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UEMB Writing Competition Results and Discussion!

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 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!! Here it is! What like 6 of you have been waiting for! The results for the first ever UEMB writing competition. Let me start off by saying it was a very tight race (there was only a five point difference between first and last place) and all of the entries were very solid! I want to make this somewhat suspenseful. You'll have to scroll down to see the results :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6th place- One of Those Simple Voyages by Blatch 22.5/40

Feedback from the judges: 

"Again, this is not something that I would choose to read. And when I saw that it was unwise for the hero to start his truck “unusually frigid 40 degree weather” and then realized that this was not set in a fairly near future where global warming had progressed quite a bit, it just kind of put me off. It sounds like a nit-picking thing, I know, but it bothered me. It was easy enough to ready, but it didn’t really hold my attention, and nothing happened. Something was going to happen – Why was time short? If I’d known, I might have felt a bit more sympathetic (or something) toward the main character."

 

"The plot is kind of loose to this story, and there's not much conflict, or character/ story progression. however the setting was described in detail which was a plus. More conflict and better wording/ sentence structure would have earned it more points"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th place- A Pack of Camels by Swimmodsponges 23.5/40

Feedback from the judges: 

"Excellent exposition and character build up, and the scenes were very descriptive, but political satire aside the comical ending leaves more to be desired.
Classic..this guy though."
 
"I think I know who wrote this, and if I’m right, I know where she’s coming from, but this, to me, was kind of sloppy. There were descriptions  that I really liked, but every time I started enjoying it and getting a handle on her presentation of an intriguing world, something  would pop up and jar the story, and not in a plot-advancing or thought-provoking way. The ending absolutely destroyed it; my initial reaction was WTF? – I had to check the cupboard to make sure that I hadn’t accidently eaten all the nutmeg before I read it. Not that I have anything against political commentary, but Jesus showing up to give the Donald a blow job did not provide any kind of resolution, and would have needed a bit more foreshadowing to actually have anything to do with the rest of her story."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4th place- Bob Seger Werewolf Hunter by Guybeardmane 25/40
Feedback from the judges:

"I like this. I read mostly for pleasure, and this pleased me. I like bad puns and wordplay a lot, and the Silver Bullet band one was just awful. It had a beginning, middle, and an end, and I liked that, too – I appreciate something linear."

"A lot of rock and roll allusions/puns and wordplay packed into a simple but effective screen play style action scene. Would be better if there was room for conflict/ character progression."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd place- Fate/Furious by Imchapp.in 26.5/40

Feedback from the judges:

 "I can tell a lot of thought was put into the plot of this story yet it seems almost intentionally irrational. Character dialogue could be a little bit more clear, and I feel the plot may need a bit more backstory or explanation."

"I don’t know if this is a fan fic. If so, I apologize, because there may be things assumed here that I just don’t know. If it’s not a fan fic, it’s great – for a start. I was really drawn into it, but then, felt really let down when it just stopped as opposed to ended. There were so many interesting possibilities, but nothing actually happened; was there a plot yet?  Finish the book, whoever you are! I want to read it."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd place- 315-342 by PokeNirvash 27/40

Feedback from the judges: 

"iall fairness, this is not the kind of thing that appeals to me even when it’s done well, and this was kind of hollow. + for a format that fit within the guidelines, and being easy to read and follow, - for it sounding something like an essay that was done for an English class. I didn’t care about any of these people enough to want to meet them."

"The story lacks a lot of conflict and character progression and there isn't a solid ending. The story is written as if it is being vaguely remembered or as if a lot of the more exciting details were left out. It would make great dialogue for a narrated movie, but in written form the scenes could be more descriptive I feel."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st place- Wildflowers by Kweerie 27.5/40

Feedback from the judges:

"The characters in this story were brought to life well through the use of colloqualisim, and different dialects in the dialogue. The "cutesie" nature of the talking animal characters made the dark shift and story ending all the more..enjoyable. Good conflict and story progression, but I feel a little more build up to the final bitter ending would've earned it more points with me."

 " I’ve always liked this story, and this is nicely done. I like the traditional moral better, but this was a nice twist. The scorpion’s voice was a little bit too something – I had flashbacks to being about 5 and getting my cheeks pinched by my father’s patients when I went on house calls with him; a lot of the old ladies talked like that – but all in all, I liked it."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are your subcatagory winners!

Bad Sex Award (self explanatory)- A Pack of Camals by Swimmodsponges!

Macbeth Award (most deaths)- Bob Seger Werewolf Hunter by Guybeardmane!

Best Character- The scorpion in Wildflowers by Kweerie!

Bulwer Lytton Award (Most overdramatic)- A Pack of Camals by Swimmodsponges!

Italo Calvino Award (innovatve storytelling)- Fate/Furious by Imchapp.in

Tao Lin Award (most harrowing realness)- One of Those Simple Voyages by Blatch!

Now, if anybody would like to read any of these bad boys, the stories can all be found here: http://www.writerscafe.org/Uembwritingcomp/writing/

I want to give a huge thanks to my judges: Nabloom, Mthor, Bouvre, and PhilosipherStoned! They were amazing and I seriously couldn't have done this without their help. I also want to thank everyone who participated and encouraged me to do this. I feel like these sort of things are good for us. We need all the fun and positivity we can get around here!

A huge congratulations to our winner Kweerie! You should get in touch with Pat concerning your custom rank. Also as the winner I think you should host the next competition if in fact you want to. If not that's cool too :P

Anyway, thanks everybody. Feel free to read the entries, discuss, debate just do whatever the hell you want! Much love :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, That_One_Guy said:

Idk why those white rectangles are there but fuck it :)

It looks alright to me..  this site's text editor derped the sentence format, but it does that pretty easily. Also if you copy paste words from an outside site I know the editor automatically highlights the copypasta so that could be what the blocks are about. Atleast the results are up so sponges wont have a conniption fit..He still might when he sees he got 5th place though lol. xD 

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If you are using a computer, you can delete the code causing the problem in the editor. It's where ever you see the style="background-color:#ffffff;color:#222222;font-size:12.8px;" or something similar. I deleted a few to get rid of the single line bars that gave me vertigo.

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26 minutes ago, GuyBeardmane said:

I am proud of this and I'm glad that people appreciate the bad puns I worked in there.

Dude you should be proud! 

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3 minutes ago, PhilosipherStoned said:

It looks alright to me..  this site's text editor derped the sentence format, but it does that pretty easily. Also if you copy paste words from an outside site I know the editor automatically highlights the copypasta so that could be what the blocks are about. Atleast the results are up so sponges wont have a conniption fit..He still might when he sees he got 5th place though lol. xD 

Hey man it was a tight race <_<

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2 minutes ago, Adminderaptorpat said:

If you are using a computer, you can delete the code causing the problem in the editor. It's where ever you see the style="background-color:#ffffff;color:#222222;font-size:12.8px;" or something similar. I deleted a few to get rid of the single line bars that gave me vertigo.

Thank you. This is the second time you've had to bail me out! 

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Um... Wow.
Really was not expecting to do all that well. 

Thank you. 
Thanks to the judges. We're glad you found Our work entertaining, and are honored by this recognition.
Thank you fellow contestants. It is good to hear there are solid pieces all around, and We look forward to reading the other entries.
And certainly thank you That_One_Guy for putting this all together. Much appreciation for all the time and effort spent on this. That goes for everyone involved, but especially you. We will gladly run the next one. 

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Just now, Kweerie said:

Um... Wow.
Really was not expecting to do all that well. 

Thank you. 
Thanks to the judges. We're glad you found Our work entertaining, and are honored by this recognition.
Thank you fellow contestants. It is good to hear there are solid pieces all around, and We look forward to reading the other entries.
And certainly thank you That_One_Guy for putting this all together. Much appreciation for all the time and effort spent on this. That goes for everyone involved, but especially you. We will gladly run the next one. 

I can't even remember how the real Scorpion and the Frog goes. I'm not sure if I ever read that one to be honest..I think your version takes the cake anyway lol.

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Goddamn, nobody got my symbolism.

It's a good thing I prepared a longwinded explanation  of it-

Literary analysis-


The first paragraph serves to create the setting for the rest of the work, of course. The language I chose in describing the monument was meant to invoke images of the great pyramids of Egypt; and though it takes on several more meanings during the course of the work, should at the first instance represent a form of civilizational memento mori- that is to say, a ruined monument; lost to time. Shelly’s Ozymandias, as it were. The “shining city on a hill” is a direct reference to Ronald Reagan’s metaphor for America; as is mine. I presented his beacon of capitalism as a world struck by vast differences in equality among human beings. Specifically, I wanted to highlight the fact that the hill upon which the shining parts of the city (America), as well as the monument itself were built directly upon the efforts of the lower classes (slavery, abuse of factory workers until the unionization movement, inhumane conditions experienced by both migrant workers and also those to whom many lesser-desired jobs are outsourced). The shape of the city on the hill is also symbolic in and of itself, I mean it’s no coincidence those on the lowest rungs of society are far below the horizon that is the poverty line.


The main character is presented as an individual powerless in the face of an exploitative system. She is without a name, without pride in herself, without any of the things that make one human; she has been broken like an animal by the system. As have those around her- the reference to hiding her genitals while fiercely protecting the water; the only resource she could even for a moment lay claim to, was a commentary on the statistics of rape among underprivileged women (96% of native American women reported being raped in a 2006 study, I can cite it APA style but if you want to check my references feel free. That goes for everything. Please be equally critical of this work, I thrive on it.). The workers at the tables represent the middle class; specifically a middle class given the barest of necessities (animal fat and rice) and a token privilege above the lowest class (the cigarettes). These differences, minute as they are in reality, allows those at the tables to feel that they are I fact better than those at the troughs, and maybe even almost as good as the nobles on their camels (a pack of camels was at this point supposed to serve as a red-herring: “is this story about a pack of cigarettes somehow?”). The shepherds of course represent the police, gerrymandering, poll taxes, gentrification, or any other entity or concept which exists enforce social stratification.


The older gentleman was Obi-wan Kenobi. Not literally of course, but metaphorically. Full disclosure, almost all of my works are in some way based on a loose concept of the Hero’s Journey framework. It’s a perfectly valid writing technique for leading the audience through a story at a physical and emotional pace that many argue is the best for storytelling. Most movies follow this formula though they don’t come out and say it. Dan Harmon, creator of Rick and Morty, does however. He loves him some Hero’s Journey. Anyways, Old Ben talks about that time he had a lightsaber and fought in the clone wars (metaphorically) and the Call to Action box on our Hero’s Journey checklist gets marked.


So now we Introduce the Villain. Exciting times. Now at this point we don’t know much, other than the fact that he belongs to the noble caste, is a fan of gold, and likes throwing out token privileges (that honestly just end up killing you anyways) to the middle class, while showing nothing but disdain for the lowest class. Yes, he urinates into the only water they get that day.  I mean it’s an exaggeration, sure, but it’s symbolic for the growth of nationalistic hatred that has swept the nation. Plus, having read the story and knowing that SPOILER ALERT the noble is in fact Donald Trump, it’s a literal reference to the “alleged” Russian videotape in which he enjoys the presence of two ladies of the evening who proceed to urinate onto the bed that former president Barrack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, had stayed in while visiting the country. Allegedly. END SPOILER ALERT Also the proclamation of “Let’s get these people back to work” is the promises of taking jobs back from the ‘illegals,’ met with cheers. As the whips of the shepherds descend. I’m just saying, deaths in coal mines are waaay up this year. Thanks, OSHA!


Cut to that evening; the lowest class getting the scraps left on the tables of the higher classes. Government cheese. Welfare. She finds a place that will accept food stamps for a lottery ticket. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Creepy Ol’ Obi’s saying some weird shit in here. Better cut to a dream.


Here we refer to the monument as a needle for the first time. Needle, camel, are you seeing what I’m getting at here? Anyways the monument begins to take shape: it’s a clear allusion to the tower of Babel. And, by extension, the “American Dream.” She’s dreaming of a dream she couldn’t have in her wildest dreams. Sorry, couldn’t help it: she’s lost faith in the system, she realizes she can never appreciate the freedom the monument stands for. Obi-wan appears in the dream and passes her the torch. She sees the needle fall in her mind.


Wham, rude awakening. Shit, it’s the cops. Nope wait, just SPOILER ALERT Donald Trump END SPOILER although honestly if you couldn’t tell it was him by those quotes, well then, I suppose that means I hid my foreshadowing fairly well? Anyways, nope, he just wants to rape her. Again, clear reference to the gentleman, who has currently been accused of sexual misconduct by 21 separate women, including his former wife who accused him of tearing out large chunks of her hair and raping her after he found the hair replacement operation she had suggested to be painful. Again, “allegedly.” Also there’s symbolism in the repetition in the way I describe both her and the stone being torn form the earth. Anyways, this moment of darkness represents the turning point for our hero. She looks at the broken American dream and is not blinded. She’s going to burn this motherfucker down.


She’s a servant; a member of the service industry. She is the thirty year old man working at the drive through   window at McDonalds. She is those jobs that pay minimum wage because they’re not supposed to be actual jobs, just jobs for kids. And holy shit y’all, she is going to burn this motherfucker down. And she’s really going to do it too! Here she goes! 


Shit, she’s caught! Obi-wan comes to save her but he’s caught to! Black Moment checked off on our Hero’s Journey. I bet the man who stopped her thought he was doing the right thing. I mean the Nazis thought/think they’re the good guys. But the nobles still see them as nothing more than slaves. Yeah, I dropped the N-word. Again, shocking, but again a direct reference to “alleged” footage of Donald Trump using the terminology while working on his reality show. Oh shit, I said it without the spoiler alert. Well whatever, if you haven’t figured it out yet… Anyways, time for the Sacrafice box to get checked. Well, there goes Obi. And it’s not pretty. But then, state-sanctioned executions never really are, are they? There’s symbolism in them stealing the hammer and Obi-wan’s brains embedding in the archway too, but now we’re just splitting hairs. Well anyways, she gets blackbagged by the feds. Cut to darkness.


It’s done y’all; the Wall -er- Tower is built. Rich men congratulating each other on the work of poor men. Same as the city, same as the nation. Now we officially know it’s Trump. For a brief moment, the slaves of all three castes stand hand in hand and praise their masters as well. But there’s always an enemy; always an Emmanuel Goldstein (Orwell, 1984), always something to focus the frustrated anxieties of the masses upon. The master points at his dogs, tells them to hate, and throws them the cat. Now this is a plot twist to the conventional Hero’s Journey. Now if this was just a bizarre rip off of the Hunger Games, this would be the part where that one lady rallies the crowds and convinces them to turn on the government and everybody goes home happy or decapitated. I assume that’s what happens, never finished it. There is no grand showdown, no equality- she dies as she lived; a nameless, faceless, sacrifice to a corrupt system. Again, it’s gory. You ever see a child caught in a combine? Did you know that child labor is legal on farms, at a reduced minimum wage? This was originally designed so mom-and-pop farms could have their kid’s first job being a farmer. Currently, it’s so factory farms can have small agile migrant laborers they can pay less. And those migrant workers are the ones stealing our jobs. They’re the ones we need to hate. And while we’re distracted, rich men lead their camels through the eye of the needle. 


You know how, in Jay and Silent Bob’s Dogma, those two angels find a loophole to get back into heaven? Yeah this is kind of like that. Of course the symbolism here is a critique of the hypocrisy within a Republican leadership which claims to espouse the story of a beggar king, while at the same time making themselves king at the expense of beggars. Have you heard of the Prosperity Gospel; as preached by Paula White, chief spiritual advisor to the current president of the United States? It’s a trip. She recently requested her followers to donate 1 month of salary to her. Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence is a member of a congregation which espouses (and I am not joking here. Fact check me please) sending all of the Jewish people on earth to Israel so they can take over the Temple Mount and usher in a biblical apocalypse. Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the Israeli embassy has been attributed to influence by Mr. Pence; Vice President of the United States of America, and very excited for an apocalypse.


And Holy Apocalypse commeth; the whitewashed and kingly Prosperity Jesus (great action figures, terrible cartoon) steps down from Heaven, tells the rich folk that they passed their cool to head on up, then steps towards Donald Trump. Jesus welcomes the President of the United States as his “favorite angel,” essentially stating that Donald Trump is Lucifer, tricking Yaweh (or Jehova if you like) to re-enter heaven with his army of demons. Now we get to the climax, if you’ll excuse my pun. What you felt was entirely natural. This scene was a perversion of Jesus washing the beggars feet. Whereas the original story demonstrated empathy with the downtrodden and the absolute humility of a proposed human deity, Prosperity Jesus (Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM on TBN) shows that he is absolutely subservient to the power of rich men. And the slaves that built this golden monument? Lost and forgotten in a sea of nuclear dust as mankind triggers the next great extinction in earth’s history.  


This work is shocking. This work is violent. This work is disgusting. It should be all of those things. You should hate it. You should hate me for sharing it with you. You should hate yourself; I mean we all should. Not the collective “we” of humanity of course, but the collective “we” of middle class Americans. We live in this shit. We eat and breath in an exploitative system. Do you know the original meaning of Banana Republic? If you don’t I might suggest reading up on the history of “Chiquita.” Bet you didn’t know that all those supermarket flowers that nobody ever buys come from an extremely exploitative industry. Have you ever seen a Coltan mine? It makes your cellphone possible. If you, or I, or any of us had any shred of moral dignity, we would destroy the devices, followed by the system which procures them. But we won’t, because that’s ridiculous. We’ll just stare at our betters on the national stage, shout at what they shout at, and tear a woman to pieces when they command us to. 
Metaphorically speaking, of course. 
 

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5 minutes ago, Kweerie said:

Um... Wow.
Really was not expecting to do all that well. 

Thank you. 
Thanks to the judges. We're glad you found Our work entertaining, and are honored by this recognition.
Thank you fellow contestants. It is good to hear there are solid pieces all around, and We look forward to reading the other entries.
And certainly thank you That_One_Guy for putting this all together. Much appreciation for all the time and effort spent on this. That goes for everyone involved, but especially you. We will gladly run the next one. 

Ayyyyyyyyy! Thank you for participating! Since you have a custom rank we'll have to figure out your prize. Also I'm sure you'll be more organized than me when you run it :P

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5 minutes ago, SwimModSponges said:

Goddamn, nobody got my symbolism.

It's a good thing I prepared a longwinded explanation  of it-

Literary analysis-


The first paragraph serves to create the setting for the rest of the work, of course. The language I chose in describing the monument was meant to invoke images of the great pyramids of Egypt; and though it takes on several more meanings during the course of the work, should at the first instance represent a form of civilizational memento mori- that is to say, a ruined monument; lost to time. Shelly’s Ozymandias, as it were. The “shining city on a hill” is a direct reference to Ronald Reagan’s metaphor for America; as is mine. I presented his beacon of capitalism as a world struck by vast differences in equality among human beings. Specifically, I wanted to highlight the fact that the hill upon which the shining parts of the city (America), as well as the monument itself were built directly upon the efforts of the lower classes (slavery, abuse of factory workers until the unionization movement, inhumane conditions experienced by both migrant workers and also those to whom many lesser-desired jobs are outsourced). The shape of the city on the hill is also symbolic in and of itself, I mean it’s no coincidence those on the lowest rungs of society are far below the horizon that is the poverty line.


The main character is presented as an individual powerless in the face of an exploitative system. She is without a name, without pride in herself, without any of the things that make one human; she has been broken like an animal by the system. As have those around her- the reference to hiding her genitals while fiercely protecting the water; the only resource she could even for a moment lay claim to, was a commentary on the statistics of rape among underprivileged women (96% of native American women reported being raped in a 2006 study, I can cite it APA style but if you want to check my references feel free. That goes for everything. Please be equally critical of this work, I thrive on it.). The workers at the tables represent the middle class; specifically a middle class given the barest of necessities (animal fat and rice) and a token privilege above the lowest class (the cigarettes). These differences, minute as they are in reality, allows those at the tables to feel that they are I fact better than those at the troughs, and maybe even almost as good as the nobles on their camels (a pack of camels was at this point supposed to serve as a red-herring: “is this story about a pack of cigarettes somehow?”). The shepherds of course represent the police, gerrymandering, poll taxes, gentrification, or any other entity or concept which exists enforce social stratification.


The older gentleman was Obi-wan Kenobi. Not literally of course, but metaphorically. Full disclosure, almost all of my works are in some way based on a loose concept of the Hero’s Journey framework. It’s a perfectly valid writing technique for leading the audience through a story at a physical and emotional pace that many argue is the best for storytelling. Most movies follow this formula though they don’t come out and say it. Dan Harmon, creator of Rick and Morty, does however. He loves him some Hero’s Journey. Anyways, Old Ben talks about that time he had a lightsaber and fought in the clone wars (metaphorically) and the Call to Action box on our Hero’s Journey checklist gets marked.


So now we Introduce the Villain. Exciting times. Now at this point we don’t know much, other than the fact that he belongs to the noble caste, is a fan of gold, and likes throwing out token privileges (that honestly just end up killing you anyways) to the middle class, while showing nothing but disdain for the lowest class. Yes, he urinates into the only water they get that day.  I mean it’s an exaggeration, sure, but it’s symbolic for the growth of nationalistic hatred that has swept the nation. Plus, having read the story and knowing that SPOILER ALERT the noble is in fact Donald Trump, it’s a literal reference to the “alleged” Russian videotape in which he enjoys the presence of two ladies of the evening who proceed to urinate onto the bed that former president Barrack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, had stayed in while visiting the country. Allegedly. END SPOILER ALERT Also the proclamation of “Let’s get these people back to work” is the promises of taking jobs back from the ‘illegals,’ met with cheers. As the whips of the shepherds descend. I’m just saying, deaths in coal mines are waaay up this year. Thanks, OSHA!


Cut to that evening; the lowest class getting the scraps left on the tables of the higher classes. Government cheese. Welfare. She finds a place that will accept food stamps for a lottery ticket. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Creepy Ol’ Obi’s saying some weird shit in here. Better cut to a dream.


Here we refer to the monument as a needle for the first time. Needle, camel, are you seeing what I’m getting at here? Anyways the monument begins to take shape: it’s a clear allusion to the tower of Babel. And, by extension, the “American Dream.” She’s dreaming of a dream she couldn’t have in her wildest dreams. Sorry, couldn’t help it: she’s lost faith in the system, she realizes she can never appreciate the freedom the monument stands for. Obi-wan appears in the dream and passes her the torch. She sees the needle fall in her mind.


Wham, rude awakening. Shit, it’s the cops. Nope wait, just SPOILER ALERT Donald Trump END SPOILER although honestly if you couldn’t tell it was him by those quotes, well then, I suppose that means I hid my foreshadowing fairly well? Anyways, nope, he just wants to rape her. Again, clear reference to the gentleman, who has currently been accused of sexual misconduct by 21 separate women, including his former wife who accused him of tearing out large chunks of her hair and raping her after he found the hair replacement operation she had suggested to be painful. Again, “allegedly.” Also there’s symbolism in the repetition in the way I describe both her and the stone being torn form the earth. Anyways, this moment of darkness represents the turning point for our hero. She looks at the broken American dream and is not blinded. She’s going to burn this motherfucker down.


She’s a servant; a member of the service industry. She is the thirty year old man working at the drive through   window at McDonalds. She is those jobs that pay minimum wage because they’re not supposed to be actual jobs, just jobs for kids. And holy shit y’all, she is going to burn this motherfucker down. And she’s really going to do it too! Here she goes! 


Shit, she’s caught! Obi-wan comes to save her but he’s caught to! Black Moment checked off on our Hero’s Journey. I bet the man who stopped her thought he was doing the right thing. I mean the Nazis thought/think they’re the good guys. But the nobles still see them as nothing more than slaves. Yeah, I dropped the N-word. Again, shocking, but again a direct reference to “alleged” footage of Donald Trump using the terminology while working on his reality show. Oh shit, I said it without the spoiler alert. Well whatever, if you haven’t figured it out yet… Anyways, time for the Sacrafice box to get checked. Well, there goes Obi. And it’s not pretty. But then, state-sanctioned executions never really are, are they? There’s symbolism in them stealing the hammer and Obi-wan’s brains embedding in the archway too, but now we’re just splitting hairs. Well anyways, she gets blackbagged by the feds. Cut to darkness.


It’s done y’all; the Wall -er- Tower is built. Rich men congratulating each other on the work of poor men. Same as the city, same as the nation. Now we officially know it’s Trump. For a brief moment, the slaves of all three castes stand hand in hand and praise their masters as well. But there’s always an enemy; always an Emmanuel Goldstein (Orwell, 1984), always something to focus the frustrated anxieties of the masses upon. The master points at his dogs, tells them to hate, and throws them the cat. Now this is a plot twist to the conventional Hero’s Journey. Now if this was just a bizarre rip off of the Hunger Games, this would be the part where that one lady rallies the crowds and convinces them to turn on the government and everybody goes home happy or decapitated. I assume that’s what happens, never finished it. There is no grand showdown, no equality- she dies as she lived; a nameless, faceless, sacrifice to a corrupt system. Again, it’s gory. You ever see a child caught in a combine? Did you know that child labor is legal on farms, at a reduced minimum wage? This was originally designed so mom-and-pop farms could have their kid’s first job being a farmer. Currently, it’s so factory farms can have small agile migrant laborers they can pay less. And those migrant workers are the ones stealing our jobs. They’re the ones we need to hate. And while we’re distracted, rich men lead their camels through the eye of the needle. 


You know how, in Jay and Silent Bob’s Dogma, those two angels find a loophole to get back into heaven? Yeah this is kind of like that. Of course the symbolism here is a critique of the hypocrisy within a Republican leadership which claims to espouse the story of a beggar king, while at the same time making themselves king at the expense of beggars. Have you heard of the Prosperity Gospel; as preached by Paula White, chief spiritual advisor to the current president of the United States? It’s a trip. She recently requested her followers to donate 1 month of salary to her. Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence is a member of a congregation which espouses (and I am not joking here. Fact check me please) sending all of the Jewish people on earth to Israel so they can take over the Temple Mount and usher in a biblical apocalypse. Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the Israeli embassy has been attributed to influence by Mr. Pence; Vice President of the United States of America, and very excited for an apocalypse.


And Holy Apocalypse commeth; the whitewashed and kingly Prosperity Jesus (great action figures, terrible cartoon) steps down from Heaven, tells the rich folk that they passed their cool to head on up, then steps towards Donald Trump. Jesus welcomes the President of the United States as his “favorite angel,” essentially stating that Donald Trump is Lucifer, tricking Yaweh (or Jehova if you like) to re-enter heaven with his army of demons. Now we get to the climax, if you’ll excuse my pun. What you felt was entirely natural. This scene was a perversion of Jesus washing the beggars feet. Whereas the original story demonstrated empathy with the downtrodden and the absolute humility of a proposed human deity, Prosperity Jesus (Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM on TBN) shows that he is absolutely subservient to the power of rich men. And the slaves that built this golden monument? Lost and forgotten in a sea of nuclear dust as mankind triggers the next great extinction in earth’s history.  


This work is shocking. This work is violent. This work is disgusting. It should be all of those things. You should hate it. You should hate me for sharing it with you. You should hate yourself; I mean we all should. Not the collective “we” of humanity of course, but the collective “we” of middle class Americans. We live in this shit. We eat and breath in an exploitative system. Do you know the original meaning of Banana Republic? If you don’t I might suggest reading up on the history of “Chiquita.” Bet you didn’t know that all those supermarket flowers that nobody ever buys come from an extremely exploitative industry. Have you ever seen a Coltan mine? It makes your cellphone possible. If you, or I, or any of us had any shred of moral dignity, we would destroy the devices, followed by the system which procures them. But we won’t, because that’s ridiculous. We’ll just stare at our betters on the national stage, shout at what they shout at, and tear a woman to pieces when they command us to. 
Metaphorically speaking, of course. 
 

The good thing is it's posted for everyone to see. So you can really make a case here! 

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14 hours ago, SwimModSponges said:

Did you get what I was trying to do here?

Like nobody I've shared this with understands.

Did I go too deep in my metaphors?

I got all the symbolism sponges, and your story was actually voted up one of the highest by me if not the highest. It's just even understanding the symbolism and political satire the ending kind of tore apart all the emotions you worked so hard to pull out of the reader in the meat of the story.. That being said it made more sense than some of the sex scenes in your fanfics.:ph34r:

Edited by PhilosipherStoned

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The neding wasn't supposed to be a punchline though:

"This scene was a perversion of Jesus washing the beggars feet. Whereas the original story demonstrated empathy with the downtrodden and the absolute humility of a proposed human deity, Prosperity Jesus (Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM on TBN) shows that he is absolutely subservient to the power of rich men. And the slaves that built this golden monument? Lost and forgotten in a sea of nuclear dust as mankind triggers the next great extinction in earth’s history. "

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Where are my manners anyways, whining about my place instead of congratulating the winner and all who participated and ran the contest.

We're all winners.

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I figured it might play out that way to be honest. Symbolism is great, but if you're not careful it can take a lot of realness away from the story. You made me empathise with the worker girl, and give respect to the old man as a reader, but when you killed them off and made Jesus..xD Good game Sponges.

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I feel like my analysis of the work defends that choice in story structure, but the fact that I had to write 2.5 pages explaining the symbolism used in a 3 page story...

Well, I'll try again next time.

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15 minutes ago, SwimModSponges said:

I feel like my analysis of the work defends that choice in story structure, but the fact that I had to write 2.5 pages explaining the symbolism used in a 3 page story...

Well, I'll try again next time.

That's the spirit dude. Don't get down. You're a great writer. 

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So, are we supposed to leave comments here? Just gonna assume that. Also I suck at comments

@GuyBeardmane

That was a fun read. Short and sweet. I liked the puns but you could have gone into a little, or any, detail about Omaha. Why does no one want to talk about Omaha?  Sorry Supernatural fan here and all I kept thinking was where's Rufus and will someone just tell me about Omaha already!

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5 hours ago, Bad_Witch said:

So, are we supposed to leave comments here? Just gonna assume that. Also I suck at comments

@GuyBeardmane

That was a fun read. Short and sweet. I liked the puns but you could have gone into a little, or any, detail about Omaha. Why does no one want to talk about Omaha?  Sorry Supernatural fan here and all I kept thinking was where's Rufus and will someone just tell me about Omaha already!

It's more or less a cold open, and that's just a reference to the opening lyrics of "Turn the Page."

"On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha"
 

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I was told it was a freestyle competition, and I did freestyle. If I wrote an actual, legitimate short story, it would've definitely been over 2500 words. Still, the criticisms are sensible, and I'm glad that I got second place regardless of them. So thanks, hopefully I'll turn out something better for the second competition (assuming there is one), especially if there's a larger word limit.

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12 hours ago, SwimModSponges said:

Goddamn, nobody got my symbolism.

It's a good thing I prepared a longwinded explanation  of it-

 

This reads like a "Guy In Your MFA" tweet.

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1 minute ago, SwimModSponges said:

Accurate enough, but too long to be a tweet.

The part that I quoted takes less than the allotted limit.
(They also lengthened the character limit, but I think it would fit the old 140, too)

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6 minutes ago, SwimModSponges said:

Ah, well the analysis part is really where I crawl up my own ass.

It's a thorough analysis, and valid, but it's an analysis of what things represent, and less focused on how things are working/developing in relation to the character, who (as I see it) seems to be missing the emotional drive required for readers to be invested in her actions. 

I'm particularly interested in the story's divide between pursuing the straightforward hero's journey, and the postmodern flourish in the second half. Both are fascinating approaches to essentially the same story, but their mechanics and aesthetics are so often conflicting on a craft level. I think that's the most ambitious part of your story, the most interesting, and yet the greatest challenge. 

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So I... well, I got last place, but there was an award to go with it. Honestly, I never expected to do well in the competition to begin with; my story was entirely typed in one day. I did feel okay about it in the end, though. It was mostly just an excuse to go waxing lyrical about how great the White Mountains are, as well as all of the fun stuff you can do up there.

Regarding the "unusually frigid weather" plot device: I envisioned the story taking place some time in late August or September, where the days are still warm, but the low temperatures really can get down there. I probably should've made it a little more clear.

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17 hours ago, SwimModSponges said:

I feel like my analysis of the work defends that choice in story structure, but the fact that I had to write 2.5 pages explaining the symbolism used in a 3 page story...

Well, I'll try again next time.

You definitely should. Your piece was very well written, stylistically- lots of great details and on a sentence to sentence level everything flowed nicely.  We're considering giving your fanfics another go... No promises.

The thing We think it suffers from most is, as Bouvre pointed out, a bit of mixed messaging. On the one hand, the theme of the first part of your story seems to be "This is the way the world actually is, and it's ugly and it's brutal." But the later part feels more like "This is the fantasy of the rich and powerful, and while not always pretty, in the end totally worth"  which detracts from the grit established in the beginning, and erodes a bit of the sympathy one has for the downtrodden. We're sure that's not what you were going for, but it's what the story in and of itself suggests. The ending- which We gather you intended to illustrate the grave unfairness and to illicit resentment- may be too hyperbolic. By having what is widely regarded as a symbol of moral authority not only permit, but in fact reward the antagonist's deeds, it calls into question the wrongness of his behavior. We think this scene would have worked better if the submission came begrudgingly or was even coerced, as opposed to willingly and gleeful. (Full disclosure, the scene wasn't particularly jarring for Us having read the judges' comments prior to the story, but We're not sure whether that helps or hinders as the general consensus is that this moment is a bit of an issue.)

But anyways, there's a lot about it that's respectable, and We're looking forward to your further contributions in these events.

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20 hours ago, GuyBeardmane said:

I am proud of this and I'm glad that people appreciate the bad puns I worked in there.

You should be. It was a great read. Short, but solid- even without the allusions, which We quite enjoyed. We cracked up at the first mention of Omaha, and the follow-up line was terrific. The callback at the end may have been a little overkill, but that could also just be a length issue. Overall, very funny and quite imaginative.

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19 hours ago, PhilosipherStoned said:

When's the next one gonna be @Kweerie or is it a little too soon to even be thinking about it. xD

Never too soon to think about, but it may be a bit early to lay down plans. 

Our feeling at the moment is sometime around mid-March, but if there's sufficient impatient grumbling before then We'll do it sooner.

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10 hours ago, PokeNirvash said:

I was told it was a freestyle competition, and I did freestyle. If I wrote an actual, legitimate short story, it would've definitely been over 2500 words. Still, the criticisms are sensible, and I'm glad that I got second place regardless of them. So thanks, hopefully I'll turn out something better for the second competition (assuming there is one), especially if there's a larger word limit.

We think your format was fine. Structurally. You're prone to get into issues of "show don't tell" when you have a narrator recounting their past- doesn't mean it's an inherently problematic style choice, just one that requires more attention in that department. Another issue We thought it had was that it lacked a central message. If there was a common theme that tied the various characters together, and was a reason as to way these particular people were important to the main character, as opposed to the various others he presumably met, it would have been much stronger.

Congrats on coming in second, though. We think you had nice attention to detail, and kept a good tone throughout.
Also, since you felt constrained by the word limit, what do you think is more reasonable? We don't feel like any of these entries were grueling, so We're definitely open to more leeway, but still want to keep things manageable.

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5 hours ago, Blatch said:

So I... well, I got last place, but there was an award to go with it. Honestly, I never expected to do well in the competition to begin with; my story was entirely typed in one day. I did feel okay about it in the end, though. It was mostly just an excuse to go waxing lyrical about how great the White Mountains are, as well as all of the fun stuff you can do up there.

Regarding the "unusually frigid weather" plot device: I envisioned the story taking place some time in late August or September, where the days are still warm, but the low temperatures really can get down there. I probably should've made it a little more clear.

To be honest, We didn't get a whole lot out of your story, but that explanation gives it a lot more context. Setting is definitely an area We glaze over in Our own writing so We sometimes overlook it in others'.

There were a couple phrasings We found awkward, and We felt like there was a lot of "if you know what I mean" bits, where We didn't. Though part of that may come from Ourself not being a camping enthusiast, making it harder to relate, it could definitely benefit from a little refinement for clarity.

But it was by no means bad, and putting your work out there is an accomplishment unto itself. Like Sponges said, we're all winners.

 

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@imchapp.in

We really loved the concept of your piece. It's a shame the judges seem to either not have picked up on, or not have been aware of, the references you were making. That white Bronco... brings back memories. It's got great humor, and the Hollywood meta narrative was a nice touch. Would really like to see you develop it further.

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1 hour ago, Kweerie said:

Another issue We thought it had was that it lacked a central message. If there was a common theme that tied the various characters together, and was a reason as to way these particular people were important to the main character, as opposed to the various others he presumably met, it would have been much stronger.

Yeah, I'm not normally one for implanting themes and lessons in what I write. It's more, "I wanna write about thing", so I write about thing. But if there's room for a theme in something I have in development for... well, longer than the time it took for me to write this specific story for the contest, I'm more than willing to include it, just in a subtle kind of way. Take for example the anime-style story idea I'm currently writing. I haven't posted any of the four completed episodes (read: chapters) here, but from my perspective, in those first four, one might recognize a whole "rebelling against the expectations of your peers/superiors" theme in the actions of the two main characters, and later I'm planning on featuring a "you don't necessarily have to give up if the odds are stacked against you" theme at around the seventh episode twist where things reach a low point for them. There's nothing too concrete or broad or general or whatever one would normally expect out of a story in regards to themes, but hopefully when I post the first batch of twelve here you'll all find it more serviceable than my freestyle, entirely for fun, "I'm not expecting to wow the pants off of anybody, I just want to submit something to this little contest and see how it turns out" story that managed to get second place in spite of its fully recognized flaws.

As for the length issues, I'm more comfortable writing stories with larger word counts, probably because I like writing things in such a way that allows the reader to visualize what's going on, like they're watching a TV show or reading a manga or whatnot. Something like 5,000 or 10,000 words would be more my jam than a 2,500 word story that I'd feel most comfortable writing without tell-showing like I'm wont to do.

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7 hours ago, Kweerie said:

 

But anyways, there's a lot about it that's respectable

To build on this, I think this submission has one of the most impressive sentences in the competition.
"It was a trick she had picked up when she was thirteen, though she wished she knew about it when she was nine" has such a terse and poignant quality to the kind of moment in a character's life that writers tend to over-dramatize, over-emphasize, and subsequently ruin. I'm a really hard fucking sell on any sort of fiction documenting trauma, and to elaborate, I don't think other moments in the story work for me regarding that element, but the labor this sentence does (mostly) on its own is pretty impressive, and something I hope you'll continue to sharpen. Keep your eye out for writers who write good sentences, read poetry, listen carefully, sit alone listening to famed songwriters -- any number of things.

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11 hours ago, Kweerie said:

@imchapp.in

We really loved the concept of your piece. It's a shame the judges seem to either not have picked up on, or not have been aware of, the references you were making. That white Bronco... brings back memories. It's got great humor, and the Hollywood meta narrative was a nice touch. Would really like to see you develop it further.

Thank you! Yeah, it was supposed to be about if the Fast & the Furious characters were caught in a Holy Grail War from the Fate/Staynight series. I kept thinking about what it’d be like after their last film was called Fate of the Furious, but got tipsy on New Years and wrote out a first chapter of it. Naturally, it’d be a longer story to tell and I wrote out a Chapter 1, so I understand why it got docked for ending abruptly. Still, it was fun to work on it and think about what historical cars would fit each of the characters since I’ve only seen Tokyo Drift and Fast 5.

I need to read the rest of the stories soon so I’ll come back to glance through what I enjoyed of the other stories. 

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My turn to play critic, which means I'm just gonna gush because I don't have anything bad to say.

Wildflowers - I remember reading the original tale of the scorpion and the frog a long, long time ago.  I think even before I started school.  I really liked this retelling, and the touch of character that was added went a long way with me.  I liked how humanized they were made, and instead of the scorpion just ending up as a cold, calculated murder machine it now comes across as a calculating mass murderer that a subset of people would treat as a celebrity.  Just a good tale that eased me right into the world.

One of Those Simple Voyages - I felt right there with Geoff.  I don't know anything about the area they were travelling through, but it felt like a road trip with strangers.  His rambling thoughts, the conversation starts and stops, they feel so real, like I've been there before.  A simple story that hits home with me.

315-342 - I was reminded a lot of Kino's Journey.  The concept of a travelogue and the stories the narrator relays keep me interested, and I'd be invested in a series of these.

Fate/Furious - You got peanut butter in my chocolate and I dig it.  I'm not too familiar with either of the sources, as I've never seen a Fast and Furious movie nor have I played Fate/Stay, but I immediately understood the concept and enjoyed it.  Also shout out for the referential humor in there, because I like the idea that Dom is who Vin Diesel really is and Vin Diesel is just a character he plays for interviews and casting calls.

A Pack of Camels - If you get the reference, you are Yuri and I am Natsuki.  Very evocative imagery.  You use words like a master of the craft, painting a masterpiece that is hard to fathom.  The story is gross as shit, but that's what you were going for.  I dig it the same way I dig Lars Von Trier's Antichrist.

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16 hours ago, Kweerie said:

@imchapp.in

We really loved the concept of your piece. It's a shame the judges seem to either not have picked up on, or not have been aware of, the references you were making. That white Bronco... brings back memories. It's got great humor, and the Hollywood meta narrative was a nice touch. Would really like to see you develop it further.

Yeah I got a lot of the references it's just not much of the plot to the story was explained in the narrative, and it left me wondering  more about the characters. I think more information on the "holy grail war" could've been included in the story and that may have made reading it a little bit more satisfying. Also the classes of the car characters seemed a bit out of place at times for the model of the vehicle, and even though you provided a lot of build up and suspense for it there wasn't one scene that actually included the participants taking part in this race or death-match. The story kind of gave me an F-Zero kind of feeling, but without an actual high speed death battle there wasn't much excitement for the reader to latch on to.

I will add though that I've never heard of or played Fate/Stay, and seems like you may have rushed and maybe omited a lot of possible action to keep it around 2500 words. I too would like to read an extended and more polished version of this in the future, and you definitely deserved the creative writing award you got for dreaming it up.

Edited by PhilosipherStoned

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My thoughts...

One of Those Simple Voyages- seemed like just a portion of what was to be a longer work, I got a lot of Garrison Keillor vibes from it. 

Bob Seger Werewolf Hunter- Epic. Just absolutely epic. I'm a guy who loves a good pun, and your puns were amazing.

Fate/Furious- I am not familiar with either universe, but I can definitely appreciate a good crossover. That being said, my unfamiliarity with the universes made it somewhat difficult to follow. There were some solid jokes in there, and I imagine a fair few I didn't catch. Unfortunately  there were some pacing issues; unavoidable of course if it's taken directly from a larger work. Still, I would have loved to see a fully self-contained story in the premise.

315-342- Here's another one that could have been a monologue on NPR (that's not an insult; love me some NPR). I feel like there was no conflict real conflict though; at no point did I wonder whether or not the protagonist would be able to get out of the situation in which they found themselves, no suspense. I realize that the  writing prompt  was pretty open-ended and drama was not a prerequisite for entry, but I feel like without some struggle it is difficult to invest emotionally in the characters.

Wildflowers-I've honestly never been a fan of the frog and the scorpion. I feel like the moral of the story is kind of messed up: a "certain kind of person" is inherently dangerous and should not be trusted on the individual level, no matter how friendly they seem. I dont know, ironic as it sounds given my own story I generally look for the good and try to assume the best about folks. That being said, I was thinking that the twist at the end would be that nothing would happen; the scorpion disembarks, thanks the frog, and the frog leaves with a newfound respect and clarity of mind. My own bias against the plot aside, the dialects were well captured and the story itself flowed very well.

Edited by SwimModSponges
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