CERAMIC DM March 2012 - Page 24




What's on your mind?

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    I am suffering from trash talk withdrawals so: Hefty Bags! Coffee Grounds! Egg Shells! Banana Peels!

    There. that should hold me for a little while.
    It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, that which is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint Exupery

 

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    Neeeee!
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxfieldjadenfox View Post
    Hefty Bags! Coffee Grounds! Egg Shells! Banana Peels!
    Durka durka durka durka... durka durka jihad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UselessTriviaMan View Post
    Durka durka durka durka... durka durka jihad.
    I'll see your jihad and raise you an apocalypse...
    It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, that which is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint Exupery

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    I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellefire View Post
    I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok...
    I hate that this site doesn't have a way to "like" a post except by awarding experience points which you can't award to the same person too often...
    It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, that which is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint Exupery

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    Mirth - Judgment

    Round 1, Match 4

    SteelDraco vs. Wild Gazebo

    First, let me apologize for the lateness of my posts. In the last week, I have had to travel across the state I live in (NC) twice for unplanned, unannounced meetings for work and tomorrow morning I am headed out again for another state altogether (TN). I don't normally travel for my job, so this extra driving ate up all of my spare time that I had allotted for the competition. I will try in earnest to keep on top of my scheduling from here on out.

    Now, let's get on with it --

    Again, the stories that have been presented show true craft and deft use of plot, language, and characterization. This Ceramic DM contest is knocking my socks off!

    Style -- SteelDraco brings us the tale of a doctor with a dangerous and deadly secret to hide. The creep factor is ratcheted right up from the very beginning of the tale and never falters. Both Patricia and Dr. Heinrich are well-rounded, fully fleshed-out characters and the story itself reads like a short film script. Although the ending seemed to be telegraphed a bit, the use of tropes were strong (not cliched) and the plot was conniving and edgy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Likewise, I felt that Wild Gazebo's acid trip journey through the looking-hole was a gob-smackingly great read. The characters were so vividly detailed that I could easily envision them in my head. The story filled me with childlike wonder. The narrative was so strong that the plot carried me from point to point, never dropping, never stopping and left me bemused and grinning. The two stories couldn't be farther apart in tone and setting, which is why I love this competition so much. You never know what is coming next. If I had one quibble in this category, it would be Wild Gazebo's narrator and his style of speech. It works for the most part, but it is sometimes inconsistent, and those inconsistencies are more glaring in their rareness, making them stand out to the reader. Also, if the narrator is telling this story, does he then halt his "patois" to talk in the more stoic, dry voice of the ant? I think that is the way the story is structured, but I don't see the narrator giving voice to the ant in that way and it made me disbelieve for a moment.

    Picture use -- The picture use is solid in both stories. The aged house is used well as a setting in both, one belying the age of it's mysteriously non-aging owner, the other hiding a bizarre link to another world. Even more so, the ant was a focal point in both stories and used in equally unique and fascinating ways. The chess piece had a role to play in both stories that I did not expect, and those surprises worked wonderfully for me. And the image of the underwater heads was also utilized in strange and engrossing ways in both. If I had to give a nod in this category, it would be to SteelDraco who made an absolutely brilliant use of the underwater heads to put a grisly cap on an otherwise already horrific tale.

    Personal connection -- Although I am not a horror fan per se, I do enjoy a good suspense story and SteelDraco provides that in spades. Never was gore the focus of the action in SteelDraco's story, which is what usually puts me off horror, so the queasiness and creepiness of the doctor's tale worked really well for me. On the other hand, I thought the journey through the land of the Whimsies was clever, well-crafted, and ultimately more appealing to my personal preferences.

    Final judgment - Although both stories were top-notch reads and thoroughly enjoyable, I found that SteelDraco's stylistic mastery and slightly better picture use edged out Wild Gazebo's whacky, wonderful, whimsical whopper.

    My nod for Round 1, Match 4 goes to STEELDRACO! Congratulations!!!
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

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    Thanks for the critique Mirth!!!


    Spoiler:
    Really good point about the change of speech. It probably would have worked better if I blended the narrator into expository--fading in and out. I honestly didn't even think of that...really good point. It really would have forced me to tighten up my writing and then I would have been able to use more words toward story instead of character. Thanks.
    <insert clever remark>

  • #239
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    First, thanks for the great round, Wild Gazebo!

    I didn't want to respond to any of the judge's comments before all of them had posted, so I'll do so below.

    Spoiler:

    Thanks to everybody for their critiques! Very helpful and reasonable. I hadn't written anything in a while, so the start is rocky - I had trouble getting started and didn't do as much editing as I would have liked. Word choice and a better start were definitely a problem on this one. The timeline of the first two scenes doesn't line up very well either.

    steeldragon mentioned wanting to see Patricia fleshed out better - totally true. I wanted another character development scene to flesh her out but I couldn't get it to come together in a way that didn't drag the pacing way down. I didn't want to add any more characters, and too much conversation between the two of them would have felt too... show-y, I suppose. In my head, she's a political science student who's working toward being a chief of staff type; she works as a personal assistant for money while she's in college. I wanted to have a scene of her doing homework at the house and get distracted by visions of the door, but it slowed things down too much.

    To Mirth, regarding telegraphing the ending: yeah, totally true. I knew she was going to die from the beginning, though I had to axe a long bit at the end - originally she snuck on the boat while he was disposing of the previous specimen, but that didn't really work at all after I started on it. I hacked it back to the basics.

    I'm surprised (but glad!) people liked the use of the stone heads - I actually thought putting one of the images in the denouement was a bit of a cop-out on my part.
    http://steeldraco.wordpress.com: Pathfinder and Savage Worlds blog

  • #240
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelDraco View Post
    First, thanks for the great round, Wild Gazebo!
    Right back at-ya!

    You know, now you have to win this whole thing just to assuage my poor injured pride. So, there is a lot of responsibility with this win. Please think of the children.

    And good luck!
    <insert clever remark>

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