Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Nov 6, 2016.
Seems unlikely that I will get a review in, but who knows.
Polls close very early in the morning (well in my time zone early the morning) December 6th. I always set voting for at least 30 days.
I find it unlikely that the first place holder will be overtaken, but I'm in no real hurry. More time means more discussion time. I'll try to be closer to on time with the next contest, our THIRD January-February contest.
Jurt, Scaley, and Manfred
Oh boy, where do I start with this one?
Firstly, I absolutely love the unique structure to this. Even better than the attempt, is that it works!
I don't like that the story doesn't deal with any themes or examine anything, it is a store of slaves being freed.
I do love the writing. Technically perfect.
I both do and don't love the length.... it's a very short story, and given the content involved, wow! However, so much more could have been said or examined, I shudder to think what the author could have done with another 600 words.
The thing about reviews is that they are unique as the stories. Scalnex for example likes this story the best, but clearly doesn't concur with my theory that writing should examine some big theme. I don't like the simple stories but that is just my opinion, the author is well within his right to disregard this theory and continue to write plot-driven pieces of this quality. I should have voted for this, somehow I managed to vote for 3 (not 4) but it doesn't look like slave is being dislodged so meh.
That seems to summarise this round of stories, slave and j, s & m are #1 and #2 because they are the most technically proficient and offer interesting plots. They are juxtaposed against the pieces that attempt to grapple with the big issues, but have obvious flaws: samurai, moon, butterfly, slaves & cell duty all sit there. As I have mentioned kin is the one that is both technically perfect and has themes I love, but it seems not to have connected with the other voters.
Well 29/11 and I've done the reviews. Yup they are a bit lacking this time around, c'mon fellas let's see it! If you don't have time to write one for everything, how about just the ones that you voted for?
I'm sorry to disapoint @thedarkfourth but I won't have time to write up reviews on these stories
Well the thread is not going to close when voting ends. We can accept late critiques. But not everyone has to participate in every contest. Fortunately, we have such a great stable of talent that we can have a sizeable portion of our writers sit out of a contest and still get lots of entries and critiques a like.
We don't ban thread necromancy, feel free to make meaningful comments on old short story contests. Or you can at least read them.
Well here's my first four review-things. It's been hard to write of late, but I hope I do the reviewing justice:
Story One: And now I feel almost sorry for a daemon-thing...
Heh, quite an interesting take on not only the theme but also in style choice. Pacing feels about right, which I’d have thought would have been a death knell to someone trying to write in this style. I’ve seen (and written myself) pieces which get bogged down in the character’s monologue to the point of it becoming boring and others where it is far too brief that you barely get any character at all. Sure, this daemon is unnamed (and we don’t seem to learn its alignment) but throughout its tale I felt myself only flagging around the warband’s destruction and otherwise couldn’t stop reading. The daemon’s character is surprisingly strong and strangely likable.
Something else I enjoyed was the abstract use of names for the gods and the Old Ones. The author seems to have put a good bit of thought in the names and list of gods and I might have had to have cheated for working out who one of the last ones was (and felt stupid about that afterwards.)
Despite what some of the others have said, there’s a few lines I feel could have been polished that little bit better. Some word choices like in the line “Slain by a keener mind and intelligent planning” felt a little jarring to me. Not to mention a few cheesy lines that I wasn’t sure fitted the tone of the piece, like the whole bit of visiting change (by changing them from living to dead) or how the ending sounded a bit too much like Poe’s The Raven. But that’s just me.
Overall a very well thought out and fun piece!
Fyr-Claw: No-no, that’s not my heart. Not-not enough pure fire. Worry not little one, Fyr-Claw shall free you and show you true joy. Yes-yes-yes...
Story Two: Heh quite a nifty idea of lizzies being samurai and ninjas (reminds me that I had planned a house rules thingy of extended Clan Eshin character choices, including a type of Warlord that emulates the strategic generals of Sun Tzu’s ilk, long ago.)
I will admit some of the puns were a little eye rolling, but they are part of the fun of it, so I can forgive the author.
I will also admit that I was a little confused at first until I got to the part of the Dragon Isles being the location, though even then as a filthy ratman innocent lizard-thing that knows not these things, it might just be me.
Nonetheless, this was a piece that oozed epicness and felt like it could easily be turned into a film (maybe an animated one with some similarly epic music.) The main character was imposing and was a perfect complement to the building of tension and the well-paced structure of the piece. The ending itself was also a shock and not what I expected, kudos for going that route.
So yus, a solid and enjoyable piece!
Jiao Hun: Ssss...I like this Ake. He would make-make a good Skaven.
Story Three: Wow.
This author nailed the first person narrative for this piece, blending in the right balance of pacing for a truly enjoyable tale.
It was extremely hard to find any fault with this piece. I know some have mentioned a lack of actual visceral action, but I kinda prefer the building of the mood and having action as only a secondary (or tertiary) entity.
Our little lizzie storyteller was very well crafted and felt very alive. He had his clear weaknesses as well as strengths and was very much a morally grey character rather than completely someone you could sympathise with or despise. That he is a slave to the lies he weaves in his propaganda (and how this is being actively encouraged/manipulated by the Slann) is very powerful indeed.
I suppose I may have liked a brief explanation at the end of why those Skaven were dead (by their own paws? The jungle itself?) But that’s just me.
Very nicely done!
Herkter Underwells: There are few of my kind-flesh that scent-look to any past other than their own. What tale-things exist are often exaggerated to make the teller or star appear mighty-great. I have seen the truth in these stories. All of Skavenkind want-wants to be engraved in the minds of our race. And yet-yet I wonder, will I be remembered?... Of course-course!...I think-think...
Story Four: I liked it.
This was a story that built the epic of quite a legendary figure. In fact, I made a point of reading this piece in the mindset of it being an Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, or Nordic saga. Indeed, it got a bit bogged down and confusing at points, but in a strange way that kinda made it for me.
The name pun of course was a wet fish to the face. You lizard-things are worse than every Skaven having to have something about snout/paw/claw/tail/biting/gnawing in their names...
Nonetheless, the lead character was likable and fairly relatable. Indeed, I enjoyed the author’s mocking of the Slann being carried away by his guard whilst gesturing wildly (give that Slann a blondish wig and make it claim that it’ll make Lustria great again!)
So yeah, I enjoyed it. Nice job.
Brrx Wyrd-Eye: What-what?! Why-why would you ride on a giant-er lizard-thing? No-no. Much better to ride on Rat-tank or in giant mechanised suit! Silly lizard-things, no-no style!
Congratulations to @Y'ttar Scaletail. As a trusted contest winner, he wins the prize of this contest. The right to name our next contest or he can choose to take a long boring stint of guard duty for our most precious and sacred artifacts and secrets that must never ever fall into Skaven hands.
Story One. “Slave to the Sword” by Y’ttar Scaletail
Story Two, “Never Lie to the Samurai” by Warden
Story Three, “The Waning Moon” by Discomute
Story Four, “Size Really Does Matter” by Slannta Clause
Story Five, “The Butterfly Effect” by Killer Angel
Story Six, “The Slave’s Name” by Bowser
Story Seven, “Kin and Master” by Slanputin
Story Eight, “Freedom and Slavery: 3000” by Wolfwerty33
Story Nine, “Slaves to Our Daemons” by Essmir
Story Ten, “Cell Duty” by thedarkfourth
Story Eleven, “In Pursuit of Freedom” by Scalenex
Story Twelve, “Jurt, Scaley, and Manfred’ by Pendrake
Y’ttar Scaletail really nailed this one! kudos to you!
Yeah, my story was "The Butterfly effect"... no descriptions of battles in the distance, this time.
All in all, I'm satisfied, I'm in fourth position, missing the podium by just one vote.
I voted for the 3 top stories: "Slave to the sword", "In pursuit...." and "Jurt...". My fourth vote went to "the Waning moon".
and Y'ttar, remember that we're waiting for your reviews of the other stories! you cannot limit yourself to the first four.
Huh, before I voted and saw the result-things, I hadn't expected to do very well. The plate of stories as always were stunning and I thought were a league above my own. But yus, thirteen hundred thanks (and dead Skaven) for all those who voted for me, those who entered such great tales, and Scalenex for running this great compy!
I know, been one of those weeks thus far but I be plodding onwards. I will aim to get everything up before my impending trip to Naggaroth this weekend.
I will also repost my entry with commentary and feedback to review-things. Surprised no one spotted the cheeky easter egg.
Story Five: Heh, this one almost reads like something I would write. Very little action, sparing use of dialogue, and a lot of build up of scenery and feeling. Maybe could have done with more shadows and candles...
Anyway, I really enjoyed this piece. The pacing was perfectly slow to the narrative and I particularly liked the lack of action. It’s a Skink and a Slann in a chamber. And to me that can tell more of a story or have more of an impact than the tumble and rough of a pitched battle between hundreds of warriors. But that’s my taste.
The Slann’s reasoning at the end was pretty well thought out in my opinion and feels like it does make some kind of sense. The effect on our poor protagonist is painful to read but that is what gave it such an impact.
Perhaps the method the Slann used could have been better, but honestly I can’t think of how to improve it myself.
Admiral Saltsqueak: Fate? I don’t believe in fate. A crazy-mad rat appeared to me and claim-squeaked that it is the fate of all Saltsqueaks to die-die in every story-thing (whatever that-that is) they appear in. Before I could gut-gut the wretch, he vanished in an aura of lightning and a giggle. I do not believe him. We forge our own paths and wh...wait-wait...who are you? What-what are you doing in my cham...urk...
Story Six: Heheh. When I first skimmed this piece I thought: “Tox? Is that you?” Whilst this Saurus isn’t Tox, her story didn’t feel too dissimilar from Tox’s own reflections in my earlier story comp entry (and the resulting saga I’ve never managed to get around to which would have explored the idea of the Slann quite purposely altering the memory constructed slaves to be more compliant and better suited for their purpose.)
This entry took a darker turning than I would have, or should I say a more Skaven turning? Those Skaven were sinister and felt very much like true Skaven rather than the more human-like Skaven a certain Messr Gnawtail seems to paint in his story-things. This author knows their rats well.
I do feel that the Sunblood’s final decision could have had more built up reasoning to it. I guess the author wanted it to be out of the blue, but to me without more build up of the Sunblood realising it is a throwaway slave and that the Skaven are right (huh, now that’s a line I never thought I’d write...), it felt kinda out of character. Also, those two assassins must’ve been the bravest Skaven to ever live to hide in the shadows whilst the Slann is spamming the delete button on all visible Skaven. If I was one of them I would have considered cutting my losses and remembering that I left the warpstove on. But they did add to the effect at the end.
Story Seven: Until I cheated and read the final reveal results, I thought Sketch from the UE had snuck over and was pretending to be a Skaven that was pretending to be a lizard-thing (I swear he’s an evil elf-thing in reality...)
Of all the stories, I think this one pipped it for the world creation and just thinking out of the box. There was a very Necromunda feel to this piece and funnily enough, it worked perfectly.
The main lead was written very well and his final decision at the end (if I read it right) was utterly tragic. The other characters seemed to pale a bit compared to the vibrancy created with this world. It wasn’t necessary for them to be, but I dunno...I felt like I wanted something a little more from the other characters.
This story also needs spinoffs and expansions. The setting is so good.
Narev Grilsrid: Family? For my family I would take a hundred sword strokes, a thousand deaths. But around me my family lie dead in body or name. And I am alone.
Story Eight: Well, that was dark.
Over on the UE there was a plan for an alternative future campaign where instead of the End Times, the Skaven realised that serving Chaos was probably a bad idea and worked as a more covert Order faction (there were also a few other things that happened that also heavily altered the course of events) leading to Chaos being defeated and the Realms sealed away through the sacrifice of all the other Gods (except the Horned Rat and a few other sneaky gods) and Malal being released. Skaven being quite a rebounding race, recovered far quicker than the other races and managed to finally unite and conquer the world (at horrific and heavy cost.) Of course, Pestilens’ ruler Nurglitch XIII continues to be paranoid that the lizzies weren’t fully wiped out (and is not wrong!) So yes, I enjoyed the parallels between this short tale and the Post Ascension campaign that never was.
But I digress.
This was only a small snapshot into quite an intriguing future that never was, but what a snapshot. Sure, not a lot happens, but this could set the stage for something quite fantastic. There is little to critique this story for apart from a lack of action (a very minor note for me) and a few odd bits that another proofread might’ve ironed out.
All in all a very bleak and powerful snapshot!
Whizz-Bang: *Giggle* So many futures, like sweetmeats to be savoured. My children shriek in delight at such futures and my love, my darling one, my only one, smiles knowingly.
Congrats! Great work that ra- lizard.
I cannot believe I was wrong about the authorship of number 11, Scalanex's formatting standards have clearly fallen. Shame! (great story though)
Honoured to have come last on this one. I actually really struggled to come up with something to fit the theme. Advice to Y'ttar: create a really good story first and then come up with a theme to match. It's not cheating, it's home advantage.
Really hope we get a kin and master sequel from Slanputin. But first hurry up and finish Lord Xhaltan.
Oh no. I have Shyamalan'd myself! Put more into having a twist ending than worrying why the twist actually makes sense. I need to rethink my life. Or just rewrite a bit to add in where the saurus is coming from. But up until the end it got some good praise. I'd call that a win for writing at 4 am from work on my mobile.
Yours was my second favourite. The weird thing about Shyamalan is that there is a lot of genius in there among all the nonsense.
Congratulations @Y'ttar Scaletail - I really liked the concept behind your piece.
A lot of my author guesses were really off-mark this time - good job everybody!
*sudden rush of guilt*
Unfortunately due to my work and other extra-curricular responsibilities I really have very limited time for writing. The contest provides a nice structure to which I can dedicate a portion of my time to release my writing urges, so I'm most likely just going to stick to contest entries for now. I actually have a detailed synopsis for the whole Xhaltan story in front of me, so it's conceptually there
I decided against critiquing as much of my points have been covered. I do appreciate the comments on Kin however, anything to improve my writing. Kin could have definitely been more focused, however one of my tropes is using the environment to tell the story which leads to rather lengthy pieces!
Do you ever write fiction outside of L-O? Just curious.
Cheers for all the reviews of the waning moon. This is the first time I've reviewed everyone's so therefore the first time I've had to review mine.
So anyway... funny story about this piece. If you remember last contest my story was too obscure to be understood. I jokingly thought I would write a piece of just pure action, sort of 'take the mickey' so to speak. Of course I realised by doing that I would be admitting how much deep down I crave contest votes. Anyway after I read this topic, this sort of all just came too me.
Great work everyone! Some fantastic stuff and lots of new ideas generated by this contest! So much more work to do...
My personal favorite was Freedom and Slavery 3000 by @Wolfwerty33 , mostly because of the post-apocalyptic world it created (potentially a post-end times Old World?). Cool idea for a new universe to explore!
Thanks for everyone's comments on my story also the name jarring with people was anticipated but was also a mocking gesture at the naming of other Lizardmen characters - It came off more of an annoying element of the story though so sorry everyone who had to read it
Most of my writing has been outside of L-O as it happens, although there's a lot of cross-pollination and migration between the two. Currently I just bend myself to short story contests whenever my thesis eases its grasp.
I knew it! Any linky-links? Apologies if it's impolite to ask. You don't have to reveal any non-lizard identities if you don't want to.