RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

The Bolthole's monthly 1,000 word story competition.

Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:36 pm

This is just a gentle reminder that voting is due to close in about 18 hours time. Given the number of entries, the number of votes is a tad disappointing. If, like me, you've set aside a few hours this weekend in order to read and vote, then fair enough. If you're struggling to do that, then let me know and I'll see what I can do about extending the voting period.

All the best!

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Stuart000X » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:35 pm

I'm all prepared for the next competition. I'm 95% confident that all the majority of the errors on it are removed this time. Every so often, i would look and scan it again for any mistakes that i have missed.
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Raziel4707 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:53 pm

1st Commander Shadow, The Standard At Mourning.
2nd Ballistichimp, Waking
3rd JDD, Business As Usual
4th Squiggle, Shattered Dreams

Apologies for the delay, as always, life is keeping me on my toes! All votes thoroughly deserved, with first and second place being the hardest to choose between. In the end, Shadow just pipped it because his was the one that really stuck in my mind.

In the words of Dave Grohl, “Done, done and I’m on to the next one…”
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby cjphillips » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:11 pm

In my humble opinion:

1 Eremite - The Sound of Wings (even the Astartes are ultimately helpless - a perfect encapsulation of the Time of Ending in microcosm)
2 Jelboy - The Flask (as I think I posted on the Shattered Dreams entries thread, this is the kind of 40K storytelling that really interests me - what does 'there is only war' mean for people who aren't on the front lines?)
3 Commander Shadow - The Standard at Mourning (what I wrote for #2 also applies here. In fact, it looks like we had kind of similar ideas, namely the poignancy of shattered dreams of children caught up in events bigger than they are old enough to comprehend - have you been reading Dickens too? ;) )
4 Squiggle - Shattered Dream (Astartes aren't completely emotionless; this is a nicely focused character study based around one of their principal fears, namely being denied the chance to continue serving the Emperor)

Oh yeah, and nice to see I won't be finishing my first RiaR with nul points - cheers guys! :)

Right - Sacrifice...
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Mossy Toes » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:19 am

Disclaimer to any and all: Feel free to disregard my critiques if you so desire; they are wholly unprofessional opinions, and just what I think would be best for the stories and their flow.

+++

Shattered Dream – Squiggle

As I said before, nice job. The sense of potential cut short is especially poignant.

I’m Already There – Stuart000X

A good, solid Heresy story. The shockwaves of Horus's death radiate out quickly indeed...

Under the Spreading Pluquat Tree (Sweet Fruit and Bitter Memories) - Mossy Toes

Who even writes such dross? This author ought to be ashamed of daring to post this in a public forum!

The Standard of Mourning – Commander Shadow

Nice imagery. Very vivid and evocative, especially with the POV character's childlike outlook. (eg "Vyan wondered why it was crying.")

That said, there are some things that could use work. There are some odd inversions and turned-about phrases that jar on the reader slightly that could easily be straightened out. For example:
Commander Shadow wrote:Vyan craned his neck, watching the tall spires laden with vast brass bells and ancient frescoes of the God-Emperor’s servants in battle. The little boy clung to his mother’s hand. He had been to the plaza only ever twice before.
"He had only ever been to the plaza twice before" sounds quite a bit more fluid, if you ask me. Also another minor point: "watching" is a verb generally used to describe an unfolding situation, like watching something happening. You watch a movie; you look at a wall, building or fresco. So..."looking at" might be better for the first sentence.

I firmly hold that the first paragraph in a short story is one of the most important--after all, it's where you hook the reader in or not. Taking a few minutes to read it out loud and/or iron out the little kinks in it is well worth the effort.

He and his mother walked upon the dull silver tiles of the Basilica’s courtyard where drooping trees shed pearl leaves upon the tarnished tiles and where stood bronze statues, green with age, and where a trickle of people slowly moved ever closer to the weeping angel and the door. He could see in the crowd bears standing upright,
Watch out--that's a run-on sentence that would benefit greatly for being broken up into about three sentences. Also, the last appended chunk I put there is a second inversion thingy--it would be better, I say, to put the subject of the sentence (in this case, "bears") in before you put in "crowd," so the reader knows which image to focus on more.

By the towering iron of the gate he could see a swell of people who packed close to the bars.
That's the thing with these inversions, as I'm calling them. You're mentioning one thing and then calving off onto a secondary image, while the sentence as a whole--and the idea invoked--would be strongest if you presented one thing and let different secondary facts branch off it. So instead of what's there, you could say, "He could see a swell of people by the towering iron of the gate who packed close to the bars." That way, you have a solid idea that you build on:
People-->by gate
People-->packed close

Rather than:
Gate-->people-->packed close.

One gives you an image and elaborates on it. The other jumps from one image to another.

Other than that, though: excellent short story. It evokes all sorts of mixed emotions in me as a reader, which I can only count as a good thing. As mentioned before, the imagery is really quite beautiful.

Fickle Fates – Razhbad

Razhbad wrote:He could feel his damp brow freezing as it sent a sharp pain raging through his forehead.
"it" is the fog, right? Because in the context of the sentence, it sounds like it's his damp brow.

You have a tendency to near run-on sentences. Often, a period instead of a comma in precise locations would make the story flow much smoother. For instance (among other critiques):

“It called itself Omegon and I knew it to be the truth, do not doubt me again.”
You want "truth" to be a resonant statement here, I think, which is cheapened by continuing with merely a comma. My recommendation is "...to be the truth. Do not doubt me again."

Turning his head upwards the ghost like image had gone, the strains of long distance sorcery would mean that Xindr could not keep communication for such a long time.
These are rather separate ideas, and so should have a period rather than a comma. "...the ghost like image had gone. The strains of long distance sorcery would mean..."

Could it be possible, it seemed unlikely. Could the Primarch be alive, he had always hoped so, yet he had felt it was not so.
He's having an internal debate here, so it needs a sort of thrust-parry tone to it, as induced by question marks (also, I've removed a repetition of "so"). "Could it be possible? It seemed unlikely. Could the Primarch be alive? He had always hoped so, yet he felt that it was not."

Farrah turned and walk straight out of the room. The rooms beyond held more light then anything of the previous room.
Repetition of "room" thrice.

The rituals to summon Xindr required the dark, it seemed too much light stopped the sorcerer from appearing.
"...the dark. It seemed..."

Farrah took a step towards the Eldar prison, he did not know what to expect, a blinding light, a terrible pain. May be just may be he thought, it would be salvation.
"...the Eldar prison. He did not know..." Also, those should (as I understand it) be "maybe," not "may be."

A solid entry, though. Just because I disagree with some things stylistically doesn't keep me from enjoying it. And I've always wondered where Alpharius and Omegon wind up by 40k. Well, I guess I'll have to keep on wondering...

Business As Usual – J D Dunsany

Very poignant and grim. The gritty slums, the all-pervasive darkness, the toggling between third person and the (deliberately) intrusive first person perspective...

The assassin didn't strike me as one of the major temples. I imagine her to be merely a psychic Death Cult assassin of some sort, really.

My one minor complaint is that the link between her throwing the tooth away and the vehicle explosively veering out of control is more implied than given, but it's definitely still a creative weapon.

Good stuff. I'm afraid, though, that the origin of the name "Queer Zak" escapes me right now.

The Black Knight – Atlantic

I notice that your sentences are all very uniform in length. This lends the narrative a sort of choppy, halting structure.

Still, the ending was quite potent. I'll disagree with Tyrant here: that was done more effectively than the battle scene which (for me), taking up basically the whole of the story and coupled with the standardized sentence length, sort of blended itself together into a blur.

Good work, definitely.

Terriloquus – LordLucan

Typical LL fare. Boisterous, exuberant, far-reaching, unorthodox, insanely creative, staggeringly arrogant... need I go on?

The utilization of one of the Lost Primarchs struck something of a sour note for me personally, for some reason. Either I feel that that's sort of sacrosanct ground, as far as GW lore goes, and needs to be treaded with great caution, or I'm just a Visgoth-esque Philistine Luddite. One of the two.

Ah well, I've not read much of the Hated Saviors, either, so I'm sure that this startling new foe won't especially rock my world.

Red Revolutions – cjphillips

A nicely worked story. My main complaint is that the two story-lines don't really coincide or relate to each other, apart from the fact that they are both in the same riot. In fact, Abram's story makes no mention of the statue of the Caliph, and Chamoun's makes no reference of the Lightnings. If Chamoun were the one that (hating himself for it) shot a little boy running away, or if he were a Lightning pilot instead of a soldier, or if Abram were one of the ones who instigated the defacing of the statue (out of dislike for the Caliph, not chaotic worship)...then I would have a great deal less cause for complaint.

Still, otherwise it's a nice, solid pair of vignettes.

Waking – Ballistichimp

...damn. Utterly beautiful. This is even better than your Forest Competition entry. This prose is melodious, fluid, and intricately crafted. I have no criticisms or complaints.

I had quite a fun time trying to guess what the protagonist was--an Iron Hands Space Marine? A Dreadnought? No--a Necron.

Excellent work, sir. At this point in reading through the entries, I'm almost certain I've found my top vote.

Final Hours (Suggested version) The – Bane Of Kings

A nice meditation on the Heresy, definitely.

There are a few small issues of capitalization, though:
Bane of Kings wrote:Elements of Four Legions, Three brutal legions who, before all of this, he viewed as the best out there. The Emperor’s Children, lead by their Primarch, the Phoenician. The Death Guard, lead by Mortarion. The World Eaters, the bezerk sons of the Primarch Angron.
"Four," "Legions," and "Three" shouldn't be capitalized. I'd also say the first usage of "Primarch" shouldn't be either, as it's not appended to a name, but I might be out of touch on the conventions for that. Also, if you're identifying Angron as "Primarch Angron," you should probably do the same with Mortarion.

That's far and away the most glaring thing, and otherwise it's looking pretty polished. I've always wondered at what sort of little fights and internal conflicts went on in the eddies of the main story in those battles...

Small Victories – Raziel4707

Nicely done. Little chaotic worldlets and dream-shelters are a favorite topic of mine in my own work, so how can I object to somebody else pulling it off well?

There were a few things that probably intentionally don't make sense. He's a slender human child (and is the word "human" even necessary there?), and yet he has a godlike body and beauty? He's hundreds of meters tall, and yet the growing forest envelops him?

I'll let it rest, though. Like Inception says, things inside the dream seem to make total sense and sudden massive changes are barely worthy of notice.

I HAD A DREAM or How I Learned to Stop Whining and Got a Grip – Big Barney Ross

I wish I had read this before I learned its basis--then I could see if I recognized the inspiration on my own or not. Ah well, such is life. I can assuredly say on an ex post facto basis that the similarities are strong.

In spite of its tongue-in-cheek nature, I didn't really like the ending. The lapse from oration to casual, modern-day banter cheapens the story. Ah well, I suppose that my discontent with it is just thin-skinned outlook on the matter. It's my fault for taking the 40k universe with any degree of seriousness, and so I rightly deserve irritation that lampooning the setting gives me...

(But Tzeentch's maze is a representation of vast, sweeping powers that roil in the warp, not a physical place, dammit! And there's no way a daemon, an inherently spiteful and evil creature, would form a bond like that with a Chaos Space Marine! And...)

Sorry, my superego got out of its box for a second. Pardon me while I go cram it back in.

Not This Way – Tyrant

Nice work, Tyrant. Grim, tired, worn-out--just the way I like my guardsmen!

Not much I can say on this one, other than firm and solid praise. All the little touches--like the wind scouring eyeballs dry, or nobody looking at Dane--are what made this good enough to almost certainly qualify for the voting round.

The Flask – Jelboy

A unique take on the prompt, certainly. My favorite bit of the story was the "contempt" paragraph--that's some shiveringly delightful imagery, that is.

The Sound of Wings – Eremite

I've already commented on this, but it's a favorite, definitely. The most threatening, dangerous enemy is the one you can't escape and can't fight. Very terrifying.

Dreams - ninja101

Hmmm...I don't know if it would be that easy to get to Terra--and then also, that easy to get around on Terra. Surely it would be even more labyrinthine, hellish, iron-walled, and black-skied. :P

But I must say, I wholly approve of this story idea. Seeking truth is a dangerous thing to do in the 41st millennium. Seeing through the nightmare facade reveals...worse nightmares.

Votes

1) Waking – Ballistichimp (5)
2) The Sound of Wings – Eremite (3)
3) Not This Way – Tyrant (2)
4) Business As Usual – J D Dunsany (1)

Honorable Mention: The Standard of Mourning – Commander Shadow. Your story just barely got edged out by Business As Usual.
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Raziel4707 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:42 am

Small Victories – Raziel4707

Nicely done. Little chaotic worldlets and dream-shelters are a favorite topic of mine in my own work, so how can I object to somebody else pulling it off well?

There were a few things that probably intentionally don't make sense. He's a slender human child (and is the word "human" even necessary there?), and yet he has a godlike body and beauty? He's hundreds of meters tall, and yet the growing forest envelops him?

I'll let it rest, though. Like Inception says, things inside the dream seem to make total sense and sudden massive changes are barely worthy of notice.


Thanks mossy! Yeah, a lot of it was intended to be rapid changes of reality as his feelings warped his dream/alternate dimension, but in honesty I think it would have seriously benfitted from a revisit. I'll blame time restrictions, children and the eejit that directed the Twilight movies, she seems a worthy target for my ire. ;)
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby J D Dunsany » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:16 am

Mossy, your efforts put me to shame!

Before I post my vote, I'd just like to say that I really do think this competition is bringing out better and better writing from its entrants. There are several pieces this month that are easily of publishable standard and even those that could perhaps benefit from a little more polish are positively seething with ideas. I'm pleased to see some Horus Heresy stories this month - and 40K stories that are obviously influenced by the Heresy. Plenty of scope for shattered dreams there, obviously, but it's great to see that motherlode being mined so inventively.

As always, though, it's RiaR's scope to provide intimate stories that, for a variety of reasons, linger in the imagination that continues to impress. And my voting reflects that:

1. Not This Way by Tyrant

2. The Sound of Wings by Eremite

3. Red Revolutions by cjphillips

4. Waking by Ballistichimp

Atlantic, stu, squiggle, Commander Shadow, Raz and mossy were all in contention, but just edged out. It's been a really strong month for entries this month. Congratulations to everyone. You lot are awesome! :)

Just about twelve hours to go, people!

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Squiggle » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:02 am

I uh, need more time... got totally busy since reading a few of the entries. I should definitely get my votes in by the morning, though. :?

Thanks to everyone who has voted and said such nice things about my story!!
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby J D Dunsany » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:08 pm

Squiggle wrote:I uh, need more time... got totally busy since reading a few of the entries. I should definitely get my votes in by the morning, though. :?

Thanks to everyone who has voted and said such nice things about my story!!


I'm quite happy to extend the deadline by 24 hours, squiggle - meaning that the revised deadline is:

2100BST on Monday 11th April

Regards,

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Squiggle » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:42 pm

I worked hard.

Votes are....

1. LL - Terriloquus. This was jolly 40k!
2. Ballistchimp - Waking. Just plain nasty
3. CommanderShadow - Standard of Mourning
4. JDD - Business as Usual

As ever, when I get around to reading all the stories it is tough to pick winners and almost every story has something to reccomend it.

I am old and gnarly enough to remember when we started doing RIAR, and these stories are oh so much better than those were.

A pleasure, not a chore. May the best man win.
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Stuart000X » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:55 pm

Seeing as Squiggle was the one that had requested for an extention, and he has voted, does the extention still continue, or ?
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Ballistichimp » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:17 pm

Just wanted to say a quick thanks for all the positive feedback and comments folks. As someone who dosn't write very much (or often) it really means a lot. I just don't know where you lot get the inspiration for all the writing that goes on here when I struggle to find enough to do a thousand word story!

Keep rockin'!

8-)
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby J D Dunsany » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:20 pm

Stuart000X wrote:Seeing as Squiggle was the one that had requested for an extention, and he has voted, does the extention still continue, or ?


We'll keep it open till the revised deadline. There may be one or two who haven't voted yet who might want to.

:)

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Atlantic » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:29 am

1. Terriloquus
2. Under the Spreading Pluquat Tree
3. The Standard at Mourning
4. Red Revolutions
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Mossy Toes » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:09 am

Is it wrong, Stuart000X, that every time I see the name of your story, I hear one of the basic frigates from the computer game Sins of a Solar Empire? One of the canned replies when you give that TEC frigate an order is "I'm already there," so whenever I see your title, I hear it said over some crackling static.
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Commander Shadow » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:12 am

thanks for the extensive response mossy! I will have to look into that. Alot of my writing actually contains some of that flip-flopping of subjecs which, upon further reflection, does make it complicated at moments. I'll look into it and (though its too late to make revisions now) keep that in mind in upcomming work.
- And there arose from the abyss a terrible beast and the armies of man were laid low by the walls of the ancient city. The ground shook and the skies trembled and all knew as the beast had come forth and that the end of time was upon them.

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Mossy Toes » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:34 am

Glad to have been of service. It's a habit I used to fall prey to quite a bit myself, and have had to forcibly break. Chun was fond of calling it my "signature odd turn of phrase (TM)," but it seems like it's less unique than he thought!
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Commander Shadow » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:59 am

Its still unique unless three people do it! don't worry for now :D
- And there arose from the abyss a terrible beast and the armies of man were laid low by the walls of the ancient city. The ground shook and the skies trembled and all knew as the beast had come forth and that the end of time was upon them.

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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby Stuart000X » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:33 pm

Mossy Toes wrote:Is it wrong, Stuart000X, that every time I see the name of your story, I hear one of the basic frigates from the computer game Sins of a Solar Empire? One of the canned replies when you give that TEC frigate an order is "I'm already there," so whenever I see your title, I hear it said over some crackling static.


:D never heard of the game, but hey!
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Re: RiaR: Shattered Dream VOTING THREAD

Postby J D Dunsany » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:43 pm

And we're done.

The voting for the inaugural 'new Bolthole' RiaR comp is as follows:

1st place is Eremite's The Sound of Wings with 33 points.

2nd place is Ballistichimp's Waking with 25 points.

3rd place goes to Commander Shadow's Standard of Mourning with 23 points.

Joint fourth goes to LordLucan's Terriloquus (a real Marmite entry - it either got first place or nothing!) and Tyrant's Not This Way. A total of 13 of the 17 entries received at least one vote. Of those, 8 were at least someone's first place.

Huge congratulations to Eremite for winning and to everyone else for taking part and making the competition such a memorable one.

All the best!

:D

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