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Re: Scribblings

Post by Alex Steiner on Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:12 am

It also needs information about what each player's goals were at the time, based on what information they had.


Or Something.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:14 pm

Soar:

Two mighty heroes faced each other, hovering effortlessly in the darkness.  They were clad head-to-toe in heavy armour, which glowed an ethereal blue.  One wielded two crossed swords, the other hefted a battleaxe; and after nodding once in acknowledgement, they flew at each other, howling cries of blood and victory.  They collided with an awful shriek of clashing metal, their weapons blurring with speed.  The dual swords weaved an intricate pattern, trailing twin auras of scarlet and gold; while the battleaxe hacked and slashed, wreathed in violet flame.

The berserker unleashed a terrible roar, and smashed the golden sword aside; it dwindled to a tiny speck in the darkness.  The knight seized the opportunity; the crimson sword darting towards its enemy’s exposed neck.  The berserker tried to deflect the attack, but the heavy battleaxe moved too slowly, and–

The lights came on, and Tess and Nick fell to the ground with a thud.  The vast sky and elaborate costumes were gone, leaving only a featureless room and two dazed teenagers.

“Hey, what happened to the anti-grav?” asked Nick, rubbing his bruised shoulder.  “You forgot to leave it charging overnight, didn’t you? Tess, I’ve told you–”

“Oh, yeah; the anti-grav just happened to fail at the same time as the virtual reality.” Tess pushed herself upright, her voice dripping with scorn.  “Take a look around you, moron.  The door’s open; the program cut out when the field was disrupted.”

Nick jumped to his feet.  “Someone’s been in here!”

“No! Really?”

Nick scowled.  “No, look.  The anti-grav and virtual reality generators; they’re not just off, they’re gone.”

“What?” Tess leapt up too.  “Dammit! I spent three months building those, another six weeks testing; and someone just comes along and steals them?”

“I don’t think they cared how long it took us to make them,” said Nick, rolling his eyes.  “They wanted some cool toys; they took them.  Simple as that.”

“That simple, eh? Then who’s the thief?”

“How should I know? I said we should’ve put in security cameras, but no, you wanted fall suppressors instead.”

“Yeah, I sure am sorry we installed fall suppressors now.  Gosh, it’s just awful how we’ve got minor bruises right now, instead of broken bones.”

“Maybe if the fall suppressors were working properly, we wouldn’t even have minor bruises.” Nick stepped towards Tess, pointing an accusatory finger.  

“‘Like a mattress made of air’; that’s what you said!”

“I said ‘a mattress made of clouds’, actually,” said Tess, stepping forwards herself, “and while I’d love to continue this argument,” she knocked Nick’s hand aside, “the trail’s getting cold!”

Nick and Tess turned simultaneously to glare at the door, still hanging innocently open.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” asked Tess.  “Let’s–”

She cut herself off as Nick dashed out of the room, and sprinted after him.  They raced through their laboratory – gadgets strewn across the benches, test chambers lining every wall – and burst out into the foyer.  The room bustled with activity; crowds perpetually flowed between the labs radiating out from a central hub. 

“Mr Jones!” called Tess, attracting the attention of an elderly man.  “Hey; Mr Jones! Did you see someone coming out of our lab just before?”

Nick sighed, as Mr Jones smiled genially.  “Hello there, young Tess.  I–”

“What?” Tess demanded defensively, glaring at Nick.

“Nothing!” Nick glanced significantly at the ever-shifting crowd. “It’s just; there are a lot of people here.”

“Of course! Someone must have seen something.”

“And you’re going to interview everyone?”

“Well …” Tess hesitated, while Mr Jones waited calmly.  “Have you got a better idea?”

“Think about it; the thief had to get out of here somehow – the only way out is the elevators.  That’s where we should be looking.”

“How do you know they didn’t come from the labs?”

Nick snorted.  “Please.  We know everyone here; they’d never steal our stuff.” Mr Jones nodded gently.  “Heck, we’re in each other’s labs all the time; I think we’d notice our own stolen inventions.”

Tess nodded sharply, then turned to their elderly associate.  “Thanks, Mr Jones; I guess we don’t need your help after all.”

“No problem, kids.” Mr Jones waved, disappearing into the seething masses.

“Anyway,” Tess turned back to Nick, “if they did take the elevator, how do we know which one?”

“Well …” Nick paused, considering.

Tess groaned.  “Great.  This is useful.”

“Shut up! Let me think.” Nick snapped his fingers. “To run the anti-grav, they’d need a reinforced room to contain the field.  The only reinforced rooms are the lab test chambers and–”

“And the expensive apartments on the upper levels!”

“Yeah, I was done with that thought …” Nick started walking towards the elevators.

“We just have to check which elevators have been up there in the last five minutes!” Tess finished her triumphant conclusion, then realised Nick was already halfway across the room.  “Dammit,” she mumbled, hurrying to catch up.

Nick was already tapping at the touchscreen.  “Elevators to the top … alright, only–”

“One, right?” Tess interrupted irritably.

“Yeah,” said Nick, raising his eyebrows.  “How did you–”

“Lucky guess.  But it’s pretty obvious – the rich folk don’t typically spend a lot of time in the labs.”

Nick keyed in a request, and a soft ding emanated from the end of the row.  They entered the elevator and waited silently, surrounded by soft music, as they ascended.

Two minutes later, the doors slid smoothly open.  Tess and Nick burst out of the elevator, only to pull up short in surprise.  In contrast to the busy lab foyer, this atrium was deserted.  Apart from the elevators, the room’s only features were four simple doors.

“Got another lucky guess?” asked Nick dryly.

“There’s no reason we can’t check them all.  You take those two,” said Tess, pointing, “and I’ll get the others.”

Nick saluted, and walked over to his first assigned door.  After taking a moment to straighten his clothes, he knocked sharply, and let himself inside.  A middle-aged couple looked up in mild surprise from their couch.

“Good afternoon,” said Nick crisply.  “I apologise for the interruption.  I’m just here to do a quick survey, if that’s alright with you.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” replied the lady, grinning enthusiastically.  “We love questionnaires! I’m Martha, and this here is Joe.  Please, go ahead.”

“How many people are currently in this apartment?”

“Just the two of us; we’ve lived alone since the kids grew up.”

“Hold on there, Martha,” said Joe, frowning slightly.  “It’s a trick question.  This young lad’s here as well.  The answer’s ‘three’.”

“Correct!” said Nick.  “Thank you very much for your time.”

“Wait,” said Martha, “is that it?”

“I told you I’d be quick,” said Nick as he walked to the door.  “Good evening to the both of you.” He nodded politely, and closed the door behind him.  Tess was already intently examining her second door, so Nick quickly made his way towards her.  “I’m pretty sure that one’s clear; how about yours?”

“Completely empty.  This one’s weird, though; I turn the handle …” she demonstrated.  “But the door won’t open.” She leaned against the door, listening.  “I don’t think there’s anyone holding it closed.”

“Odd.” Nick moved closer to try the handle for himself.  “Oh, you just have to turn the handle and push on the door at the same time.”

What?” asked Tess, whirling around.  “That’s exactly what I–”

“Gotcha,” said Nick, smirking as he looked closer at the closed door.

“Oh, that’s funny,” said Tess dryly, relaxing.  “You know, maybe it’s locked.”

“Locked? I’ve never seen a locked door before.”

“Well, whatever it is, there’s nothing we can do about it for now.  Let’s check the last room; we can always come back and try this one again if necessary.”

“Yeah,” said Nick as they started towards the last apartment, “I’m sure if we come back later it’ll open right up for us.”

Tess rolled her eyes.  “Or, we could grab something from the lab and break it down.”

“Yes, that would–”

“Shh!” Tess came up short in front of the door, holding an arm out to block Nick.  “Should we just walk right in?”

“I don’t see why not.” Nick reached for the handle, but the door swung open before he could touch it.  He glanced at Tess.  “Did you do that?”

“I did not.  I guess that makes us special guests.”

They entered the darkened apartment warily; the only light was a thin strip under one of the doors.  It, too, opened as they approached, revealing a spacious, well-furnished bedroom; even larger than their lab.  A girl gazed imperiously down at them, though the effect was ruined when they realised she was standing on an enormous airbed.


“Welcome,” she said haughtily. “I’ve been expecting you.”

“Who are you?” demanded Tess.

The girl narrowed her eyebrows.  “You dare question me? The great Addison–” She cut herself off, frowning.  “Well, no matter.  You,” she brandished a remote control at Tess and Nick, and the door clicked shut behind them, “have entered my domain, and–”

“Tess, check it out,” said Nick, pointing towards a wall of screens.  “Security cameras.  And look–”

“Nick, this is really not the time.  You know the fall–”

Silence!” Addison inhaled slowly, calming herself.  “This is my apartment, and here you play by my rules.  But I am not unreasonable.  If you can best me in a contest of my choosing, I will relinquish my claim on your inventions, and you may go free.”

“Heh,” said Tess.  “Listen, maybe you should’ve hidden our stuff after you stole it.” She gestured towards the anti-gravity and virtual reality generators, standing in plain sight against the wall.  “You don’t get to make the rules; there’s nothing stopping us from taking our stuff and just walking out of here.” She started towards the generators, and immediately found herself floating in the air.  “Hey! What the hell? Put me down!”

“They are such wonderful devices,” said Addison, waving the remote admonishingly as she pushed herself off the bed, drifting towards an ostentatious chandelier high above.

“I tried to warn you, Tess,” said Nick, resigned.  “Check the windows.”

Tess glanced over; the windows were closed, sealed with a sheet of dull metal.  “Reinforced,” she growled.  “The field’s already up!”

“Yes, thanks for pointing that out.  Don’t worry; I have a plan.  When you hit the wall, push off towards the anti-grav, then power it down manually.”

“If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”

Nick sighed.  “I, unlike you, was not moving when the anti-grav came on.” He hovered slightly above the ground, flailing ineffectually.  “I may be somewhat stuck.”

“Fine.  Typical,” Tess muttered, lining up her feet.  She landed on the wall and kicked off, flying towards the anti-grav – and then everything vanished into the gloom of eternal night.

Dammit.” Tess fumbled at the empty air, then realised she was fully armoured and wielding her dual swords.  “Oh.  Cool.”

Nick flew up beside her, hefting his battleaxe.  “Independent propulsion for the virtual reality was a great idea.”

“That was my idea.” They soared gradually upwards, towards the distant figure of Addison, who glowed a faint green against the darkness.

“Oh, really? Was it also your idea to make the default guest weapon a massive club?”

“It was the obvious choice! It’s simple for the inexperienced player; you just swing it around.  I even adjusted the weight, to make it easier to use.”

“Wonderful.  You really did think of everything.  Look out; here she comes–”

Nick and Tess scattered as Addison dove between them, swinging her club in fluid, precise arcs.  They wheeled around – Nick above, Tess below – and charged towards Addison from opposite sides.  She dodged away, and Tess had to veer sharply to avoid being skewered on Nick’s battleaxe.

“Hey! Watch where you’re pointing that!”

“Sorry! It’s just, usually I’m trying to hit you!”

“Emphasis on–” She darted away as Addison sped in again.  Nick held firm, intercepting the attack, and locking the club underneath his axe’s blade.

“Quick, while I’ve got her!”

“Oh, what a great idea!” Tess plunged towards Addison from above, swords flashing; but Addison twisted, disengaging her weapon, and spun away, retreating to gain altitude.

“We should just rush her,” said Nick, as Tess joined him in mid-air.  “Two-on-one; she won’t stand a chance.”

“Agreed.  Let’s do this.”

They launched themselves towards Addison, who was hovering high above, gripping her club defensively.  “Alright,” said Nick authoritatively, “I’ll take her up front, you get around behind.  Ready?” He glanced around, spotting Tess below, pushing against an invisible obstacle.  “Tess?” he called, warily keeping an eye on Addison.  “I asked if you were ready.”

“Shut up! It’s the chandelier! This is why we don’t have stuff cluttering up our test chamber …” Tess growled as she twisted around, untangling herself from the unseen chains.  “Nick; I have an idea!” she called.

“Make it a good one!” Nick replied as Addison started cautiously descending.  “She’s realised you’re not coming to join me!”

“Just disarm her, and make sure the club falls down to me!”

“Sure, no problem!” Nick waited until Addison was directly above himself and Tess, and then sped towards her, his weapon trailing sparks.  He feinted at her legs, then hooked his axe’s haft between Addison’s club and her armour.  Using her own body as a fulcrum, Nick ripped the club out of Addison’s hands.

The moment Tess saw the green speck start to fall, she shouted up to Nick, “Dive! Dive towards me!” As the glowing club fell past her, she pushed off the chandelier towards it; her discarded swords twinkling away.

Nick dove towards the plummeting specks, heedless of his enemy above.  Addison cleared away, proclaiming victory to her fleeing opponent: “Yes, cower before me! Begone from my domain, and never show your faces again!”

Far below, Tess grabbed the glowing club, and frantically felt around its handle.  There! Rather than the smooth leather grip, there were odd protrusions, like buttons–

The lights came on, and Tess and Nick landed softly on the airbed.  They oriented themselves just in time to see Addison crash to the floor with a horrifying snapping sound.  Ignoring the pained moans from the foot of the bed, Tess tossed aside the remote.


Nick glanced at the door hanging gently open.  “She really should’ve installed fall suppressors.”

“Hmm,” said Tess thoughtfully, “but an air mattress is a pretty good substitute.”

They rolled off the bed, and picked up their stolen generators.  Only then did they deign to look down at their vanquished foe, whimpering and cradling her broken arm.

“Listen,” said Nick, “we’re going to take our stuff, and we’re going to leave your ‘domain’, and you never have to see our faces again.”

“But …” said Tess, “if you ever want to ‘lay claim’ to any of our inventions – well, you know where to find us.”

The two mighty heroes nodded once to each other, turned, and shut the door firmly behind them.


Notes:
This is a short story all be entering for a competition.  The only restriction is that it has to be 2500 words or less.  Please give feedback, since I'm obviously wanting to make it as good as possible (and if it's a dud, I need to get started on something else ASAP).  I'm also open to suggestions about titles or endings.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:12 pm

I don't know, there is something about the way they talk that puts me off, I think it's a lack of familiarity with characters that are obviously friends, or something like that which I find so off-putting.

what was the inspiration for this particular idea?

Also I'm not sure if 2500 words is enough to develop a 'semi-crime' story like this one, it makes everything feel rushed.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:54 pm

I've got to get wider opinions of the dialogue.  My mum really liked it (as did I, but I wrote it ...); Alex and Eggs were largely indifferent, and now you found it off-putting.  Since it's a major part of the story (around 1000 words), it's rather important.

I was finding it really hard to come up with an idea, so I tried to create a generalised skeleton, and then fill in the bits:
Original Skeleton wrote:An attention-grabbing, somewhat victorious opening scene (also setting up climax) that quickly turns into defeat as the villain gains the upper hand and leaves the protagonists in the dust (perhaps by stealing something vital).  After blaming each other for a while, they figure out what they need to do (compromise) and set off.  Encounter obstacles the villain has left behind; not too much difficulty, but they have to save each other, sniping at each other's weaknesses the entire time (exposing flaws they'll need to cover in the climax).  Catch up with villain, who uses their own natural advantage; protagonists manage to beat that (working separately); villain uses new, stolen advantage; protagonists scatter, then get together to exploit flaws and victorious moment.  Ride off into the sunset, still sniping.
As you can see, some of that was dropped once I figured out more where the story was going.

Then I developed the setting; a giant 'house' had been an idea I'd toyed with before - a bunch of people living inside with little overall authority; a setting for personal accomplishments. I wanted the protagonists (at this point I wasn't sure if they should be 'heroes') to be the mid-level lab, while the villain has a lair on the upper floors (height is of course not important in an entirely-inside setting, but it's symbolic). I brainstormed some ideas for powers (inherent or vulnerable to theft) - phasing, banishment, time altering, anti-gravity, flight, virtual reality - but nothing jumped right out at me. At that point I really just needed to get writing , so I set up the epic (somewhat cliched and flowery) opening battle, then when I decided to drop Tess and Nick out of it onto the floor, I realised I had the basics for the tech already figured out. The rest pretty much flowed from there.

People complaining about the shortness .. it's short, OKAY? But yeah; I tried to give it a bit of a feel of that Tess and Nick aren't that concerned, it's an inconvenience, but one they can deal with. No point sitting around plotting elaborate revenge when they can just go out and get their stuff back. It's also a way to keep up the action and energy throughout. I realised that (depending on how fast you read), the story unfolds in pretty much real time.

I'm considering (fairly strongly, dependent on other reviews) dropping the whole exploration of other doors segment and expanding the character of Mr Jones, in order to flesh out the world a little bit more.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:56 am

I would agree with droping the door segment, it really isn't needed and it slows down the pace before the climax.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:33 am

ok people who here would be interested in a Scribbling-off?

We can set some rules i.e. word count and genre just to make it harder and mix things up a bit, it's always good to deviate from your usual style somewhat.
We will submit our scribblings and the others can vote for whose they think is best.

(This was inspired by Overlord's piece above and the reasoning behind it.)
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:10 pm

You know the answer. Restrictions do make things easier, in some respects. If people want to participate (hah), we can vote for/score each other.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by The King of Eggs on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:31 pm

I've been looking for a motivator to post here, guess I've got one now.


ذا كنت تستطيع قراءة هذا الخروج ثم يمارس الجنس ، تمزح فقط أخيه الله واحد صحيح.



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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:16 am

ok people lets discuss the guidelines for the first Scribble-off I assume Overlord, Eggs and myself are in, Rewind may be interested I'll pm him to make sure he knows about it if anybody else in interested /in now.

ok guidelines:

length - ?
genre - ?
theme - ?
handicaps - ?

those are all things to determine before we start, also the time we get to write it I'd say we do this fortnightly for most maybe a few quickfire rounds with small stories occasionally to change up the pace.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:55 am

My $0.02:

Length: All my Scribblings submissions have been in the 1500-2500 word range.  1500 gives just enough space to really nail the core concept; 2500 lets you flesh it out a bit more/have a couple of separate scenes.  If you're looking in terms of how long it takes to write, at least for me 1000 is like an hour (from actually starting to write), 1500-2000 is a couple of hours (dedicated sitting down and doing it), and 2000-3000 is over a few days.  So by that we could vary the word count depending on how much spare time we have and how frequently we want to do it.  Probably for the first one I'd suggest 1500-2000 words - enough for a decent size without being too large (the size of 'Left Behind' and 'Rebirth').

Genre: While I have certain genres I'm more familiar with (sci-fi/powers), I wouldn't be averse to trying something new.  If you want the really broad list of genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Thriller - any of those can be good if done cleverly (and we're all very clever).

Theme: Again, while certain themes appeal more than others, any can work well.  That isn't really very helpful.  Perhaps rather than doing some broad theme that we can all interpret differently, pick something really narrow - and that'll still provide very different stories.  Like 'the progression of time means the death of you as you currently are'.  Other suggestions welcome.

Handicaps: By this I assume you mean just other restrictions.  Things like setting, idealism/cynicism, cast size; or certain things that you have to include (like a treehouse).  Sure, some of those might be hard (Eggs, try a super-idealistic story!); but that's the challenge and the fun.

Another thought I had (maybe not the first one, but perhaps No. 3 or 4) was to find an old story, like from school, and use the same ideas with your current writing style.

I also think it's not worth sitting around discussing the guidelines for ages - let's just get to the writing, particularly if we'll do a bunch of them as an ongoing thing.  That said, I don't want to just take over and declare 'this is how we're doing it'; so weigh in, and if in a few days we haven't gotten anywhere, then I will reluctantly assume control.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by The King of Eggs on Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:52 am

I vote we let Overlord assume control


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Re: Scribblings

Post by If I Could Rewind on Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:14 am

I second that vote
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:25 pm

that's nice to know but your opinions on guidelines would be appreciated even by Overlord I assume.

I went with the fortnightly idea because it gives people time to work around busy schedules and a lot of time for rewrites and perfecting, I have noticed myself starting to write something down, I'll write down maybe a full short story or part of a longer one, then I'll leave it for a while and the next time I do it I'll do some severe editing, cut out, reword and add quite a bit to try and make it better.

It isn't the most efficient writing style in the world and it takes me a while to write anything but I feel it creates a better story than a long block writing session.

I agree I want our first Scribbling-off to be something not in our usual styles. Personally I was thinking Tragedy just to give us a challenge.

The 2500 word mark was what I was thinking for most stories.

Theme, and handicaps are just there if we want to make things harder for ourselves we don't have to include them in all of the stories as I said we should talk now to hash out our go-to guidelines that most of the Scribbling-offs will follow. Specifics can come in later.

Also nobody is in charge we are supposed to be discussing these things as a group with no executive decisions, we will make it that if we cannot decide on guidelines for a particular Scribbling-off within a reasonable time Overlord gets to make the choice.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:29 am

Such a show of confidence!
Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:that's nice to know but your opinions on guidelines would be appreciated even by Overlord I assume.
But this is the truth.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:I went with the fortnightly idea because it gives people time to work around busy schedules and a lot of time for rewrites and perfecting, I have noticed myself starting to write something down, I'll write down maybe a full short story or part of a longer one, then I'll leave it for a while and the next time I do it I'll do some severe editing, cut out, reword and add quite a bit to try and make it better.
Fortnights are good for me.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:I agree I want our first Scribbling-off to be something not in our usual styles. Personally I was thinking Tragedy just to give us a challenge..
Sounds good.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:The 2500 word mark was what I was thinking for most stories.
Sounds good.  We can do epics or fast-burst shorter ones as we decide to do specials.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:Theme, and handicaps are just there if we want to make things harder for ourselves we don't have to include them in all of the stories as I said we should talk now to hash out our go-to guidelines that most of the Scribbling-offs will follow. Specifics can come in later.
I vote for the first one at least we keep it simple - no extra restrictions other than genre and length.

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:Also nobody is in charge we are supposed to be discussing these things as a group with no executive decisions, we will make it that if we cannot decide on guidelines for a particular Scribbling-off within a reasonable time Overlord gets to make the choice.
Works for me (of course!).


So, tentatively: Tragedy, 2500 words, deadline sometime around the 31st of July? How do we want to judge this - get externals like Alex (unless he wants to compete), or amongst ourselves? I personally think we should each judge each other's (like /10 unless you want to do criteria), and whoever gets the highest aggregate score wins.  Prize could be more input into the next style, or just bragging rights.
Suggestions? Objections?


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:39 am

if there is anybody outside of resplect that you people may know that wouldn't mind weighing in the bigger the voting group the better, this is another reason to keep it at a fortnightly rate so we don't spam people with stories they don't have time to read, I say everybody on resplect votes for there favourites, people cannot vote for their own, in-depth critiques are good if people want to do that, make sure the people that vote give explanations as to why they voted that way though.

Out of ten I hadn't considered but that also works well for me, in fact it's probably better that way so people can know how close they cam to wining.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by The King of Eggs on Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:57 am

I'm fine with everything stated


ذا كنت تستطيع قراءة هذا الخروج ثم يمارس الجنس ، تمزح فقط أخيه الله واحد صحيح.



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Re: Scribblings

Post by If I Could Rewind on Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:01 am

Once again I concur with Eggs
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:27 am

Fine if you are not going to add ideas we will go with what we have.

Scribbling-Off 1

Genre: Tragedy
Length: 2500 words or under
Start Date: 16/07/2013
Due Date: 30/07/2013

progress reports would be nice as well, just to keep track of how long this is taking people so we can revise our fortnightly approach if necessary.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:53 am

Excellent.
See you on the other side, gentlemen.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:50 am

Darth Skywalkerbacca wrote:progress reports would be nice as well, just to keep track of how long this is taking people so we can revise our fortnightly approach if necessary.
Well, if you insist.

After thinking idly for the most part, I finally started writing yesterday. I have 800 words. Not that I have a lot of free time between now and deadline, but I'll make it work.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:58 am

ok so I know at least myself and Overlord should be finished by today, I'll admit I've been busier than usual these last two weeks and haven't been on top of this quite to the extent that I should have been.

I know that Alex has forfeited and I'm pretty sure Eggs hasn't done anything as well, not sure about Rewind though but I have my fingers crossed we get something today.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:54 am

As promised; see, I'd never leave Resplect hangin'!
As first to submit, I propose the following judging structure:
If there are 3 or more submissions, all five of us (Darth, Rewind, Eggs, Alex, and myself) give scores out of 10 (we don't judge our own), and take the average/total.
If there are only 2 submissions (I assume Darth as well as myself), the other three give scores.
Sound like a plan?

2499 words; I knocked out the last 1800 and edited down this morning.
I suggest that author's notes come after scoring, so the stories are judged on their own merit. (Also, I haven't written any notes yet.)

Royal Duty:
Magma roiled in the depths of the volcano, casting droplets of molten stone against the walls.  The air rippled with intense heat, rising to the temple altar high above.  Two figures stood there, unaffected by virtue of their royal blood: Prince Drake Pyresworn, and his mother, Queen Miranda.

“Stay focussed,” said Miranda.  “Remember your purpose.  The bond will form the moment you see her.  Remember, Drake: the emotions will be strong, but they are not real.  They’re nothing but an artefact of the ritual.” Miranda breathed deeply, steadying herself.  “Are you ready?”

Drake’s face was set, his eyes composed.  “Yes.” He raised his voice.  “Bring her in.”

The stone doors swung open, and a girl walked in, flanked by two guards.  The guards, even with thick robes over their armour, flinched at the heat; but the girl, despite wearing only a simple ceremonial dress, did not break her stride.

Drake looked over the girl, taking in details with a soldier’s eye.  She was eighteen – the proper age for the ritual – and rather plain.  Brown eyes; medium-length hair.  She was short, not even reaching the guard’s shoulder, and her face showed no emotion.  An utterly ordinary girl.

She was perfect.

Drake stood entranced, unable to look away.  He reached out involuntarily, and shuffled forward a step.  “What …?” he croaked through a dry throat.  “What is your name?”

She met his eyes, and flatly replied, “Lisa.”

“Lisa,” he mumbled, drinking in the sight of her.  Never before had he seen someone so beautiful, so graceful, with such a melodious voice.  And her name! Two syllables of pure joy.  Nothing could go wrong in the world, so long as he stood here and watched her.

A blurred shape blocked his vision, and Drake cried out softly.

“Drake, listen,” said Miranda, taking his face in her hands.  “Focus.  What you’re feeling now; it’s not real.” Her voice wavered slightly. “It’s not real.”

Drake blinked, refocussing, and shook his head.  “Mother? But Lisa …”

“Remember your duty.” Drake could feel the trembling of his mother’s hands.  “She is nothing to you.  She is to be sacrificed.”

“Sacrificed?” Drake jerked away as he remembered. “No!” He scrambled backwards.  “No! Not Lisa! I can’t! Not her!”

Miranda turned to the guards.  “Take her away.  We will try again tomorrow.”

The guards moved closer to Lisa, but she spoke to Miranda.  “My queen, couldn’t you perform the ritual? I have been awaiting this day for years; I have come to terms with my fate.  I have nothing to gain by living another day.” To Drake, her tired voice resonated like a haunting melody.

Miranda’s mouth twitched.  “I am sorry, Lisa of the Tranquil.  My time has passed.” Relief was plain in her voice.  “This year, it is my son’s duty to perform the ritual.  You will not have to wait much longer.”

Lisa sighed, and left the room with her escort.  Miranda turned back to Drake, watching helplessly as Lisa departed, and embraced him.

“Don’t be ashamed, Drake,” she murmured in his ear.  “I could not perform the sacrifice either, on my first day.  And if you find it’s too much, I …” she shuddered to a stop.  “I could take it upon myself, one last time.  Next year, it will be easier.”

Drake’s breathing had steadied since Lisa left, and he replied with conviction, “No, I can do it.  It is my task.  The Tranquil must be sacrificed.  I’ll do it.” He exhaled slowly.  “Tomorrow.”



“Drake,” Miranda sighed, looking down on her son from the throne, “what have you done?”

Sunlight and birdsong filtered in through the windows.  Drake stood resolute in the middle of the room; Lisa was to one side, under guard.

“My queen, last night I entered the Tranquil compound, and retrieved Lisa.  She is going to live with us, here at the palace.” His voice was assured; he stood calm and relaxed.

“Drake, you cannot.” Miranda’s voice wavered she looked from Lisa to her son.  “She is of the Tranquil.  If she is not sacrificed, the volcano will erupt in two days.” She dropped to a whisper. “Everyone in Wakeshore will be killed.”

“Not so,” said Drake, his eyes shining.  “It doesn’t have to be Lisa.  Any 18-year-old Tranquil can be sacrificed.  All I have to do is find another one.”

Miranda’s eyes widened.  “Another one? No, Drake! Lisa was chosen as an infant – she has no family, no friends; no one to mourn her when she’s gone.  No one but us!” She paused, dashing away angry tears.  “And that’s how it should be.  You know it is! You are asking me to take a child – no, not a child; a teenager, nearly an adult – to take them away from their family? To inflict that pain on an entire community?”

“No, mother,” Drake looked at the queen with deepest sympathy.  “No, of course I would not ask that of you.” He squared his shoulders.  “I will do it myself.  It is my duty as prince of Wakeshore.  You have had a long reign, mother; of sacrificing the Tranquil, year after year.  I shall shoulder that burden for you.  Never again will you have to kill one that you love.” He glanced significantly at Lisa.  “I only ask that you do not make me do the same.”

“This is ridiculous,” said Lisa.  “Finding another Tranquil is not a solution.  You’ll just form another bond, and care for them as much as you do me.” She sighed. “Just take me to the volcano, and be done with it.”

“No,” said Drake, with absolute certainty.  He strode over to Lisa and knelt before her, taking her hands in his.  Their eyes met.  “I will never love anyone as much as I love you.”

Lisa pulled her hands away, but Miranda did not see it through her blurred vision.  “You are right, Drake.  I cannot take this from you.  You have my permission to find a new candidate.  But I … I cannot have any part in it.  Please, do not bring them before me.  I could not bear to see another Tranquil, doomed to death.

Drake bowed to his queen.  “Do not worry, mother.  I’ll take care of everything.”



A girl with long blonde hair.  A short boy with tired eyes.  A girl with faded scars.

A line of 18-year-olds moved slowly past Drake, seated in the city hall.  He searched each face intently for a few seconds, before waving them on.

A boy, greying already at the temples.  A tall girl with short hair.  A brother, someone to protect at all costs.

The sandy-haired boy paused as Drake stared at him.  “My prince?”

Drake blinked, but did not look away.  “What is your name?”

His eyes widened, and he shifted uncomfortably.  “Scott Dustfall.”

“Scott, come with me.” Drake turned to Lisa, standing at the back of the room.  “Come on, Lisa; we have an announcement to make.” When she didn’t move, Drake chuckled under his breath, then said, “Guards.  Let’s go upstairs.”

Two guards moved to escort Lisa; the rest of the squadron surrounded Drake and Scott as they climbed the stairs.  From the balcony, Drake surveyed the crowd of citizens gathered below.

“People of Wakeshore,” said Drake, projecting his voice out across the plaza.  “Thank you for your cooperation today.  It is my great honour to introduce the latest in a long line who have served Wakeshore through the ages.” He laid a hand on Scott’s shoulder, pushing him forward.  “Scott of the Tranquil!”

The crowd fell silent.  Scott started to tremble.  A wave of murmurs broke out, and a tall, muscled woman pushed through the crowd, her face dark.  “That’s my son!” she called, her voice shaking.  “What’s the meaning of this?”

“I have granted Lisa a reprieve,” said Drake, smiling benignly.  “Step forward, Lisa.” He looked around; she had retreated back to the door.  He gestured her forward, but she shook her head, so Drake shrugged and turned back.  “Her value to Wakeshore goes beyond ritual sacrifice.  But do not worry; Scott’s name shall be honoured forever as the saviour of our nation! You and your family should be proud.”

“Proud?” asked Scott’s mother.  “Proud?” She turned to the crowd.  “My friends! Since the founding of Wakeshore, the royal family have taken our newborn children.  And we have tolerated it; it was the sacrifice we chose to make.  But our trust has been broken! No longer are they taking nameless infants, but my Scott.  It could be anyone next! Steven,” she said, looking to a heavyset man, “your Sally is eighteen next year.  Harriet, so is your Travis.  Are you going to stand for this?”

“My prince,” said the guard captain, “it may be time to leave.”

“Yes, we must perform the s–” Drake broke off, tightening his grip on Scott.  “The ritual.”

There was a loud bang, and then, “Madam Dustfall!” a girl’s voice rang out from below.  Lisa’s voice.

Drake’s heart sped up as he lunged forward, leaning over the railing, trying to catch a glimpse of her.

She had slipped downstairs unnoticed, and was walking towards Scott’s mother as the heavy doors swung shut behind her.  “I am Lisa of the Tranquil, this year’s sacrifice.  Take me to the temple.  The ritual must be performed.”

“And the prince?” Scott’s mother looked up to the balcony, where her son stood, shaking uncontrollably.

“He will come,” said Lisa.  “And he will bring your son.”

“All right, then.” She grabbed Lisa roughly, then yelled to the crowd.  “Come, my friends.  To the volcano!”

A cheer went up, and the crowd started shifting away.  Drake turned to his guards, scowling.  “Let’s go,” he said, voice tight.  “Those peasants have taken Lisa.  Show no mercy.”

“No mercy?” asked the captain.  “But the queen–”

“Silence!” Drake roared.  “I am in command today; it is my royal duty! Let’s move out.” He turned to Scott, and said gently, “Come on; I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“But … my mother,” whispered Scott.  “Holly Dustfall.  Please don’t hurt her.”

“Oh, Scott,” said Drake, laying an arm across his shoulders and guiding him to the door.  “Of course I won’t hurt her.  She’s only looking out for you, just like me.”



“Forward!” Drake called to his guards.  In one hand he held a sword dripping with blood; with the other he dragged Scott, who stumbled along behind him.

Scott’s face was a mask of horror at the dead and wounded civilians, as Drake’s squad cut a bloody swathe through the mob.  They were climbing the rumbling volcano; most of the rebels had fled, but a small determined core, led by Holly Dustfall, had already breached the temple.

Reaching the entrance, Drake gave an incoherent bellow, and kicked down the door.  The guards rushed inside, forcing the civilians back; but Holly and Lisa were nowhere to be seen.  Dragging Scott forward with single-minded determination, Drake approached the inner sanctum.

A blast of heat greeted Drake as he forced open the stone door, but he continued unfazed.  Holly Dustfall was not so lucky; neither royal nor Tranquil, she swayed visibly in the hazy air.  Drake raised his sword and stepped forward, but was brought up short when he noticed – Holly had a knife to Lisa’s throat.

“Not one move, my prince,” Holly gasped, sweat pouring off her face.  “Hand over my son.”

Drake assessed the situation.  Holly’s grip on Lisa was weak; the woman could barely stand.  Lisa stood calmly, impassive to both the searing heat and the blade at her throat.  “Lisa, you can break free,” said Drake, beckoning.  “Just come over here.”

“No, Drake.  Look at yourself.  You are the prince; you have a duty to the people.  And I am of the Tranquil; I have a duty too.” She met his eyes.  “Sacrifice me.  Now.” The volcano growled below.

“No.” Drake shook his head vigorously.  “I cannot.  I will not.”

Holly fell to one knee, pulling Lisa down with her.  Lisa cried out; blood leaked from a shallow cut.  “My prince,” Holly panted.  “Last warning.  Release Scott, now.”

“Look at him, Drake,” said Lisa, her voice pained.  “You can’t kill him.”

Involuntarily, Drake glanced down at Scott’s terrified face.  His eyes darted around; he was mumbling nonsense.  Drake felt a pang just looking at him, a primal protective instinct.  “Scott …” he said.  “Don’t be scared.  Nothing bad will happen.”

“Drake.” He looked back to Lisa; she was smiling at him.  Nothing had ever been so beautiful.  “It’s okay.  This is what I was born for.”

Drake hoisted Scott up, supporting him with one arm.  The volcano roared; a burst of magma sprayed, but Drake did not flinch.  “Lisa,” he said, voice cracking, tears falling.  “I’m sorry.”

An agonised scream rang out, and Scott burst into flame.



The volcano fell silent.

Scott was gone, incinerated.

Lisa collapsed, blood pooling beneath her.

Drake cried out in anguish, falling to his knees.  He crawled forward to cradle Lisa’s body, trying to stem the flow from the wound in her throat.

Holly staggered to her feet, pointing her bloodstained knife at the prince.  “You …” she said in shock, “you killed Scott.  How–”

She fell silent as she slumped forward.  Drake stared at his sword, buried in her heart.  He pulled the sword free, and walked slowly to the door, his expression blank.

In the antechamber, the rebels had surrendered; the guards looked up as Drake entered.  He approached to the nearest civilian, and decapitated him.  The guards watched, paralysed, as the mad prince killed a second civilian, then a third; before they came to their senses, tackling him to the ground.
Drake did not resist as the guards piled onto him; he only wept silently, his tears mixing with Scott’s ashes, and Lisa’s blood.



“My son, I am sorry.”

Drake looked up through the bars.  “Mother! Finally, you’re here.  Do you have the key?” He rattled the chains that bound him to the floor.

Miranda shook her head slowly.  “I’m sorry, Drake.  The people are furious.  I had no choice but to imprison you.  I cannot set you free, even though you are my son.”

Drake lunged forward; his chains holding him back.  “I cannot go free?” he snarled.  “You’re the queen!”

Miranda bowed her head, eyes glistening.  “I am no longer the queen.  I am too weak.  I was blinded by my love for you; I could not bear to see you in pain.  I have abdicated.”

“Then …” Drake fell back.  “Who will sacrifice the Tranquil?” His eyes widened.

Miranda’s tears fell.  “I’m sorry, Drake; I’m sorry.  I …” her voice caught.  “I just can’t kill them anymore.  I …” she faded to a whisper.  “I just can’t.”

She reached through the bars for her son, but he pulled away, betrayed.  Miranda pulled back slowly, hesitated, then turned away.  Her footsteps faded to silence.

Drake Pyresworn, once the prince of Wakeshore, sat alone in his cell.  He stared at the wall, awaiting only the next year, and the fulfilment of his duty.


Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid doing entirely.

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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:13 am

that sounds like a good plan too me, but even so if you know somebody outside of resplect that you don't think will mind as well, the more feed back everybody gets the better they can get in turn.
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Re: Scribblings

Post by Supreme Overlord on Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:24 am

So ... I guess I win by default!

If people could check in and explain where they are (ie intent to submit, willingness to participate in judging), that'd be grand.


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Re: Scribblings

Post by Darth Skywalkerbacca on Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:05 pm

as you know I had finished my story on time just without editing, had planned to do that before now but you also know why I haven't. But will get to it by the end of the week.

I say if nobody else has finished theirs before then, then we just go with you and me.
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