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Contest April-May 2020 Short Story Contest Reading and Voting Thread

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, May 1, 2020.

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Which Story or Stories Do You Like Best? (choose up to four)

Poll closed May 31, 2020.
  1. Story One: "Bowl of Blood"

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  2. Story Two: "Abomination"

    7 vote(s)
    41.2%
  3. Story Three: "Awīak"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  4. Story Four: "Lost and Found"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  5. Story Five: "Return of the King"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  6. Story Six: "Fire of the Old Ones"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  7. Story Seven: "Prayers for Vengeance"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  8. Story Eight: "Tipping the Scales"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  9. Story Nine: "Praying for Reasons, Praying for a Purpose"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  10. Story Ten: "The Ritual"

    7 vote(s)
    41.2%
  11. Story Eleven: "Blooded Water"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  12. Story Twelve: "The Bloodswamp War (part 1)"

    2 vote(s)
    11.8%
  13. Story Thirteen: "Ask and It Will Be Given"

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  14. Story Fourteen: "Tzeentchian Rituals"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Story 12 – The Bloodswamp War (part 1)

    @Sudsinabucket this is a fantastic first entry. Massive kudos for biting the bullet and putting it out there, you did yourself proud.

    TECHNICAL: The story line is good (and you have quite the vivid imagination when it comes to the Lizardmen torturing captives!!!) and your work to give your main protagonist a back-story to go with his name is good. There are some good descriptions of environments (and this is particularly good in the letter from Sumerfeld’s brother) and it follows itself nicely.

    The main critique from on this story is that it is written in the present tense and this, unfortunately, spoils your story telling. “The blade whistles past his face as he gets his breath,” should be written as “The blade whistled past his face as he caught his breath.” It’s a bizarre fact that no matter what time the story is set in (past, present or future) it is all written as if it has already happened.

    Check out a couple of professional authors, 99% of them all do this. There is definitely a style of writing in the present, but I have only personally seen this in rare occasions and in Oriental Poetry.

    There were several instances where you had actions happening, but not the resulting effect: the best example of this being when Sumerfled pulls out his Mace and slams it into the table. Like I’ve mentioned before in other story reviews, you can do the bouncing ball visualization on it. If I pull out a mace, what happens? How does it sound when it splits the air and what is the sound of the impact? Unless this is some seriously strong table, will parts of it fly off? If you can’t visualize it, then try looking it up on YouTube. I haven’t watched any of them, but there are many videos about Medieval weaponry, which would probably give you a good idea.

    For this one, you are missing a good impact sound (“Sumerfeld’s mace, seemingly magically appearing in his hand, impacted on the table with a sound like a thunderbolt. As the echo of the sound died, so he found that the arguments had died also.”) and possibly a little description wood chips flying as the mace embeds itself in the table.

    When you talk about emotion being expressed by body parts (in your example, Anger pouring out of his face), you should choose adjectives that relate to what is happening. For the mouth and eyes, you could say that an emotion poured out. For the face, you would be looking for something like being “anger etched into his features”. Anger can reasonate in a voice, or make a voice sound differently, but (and again as described many times earlier, ignore this if it doesn’t help. If it does then great!) pouring would be used with someone “filling up” with anger. Take whoever your favourite author is and look at how they do it, it's what I did with mine (Robert Jordan with the Wheel of Time).

    The only other points I would say is that Sumerfeld’s name is based on him holding back a Waagh! with no reinforcements, but then you say that Astra helped him? Otherwise, like @Scalenex said, it is a little unrealistic that a small boy would be able to escape the city, swamp and make it back to the city to deliver the message.

    PERSONAL: I would really like to have read this with all of it in past tense. I thought you did a really good job of depicting a soldier losing a loved one and a chance at redemption being grasped fully. You should start a writing blog and do a couple of stories to try this out. I don’t really have anything to say about your story-telling on a personal basis as I thought otherwise that you did a fair job.
     
  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    ,

    I didn't know it was an AoS story. I normally mark Age of Sigmar stories in turquoise, alternate settings in magenta, kings of war in orange, and Fantasy unmarked. If you guys don't tell me when I mislabel something my records are incomplete and inaccurate. How dare you!

     
  3. Carnikang
    Carnasaur

    Carnikang Well-Known Member

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    No worries my man, I just like sharing.

    Also, sorry @Scalenex , I shall endeavor to remember the color-code!
     
  4. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Story 13 – Ask and It Will Be Given

    And now, the final boss level, the capo di tutti capi himself…. @Killer Angel

    TECHNICAL: Overall, technically I thought the story was well done. The author starts the first series of chapters of the short story with excellent descriptions of the surroundings. The later cities and journeys through the undergrowth seem to be rushed in this respect and lack enough of a description to really depict this.

    The story line is a fantastic new take on the Skaven’s invasion of Lustria and the subsequent rise of the Cult of Sotek… It was done by the Skaven themselves! The idea of Clan Moulder utilizing their skills to make a hybrid Skink-Skaven was a really well crafted idea. Even the idea of bringing the Lizardmen away from the worship of the old Gods to defuse their magical prowess is inspired.

    Technically, the only thing I would really have said on this story is that it starts strong on the descriptions but peters off about halfway through and there is a lack of characterization of the main Skaven protagonist. The Grey Seer doesn’t really get a lot of TLC even though he is the staple of the story.

    PERSONAL: I was horrified from the first moment! How dare they sew a Skink’s head onto a Skaven’s body!!! RAAAARGH!!!!!! After I calmed myself down, then they massacred a Lizardmen village!!!!!!! Then killed a Slann and destroyed his city!!!!!!! Doesn’t he know that there will be no more spawnings of Slann?!?!?!

    [coughs slightly, gathers shredded dignity and continues]

    I have to admit that even though I appreciated the novelty of the story, I was not able to vote for the story as (again purely personal here) the Skaven were killing off the Lizardmen. I’m a bit of a sucker for a happy ending to be honest, so if there had been a revenge mission from the Lizardmen on the Skaven or if the Grey Seer had been caught and brutally sacrificed to Sotek I may have voted.

    Sad? Maybe. Personal preference? Definitely.

    When I was re-reading this story for the review, with a bit more of a dispassionate view about it and just viewing it as a story, I think that this is a great new and novel idea that is communicated really well even with the existing descriptions. I think that if the author had continued on the descriptions like he had done for the first half of the book and added a bit of main protagonist characterization I think this would have been outstanding.

    Really nice work.
     
  5. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Much appreciated. ;)
     
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  6. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    No problem! You can tell it was good story telling by the emotional response you got on my first reading!

    Now just need to finish the last one.
     
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  7. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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  8. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Story 14 – Tzeetchian Rituals

    @Tk'ya'pyk , your submission has some excellent storytelling. Which makes sense, now that I know you have experience as a DM/GM.

    TECHNICAL: There is some fantastic descriptions of both characters and environment in this story. The Chamo Skink is described well, the area is described well as well as the Tzaangor (which I’m not familiar with as a non-AoS player so that was useful). The sacrifice area was very well described as well.

    I would possibly have added some descriptions of the area when the Chamo Skink is tailing the Tzaangor column as this is omitted and left a little bit of a question for me.

    The only other thing that slightly jarred me out of being able to enjoy the story was some of the word usages. To be clear, I am being particularly nit-picky here only so that I have something to give to the author as some kind of contribution to what I think the story could have been improved by. An example of this is describing the Chamo Skink “forcing himself to be sneakier” which jarred me slightly. Possibly “Stealthier” or “forcing himself to be even more cautious”.

    Like I said, it’s a small point and overall I thought the writing was superb.

    PERSONAL: So, as I said in an earlier review, I don’t like AoS. This makes it unfortunate for reviewing stories set in this period. Sorry :(

    I thought the idea was great. The scrying stone was a great touch, along with the fact that the Tzeentchian Daemons could perceive something when it was being used. Very nice details. The descriptions of the stone quarry was being done and the ritual itself were really good.

    It’s a purely personal point, but it didn’t move me so although it was a good story I couldn’t identify with just the Daemons being created or the character that sat back and didn’t do anything. I know it doesn’t make sense (as he would have been slaughtered) but just leaving the story at this point with the Mage turned into a Tzaangor was depressing.

    To briefly switch back to TECHNICAL, all my personal feelings aside this is actually the mark of excellent story telling as you have engaged me emotionally. So more kudos to you!
     
  9. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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  10. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    You've earned your freedom. :p
     
  11. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    :D

    @Scalenex when is the next contest? :cool:
     
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  12. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    There is a mounth Break to relax or write some other stuff you have on your mind ;)

    Beginning of the next month the theme will be announced and writing can commance. So July-August will be the 23th Contest.

    Hoping for a good, inspiring theme :cool:

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  13. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    We had a July-August contest in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. a July-August 2020 contest seems likely...so we got about 11ish days.

    I'm waiting for some contest themes @Lizards of Renown and @thedarkfourth :smug:

    But the next short story contest is elven-ish days away.

    [​IMG]

    However, that's old and reliable. We also have something new and exciting. biannual poetry contests! And we have one going on right meow.
     
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  14. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    We already agreed on "Technological Advances" @Scalenex

    Sorry, thought I put it in a previous post.
     
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  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I was not sure if that was in jest or not. If that's your real contest theme I guess I can post the next contest a little early but I want people to not neglect writing poetry.
     
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  16. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Totally fine with me to postpone until the poetry contest is done. I'm sure @thedarkfourth would agree.
     
  17. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    AH! Now we know it too!
    You fools, you wasted your advantage, muhahahahah!
     
  18. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Marhlect! Was I supposed to keep it secret?!?

    :oops: Sorry @Scalenex , I can pick another theme if this is part of the deal.
     
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  19. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    It's nothing to be worried about.
    THe winner chooses the theme for the next comp and tells it to Scalanex.
    When Scalenex opens the new Comp, he announces the theme. Up til that moment, only the winner and Scalenex know the theme.

    But it's not that everything is ruined, if all the other wanna-be authors know the theme a tenth of days before the official beginning of the Comp. We'll simply have a little more time to think on it, so who knows… maybe the number and the quality of the stories will increase. ;)
     
  20. DeathBringer125
    Carnasaur

    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I will have a chance! (If I can get myself not to be lazy...). I have the tendency to get an idea, and just blurb it out super quickly. Hence why my stuff lacks depth. But hey... Awiak was ADORABLE!
     

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