw me out again. Special characters made this hard to read, too. I can't fathom how the protagonist concludes what he or she does. How do they know it's not werewolves "unless they are the type that transform with a belt?" How is this determined?

15 - Shattered Edge: I can't picture any of this. Is Varna human? what does the "edge between time and space look like?"

16 - The Celestial Twins: A Tale of Fire, Ice and Darkness: Couldn't get past the first contradiction: Boy and a girl, indiscernible, though had completely converse traits. Hmmmmm? too vague for me, and the rest seems only to confirm this.

17 - Eternal Flame: this seems like it should be later in the story. I might read the next page, but only for the "threat or power" when he clenches his fists.

18 - The Demon You Know: What does "His tormentor sat amongst a dozen recoiled postured" mean? Who has a tattooed neck? Servant? Who's we?

19 - First Kill: Interesting. I'd read on.

20 - Middle Road: Why is she in a t-shirt in the arctic? Why is there no one around the fire? Not sure I would turn the page.

21 - Missing Person: My favorite of this bunch. There is a lot of texture here, a near miss--or near find?--of life-changing proportions, a clear time period and a sense of government in thirteen lines. Well done!

1st - Missing person

2nd - First Kill

3rd - The Final Cut

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 12, 2011).]


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Tiergan
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First off. Below are my thoughts, please dont take anything personally, its merely my opinions and should be taking as such and nothing more. I am not the end all of good or bad, nor do I know that much compared to some.

Entry 1: I liked it overall. I would watch the –ly words, there were a lot and most were not necessary. Calmly, lazily, frantically, and so forth. The idea here is they telling versus showing.

Entry 2: I loved this one. Enough said really. I have hard time finding much fault.

Entry 3: Another nice one. My only true nit was the first sentence. As it read in all caps, I was shocked to then read, a soft feminine voice. It seemed impossible to have an alarm blaring but be soft and feminine at the same time.

Entry 4: No real problems here. It read fine. A little quirky, but that is just my personal opinion. As such seemed to promise of a humorous story.

Entry 5: Haunting. Not much to say. My only concern is the little flash back of his dream, but truth be told, it worked.

Entry 6: Again well written. An idea piece. I have no feeling for the characters but know the concept along the lines of the prompts. It so hard to do, to nail both.

Entry 7: Snow was blown horizontal. I would suggest, Snow blew horizontal. Horizontal snow is action to me, violent and “was” detracts from that. The other concern is if we are in his pov, try to eliminate he could see. Just a mans stumbled up the hill towards him. It makes a stronger pov.

Entry 8: First paragraph lost me for a little bit. Breathed from his blowhole.

Entry 9: Nothing really wrong here either. I get the prompts. My concern is with nothing drawing me by the character I need more of an idea of what is happening to be hooked.

Entry 10: First person, is hard to do well. This was done pretty good in my opinion. I was into the story, a little grossed out, but felt it. My only problem was the last line, something unexpected happened. It threw me off.

Entry 11: The first line threw me off. I don’t know its like its missing a word or something. I am sorry was hard for me after that point to get back into the story.

Entry 12: Not sure about this one, I was a little lost. The writing itself held fine.

Entry 13: The idea is cool! I did have two suggestions. You use down in two consecutive sentences, bearing down and bit down, look for something stronger there. Threw should through. Good overall though.

Entry 14: This one was a tough one. I have to admit the ‘ through me they come as O . and it makes it a little hard to read. I copied and pasted, deleting those to try for a smoother read. It still did not flow great for me. It read as a dream to me, I don’t know if that was the intent, but that’s the impression I go. Another thing was the werewolf belts, as I am reading the 2nd in the Dresden Files now, it seemed less than original but at the same time instantly grounded me.

Entry 15: Well, defiantly an action start, high intensity. A couple things gave me pause. The first sentence, A pained gasp was ripped, it read off, I would suggest trying to lose the was, took away from the sentence. Gritting her teeth hard, lose the hard, gritting generally makes the hard implied. You don’t want to overdue it.

Entry 16: The problem have with this piece is probably more my taste than anything else. While I try to be impartial, taste obviously runs in. I tend to like my stories to have more of a scene, and well grounded. This read to me more like narration. (I read your note, I have not read much 3rd person omni so I don’t really know how to judge it)

Entry 17: Well, what more can I say, This is hot and cold. Alright its mine. So, no Dravid is not misspelled, just love the name, and throw it in as a standby a lot. Didn’t like to name Dendrita at the end, wanted just a woman stepping forth, but was in his pov so if he knew the woman, felt I had to name her.

Entry 18: No problems really here. Nothing really rang a bell.

Entry 19: scrabbling? I don’t know its not underlined in red, so it most be a word. I was thinking scrambling. I don’t know, it threw me off, but not as much as taking a feather from a hen, being dangerous. I am intrigued now. And the writing was fine. Just more used to human stories I guess.

Entry 20: Alright, great. But, and sorry for the but.. Its just the ending , the last sentence took me out. The part of elementals being myth. I don’t know it read off, maybe just rewording or something, but I like the start all the same.

Entry 21: Another good one. Alright, my only nit, and it’s a small one at that. I don’t think you need the word granite, pavement seems to imply that too me. Well done.


Alright my votes are:

First place: Entry 21
Second place: Entry 2
Third Place Entry 20

Best Title: The Demon you Know

Good Job all.


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Crank
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I'll confess my struggles with wanting to peek at the early votes before I cast my own...!

---------------------

Shelter
Decent tension at the beginning, although finding out how the others viewed the sunrise deadline before the MC’s view somewhat diffused that tension. The sunflies’ description, “blazing, darting flashes of death,” sounds cool, but what do they do to warrant the MC’s fear?


Brother’s Keeper
I’m curious to know more about the Abetters…even though you’ve spelled it two different ways. And, did I read there’s a stalking knife involved? I’m curious about that, too. One nit: I wasn’t sure the POV was with Eason until his Abetter spoke to him. Regardless, I’d keep reading.


The Hacker
I’ve always liked concepts like this. This one, however, starts off with canned computer lingo, and that was an unnecessary hurdle for me to get over. I would like to see a bit more detailed description of what Meg was seeing...but, that would have probably pole vaulted it well over the 13 line mark.


Occupational Hazard
I’m not really picking up on any levels of conflict or distress or controversy that would task me to read further. But, I will say the scene itself is interesting, and I had no problem picturing what it might look like on the screen....which usually signifies fairly decent writing.


The Final Cut
The presence of the MC recalling a dream threw off the entire mood for me. But, know that I thought the dream’s imagery was impressively vivid. I’d consider reading further.


The Extinguisher
Maybe it’s because I like some sort of movement to open a scene, but I was not interested in visualizing a character who was watching men watching a screen. The burning ice concept, however, was enough to taunt me into reading further.


The Old Man in the Cave
It took way too many words to get the ‘figure’ into the cave. The concept of how the old man tracked the ‘figure’ was of interest to me, but the description of *how* was spread out into too many sentences.


Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn
I had the distinct feeling of coming into the middle of this story, not the beginning. There’s a lot that seems to be going on, but, again, I feel as if I’ve missed something.


The Desert Reaper
I like the beginning paragraph. Scorching heat during the day, and miserable cold at night, is standard fare for the desert, but adding the ‘gods’ reference tripped my mind into thinking I was in more of an alien setting. The rest, unfortunately, didn’t differentiate itself from any other chase scene of this type.


Prey
The imagery is strong. But, I’m wondering...why is the MC being hunted? Without this knowledge (or some semblance of a reason), I’m not effectively dragged into this scene.


Silence is the Hunter
When combined with the title, this passage came across more as a psychological thriller. It took a while for me to decide why I thought it read slow: I realized it probably has something to do with not fully connecting to the ‘how’ or ‘why’ two missing persons with the same name would bother Mike...but that could just be me.


Volition
This is one of those passages that reads better if I’m in a certain mindset. At the time I did read this, the biology terms distracted a bit from the flow and the mood, but not too terribly much for me to enjoy the hallucinogenic-esque qualities.


Ice Hunter
I’m not sure I’ve read any dragon-related story recently that stood above any of the others that came before. Although, in this case, dragons existing during the same time frame as Kevlar suits somewhat got my attention.


Prey2hunter?
The last sentence: “I’m tired of this...”; I felt the ‘snap’ inside your MC’s mind, which immediately tells me the tension level is going to rise (he’s finally going to force the action!). Unfortunately, the spelling and the odd characters were more of a hindrance to the story than you should have allowed.


Shattered Edge
I had to read this one more than once to make sure I ‘got it.’ Other than that, I like where I *think* it’s attempting to show me and where I *think* it wants to take me.


The Celestial Twins: A Tale Of Fire, Ice and Darkness
The entire first 13 was spent in the past tense (more specifically, talking about what happened in the past), not where I want to start a story. Too bad, because confrontational twins with that kind of power might have made for some interesting tales.


Eternal Flame
Good imagery, and good use of words. If I knew a little more about Dravid’s past with Dendrita, I would no doubt feel more connected to him and where this scene might take him.


First Kill
For those of us who don’t know what a ‘Brooker’ hen is, make sure we know why Mot would be having such a hard time combating it. I do like the concept of the supposed prey warning off the hunter in his own language....that along has me curious enough to read more.


The Middle Road
I liked this one. I felt both the fire and the cold while I read it. My only nit: depending on the timeframe, the term ‘t-shirt’ might not work. I’d keep reading.


Missing Person
Saw it coming, but the writing was good enough to convince me that I was surprised anyway. My only nit: I’m not sure how a ‘hush’ can exist while horses are passing through.


First place: 20 - The Middle Road
Second Place: 2 - Brother’s Keeper
Third Place: 15 - Shattered Edge

Best Title: 11 - Silence is the Hunter

Thanx for the good reading, everyone. And, thanx in advance for reviewing my entry.

S!
S!


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sjsampson
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1-I was confused the first time I read it. I thought the crew was going to be beaten and Corwin was going to die at sunrise, so I didn’t understand why he was the calm one. Once I regained my reading comprehension skills, I thought the sunflies were a good hook.

2-I liked the name Eason. Abettor/Abetter spelling wasn’t consistent throughout and wasn’t sure if that was intentional. I felt like this one started in the wrong place. I don’t know what the stakes are in the argument.

3-I spend a lot of time programming so these types of stories require a huge suspension of disbelief from me. This one didn’t work. I liked the action, but the use of the jargon felt off.

4-Not my cup of tea, but well written. It feels slice-of-life and I don’t have a sense of urgency wondering “what happens next?”

5-Beautifully written. I would like to know the motivation behind the firm resolve to go after the angel. Although I’m not sure if the story will go in a direction where I would continue reading.

6-The first sentence doesn’t grab me, but it sets the stage. I love the idea in this one, and I’m willing to ignore that it might be impossible. I’d definitely read on.

7-Overuse of ‘the old man.’ I’m not sure who to cheer for in the possible upcoming confrontation.

8-The dialogue felt awkward. I need more context for what is happening.

9-There were a lot of adjectives in this. I think maybe trying to fit in all the triggers didn’t leave enough room for a twist that would make this feel less generic.

10-Some withholding on what ‘they’ are at the start. This was so well written I wouldn’t turn the page. At least, not until I stopped gagging myself. It reminded me of a scene in A Farewell to Arms.

11-I liked the first paragraph. The next part didn’t quite feel related and lost momentum.

12-I liked this, but I’d like to know a little more about the why it is happening over the what.

13-I’d cut some of the references to ice/snow. They get redundant. Interesting idea, though. I’d change the name of the MC. People are going to associate Rand with WoT whether you want them to or not, but it is your call.

14-The first sentence sets up my guard to determine if your story is going to be cliché. The rest of the prose felt disjointed with obvious spelling mistakes. I’m not really into paranormal stories.

15-The first sentence is vague. Some of the imagery didn’t work for me. But the ability to change day to night? Very cool. I’d like to know why, though.

16-The prose is overly complex. I liked the “Fire and Ice can never make nice” punchline.

17-The intro comes off a bit melodramatic because I don’t have anything invested in Dravid yet.

18-Not clear who is saying/doing what in some places. I would read on to see where it is going.

19-I’m hoping the hen is huge. Overall, I liked it.

20-I think clarity would help me on this one. It started with Elementals, which I then took to be abstract when it switched to forest fire in the artic, and then swung back to real Elementals. The setup is interesting, but the flopping back and forth doesn’t leave room for the reason she is in that predicament.

1: 6-The Extinguisher
2: 5-The Final Cut
3: 10-Prey
Best Title: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn

[This message has been edited by sjsampson (edited April 10, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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I retract the Number seventeen tie for third.


Oh well, now its a Fourth place Honorable Mention. No points but it was still up there.


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elilyn
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Forgot to vote for best title.

#1) The Demon You Know - automatically invokes the idea of the lesser of two evil choices.

#2) Missing Person - more apt after having read the 13 lines

#3 Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn - a hook in of itself.


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shimiqua
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Voting...

Entry 1: Shelter. The word Calmly in the first sentence negates the sense of dread in the first thirteen. I like the idea of this story, but it feels a bit too distant for my taste. I would have like to actually see a Sunfly, not just hear about them, several minutes or hours before they are to appear.. I think that would amp the sense of dread.

Entry 2: Brother's Keeper. I had a hard time visualizing the location. One sentence of description of the cavern, would help. But interesting. Good dialog, interesting situation. I would read on, but not too much further, unless planted more firmly in the scene. It feels a bit too talking heads to me.

Entry 3: The Hacker. I had to read this one a few times to understand what was going on, but that could just be me. Once I got the concept, I really dug the idea. I think this could be a really cool story.

Entry 4: Mine.

Entry 5: The Final Cut. This one is easily my favorite. So beautiful, and so sad. Well done. Amazingly done, to me that there is still so much sympathy on behalf of the POV character, even after he did something horrible.

Entry 6: The Extinguisher. Cool start. I would read further, but with a bit of a feminist chip on my shoulder, because the ten most powerful men in the world are all men. Wouldn't Oprah be there? Honestly.

Entry 7: The Old Man in the Cave. I like it. I think if you want to hook to be stronger, you could move closer into the Old man's POV. For example, wouldn't he be wondering about who the stranger is, even as his body stayed frozen. I would like to see more description of the stranger, more speculation on the part of the old man, as to why the stranger is coming. Maybe even a sense of dread, that the old man's life is at stake.

Entry 8: Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn. Kay, I'm confused. Cool names, I just don't get what's going on.

Entry 9: The Desert Reaper. I love the line "if he could shake his massive fist at himself..." Funny, good hook. I think you could strengthen the hook more if Brull was injured. He seems too impenetrable for me to worry over his safety here.

Entry 10: Prey. I like everything up to this line.... Something unexpected happens. Ditch that and the hook is much stronger ImO.
Also, it would be cool to see the double meaning of the title Prey/pray in the scene. A quick plea to whatever god the POV character believes in would be cool, and give a good chance to give more information about the POV character. I have a hard time caring for a character I nothing about.

Entry 11: Silence is the Hunter. Cool Title. The first word totally turned me off. Once I forced my way past it though, the story started to hook me. Really cool idea, especially when tied to the title. But please, for the love of ...... please change the first two lines.

Entry 12: Volition. I love the last line. I'm hooked, but confused. I expect some more grounding in clarity, like who she is, where she is, why she's there, and what exactly is attacking her and making her see talking chickens, before long. But really cool.

Entry 13: Ice Hunter. Rand, really? I don't think you can use Rand in a dragon story without violating copyrights. I would change it, because to me, it's a distraction. The word threw should be through. I really like the juxtaposition of dragons and Kevlar.

Entry 14: Prey2hunter? This start is not for me. I don't understand what's going on even after rereading it several times.

Entry 15: Shattered Edge. Hmm... Cool. I'm not a hundred percent sure on what is going on, but I'm still hooked. I definitely would keep reading.

Entry 16: The Celestial Twins: A tale of Fire Ice and Darkness. I don't mind an Omni Third, but it's really difficult to do engagingly. I have not yet accomplished it, although I've tried several times. The idea here is a cool one, it might work better, if you pull it in closer, perhaps to the POV of a nursemaid, or servant often in their path.

Entry 17: Eternal Flame. Is this burning... an eternal flame..., Oh, whoops. Sorry, I got distracted. This is cool. It works for me.

Entry 18: The Demon You Know. I got distracted by this line " felt himself go flat-footed." I think if you lost the first two sentences, you would be closer to the hook of the relationship between Jeff and Servant in the first thirteen. But cool idea, and I like the title a lot.

Entry 19: First Kill. I like this, but think the hook could be stronger if you showed Mot's life being more in danger. Could you have the bird holding Mot over the cliff, his legs dangling, the ground rising up to meet him, before the voice of the bird is heard?

Entry 20: The Middle Road. Cool idea, but I'm confused. What exactly is going on with the Elementals? They are fighting, but how. I think if you punctuated Sonya's thoughts with the action's battle, it would feel more immediate. Like Fire rose his hand and flames erupted over Ice's body. No matter who won, it was bad news for Sonya. Ice smiled, and the flames froze, the cold air froze through Sonya's thin t-shirt.... Does that make sense?

Entry 21: Missing Person. I love this. The hook, was unexpected, and so strong. Great.

Votes
First: Entry 5 The Final Cut
Second: Entry 21 Missing Person
Third: Entry 17 Eternal Flame ( Oh is this burning...)

Title: Silence is the Hunter

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited April 11, 2011).]


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philocinemas
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I'll go ahead and vote, but I will have to do the crits in a day or so.

First - #5 The Final Cut (skadder)
Second - #8 Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn (Brendan)
Third - #10 Prey (IB)

Title - #8 Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn


I'm in the middle of a lot of paperwork - sorry for the delay.


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aspirit
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Personal tastes influence votes. For example, I was ecstatic that these entries included science fiction openings.

1 - Entry 6, "The Extinguisher"

I expect this opening is to a conspiracy story. The Exxon board is about to give its approval to silence the college kids so that burning ice doesn't compete with its interests. The dialogue and narration sound natural, and the scenario is believable.

2 - Entry 1, "Shelter"

The "calmly" made sense by the end of the paragraph. Corwin assumes the sunflies are going to kill them. I want to see the sunflies and learn how the crew will deal with them. I think the descriptions are excellent and can envision this opening in one of the better copies of Analog's.

3 - Entry 3, "Missing Person"

The language is appropriately suggestive, and I want to know how these boys are related.

Best Title - "Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn"

Honorable Mentions - Entry 2, "Brother's Keeper" for introducing a magical system, school culture, and a brotherly rivalry in half a page; Entry 5, "The Final Cut" for its beautiful imagery and intriguing juxtaposition of an angel and a fowl hunter; and Entry 12, "Volition" for cleverly depicting the feverish hallucinations of an intriguing woman.

I'm sorry I couldn't comment on all 21 entries! Most of those not mentioned here, I either didn't understand or couldn't imagine them continuing through a satisfying story.

May each entry inspire someone.


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Josephine Kait
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1 – Shelter: Well written and a unique, creative premise. It calls to mind the scene from the movie Chronicles of Riddick where they are racing away from the sunrise. This isn’t really my thing, but it is very well done.

2 - Brother's Keeper: I really like this. There’s immediate tension, enough unknowns to be intriguing but not too confusing, and I really like your name choices. I would crit the full story of this.

3 - The Hacker: This is a bit Tron-esque but well written. Interesting enough that I would keep reading in the hopes that you would go somewhere truly new with it. Nice work.

4 - Occupational Hazard: This is gross and I’m missing the prompt in here anywhere. It is unique and the humor is well done. The prose is clear, I only don’t like it because…Ewww!

5 - The Final Cut: Great first sentence! Great hook. I’m emotionally invested in the angel’s fate, and I really want to know why someone would choose to shoot/hunt an angel like a duck? I’d crit this if you have a story.

6 - The Extinguisher: Interesting premise, but I’ll admit that I’m a little skeptical about the plausibility. Still, I’m curious enough that I’d keep reading. Good job.

7 - The Old Man in the Cave: I’m sorry, but this was not interesting to me. It reminded me vaguely of “To Build a Fire” but I wasn’t invested in this guy at all. You also used the phrase “the old man” five times (six including the title), is that his only defining characteristic? Isn’t there a better way to tell us that he’s old?

8 - Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn: Like the title. Very different world, but interesting. Did you mean edge of the cliff as opposed to top? Is he climbing the cliff? The verb choices “rode up” and “pulled to” don’t denote climbing. After the first two sentences the prose is clear, but the first two are not as good as the rest. So a little rough yet, but well worth polishing. Nice.

9 - Desert Reaper: Fun. I want to see what happens next. Nice work. Will crit if you have a full story.

10 - Prey: Ew! Ew! Ew! Okay, so great visceral description, but I do not want to spend any more time in that world. Sorry. The writing is good, but EWWW!

11 - Silence is the Hunter: Nice hook, the name thing, very Sarah Connor. Clearly written and engaging. This isn’t usually my kind of thing, but I’d keep going, the flow is good and I’d want to see what was around the corner.

12 - Volition: Surreal. I’d probably keep going but I’m left more with vague impressions than clear pictures. That almost seems to be what you’re going for though, so… alright.

13 - Ice Hunter: Gotta love dragon + ice. Nicely described UF. Fun. Well done! Yeah, probably need a different name, but even Randy would do the trick. Would happily crit if you have a full story.

14 - Prey2Hunter: Love the tone. Not sure where you would go with this. Could be tightened up a bit yet, and I had to correct the formatting thing before I could read it cleanly. Over all, not bad, not great, but not bad. The best thing about it is the tone set in the first four sentences.

15 - Shattered Edge: Nicely written. Intriguing concept, nice hook, very immediate. I would definitely keep reading. Nice title.

16 - The Celestial Twins: A Tale of Fire, Ice and Darkness: Nice concept, a bit rough in the telling though. A bit over worded. And a bit overly worded, I think this is referred to as “Gingerbread.” See here for a great list of common novice mistakes and how to avoid them. (As I struggle to become more than a novice myself, I refer to this often.) This piece would actually have more impact if it were told more simply. Love the last line though!

17 - Eternal Flame: Okay, I like the images and your prose is clear. The only thing I don’t care for are your name choices. I can’t completely put my finger on why, but I found them distracting. Otherwise, interesting.

18 - The Demon You Know: The mental split thing could lead somewhere interesting, but right now this just seems like stock fantasy. Nothing wrong or bad, just not all that unusual. Great visual cues and immediacy. Good title.

19 - First Kill: Interesting, and good. Might still need a little work to be more clear, but unique. Cool.

20 - Middle Road: Mine, needs a little work yet, oh, gee, you noticed that

21 - Missing Person: This is alright. The last paragraph is the hook, but there is some confusion when you say that the “profile wasn’t what stole my breath” that seems to dismiss the picture except then you say, “It was the pair of eyes staring back.” Where are the eyes staring from? For a minute I thought that he had caught his reflection and there was something wrong with his eyes, I had to re-read to be sure that you were talking about the portrait’s eyes. Anyway, not a bad hook, just a little unclear.


1st place - #9 Desert Reaper
2nd place - #15 Shattered Edge
3rd place - #2 Brother's Keeper
HM - #5, #13, #21, #6, #11, #18

Fav Title - Come the Dusk, Eternal Dawn


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alliedfive
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First - #21 Missing Person
Second - #5 The Final Cut
Third - #10 - Prey

Title - #18 - The Demon You Know

Crits will come later. I promise

Crazy good job by everyone. The overall quality of this one was daunting. And no, my name mixup was not intentional.


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skadder
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Results are in--everyone has voted (including one extra, but we always like extra voters!)

First Place: The Final Cut: skadder (44 points)

Second Place: Missing Person: sjsampson: (41 points)

Third Place: Prey: IB: (31 points)

Best title: The Demon You Know: Crank

This was a very tight competition with some very high standard entries. Well done to all entrants and congratulations to the winners!

Bye from France!


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