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Winter Ceramic DM™: THE WINNER!


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BSF

Explorer
I am guessing that there are some severe email delays due to the latest round of worms. The MyDoom worm is slamming email servers pretty hard. Perhaps Arwink and Mythago could try a transfer through one of the Instant Message products?

Eagerly awaiting judgements. :)
 

Sialia

First Post
BardStephenFox said:
I am guessing that there are some severe email delays due to the latest round of worms. The MyDoom worm is slamming email servers pretty hard. Perhaps Arwink and Mythago could try a transfer through one of the Instant Message products?

Eagerly awaiting judgements. :)
Or, hey, here's a crazy idea--can you just each post yours individually?
 



Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
He's online right now - post, Arwink, post! :p

Edit - Who's Online is cool. It lets me yell "Hi, Sito!" and not feel entirely goofy. *waves*
 
Last edited:

arwink

Clockwork Golem
Yep - Just broke the judgement up into 5 seperate PM's and sent them to Mythago.

If this doesn't work, I figure I'm just going to post my judgements myself and tradition be damned :D
 


Sito

First Post
Piratecat said:
He's online right now - post, Arwink, post! :p

Edit - Who's Online is cool. It lets me yell "Hi, Sito!" and not feel entirely goofy. *waves*

Sure, but for accuracy, it should be called "who's computer is online" *waves*.
 



mythago

Explorer
Final Round Judgment

arwink

(Apologies for the lateness of the judging, and the rather general nature of my comments – it’s been a long week, they were both long entries, and I’m moderately exhausted by spending far to much time talking about writing already today. I contemplated leaving it until tomorrow when I was more awake, but that would just be mean – Arwink :))

Piratecat – Lazarus

Brilliant opening line – it gives us two characters, a sense of immediate tension, and the hook of the plot in a very direct sentence. The abruptness of it is key in drawing us in, as we’ve got no choice but to read on if we want the questions answered: why is the old lady being killed, and why is the narrator more concerned about Jim’s reaction than feeling any guilt over his action. Bravo.

Unfortunately, the tension dies off a bit in the second paragraph. We’re hit with too much information, too much detail, that is easily captured by the first line. What I’m craving here is information about the aftermath of the shooting – the subject of the third paragraph – despite the necessity of pointing out that the weapon is a needler to make the non-lethal result of the shot plausible.

In short, Piratecat’s intro has some great set-up, but the payoff is a tad muddled. This statement can almost be applied to the entirety of the story, where Piratecat throws out a wide variety of great ideas and plot elements, but doesn’t quite manage to string them together with the right narrative pacing to make it perfect. In some respects I actually find this quite refreshing – it’s the first indication I’ve gotten from Piratecat’s work that he’s struggled with the storyline, and it’s nice to know that he’s just as human as the rest of us :)

Piratecat’s story is at its strongest when it’s providing the background for the action – interviewing the thief, discussing a plan of action with Isabelle’s Boss and conversing with Miss Pring are all taut moments that show a great deal of life. It’s the moments of action that seem to be getting short changed here – quality ideas that just don’t seem to match the careful pacing of the story that surrounds them. The last fight and death of Kane seems particularly rushed – we never really get a sense of his newfound strength or even register that the Lazarus chamber has worked before Isabelle kills him.

Sialia – The End of the World

Sialia has a great grasp of making a description unique – and she’s managed at least one moment of breathtaking description in each of her entries. This time around I found myself smiling over “And then the awful silence had settled its teeth into them,” a great piece of description that captures the moment without descending into cliché.

In a lot of ways, I found myself wondering exactly where this story was heading at its outset – it dwelt primarily on Lillabo’s sense of guilt, but quietly drew us away from that and shifted our focus onto the relationship developing between Volpe and Mirabelle. As usual, there characterization is great and Sialia continues to scare me with the sheer volume of her entries, especially with how well realized the tales are after their three-day gestation.

If this story has a weak point, it lies in the return to the mind-flayer caves. While it’s a great idea, its inclusion in this story is very much a “Part Two” moment – it doesn’t necessarily mesh with the story as a stand-alone entry. Even considering this, it flashes by quickly and doesn’t really maintain the sense of drama that the death of a major character should carry. I found myself not particularly caring about Lillabo’s sacrifice in order to save her comrades, as we never really got a sense of her making a choice about it. Similarly, the cutting of the professors leg to save his life didn’t quite ring true – partially it seemed to rush Mirabelle’s feelings a little to much, and partially because I’m wondering why a race of dwarves that only exists in mind-flayer feeding pens has war-axes laying around in easy reach (although its possible I’m miss-remembering something from the last story, another drawback to the part-two-ishness of the tale)

Another minor quibble is the over-use of sentences starting with “And…” in the introduction – the repetition is a tad weak for my taste, and the simple use of “Then…” would be more effective in drawing the reader’s attention to the sudden shock of the situation.

On the whole, this is a great ending to Sialia’s story, although one that is tinged by sadness. Part of me would rather see the last story joined into the last round entry as a single narrative, rather than being broken up, although it’d require some re-working to get the pacing right.

The Judgment

It’s rounds like these that make you wish it was someone else’s job to make the decision. Both Sialia and Piratecat are great writers who have consistently put in great entries throughout the competition, and both of them have turned in truly impressive tales for the final round. In the end, however, I give the round to Sialia. I’m a sucker for halflings, and I’m pleased to see the attraction between Volpe and Mirabelle finally resolved.

Judgment: Sialia
 



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