February 2019 Challenge - Cosmic Horror - The Results

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Post March 10, 2019, 02:10:30 PM

Re: February 2019 Challenge - Cosmic Horror - The Results

Congrats, Jon and Iain!

As before, I wrote comments as I was reading the stories. Here they are, and I hope none of this is taken too hard.
Friends everywhere

I couldn't figure out where this was going until the last word. That's not usually a good way to write a story, but I can see how you'd want to save the reveal for the very end.

I don't really see a plot here, or any characterization. No character arc, no story arc. Some setting detail, but all the dialog is the same.

What carries this piece is the question of who the PoV character is; in that, it's reasonably successful: readers want answers.

I don't see how this fits the definition of a story. If it weren't drawn out so long, it would be an aphorism, but those have to be concise.

It's a brave experiment, though.
Shadows Are Not What They Seem…

Lots of creepy, dark mood, which is appropriately Lovecraftian. I wish I could find some reason to care what happens to the main character, but I didn't.

Desert Secrets

Nice creepy mood, and some great language. Packages. Yellow trucks (maybe a nod to R.W. Chambers' The King in Yellow?. It's all vague and suggestive. Then Cthulhu comes along and ruins all that with actual concrete detail; very ironic.
The Congregationalist Senior Living Home

Crazy person goes crazier. Didn't that place stink pretty bad?

There's some kind of plot hole here: three bodies get carried out every day, but everyone in the building aside from the narrator is long dead--and the narrator still has some food left over.

At least Snuggles will have some fresh meat for a while.
Special Orders

Ahh, now that's the stuff!
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
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Post March 10, 2019, 06:45:40 PM

Re: February 2019 Challenge - Cosmic Horror - The Results

Ok, lots to go over here. First of all, congratulations to everyone for the great stories. I am a novice writer at this point having only six months under my belt, but I had some thoughts that might be helpful for the next round.

I voted for Shadows and here is why: it stayed true to the "ancient extra-dimensional terror" that Lovecraft is so loved for. The language was spot on and the came to a horrific end, which is appropriate for this genre. That being said, the first few (2-3) paragraphs were a little painful. It felt like it took a bit to find your flow and actually get to the story. Once the story got going though — it was seatbelts on and ready for the full ride.

My second favorite was Special Orders. The language was appropriate for the challenge. You threw in some great, very relatable references. The character development was top notch. The reason why I didn't vote for it was tempo. I felt like this story was going places, someplace interesting, the world was created and then... BOOM. The last paragraph felt more like you ran out of words than an actual ending. I understand we only have 1000 words to work with, but tempo has to be part of the thought process when setting up the storyboard.

Desert Secrets... Lovecraft is more than just Cthulhu. I felt like this was a watered down version of a story I've already heard before. I mean, kudos for turning small children into frightening miniature cultists, but I was looking for something more original.

Friends Everywhere, even though it was about death it didn't really feel Lovecraftian. It felt more like a macabre version of Goodnight Moon.

As for my own, The Congregationalist Senior Living Home, it seems I didn't convey everything that was going on in my mind clearly enough. The bodies that were carried out in the courtyard were part of everyday life. After she painted the cat's eye in human blood on her ceiling it broke reality or in the very least her reality. That's when she steps out of her apartment and sees the decay of temporal distortion and never-ending torment. This is not the first time I failed to convey my ideas clearly, so I'll take that away as something that needs a great deal of work.

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