[Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)


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Post August 03, 2011, 11:43:00 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

The Mangoes Made Me Mad by N.N. Kailhofer

After reading “The Mangoes Made me Mad” again, I liked it better. Maybe because I can’t stand to be around my sister-in-law!

A family get-together can be worst than standing trial. In many ways it is, and Nate takes us into an environment in which we all must suffer, sometime. And he builds up the suspense with each action at the re-union.

A mind that must be unstable can’t hold-up under a psychological torture that family re-unions can generate. And in this story we travel with Nick as those forces pound away at his sanity. The last paragraph tells all by Nick’s hypnotic fascination with shiny knife that glistened in the bright sunlight. And it felt so good in Nick’s hand.

When Nick’s niece asks, “Uncle Nick, can you play with us?” and then she almost begs him in the next sentence, Nick plays. This shows that his niece is not afraid of him, in which case he must be a rather pleasant guy most of the time. Especially when he gives in after she says, "Aw, please, Uncle Nick. We don't never get to play nothin' fun like this at home.” His niece know that if she bugs him, he’ll give in. It’s the adults that have driven him crazy! Not the kids!

When he goes on the rampage I don’t believe that he kills the kids!

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Darkness by J.B. Hogan

“Darkness” is simple and to the point. I like more showing than telling, but when limited to a thousand words, it’s hard to show much. I think J.B. did capture the challenge quite well, and his characters especially Clifford came alive. Old Mr. Farris was stereotyped, but in a story of this length, it worked.

In the first paragraph, attempting to show the evil demon within Clifford would have set a better tone for the rest of the story.

Good writing and good description coupled with nice dialogue are found in this story, and that is a plus. Try to add some more showing when possible, especially when emphasising something evil. Show the evilness if possible. It will impact the reader much more than telling.

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Bebarlangs by Sergio Palumbo


This one meets Nate’s challenge. For someone who writes English as a second language, I think that Sergio has accomplished much!

Psychic vampires sound very scary, and with this one, we get to understand it from inside out: An astral body that leaves its flesh and blood body of its host and hunts for prey.

I thought descriptions and character development good and dialogue Okay. I also liked how a general anaesthetic stopped human-willpower from containing an Astral Body.
It almost borders on science overcoming magic, which we see from time to time.

Heherson leaving his village after the astral body killed his family really fits in well with Nate’s constraint in this one.

Not a bad story and one that fits clearly within Nate’s rule.


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Forever by Michele Dutcher


It was hard to see how this one followed Nate’s challenge. I guess the name Pam was what had to be held in.

I loved the beginning of the story. Michele showed ‘wonderment’ in Xam’s eyes by leading us along the stone-path up the hillside and into the man-made cave. Yet, she also showed fortitude on Xam’s part by him using an imperative sentence.


Very good description and character development grew as the story unfolded.
And I thought the dialogue tailored itself in line with Xam and especially the entities that were judges. And the entities being both male and female integrated into one, suggested judges that could be impartial! I like that.

The story was a nice read, easy to follow yet filled with good dialogue.


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Totch and Go by Richard Tornello

Quite a story. Totch must really be something. He just might have started everything we know, and thank God he never took Gas-X! ---Just had to get that one in.

A very good take on the ‘Big Bang Theory’, and one that I never imagined before. And I’m sure many others never did either.

I always like Richard’s stories, and really this one was very imaginative. He is a fine writer and one that always comes up with something new.

As anyone can see, the writing was good, and character development as good as one could make within the word limit. And his dialogue worked.

We have to stretch our minds to understand how Totch fitted the challenge, but, and I might be wrong in my assumption, we –humans on earth—are the evilness that lurked in Totch.

I liked the story!!!


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Wild Horses by TaoPhoenix

I can’t get a real handle on this one. Hoss Willard might be some type of con-man. I don’t know. He certainly has set himself up as an expert and got a million-dollar-a-year contract with the government. Anybody with a name ‘Willard’ has always reminded me of a rat, since that movie Willard came out over thirty-five years ago. Sometime when we want to portray a con man or a rat, we’ll unconsciously give that person a name that’s fitting!!


Hoss’s work reminds me of the book Megatrends by John Naisbitt that was published years ago. If I remember right, certain trends in our society can be found in newspapers by the amount of space dedicate to the article.


In the story, Hoss apparently can’t speak face-to-face with another person because his
elliptical insights will drive that person into a slippery brand of insanity, whatever that is.
So he communicates on-line, only.

I don’t see how this fitted within Nate’s challenge, but then again to be honest the didn’t understand the story. Only segments here and there through-out the story stood out to me.

I do like Tao’s work and in this one Tao did present an interesting work, built on good writing.

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Across the Maddening Gulf by J. Davidson Hero

I really liked this one. In fact, I liked it better than mine! The showing in the first paragraph lets you visual the protagonist and by the end of the paragraph you have some insight into his psyche.

This story captures the spirit of Nate’s challenge. It holds one’s interest from beginning to end, and presents characters that are true to life. The nice flow of words adds much to this story as it develops, and we begin to understand his dilemma since he was abducted by aliens, then returned to earth with an alien parasite within him.

The stowaway is just behind the protagonist’s eyes. Who likes Lovecraft? Do we have an alien entity the likes Lovecraft? Is that a possible reason for the interest in Lovecraft?

Probably not, but it is interesting to ponder such things.

I liked this story the most!!
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Post August 04, 2011, 11:29:28 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

George,

Thank you for the very thorough and thoughtful analysis of the stories. You have some insightful constructive criticism here. Of course I'm particularly happy that you liked my story. :D

In regards to the name Willard, (all politics completely aside) perhaps you've explained why Willard Mitt Romney goes by his middle name.

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Post August 04, 2011, 12:02:54 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

I am extremely glad and impressed with the two sets of critiques of this month's stories. An objective and informative critque is an art form within itself. I will try to make time to do them as well. Unbelievably busy tIme for me right now. I think these insights not only give the writers increased motivation, but adds deeper meaning to these contests. Reading other people's observations is as much an enjoyment to me as the stories themselves.

Thank you Davidson and George!

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Post August 04, 2011, 12:09:06 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Here are a couple of questions I had after thinking over the stories some more:

Nate,
Should I tell your wife to keep sharp objects and mangoes away from you from now on? :lol: Just kidding. Whenever I include something in one of my stories that might be similar in even the most insignificant way to something in my real life, my wife and other family members usually ask warily if I'm writing about myself. I have to point out, "no, it's just a character," and that a writer is supposed to write from what they know. Still, "Nick" and "Nate" both start with "N"... hmm. :P

Sergio,
When I read your story I remembered from my long ago role-playing days the creature called the "berbalang" which seems to have similarities to your psychic vampire. Is there a direct connection or is it just a coincidence? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berbalang

Richard, how do you come up with your character names? I remember that in the past, one of your character names was the result of a typo. (Hewa was it?)

TaoPhoenix, I wasn't sure what the meaning of your title "Wild Horses" was. I usually struggle with titles. I changed the one for my story 2 or 3 times before settling. Sometimes I end up with a title that can give some additional meaning to the story, sometimes not.

John
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Post August 04, 2011, 04:23:06 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Hello Megawatts - thanks for all the critiques, nice job. As far as the evil in my story I wanted to explore the question: If a society could, down to a man, live forever, in an extremely stable environment - what would be the most evil thing a person could do? - answer: kill themselves. By killing themselves, or even opting for the alternative of eventual death, a person would be shouting in their faces that death is better than living without the possibility of change. And then others might have to face the fact that they've felt the same way.
Really, I should have had the son walk into the middle of a busy street, say the name, and disappear.
Next month I'll write a zombie story and rip some brains out. Promise.
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Post August 04, 2011, 07:03:17 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Richard, how do you come up with your character names? I remember that in the past, one of your character names was the result of a typo. (Hewa was it?)

Sometimes I use the Latin for the characters, actually spelling out who or what they are. I will reverse the obvious with modifications D' Rah-Cir, Richard. The Cir could be a traditional Latin C pronounced with a K as in Kir or sir, as in "Cir you scare me."

The story SCHEISS-KOPH which was rejected for this contest. I expanded it and sent it in for consideration to Robert. If I didn't I will. Or I sent it somewhere else waiting for a reply. I like it, it's a bit silly creepy and another one that freaks my wife out. She sleeps with my SIG 238, just kidding. She sleeps with her family Wakizashi .

I will use mystical names from different cultures, for example, KITSUNE is a fox in Japanese culture, and all that it can imply. So when I use him or her as a character it's Kit Sune

Yes, HEWA was and accident, as in he was jammed together as hewa when I was typing. I like it so I left it.
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Post August 05, 2011, 03:29:49 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

For Davidsonhero

Sergio,
When I read your story I remembered from my long ago role-playing days the creature called the "berbalang" which seems to have similarities to your psychic vampire. Is there a direct connection or is it just a coincidence?


Actually, I found them some time ago on my book about legends...eh,eh :D

For Megawatts

one that fits clearly within Nate’s rule.


:D

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Post August 05, 2011, 05:56:05 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Megawatts wrote:
Wild Horses by TaoPhoenix

I can’t get a real handle on this one. Hoss Willard might be some type of con-man. I don’t know. He certainly has set himself up as an expert and got a million-dollar-a-year contract with the government. Anybody with a name ‘Willard’ has always reminded me of a rat, since that movie Willard came out over thirty-five years ago. Sometime when we want to portray a con man or a rat, we’ll unconsciously give that person a name that’s fitting!!

Hoss’s work reminds me of the book Megatrends by John Naisbitt that was published years ago. If I remember right, certain trends in our society can be found in newspapers by the amount of space dedicate to the article.

In the story, Hoss apparently can’t speak face-to-face with another person because his
elliptical insights will drive that person into a slippery brand of insanity, whatever that is.
So he communicates on-line, only.

I don’t see how this fitted within Nate’s challenge, but then again to be honest the didn’t understand the story. Only segments here and there through-out the story stood out to me.

I do like Tao’s work and in this one Tao did present an interesting work, built on good writing.



Thank you Megawatts for at least saying this was ".. interesting, built on good writing"! Although apparently, as a story, my delivery didn't meet my intentions. Thank you for doing the detailed review, so that gives me something to respond to.

Elsewhere to DavidsonHero, the title was supposed to be simple - I just had a quick image of a headstrong horse pulling a cart to a market, but then it would decide to chase either another stallion or a mare, dragging the cart of goods helplessly along with it. As for horror, a couple folks asked that already, and in a sense, I achieved a goal in reverse. Is there anything more terrifying than the leadership of a country sending the entire country and from globalization, into chaos? I don't dare take the I-Told-You-So route three weeks early when I submitted my story, but this budget mess fits my theme of the horror perfectly. Forget the axes, forget the zombies, have any of y'all really worked out the mess that results from a US Credit Default?

Apparently I mischaracterized Hoss Willard - it was supposed to be just a "down home Western" name. Also, far from being a con man, I really tried to follow Nate's rules of "the person does everything possible to reign in the evil". Since everyone has kept chiming in that "they felt no horror", I sorta succeeded - a perfectly controlled resource *gives off no horror*.

The back story that I ran out of words for is that Hoss Willard thought he was "just a popular small town cowboy" until he gradually stumbled onto the terrifying realization that he's like a mix of Sawyer and Ben Linus from Lost, whereupon everything he says shapes the events around him. It's fun when it means getting a nice Saturday night and a good deal at the farm, but at some point he ends up on a national forum, maybe a talk radio call in, and the next day's news is all about "what good suggestions those were!" This is a man who could start the Second Great Depression because he could if desired cajole Harry Reid and John Boehner to scuttle our national credit because "We have no choice but to hold to our principles, and the country won't understand hardship until they have had to face tough times and make sacrifices" etc.

Terrified at this, Hoss hid himself away out west and stuck to email. Yes, his powers come largely from a hypnotic rhythmic cadence that gets worse like radiation exposure. Sure, my one stanza was not enough to send anyone over the edge - because that was after the protocols were in place!! But take your choice of your top favorite singer, and try a ten minute speech like that, and see what happens!

... So from an audience side, perhaps I should have reversed my story and made it an "alternate universe" where Hoss doesn't have all these strategies, and despite some efforts at restraint, sends Washington into smithereens.
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Post August 05, 2011, 11:09:32 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

.. So from an audience side, perhaps I should have reversed my story and made it an "alternate universe" where Hoss doesn't have all these strategies, and despite some efforts at restraint, sends Washington into smithereens.
As luck would have it, we didn't need a fictional character to do that . . .

Well, Tao, you had a strategy in mind . . . it just didn't work as intended.
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Post August 06, 2011, 09:36:54 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Lester Curtis wrote:
.. So from an audience side, perhaps I should have reversed my story and made it an "alternate universe" where Hoss doesn't have all these strategies, and despite some efforts at restraint, sends Washington into smithereens.
As luck would have it, we didn't need a fictional character to do that . . .

Well, Tao, you had a strategy in mind . . . it just didn't work as intended.


Update - Standard & Poors blipped our credit rating anyway, "over concerns on the debt situation". Oh really!?

So we got no default, but this still seems unconstitutional, because "the credit of the US shall not be questioned". So some bankers with a really fancy financial spread will make a killing off of this, but I don't have the trader chops to describe it right.

http://www.ibtimes.com/art/services/pri ... eid=193427
(I tried to link to the print version of the article.)
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Post August 06, 2011, 11:25:51 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

So we got no default, but this still seems unconstitutional, because "the credit of the US shall not be questioned". So some bankers with a really fancy financial spread will make a killing off of this, but I don't have the trader chops to describe it right.


The administration caved big time. It had the 14th on its side and it caved.

We had bigger debt after ww ll The tax rate was higher on both the citizenry and business back then. And now we, the citizens carry, most of the tax burden.

We can dig ourselves out, but we need real jobs that can support families, not burger flippers.

Remember the word SERVICE come from the Latin root SLAVE.

And the teabaggers and the extreme right and left need to get a grip on reality.

My take on this mess.: As a history major, I've seen it before.

Joseph Heller, Mark Twain, and Kurt Vonnegut had it right, as did Ben Franklin who replied when asked what was going on at the convention (more or less) "We are make you a republic if you can keep it."

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Post August 06, 2011, 12:18:35 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

It'll be interesting to see how the stock market reacts on Monday.

BTW thanks for the responses to my questions guys. I think its helpful to see some of the behind the scenes process that other writers go through, whether its coming up with names or titles, sources of inspiration, or whatever. :)

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Post August 07, 2011, 04:54:04 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

davidsonhero wrote:Nate,
Should I tell your wife to keep sharp objects and mangoes away from you from now on? :lol: Just kidding. Whenever I include something in one of my stories that might be similar in even the most insignificant way to something in my real life, my wife and other family members usually ask warily if I'm writing about myself. I have to point out, "no, it's just a character," and that a writer is supposed to write from what they know. Still, "Nick" and "Nate" both start with "N"... hmm. :P

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or very recently deceased and in little pieces, is entirely coincidental. :)

You mean your family will actually read what you write?? Mine won't. Not one of them. Not even the copy of Flash of Aphelion sitting on the table by my wife's favorite chair week after week.

It's like a hobby to humored, but not supported. :(
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Post August 07, 2011, 08:42:28 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Good to hear from you Nate. I was starting to worry you might be off running naked in the streets of Kaukauna screaming about snakes or something. :lol:

Nate wrote:
You mean your family will actually read what you write?? Mine won't. Not one of them. Not even the copy of Flash of Aphelion sitting on the table by my wife's favorite chair week after week.

It's like a hobby to humored, but not supported.


My wife does proof most of my stories. She is a very good proofreader. However, I don't think she enjoys it much since she's not a fan of science fiction or fantasy in general. So at times it does take some bribery or guilt to get her to read them.

You should tell your wife that if she doesn't read any of your stories the Liberal Arts police will be knocking on your door and asking for her English degree back. I was in a stylistics class with her once and I'm sure she could give you some valuable feedback about your writing if you made it worth her while. :wink:

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Post August 08, 2011, 02:43:21 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

For Rick Tornello:

So (US) we got no default


Actually, on the other hand, Italy got bankrupt many years ago,so to say,in a way, maybe not the state but most of its population...eh,eh but probably nobody noticed that or wanted to admit :mrgreen: ..eh,eh...I mean, it's a long time Italy undoubtedly lives high...eh,eh
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Post August 08, 2011, 09:27:01 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

My family won't read my stories/books either - but they do BUY them, in spite of their better judgement. They have them sitting around on their coffetables and Nooks, so I can't fuss. It would be nice to have positive feedback, but $$$ will do as well.
That's the thing online, too. I've sold 65 books since July 1st, but not a peep as far as a review. Oh, well, the $$$ is nice for sure, eh eh.
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Post August 08, 2011, 09:48:41 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

It is easy to get your family into reading your stories, all. Just put them in the story and tell them about it!!
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Post August 08, 2011, 11:15:13 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Good idea George. :)
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Post August 08, 2011, 11:28:10 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

FAMILY IN THE STORY

I would get sued, or then again maybe the few that I wrote about wouldn't talk to me, not a bad idea.

I did one THE INCANTATIONS. Josie the witch is really my Mom. She laughed so hard at that part.
She has a sense of humor. THE GREAT TALE is another story all together.

I think they might be on my web site.

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Post August 08, 2011, 06:02:18 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

kailhofer wrote:Any resemblance to actual persons, living or very recently deceased and in little pieces, is entirely coincidental. :)

You mean your family will actually read what you write?? Mine won't. Not one of them. Not even the copy of Flash of Aphelion sitting on the table by my wife's favorite chair week after week.

It's like a hobby to humored, but not supported. :(


Nah Nate, you just have to get vicious with the guerilla marketing!

1. (You work in Print, right?) Switch the cover and make it by someone else including removing your name from the stories. (You're an expert at that!!)
2. Read it like crazy, and BE crazy. Talk about it. Spill soda/beverage on it, then swear a bit and "try to deal with it."
3. Refuse to let them look. The stories are that good.
4. A few days later run off to an errand and leave it on the counter.

If it's "Just Nate" they're all like "bah, I'm busy." But if the cover says something like "Poe's Tears: A tribute to early horror" someone might jump at it.

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Post August 08, 2011, 10:18:46 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

kailhofer wrote:You mean your family will actually read what you write?? Mine won't. Not one of them. Not even the copy of Flash of Aphelion sitting on the table by my wife's favorite chair week after week.

Nate, It is that "a prophet is not without honor "EXCEPT" in his own house and country truism that comes into play here. People who are close to you do not often see or appreciate the greatness and or potential a person has merely because they know them. It's "The grass is always greener on the other side" and all of those tendencies that skews human expectation.

But your writing/stories are special, not anything like them out there. You only need to get them before an audience far removed from you to put them on a stage where there is a separation between the reader and the writer, before they can be enjoyed without bias.

Maybe, put out your own book of stories with illustrators who would do the work for a piece of the take. I thought of that when you were publishing the first book. Or maybe an audio cd of a dozen of your best work!

In a professional form, they take on a different feel that gives them the presentation they deserve.

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Post August 09, 2011, 09:53:42 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

My family very seldom reads what I write. I don't even ask them to read my stories anymore.
At least editors will send rejection slips! My family doesn't even give me that courtesy!

I'm not sure what the problem is with families not reading another family's works. I've heard that from many. Usually when a son or daughter writes a story for their school or some community function, the parents will read it.

My grandson and daughter have asked me to write stories for their college-English-composition classes and I have. Other than that, nobody reads my stuff at home.
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Post August 09, 2011, 11:31:11 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

For Bottomdweller:

I've sold 65 books since July 1st, but not a peep as far as a review. Oh, well, the $$$ is nice for sure, eh eh.


Very good of you, well done...some good news, indeed!!! :D
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Post August 09, 2011, 12:31:58 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Hi Ente per ente, about 10 minutes after I posted that, a friend of mine brought me a bunch of corrections to be made to the book. At least she's reading it, for real. I think that's really what we all want, to be read and enjoyed.
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