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[Writing Game] Word of the Week! 1 prompt, 1 week, 1,000 words [UPDATED 1/27/16]

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  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    You've made it through the first week! And now, we move on to...

    THE WORD OF THE WEEK for TUESDAY, JULY 21st!
    SIDEREAL
    adjective [sahy-deer-ee-uh l]

    Determined by or from the stars.
    1. Astronomy. determined by or from the stars: sidereal time.
    2. Astronomy. of or pertaining to the stars.

    Remember, you can still do critiques for things from last week if you'd like to leave some more feedback, too!

    Gokai_zpsdvyiviz0.png
    bigrickcook
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    I would like to offer my slang use of this word:

    SIDEREAL
    noun [side-reel]
    The side action from your intimate relationship that you're pretty sure is your actual soulmate but you're afraid to make the change.

    Yo, I'm pretty sure Natalie's for real my sidereal.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    VanityPantsKCWise
  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    I wish I could !qadd that exchange.

    You've made up for your terrible puns, Rick.

    Gokai_zpsdvyiviz0.png
    bigrickcookKCWise
  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    Nice, I like the new word. I also editted Foison and turned it into a 1600-word story somehow. So thats cool.

    tapeslinger
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    I am working on a new thing for "sidereal", and this one's gonna be a multi-parter, continuing story as the weeks go.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
  • AmaliaAmalia AuthorFace Registered User regular
    I apparently cannot look at sidereal without pronouncing it side-reel

    Sometimes I blog. Other times I tweet. But I'm always writing. (and so is that other Amalia)

    Give the Gift of Thor! Or maybe you'd be interested in that Orc Book I wrote.
    bigrickcookKCWiseVanityPantsBrovid Hasselsmof
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Sidereal is also a type of Exalted from, well, Exalted. They deal with the metaphysical side of things and it reflects in their powers. It's not uncommon for a "duel" with a Sidereal to have the participants wielding metaphors, transforming into allegories, even weaponizing the 4th Wall.

    So I think I'll be participating in this week's.

    camo_sig2.png
    PSN: AuthorFrost
    mageofstorm.png
  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    Amalia wrote: »
    I apparently cannot look at sidereal without pronouncing it side-reel

    This has been me since first posting it. Even when I read the pronunciation thing...

    I think I only just now pieced together how to actually say it, I said it once, and then it vanished from my brain.

    Gokai_zpsdvyiviz0.png
    KCWiseAmalia
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Still pronouncing it as side-reel.

    camo_sig2.png
    PSN: AuthorFrost
    mageofstorm.png
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    And away we go with the first part of a continuing series (about 1,400 words, so a little long):
    From Sind’s Sundry at the edge of town, Sadie bought the star map and a singed pamphlet with the last of her silver and struck out for the skinyard, fingers twitching to be gone. Sind hisself hadn’t said a word. No one had. They all knew she was going, that she couldn’t be stopped.

    She tucked the papers within her pack and hucked it over her shoulders, ignoring the tension in her neck and spine. Just a little ways, she thought. I can make it just a little ways.

    Her feet pounded the packed dirt, and though it was getting on dusk and all the changers should have been on their way back, the road lay empty.

    She sighed as she passed the tall barricades and entered the skinyard, and here discovered why the changers hadn’t left for home. Naked as the day they first changed, they stood in a circle in the corral of sand and gravel. Eyes on her.

    “Don’t you have homes?” she said, dismissing them as she dropped the pack to the ground and started stripping layers of cloth.

    “Course we do, Sayd.” Her erstwhile partner loped forward from the circle to greet her, still shaking off the day’s Change. Calph wouldn’t follow where she was going, but she could tell he wanted to. “You know how it goes.”

    She nodded. “Who is Witness?”

    They all answered, “We Witness.” Her blouse and skirt dropped to the gravel, revealing her threadbare shift, and the men and women watched with placid disinterest. Calph, Rory, Helene, Gertie, Miles, and the rest. Her friends. Her comrades no longer.

    “What form do you take?” Calph asked, gathering up her clothing as each piece fell away. The Change was upon her now, skin tingling to be unleashed. The body knew the ritual better than the mind.

    “I take the swift and stable form, Shadow-Dancer, to flit among the stars unseen.”

    “We Witness,” they all said again. She was glad they’d stayed, she realized. She might not have had a place among them anymore, but they were still hers. She still belonged to them.

    Calph took up her shift and stockings, her sturdy boots. “When will you return?” The final question. The one she dared not answer. While she hesitated, standing bare before them in the onrushing night, Calph folded her belongings and set them aside. Into her cubbyhole marked “Sarah Sawyer”.

    “When my task is complete,” she answered, breaking ritual just enough so that she was not lying.

    “We Witness. Shed Sarah for Shadow-Dancer.”

    And the Change came over Sadie, equal parts pleasure and pain as her skin ripped and fell away to pile at her feet, replaced with a form at once different and greater than before. Bones snapped and knitted; she dropped to all fours in a cry of ecstasy, tears falling from eyes too big for her human face. She became Shadow-Dancer, nerve ends screaming as the exposed horse-flesh grew skin followed by a coat of midnight black hair mottled with grayish blue. Her sense of fingers and toes diminished, replaced by greater control over her ears, her elongated neck, and a tail of horsehair that begged to swish. The violence of shedding her self paled next to the feel of new skin, new muscles.

    It was over. She nickered her pleasure and relief as Calph reached a hand out to rest on the side of her neck, staring into her eyes. He smelled of blood and bone, she realized with her new nostrils. Hints of the wolf he’d been during the day. Shadow-Dancer was larger than Sadie, and she struggled to remain upright at first; the excess flesh it took to become larger drained even the stoutest changer. The others attached her belongings, fitted her with a saddle, and patted her flank for luck as they stepped away to don their clothing. To return to their normal lives.

    Only Calph remained, checking her fittings one last time. “You know,” he said, “a riderless saddle isn’t much better than a saddleless horse.”

    She nudged at his chest with her nose and he backed away, laughing. “Okay, okay. I get it. Come back to us, Sadie.” She snorted and he nodded. “Go on, then. Git you gone.”

    She neighed enthusiastically and reared back in a show of might, surprised all over that her belongings felt like a fly on her back. She dashed off, out of the gravel yard, hooves digging into the hard-packed earth of the main road in a way that satisfied a primal desire in her that humanity never could.

    Along the coastal road she ran, wind coursing over her.

    The familiar tread of hooves other than her own caught her hearing and she darted into the trees a mile distant from her first destination. The patrol trotted by, never slowing even when the horses let fly their nervous whinnies. The patrol’s gilt finery and glowing helms blinded her in the dark, but they laughed and joked as they passed and paid no mind to the signs around them.

    The Kingsguard. More Kingsfool this lot.

    She waited for even their jocularity to fade before slipping back out onto the road. She should have been caught just now, but she wasn’t about to look a – if she could have grinned she would have – a gifthorse in the mouth. So she sped along until the coastal road gave way to a narrow lane the side of a cliff, two horses wide. This was where he’d been caught, her Jonathan. Her sweet, naïve nephew. Spotted by a farmhand stealing sheep as a wolf.

    Captured, and by accounts, taken to the capital as an oddity, to be auctioned off most like. Experimented upon. Sadie didn’t know. All she knew was that she would get her nephew back. Where the capital was from here she had only the faintest notion. Travel was forbidden. Ignorance was bliss. That’s what the star chart was for. If she could suss out how it worked.

    The Red Forest loomed ahead, on the other side of the narrowed road.

    She could run along the road, listening for patrols, taking shelter in the bloody forest when necessary. Its trees grew wider, its canopies dense. Good for hiding.

    Sleep during the day, she thought. Live on the land. Hide and run.

    It worked that first night. She dodged three more patrols, her nerves jangling, her senses fraying as the evening wore on. Shadow-Dancer boasted a hale form, but it was not invincible, indefatigable.

    She welcomed rest come morning. Deep in the forest, away from prying eyes, she wandered. She considered changing, but she had no clothing and that was the point, wasn’t it?

    So she found a place near a stream and slept as horses sleep.

    Hands upon her.

    Propelled from restless sleep she swung from side to side, reared back and kicked with her hooves, but the man held firm on the saddle’s straps and let himself be pulled along to the side. The sun shone down in spear shafts, glinting off sword and spear all around her.

    Some patrol had come upon her in the day, mistook her as she was meant to be mistaken, a common horse for a rider out illegally.

    So many blades, so many men. Such the fool she was. The man holding her saddle whispered calming words.

    “Where’s the dead man riding this beauty?” a woman of authority called out. She sat atop a pale horse in the rear, eyes disinterested.

    “Can’t find him, sir!” another soldier called out. “Must have run off when he heard us coming.”

    Sadie shook and kicked out, but these were not the same lot from the first patrol, lazy and obtuse. This group knew to stay back while the crazy man to her left swung up into the saddle.

    “You’ll break your neck riding another man’s horse,” a girl’s voice called. Winged Riders, then. Fleetest of foot, the only military outfit Sadie’d ever heard employed children.

    She calmed. The Wings rode out from the capital. Everyone knew it. The man in her saddle patted her neck and she wanted to fling him from her back, but it was too late. She was caught. And they’d take her right where she wanted to go.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    VanityPantstapeslinger
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    @bigrickcook : I had to spend some time contemplating the alliteration in the first paragraph and deciding if I liked it or if it was too much, but you know what, I definitely like it. Your writing is a stylistic step above utilitarian fantasy-writing and it's enjoyable. At the moment, I do not yet care about the protagonist--I know nothing about her except that she just turned into a horse, and she hasn't endeared herself to me in any way, since she hasn't done much or emoted--but the concept is unique enough (or the presentation of it is) and the writing is good enough that I would absolutely keep reading this if it were the first couple pages of a longer work. Waiting for the next section!

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    3DS FC: 1134-8436-4363
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Alrighty!

    Same universe, different character. 840 words.

    Oh yes, a note: My style of choice is magical realism. I know that Rick and VP are familiar with my stuff, but not all of ya'll. Hopefully that context helps when ya'll read my stuff.

    Ida Walker couldn't read minds, but it’s not hard to tell what a person is thinking when they wear their feelings all over their face. Her counselor, Mister Sparks, practically tripped with his annoyance at seeing her in the chair outside of his office. The hoagie in his hand, ripe with extra onion and garlic aioli, smashed up against his shirt as he caught himself, the oils and sauces of it pressing against the tin wax paper it was wrapped in and leaving a grease stain on his salmon shirt.

    Another freshman would have giggled. Still others would have offered to help. Ida passively watched. Sparks’ clumsiness was not her problem.

    Goddamn, girl. What the hell do you want? Miss Walker, what can I do for you this afternoon? Do you have an appointment?”

    “I do. I made it with you three weeks ago right in your office.”

    “Is that so? You really expect me to remember that? You know how many of you I’ve got on my roster? Well, as you can see, it’s Three but this is my first opportunity to eat my lunch, so—“

    “I won’t need but six minutes. I need you to sign my form acknowledging my eligibility for Lunar Scope. I already have a recommendation, so you don’t have to write anything more. Just four signatures and I’m out of your way.” She put on a smile, but she knew it didn’t look the way it was supposed to.

    The man blinked at her, considering. Ida Walker couldn't read minds, but she can see that none of his excuses were going to work. So Sparks’ chest heaved and his shoulders slumped. He put his hand on the door to his windowless little closet and held it open. Ida mouthed a silent thank you as she entered and took a seat.

    The office reeked of garlic and onion within seconds. Ida Walker can’t read minds, and she can’t control her face, either.

    If you don’t like it, leave and let me eat, girl. So let me see this paper. Which program is it again? Lunar Scope? Ain’t that only for juniors?

    Ida passed him four sheets of paper, festooned with moons and stars to keep a young person interested. She put the requirements list up first: Any student enrolled in grades nine through twelve with a GPA of 3.8 or higher with an attendance record of 90% or better was eligible. Ida Walker was eligible for Lunar Scope.

    Sparks skimmed it, nodded his head, flipped to where he needed to sign, then paused.

    There is no way you can afford this. I see that the fee is pretty steep. Two-hundred and fifty dollars for just one week, huh?”

    Ida shrugged. “Seems reasonable. We will be using the observatory and performing experiments on professional equipment.”

    You say ‘we’ like you’re in… they are going to get one look at your address and take a pass. And how do you expect to get there? The observatory is out in the county.”

    There were so many reasons why Ida didn’t want to come to this man in this office for this task. But with only four counselors for the entire student body at Sargent William H. Carney High School, this was the luck of her draw. Then again, there was always another way.

    She reached for the papers on the man’s desk. He gripped all four tightly in his hands, drawing them closer to him.

    “Sorry. I’m just making sure you know what you’re doing. It makes us look bad when our kids sign up for stuff and don’t show up.”

    “I’m not one of those kids.”

    I’m learning that for damn sure. Can I ask you one more question? Why this? I just got a catalog today of all sorts of city youth jobs and internships, practical skills, you know? Those county kids are going to eat you alive.

    Ida took a pen out of the can on Mister Sparks’ desk and handed it to him without a word. Ida Walker couldn’t read minds, but she knew a look of loathing when she saw it. As he signed, she took the papers from him, clutching them close, refusing to allow this dream to be deferred. Especially by some pissant.

    The man folded his hands on his desk. “Well, I hope they accept you, young lady. You certainly seem determined. Hope your loftiness doesn’t bite you right in your ass.

    “Thanks.” She stood now, knowing that her own distaste was showing.

    Ida exited the tiny office into the more pleasant air of the main hallway. Returning to class, she considered signing up with another counselor, but decided against it, knowing she would only do marginally better. Ida Walker couldn't read minds, but she preferred the devil she already knew.

    Besides, she was going to Lunar Scope. An entire week of staring at the stars with the most powerful instruments in the state.

    And those brats out county? She was ready for them. She had something they didn’t, for once. A rarity indeed.

    KCWise on
    tapeslingerbigrickcook
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    @bigrickcook : I had to spend some time contemplating the alliteration in the first paragraph and deciding if I liked it or if it was too much, but you know what, I definitely like it. Your writing is a stylistic step above utilitarian fantasy-writing and it's enjoyable. At the moment, I do not yet care about the protagonist--I know nothing about her except that she just turned into a horse, and she hasn't endeared herself to me in any way, since she hasn't done much or emoted--but the concept is unique enough (or the presentation of it is) and the writing is good enough that I would absolutely keep reading this if it were the first couple pages of a longer work. Waiting for the next section!

    Nice, thanks! Your comment about the level of alliteration in that first paragraph is I think spot-on. Perhaps just a liiiitle too much. And Sadie not being endearing will hopefully change with next week's entry, which I've already got the framework for, just depends really on what the word of the week is. Thanks for the crit!

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Crit for @KCWise :
    The throughline is pretty good, mixing the insistence that she can't read minds with all the italicized text to show that she's clearly doing something, if not outright reading minds. Her inner monologue makes me simultaneously pull for her and wish she'd handle things differently, and that's a good thing. It's very "teenage".

    Other than that, there appear to be a number of typos littered throughout. "is" instead of"his", stuff like that.

    Not a lot of connection between the two stories as of yet, I look forward to seeing more in this universe. Is the intent to tell a bunch of disconnected stories that eventually overlap, or just kind of playing it week to week?

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    KCWise
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    You are awesome, Rick. That's what I get for posting with a headache. Find the typos in the beginning...I have a tense consistency problem, I think? Will go back and fix it...

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited August 2015
    Slightly over 1,000 words but not by much. I am not a practiced writer so if every word of the week challenge ends up producing a story about a female scientist...it's not an unexpected outcome. Did try to do a different style.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/200240/credeikis-writing-word-of-the-week-stories#latest


    Please tell me if it's not clear what going on towards the end; I could add 2-3 words for clarity but I don't think I'd want to if it's not needed.
    Hm also upon rereading not so sure about the structure/pacing but also not sure how to fix it. Please advise.

    edit: added a couple sentences to ameliorate both problems a bit.

    credeiki on
    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    3DS FC: 1134-8436-4363
    VanityPantsKCWisebigrickcook
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Credeiki, I haven't read it yet (will do so this afternoon), but I think it would be amusing and kind of awesome if you wrote endless variations of lady scientists.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    VanityPants
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    Hey Credeiki!
    Loved the beginning. That first paragraph, especially, is beautifully written and incredible strong. Matter of fact, the entire thing is beautifully written.

    I found the ending to be a bit abrupt. Not bad or poor, but abrupt. We've been going on this ride and then we come to this complete halt at the foot of a God. Was that Liva's ultimate goal? Did she think or even hope that was going to happen? Or, as I concluded for myself when I was done, did Liva and her shipmate blow up during ascent? I don't mind stories with unanswered questions, but I think I would come away more satisfied if there is just a slight bit of clarity around Liva's thought/feeling/inclination at this end moment... Writers of more fantastical worlds (e.g. Rick and VP) might have a different interpretation...

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    KCWise wrote: »
    Hey Credeiki!
    Loved the beginning. That first paragraph, especially, is beautifully written and incredible strong. Matter of fact, the entire thing is beautifully written.

    I found the ending to be a bit abrupt. Not bad or poor, but abrupt. We've been going on this ride and then we come to this complete halt at the foot of a God. Was that Liva's ultimate goal? Did she think or even hope that was going to happen? Or, as I concluded for myself when I was done, did Liva and her shipmate blow up during ascent? I don't mind stories with unanswered questions, but I think I would come away more satisfied if there is just a slight bit of clarity around Liva's thought/feeling/inclination at this end moment... Writers of more fantastical worlds (e.g. Rick and VP) might have a different interpretation...
    I wanted this to be that their spaceship literally got embedded into the sidereal cloak, but I knew that that ending was inevitably going to be interpreted as the spaceship blowing up, and am not sure how to make it clear that this is fantasy and not a pre-death hallucination sort of thing. The initial concept is that I wanted to write a story where the upshot/twist/point is that space isn't real, and one of those excellent creation myths about a heavenly vault encasing the earth is literally true.

    Thanks for the comments! If I end up reworking it I will try to put more feelings/thoughts at the end, and maybe in general just stretch the end out a bit more.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    3DS FC: 1134-8436-4363
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    @credeiki :
    My question is, what happened to other objects that have been sent spaceward? Surely they didn't just jump from "hey we can shoot a rocket out of the atmosphere" to "let's put people in one!"?

    I thought it was a neat story, well written. The interpretation that it exploded didn't really come out for me, but partially because I'm always ready to accept the otherworldly explanation in fiction. As a standalone short story it leaves quite a bit to be desired because there's all this establishing information for a twist ending, and the twist is right where the fun begins.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    edited July 2015
    @credeiki :
    The interpretation that it exploded didn't really come out for me, but partially because I'm always ready to accept the otherworldly explanation in fiction..

    Yeah, see, I don't always write the fantastic, so I don't always go into fiction expecting it. That's a me issue, not a you issue...I gotta work on that.

    KCWise on
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    @credeiki :
    My question is, what happened to other objects that have been sent spaceward? Surely they didn't just jump from "hey we can shoot a rocket out of the atmosphere" to "let's put people in one!"?

    I thought it was a neat story, well written. The interpretation that it exploded didn't really come out for me, but partially because I'm always ready to accept the otherworldly explanation in fiction. As a standalone short story it leaves quite a bit to be desired because there's all this establishing information for a twist ending, and the twist is right where the fun begins.
    Heh yeah major plothole there that I hoped would go unnoticed. Possible explanations--it only happens when it's a conscious person because MAGIC, or they are for some reason going to a higher orbit than the one to which they have previously launched unmanned satellites.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    3DS FC: 1134-8436-4363
  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    Argh. I couldn't really finish what I'd begun or sort my ideas enough into a finished product for this week. Critiques incoming.

  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    Rick: Very cool beginning, loved the fact we get just as much as we need to, information-wise. The characters involved also are intriguing shapeshifters and I want to know more about them.

    KC: I love the character, she's badass. There were definitely some tense issues, past and present kind of mix. I'm very interested in the character and the world. Also, as someone before, the character definitely feels teenage in a good way, judging and assuming the counselors judgement and feelings.

    Credieki: Great story! The pacing is fine, the story well-told and I love the character. Not much to say, I enjoyed it.

  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    And just under the wire, I finished something. Well, a second try at something, clocking in at 901 words, some of which might even be good.

    Sorry for the lack of commentary, everyone else. No excuse.
    The stars should have been bright.

    That was the worst thing about it, for Daniel. The cold, the bugs, the lingering damp? He’d expected all of those things. He knew that camping was centered around all of those things, given his past experience.

    But the one thing that was supposed to excuse this particular family trip was seeing the stars. And the stars did not want to be seen.

    He didn’t blame them, of course. If he had a choice, he wouldn’t be there either. But he didn’t have a choice, and the stars apparently did. His sidereal family camping trip was now a standard camping trip, and standard family camping trips were no better than no camping trip at all. Thinking about it for more than a picosecond, they were much worse.

    The stars were supposed to change things this time. The stars were slacking.

    Daniel looked down from the top of the rock. He was slacking a bit too, if he wanted to be fair. His parents thought he was…

    Well, it had been over an hour now. He had no idea what his parents thought he was doing. Hopefully they weren’t panicking. This whole trip might be a horrible mistake, and he might resent every part of their decision on it, but he didn’t resent them.

    ...Much.

    He leaned back and looked up at where the stars should have been. He’d seen them often enough to know exactly what he was missing. Draco and Orion and Ursa Major and all the rest. All the old stories first told by people long dead, perhaps based around stars long dead. A unity of the ages, shining down without fear or favor.

    Not that he’d put it that way if he was talking to anyone else. Teachers would just ask why he didn’t put that thought into his English assignments, and any other students who heard would hang him by his underwear off the nearest flagpole. What’s more, he’d probably deserve it.

    Best to keep it quiet. Look up. And sigh.

    “You know, if anything’s looking to eat you, you’re really helping them out.”

    Daniel slowly leaned up and looked to either side. No sudden moves. Sudden moves let people know they were bothering you. Sudden moves made them keep bothering you. Not a good idea. Just think of a response, stay calm, deliver it, stay calm, and find out who the girl hiding in the dark is.

    “I don’t taste that good.”

    “Really? How do you know that? WHY would you know that?”

    He should have waited for a better response. At minimum, Daniel should have abandoned it when it was obvious it didn’t work. He was going to abandon the line of argument and show…

    “Look. Everyone can at least guess how they taste. It’s not like I was chewing on my own arm for a few months back in first grade, and my mom didn’t need to get a therapist for me and even if she did that’s perfectly normal. I’m normal. I’m okay!”

    Or he was just going to show that he was crazy. That worked. The girl coughed.

    “Oh. I guess that says how you know. I thought you were just saying… things. I’m sorry for bringing up, well, whatever I brought up.”

    Daniel coughed back. He could recover. It wouldn’t be too hard. He just had to throw her off balance.

    “Why are YOU out here?”

    It would work. It had to work. He’d look like he belonged, because the person who belonged was the one who asked that question. And if he belonged, he had authority, and you weren’t allowed to question the people in authority.

    ...Or at least, they never liked it when he did.

    “Stargazing. Bit of a bust. You?”

    She was questioning authority. The whole plan was in ruins already. Daniel tried to keep a cool head.

    He didn’t have one. He didn’t have much of anything, except maybe the truth. It wasn’t going to do him much good, but it probably wouldn’t be much worse than anything else.

    Probably.

    Hopefully.

    “Yeah. Same.”

    “The really bad thing is that I had been putting off a big class thing, and I was kind of counting on this to make up for it. Guess that’s a lesson for all of us!”

    “Never put things off?”

    “No. Use the internet for everything. But you were close. I just hope Ms. Foyle...”

    “Wait. You have Ms. Foyle?”

    “Yeah, she’s a bit senile, but… Oh! You’re him!”

    “Who?”

    “The weird kid! In the back of the class!”

    Well. The truth was going great already.

    Daniel bit his tongue before managing a response.

    Thank you.

    “I didn’t mean it like that! You seem way less crazy than… I also didn’t mean that like that. I mean, I’m glad we talked out here. We should do that… other times. If you’re not chewing on your arm. ...Which I didn’t mean like that.”

    “...Do you mean that?”

    “Some of it? I’m unclear exactly what I mean a lot of the time. Sorry. But… Monday. Talk more? I mean, not now. Should get back before my parents worry. You have parents too?”

    “Yes.”

    “Great. Then… Monday. Thanks!”

    And she was gone. Daniel sat alone on the rock for a few more minutes before heading back.

    Well. No stars.

    But at least they left something.

    (First attempt had more four letter words than a Boggle championship)

    bigrickcook
  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    Chiasaur: really cute and enjoyable. You definitely got the youths on point. Felt real. Nice job!

  • CheeselikerCheeseliker Registered User regular
    I did it! Sort of. It's incredibly short. I was trying to use the phrase I got from Chuck Wendig's prompt, "homesick exporter" and the word "sidereal." I finally got rid of what I had been writing and wrote this as a short short.
    During the day, the engineer managed the station that orbited the planet and the machines that worked down on the surface.

    The machines drilled, refined and packaged rare metals before sending them in pods up into space. The pods docked with the station, the goods were off-loaded and the pod sent back to the planet.

    The system was almost entirely automated, machines able to mine resources on a planet that had become too radioactive for humans to live on, but the company in charge still wanted a human to oversee it all.

    The engineer didn't mind. He'd jumped at the chance to come back to earth, even if he lived alone on the station. He'd felt alone for awhile, anyways, with her gone.

    Her dreams were sidereal. She loved the stars and space. She was an explorer.

    He often received messages from her, from some new place they'd discovered, her face flushed, her voice excited as she explained the new galaxy they'd discovered, the new planets they'd come across. She show the fantastic view of the universe she saw. It was pretty, he thought, but nothing compared with her smile. She'd sign off, looking wistful. Sometimes she'd apologize for leaving.

    He always told her not to.

    She deserved the stars.

    He showed her views of earth and talk of home, of the old days, of distant memories.

    Then, no more messages came.

    He learned through the Galaxsphere New Net that her ship, The Santa Maria, had an accident. No survivors.

    He spent the next day in bed. He did not get up. He did not check on the statuses of the station or the drilling machines. He did not eat. He did not drink.

    "At least you got your wish, my daughter," he whispered, his eyes closed. "You lived and died in the stars."

    The next morning, he got up. He grabbed a HAZMAT suit and went into one of the emergency escape pods. He set the coordinates for earth and locked himself into the seat. He wasn't supposed to go to earth, nobody was, not even to fix a machine that had broken down.

    The voice of the station spoke up from the screen of the pod. "Engineer, DrillCore is requesting a report since they did not receive one in the last 24 hours. They are worried something is wrong. You are currently in emergency pod 012 but the station is not in a state of emergency."

    "I'm going home." He pressed the launch button. His body, old and weak, pressed against the seat cushion. His bones rattled in his skin. He moaned in pain.

    The pod shot off from the station.

    The rocking lessened.

    He was able to open his eyes. He saw the blue planet and wept.

    bigrickcook
  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    KC: I love the character, she's badass. There were definitely some tense issues, past and present kind of mix. I'm very interested in the character and the world. Also, as someone before, the character definitely feels teenage in a good way, judging and assuming the counselors judgement and feelings.

    Thanks! I like Ida more than I thought I would. I am glad that the mechanic of (not quite) mind reading came through.

    I have more protagonist to introduce... depending on what words we draw in the next few weeks. A cohesive story may or may not show up during these exercises, but I am hoping that the world will come alive as we go...

  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    You've killed week two, you MONSTERS! ... On to week three.

    THE WORD OF THE WEEK for JULY 28th, 2015 is:
    Accouterment
    noun [uh-koo-ter-muh nt]

    Personal clothing, accessories, etc.
    1. personal clothing, accessories, etc.
    2. the equipment, excluding weapons and clothing, of a soldier.

    I'm going to get critiques up for you guys today! @Chiasaur11 -- remember, you can still do critiques after the week's game ends!

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  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Ahahaha, seriously, VP? Accoutrement. I just want to pull my dragonskin boots on over here and plop 'em down.

    It does play right into the next scene/character of the spy horse story, so that's convenient.

    I'll get to those of you who posted stories since last night with some mini-crits! You're awesome for playing a second week, though.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
    VanityPantsKCWise
  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    edited March 2016
    I'm going to go ahead and put up my story from last week just because... Why not. It's late, but oh well! I'll do critiques for everyone this afternoon--so happy we had such a good turn-out again for week two! Keep it up, you guys!

    Story:
    N/A

    VanityPants on
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    Cheeseliker
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I was concerned at the word of the week, but a NYT blog clarified that both spellings are acceptable:
    from http://afterdeadline.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/when-spell-check-cant-help/?_r=0 , relevant quote below.
    I was a little taken aback by the vehement objections of some readers when I noted last week (third item) that The Times’s stylebook calls for the spelling “accouterment,” not “accoutrement.” (This is not a new rule, by the way; the entry is unchanged since this version of the stylebook was published in 1999.)

    Some commenters seemed never to have seen or even imagined such a spelling. Several were outraged that the spelling of a word borrowed from another language might be altered.

    In fact, three of the four popular American dictionaries I checked give “accouterment” as the first spelling, with “accoutrement” as an alternative — Webster’s New World College Dictionary, which we use as our newsroom dictionary; American Heritage; and Random House Webster’s Unabridged. The exception was Merriam Webster’s, which listed them the other way around.

    Of course, such variations are extremely common, especially as words pass from one language to another. “Center” and “theater” have become the primary American spellings, though each comes from a French version ending in “re.” Few object to those “er” spellings, nor does anyone seem to berate the French for highhandedly dropping the Latin “um” endings. “Saber,” too, is “sabre” in French — but arrived there, apparently, from German, Polish and Hungarian, with various l’s and z’s lost along the way.

    In the end, of course, orthographic conventions are just that — conventions. As languages evolve, many versions of words emerge, and we try to settle on one spelling not because it is fundamentally right but simply because we desire consistency and order in our writing.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    3DS FC: 1134-8436-4363
  • DoctorJestDoctorJest Grand Eedjit The Loony BinRegistered User regular
    I love the way that English is a corruption of other languages, and also how preferred spelling and pronunciation can change wildly, sometimes over long distances, and sometimes over surprisingly small ones. Fillet is one that this reminded me of, probably because of the French root for both this and accoutrement -- being English, I pronounce "fillet" and "filet" differently, with the latter being the original French word to me, while the "fillet" is the more northern-English sounding corruption of it. Fill-it, not fill-ay. But most of the people I run into in the USA pronounce them both in what I'd consider to be the French way.

    I'm curious -- do people elsewhere in the USA pronounce that one the same way we do where I grew up, or is it typically the French pronunciation that holds sway?

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Mine is usually a faux-French mimicry a la Tom Waits in Nighthawks at the Diner. I'm not sure precisely why this is, but anytime I see that word I hear it in his gravelly sardonic tone.

  • KCWiseKCWise Barefoot in my Husband's KitchenRegistered User regular
    Heh... I've always pronounced it the French way. Both. Accoutrement AND Fillet. How strange... I thought everyone pronounced it that way. I was always taught that these were the proper pronunciations. I don't speak French nor am I trained in it. I wonder if that's a Maryland thing?

    Massachusetts folk screw everything up. Errythang...

    Also, I'm so glad this is the word! Trying to decide if I want to introduce my final protag or if I want to mess around with potential conflicts and plots in this little world I'm building. Maybe a little bit of both? We'll see...

  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    And the first two critiques!
    @BigRickCook : Very, very cool story! Excellent world building done in a style that makes it feel like the kind of thing you've put a lot of thought/care into. Like Credeiki said, you've nailed a style that's straight-forward and yet detailed enough to be evocative.

    There are some moments that I think you could capitalize on a little better. Sadie's change, for instance, into Shadow-Dancer has some nice details but I feel like you could make it more evocative. It's an extreme situation and we're told about cries of ecstasy and you give us one or two cool images, but I feel like you could punch it up a little.

    I do agree with @Credeiki in that I think you can work a little to bring out the character some more. Just something to make us connect with her in some way right off the bat, or at least by the end of this bit here.

    --

    @KCWise : Continuing to build an interesting world here! Like Rick said, I like the throughline and I think the repetition of not being able to read minds mixed with the italicized stuff is fun--though sometimes I wish the inner thoughts were a little splashier, if that makes sense? I'd like to see it cross over into the text and her thoughts somewhere.

    The dialogue felt a teensy wooden to me, particularly Ida's--the actual content is fine, but I think you could make her sound just a bit more natural.

    Otherwise, a cool piece with interesting characters!

    Sorry it's taken me a little bit longer. It's been a long day. I'll get the rest of the critiques up tonight, though!

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  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    One more critique!
    @Credeiki : You do such a great job of setting up an interesting world and these wonderful, detailed characters. It really feels wonderfully put together.

    I think there's a bit too much telling instead of showing going on here. It's a short piece, so it's necessary to an extent, but especially in the first three or four paragraphs, it reads more as a summary than a story. It's a very interesting summary, which is nice, but I think you could either do some cutting or spend more time in this world/this story and build it out.

    Gokai_zpsdvyiviz0.png
  • bigrickcookbigrickcook Dord of Lance? OklahomaRegistered User regular
    Crits McGee:
    @chiasaur11 : I think you did a pretty good job with the sort of disconnected, confused babble of young kids just learning what it actually means to rebel even when they're not always clear on the rules or what they're rebelling against.

    I think there's room to reword the narrative so it's a little more succinct. And I think if you can get to the girl faster, not spend so much time setting up Danny and his thoughts, it'll pack a bit more of a punch when we get most of the same characterization while he's talking to the girl.

    __

    @Cheeseliker : The main issue I'm having with this piece is how much of it is told in this sort of passive way. Too much exposition, not enough detail to draw a decent starting image of anything. Maybe a bit too many words are used to explain the automated processes he oversees. If you tighten up the opening you can spend a little more time with the Engineer and his daughter, get some imagery in there.

    --

    @VanityPants : Damn, man. Really enjoyed the imagery all throughout this. Simple yet effective, fast and strong.

    I don't know that I can see anything in particular that just jumps out at me as being "fixworthy". Perhaps how you approach Embra's relationship with the POV character is a little strange. Perhaps a little ambiguity instead of immediately qualifying that she fell in love with him would give the knife to the chest line a bit more impact instead of being a coldly, calculating act that he assures us he felt bad about instead of actually experiencing it.

    http://panningforclouds.com
    Panning For Clouds, a writing blog dedicated to my fiction and writing columns! Updates at least twice a week.
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    Right. Crits.
    @bigrickcook : Kind of a bit of middle, isn't it? Not that it's all a problem. The skinchanger thing is pretty clear from context, but it does drop the reader right in. Guess that's more a compliment than the opposite, really.

    I have to agree with credeiki that it doesn't give us anything about the protagonist. I mean, we know things about her, but it's hard to say we know her.

    @KCwise : I like it. Don't have much to say that wasn't covered already, but I like it. Short and it covers what it needs to. The repetition actually works, which is nice to see, and the dialog isn't awkward enough to be an actual issue. It's setup, sure, but it also stands on its own. Nice to see.

    @credeiki : Didn't go to the exploded explanation, but I didn't quite get the cloak part until you wrote it out. I mean, figured a god was in play, but that was it. I like the basic premise, although if it goes longer, you'll probably want to paper the plot hole over somehow.

    Figured something was up from near the start with the whole fictional religious tradition bit. Those don't tend to get tossed into otherwise grounded(ish) stories without explanation.

    @Cheeseliker : The basic idea is interesting, but man. Words kinda clunk over themselves. Longer paragraphs with a more active voice might help with that, I think. Give more of a sense of the characters as people before the end comes.

    @VanityPants : Brutal little thing, isn't it? I like it. Crystal clear what the setting is without beating you over the head with the details, which I also like. Just a solid little story, with a perfect, cruel little ending.

    Looked like it was going to be a smaller group before it hit the finish line. Really glad a couple of us managed to limp in after.

  • VanityPantsVanityPants Gokai Red! Registered User regular
    Let's see, where was I on crits...
    @Chiasaur11 : I'm mostly in agreement with what Rick and Cheeseliker have said--I feel like you got the voices of the kids down perfectly, but I do think you could get us there a little faster. The story feels a little top-heavy in that we're confronted with a kind of wandering pattern of thoughts in the first half and then the second half, the pacing abruptly changes.

    Definitely a cute little story in which you capture the voice well, and getting us to the heart of that faster will only help things!

    --

    @Cheeseliker : Like Rick said (curse you, @BigRickCook, getting here first!), the main problem I have is how much telling is done. I think you have an interesting world and character, and there's something to the rhythm you've set up in the first half (something good)--this kind of mechanical pattern it feels like we get into, reading it, that's reflected in the character's own current mindset.

    The telling just makes it feel like we're starting this story a little too early, or maybe a little too late. If you could really bring us to the main character more quickly and really show us how life has been for him rather than telling us, I think you'd really be able to capture the whole situation better.

    I think I'm caught up on everyone from last week, now!

    Thanks so much for the crits, you guys, and thank you for all taking the time to provide crits for everyone else, too! So cool to see everyone burning through these things.

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