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Topic Subject:AoKH Writing Contest 2017
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MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 06-17-17 06:07 AM CT (US)         
Excellent news! My herpes is in remission THE 2017 AOKH WRITING CONTEST IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW.



I can hardly believe we're halfway through 2017. Sadly, I have to, because it's true whether I believe it or not.

HeavenGames is twenty years old, and the franchise we're posting on isn't much younger. Why are we all still here? What keeps us attached to this site? Something positive, like the friendships we made along the way? Or something negative...perhaps that we can't leave the past behind?

Whatever the reason, I've noticed a trend in the stories submitted to the six prior editions of this contest. They're the work of extreme minds. Let's face it, we're abnormal people, and this results in fiction that, although often unpolished and lacking in technical direction, is almost never boring. I hope that this trend will continue.

What am I writing? A work of fiction, up to ten thousand words in length.

How long do I have? Three months. Submissions close on 15/9, EST.

What's the prize? $100.00AUD, payable through Paypal or bitcoin. This currently works out to around $75USD.

Who do I submit it to? To me, at . Your story should be in .doc, .docx, .odt, or .pdf format.

What are the other rules? Story must be 1) in English, and 2) yours. We expect material that would not be in breach of the forum Code of Conduct.

Meet the Judges!

Donald J Trump is a real estate developer, TV personality, and the 45th President of the United States. Mr Trump is a passionate fan of literature - don't tell anyone, but he's been known to accidentally return the country's nuclear codes to the library instead of Finnegans Wake! Dennis Rader has been dubbed The BTK Killer by the press, but don't let that fool you, BTK actually stands for Breakin' Down, Textualizin', an' Kritiquin' Yer Story. He values education and is eager to help us learn. Plus I offered him 2 more cents an hour than he earns stamping plates at the prison shop. Did you know that Clippy is a woman? "I didn't know a paperclip could have female anatomical parts!" Yeah, you and her last boyfriend both. Since leaving Microsoft, Clippy has hit the lecture circuit, delivering talks such as Sexual Liberation for Office Equipment and You Look Like You Need Help Finding Your Partner's Cliporis.

How the Judging Works


In past contests, you were scored out of a potential 50 points (25 for Technical Proficiency and 25 for Literary Content), the three scores would be added, the highest score would win, and you'd celebrate and break your 12 drink maximum like you do pretty much every night but now you have an excuse god damn it.

Things have changed.

We are trying a new system this year. All three of the judges will read your stories. They will then produce an ordered ranking of the stories, from best to worst, and submit it to me. Then I will add the numbers, and the lowest score will win.

Confused? Suppose we get five submissions...

Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
Cujo by Stephen King
Diary of my Lower Bowel Health (vol 1 of 18) by Lord_Fadawah
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

...And the judges produce the following rankings of these submissions.

Donald Trump Dennis Rader Clippy
1. Oliver Twist
2. Cujo
3. Les Chants de Maldoror
4. Gone Girl
5. Diary of my Lower Bowel Health
1. Oliver Twist
2. Gone Girl
3. Cujo
4. Les Chants de Maldoror
5. Diary of my Lower Bowel Health
1. Cujo
2. Oliver Twist
3. Les Chants de Maldoror
4. Diary of my Lower Bowel Health
5. Gone Girl


I add them, and we get the final score (remember, lower is better!)

1. Oliver Twist - 4pts
2. Cujo - 6pts
3. Les Chants de Maldoror - 10pts
4. Gone Girl - 11pts
5. Diary of my Lower Bowel Health - 14pts

This method will potentially produce a tie. If Oliver Twist gets two 1s and a 4 & Cujo gets three 2s, they will both have 6pts. If this happens, a tiebreaker vote will be conducted among the three judges.

I give the judges free rein in ranking the stories. They might enjoy technique and sliding perspective and iambic pentameter. They might try to look past the text and see the story within. They might get angry if your blow-by-blow bowel movement diary ends at a critical point. They might not even really be judging the contest at all. Assume they will be harsh but fair. Additionally, commentary will be provided - the judges will explain why they placed each story the way they did.

Previous Writing Competitions:


Popeychops: 2016
Popeychops: 2015
CarolKarine: 2013
Leif Ericson: 2012
sly_guy: 2010
Scud: 2008

[This message has been edited by MawBTS (edited 06-21-2017 @ 01:21 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Blatant
DoFH Seraph & Director of Seraphs
(id: blatant7)
posted 09-13-17 11:30 AM CT (US)     76 / 109       
Or a vomiting day? 🤔🤔🤔

Yes, I began my journey alone, and I ended it alone.
But that does not mean that I walked alone. ~ Brandon Sanderson
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 09-13-17 06:37 PM CT (US)     77 / 109       
I'm up to 5k and my story has taken shape. I just need to write my third act and I'm golden.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 09-15-17 01:49 AM CT (US)     78 / 109       
Just submitted my entry. Not the story I originally had in mind, but it's something.

__[]_________
|||||||||||||||||
The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 09-15-17 11:16 AM CT (US)     79 / 109       
I know the feeling. I'm writing the conclusion for mine now.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 09-15-17 04:45 PM CT (US)     80 / 109       
Sent.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 09-15-17 08:31 PM CT (US)     81 / 109       
Four and a half hours until we wrap this up, people!

My puke-splattered inbox awaits.
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 09-17-17 05:53 AM CT (US)     82 / 109       
Submissions are closed, and the stories are with the judges.

I'll say this: things have now gotten very interesting. An unexpected curveball? A submission from a certain person who is with us no more? I am sworn to silence. Verb sap.

The results will be posted on the 1st of October, or shortly after.
oliver
Squire
posted 09-17-17 07:09 AM CT (US)     83 / 109       
Obviously the plot twist is that an entry was submitted by a person who was with us no more but who is with us now but only for a limited time while battling his disgruntled butler and murderous ex-wife, leaving ample material for ghostwriting his long-forgotten nephew's vacation itinerary.

Disclaimer: I didn't submit.

[This message has been edited by oliver (edited 09-17-2017 @ 07:11 AM).]

Blatant
DoFH Seraph & Director of Seraphs
(id: blatant7)
posted 09-17-17 12:45 PM CT (US)     84 / 109       
I'll say this: things have now gotten very interesting. An unexpected curveball? A submission from a certain person who is with us no more? I am sworn to silence. Verb sap.
I, too, was shocked to see Tupac's entry.

Yes, I began my journey alone, and I ended it alone.
But that does not mean that I walked alone. ~ Brandon Sanderson
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 09-17-17 07:48 PM CT (US)     85 / 109       
I'm more of a Biggie kinda guy

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 09-18-17 01:11 AM CT (US)     86 / 109       
Also I submitted your stories to Autism Speaks' "Special Children Tell Their Stories" journal. They have received widespread acclaim, with critics lauding them as "heartbreaking" and "inspirational" and "vivid portrayals of life with crippling autism". I've received a $1.7 million arts grant from your work. Thanks, all.
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 09-18-17 03:37 AM CT (US)     87 / 109       
It's lawsuit tiem

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
Uchuu Senkan Yamoffo
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 09-18-17 07:46 AM CT (US)     88 / 109       
Mate, autism jokes aren't funny.

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 09-19-17 02:58 AM CT (US)     89 / 109       
Mate, autism jokes aren't funny.
Although I have a diagnosis myself, I find autism incredibly funny. Maybe you disagree, but de gustibus non est disputandum.
Lord Sipia
Knight
posted 09-19-17 10:49 AM CT (US)     90 / 109       
Autistic people seem to have this thing where they make degrading jokes about their own condition and then act like it's okay because they have that condition. No, that actually just makes it worse. Self-deprecating humor is fine in small amounts, but I find this behavior simply unhealthy. Bad memories.

"You can't open up the story of my life and just go to page 738 and think you know me."
--Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson (on judging people by their Google search history)

"It's hard to have an existential crisis when everything is so pretty."
--Dan "Danny Sexbang" Avidan
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 10-02-17 11:06 AM CT (US)     91 / 109       
How's the judging coming along?

__[]_________
|||||||||||||||||
The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Uchuu Senkan Yamoffo
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 10-02-17 11:11 AM CT (US)     92 / 109       
Indeed. If the judging is going to be this late, perhaps there should be a late entry... <_<

But first, I must rewrite both chapters of the story.

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 10-02-17 04:19 PM CT (US)     93 / 109       
Working on it. Should have the results up tonight.
Indeed. If the judging is going to be this late, perhaps there should be a late entry... <_<

But first, I must rewrite both chapters of the story.
Dude I wish it could happen, but the judges have already graded the stories and it would be lame to send them back for a do-over.

If you're interested, you can send it in late and it will get a special "so awesome it breaks the bounds of time and space" award that exempts it from judging.

[This message has been edited by MawBTS (edited 10-02-2017 @ 05:03 PM).]

MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 10-03-17 04:45 AM CT (US)     94 / 109       
It is with a heavy liver that I announce the end of the contest.



Our writers have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Meaning they actually left their game controllers to type something. We didn't get as many entries as past contests, but the quality of the entries remained high.

I will be uploading formatted versions of the stories soon, so that you can read them. Probably .pdf versions, but if there's demand for .mobi and .epub I will make those too.

The Stories



Left Behind by Popeychops
Agartha by Lord Basse
Boris and I by "Raymond Shaw"

And now, the judging!




Rader's Rockin' Reviews

Agatha


I very much enjoyed reading Agartha. The story was interesting from beginning to end, and there weren’t really any parts of the story that dragged. I enjoyed the main character and his narration, as well as the journal entries format. The strongest parts of the story, for me, were the detailed descriptions of the ancient city. It became incredibly easy to picture what the main character was seeing. I also liked how the story unfolded alongside Mr. Dayton’s journal, and how parallels were often drawn between the ancient, abandoned world the main character found himself in and the discoveries of Mr. Dayton many years prior. I do wish, however, that the supposedly ancient creatures played more of a role in the story, especially since one of the first reasons the main character believed Mr. Dayton’s journal was his descriptions of such creatures. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed. I liked that the descent into madness/obsession was present throughout the story, but the completion of this transition seemed to come abruptly and the sudden addressing of the reader was a bit jarring. Several mysteries presented during the story were answered at the very end in a fairly satisfying way. Still, though, I liked that there were other mysteries that weren’t addressed fully. This fit in well with the sense of mysticism and wonder present throughout the work, and I came away from the story thinking more about the strange world

Boris and I


I found this story to be intriguing and very well-written. I’ll confess that at first I found it very hard to get into and that I needed to go back and reread several passages on the first page. But I soon settled into the rhythm and mannerisms of the narrator’s speech and could focus fully on what he was saying. The various odd characters and the intricate but seemingly unimportant details made me continuously wonder about the story’s world. I particularly enjoyed the lengthy observations on how success can be defined. This topic was examined from several different angles and I found myself thinking about the points raised even after I was done reading.

I found the meta aspects of this story to be very clever, and the fact that they were introduced so suddenly and unpredictably worked well due to the similar nature of the rest of the story. I also very much enjoyed the ending and how straightforward and uncomplicated it was. At the very beginning of the story we are told that the characters aren’t looking for some higher purpose or attempting to achieve some complicated, multi-faceted goal. The complexities of the middle of the story and the ideas introduced did a good job of making me forget this promise of simplicity. The way the scope and depth of the story increase and then give way to the promised, simple ending made me laugh. I did, of course, reread the story. On the second readthrough, my knowledge of the end of the story increased my enjoyment of the whole thing. Overall, I was very impressed with the cleverness of this entry.

Left Behind


I enjoyed that this story was fairly grounded, and how the various descriptions of London and the everyday lives of its residents made it easy to imagine the setting of this story even though I have only been to the city a handful of times. Still, though, I do wonder a bit if my unfamiliarity with London and its politics caused me to miss or overlook some aspects of the story. The characters of the story were mostly well-written and had realistic and meaningful interactions with each other. The main character did fall a bit into the police officer trope of “he’s a loose cannon but by God he gets the job done”, but at the same time he was sympathetic and it was easy to understand the motivations behind his actions. I liked that the main character’s personal ties to the case were revealed to the reader very early on. This immediately made the murder case more interesting and caused me to wonder how everything was connected as well as how the main character’s backstory would influence his actions. The only part of the story I didn’t like was the very last sentence, which stated that the main character “could finally be at peace”. This is an odd statement to me, as the character is clearly not at peace and only seconds before had felt both shame and the familiar ache of his lost sister. Otherwise, though, I definitely enjoyed this story. The main plot was interesting and the various details of the setting littered throughout the work added a great deal to the realism. I like the title too, as it perfectly expresses an emotion that the main character feels but that he never outright expresses.






Klippy's Kriticisin' Korner

Agatha


Agartha 7/10: This contest entry starts off pretty well, having a fairly traditional feeling beginning. The kickoff of the plot relies on quite a coincidental thing happening but that is hardly anything unusual. The storytelling is pleasantly descriptive and gets faintly mystical in its way of descriptions. There are extremely few errors in writing and the story itself flows nicely and is moderately engaging. The ever-so-slightly dark or better yet, mysterious undertone spices up the otherwise calm-toned exploration and the episodic format gives the writing a nice sense of rhythm. The contest entry ends somewhat abruptly and leaves the reader, being slightly unsatisfied, to wonder “huh, was that it?” The ending feels like it was possibly intended to be used much later on in the story. Some of the explorative parts in the middle/end could have been scrapped in favor of adding more content to the final stretch of the story. Furthermore, many of the mentioned aspects of the environment were left unexplored, though this can most likely be attributed to the constraints of the contest rules. Overall, the story feels like a piece of the traditional adventure genre with a tiny sprinkle of something Lovecraftianish, though no horror is present.

Boris and I


Boris and I 8/10: Let’s start off with a “holy block of unformatted text, Batman!” With that out of the way, the nonsensical, rapid-fire method of storytelling is strangely engaging from the get go and sweeps the reader off on a strange journey of whatever the hell this is. The writing with its many questionable sentence structures and erroneous grammar strangely reminds one of elementary school yet it’s obvious the writer intends it to be so as the contents aren’t something of that level. The feverish rhythm of the writing style feels (and is) poetic at times. Almost everything that is told of feels like it originates from a fever dream or an acid trip. As the entry goes on and is quite long it gets somewhat tiresome to read. The story loses steam when it starts getting weirdly philosophical. The entry would have been better if it was shorter, but it is still quite an interesting story. …The ending is quite amusing. In short, this entry could be described as a four-dimensional tale with three parts, from beginning to end: flight of fairies, boredom, a not-so-original but nevertheless mirth-inducing twist. Overall a fine read that could be recommended as a “worth-reading-once” –piece.

Left Behind


Left Behind 8.5/10: This entry is quite eye-pleasing and smooth-to-read with practically no errors in writing. The realistic, somewhat depressingly gray depiction of the life of the main character is easy to empathize with. Reads like the modern-day detective story it is, quite professional. In fact, it is perhaps a bit too professional as at times it feels somewhat technical and doesn’t really bring anything new to table. Then again, this is hardly a minus as no literary piece is perfect for everyone. The story is engaging from start to finish, well-paced and well finished. In fact it’s so well written it’s hard to write anything about it. Makes one wish such a (seemingly at least) good writer would do nothing but write whatever genre of literature one enjoys. The only gripe this one has with this entry is that it lacks impact, that “oomph!” that would make one stand up and applaud. Overall a superbly written if slightly unimaginative piece worthy of commendation.





Donald's Dotard Dissertations

Agatha


I have, I must confess, read a good deal of this story already, and so likely have some of you. For it is a reworking of the AoK map Agartha by Lord Basse (who is clearly also the author of this short story). All the same strengths of that map’s story remain here. It is mystical, it is intriguing, and it is as a whole very well written and conceived. Of the three entries it is undoubtedly the most ambitious, with the best idea for a story. It is the one I would most want to read based on a synopsis. Alas, the execution is imperfect.

The short pages of info worked better in the scenario than they do in story format. Indeed, where in the scenario I had to explore to find each page, the entries feel connected. Here, without the visuals of the map and the atmosphere of the music, the story is more disjointed, short on description, and less unified. I would love to see this rewritten as more of an adaptation that uses the short story format's strengths.

In the scenario, the story's contradictions and plot holes are easily excused away, as I am collecting entries that don't need to feel complete. The scenario is a clue hunt. The story is...something less successful. It is still a fabulous story, but the choppy delivery and rushed feel to much of it make me wish it had been redrafted into a more cohesive whole, with better transitions between entries, less dropped plot points, etc. I found myself wondering if the author had no time to add to the scenario's story, and merely slapped this together quickly from what was already written.

I have discussed more negatives than positives, and in reality there is much more to like than dislike in Agartha. That it is only the second most successful telling of the story is hardly reason to rate it harshly. Instead it misses the top spot based on lack of polish. I can't help but wonder if I would be less harsh had I never played the scenario, but as both the scenario and the story have been submitted to the same site it is a situation not wholly unique to me, and the author can be reasonably expected to have adapted the story to the short form better, in my opinion.

Boris and I


Favourite Entry: Boris and I

I am grateful that this contest is not judged based on scores, as I would have a hard time scoring much of Boris and I. The story is nonsensical. The prose is hardly classical, running on and rambling for entire pages. The plot barely deserves to be referred to as such. Indeed, even when it is surprisingly poignant or deep, it is only so because you have come to expect precisely none of that. And yet, it is whimsical, it is adventurous, and above all, entertaining. Sometimes it even rhymes, painfully so. Perhaps other readers will consider it a joke entry, or possibly light hearted trolling, but it is far, far too self-aware to be those. I feel like I am reading exactly what the author intended me to read when I read it, and that is something no other entry quite can claim.

The writer is oh so self-aware, and not just in his deriding of this writing contest, but in his constant spoofing of classic literature and the adventure and short story structures. The last few paragraphs are a brilliant way to end, and it was the only ending of the three entries that did not leave me somewhat disappointed. And that I think is ultimately the reason I chose this as my favourite story. Where the author strays from good story telling in Boris and I more than the other two entries, he also recognizes it more. Where he is successful, he is unafraid to flaunt his successes.

Imagine a spoof of Gulliver’s Travels or Moby Dick with all their political and philosophical ranting, told in the style of Alice in Wonderland, and you have something approaching this story. It in all seriousness probably started as a joke entry, but it is the most entertaining of the three stories, and the most polished and best written, and in the end that is all that matters.

Left Behind


With no week entries, it was inevitable that a very entertaining read would sadly be ranked 3rd, and Left Behind perhaps surprisingly draws the short straw. Simply put, this is the story most in need of an editor or second draft. In every way I find that the execution is not wrong, it merely needs adjusting. The ending, for example, feels appropriate on a basic level. Ending back at the grave, some time after the events of the story. It feels right. What doesn't feel right is the odd way in which it is tied up. The protagonist is said to be at peace. Why? Clearly the case he solved is not the one that disturbs his peace. The case that haunts him is his sister's downward spiral, and that is one he can't fix. A more tonally appropriate ending would show him having solved the case at hand, but without the forced neatness of a wrapped up ending.

Similarly, the level of mundane detail is a serious strength in this story, but it sometimes distracts from the narrative, with a "look at me!" approach. For example, the section on housing and Thatcher and economics drags on so long we forget that we are being introduced to one of the three main characters. This extra detail could have been divided into two parts. The longer background story could be told in the first description of Barnes. The hardships she had suffered would come naturally here, and the story about Thatcher politics would seem less preachy and more necessary to understanding the character here. This story as one detail blended in with others would help us understand her motivations as a breathing loving character. Later, when we meet Fatima, a quick reference back to that detail could tie her into Barnes' backstory. As it is, it feels like a heavy handed political diatribe shoehorned into a story. While this is the most egregious example, the story is full of details that seem to come more from the author rather than from the speaker, Tristan. The details themselves are good, they just need to be worked in better.

The actual prose is well above average. There are a few more sloppy grammar errors than I would prefer, and a few places where sentences are worded awkwardly. This is true of both the 2nd and 3rd entries, but the flaws are perhaps more noticeable here because the writing is more detail oriented and hard edged, while Agartha is all broad, messy strokes. Again, issues another draft would erase.

I may be wrong, but I highly suspect the author was short on time with the deadline approaching, and hurried the ending, as well as revised a little less than he otherwise would have. Both Agartha and this feel written on a deadline, where Boris and I doesn't, which is largely why in a fairly close race it wins.


Dennis Rader's Scores


1. Boris and I
2. Agartha
3. Left Behind

Clippy's Scores


1. Left Behind
2. Boris and I
3. Agartha

Donald Trump's Scores


1. Boris and I
2. Agartha
3. Left Behind

calculating...



Final Scores



4pts - Boris and I by "Raymond Shaw" - WINNER
7pts - Agartha by Lord Basse - T2
7pts Left Behind by Popeychops - T2

And there you have it.

Congratulations, Mr Shaw! You have won the seventh and perhaps final AoKH Writing Contest.

More to come.

[This message has been edited by MawBTS (edited 10-05-2017 @ 04:58 AM).]

Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 10-03-17 10:31 AM CT (US)     95 / 109       
I may be wrong, but I highly suspect the author was short on time with the deadline approaching, and hurried the ending, as well as revised a little less than he otherwise would have.
Entirely accurate.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
Major Helper
AoKH Survivor, Mr. White Teeth
posted 10-03-17 10:43 AM CT (US)     96 / 109       
You missed my 8/10 for Boris and I ! Massive congratulations to the winner and the other two entries. Everybody did great and there were no bad entries. I really loved Boris and I but I couldn't help ranking Left Behind as no. 1 purely because it felt so incredibly well written to me despite not being my favourite genre or even storytelling style. It was interesting how each entry tickled a different fancy of mine.

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You, you... Finnish Barstool! - Enraged Popeychops
Major Helper: Helping AoE3H Housewives since 2008 - As_Saffah
I spent 3 months trying to convince a door that I was an intelligent life form and gave up. - TLM
Winner of "Nicest" (2012-2016), "Most Helpful" (2014) and "Best Moderator" (2015-2016) Forummer Awards
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Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 10-03-17 02:51 PM CT (US)     97 / 109       
Congrats to Raymond (Bart?) Shaw, if that is your real forum name.

From reading the critiques it appears that the author of each entry was kept a secret to the judges, which is an idea that I really like. We should keep that for future contests.
For it is a reworking of the AoK map Agartha by Lord Basse
I found myself wondering if the author had no time to add to the scenario's story, and merely slapped this together quickly from what was already written.
Actually it is just the exact same text with maybe a handful of spelling errors fixed. I was writing another entry from scratch but completely ran out of time, and submitted this in a rush instead. I'm glad that it was appreciated as a standalone text as well, even though it suffers from a lot of obvious flaws due to it not having been adapted to a different story format at all.

I'm also very intrigued to see the masks lifted off the other judges, now that we know that Clippy = MH.

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The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 10-04-17 03:12 AM CT (US)     98 / 109       
Major, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
"Popey just hates everywhere." - Chocolate Jesus, on my fear of Romanian organ-traffickers
"Hooray for Dear Leader-Comrade-Generalissimo-Presidente-Lord Protector Popey!" - Lord Sipia, on my benevolent, iron-fisted rule
"You're not Popeychops; you don't get to physics." - Moff, in response to a clumsy muon simile
Blatant
DoFH Seraph & Director of Seraphs
(id: blatant7)
posted 10-04-17 05:03 PM CT (US)     99 / 109       
I'm also very intrigued to see the masks lifted off the other judges, now that we know that Clippy = MH.
I was Dennis Rader, serial killer aficionado. I genuinely enjoyed reading all of the stories, and want to compliment everyone on their submissions. I could more or less tell that Popey was the author of his story from his writing style, but the authors of the other two were a mystery to me.

If MawBTS doesn't end up hosting the competition next year I think we should try to get something similar going.

Yes, I began my journey alone, and I ended it alone.
But that does not mean that I walked alone. ~ Brandon Sanderson
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 10-05-17 05:05 AM CT (US)     100 / 109       
You missed my 8/10 for Boris and I
Fixed.
Congrats to Raymond (Bart?) Shaw, if that is your real forum name.
At the start I briefly considered trolling the contest, like registering under a fake name and submitting a joke story. Or writing a serious story where if you take the first letter of every line it spells out a rude message, or something.

But I decided not to do this. And even if I had, I wouldn't have allowed my entry to win the contest. Perhaps we need to ask deeper questions into Mr Shaw's identity...
I'm also very intrigued to see the masks lifted off the other judges, now that we know that Clippy = MH.
It doesn't mean anything, it was just a way to anonymise the judges. I didn't even know who was going to be who until I started copying blocks of text, and I've already forgotten.
I was Dennis Rader, serial killer aficionado. I genuinely enjoyed reading all of the stories, and want to compliment everyone on their submissions. I could more or less tell that Popey was the author of his story from his writing style, but the authors of the other two were a mystery to me.
I've got to thank you, MH, and Matt - you guys were pros, and a big part of making the contest as smooth as it was.
If MawBTS doesn't end up hosting the competition next year I think we should try to get something similar going.
Yeah, by all means.

[This message has been edited by MawBTS (edited 10-05-2017 @ 05:07 AM).]

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