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Contest January-February 2020 Short Story Contest Voting and Reading Thread

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

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

Poll closed Feb 29, 2020.
  1. Story One: "New Beginning"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  2. Story Two: "The Red Thing in the Desert"

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  3. Story Three: "Alone in the Dark"

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
  4. Story Four: "The Strange, Strange Skink"

    8 vote(s)
    47.1%
  5. Story Five: "Second Chance"

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  6. Story Six: "The Message Repeats"

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
  7. Story Seven: "The Visitor's Revenge"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  8. Story Eight: "Brothers to Remember"

    9 vote(s)
    52.9%
  9. Story Nine: "A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die"

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  10. Story Ten: "The Little Things"

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Consider posting twice before returning to your slumber.

    You are slightly more likely to awaken Bob if you post your picture to the False Moon War thread. I'm guessing Bob has alerts set on it.
     
  2. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    well, it is a quality post! :)
     
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  3. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    I would like to. I could use some advice, though.
     
  4. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Well, here’s my nonsensical thoughts.


    New Beginning


    Reading this reminded me of the time I went on the fluff sub-forum on Ulthuan.net a year ago, and came upon a series of adventure/mystery stories detailing a young shadow warrior’s life (the prequel - story 7 - is mostly a coming of age/war story, and was the first story of that series I read). They had a profound effect on me, and made the high elves endearing to me as a WHF race. So when I finished reading this story, I really loved how the high elves managed to find a place within this lizard-y contest, and better still, come out mostly alive :) . The story being composed entirely of journalistic entries is pretty innovative, and did it much justice. Every entry as the story went on progressively got more suspenseful, and made me more invested with the characters actions and their fates at the story’s conclusion. With such an unorthodox structure, I applaud the author for achieving this.


    That said, I think there could be more improvements to the story so as to make what I outlined earlier more profound. To make me even more invested in the characters, I would’ve liked it if the story detailed what the high elves wanted in a much greater degree. For most of the time reading this, I haven’t had a clue on what the characters wanted, so I still felt rather detached from them, even though there was a lot of suspense. But maybe showing what characters want and the values they stand for in vivid, varying ways can make them intriguing and engaging to read.


    The Red Thing in the Desert


    It’s always great to read short, short stories such as this one. The imagery and the chameleon skink’s observations go hand-in-hand in creating a story easy to be immersed in. And in addition, the Chameleon skink’s interaction with the giant rat-wolf thingys was both cute and awesome. Could be wrong, but I think the rat wolves came by because of the chameleon picking up and dropping the bhall. Pretty cool to unwittingly play with a bunch of monstrosities that would eat you for breakfast no problem by accident :p


    Anyways, after I finished reading the story, I never really felt anything despite the vivid imagery. I think the ending could’ve been worked on some more. I think that because I can’t really figure out the significance behind the chameleon skink’s interaction with the wolf rats besides the irony. In addition, the story as a whole is very abstract. Using abstraction is mostly okay, but using it too much without any form of clarity to balance risks making the story harder to relate to and enjoy.


    Alone in the Dark


    Well like most other people lizards, I enjoy it when someone writes a kroxigor centered story, and this one didn’t disappoint as usual. It’s hard to write, but the author pulled it off amazingly. Just like story 2, the imagery nicely encapsulates the kroxigor’s feelings, and in the process, both makes the character riveting to read and the imagery in the story easy to imagine. The struggle for clarity in the madness he found himself in was very compelling.


    Although just like story 2, I found the ending a tad bit disappointing. Some more stories that I’ll cover later on have endings that are rather lackluster. Of course that’s just my opinion(s) :sorry:. Anyway, I really liked how the kroxigor’s personal struggle for clarity was steadily built up, but I found the ending too sudden. The conclusion just never espoused as much emotions and feelings as the rest of the story did.


    The Strange, Strange Skink


    I really like how this story managed to include comedic and serious bits at the same time. The premise of this is rather ridiculous, but the main character’s internal struggle helped balance that out. The symbolism was a nice touch that helped drive the story’s message and highlight the chameleon’s fallacies.


    One thing I don’t like, though, would be the length. For what the story essentially is, the length is pretty huge. I find the introduction drags on a bit too long without doing much, so that area of the story could probably be cut down.


    The Second Chance


    Saurus characters are almost always the best fit for philosophical stories. Their characteristic stoicism frequently allows them as characters of a story to look deeply within themselves - whether in search of a meaning that’s important or something else that troubles them - and this story did this very well. What I also really like is the pairing between the saurus’ deep, complicated outlook on his own life, and his simplistic (relatively speaking) duty of catching Cold One eggs. It encapsulated the saurus’ feelings and paved the way for the ending - both of which being awesome to read.


    Imo, I think the story could’ve been clearer. The story switches from present and past with no transitions that could tell me such dramatic changes were occurring when first reading. As a result, the story felt rather confusing and jarring. I think it’d be cool if the author found a way for the alternations between past and present to lead towards one and another. Alternatively, it’d also be cool if said alternations had a predictable pattern or a noticeable rhythm throughout the story. Story 9 did the latter method, and it worked pretty well.


    The Message Repeats


    I love the character development. Whenever I read stories that completely engross me into what it has to say, it’s usually the character development that draws me in. So I became pretty enthralled reading how the main character’s fearless values gradually wore away until he completely became the very type of person he mocked near the start of the story. The pacing of the main character’s development in particular was done so well and made the ironic ending memorable.


    There isn’t really anything negative for me to say about this story. Maybe the main character’s name is pretty cheesy.


    The Visitor’s Revenge


    As others have already stated, the connection between WHF and WH40K was done well. It’s always riveting to see lizards fighting something unorthodox and unusual such as robotic death machines - and mostly losing at the same time. And that’s one of the strengths of this creative story - the suspense of whether or not the main character and the rest of the lizards would win against an enemy they could not hope to win. They still won - albeit destroying themselves in the process - which I like a lot as an ending.


    But as awesome the ending is, I think it could do better. When I finished reading, I never really cared that much about the other lizards or even the temple city as a whole. So I never really felt much at all when the lizards had to destroy themselves besides shock and awe. Probably because most of the story is told from the POV of the Slann main character without much meaningful connections to the lesser lizards.


    Brothers to Remember


    A very heartfelt story with a saurus protagonist - one of my most favorite combinations in these contests, and this entry didn’t disappoint. As I said before in story 5, it’s intriguing to read saurus main characters since it’s very often they feel deeply human-like despite the stoicism. So I really liked what the story did in focusing on a saurus’ duty to serve, but also the inevitable losses of his brothers that occur as a result. The main character’s sorrow that always followed every part of the story as it went on espoused a lot of feelings. It made me relate to the story’s seemingly unending struggle of living on with loss.


    The negative thing I have to say about this story would probably have to be how it’s structured. The story is divided into parts that detail the main character’s past until the ending which is the present. I didn’t like this structure since it often prevented me from immersing in the story as the parts started in places/situations completely different from the ones I just read seconds ago. Not really a matter of confusion like in story 5’s sudden changes from past to present and vice versa, but more so sudden drop offs in emotions.


    A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die


    I really like how creatively structured this is. Specifically, I like how the two main characters’ lives and responsibilities were worlds apart, but still ultimately shared the same desires, and as a result, converged in the same place and at the same time. So the ending for me gave me quite the goosebumps when I first read. Tla’Tol’s conflict with the other slanns and his personal sacrifice later on was amazing.


    While the slann part of the story was riveting and dealt with the intriguing case of a rouge slann, there wasn’t much conflict at all for Gilmonk’s side of the story nor was there any loss or sacrifice either. It was instead mostly world building. So it felt rather lacking.


    The Little Things


    Two Very enjoyable and intriguing characters. I love how the two least important lizards are the ones to bring out about the Old Ones’ return. Like story 6, the ending is pretty ironic. But perhaps more impressive than the Old Ones in this story would be the characters, their beliefs on the Old Ones and how it shapes them. It’s not often you get to read from the perspective of everyday skinks. Most writers usually write their skink protagonists as priests or some other position that’s important. But here, the author offered an often underused POV that was used amazingly.


    Though despite how ironic the ending was - and I love ironic endings - it still felt a bit disappointing. I think the ending used too much suspense without adequately showing what happened to the characters. In essence, it feels incomplete. The return of the Old Ones was grand, but the story’s focus was mostly on the two skinks. Both of which had such intriguing values and desires that I would’ve liked seeing how they would be effected by the ending.



    EDIT:

    I knew I forgot something.

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, I can say that i'm still working on the other story. Still truckin' on it. It's a hard chapter i've been writing for all these months, but i think i can still finish it... eventually ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  5. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    So I'm done reading all of them... It took me some effort to find the time for it.
    But I am happy I did. Read it all with much appreciation!

    Myself I am not that good of a review writer so I just voted for my personal 3 best stories.

    Gr, Imrahil
     
  6. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Reminder to self: read those stories!
     
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  7. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Grrr Imrahil!
     
  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Voting has slowed down. In theory the leader could be dethroned in the next few days, so I won't call it early. I'm not holding my breath on the outcome changing though.

    I certainly would not be opposed to more critiques and commentary.
     
  9. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    This round i don't think i will be able to do my usual reviews sorry :(
     
  10. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Same here.
     
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  11. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    It's also interesting to note that, leaving aside the two stories which are ahead, all the other ones fall within a narrow margin of votes.
    I read this as evidence that the entries (and this competition) got a good quality level, and to emerge you need to come with a really solid and good story.
     
  12. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'm going to have spotty Internet for a couple days so I'll call it early.

    The winner is......me.
    [​IMG]

    I have a love-hate relationship with winning. Shout out to @Paradoxical Pacifism for almost beating me. Shame on you for not beating me!

    This time I probably will name the next contest theme instead passing it off on someone else.

    I award the Scalenex Cup to @Carnikang, honorable mention to @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl for being the runner up to the Scalenex Cup.

    Special thanks to @Lizards of Renown and @Tk'ya'pyk our first time entrants!

    Thanks to everyone who entered. We had a good mix of regular writers, on-again off-again writers and new blood.



    Story One “New Beginning” by @Imrahil

    Story Two, “Red Thing in the Desert”
    by @Tk'ya'pyk

    Story Three, “Alone in the Dark”
    by @Carnikang

    Story Four “The Strange, Strange Skink”
    by @Paradoxical Pacifism

    Story Five “Second Chance”
    by @Infinity Turtle

    Story Six "The Message Repeats"
    by @Lizards of Renown

    Story Seven "The Visitor’s Revenge"
    by @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl

    Story Eight “Brother’s to Remember”
    by @Scalenex

    Story Nine “A Reason to Live a Reason to Die"
    by @Killer Angel

    Story Ten, “The Little Things” by @thedarkfourth
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  13. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    And congrats to @Scalenex for the winning story, it was a good one!
     
  14. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    As I told ol' Scaly when I sent in my entry, I haven't written anything like fiction for about 15 years. To me, this was an act of homage to LO and the amazingly friendly atmosphere that has been generated here by the staff and members.

    Thanks a lot guys. I'll keep an eye out for when he-who-has-the-scales throws down the gauntlet again.
     
  15. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing contest ! Love all the emotiomal and bittersweet stories !
     
  16. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Thirtheenth Spawning

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    Congratulations @Scalenex with the winning story.

    I have got a lot to learn in story telling seeing the few votes I got ;)

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
  17. Carnikang
    Carnasaur

    Carnikang Well-Known Member

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    Wooo! Congrats @Scalenex

    Also, what's the cup again? Once upon a time I knew what it was.

    Also, congrats to everyone who participated. I liked all the stories. See you all in the ring next time.
     
  18. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Pretty sure the cup is an honor status rather than something else.

    Scalenex kudos are very high value.
     
  19. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    thx for everyone who had time to participate in writing the stories for this contest. I Enjoyed reading them all :D

    And i really adored the ironic ending, @Lizards of Renown

    And also thanks for the votes as well. Never thought my story would do that well considering the quality of all of these stories. In fact, I actually hate mine :blackeye:

    And congrats for @Scalenex for the win. You always write emotional saurus characters so well :) .
     
  20. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Thanks! Your story was great!

    Like @Killer Angel said, a lot of quality in this readout.

    After reading all the stories, I didn't fancy my chances of winning. Very happy that at least four people thought mine was good!
     
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