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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Kallisti's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Deckmaster View Post
    Critique of Mask Masque by Kallisti
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    Your use of imagery is very good, but that's about the only redeeming quality here. I know being all mysterious seems like a good idea, but all you're really doing is alienating readers. I don't know enough about what is going on or who Robert is to really care enough to read through this. It felt like a chore, which is never a good thing. I have no problem with a non-linear story, but you need some context for each scene, like when it takes place or why it's important. If these are memories (even that much isn't clear) you could get a bit more into Robert's head and follow his thought process as he goes from one scene or the next. Leave out the Italian stock characters; it just makes the whole thing seem pretentious. Also, the whole mask thing could be done more subtly, more as an underlying theme and less as a plot device to show these disconnected scenes. It would actually be more powerful that way. C-
    Hmmm...You're right about the lack of context, that's one thing I want to fix in the next draft. But the Italian masks are pretty much the whole point--it's a story about identity, and how nobody ever shows the world who they truly are. I don't think that the anecdotes would really tie into that theme without the masks, would they? It feels to me like the masks are necessary for people to understand the story at all.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Back with more critiques . . .

    Critique of Worlds Without Number by RationalGoblin

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    This seems like a very interesting prologue. It's a very good setup and does a good job of setting up the plot and tone of the story.

    Like others, I'm a bit confused by why the first test would be carried out live and by an intern, but it's not too much of an issue, and the second to last paragraph does indicate that there's a reason for this.

    Overall, it needs a bit of general polishing, but nothing sticks out as needing critiquing. Good job!


    Critique of The Last Trade by Raz_Fox

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    First of all I really like the name. I'm not entirely sure why but it made me very curious about what the story was about.

    You did a very good job of imparting a lot of information without info-dumping, so it wasn't a chore to read through.

    One thing that you may want to change is the ending, which is a bit ambiguous. I had to read it a couple of times, and I'm still not entirely sure what Baren is doing. Is he going to stay and fight with them, or is he giving them weapons, or what?

    Another thing to watch out for is that you're not simply replacing Native Americans with a cat-person type race. Make sure that there's a reason to change it to another species. It should affect the story, so that if you did replace the Surac with Native Americans it would fundamentally change the setting.


    Critique of Inner Demons by banjo1985

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    This seems like a start to a very good story. It got me interested in the characters, did a fairly good job of introducing Sebastian's character in just a couple of pages, and introduced a bit about the world.

    . . . I really can't find very much to critique here!

    A minor complaint: In the second part, where Sebastian points out that his suit color is cream rather than white, confused me for a second until I figured out he was talking about his suit. It may just be me, though, I can be pretty dense.

    So, overall . . . post more 'cause this is awesome and I wanna know what's happening.

    I am oh-so-helpful, aren't I.


    Also thank you to everyone who critiqued my story. Only thing I'll address here is by Mr.Silver, about the duel: Yeah, I knew I wasn't very good at writing fight scenes, but trying to basically avoid it altogether when it's the main part of the 'story' seems pretty stupid in hindsight . . . ah well, I'll try and work on it before I post another story (if I ever manage to).

    So, on another note, who's planning on doing National Novel Writing Month? For those who haven't heard of it: Taking place in November, the goal is to write a 50,000 word story in one month. It can be difficult, especially if you're a busy person, but it's really an awesome thing to take part of. The biggest problem with writing is actually getting the words onto the page, so NaNo gives a reason to actually sit down and do it. Furthermore, you don't have to worry about quality - you're expected to be bad! When you're trying to write 1700 coherent words a day, quality takes a backseat to quantity, so you can write without worrying about editing it. (The massive editing comes later, of course.)

    Forgive me if the above didn't make much sense, it's late and I think I'm rambling again, but in essence: anyone who enjoys writing should definitely try NaNo if it's at all possible.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    banjo1985's Avatar

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    Critque: "The Empty Ruins" by Death Dragon

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    There are a few things Mr Silver has pointed out, so I'm not going to push them forward again, such as the over-use of 'ly' words. As a piece in and of itself this doesn't really work, I think because as a reader I'd like to take either Alec or Derek's side, and without knowing more about their past together and viewpoints I can't really do that. It feels like the climax of a full length story, and I think it would come out better that way. This could well be because of my own tendency for the longest forms of narrative than any particular issue with your work though.

    The conversation before the fight, and the imagery after it are good, though not spectacular. You do a good job of making sure we know that these two guys have a history together, where it's driven them to, and the fact that they really would rather not be fighting each other. It's a fight of neccessity, a fight for a cause, but not one of hatred or particular venom. The imagery afterwards is possibly the strongest part, though I think it could be played on a little more.

    The combat is where the main problems are I'm afraid. It's neither gritty nor epic, and isn't really described with enough detail or action to get the reader into it. I know gore can be seen as a low form of writing, a little is neccessary in a fight that ends someone's life. As for the tone of the fight, it kind of falls in the middle ground. There's not the headbutts and elbows of a fight of grim desperation, nor the big swinging arcs and clang of blade on armour that a more epic fight would have. More than anything the fight feels like an anticlimax, not really sure of what it wants to be, it might benefit from a complete rewrite.

    The good news is that your writing style is solid and easy to follow, your dialogue is decent, and your description is good, though it could be taken a little further in places. I've concentrated on the negative a little bit overmuch above I think, and I'm sorry for that. I think you're plenty better than this particular piece shows, and this work itself shows plenty of promise. Throw us another please!


    Thanks for the critiques of my work, along with a few other critiques I've had they're really helping me to hone my work and think about the things I need to work on. I've got the opening to a completely different novel 'Ghost Writer' to post at some point, but I'll wait until some of the recent work here has been given a little more attention. Next on my list to critique is Deckmasters opening chapters, hopefully I'll get to that this week.

    As for NaNo, this is the first year I actually think I'm going to participate, though I fear I'm proabably to busy for the full 50k. My main problem is often having the motivation to write, consistently and often, and NaNo might just the thing I need to get me used to it. I plan to have a go, and I'm really looking forward to it. Is it sensible to prepare for NaNo before hand, in terms of sketching out characters etc? Or just go in dry and see what flows forth?


    Excellent Elan & Yoshi avatar by Mr Saturn

  4. - Top - End - #64

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Thanks for the continued critiques of Onami's Greeting! I'm flattered that you enjoyed it; you've given me inspiration to write more. I've done a bit of editing, and I plan on posting further prose about Onami...just as soon as I find the time to write up three more critiques...

    Critique: Vatsy and Bruno by Rutskarn

    Wow, what to say about V&B? I really like your dry sense of humor, colloquial dialogue, and descriptions. I especially admire humor in stories, especially since I have a total inability to use it in my own prose. That said, there was a bit too much of descriptive text for me. I know some readers who love all that detail and flowery language, but I tend to skip whole paragraphs once I realize I'm in for all that detail text. I do like V&B as characters, but I think there's something depressing about them: they feel like some kind of existential tragedy. Maybe that's what you're going for. I love how Bruno is the brains behind the operation, and how he solves the rampaging monster problem. I just wish Vatsy's rejection crate had blown up, or something to give the story a relieving finish. Does that make sense?
    Last edited by Tequila Sunrise; 2009-09-29 at 08:28 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Tequila: That is, in fact, exactly what I'm going for. Vatsy and Bruno are at their core kind of depressing characters--one of them is a guy with a burning passion for something he sucks at, blindly following a dream he obviously has no chance of ever fulfilling. Bruno, on the other hand, is fairly competent at what he does (violence and larceny) but is shackled through his friendship and lack of independent spirit to a sinking ship.
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    <-I won this from Dr. Bath.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Critique for Inner Demons:

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    First of all, I have to say that I love the atmosphere you set up. You use language well, and have some very good descriptive words that set up a quite eerie feeling of actually being inside a crypt. You almost verge on being a bit too verbose, which would risk detracting from the story--you don't want the reader to be distracted from the setting by wondering what the word "loquacious" means, for example. You're a far cry from that, of course, but you should always be careful not to be wordier than you have to be. You made one or two mistakes with apostrophes--placing one on the end of a plural word instead of a possessive, and vice versa (not placing one on the end of a possessive when you should have)--but overall, your spelling and grammar were great.

    I find myself interested by this story. The first view of your main character in the crypt almost had a sort of air of menace--or maybe that was just me. Perhaps he is more of a protagonist than I had initially thought, but something definitely seemed a bit off to me about a man who lurks about in and talks to crypts. In the second bit, he mentions that he is "running out of bullets"--are these bullets meant for demons who cross over, or the people who see them? I'm assuming the former, but this protagonist certainly has an air of menace to him that I find a refreshing change from the ordinary, goodie two-shoes hero of most stories. I am excited to see how this story could turn out.


    Critique for Vatsy and Bruno:
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    Oh my goodness. That was hilarious. I don't know what I expected when I begin looking at a writer's workshop, but certainly not that. This was a very well written comedy, with interesting (to say the least) characters. With the absurdly professional chimp and self-narrating filmnoir style private detective, I found myself almost reminded of Terry Pratchett--you did an excellent job poking fun at some of the cliches of whatever genre you would call this.

    I'm having trouble thinking of things you could improve. Everything was kind of random and hectic, but that worked for the story. Characters were not exactly deep, but once again--they weren't supposed to be, I don't think. I would be interested to see what you could produce at novel length, or in a less comedy-oriented story.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    MindFlayer

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    Critique: "Neko Tales Intro-Prologue-Chapter 1" by jayeljay
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    First off, the structure of the writing in the intro was just amazing. That said, I'm glad that you didn't use the same style in the main story because it almost certainly wouldn't have worked.

    Like I said, I liked the style, but the sentence "What if some of our legends and myths held far more footing in the grounds of fiction than we care to admit?" confused me. Should it perhaps be the grounds of fact/reality/non-fiction?

    As for the main sections, the plot was good, the writing was enthralling, and the characters were very believable. I loved the character of Dr Marcus in particular.

    One of the facts that I'm not sure about is whether the tail would have just sprouted spontaneously, instead of just growing slowly.

    On several occasions, opening speech marks and quotation marks are absent, and "One said, to which she immediately replied," should probably be "complied" instead.

    I agree with a lot of the stuff Mr Silver said about the grammar and punctuation, but I think the present tense was perfectly justified in that situation, It does bring up a couple of other points in my mind that he didn't mention, namely why this guy is blurting out his plans to every reporter that comes in. Also, I can't see how well the revealing her backstory later would work, but I like it where it is.

    ". . . Dr. Samuel Marcus said with a strong sarcastic overtone to his voice, showing his obvious disbelief in the young man’s ‘powers." - So he doesn't believe it, but then reveals without much prompting that it's all in fact true? This bit struck me as a little off.

    The intro/prologue thing didn't really affect me, as I'll read pretty much anything with words on, but perhaps the prologue could serve as the first chapter, and the intro as the prologue? I don't know, maybe.

    Flaws aside though, I think this really is an amazing story.


    Critique: "Neko Tales Chapters 2-3" by jayeljay
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    Again, I really love how the plot moves, the characterization, personalities and the little touches that add a load of depth to the story. Again, though, it suffers from many typos, grammar and punctuation errors, which could probably be fixed quite easily.

    I found the dream/cat sequence, although not badly written, to not be as good as the rest, and I noticed that, although in chapter 2 Marcone remarks that dinner will be served in about an hour, it is stated in chapter 3 that Serenade arrived in the morning.

    "the one that changes it’s clothing for whoever is using the room at the time." - This sentence is also probably better demonstrated.

    The term Neko is also used without any kind of explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thajocoth View Post
    I wonder if, when the comic eventually ends, people on the boards will continue for several years to say that it's not actually over yet...

  8. - Top - End - #68

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Rutskarn: You certainly accomplished what you wanted then. I think it would be interesting to learn why Vatsy is so fundamentally and blindly oblivious to his lack of writing ability, and why he's so obsessed with pursuing journalism anyway.

    Critique of Child of the Dragon by Deckmaster

    Overall, this is an excellent start to a story. It's got a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, violence and tension. And it refreshingly lacks the all-too-common first-chapter love interest. If I read this in a book store, I'd probably buy the book to finish it. The prologue seems extraneous now because it doesn't tie into chapter 1, which seems more like a prologue than the prologue, but I'm sure that later chapters will reveal the prologue's relevance. My only critiques are rather nitpicky:

    For example, I don't think a character can "sound miserable at the prospect of always being right." If your narrator is omniscient, a character can be miserable at the prospect of being right. If your narrator is limited, a character can mope, sigh, speak reluctantly or just sound miserable.
    "I never am," said Loki, sounding miserable at the prospect of always being right.
    You've got a few technical glitches, like this one:
    The sun continued unerringly on its course, finally tiring after a long day of beaming arrogantly and then sinking sleepily beneath the horizon.
    This one is a pet peeve of mine. I know half of everyone who uses the expression says "I could care less," but that's really contrary to their intention. What they mean is "I couldn't care less."
    From across the street, Loki of the House of Torwin was watching the scene. He looked as though he could care less.
    Overall, a great read!
    Last edited by Tequila Sunrise; 2009-10-08 at 07:18 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    thurge namor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    so, ive decided to burn off three of my critiques and post a poem... so, here it is:

    Aces and Eights
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    Blood and dust runnin’ down the streets
    Thunderous shots, dead men at our feet…
    It’s time we got the heck outta town,
    Don’t wanna be here when the walls come down…

    Aces and eights, we’ve got a dead man’s hand,
    And the feeling remains, it’s ‘bout to hit the fan
    But all we can do is shoot or be klled;
    Cemetery’s closed, it’s already been filled.

    Feel the souls slip away
    Hear the screams of the damned
    Taste the gun powdered air
    Smell the fleshy decay
    Never regret (coffins ‘bout to be crammed)
    Never mourn (I’ll see you again in Hade’s lair)

    And as the gates finally come crashing down
    I sure as hell wished I’d already gone facedown…
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  10. - Top - End - #70

    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critique: Aces and Eights by Thurge Namor

    I like this; it makes me think of Clint Eastwood singing this in one of his older westerns. (Well I don't think Clint sings, so maybe Elton John is singing it.) I love the imagery of blood and battle, and the dark tone. One question: what are the walls/gates that will come down? I do have two minor critiques of A&E though:

    And the feeling remains, it’s ‘bout to hit the fan
    I think a four letter word would contribute much better to the poem's tone than "it's". Although maybe you PG-13ed it for the forum.
    Never regret (coffins ‘bout to be crammed)
    Never mourn (I’ll see you again in Hade’s lair)
    I don't think I like parenthesis in poetry. I'm assuming they're supposed to indicate a short pause in reading, in which case a semicolon or double dash would be better I think. (Or if those are the song's chorus lines, they warrant their own lines. )
    Last edited by Tequila Sunrise; 2009-10-08 at 10:13 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Comet's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    I'd better start giving some critique if I ever want to post something of my own in here. I might simply repeat what others have already said, since I avoid reading other people's critiques before offering mine.

    Let's start with Aces and Eights, by thurge namor.
    You hit the spaghetti-western mark very efficiently.
    The poem itself is short, fast-paced and to-the-point. Very basic rhyming, which works here brilliantly. Feels kind of like a campfire song that some badass gunslinger is singing to tell a tale of his darker days.

    There's also an added element of grimness that makes this feel different compared to the basic wild west story.
    I get the feeling we're in a warzone, maybe during the civil war? Some city has turned into a slaughterhouse and this band of brothers is trying to survive the night. They know the end is inevitable, that they have played all their cards and their sleeves are empty.
    Am I completely on the wrong track here? Anyway, you've got a nice, basic piece here. Very enjoyable.
    "What can change the nature of a man?"
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    thurge namor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tequila Sunrise View Post

    I think a four letter word would contribute much better to the poem's tone than "it's". Although maybe you PG-13ed it for the forum.

    I don't think I like parenthesis in poetry. I'm assuming they're supposed to indicate a short pause in reading, in which case a semicolon or double dash would be better I think. (Or if those are the song's chorus lines, they warrant their own lines. )
    Yes, i pg-13ed it for the forum... the walls are in reference to hell's gates. I had this vision of fighting on the streets while demons in hell banged on the gates for entrance into the city/fight.

    As far as the parenthesis, I did that (practical reason) to maintain rhyme scheme. That makes the stanza abcabc, though in my head i think of the screamo songs where in the background there is screaming or singing while the overhead verse is going. In those lyrics, the underlying words are anotated by parenthesis. Thanks very much for the critique.
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Hmmm, no stories in a while. Should we start up the writing prompt idea? I think that would be pretty cool in any case.

    I also might post a story later, use up some of the critiques I've been hoarding . . .

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Since you asked so nicely on your blog :

    Critique for Inner Demons:

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    Personally, I thought there was a gap between the first part and the second one.
    The first one was a bit too descriptive, too many adjectives like in "The dull grey stones"
    "It was a bit of a mystery really, how the gates made places so cold when they opened up onto what they did"
    was a bit confusing to get through :-)
    I like ... a lot so I would put "Alice and Victor on the other hand, they might well be around ... though he’d never opened up the other coffins to find out."
    but that's just me

    The second part didn't have the sea of adjectives, so that's an improvement. There we also have the interesting dialogue and characters that I want to know more about.
    That part incites me to read more so if you want to add a page to get readers interested in the book, I'd take that one


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex-Kat View Post
    "Leave my Rakkoon alone!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Kneenibble View Post
    What shall I say to thee, rakkoon, thou cruel,
    Ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature,
    That knewst the very bottom of my soul,
    That almost mightst have coined me into gold
    Wouldst thou have practiced on me for thy use?
    Supa Songs about me

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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Critiques:

    Mask Masque

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    First of all, this is an idea that I strongly agree with, and have written about numerous times. People hide behind masks, and your idea of going over this is an excellent one to write about.

    My main complaint is that its' a little hard to follow. First of all, thoughts shoudl be put like this to set them apart. Some authors even use quotes. I also like to seperate paragraphs out like this:

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    Yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada.

    Yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada.


    Instead of

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    Yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada.
    Yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada


    And keep that extra line in there.


    It was well written; I like the setting. Overall, pretty good :D




    Prologue: The Stranger

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    Well written, but leaves a bit too much for the imagination. Try using some more imagery to give the reader more to go on. What you've written is bare bones; just the actions and a little bit of vivid language, but it could be more descriptive.

    Also, it's very generic. Evil bad guy walks into a town,owns everybody, and then finds the location of "The girl". I guess if you're going for generic, that's fine, but I like to mix things up a bit.

    Other than that, overall well written. I really enjoyed it. I'll probably read the rest



    The Last Trade

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    Honestly, as hard as I tried, I couldn't find anything wrong with this. You've got great overall plot, a great idea, great writing, good use of devices. You did a really great job writing this. Bravo




    My Own Works


    And my own contribution, a very short story I wrote a while ago. It's pretty generic itself, and lacks any sort of plot; I wrote it simply to work on imagery and vivid language. It's only 471 words.


    Untitled short story
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    Two figures lay on the grass on a warm midsummer evening, their bodies parallel, and pointing in opposite directions, their waists almost touching. The setting sun laid a mosaic of light around them through the tree leaves, and the sky showed with the thousand colors of the rainbow, collected together as if by some masterly painter, the clouds seeming so light and graceful in the atmosphere above. The air was warm, and a cool breeze ran through the air.

    They laid there for moments that passed like hours before one of them, a young man of fifteen years old with curly brown hair, and a slim figure, reached his hand over to the other’s, a young woman with long brown hair, soft features, and eyes as deep and blue as the sea. Their fingers interlaced, and their hands clasped tight, and a smile slowly came to both of their faces.

    Soon, the sun set, and in the dimming light, the stars became slowly visible. The couple stared up into the sky, quickly turning from a shade of powdery blue to the deepest of blacks, interspersed with tiny glowing points, billions of miles away. The fireflies came out of hiding to join the two in the night, slowly, but within an hour of sunset, they blinked above the field like so many Christmas lights suspended impossibly above the ground. The small, orangeish yellow lights appeared and disappeared in moments, everywhere at once. It created a sense of surrealism around them, as if the two were floating through the stars, with a million tiny flashing ghosts surrounding them.

    The woman began to get up, but the man squeezed his hand tightly around hers. They locked eyes for a moment, a moment that told him that it had to be done. He didn’t let go, because he knew this was the last time he would see her ever again. He pulled her arm in close to his body, and she followed, her face moving towards his. Their lips met for a moment, a perfect moment where both of them forgot all that was wrong in the world, before they separated, and she was gone.

    The man stared up into the sky, emotions flowing through his veins thicker than blood, tears running down his warm cheeks. He didn’t get up to follow her. He knew he couldn’t. He brought up his arm to his face, and wiped the tears from his eyes as a choked outburst emanated from his lips. The night was no longer surreal and beautiful. The air was cold, and the ground was hard. The teen pulled his legs in towards himself and closed his eyes. Tonight was a night of sorrow and joy for him, but the feelings in his mind soon gave way to the soft tide of sleep.





    Thanks!
    Last edited by Silence; 2009-10-23 at 12:57 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    OK, Roster is updated. Looks like a bit of a lull, so a prompt might be in order. Though with NaNoWriMo going on that might not help right now.

    Overall, the system seems to be working, though, and there's a steady trickle of new blood. So keep those stories and critiques coming!
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Woo for NaNoWriMo!!! I wrote something recently, but i dont have the time to critique so i can post it here... so ill tell you the concept and i wanna see what yall can come up with on the subject.

    i did it like a tape recording style journal of the time after the apocalypse. Its a monologue style dialogue with sections of static cutting in between recordings and sometimes in the middle of recordings...

    thoughts? ideas? have you dont something like this?
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Quote Originally Posted by thurge namor View Post
    i did it like a tape recording style journal of the time after the apocalypse. Its a monologue style dialogue with sections of static cutting in between recordings and sometimes in the middle of recordings...
    It's a neat narrative device when done right, so go for it. One of the entries in the previous Iron Author thread used something like this.
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    OK, Lets try a Writing Challenge to see if we can spark a bit of action.

    Since we're in the middle of the month where insane people are trying to squeeze out 50,000 words as part of NaNoWriMo, I think what would be interesting is to go in the opposite direction.

    Write a complete story in 500 words. Bonus points for being EXACTLY 500.

    This is a lot harder than it seems. For my webzine I received a lot of flash fiction submissions, but the vast majority weren't actually stories, they were just scenes that may or may not have had interesting stuff going on (another term is vignette).

    For those who need/like a prompt/theme, let's use "yellow" and "homecoming". For those who need a deadline, Friday, Nov 20th. (All this is optional, feel free to just do your own thing whenever.)

    Go!
    I have my own TV show featuring local musicians performing live. YouTube page with full episodes and outtake clips here.
    I also have another YouTube page with local live music clips I've filmed on my own.
    Then there is my gaming YouTube page with Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and others.
    Finally, I stream on Twitch, mostly Kerbal Space Program and Minecraft.

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    This was my dream...
    By Kallisti
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    This was my dream:
    Five hundred words. He had five hundred words to tell a story.

    Great. Because writing’s totally not hard enough already. Sure. Fine. Whatever.

    Fine. Fine. I can write it. But what to write? Something short, simple…why not just write down a dream? Dreams make good stories sometimes. Dreams are like butterflies…they’re beautiful, and if you don’t pin them to the page quickly they’re gone too soon. Who said that, anyway? Neil Gaiman? No, that was Fragile Things, it had a butterfly on the cover. I must have made it up when I was feeling poetic, then.

    The pen met the page, and the dream met the words.

    This was my dream:
    It was ever and always silent in the town of the dead. The silence rang, funeral bells amongst the wicked, twisted yellow graveston—

    No, no, no. Too generic. I always write horror, anyway. Hmmm…


    This was my dream:
    This realm was like a vast chessboard, and it was where mages played. The pieces were those fools who’d dared offend the Wizard Kings, and as directed moved and checked and slayed to entertain the Magi, and there was no homecoming.

    That’s the plot of Dungeon Siege: Mageworld. I can’t write that.

    But what?

    This was my dream:
    Michaeli struggled under the weight of the marble statue on his back. Why couldn’t he have a coffin like most vampires? But NO, it HAD to be the giant marble grave mark—

    NO! Writing about one of the games I’m playing? No way. I did that with Robert and nobody understood the story. It has to be good. It has to make sense. And, just for fun, let’s say it also has to be exactly five hundred freakin’ words. The Playground Writers Workshop: Bringing a whole new layer of meaning to writer’s block since 2009. Beata Discordia. Ok, ok, I can do this. I have lots of weird dreams to make into a story.

    Oh, man. This is going to be harder than I thought.

    I might need a few days.

    Ok, try again…


    This was my dream:
    It was a dark and stormy night. Do you know why that’s become a cliché? It was good enough to keep being used. Because the weather has a sense of humor, perhaps. Anyway, cliché or not, it was true.

    It was a dark and stormy night, and the only sound besides the booming scream of the thunder was a whispered prayer...

    Please, Dear God, don’t let them find me. Don’t let them find me. Don’t—

    “You, there! Under the tree! Hands in the air! I said hands--”

    The gunshot split the night, one more thunderous blast lost in the fury of the storm, one more life extinguished.

    The soldiers moved on. They’d done their job, after all. All Hail Big Brother!

    Ok, what the hell was that? 1984 fan-fic? Really? God, the well of inspiration is running dry indeed.

    And then it hit him.

    He knew exactly what to write.


    Word count: 500. I'll edit in some critiques later, since I'm posting a story, but I got the idea and just started writing.
    Last edited by Kallisti; 2009-11-13 at 06:17 PM.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Im gonna go ahead and post this and give you an IOU for three critiques. Its the zombie story i told you about, i found that it is EXACTLY 500 words, and it does tell a whole story through his recordings... so without further ado, here is:

    We Are Undying
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    [static then suddenly stop] This is Joe Stevens and the date is December 21, 2012. The time is, uh, 21:43. So far there’s been so sign of the, uh, [sarcasm] foretold apocalypse, but the night is still young, and, [distracted] uh… HOLY [static] blackness turned green, and all the stars winked out. Nothing poetic to it, no one by one, just… ya know, all at once… i-I really don’t know how to describe this calm. Green lights all over the sky and all I can think about is [static] I never got to tell her that I loved her and [long static] This is Joe Stevens and the date is December 25, 2012. Merry effin Christmas to all you listeners out there [nervous laughter, bordering on hysteric] I don’t know if this recorder can pick up the noise, but there’s chaos in the streets. People looting, people killing, people… well let’s just say it’s bad. Very bad! I really can’t believe this all has happened I mean one moment the sky goes green and the next moment [static] Stupid thing keeps cutting out on me, ah, there we go. Working again. As I was saying, after the green light there was… hold on, I think I hear something… [yelling away from the audience] who the hell are you? What are you… [static][solemnly in prayer]hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in[static][out of breath, frantic] in my house, all over the streets. There’s no rest, so sleep [short static] constantly on the run… I'm becoming paranoid! I hear their calls where ever I go, feel their eyes on my back, I [static][hysterical laughter][static]bunker to hole up in. They can never reach me here behind these steel doors [static] perfect place to hide [static] they got through! Oh god, they got through [static] no place to run, no place to hide… the apocalypse has found me and there’s nothing I can do about it, not with [static][calmly, slowly] They said it would come, and why the hell didn’t we listen? No big comets to destroy us all, no raging floods, but it’s here none the less… and here we are, stuck neck deep in [static] you do this to your people? How could you do this to your children? How could you do this to us? God, almighty, here our cries and deliver us! [static][sudden clarity] they’re here! And there’s nothing we can do about it because whether be believed it or not, the apocalypse was coming and [static][frantic, getting louder and louder till scream] oh god! No, no no ,no… NO! [static]I was so naïve to fight it, so blind in my human ways. They are redemption, the way to a true eternity of peace. They are the truth, the perfect people. God has created what he so longed for all those years ago, a perfect loving children. Join us and you too may become great. Like the gods, we are undying.


    opinions, anyone?
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Well, since I now owe the Playground three critiques, I may as well start with your story, Thurge Namor.

    Critique of We Are Undying
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    Hmmmm...I like it. But there's room to improve. First off, I'm too much of a spelling-and-grammar nazi to resist mentioning that you made typos. I know you know. I know they're just typos. But I had to say it.

    Okay, now that I've said that, it's a good story. You did a good job with the phases of the newscaster's emotion, and the ending about the zombies being the 'perfect, loving children' made me shiver, which means it's working. I think you could have taken a little more time with some of the emotional shifts, or at least could have if it weren't five hundred words exactly, but other than that? A nice short horror story.
    Last edited by Kallisti; 2009-11-12 at 10:40 PM.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    @Kallisti: Thanks! yah, im actually using the last line as the ending sentence of my NaNoWriMo... "because, like the gods, we are undying." ha. I'm working on it, im trying to expand it to a few pages long for a theater competition in december. I just sorta wrapped it up so i cold use it for the 500 words. I was planning on showing different stages of human existence after the apocalypse, like seeing the main character join up with people and start rebuilding... eh. who knows if it will get done. I'll post it if it does, if not...

    Critique of This Was My Dream
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    interesting way to write 500 words. I, myself, am not a fan of "writing about what im really doing cause i dont know what to write about" but it seems to be done on purpose and its well done. The last line just makes the whole piece, and we're all left wondering what you found to write about. One thing: with the fanfic part, i know you are trying to hit 500 words exactly, but it would be nice to somehow write in what it was fanfic for cause i have no clue and it makes me feel out of the loop.
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Thurge Namor: I've always thought meta-stories were a cool conceit. My absolute favorites are Sandman and Thursday Next. Both series should be required reading for everyone everywhere, because they're that good.

    The "fan-fic" was of 1984 by George Orwell. I purposefully started with a beginning that, if not great, could be salvaged, then ruined it with the "All Hail Big Brother!" piece. 1984 is not exactly a rich field for fan-fic.Unless you count the game I DM...

    Yeah, when I read your piece I wondered if it was written to be performed. I think it'd play really well with a little more material and some good sound effects. That'd be interesting to see, although unless you're in the Seattle area I'll have to use my imagination.

    And EDIT: While I'm still on my poetry kick (and hoarding critiques to pay off This Was My Dream/post my new poem),
    Critique of Aces and Eights
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    This is good stuff. I like it. The imagery with the gates and the walls falling down is very powerful, if not exactly what you'd expect from a poem with such a spaghetti-western feel. Overall, very good. Although the rhyme sceme fells more like a song in places, especially the third stanza. The lines about never mourn/never regret feel like a refrain. Now I'll have the voice of Mark Knopfler singing your poem in my head all day. Thanks.

    One thing, though. about the last couplet: your tenses are disagreeing. You use present tense, "the gates finally come down," then past tense "I sure as hell wished..." So which is it? Past tense or present?

    It's an unusual poem, mixing the shaghetti-western genre with the song-type rhythm and the rich mythic imagery, but you know what? It works.


    EDITEDIT: Is the roster going to be updated soon? I think I'm back up to zero critiques now, although I may be short one, and several people have added stories.
    Last edited by Kallisti; 2009-11-19 at 07:35 PM.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Hurm, let's see here... might as well add a couple critiques and give this thread a bump while I'm at it.

    This Was My Dream - By Kallisti
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    Very meta, very neat. I kept being reminded of Neil Gaiman's work, if only because you went and mentioned him yourself, silly you I do love Gaiman's writing so this is not a bad thing.
    Some nice insight into a writer's mind, too. The 1984 bit was the perfect payoff to this particular stream of thought. I lol'd, at least.
    That's all I have, really. Nice, short work.


    We Are Undying - By thurge namor
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    Firstly, this piece suffers from a bad case of wall-o'-text. Some spacing would be a kindness to my eyes. There're also some typos etc. but that's all just technicalities, right?

    The story had an awesome sense of dread and I found myself relating to the narrator very readily. The steady buildup towards the inevitable ending was also stylishly executed. Going from calm to increasing suspense and then to a violent climax to be followed by a final rest is a classic form but it really works.

    Also, I'm a huge sucker for the "I AM BEGONE LIKE UNTO A GOD!"-type of juicing, so the final bit about the Undying being a new, enlightened form of God's children on earth was right up my alley.

    So all in all, nice work, if a bit lacking in polish.
    "What can change the nature of a man?"
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  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Thanks. I was worried the 1984 part was a little too weird of a joke to connect with anyone but me.

    What I said about stories and butterflies really is something I made up after reading Gaiman's introduction to Fragile Things. I never actually thought he'd written it. What he wrote was "I would rather recollect a life misspent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt," which I think are possibly the most profound words I have ever heard in the english language.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Sorry about the double-post, but BUMP, FOR GREAT JUSTICE!

    Also, while I'm at it and have time, critiques FOR GREAT JUSTICE!

    Critique of Untitled Short Story
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    Hmm...I like it. You've got some very nice imagery here.

    Because you said you wrote this story entirely for the imagery and language, I'm going to go to a level of nitpicking I'd ordinarily save for editing someone's story, not just commenting on it.

    The opening paragraph is good. The 'mosaic of light through the leaves' is a very nice image. If I were you, I'd have put a color on the light, though. A mosaic of gilt light or crimson light, depending on your vision of the setting sun, and maybe a color on the leaves. You can rarely go wrong specifying what color something is. Not never, but rarely. Also, I'd have used a different word than atmosphere. Atmosphere is so...modern and scientific. It breaks the poetic feel. Sky would work better, or firmament if you want to get fancy. Even air would work, although it's a bit bland.

    Second paragraph, the opening would have read better with 'lay' instead of 'laid'. You should have a comma between hours and before. For the young man, you should leave out the old. It's just 'of fifteen years'. Or 'fifteen years old,' without the of. I'd recommend trying to describe him in more detail than just 'a young man of fifteen years.' Other than that, good.

    Third paragraph, very nice. I think it'd read better if the fireflies came 'slowly at first', though, instead of just 'slowly'. Also, orange-yellow, not orangeish yellow.

    Fourth paragraph, very nice.

    Final paragraph is good, but I have a few nits to pick here. For example, 'emanated' from his lips. Not really a good word for a short, sharp outburst of pain. 'Slipped' if it was quiet and soft. 'Tore' for a more sudden, painful feeling. An emanation is something slow and steady, usually. The deep bellow of a foghorn might emanate from the top of the tower, and the blue light emanates from the crystal atop the wizard's staff, but it doesn't quite work for a sob. Also, feelings is kind of bland for the 'feelings in his mind'. I'd go with turmoil. It's a great word.

    Overall, very nice stuff, just needs some polishing.
    Last edited by Kallisti; 2009-11-23 at 05:59 PM.
    "Once upon a time, a story was never finished..."

  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Wow, pure irony. I come over to here, seeing that my idea had been taken by a certain person.(No really, I was doing recordings of a zombie apocolypse... I started working on it for Nano)

    Anyways, onto the critiques.

    Untitled Short Story Critique

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    The first thing I really want to point out is that the sentence structure got very repetative, especially in the third paragraph. Vary your sentence structure: it can help with pacing.

    The imagry is good. Being a person who can't write scenes well for crap(It's why I tend to write first person), its better then I could hope for. That is also why this review is so short )


    This was my dream Critique

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    I liked it. You could clearly see the character's personality(I could tell he is a gamer, well read), but at the same time it is probably your personality . You are supposed to write what you know...

    You wrote stream of conciousness well also(AP lit comes in handy? GASP!)

    Near the end, in the last dream story, it is hard to tell the thought of the writer from the thought of his character. It made me stumble for a second.

    Because I feel I should add something more then "I liked blah blah blah", the phrase "the dream met the words" sounds off to me. I would compare two singulars, but that is just me.


    We are undying Critique

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    I'll be honest: I got confused. I needed to read this a couple of times through. If I hadn't been told there were zombies before I read it, I would NEVER had picked up on it. It never is put in there. It could very well have just been aliens that had come, or a bunch of looters that had made a cult, as far as the reader is concerned.

    I understand what you were going for with the way you wrote it, but as was mentioned, spacing would be nice, maybe paragraphs to break up long periods of time.

    Also, if the main character believed they were zombies and had all that time to think, why would he still believe in a god at all? Most people would have given up faith a long time before the 25th, so I didn't really see the main character's reasoning.

    I do like the idea, and the emotions of the guy you hit very well.
    Some things just need work, IMO.


    A note on my critiquing style: I do not go back and edit critiques. No, not even then. If I would, I think that I would just be softer on people, which in a writiers workshop is not what we want.

    Also, I'm new at critiquing. If I offended anyone in anyway, I apologize. if I critiqued wrong, it was by accident.

    I am thinking about writing a part of my Nano, but is 3000 words too much?
    Thanks goes to Vampire Pumpkin for my awesome avatar!

    Formerly known as The Fiery Tower Formerly known as Catseye2121.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    thurge namor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    @The Fiery Tower: I never really established that it was zombies on purpose. I wanted it to be up to the reader's mind what was happening, all that's certain is that it was something horrible. Yah, i need to work on the spacing, and probably some formatting as far as bold and italics would help the readability of it, its all in my schedule along with write another 30k words for nano before monday.
    In a post-apocalyptic world there would be the people that denounced god, but then again there would be the people that would turn to god. After all, what really is relegion except hope to put an end to fears that can't be answered by conventional means?
    Rhythm within verse to bring sweet tears
    Silent script breeds death to my fears
    And what of the poet's bleeding black soul?
    He buried it deep in a dank dark hole...

    Red hot edge dipped in enemy’s life
    Squirt warm stream of bittersweet strife
    And what of the warrior's maddening guilt?
    He buried it deep as still he strikes from the hilt...


    avatar made by Assassin 89!

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Critique for Aces and Eights
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    I really liked the content of the poem. I only have a couple of comments. The flow of the poem is good most of the time, but the last two stanzas don't flow all that well. Also I would recommend ditching the brackets and separating those parts with commas instead. Also in line seven your missing the "i" in "killed". Despite these relatively minor fault, in my perspective, I enjoyed reading this poem.


    Critique for Untitled short story
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    Wow, this story really makes to make me know what happened before this, what will happen, and who these people are. I can't come up much in the way of faults. You do seem to have a few run on sentences, the first two for example, so I would reccomend you rephrase to eliminate them. Besides that, well done. I hope to see more writting from you.


    Critique for This Was My Dream...
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    Very... interesting I would say. I suppose that's one way to get 500 words Actually I put it into Word and used the word count it says there are 501 words, so you may want to consider that. Beside that it was interesting.


    And now for my story.

    The Pull by RPGsr4me
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    Some of you know I was gone for a week to Florida and as a result of the school I missed I now have a flood of homework that needs doing. At the beginning of this weekend I told myself I was going to get most, if not all, of it done even if it killed me. What I failed to remember was that I had recently come in to possession of two new and awesomely amazing video games, Dragon Age and Borderlands. It hit me the moment I entered my house, it was as inevitable as gravity pulling a thrown object to the ground, it was The Pull, I had to play them. Friday night I played Dragon Age until one in the morning at which time I was reluctantly forced to sleep due to the intervention of my parents. The next morning I awoke at nine and The Pull took hold of me immediately. I continued to play Dragon Age until my parents badgering to get to work on my homework became unbearable. I retreated to the basement with every intention of doing my homework, but I came across my brothers playing Borderlands and The Pull took hold of me once again. I decided that I would play for a little while just to try it, but I should have known that The Pull leaves no room for decision, only compulsion. Before I knew it the clock had struck midnight and once again my parents intervention forced me to sleep. On Sunday morning The Pull called to me with the call of a siren but there was no time for gaming, I had to go to church. Over those few hours The Pull grew and grew until it became unbearable. Upon arriving home I immediately rushed for the X Box and took up Borderlands. It was indescribable the relief I felt when I felt the controller in my hands and saw the flashing lights of the game, The Pull had been sated. Once again I played late, although it evoked the rage of my parents, and once again my homework lay forgotten. Now I sit here typing this and the pile of homework continues to grow, but something else is growing, something eternally hungry, The Pull.

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