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  • keeping the faith by Dan Bieger (Hereford Eye)

    0 0%
  • His Eyes, How They Twinkled by Richard Dickson (Daily Rich)

    7 46.67%
  • Seven Years by Guerric Haché (GarrickW)

    0 0%
  • At Any Cost by Art Pacheco (suibom)

    0 0%
  • Founders Day by XXX (MrBF1V3)

    4 26.67%
  • Rebirth of the Phoenix by Victoria A. Rogers (NickeeCoco)

    3 20.00%
  • Blinded by sight by James MacEachern (MrJims)

    1 6.67%
  • Empty Space by Owen Jones (kater)

    2 13.33%
  • A Christmas Visitor by Nila E. White (tmso)

    0 0%
  • The Endurance of Snails by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)

    7 46.67%
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  1. #1
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    December Flash Fiction Voting - "Thread A"

    Please read before casting your vote(s):

    Welcome to the voting threads for the December Flash Fiction Contest, theme "Tradition."
    First, if you've never participated or voted before, please keep in mind that there is a voting thread "A" and "B" (there are a maximum 12 polling options for each thread, hence the need for 2 threads).

    Please read all entries before casting your vote.

    The Rules:
    1) Voting is encouraged by all members of SFFworld, not just those who entered. Feel free to vote!
    2) You may cast up to a total of 3 votes (so you can vote for 1, 2, or 3 entries).
    3) Each vote is equally weighted - There is no 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place vote, just 3 votes.
    4) You do not get 3 votes per thread. It is 3 total votes over the two threads.
    5) You may not vote multiple times for the same entry.
    6) Should some silly person vote for 4 or more entries, I will message that person, redicule him/her, then ask kindly for them to clarify their voting (ie, limit it to their top 3). I will then adjust the totals manually in thread. Should I not be able to reach the person before the voting is over, unfortunetely, all of their votes will be discounted in the totals.
    7) Again, you do not have to vote for 3 entries!
    8) Though it is not required, if you are voting, you are encouraged to write a quick review for each entry in the voting threads. Feedback is always, always, appreciated.
    9) The person with the most votes at the end of the voting period (end of the month) wins the contest and gets to host next month... with full and total supreme dictator powers.

    Happy voting!


    The Thread "A" Entries:

    keeping the faith by Dan Bieger (Hereford Eye)
    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/4031p0.html

    His Eyes, How They Twinkled by Richard Dickson (Daily Rich)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25016

    Seven Years by Guerric Haché (GarrickW)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25007

    At Any Cost by Art Pacheco (suibom)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?p=552811

    Founders Day by XXX (MrBF1V3)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25029

    Rebirth of the Phoenix by Victoria A. Rogers (NickeeCoco)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25032

    Blinded by sight by James MacEachern (MrJims)
    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/4038p0.html

    Empty Space by Owen Jones (kater)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25030

    A Christmas Visitor by Nila E. White (tmso)
    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/4043p0.html

    The Endurance of Snails by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)
    http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25047

    Feedback
    All contest entrants are encouraged to leave feedback on all entries. Normally, feedback is left within the voting thread. However, with the addition of the new writing sub-forum, you may wish to leave your specific feedback in that particular author’s story thread.

    If you do choose to leave feedback in the individual threads, I would ask that you also link/mention/repost the feedback in the voting thread as well.
    Last edited by Sterling13; December 25th, 2009 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    His Eyes, How They Twinkled, Richard Dickson
    Outstanding!
    With a classic punch line!
    With a message to boot!
    Gotta vote for this one.

    A very good story.
    Understand that it is part of a greater whole but this has all the information required to appreciate it on its own merits.
    A couple of things:
    Quote: "His sister lived in an upscale district, the kind of place the neighborhood of his youth had always tried to imitate. He walked down the streets, barely noticing the chilly breeze and the thin blanket of snow."
    We start out thinking he is walking down a street in his sister's neighborhood because that's where he had been in the previous paragraph. Then, we are suddenly transported to his old neighborhoo. In time the comparison between old and new becomes apparent but the reader has to work at it to get it.
    Quote: "...he picked some of the meat from the package and ate it up."
    Is this a usage from your part of the world? In the southwestern U.S.A., we'd be more likely to just say that he ate it. If it's local usage, disregard this comment.

    At Any Cost, Art Pacheco
    A very good story. Everything required to understand the situation provided as part of the action. Well, almost everything. If the landscape is now barren, where did he go every year to find the tree? It's important because the story says he has done this many times before and they could never get the saplings to takle. What if the children cannot get this year's sapling to take? As he said, it's now their task.
    Which leads one to wonder how they were existing in the caves.

    Founders Day, Steve Jones
    Ah, this is not fair. Another outstanding tale.
    With a classic punchline.
    With a message to boot.
    With the skeptic now dealing with the skeptic.
    Another gotta vote!

    Rebirth of the Phoenix, Victoria A. Rogers
    Well written save for one itsy bitsy faux pas. Wel written but begging many questions. First, the itsy bitsy:
    Scared of what will be.
    You jump from past tense to present and then go back to past. Think the verb should have been 'would.'
    Story opens with the peasants celebrating harvest. Story ends with nine months gestation prior to spring. The gestation cycle suggests an earth-like norm but, if it were an earth-like place, then harvest would be in the fall, not the first days of summer.
    And what happens in nine months? If the Phoenix rises from the ashes, Madelian is bound to die. If Madelian is bound to die, where do the priests and Queen come from? The honorific, Acolyte, in the first sentence suggests she is to become a priestess.
    Was it wishful thinking or did the Phoenix really take on the appearance of Xavier during their mating?

    Blinded by Sight, James MacEachern
    Let the grammar go and concentrate on the story. What a tale! Inventive, ingenious, with a fine punch line. Just let me ask about the math.
    There are five Ead villages, you say, and only one vacant. But, the Hasli come every year. At what point is the fourth village occupied and how is it accomplished? That requires a 20% population growth every year, doesn’t it? And how does anyone reach adulthood? They all ought to be dead by age five.

    Empty Space, Owen Jones
    A very neat twist on the Santa tale while adding a twist on the old folk going into the forest at life's end. The trouble with this latter take is that he leaves with the trappings of survival so now what is the point of his departure?
    The Amerind and First Nation folk allowed the old ones to wander off on their own, to die in their own way. If that is what he is up to, then the food and weapons detract from the honor and integrity of the act. If it's something else, then the diminishing sack suggests something not in line with apparent reason for departure.
    Need some help with motivation, sir.

    A Christmas Visitor, Nila E. White
    Okay, so she told the story more times than she cared to remember. But, telling it to an alien? That had to mean more than “not again!” As an ethno-archeologist, trained to explain stuff to foreigners, the alien could be just one more foreigner but an alien with a black box? Also, would such an ethno-archeologist be familiar with the concept of corrupting virgin societies with your own society’s culture.
    Then, consider the black box and all it entails. It produces grammatical English indicating a wealth knowledge over and above that available in a dictionary. Maybe this alien is more equipped to understand than any of the party guests. Since it’s asking for explanation, then one could assume both interest and ability to analyze what it hears.
    Nuts and bolts, stuff, though. Kudos for the concept, the execution, and most of all: the title.

    The Endurance of Snails, Pete Warner
    First totally irrelevant question: Do you know Gaelic Storm's "Don't Go for the One"?
    With that bit out of the way, allow me to congratulate you on a perfect bit.
    Everything in its place and every place perfectly pitched. Your descriptions are priceless; your pace right on, and the announcement of "two" had me rolling on the floor.
    Gotta vote for this one.

    Three gotta-votes and two oughtta-votes just in this thread.

  3. #3
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Hello everyone! Since I couldn't read/provide feedback for last month, I promised in-depth, long ass ones for this month. I'm doing this only for the people who posted their stories in the sub-forum, since the reason for the sub-forum was to keep the stories private for the folks who were thinking about possibly submitting them at a later date.

    Remember, these are all my own personal opinions. They are not intended as personal attacks. I tried to stay as objective and helpful as possible.

    (Also, I wrote a lot of these later in the evenings whilst drinking wine, so there's probably some spelling and grammatical errors on my part. I didn't edit these.)

    Keeping the Faith by Dan Bieger/Hereford Eye

    How could I not say it after my comments in months past? Formatting! I found it very hard to read. There's no spaces between paragraphs. It looks like a giant wall of text. That makes reading the entry an effort, which it shouldn't be. I should be enjoying myself! It also really made it hard to understand what was going on. You wrote a philosophical piece and for the reader to follow the arguments, they need it to be presented in a way that makes it easier to understand. Basic formatting helps the reader. I found myself having to reread a whole lot of lines, because I wasn't given immediate clues as to who was talking. I didn't know what was going on half the time, because of it.

    Grammar: There are a few instances where you didn't put quotation marks and you should have.

    Also, there are a couple of places where you did not capitalize the first letter of a word when it followed a quotation mark.

    Now, as for the piece itself. . . It didn't really come across as a story. It was a philosophical dialogue. Didn't really work for me, sorry.


    His Eyes, How They Twinkled by Richard Dickson

    I liked this one. I really liked the cynicism in there. It made me laugh. Especially since I’ve worked in the service industry for quite some time. I’ve never been a santa, but I’ve worked haunted hayrides and the such for Hallowe’en. The quarter tossing thing reminded me of when I was leading a host of kids through a haunted hedge maze and some teenager started tossing pennies over the hedges and got me in the hand. Oh man, was I pissed off. I then later had the kid put on a rack in a mad scientist scene, after I fired a starter pistol at him. (I was supposed to use it on the zombies, but I had to get the jackass back. The look on his face was priceless. Oh man, the good ol’ university days.) Haha. No joke. At any rate, your story really had a sense of realism in there and I enjoyed it. However, (and yes, this is a but) I think it needs some smoothing of the edges. It has a lot of potential, don’t get me wrong, but I think some final editing needs to be done before it’s contender worthy for me. Sorry.

    >>Their toast done, they turned their attentions elsewhere.

    Attention should be in the singular here.

    >>This was their nightly purge, where they shrugged off the mantle of patience and good cheer they were forced to wear all day and could indulge in the cynicism and scorn their position didn’t allow them to express at the times they felt them.

    This is one long sentence. (I know, I love myself a long sentence too. I’m guilty of it) I’m going to suggest you break it up. How about something like:

    This was their nightly purge. Here they shrugged off the mantle of patience and good cheer they were forced to wear all day. They could indulge in the cynicism and scorn that their position didn’t allow them to express.

    >>“So the kid is whizzin’ like a racehorse,” the subject of their celebration said

    I thought you said earlier that they turned their attention elsewhere? They were just toasting this person and then we got a little explanation of who they are and now they’re right back at the beginning. They didn’t turn their attention anywhere.

    >>“and there’s Mom and Dad tryin’ to get the camera workin’.

    Capitalize and. It doesn’t matter if it’s a continuation of a previous thought. It’s the first word in quotation marks.

    >>The bartender quickly shuffled towards the four men. “Hey now, we don’t want any trouble,” he stammered, but one of his customers pushed him aside. He liked to work the tougher stores, and would actually volunteer for the day after Thanksgiving. He had a real name, but everyone just called him Rock.

    The pronoun ‘he’ in the sentence “he liked to work” seemed like it went to the bartender. As I read on I realized it was the customer you were talking about. I think this needs a little fixing.

    >>“but this is a department store Santa bar.

    Capitalize but.

    >>“ringing a bell
    Capitalize ringing.

    >>Try frostbitten cheeks that’ll never be flesh-colored again from too many nights too high and too cold.

    Great introduction of the real santa. However, I had a great big laugh at “too many nights too high”. You might want to add a “in the air” or something like that in there.

    >>And with that department store Santas drank with Salvation Army Santas

    I think you need the word “the” before department and salvation.

    >>And in his mind, one thought rang out, louder and clearer than all the others:

    Don’t think you need a comma after rang out. Still the same thought.


    Seven Years by Guerric Haché

    Alrighty. I’ll honestly say I was enjoying it until the big reveal. Then I just kinda went “Oh. Ok. A cat.” I can’t stand cats, so I may be entirely biased. I also thought “Cat’s don’t just die like that”. So then I re-read that section an noted the cat’s modifiers. Ok. I guess I just think the pacing of the cat’s death was a little quick. Perhaps give us more hints? Ease us into it?

    I was also left with many questions. Why did he leave? Why was he a fugitive? What war? Other than finding out who/what Nelson was, there was no resolution.

    For some nitpicky stuff:

    >>town wasn't big, and his old school came into view soon enough, closed for the holidays. He still remembered the day he had broken down the front door, seven years ago, and ran away from it all.

    He broke down the door of the school? Or do you mean his old house?

    >>Hello, er – sorry Mark, I can't remember –”

    She can’t remember what? His name? She just said it.

    >>the butcher gave him an ancient look. The look of a man who has asked the same question for years

    I like the imagery of the second sentence. I’m not a big fan of the first. This is my reasoning: Traditionally, an ancient look is associated with “old and wise”. Unless you want the wise man to be wise because he’s given up looking for answers, it doesn’t fit.

    >>Most of what remained on the street was poorly up-kept

    I wasn’t sure if up-kept was a word, so I checked the Oxford English Dictionary and upkept was not in it. Neither was the hyphenated form. Sorry.

    >>It was shoddy, cracked, falling apart.

    Might want an “and” after the last comma there.

    >>When Toras' family had been forced out, they had left the house to Nelson, rather unwittingly.

    That’s an awkward sentence, I think.

    >>Nobody had dared reclaim or remove it since.

    Remove what? The house or Nelson? If it’s the latter, you might want to change the “it” into a “him”. If it’s the former, you should specify the house, since you just finished talking about Nelson.

    >>His boots sunk into deep, untouched snow as he crossed the lawn. . .

    So that this sentence isn’t so bulky, how about something like:

    His boots sunk deep(ly) into the untouched snow. . .

    >>The door was shut but not locked; he opened it, remembering as he did the day he first met Nelson, almost twelve years ago.

    I found this sentence to be a bit bulky as well. May I suggest something like:

    He opened the unlocked door, remembering that day twelve years ago when he first met Nelson.

    >>he left the town, vowing to return.

    But earlier you said he vowed to never come back.

    >>like he had every year for the past seven.

    I honestly think you don’t need that.


    At Any Cost By Art Pacheco

    I liked this story overall. You really captured the need and want for life. I really liked the fact that the tree was the gift. It’s a gift not just for Christmas, but his children’s future. For all of humanity’s future. . . If there’s no trees, there’s no oxygen. I was a little upset that he died, though. I mean, that’s not much of a Christmas gift to his family, his death. I’d be right pissed off if one of my loved ones went off and got themselves killed on Christmas.

    I was puzzled as to why and how he got the sapling from a cave. To my knowledge, trees don’t grow in caves. There were also some grammatical errors, which I’ll detail below.

    >>He was a soldier in that verdant land so many years ago.

    Wrong tense there. You began the story in past progressive. This little tidbit should be in past perfect progressive. So, it should read:

    He had been a soldier. . .

    >>The machines of war that were unleashed onto the battlefield spiraled out of control,

    Same as above. Also, it should be spiralled, not spiraled.

    >>Small pockets of the living that struggle underground for survival, and even smaller pockets of vegetation that try to resurrect themselves from the ashes, are all that remained.

    Now you’re suddenly in the present tense.

    >>"only one chance at this."

    Only should be capitalized.

    >>"Thank goodness!" she cried as he emerged from shadow of the tunnels. She rushed up to hug him, "you're safe!"

    Should it be “he emerged from the shadow of the tunnels? Capitalize “you’re”.

    >>"next year this tradition will be yours."

    Again, capitalization.

    >>He left the children to enjoy their gift

    I think there’s no need to call it a “gift” anymore. You’ve already revealed that it’s a tree. (Though, the burlap kind of gave it away earlier. ) By calling it a gift at the end diminishes what the gift is. It's a tree. Trees don't grow anymore. It's Christmas. If you call it a tree, it'll have more impact, I think.


    Founders Day by B5

    I really, really liked this story. There were also not many grammatical mistakes that I could find. Great job. A contender. I really think this one is going to be a front runner, and if it isn’t, it should be.

    >>Founders Day

    I’m going to start with the title. I believe it should be Founder’s Day. It should be in the genitive ‘cos the day belongs to her. It’s possessive.

    >>standing up and taking pillows away

    Should have a ‘the’ before the pillows.

    >>before the little ruckus turned into a bedding riot.

    I really like that. Bedding riot. Heh.

    >>But she don’t come if you’re not asleep.”

    I found this grammar to be strange since Thomton uses proper grammar until this point.

    >>He couldn’t see the face at first because her whole head was enclosed in a ball, and it was none too clear.

    How does he know the apparition is a woman? You just said he couldn’t make it out.

    >>When he was close he could see through the dark glasswork and see her face.

    What glasswork? Is she wearing a helmet? I thought he stepped out into the open. There’s no windows there, is there?


    Blinded By Sight by James MacEachern

    This story left me with a lot of questions. Who was the narrator? What rules did he break? Why did he go to this planet in the first place? Why does he watch primitive cultures?

    Some nice ideas in there, though.

    Here's just a few grammatical things. Some of these things were repeated a few times, but I'm just mentioning the ones that I saw first:


    >>lava's trapped

    No need for the possessive apostrophe there.

    >>there primary building

    Should be "their"

    >>the screams of agony, the clang of metal and the snap of bows. But the people do not scream

    You just said they screamed and then you said they didn't.

    >>canvas' of skin tanned into beatiful pictures that take the Hasi many months to finish.

    Should this be: canvases of skin tanned into beautiful pictures. . .?

    Or, if you're in the UK or Canada:

    canvasses of skin tanned into beautiful pictures. . .


    Empty Space by Owen Jones

    Once more, you provide us with a wonderful concept and great imagery. Now, I’m going to go into detail about where and how you didn't quite pull off the execution. Sorry. I know that sounds harsh, but it's not intended to be. I'm just trying to help. Feel free to tell me to back off, if you wish.

    First, what is happening? Why is he leaving? You never actually tell us. I took it to mean that he’s old and so now he has to leave. I really thought of the book, The Giver when I read it. However, I think you need to actually give the reason for his leaving. Otherwise, the way it stands now, you just leave us with a lot of questions. This is also something I’ve noticed with your previous entries. You never fully tell us what’s going on. I made that mistake last month. You need to realize that while [I]you[/] know what’s going on, we, the readers, do not. We can be a thick-headed bunch. Sometimes we need to be clubbed on the head.

    Now, for grammar. You have a horrible habit of putting unrelated thoughts into one sentence. You really need to break a lot of your sentences up. You use an awful amount of commas. It isn’t just for this entry. You’ve done this for every story you’ve submitted (that I’ve seen.) I’m really going to suggest you visit and read this:

    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/

    This link will really help you understand the use of commas. It will not only help you make your writing stronger, but will help the reader understand what it is you’re trying to say. And the latter is the most important.

    Again, I think you have some wonderful ideas and you have a wonderful ability to create some fabulous images. You just need some fine tuning.

    >>At the door he didn’t turn, but simply spoke into the silence disturbed only by the crackling fire.

    I found this sentence to be a bit awkward. I suggest some re-working of it.

    >>Heaving the large sack, the sum total of his remaining possessions, to his bent, arthritic back, Duan took a deep breath in through his nose.

    There’s a lot of character/back story information here. It kind of feels like it’s all thrown together. With that many commas it makes it hard to understand. I suggest reworking it into a few different sentences.

    >>An excellent day for baby making, he didn’t begrudge them it though.

    I’m going to suggest you break this into two sentences. It would really put an emphasis on the baby making. Also, after I finished reading this story, I thought “What was the point of that sentence in the first place?” You put it in an important spot: the first bit of his leaving. This signifies that the act of making babies is important to the story line. Then, nothing happens to it. If this has to do with the fact that he’s old and can’t make babies, you need to specify that. It doesn’t come across. It only came across to me that way because I sat down and thought long and hard about it when I tried to figure out why the guy was leaving. I don’t even know if my summation of the story is correct.

    >>An orderly queue formed, at which they sniggered, it was after all a habit none of the Last City’s occupants ever managed to shake.

    Again, I’d break this into a couple of sentences.

    >>As Duan began the downward trek to the outer gate he stopped regularly to soak it all in, the details, the sights and sounds of everyday life.

    After “soak it all in” I’d put a colon. You’re listing things here.

    >>Sadly it was true, his aged knees protested the strain and he would certainly have fallen at level ten were it not for a supporting hand from a shadow.

    Alright, this is how I’d edit this sentence:

    Sadly, it was true. His aged knees protested the strain of –insert what’s straining him-. He would certainly have fallen at level ten were it not for a supporting hand from the shadows.

    >>The occasional mother holding a baby up to see their first Leaving, a tear in the eye and he hoped a thank you in their hearts.

    Two separate thoughts. You need to break these up.

    >>Only the essentials meant anything now but he was grateful nonetheless.

    You need a comma before the word “but”.


    A Christmas Visitor by Nila E. White

    You have some wonderful imagery going on here. Kudos.

    But it doesn't seem finished. It ends rather abruptly. What happens? Does the alien throttle her?

    >>They had wanted a traditional Christmas Party. "Something different,"

    How can something be both traditional and different?

    >>no longer continue the practice,

    continued

    >>Aumia glanced behind her, and gasped as a man dressed in a red, velvet suit, trimmed with faux white fur, walked into the living room

    I'm confused. She's still outside with the alien who came out of the bushes. When did she go inside?


    The Endurance of Snails By Pete Warner/Hoodwink


    Alrighty. First off, as always, you have given us a humorous and off-beat tale. Yes, it’s sad and a little pathetic, but the storyline is padded with witty narration and off the wall characters. So kudos. I always enjoy reading your stuff.

    As for a critique. . . I liked it. There’s not much to point out in here, actually. The things that did bother me were the stylistic choices. The biggest one for me was the present tense. I’m really not a fan of reading stories in the present tense. I avoid them as much as possible. It’s a personal preference. I just think it sounds awkward. There were a few lines I thought sounded weird, but I’m pretty sure it’s ‘cos of my own personal aversion of the present tense. Below are some (very few) comments:


    >>An arrow aimed at the middle of nowhere and striking the village would score a nine.

    I guess I find this sentence grammatically awkward. The –ed and the –ing.

    >>Each time, she marks it,

    You don’t need that first comma, I believe.

    >>"sharp as ever."

    Capitalize the word sharp.

    Of this thread, my favourites are Founder's Day and The Endurance of Snails

    I'll get to Thread B in the next couple of days.

  4. #4
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickeeCoco View Post
    >>“So the kid is whizzin’ like a racehorse,” the subject of their celebration said

    I thought you said earlier that they turned their attention elsewhere? They were just toasting this person and then we got a little explanation of who they are and now they’re right back at the beginning. They didn’t turn their attention anywhere.
    The idea is that there was still a small group listening to him, but the bar as a whole had moved on to other things.

    >>“and there’s Mom and Dad tryin’ to get the camera workin’.

    Capitalize and. It doesn’t matter if it’s a continuation of a previous thought. It’s the first word in quotation marks.
    It's always been my understanding that if the phrase in between the quotes ended with a comma, you don't capitalize the first word inside the quotes. So:
    "Hey," he said. "What's up?"; and
    "Hey," he said, "what's up?"

    >>Try frostbitten cheeks that’ll never be flesh-colored again from too many nights too high and too cold.

    Great introduction of the real santa. However, I had a great big laugh at “too many nights too high”. You might want to add a “in the air” or something like that in there.
    The idea here was to leave a little doubt as to whether he was talking about being drunk/stoned and cold or actually being up in the air and cold. Didn't want to let on that he was actually Santa right off the bat.

    >>And with that department store Santas drank with Salvation Army Santas.

    I think you need the word “the” before department and salvation.
    I was going for a more general thing than being specific to that bar. Like this was the dawning of a new age of peace between department store Santa and Salvation Army Santa. Maybe dropping the plural would have helped.

  5. #5
    Registered User Scorpion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DailyRich View Post
    It's always been my understanding that if the phrase in between the quotes ended with a comma, you don't capitalize the first word inside the quotes. So:
    "Hey," he said. "What's up?"; and
    "Hey," he said, "what's up?"
    And you're right about that. No capitalization after a comma.

  6. #6
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Three votes over both threads? Rats!!! I've got five that need a vote.
    • Tristis
    • Suibom
    • DailyRich
    • B5
    • Hoodwink

    Alright, a quick re-read to winnow and cull.

  7. #7
    Filthy Assistants! Moderator kater's Avatar
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    Stirling what in the blazes have you been doing to my forum? The second failure was classic, I'm crossing my fingers you don't win this one aswell

  8. #8
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Keeping the Faith by Dan Beiger (Hereford Eye)
    Well done Dan. I really enjoyed the banter between Diego and Cass, as well as the well-placed descriptions of each character. I also liked the overall message. Keep: the Faith. Indeed, brilliant.

    His Eyes, How They Twinkled by Richard Dickson (DailyRich)
    An early favorite Richard. However, after reading it a second time, I find it a little bit predictable. Guess I shouldn’t have read it a second time because somehow the magic of the story got lost. The last line still gets a chuckle out of me. Despite the second reading losing the story’s luster: Very, very good story.

    Seven Years by Guerric Haché (GarrickW)
    This is a very touching story Guerric. I really liked the ‘twist’ at the end, and how the cat passed away peacefully in the arms of his companion. Very well done. In terms of the writing, that too was well done, but could have used a bit of editing to reduce redundancy, and awkward phrasing. Otherwise, well done.

    At Any Cost by Art Pacheco (suibom)
    Yikes! Was the tree really all that important? I mean, wouldn’t it have been better to leave it where it was, because, frankly, it was growing fine there, right? By uprooting it and transferring it somewhere else, the chances of it living are pretty poor. I’m not sure it was the brightest thing for your protag to risk and sacrifice his life to get it (as I’m sure his wife thought the same thing).

    Good writing but there are some places where you can save heap loads of words and still get the same thing across. For example:
    “…the sun was beginning to climb up from below the horizon of the barren land.”
    could be:
    “…the sun climbed above the barren horizon.”
    or
    “…the sun began its climb above the barren horizon.”

    Another example:
    “The landscape was pulverized and set afire as the mechanical beasts culled the living.”
    Just what is the subject and predicate in that sentence? Might be read more clearly by defining the thing that is doing the action? Maybe like this:
    “Mechanical beasts pulverized and set afire the landscape, culling the living.”

    Remember, these are just my suggestions, and we all know what kind of writer I am, so take it with a grain of salt. Otherwise, you create some amazing imagery in this story. That was really well done. Beautiful sunrise.

    Founders Day by B5 (MrBF1V3)
    BRILLIANT B5. Just brilliant. There is nothing more I can say.

    Rebirth of the Phoenix by Victoria A. Rogers (NickeeCoco)
    A very well written tale Victoria. My only question: why did she think she was going to die if she just becomes pregnant? Did she not know this? Other than that question, I think you did a good job with describing her fear, the ritual, and their conversation. Well done.

    Blinded by Sight by James MacEachern (MrJims)
    Very interesting tale James. I really liked the world that you described with the Ead and the Hasi. The first person account worked well here, and you wrote it well enough (though there are some typos). I also enjoyed the narrator’s voice, learned but not pretentious. I think, though, you could have explained the narrator’s quandary a bit…better (for lack of a better word!). The last paragraph left me a bit confused. I couldn’t follow the Teller’s logic, but maybe that was intentional. If so, very well done.

    Empty Space by Owen Jones (kater)
    Owen you have written another sad tale. I think you did an excellent job of capturing Duan’s sentiments at passing ‘out of the world’, but there were a couple of spots that didn’t flow well for me. Otherwise, a good use of the theme, a tradition of passing. Good job.

    A Christmas Visitor by Nila E. White (tmso)
    You know? I love my story. I know, I’m the only one. It cracks me up every time I read it. In a Laugh-Out-Loud kind of way.

    For those of you who have not been touched by His Noodly Appendage and are curious, check out this link. (Warning: If you are offended by any thought that may question your beliefs, please do not click on the link.)

    This story is a parody of a parody, sort of. I had written it before the theme for the longer short story came out. When Fung Koo announced ‘pirates or ninjas’, it was like His Noodliness guiding me to the natural choice: Pirates, of course, as they are His Prophets. As a follower of His Awesomeness, I thought it would be cool to have a longer story of Aumia’s story in which everyone who participated in this flash fic contest would be written in as a pirate on His Noodliness’ pirate ship in the sky. But, alas, I see that most folks (based on the ratings) will not get it, or are too up-tight to allow for this type of parody. Or maybe my writing is as bad as I think it is.

    Most likely, it is the latter, but that irrelevant. I’ve decided not to continue with a story that folks are not interested in. And that’s too bad. There were going to be some cool pirates doing even cooler ninja moves in my longer story, and we were all going to visit His Noodliness’ beer factory in Heaven with both male and female strippers. Ah well…it never comes out the way I want it to anyway.

    (By the way, why am I still next to Hoodwink? Not cool. )

    The Endurance of Snails by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)
    Good tale Pete! Very funny lady. Not much else I can say about this one. Good job.

  9. #9
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Some interesting entries this month. Here are my meagre thoughts such as they are.

    Keeping the Faith by Dan BeigerAlthough I got confused following the dialogue back and forth I thought it was really great dialogue. I was left wanting more of your story and characters i.e. what is inside the Keep. Have you figured it out yourself – will you share?

    His Eyes, How they Twinkled by Richard Dickson Dude you sure can tell a great story. It was well written and well paced in my humble opinion. I was hooked from “To your first pisser.” Very creative right down to the cookies and milk and tiny footprints. Great ending. My only complaint was the antagonistic Santa clans. I think you could have had the one group comparing wounds and bitching (which I thought was brilliant by the way) and the story would have had the same impact for me. These two groups on the verge of blows just did not sit right with me. Again – we all know what opinions are worth sometimes. Please take away that I enjoyed it and was well entertained.

    Seven Years by Guerric HacheYour story started out really strong and had me engaged early. It became a little descriptive midway through and the reveal that he was coming back to visit his cat really threw me. I still don’t know what to make of it. I guess I could not relate even though I am a cat guy currently.

    At any Cost by Art PacheoYou created some nice tension in the story and I was interested right to the end. The war with the machines struck me as little to Terminator inspired maybe. I needed a little more information to understand how it was they were actually safe underground and is there some possibility a tree could survive underground – how would this come to pass?

    Founders Day by XXX aka Mr BF Very interesting story here. It left me wanting to know more about the world and the mythology if that is the right word here. Interesting take on a Santa theme.

    Rebirth of the Phoenix by Victoria A RogersYou tightened the story up nicely from the earlier read I had. You created great tension and motivation for your main character. Nice world building given the confines of a flash fic. I don’t quite understand the mechanics of the rebirth or what will happen in 9 months – how it is that this will ensure spring will return. But nice story over all.

    Blinded by Sight by James MaceachrenYour story came off as description heavy to me but with some interesting ideas. I am confused though as to how the one group can destroy one Ead village every year and not have left the poor Ead extinct ages ago. There was only 4 or 5 to start with right?

    Empty Space by Owen JonesStrong entry that had me walking step by step with your main character. I read your explanation after I read it but had puzzled out the Logan’s Run idea – nicely done with an interesting tie to a Christmas feel and tradition.

    A Christmas Visitor by Nila E WhiteI was totally into your story from beginning to end. Made me feel kinda sad about the future demise of Christmas. But then again how many people really appreciate what it is really about anymore now? We may as well have a Festivus and give presents. But I digress. As I was saying I was totally into it and then BLAMMO an alien. WTF? I did not see that coming and it jarred me and it was alright. Very funny. Liked the pacing and detail. Nice story.

    The Endurance of Snails by Pete WarnerAnother bloody brilliant tale from Mr. Warner. Have you written any longer pieces? I like your style, sense of humour and writing in general.

    So now it’s onto B but I can tell voting will be tough this month. I could easily vote for three already.
    Last edited by Daddy Darth; December 21st, 2009 at 07:43 PM.

  10. #10
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Darth
    Have you figured it out yourself – will you share?
    I had in mind a colony world where the initial landing met with an unspecified disaster such that all the power supplies save one were destroyed. There is enough power to maintain the database - sort of an Encyclopedia Galactica - that could provide all availeble information to solve a given question. The trouble is that firing up the data base might exhaust the power supply so the colonists ought to plan on one and only one access. So, everything the ancestors knew is locked away against a tremendous need. Everything the ancestors knew constitutes the faith that things will work out.
    After generations of not accessing the data but worling out their problems as best they can, what happens to the attitudes of succeeding generations? That's the story I attempted to tell.

    How could I not say it after my comments in months past? Formatting!
    What can I say? I write that way because I abhor double spacing and everything that accompanies it. I watch what's happening on the monitor with a horrific fascination wondering what's coming next. Double spacing makes it hard for me to keep up and assure continuity between paragraphs and people. Since I don't care for it, when writing, I don't use it.
    You'll be soooo pleased to notice that my short story for the Jan contest has breaks between paragraphs. Honestly, it doesn't do anything for me.
    Last edited by Hereford Eye; December 22nd, 2009 at 11:03 AM.

  11. #11
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Thanks HE - I like that very much.

  12. #12
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    Nice work everyone. I was getting so confused by the quantity of quality that I eventually made up 4 categories and rated them, then added them up to figure out my votes. For those who submitted in the sub-forum, I am trying to leave critiques there. For those in the regular forum, I'll leave it here later when I have the time to type more. I'm rather limited with time, and although no one cares to read them, I'll domy best to get them all done.

    On a side note, I would like to thank you folks for sharing your work. It's not an easy thing to do, but after being a short term member here and participating somewhat, I have ponied up and even asked my wife to read some of my stuff for the first time (she's a mystery gal and doesn't "get" SFF). I've had a baby in the hospital since her birth 9 months ago, and this site and y'alls friendly and positive comeraderie (is that redundant?) has helped me renew my interest in not only reading what I love to read, but writing again - which is therapy for me. I have limited time to write (thus, not able to fully edit things under limitations) but I read and enjoy everything. It's very cool to find so many varied ways to execute a theme, read so many various styles, and get helpful hints on the forum. I look forward to participating more fully in 2010 and fulfilling my new life's goal of deciding a monthly flash fiction theme.

    Happy holidays. May your belly be full and your stocking not filled of coal.

  13. #13
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    No time for comments this time. In this thread I voted for:

    Blinded by Sight; Endurance of Snails

    I could also have voted for:

    Founder's Day; Rebirth of the Phoenix; His Eyes, How They Twinkled

    An honorable mention goes to:

    A Christmas Visitor.

    You re-enact Christmas and draw the attention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. LOL! And I can so empathise with the "not again!" The groan to drown out the novelty of first contact.


  14. #14
    Filthy Assistants! Moderator kater's Avatar
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    The link for Nickee's story goes to a defunct 'Not Found' page from the old forum - any ideas?

  15. #15
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by kater View Post
    The link for Nickee's story goes to a defunct 'Not Found' page from the old forum - any ideas?
    Hmmm, strange... I've re-linked it, it seems to be working now...

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