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The Great PC Writing Experiment - Round 5
August 3rd 2004, 17:20 CEST by Caryn

Round Five's theme is of The Great PC Writing Experiment is "something important was broken."

Stories have been submitted, and you can read them here. You can still submit a story until about August 15th.

So if you've got a chance to read the submissions, please consider giving some feedback, even if it's just a little bit. And the more critical, the better - that's how we improve!
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Home » Topic: The Great PC Writing Experiment - Round 5

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#1 by "myname"
2004-08-03 17:27:37
something important is broken
#2 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 17:30:13
HAR!  I told you my stupidity was going to rear its ugly head this round, Caryn.  You were warned!

Pick me!  Pick me!
#3 by Charles
2004-08-03 17:32:41
www.bluh.org
good job, jeet!

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#4 by Matt Perkins
2004-08-03 17:32:54
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Can I request more specific theme for the next round?  I have a hard time coming up with a short story without something so vague...  (And yes I know I requested something more vague before...I was wrong).

"...developer should just make shit and then tell the whiners like yourself to shut the fuck up." - Charles
#5 by Charles
2004-08-03 17:33:03
www.bluh.org
also:  I am woefully behind on my round five entry.  I have just under two pages of some that I figure will go for at least ten.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#6 by Jibble
2004-08-03 17:35:04
Are you still accepting entries for that "All the doors are locked" topic?

убийство!
#7 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 17:38:47
Well, it wasn't entirely my fault.  I was submitting for the last round, and the submission would never show up.  It wasn't until I'd stupidly tried it several times that I noticed that due to a bug in chris's horribly flawed* system, that everything was going to the next theme's bin, and there was no way to delete what I'd submitted.

*Description heavily exaggerated for the sake of diverting attention from my own unique dumbness....

Pick me!  Pick me!
#8 by Caryn
2004-08-03 17:39:52
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#6 Jibble
Are you still accepting entries for that "All the doors are locked" topic?

No, that one is closed. The current theme should close sometime around the 15th. Or I can extend it until we open the next round, which would be around the first of September.

"See, Canadians believe Jesus walked on water. We just figure it was winter when he did." - Squeaky
#9 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 17:42:26
Just don't open the next round before closing this one....bad things lie in that direction, and I may strike a second time!

Pick me!  Pick me!
#10 by Jibble
2004-08-03 17:43:21
If only the Grue were down there, you could say "Hi!" to him for me.  I keep wanting to do entries for this, but I keep getting occupied with other stuff, unfortunately...well, probably fortunately for you I guess.

убийство!
#11 by Funkdrunk
2004-08-03 17:44:27
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
I'm still working on mine - it's going slowly and I may end up begging to keep the deadline open a wee bit longer if possible.

Funk.

we rocked his butt with a 12 inch cut called disco kryptonite!
#12 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 17:46:04
I may not get my story finished for this round, since we've been hit by yet another virus at work and I'm really feeling like shit lately.  I'll try though, and if I can't get the story I'm working on done in time, I'll try and whip up something shorter.  The point is to do your best to get something in, no matter how good or how long it is.

Pick me!  Pick me!
#13 by jjohnsen
2004-08-03 17:53:34
http://www.johnsenclan.com
So did anyone decide if these writing experiments could be multimedia, or are we sticking with writing?

Owner of the Planetcrap FFL team, the Utah Teen Brides.
#14 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 18:01:06
I think we decided that they can be whatever you want, but you'll need to find someplace to host your files.

Pick me!  Pick me!
#15 by Hugin
2004-08-03 18:09:26
lmccain@nber.org
I've got about half a story.  Working on it.
#16 by Max
2004-08-03 18:37:37
http://massivebraincase.org/
I believe I may have something for this one as well.  I was noodling around last night waiting for a kernel compile and started what will be a very short entry.  Yay me!
#17 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 18:38:19
The thought of you noodling disturbs me greatly, Maxy.

Pick me!  Pick me!
#18 by Max
2004-08-03 18:42:51
http://massivebraincase.org/
It's an image that's hard to get out of your mind, isn't it?  Admit it.
#19 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 18:43:54
When did I get a mind?

Pick me!  Pick me!
#20 by Max
2004-08-03 18:48:44
http://massivebraincase.org/
You bought my old one for a bottel of Muscatel, if you recall.
#21 by Charles
2004-08-03 18:50:15
www.bluh.org
If people need to host files, they should contact me.

"I'm not asking for much; just a job that meets the minimum legal requirements set forth by my country."
#22 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 18:57:02
Cool, I've been needing to off-load these wedding night videos to an online storage area.

Pick me!  Pick me!
#23 by BobJustBob
2004-08-03 19:40:26
Jackpot!

Dood.
#24 by UncleJeet
2004-08-03 19:44:37
HAR!

Pick me!  Pick me!
#25 by Dumdeedum
2004-08-04 01:35:32
http://www.dumdeedum.com
I've got a rough idea for this round, sadly I'm buggered if I can figure out how to beat it into a story.  Sest lah vee as they say.

And I concur with the "more specific themes" request, vague themes sound better, but I think something more detailed might help give folks that initial leg-up.

#26 by Shadarr
2004-08-04 01:37:25
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I've got your specific theme: His penis was caught in the vacuum hose.
#27 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 01:39:02
I have one too, kinda dumb, but relevant way back when.

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#28 by Caryn
2004-08-04 01:42:08
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Oh, I should post a warning about my story. It's got sex in it. Even better than barn sex...

...it's got CHURCH SEX.

It's about as explicit as the sex scene in chris' story involving barn sex, so it shouldn't be all that shocking, really. Just warning you.

"See, Canadians believe Jesus walked on water. We just figure it was winter when he did." - Squeaky
#29 by Caryn
2004-08-04 01:45:31
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Oh, and one other note...(I think I might have mentioned it in another thread, but putting here too for completeness' sake)

I'm looking for some really critical feedback on my story. It's one I wrote years ago, and I really like the description, but I think I have serious problems in the story's plot and the character's motivation. It's never been published, and it's been rejected the two times I've submitted it somewhere. I'm pretty sure it's because it has some major flaws, but I've been at a loss, really, on what exactly they are and how to fix them. So any critical feedback you guys can give me will be greatly appreciated.

"See, Canadians believe Jesus walked on water. We just figure it was winter when he did." - Squeaky
#30 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 01:49:05
Church sex? I don't think the president would approve.

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#31 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 01:51:27
Caryn-

Right off the bat, the first line seems heavy handed:

If I am to suffer the eternal torture of Hellís unbearable flames

I'd take out either "eternal" or "unbearable" (probably the latter).

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#32 by Shadarr
2004-08-04 01:52:12
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I'm naturally critical.  I'll make an effort to read your story tomorrow.
#33 by Caryn
2004-08-04 01:53:28
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#31 yotsuya
Caryn-

Right off the bat, the first line seems heavy handed:

If I am to suffer the eternal torture of Hellís unbearable flames

I'd take out either "eternal" or "unbearable" (probably the latter).

Good feedback, but first read through the rest of the story, if you can - there's a certain tone I was going for (the story is told from the narrative point of view of an old Russian man). Not sure if that would change your feedback or not.

"See, Canadians believe Jesus walked on water. We just figure it was winter when he did." - Squeaky
#34 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 01:54:43
Sure, I will, but that just jumped right out at me right away.

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#35 by Caryn
2004-08-04 01:56:28
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#34 yotsuya
Sure, I will, but that just jumped right out at me right away.

Thanks! I'll mark that down. On rereading the sentence, I believe you're right.

"See, Canadians believe Jesus walked on water. We just figure it was winter when he did." - Squeaky
#36 by mgns
2004-08-04 03:10:50
I got 1300 words written for this one, but last night everything went NYARGH! and now I don't know how to end it.

Lizardshit. Fuck.

and who am I?
to dare to pull the stars from your favourite sky
#37 by Apache
2004-08-04 03:12:15
apache@ve3d.com http://ve3d.ign.com/
Church sex > Barn sex
#38 by VeeSPIKE
2004-08-04 03:53:27
Less bugs, for one thing.

The media doesn't educate, it sensationalizes. That's why there's no learning curve, just repeated bouts of gross stupidity. Bailey
#39 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 04:18:02
'Sup, Apache?

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#40 by Apache
2004-08-04 05:46:27
apache@ve3d.com http://ve3d.ign.com/
Heya yotsuya :)

After reading the story I was left with a kind of creepy feeling. I can't really describe it other than it was creepy... Like a fat man nakid in a raincoat kind of way.
#41 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 06:06:20
'Sup, Apache?

You still here in Phoenix?

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#42 by m0nty
2004-08-04 06:06:50
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
And this differs from your life how?
#43 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 07:01:51
OK, I went for it, banged out my story idea, and submitted it. Enjoy.

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#44 by yotsuya
2004-08-04 07:37:15
Caryn-

I go back to work Monday, so consider this a dry run before I become Mr. English Teacher again.

OK, so I read the whole story. Let me address what I saw.

First of all, your writing style reminded me of Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness). It DID feel like it was being told by an old Russian man, and in that instance, you succeeded. However, and I am looking at this from the angle that this is something you want to have published, that type of language and sentence structure can seem somewhat archaic to today's Joe Average reader/magazine buyer. I like what you did here, but I've studied classical literature. Someone whose reading background isn't as extensive might think it's a bit old-fashioned. It's definately a Catch-22 because you WANT it to sound the way it does, but you might be a bit too successful in that matter.

Second, I think I would have liked to have seem more build-up between Katya and the narrator before they had church sex. He meets her once, sees her at church but doesn't interact with in the story (at least not explicitly mentioned) and the next time they are having sex (albeit symbolic sex). I'd like to see some build-up of the sexual tension. He sees her, he wants her, but I really didn't see why she would have slept with him. I know her husband has be taken from her, but other than his desire, I didn't see a clear connection as to why she would go to him for that kind of comfort. Maybe if you had lightly built up the tension between the two, it would make more sense. You could probably accomplish it with a few strategically placed phrases rather than bang the reader over the head, and I know you are talented and skilled enough to be successful in that manner. I'd like to see some sparks between the two, not unlike Carmela and the priest in the first season of the Sopranos. That way, when they do have sex, it seems like a natural progression of events.

Finally, the sex itself. Very tastefully done, Caryn. However, I'm not sure I see a clear the connection between the act itself and some sort of divine spirituality. He's with her, and then he realizes that he's complete, which he equates with knowing God. My question is "Why?" Why does this act do that for him? Why does it effect a spiritual transformation in him? It seems to me like her love has given him hope, but why does he equate this with God?

All in all, I think it was pretty interesting. I hope you see my critique as constructive!

That's a beautiful way to go. Shot by Yot. In more ways than one. -mgns
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#45 by Marsh Davies
2004-08-04 13:39:29
www.verbalchilli.com
Caryn -

I hope you don't mind feedback from someone who has so far failed to submit anything... maybe soon!

Firstly, the specific:
Check your adjectives. I concur with Yot about the first line being adjectivaly over-egged. Although you don't need telling, openings can give your potential publisher reason to discard your story then and there, and an opening that alludes to hell and damnation is already going to be ringing alarm bells for cliche. Secondly, the opening feels slightly unlike the narrative style elsewhere. It is a dark pronouncement read in Christopher Lee's booming voice, not the intimate admission of an old man - whose accent is realised really well elsewhere.

Next:
Father Aleksei greeted me with a broad fatherly smile, his arms extended outward to enfold me in a paternal embrace.


So... he's a father, right? :D

Next:
Towering over me then as he would surely do now were he alive, I thought him to be the biggest man in the world.


The way this sentence appeared made it unclear in which time-line the subject was not alive. At first I assumed it was Dima the young priest recollecting a towring figure, but then if it referred to Aleksei then Aleksei wasn't dead yet. Of course, the narrator is now interceding with a comment that relates to the time of telling. It was only a momentary confusion.

One final nit to pick - check your use of 'uncle' in reference to Aleksei. Towards the end you refer to him as 'my uncle'.

Now in general:

It works. I like the themes, plot and settings very much. Aleksei's character is superbly realised. However, one doesn't get a real sense of Dima's character as a young man, since it is difficult to seperate his thoughts in the moment being described from the narrative voice. This is always going to be the case in first person literature, particularly when the narrator is speaking from a specified time, many years after the events described. The young Dima becomes a, um, retrospectre, if you will.

Similarly you have avoided (purposefully?) to really flesh out Katia's character. Is this because she is more of an icon? I think it would be possible for her to remain as elusive and metaphorical, without her introduction happening with such rapidity. It comes just after the audience have been dealt another huge plot-point, and like Dima, we are somewhat overwhelmed. Perhaps there should be another 'beat' in between these two ocurrences for reflection, and Katia's arrival and significance to grow from that reflection into the obsession.

Regarding the blasphemous carnal mayhem; I loved the use of 'here is my body' etc. Unlike Yot, I don't feel there is any need to explain the connection between sex and the spiritual; especially if the connection is more explicitly emoted by the young Dima in the build-up.

Over all, I think the story's problems, such as they are, all stem from the historicisation of the plot that comes with a retrospective narrative. The tale condenses and abbreviates in parts, without a great deal of illustration, and the narrative voice loses some of its emotive immediacy. My tentative suggestions:
++ Give every scene a little more time to unfold - play with your characters a little; prevaricate; take them places they don't need to go. Sometimes it feels like you are rushing to get to the next plot point, but you really don't need to, because the world and characters you have created are really interesting. I wanted to spend more time there with them.
++ Interpose a few more illustrative moments in between the condensed histories, or allude to the history via dialogue or active time.
++ Allow the young Dima to speak out of preference to the old Dima a little more.

As a disclaimer; all of the above is particularly harsh and pedantic criticism, because you know that you are a very good writer already.

#46 by The_Joker
2004-08-04 13:58:07
http://www.jackinworld.com
#33 See, I totally do NOT understand this sort of feedback. It's just plain stupid. I thought that sentence in Caryn's story was pretty normal. There's nothing wrong with it. Clearly she wants to tell you that torture Hell is eternal, and the flames of hell are unbearable. Taking out any one of those two, is taking out some info she wanted to give the reader, and making it sound weaker.

You stupid fucks.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
"I fart in THX." - Sgt_Hulka

PENETRATOR: Rise of the Wang Cuming "When it's done".
The American government and its supporters suck cock. See Fahrenheit 9/11 and discover the truth.
#47 by m0nty
2004-08-04 14:01:45
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Joker, in reviewing your post in #46 I found that a lot of words were extraneous to your essential message. In fact, it could all have been pared down to

You stupid fucks.
#48 by Marsh Davies
2004-08-04 14:03:31
www.verbalchilli.com
But...

Nevermind. You wouldn't understand.

#49 by m0nty
2004-08-04 14:05:42
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Marsh, I read your post and I had one suggestion.

"NEVER MIND" IS TWO WORDS YOU STUPID FUCK
#50 by m0nty
2004-08-04 14:06:30
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
m0nty, I reveiwed your post in #49 and found that a lot of words were extraneous to your essential message. In fact, it could all have been pared down to

YOU STUPID FUCK
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