View Poll Results: Select 1 to 3 stories max between this and other January Flash Fic thread

12. You may not vote on this poll
  • The Trials of El Gordo by Daddy Darth

    3 25.00%
  • Colony by Sean Regan (TheGhost)

    1 8.33%
  • Balthazar's Legacy by Jordan Lanni

    0 0%
  • Level 3 by Carin Marais (marshwriter)

    0 0%
  • The Prisoner (The Continuing Misadventures of Kalgon WonderNot) by Todd Banker (txshusker)

    3 25.00%
  • So this guy walks into a bar... by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)

    4 33.33%
  • Live free or die by Michael Aaron (Zachariah)

    4 33.33%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #16
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    norte nueve mejico
    More comments, at least from my side of the screen. I hope you can find something useful...

    The Trials of El Gordo by Daddy Darth
    I liked this story, a wanna be hero discovers it's not so easy, and in fact dangerous, so he backs off. But then he runs into a situation where he has to act, and does even though it effectively ends his career. That's what I read anyway. The nagging question is; what happened to the money in his account? Or was it actually his? Was he channeling someone else's account? And if he doesn't have money, where did he get a laptop? I think you answered this in other comments, but I tend to write mine before I read anyone else's.

    Colony by Sean Regan (TheGhost)
    Solve for "G"? Interesting, but I think I missed the point. You do a good job of building, setting up the characters and using first person. I've obviously read too much sci fi, when she pulled her arm from her body I expected it to be detached. Silly.

    Balthazar's Legacy by Jordan Lanni
    On the one hand, well written, full of emerging emotion, on the other hand, the choice is the whole story, there’s nothing else. And it's not much of a choice--it seemed a little too obvious to me.

    Level 3 by Carin Marais (marshwriter)
    Nicely done. You're getting good at this. I felt for those left behind, and am only somewhat confused by the kid not being able to find his way back.

    The Prisoner (The Continuing Misadventures of Kalgon WonderNot) by Todd Banker (txshusker)
    Revisiting the super powers story. Nice to see old friends again. The choice is pivotal here, but not the one I thought it was. The twist was one I didn’t expect but maybe I should have. You did say it isn’t the powers, it’s how you use them.

    So this guy walks into a bar... by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)
    Usually a story that starts with that is a bit more light hearted., this was a cautionary take on drinking with a ghost who only has a chance, based on one decision which isn’t really the pivotal one but it does make enough of a difference, barely. Great job at showing both sides of a decision.

    Live free or die by Michael Aaron (Zachariah)
    Nicely done, paced just about right, and brought to a logical, though not reasonable, conclusion. The only unclear part, from my side of the page, was the beginning. This was a boat, I found out, but could have used a bit more description at first. Not much of a crit, but then, not much is needed. Having dealt with the insanity of insurance companies etc before. I would have let go too--and used a little sign language on the way down.


  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Gauteng, South Africa
    Hi all... Just a few short notes on this month's FF

    The Prisoner
    Loved it! The only thing I felt was unnecessary was putting a slash between Kalgon and Bart in the following sentence: “When Bart’s true body did not react, Gord turned to Kalgon/Bart.” It felt to me that the reader would already know what had happened. Without the slash I think I would have understood it easier, but had to read the sentence a second time because of it.

    So this guy walks into a bar
    Haunting. Definitely a contender. What really struck me was that instead of not hitting the kid when he decided he not to have the parting drink, he struck him again, the only difference being not killing him. I had expected a swerve out of the way/some kind of stop before hitting him. Just that made it worth it for me. But I must add that the writing is also good.
    Live free or die
    It sucks when you read someone’s work that is just so much better than your own! I loved the world it plunged me into (no lame pun intended), yet keeping it familiar enough as well. Another contender…
    Also reminded me of ending up at the dr not being able to breathe and the reception lady first asking whether I would be paying cash or card…

    Level 3
    Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! I guess I didn’t make some of the facts clear enough in the story if so many battled with it. I’ll include an explanation I wrote earlier – maybe that will help?
    For me the logic behind the story is that those below ground did not know that everything was hunky-dory up above – none of them ventured to the top level and the only news they got was through the traders. These traders were not of the most trustworthy ones – like the way in which they con the people below out of money and playing on their fears. Basically everything that the people below know of the new king etc., is based on hearsay – they believe the rumours, they believe the rumours to be negative, they believe the traders. That is also why the trader is so adamant that Johan’s father should not go above himself – he would give the whole game away. This for me is also the reason why the trader poisoned this grain – to keep the family for ruining their plans.
    When Jacob is outside he realises that they have all been taken for a ride – what the doctor in the caves had realised earlier (and that is why he asks of news from Johan). Why he took so long to fully realise this is because he was a) half-starved and b) worried for his family and only thinking about the medicine. When he goes back and can’t find the entrance, it harks back to the start of the story where it is stated that “most believed were inhabited by ghosts and evil spirits”. When the people start to starve, they forget about the “fairy tales” of the ghosts, but when Johan can’t find the entrance he realises that there was truth to the ghosts-spirit tales after all…
    I had thought that putting in the line by Potterglass:
    “Bless me, son, we thought you were all dead and gone! Stolen from us by the spirits in the night! Where are your family?”
    Thereby pointing the reader back to the “spirit/ghost” thing…

    Anyway, can’t wait for next month’s contest!

  3. #18
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    The Trials of El Gordo by Daddy Darth
    I have no technical or plot arching critique. I thought the story was well paced, clear, logically constructed, and fully developed. I'm not a huge fan of flashbacks in short stories, but in this one it worked in the arc and enhanced the action, versus simply explaining to the reader a history and getting us up-to-date.

    So just in comment:
    From the title, I inherently thought of Gordon as fat, and though you don't have any physical description for him, I assumed that the childhood taunt was as much about weight as it was a play on of his name. (?) Not that that means anything to the story itself, but just letting you know that if that wasn't the intent, be cautious next time out on double meanings.

    I wonder if the story was posted in a non-spec fiction place, if most people would just assume the inference of true ESP powers was a sham, and that the guy was just off a little. For me, I'm still wondering which is true - which I think is your intent - but only because it's posted on a spec fiction board. It reads to me like the visions of arson and the little girl and the "splices" are his own experiences he's contributing to others to assuage his own guilt and shame. I love the fact that you leave the reality in your own mind up to the reader. Nice story, well done.

    Colony by Sean Regan (TheGhost)
    I could smell the cigarette smoke in the air while reading this. Intriguing throughout with dialogue instead of action. Well done.

    "But it's not the one you wanted. It was your second choice, the second," I said, without regret, because I knew this fact meant everything and would mean everything to him, no matter what he said otherwise."

    Is the line that you are working towards throughout the whole piece, but it reads awkward(ly?) to me. I understood the gist, but uncombining the phrases and creating multiple sentences might have made it clearer and more definitive - had more impact. For me, anyway.

    Balthazar's Legacy by Jordan Lanni
    Nice story. I think with a little editing it could have been tighter - I was a little lost the first time through. Mainly some unsteady rhythm from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.

    But more than that, for me, the sequence of events throws it off. Instead of a flashback to the meeting during Tural's internal debate, start with the meeting itself - or that part of the meeting - or what DD said about starting with the explosion, then to the meeting, then to the memory of Balthazar and the internal debate.

    Then again, you probably chose to try it this way on purpose. I find flashbacks hard to write without expositioning too much or becoming confusing, so it's a personal preference of style more than anything else.

    Keep it coming.

    Level 3 by Carin Marais (marshwriter)

    Technically it's fine. There are a few areas where it could use a little re-working and some clarity, but not bad. It moves forward well and the pace is fine.

    I never buy into the plot points, though. I can get through the original building of the and set up of the sanctuary. But I don't buy logic of the families cutting themselves off from the rest of the world without the actual final crash - seems too extreme. Nor the forgetfulness of the neighbors they left behind. The poisoning of his family by the trader, you explain in the notes here, that it was because the trader did not want Johan's father to go to the outside world, but I didn't see the father's desire to do so set up in the story. I was expecting some more sinister plan, but no explanation was forthcoming, so it left me confused. And I was not sure why he could not find the entrance again. Was it a secret entrance that was forgetful? Were the missing traders the landmark? I assume he had passed through it a few times when they were moving in and had a good idea where it lay. So i did not fully understand why he was at a loss.

    I like the idea of the situation and conclusion, but for me the reasons for the plot movement don't work.

    The Prisoner (The Continuing Misadventures of Kalgon WonderNot) by Todd Banker (txshusker)

    My own effort. Thanks for the kind words and those showing faults. I agree with critique about the conversation, I hate using that as a means of showing the theme, and didn't intend for it togo the direction it did - in retrospect, I probably should have used another method of instigating the meeting and entry into the conclusion. Most of the things most readers felt the story lacked, (why K was there in the first place, etc...) were in the original rendition, but in this effort I sacrificed underlying reason explanations for action and foreward movement, and hoped I dropped enough hints throughout to give a little basis for them. (Draft 1 was 1800 words, so there was a lot of sacrificing...) And the end was a little complicated with the K/B stuff, but I was hoping that the slashing would actually help define who was who, not confuse matters. Doh! Now I feel the wrath! But I am relatively happy with the exercise as a whole.

    So this guy walks into a bar... by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)

    I like the style and presentation of the two variations, but not sure I completely got it as a piece. Maybe I'm just reading too much into things.

    First, minutely, as it reads, I was a little confused by this "He’s been driving on two for years. He can drive better on two than most people can drive on none" because I wasn't sure what "two" was referring to - I know that's a bit obtuse, but I wasn't sure if it was cars, or wheels.. I finally got it in the lower story that it was pints! Doh. But it distracted me for a time.

    and this : "doesn’t see the kid on the backseat"
    I was not sure who the kid was. Whether it was his child he had forgotten about or the kid from the bar. Maybe a small added description of the school uniform would have clued me the first time around.
    (Those are pretty picky personal clarification points, too.)

    I like the style and presentation. But what I didn't get is the kid's presence at the bar before the man leaves and his overall function. Is this a time loop that he's reliving until he survives? And if that's the case, you have the same man/driver, but his character is slightly altered (as stated by the wife relations variance) so it actually is a parallel situation, not the same one being relived. Right?

    And finally, I come away with the thought that the actual survival was not because of the choice the man made to pass on the chaser, but rather due to pure random luck, since his driving reactions are the same both ways. I think that it depresses me that life is that random, but I also thought it was a different way to end it than expected, which I liked.

    I also liked the choice of the two frames/two variations/"sliding doors" mode.

    Live free or die by Michael Aaron (Zachariah)
    Got my vote.

    I loved the story. I was just hoping for a uplifting ending for a guy who had worked to get himself right but who needed a last break. However, the suicide wasn't right out of the blue; you set it up with his attitude and his internal thoughts (not to mention the TITLE!), so it was consistent with what had gone before and didn't keep me from enjoying the story. I don't see his choice of death any less valid than hari-kari (neither of which I am advocating, of course). The world you created and tone had me enjoyed and interested from the very beginning.

    The critique of today's commercialism is spot on, as is the orporate "ramming" attitude. Isn't that how Walmart works? I love the set up of using icebergs for ads. Clever. (But haven't you heard... icebergs won't be around in 200 years.) I think your presentation was very consistent and the pacing was even.

    nice work. thanks.

  4. #19
    Forgive us our tristises Tristis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Fredericton, NB, Canada
    The Trials of El Gordo by Daddy Darth
    An excellent story. It was well-told, had great characterization and setting. There were enough solid details to give a solid sense of every scene. The drama was there. The climax was a climax and the resolution was fitting to the story.

    Colony by Sean Regan (TheGhost)
    Well written and seductive. It was easy to read. Obviously it is much more character centred than plot, which is fine. It has a nice slow flow to it. I must have missed something in how it relates to the title, though.

    Balthazar's Legacy by Jordan Lanni
    I understood the dilemma. I think it was resolved well. There were a couple of word choice problems for me. I think “arose” just yanked me right out of the story for a second.

    Level 3 by Carin Marais (marshwriter)
    Hmm. Cool. I thought I could see the ending coming, but then it there was a little twist and an end that was off to the side there. This is a fairly thought provoking piece.

    The Prisoner (The Continuing Misadventures of Kalgon WonderNot) by Todd Banker (txshusker)
    I had fun reading this. I like bad-guy perspectives so much. The sound effects were great, the pacing was good. I liked the tone of it. I think Kalgon could have been a little more presented. Fine that he is part of a larger story, but I would have liked some specific insight here. What drew him in? Did he battle any fear or other instinct that would have kept him safely away (or made him come armed)?

    So this guy walks into a bar... by Pete Warner (Hoodwink)
    Another excellent story Mr. Hoodwink. I depend on you to write something both brilliant and sideways and here I sit, not disappointed. I love repetition done well (it can be so painful when not done well) and this was like poetry.

    Live free or die by Michael Aaron (Zachariah)
    Another great piece. I was impressed with the world building as well as the complicated little adventure. The gizmos were cool, too. Everything was believable, right down to the royalty laden “ancient” music.

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