TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

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TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby Marcuse » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:49 am

The contest is live! Go here to read and vote on the entries, then come here to talk about them!
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby KleinerKiller » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:44 pm

I didn't get "Not Today". It's written fine and I know the universe well enough, but I don't really see the point. What story is it trying to tell? It just feels like an abrupt snippet of something bigger. Of course, I could be royally (*rimshot*) missing the mark; I don't have a massively in-depth knowledge of A Song Of Ice And Fire.

"Dawn of Just Us" made me chuckle a bit, even though it ultimately comes across like the kind of snarky indictment of stereotypical fanfic tropes that I feared going in. I'm making absolutely no assertions about the author's intent (it could easily all just be a joke about how nonsensically shit Batman V Superman was), but that's how I interpreted parts of it.

Finally, "The View From The AT-AT". This one's my favorite of the bunch, despite a few grammar mistakes and structural oddities. The light and conversational tone is always great for stories focused on the mooks, and the humor mostly hits without being too intrusive. It's also clearly written by someone who's passionate about the universe, which is a HUGE plus in my book. The silly names and terminology got laid on a bit thicker than I would have liked, but I know it's more or less necessary for a Star Wars story. Overall, it gets my vote.

EDIT: I originally skipped out on "Towards Peace" due to not particularly caring about Transformers (outside of the Cybertron games by High Moon Studios, which are pretty great), but Notch's suggestion made me go back and take the time. I regret not doing so originally, because it's an easy tie for my favorite and the only other one I voted for. What a beautiful story, and what a twist to boot. This is the kind of thing I read fanfic for.

---

I'm really fuckin' bummed I didn't get a piece in in time, given how many years I've spent seriously writing and reading fanfic. And the bitch of it is that I JUST came up with a killer idea I know I could have worked with easily had I come up with it only yesterday. Will there be repeating themes in future write-offs, Marc?
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Last edited by KleinerKiller on Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby Matthew Notch » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:27 pm

KK, you missed out. I have never cared about Transformers in my life (except Beast Wars, but hush) because to me, the whole thing is a big commercial for some admittedly awesome toys. And now there's this whole universe and such? Come on man. But that story is really great, in my opinion, and it got my vote.

This is the first contest I've voted for two stories, because The View from the AT-AT cracked me up, too. Just imagining these prim and proper officers attempting to react to the ridiculousness of interstellar war in ridiculously contrived war machines was great.

Dawn of Just Us was silly. It was all right.

I don't know much about ASoFaI either, but the story was well-written. The word choice is so nice, I could have stood to read a whole novel of it. But like, it's not really a whole story is it? So I had to take a pass on that one too. Oh well.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby Marcuse » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:03 pm

KleinerKiller wrote:Will there be repeating themes in future write-offs, Marc?


I see absolutely no reason not to have repeating themes.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:12 pm

I always liked General Veers. Who knew he was behind such shoddy engineering practices?
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby CarrieVS » Sat May 07, 2016 6:40 pm

Now that I can own up to my entry, I just want to say that the criticism has been spot on: it is a fragment of a longer story. I got writer's block and ran out of time, so rather than give up entirely I cut the opening off the front and submitted it.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Sat May 07, 2016 6:41 pm

Gah! So close!

This was a lot of fun. Great job to everyone!
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Sat May 07, 2016 8:17 pm

Since the contest is now over, I can talk about my work.

I did not intend "Dawn of Just Us" to come off as mocking fanfiction. Originally, I had planned for Supes and Bats to just hang out and do things best friends do. Play games, have fun, beat up the Joker a little bit, and stuff. But as I kept writing it, it felt very disjointed and pointless, so I moved it to them fighting over a disagreement and eventually reconciling because they're bros and shit.

Them being in love was literally a last minute thing. As I wrote the scene of them hugging it out it just clicked. It was a "sure, why not?" moment. Fitting too, given the title was "Dawn of Just Us," so I went with it. If it came off as making fun of fanfiction, that wasn't intentional. It was a last minute addition right before I sent the fic to Marcuse.

Fun fact: I got the idea when a kid I babysit was watching an episode of Teen Titans Go! and the characters walked by a posting of Batman and Superman hugging and smiling with the title "Dawn of Just Us" right below them. It was one of the few times the show made me laugh.

The reason I wrote this as a silly fic was because I had tremendous fit of writer's block for it. I originally wanted to do a Rick and Morty fanfic where Rick knew he was in a fanfiction writing contest and forcibly recruited Morty into finding me and beating the shit out of me, but it didn't come out as well as I wanted it to, so I scrapped it.

Another idea was about Archer. Namely, Archer wanted to go and fight the terrorist organization ISIS because the name of the spy agency Archer works at was named ISIS and he wanted to protect his brand and it would've featured the FBI or ODIN fighting them because they confused Terrorist ISIS for Archer's ISIS. But that didn't work out either.

So I wrote this and, admittedly, didn't put much effort in. This is because, not counting this story, I only participated in the contest once and I really wanted to participate, so I wrote something half-assed because I'd rather give a token effort than miss out again.

I don't regret it, though. Superman/Batman OTP forever.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Sat May 07, 2016 10:34 pm

My main challenge in writing my story was trying to condense it to 4,000 words. There was certainly a lot of meat to trim off of it in order to make it fit, and it was challenging because I thought it might take away from the twist at the end.

I had a small chapter mapped out where Corum found himself in an awkward conversation with a "child" Camien who asked him if he knew Optimus Prime. Corum would have told him a story that would have shown that he had a great deal of respect for his foe. It would have slipped another hint at who Corum really was to the reader, and gone into a bit of detail that he had lost his desire to keep fighting. There just wasn't any room for it though.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Sat May 07, 2016 10:48 pm

I'm actually glad you didn't, because I didn't suspect Corum was Megatron until near the end, and once the attack happened I was like, "Oh shit, it is him isn't it?" and then when the Decepticons shouted his name, I was like "Ooooooh shit, it is him!"

So yea, it was a great moment.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby Marcuse » Sat May 07, 2016 11:10 pm

I was really bummed I didn't manage to get something written out for this contest. I'd been looking forward to it since the first time I ran one. I tried two different stories based on warhammer 40k because it's a lore and universe I've been a fan of since I was 12 and I know it pretty well.

The first was a fairly poorly planned idea based on the concept of having a well-spoken World Eater. For those who don't know, World Eaters are worshippers of the Blood God Khorne and usually just violently mangle everyone for no reason. I wanted to invert it by having a character that was a berzerker-surgeon, who performs the kind of targeted lobotomies that create the World Eaters proper. I believe they refer to it as the "butcher's nails" in the Horus Heresy lore. My logic was that while he would be just as ultra violent in combat, the necessity of performing something as tricky as lobotomy would require some modicum of sensibility, and this would lead to my character acting to mislead and confuse the protagonists. I toyed with the idea of an inquisitor, and created a poorly defined retinue, then I realised I was planning a damn novel, and abandoned it for a bad job.

The second attempt was a little more planned out. I intended a piece based mostly on a single scene and location, predicated heavily on dialogue. The setting was on a wealthy world, the hub of a subsector, where funereal rites were being conducted for a rather over-titled governor subsector who managed to get himself named lord militant of the Imperial crusade to free the sector from Chaos. He managed to achieve this, by the controversial method of exterminatus-ing about twelve planets, with the backing of the protagonist, an Inquisitor. However, in his moment of triumph, he was murdered in his own command center, surrounded by his officers. The weird thing would have been that he was then found by the protagonist to be in possession of an Inquisitorial rosette, anonymised. The protagonist would have used the cover of the public mourning to confront his colleagues as to who might have been responsible for his death and to enquire about who might have been involved with him, without the protag's knowledge. Given the location would have been more or less in public, at a large gathering of several thousand grandees, they would have to have settled this with the utmost discretion. Sadly, my writing ability isn't really up to the high concept I devised, so it also fell by the wayside.

I always feel uncomfortable reviewing work for contests given I know who the authors are. Thing is, if I can do one thing, it's talk about other people's work so here goes.

I liked A View From the AT-AT, it felt pretty Star Wars to me, and I enjoyed the humour, which was rather Python-esque in places. Some things fell a little bit flat for me, the insinuation about Tarkin was a bit weird to me, and felt a little bit like the veracity of the character gave way for the sake of humour. That's not a massive problem in itself, but it was strange given my understanding of Tarkin at that time was that he was in some kind of relationship with Daala. Generally the stuff with moffs/officers = English Public schoolboys didn't work so great for me, but I think that's personal preference.

I think the stormtroopers, especially from the OT, are prime candidates for humour though. The way it's presented really played up the humour without ever really descending into absurdity that would have broken the immersion. I enjoyed the part at the end that referred to Vader as Lord "Darth" Vader, and that matches what Gis said about presenting how people react to these things in their everyday lives. I liked the idea that most people had no clue who Vader is and just kind of wanted to get out of his way, because that's very believable and also rather a funny image in itself. Overall I enjoyed it.

While I very much enjoyed the narrative of "Towards Peace" my understanding of it was severely hampered by my lack of knowledge about the source material. The piece did go some way to alleviate that, but I did feel all at sea for the majority of the story, and only at the end did I realise that the protagonist was actually a reformed Megatron. I liked how it was written and how it strung together several disparate scenes without feeling disjointed, but I felt that it could have done a bit more to include noobs. Additionally I felt that the scene with our hidden Megatron confronting the Starscream followers was a tad on the nose, though that was what made me finally realise the truth so I wonder whether that's ultimately necessary.

Dawn of Just Us was fun, I liked the pun in the title and I kind of liked the silliness of it. It did end up feeling a little one-note though, focusing entirely on the bromance between Batman and Superman and while that was entertaining it didn't really go anywhere. I suppose for what it was it was fun.

Not Today was probably the one I wanted to like but couldn't. I've recently read an entire published novel that suffers from being nothing but an introduction to a wider story, so I'm not entirely concerned by it being stunted in that way. The writing for what was there was interesting, there were unspoken implications to the dialogue that made me interested to read more and see where this was going, the problem was that there wasn't anything else to go to. It's already been stated that this was in fact the case, and I wonder if I wouldn't have enjoyed this well written intro more if there had been a story to come along with it.

Either way, each entry here had good points and things to like about it. Congratulations to every author who wrote something for this contest, I really appreciate everyone who does so. Thank you.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby gisambards » Sun May 08, 2016 1:14 am

Marcuse wrote:the insinuation about Tarkin was a bit weird to me, and felt a little bit like the veracity of the character gave way for the sake of humour. That's not a massive problem in itself, but it was strange given my understanding of Tarkin at that time was that he was in some kind of relationship with Daala.

To be fair, given that Daala's an extramarital affair, Tarkin would probably keep it secret. Besides, the idea there was more that Veers has an odd habit of insinuating his superiors are gay - he's implied to have made a similar insinuation about the Emperor later on (despite Palpatine's penchant for concubinage).

This was going to tie in to two ideas I had that were bit too serious in tone and so didn't make it into the final draft: the simpler one was about there being animosity between officers who fight on the ground and officers who serve on spaceships - the former seeing the latter as more effeminate and cowardly - and one that was too complicated to fit in anywhere about the younger officers who've grown up in the hard, militaristic Empire associating people from the time of the decadent Republic with debauchery and hedonism, including their superiors who - like Tarkin, Yularen and Merste's father - were serving back then. I think that, in quite a masculine setting (and we know, based on Daala's treatment, that the Imperial military is a very masculine setting) someone who'd only known the harsh world we see in the OT probably wouldn't think highly of someone from the softer world we see in the prequels.
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Re: TCS Write-off April 2016 Discussion

Postby LegionofShrooms » Tue May 10, 2016 3:20 pm

I also rather enjoyed the AT-AT piece. The love you have for the universe really shows, and it was fun getting to see the whole thing from a different angle with a bit of humor thrown in. I'm also admittedly a terrible sucker for the whole "day in the life of a kook" stories, as you don't get to see them nearly often enough.

I'm with you on the "really disappointed that I missed the chance to submit" thing KleinKiller. Time got away from me, although I may well wind up posting it in the Fridge when I finish it myself because, despite never being much of a writer of fanfic, it's a piece I've found myself growing oddly passionate about since the idea came to me. The fact that it's about one of my favorite series and a bit of a tribute to a gifted writer that's no longer with us probably has something to do with that, granted.
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