Spectator Commentary thread for Ceramic DM (Winter 2005)


OK, I guess I will start the commentary thread. Though, I haven't read the first story yet. Maybe I ought to read that real quick too?

Anyway, here is the spectator commentary thread that avoids any possibility of creating bias for the judges. Because I am making the thread, I am also cross-posting the menu links for this round here. (Besides, this is a nice way to test the links before sending them to Alsih2o.)

Spectator Commentary is open to everyone, except the judges. The judges can come check out the thread after the contest if they would like. Everyone else that wants to comment on groovy stories based around wacky pictures, post here! If you have no idea what I am talking about, check the menu links, check the Ceramic DM thread, and share your thoughts. Be polite and be specific.

Ceramic DM - The Renewal (Winter 2005)

First Round - 4 pictures, 5000 words max
1 Pictures - Firelance vs NiTessine - Judgement
2 Pictures - Hellefire vs Orchid Blossom - Judgement + Judgement comments
3 Pictures - CarpeDavid vs Mythago <== CarpeDavid had to unexpectedly drop out.
4 Pictures - Big Tom vs Eeralai - Judgement
5 Pictures - Thorod Ashstaff vs Rodrigo Istalindir - Judgement
6 Pictures - Macbeth vs Ruined - Judgement
7 Pictures - Maddman75 vs Sigurd <== Missed Deadline Judge Commentary
8 Pictures - MarauderX vs Taladas - Judgement

Second Round (Winners of First Round competitions) - 5 pictures, 6000 words max
1 Pictures - Eeralai vs Mythago - Judgement
2 Pictures - Macbeth vs Maddman75 - Judgement
3 Pictures - Thorod Ashstaff vs MarauderX - Judgement
4 Pictures - Orchid Blossom vs Firelance - Judgement Pending

Third Round (Winners of the Second Round) - 5 pictures, 6000 words max
1 Pictures - Thorod Ashstaff vs Mythago
2 Pictures - Maddman75 vs ?

Ceramic DM FAQ for FictionAn archive of previous rounds as well as a brief overview of what Ceramic DM is.

1st Edit: Changing title to avoid confusion with the real thread.
2nd Edit: Adding links
3rd Edit: Adding Links
4th Edit: Adding Links
5th Edit: Adding Links
6th Edit: Adding Links
7th Edit: Adding Links
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Taladas - Charon Calls

Hey Taladas!

OK, there are several things that I enjoy about your story. Little things like the paperboy demanding two dollars. :) The three-day course in Orlando to become a Charon is also fun.

It seems like the story is a bit rushed. OK, that's not a surprise. We are talking about Ceramic DM here. While I liked the encounter with the paperboy, I can't help but question what it does to drive the story forward. The use of the sinkhole isn't bad, but I think it could have been tied into the story a little better. The fare isn't bad. I think I would have liked a little description though when Larry first meets him. The last two pictures suffer from a lack of description and relevance as well.

One of the hardest things to avoid in the rush of a Ceramic DM story is relying too much on the pictures to describe themselves. Especially since they are always such oddball pictures.

In the end, I think your story is a solid idea that needs some fleshing out. It reads a bit more like a draft where you have sketeched in portions, but haven't finished filling everything out. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it and I offer my thanks for weaving the story together. You always have interesting ideas that are fun to read.


MarauderX, just curious: have you stayed in Singapore before? You seem quite familiar with it from the little details you have in your story.


First Post
FireLance said:
MarauderX, just curious: have you stayed in Singapore before? You seem quite familiar with it from the little details you have in your story.

Oh yeah, been there and loved it. Glad you could give it a read though it needs some serious, serious editing. The monkey/lemur picture reminded me of the night safari tour I took when I was there, and I had the chance to explore most of the city. Nice place you got there, Firelance.


First Post
On Ruined's story:

Very, very nice. I actually really liked it. I usually take stories from an established game setting (I presume yours was based on White Wolf's Changeling) with more then a grain of salt, but I think your was great. You don't beat the reader over the head with setting references, and it wasn't until late in the story that I was sure it was based on a published game. Really good job.

All I can really say for now is that this is going to be close, I think. I'll try to give you some more insightful feedback later, if I remember.


First Post
All I can say is, wow. A lot of imagination and a lot of talent. I have enjoyed all of these stories. Personally, I havent written anything except poetry since high school about 15 years ago. I signed up one night after drinking a bit too much wine. But I am glad I did, both from what I am learning writing for myself, and for what I am seeing in other peoples writing.

I don't know if I should make critiques, being a contestant myself. But I guess I will since I'm not a judge.

the 'nilla wafer stories. The first one was interesting but seemed stretched. The horror one I thought was more imaginative and made better use of the pics. I agree with judges call. No offense to anyone.

the snail on the road stories. They were both great stories. The high school magic kid one was funny. The race one was more involved and seemed like it would be a good moral lesson or heading toward a novel. Very professional. As much as I like fun more than morals, I give my vote to the race story.

the parade stories. The changeling story was great and had a great ending that I hadn't seen and i Love the irony of. The clown of god story was very well written and I enjoyed it, the ending was warm and fuzzy and I like that kinda thing. But I am still debating the issue of using someone else's story, even if you twist it in your own way. I appreciate the ackowledgement of the fact, but really, that takes away too much in my opinion. I vote for the changelings.

the worst day story. laughed a bunch. I would have liked to see a competing story, but you did damn well. looking forward to seeing your next one.

Princess. Best use of pictures I have seen so far. Tied with the race story for my favorite story so far, both mainly due to interesting story, easy reading, entertaining and great flow. Incidentally, my own daughter's name is Sunshine.

Ghoul stories. end of worlds did a great job of explaining scientific theory in a short story. The story itself was captivating and an interesting idea. A little nit-picking; with all that advanced math, i'm not sure how 4 people paying 2million euros each came out to a 10million euro profit, and John explaining to his friend who started the theories seemed like a no-other-idea way of introducing the concept, since I would imagine that would be pretty common knowledge. Til death do us part (or til death do us partner), which is my suggestion for the title, was also a smooth tale. It seemed very realistic at the beginning, detailing a real relationship. The ghouls were worked in well, and I liked the not-written decision that he does Love her, blah-blah-blah. I think it was a bit too quick of a turn from we're seperation to cute shower scenes, even though the reasons for the friction were explained. All-in-all a great story though. I have personal biases, because John has a relationship with his daughter that I want to have with mine (who is now a little over a year old), and the relationship of Glen and Becky reminded me of me and my first ex-wife (dont ask :)). Anyway, it was a close call, but I have to go with end of worlds.

Cat cake stories. hardest for me to judge so far. i read life's illusions first, and was extremely impressed with picture use, flow and enjoyment. great story and written superbly. Though it would win hands down, but then I read determinism. Also a great story, and great picture use. In addition, I Loved the humor, that added a lot for me. Eventually i realized that I think determinism uses too many descriptions. They are ok in a novel or if they are an important part of the story, but in a short story, they seemed to take a third of the words. I also had a couple hanging questions that I would have liked at least partly answered or alluded to, like the accident with the cat. so, after much though, I have to give my vote to life's illusions, but on a 2-1 scale instead of a 1-0 or 3-0 scale.

lastly, but not leastly, my own contest with orchid blossom. i liked both stories but judging on something i wrote is nigh impossible for me. i wanted more words, i had more to add and felt i had to rush the ending a bit. orchids was a great story, though i thought a bit vague in a couple areas, again a word count thing. My judgement - no comment.

My Judgements(official judgements):
Firelance vs NiTessine - Firelance(Firelance)
Hellefire vs Orchid Blossom - Hellefire(Orchid Blossom)
CarpeDavid vs Mythago - Mythago(Mythago)
Big Tom vs Eeralai - Eeralai(Eeralai)
Thorod Ashstaff vs Rodrigo Istalindir - Thorod Ashstaff(Thorod Ashstaff)
Macbeth vs Ruined - Ruined(Macbeth)
Maddman75 vs Sigurd - Maddman75(Maddman75)
MarauderX vs Taladas - MarauderX(MarauderX)

I was 6/8 on round one. Then again, two of those were no contests.

My favorite story of round 1 goes to Thorod Ashstaff for End of Worlds.

Aaron Blair
Foren Star
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First Post
Thanks for the comments, Hellefire, and for the vote! I was thinking this contest was pretty quiet this time. This is my first time participating, but one of the ones I watched, the commentary thread got busier than the main thread. I wanted to comment like you did, but last night I felt myself getting sick and decided I'd better go to bed when the baby did. As it is, I have only read three stories.

Mauraderx vs. Taladas: I agree with the judges comments on both stories, however, I would have voted for Taladas. The pacing suited me better and horror is not my preferred gener. I think both stories would be great to rework and post again. There used to be a kiln fired ceramic dm thread for that purpose. I wonder if it is still floating around in cyber space.

Big Tom: Great story! I thought it was fun with a lot of zest and gotcha. I look forward to seeing more stories from you.

As far as my own, it was the result of my long time desire to write a book about what would happen if the elves returned, and my current obsession with the Amazing Race. Something about the pictures brought those two together for me. This is the first season I have watched the Amazing Race and there was a couple who fought all the time that fascinated me. I kept wondering what they were like off the camera, and my story is what I came up with. They are going to be on a special prime time Dr. Phil this month, so I will have to watch that. Thanks for saying it looked professional, Hellefire, but I have had a really hard time not going in to edit the glaring grammar and copy paste problems that magically appeared between the time I posted it and the time I reread it!

I'll post more when I read more. I'm looking forward to it!


First Post
Hellefire said:
the worst day story. laughed a bunch. I would have liked to see a competing story, but you did damn well. looking forward to seeing your next one.

Thanks man! This is my first Ceramic DM, and I was worried that it's a little short. But I tend toward brevity in fiction, and with a humorous story I wanted to keep it tight. Nothing worse than a gag that goes on way too long.

Even though the other guy didn't get his story in, I hope the judges give me a critique anyway.

orchid blossom

Hellefire said:
orchids was a great story, though i thought a bit vague in a couple areas, again a word count thing. My judgement - no comment.

I haven't had time to actually read any of the stories yet. I'm looking forward to a big reading binge tomorrow afternoon. :)

I realized my big mistake on Thursday afternoon after my pictures went up. I never get anything done the first 24 hours, then I had work and our weekly game friday night, then I had an exam this morning. I tried to do something Thursday night, but I didn't have a concrete idea yet. Long story short, I ended up writing the story in about 4 hours. So there is some definite vague in there, partially because I wanted some, and partially because I wasn't always quite sure where I was going.

Let me tell you, at 5:00 this afternoon I was just proud I got the thing finished!


First Post
Yeah Orchid, I was dead tired by the time I got mine up, with about 2 and a half hours to go. MY time problems came from work and baby detail (girlfriend in finals helle at college here). I was happy you got yours up. Needless to say, I always like to win :). But not by default, especially after putting thought and work into the contest. Good luck, I look forward to seeing what the judges say to both of us! And if that was a 4 hour story for you, I'm glad I had 72 hours to work on mine :).

Aaron Blair
Foren Star


First Post
board downtime

Seems like I check these threads incessently these days. I noticed when I tried this morning (last night U.S. time) that the boards were down for a db merge. Of course I understand this is necessary due to the new server. But...it could pose serious problems for timing issues. I think at the very least downtime should be added to the 72 hours for anyone who's clock is already ticking. If the boards were down for 8 hours, and I happened to be going to work or away from the computer for the 16 hours immediately following that, I would be hosed for a full day because they happened to be down in the only slot when I could use them. Of course, there is an email to send stories to as well, but I can say I personally havent written it down yet, and since it's posted on the boards, if the boards are down, I don't know what I would do. I guess I should go write down that email now :)

Aaron Blair
Foren Star


Yeah, it can cause the stress to bump up there. :)

I suppose I am somewhat lucky. I remember Piratecat's and Alsih2o's email addresses. I don't have a good solution other than "write it down". The board Maintenance caught me off guard tonight too. I'm glad Michael's working on it, but it caused me to freak for a moment.


First Post
Einstein can kiss my butt. Relativity indeed. A first look at the pictures, a bit of mental orginization to come up with some kind of linear ideas, writing some ideas down, getting the story finished, editing and error-checking it, posting it, done. Whew. Nothing left but the waiting. And waiting. Now I know this for next time, but it's been the longest 4 days of my life so far, and I think I still have a couple to go. Not that I'm impatient...just...excited. Yeah, that's a good adjective :). This being my first time at this, is that normal?

Aaron Blair
Foren Star


First Post
While we are waiting...

Totally normal, Hellefire. This is my first time competing, but when my husband competed I would check for judgements just as obsessively. At least now I have a sense of accomplishment, but I still check the boards whenever I walk by the computer room.

I finally read Macbeth's and Ruined's stories. Great job! Macbeth, your writing style in this story is very smooth, and the use of repition well done since it is a folktale. Some of your previous stories have had a brusque style which has been jarring to me. But the words go together seamlessly in this one. Good job, and good picture use!

What a fun story, Ruined! I, too, often wonder if fairies ever get bored :) And your humor is good (from a previous post, it sounded like you were worried about that). The beginning drew me in rapidly. I think Macbeth had slightly better picture use, with the feet being your weak one, but you get kudos for originality! Good luck to you both!


Waiting is *HELL*

I'll be able to start reading this weekend, hopefully, and try to alleviate your torment by posting my observations here.

I couldn't think of a good title for this one, one that didn't give the story away from the get-go. So, if anyone has a good suggestion, let me know. Once the competition is over I'll ask one of the Mods or BardStephenFox to add the title for posterity.

Thorod Ashstaff

First Post
Liked your story a lot, Rodrigo, especially that it ends with the question of the 'company's' motives still burning, makes you want to read the sequel.

How about something simple, like 'eating' or 'love amongst the bodies'? Personally, I hate coming up with a title, and I don't like mine. Sometimes my titles change more often than the story does.

Good luck.


First Post
This is part humor and part psychodic flash. It comes from watching the first stories/judgement...which had a 2 day turn-around time from posting to judged. This being my first time at this, I thought hm, ok, I can wonder at my fate and hit refresh for 2 days. So I joined up, awaited my pictures, got them, wrote and posted my story. And now. Now. NOW. 6 days later and I hear I may have to wait til monday for at least one of the judges, um, judgements? WTF? Who gave judges real lives and jobs and crap like that? Don't they know what this MEANS? Don't they know my gf and I have been waiting with this bottle unopened, waiting to toast my victory or my competitors victory and have a little fun? Don't they know this bottle is getting moldy???


I won, I lost, I dont care just TELL ME!!!!!!!

*breathe* *breathe* *breathe*

ok, back to your regularly scheduled program


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