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SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments

07 Dec 2005 10:57 #3745 by admin
There were four entries this time around. Many thanks to the authors for their submissions.

You can find the stories here: http://www.superwomenmania.com/storybank/index-d.html

Please vote for your favourite here. The poll will be open for the customary 7 days.


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08 Dec 2005 05:15 #3750 by lojack
Damn!

I think this is the hardest choice yet for these workshop polls. All are very good, just going to have to mull this over....

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10 Dec 2005 10:41 #3754 by somat
I liked conceptfans story the most, and would really like to read some sort of continuation, are there any chances on that?

somat

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11 Dec 2005 01:56 #3758 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
The response to the workshop stories has been kind of meager. I usually send feedback directly to the authors, but maybe if I post my comments here, others will chime in.

Right, then. Shortest first, same order I read them in.

"Secret Weapon," by Ace191: Ace, you've established yourself as one of our most entertaining writers. What your stories sometimes lack in polish they make up for in wit and inventiveness. You bring a contemporary approach to the freewheeling goofiness of the Silver Age; and reading your stories, I always find myself wondering what's going to happen next. (So hurry up with the next chapter of "Turnabout Is Fair Play"!)

I chuckled at Kara's thoughts about the phallic symbolism of the "giant key" to Superman's Fortress. Maybe in a future story you can explore the implications of the fact that Superman kept life-size statues of his ex-girl friends, each in its own room ...

My only disappointment with your story was that it seemed too much like "Turnabout Is Fair Play." I don't mean the basic story-line -- "Superman's powers get transferred to a woman" is a plot device I never tire of! I refer to Supergirl's behavior: She acted with a calculated, vengeful malice that was entirely appropriate for Super-Lois, but seemed out of place in a teen-aged girl (whose motivation would more likely have been to ditch her mentor, break curfew, and have some fun).

Still, an enjoyable story!

"The Immigrant," by Dru: A well-crafted, well-written story with a twist worthy of Rod Serling. My only (very minor) criticism is that you gave too much away by making the reader privy to Riana's thoughts as she takes the microphone. I think the story would have had a little more impact if Riana's back-story had come out in her speech, so that the reader would share the audience's confusion and horror as they come to realize what their gesture has brought upon them.

The idea of a super-woman ruling the world -- whether benevolently ("Invasion of the Amazons") or despotically ("Empress Ria") -- is one that I find intriguing ... so I'd welcome a sequel.

By the way: Two "m"s in "immigrant."

"Clara's Destiny," by Conceptfan: Cf, I think you surprised a lot of your readers with this story. I'm sure a lot of us were expecting that you'd waste little time turning your "good" super-girl "bad." Instead, you gave us a well-thought-out portrayal of a noble, altruistic super-heroine! Her growing alienation from the people she sets out to help and protect is realistically portrayed and makes her rejection of that role at the end of the story credible.

The narrative has a sweep and scope that's also something of a departure for you. (I'm guessing that the first "Superman" movie was a reference point for you in writing this story.)

Interesting that you and Dru both dealt with the theme of a super-woman turning aside from the role of heroine ... but with very different back-stories and motivations.

By the way, I'd like to point out that you have the distinction of being the only writer who's contributed to every one of the story workshops so far. Don't ever break that record, please!

And finally ... "A New Leaf," by Helix111 (a newcomer?): Er, sorry, Helix -- I haven't finished reading yours yet. I'll post feedback as soon as I do.

As always, thanks to all the writers for their time and effort -- and to admin for keeping these workshops going!

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11 Dec 2005 11:50 #3767 by helix111
Replied by helix111 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments

"A New Leaf," by Helix111 (a newcomer?):


Indeed I am. :)

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11 Dec 2005 18:20 #3768 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
Helix:

Thanks for proving my point!

A few weeks ago, you proposed a special workshop for first-time writers. I pointed out that quite a few newbies have participated in the regular workshops, and that they've gotten enthusiastic reviews and done well in the polls. You responded that a newbie workshop might draw out even more first-timers; and since I'd made my only point, I let the matter rest.

Until now. HA! :P

You stepped up to the plate with your first story and hit the ball out of the park. "A New Leaf" is a terrific story -- well-plotted, well-written, with an appealing protagonist and TWO sexy ubergirls. What more could any SWManiac ask for?

Arguably, Katie's transition to a "bad" super-girl might be a little "over the top" -- but it wasn't gratuitous: You took care to provide some plausible motivation. And there were things I wish you hadn't relegated to back-story -- Katie's relationship with Jack, Becky's activities during her two-year absence ... But I can understand why you decided to make some cuts, given the length of the story and the impending deadline. What I'm saying is that I was interested in the characters and wanted to know more about them.

Your action scenes are outstanding: The game of tag and the "clay-pigeon" competition (and the "action" of another sort in Katie's apartment!) were high points of the story.

"A New Leaf" gets my vote, against three strong competitors. (What the hell -- since I'm posting my feedback publicly, I might as well announce my vote, too.)

One general remark: Everyone who participated in this workshop chose to turn a "good" supergirl "bad" rather than the other way around. What does that say about us, I wonder?

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11 Dec 2005 21:51 #3770 by helix111
Replied by helix111 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
Thanks for your feedback, Argonaut (as well as your vote :)) I agree with your comments, especially about back-story. I had about another 5 scenes in my first draft but ditched them because of time constraints. Maybe in the future I'll add them back in (sort of a director's cut). I could be persuaded to do a seperate story about Becky's two year absense if anybody's interested.

One general remark: Everyone who participated in this workshop chose to turn a "good" supergirl "bad" rather than the other way around. What does that say about us, I wonder?


Either were all evil or its just an unavoidable problem. A 'bad' supergirl almost has to have a complete disregard for the rest of humanity and its kinda difficult to bring her back from this, especially as she can't be grounded, imprisoned, exiled etc... I actually had a plot for a Bad->Good transition but abandoned it in favour of the (arguably easier) Good->Bad scenario.

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12 Dec 2005 19:47 #3784 by xoronewithnature
Replied by xoronewithnature on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
A disclaimer: I tend to enjoy well written stories over superhero porn, and I have a slightly different taste in super woman stories, putting me at odds with most of the frequent posters on this board.

However, these entries were all so thoroughly enjoyable, I feel compelled to respond. I know as an author, I thrive off honest criticism so here goes:

"The Imigrant"
by Dru

I couldn't help but be bemused by the plight of the protestors. They were right, but they get all the scorn.

Solidly written, which counts for a lot in my book. In the second half of the story you lose me, as the story degenerates into standard "destruction porn." The main thrust of the story (which maybe would have worked better in a shorter story format) is great. I agree with Argonaut, the main action of the story should have been the dawning revelation that with a simple (and seemingly meaningless) act of goodwill, humanity has condemned itself to slavery.

With some polish and refocusing you could really capitalize on the horror of the central event. Not that I generally enjoy "twilight zone"/"outer limits" type horror but it is the strength of your story.

"Secret Weapon"
by Ace191

I'll be frank, your writing style drove me crazy. When supergirl wishes she could be psychic, but quickly realizes that hearing superman's thoughts would be too much to bear - well, that's me. I really don't like being privy to everybody's internal thoughts, it's distracting.

On the other hand, I loved how you took the comic book style and ran with it. The editor's notes were an especially nice touch.

On the other hand, a lot of the events in the story seemed dry. I don't know why but the action lacked any suspense. The story followed its path dutifully and didn't really surprise me until the sudden appearance of Wonder Woman. That scene was very well done. I actually wondered what would happen next.

Your story was the most uneven of the entries, but had some truly inspired touches. I loved the comic book gusto, and Clark's unexpected resourcefulness in planning the ambush of supergirl. This story was unfortunately one or two rewrites away from being something special.

"A New Leaf"
by Helix111

I thought the tag scene was hands down the most energetic and enjoyable part of your story, or any of the stories in the contest.

The other two action scenes: the two woman making out in the apartment, and the clay pigeon game at the end, pale in comparison.

That being said the whole story felt rushed. You tried to focus on too many events in too short a span of time. Obviously you wanted to write all the scenes you find enjoyable in the genre. The transformation, the revelation of super powers culminating in the gym scene, and then the three actions scenes above. You need to slow down. If all these scenes were as good as your tag scene, your story would win hands down.

Argonaut is right, the change in your protagonist was so sudden it seemed tacked on to fit the theme of the workshop. I guess here you were checking off another scene you wanted to write, the bad ass turns evil.

I can't wait to read your sophomore story.

"Clara's Destiny"
by Conceptfan

Another moment of honesty - I don't like the kind of stories that you usually write CF. Seeing supergirls destroy human beings, well, it just doesn't do it for me. Which is why I read your story last.

Wow.

Even though it had the usually CF elements I was impressed by how you took considerable care in crafting Clara and the breakdown of her altruistic superhero character.

My quibbles are minor - certain scenes outstay there welcome (the interview loses steam about 3/4 of the way through), while others aren't really necessary (how many rescues to we need to see before we get the point?). Even though I complain about this repetition, you do a amazing job of incrementally increasing the dissonance between Clara's heroics and the pettiness of the saved in each subsequent rescue. (The cell phone call from the parachuter was a pretty amazing touch).

Great job.

As a sidenote, I was really amused how certain themes popped up in both "A New Leaf" and "Clara's Destiny." The news chopper scenes, for instance, and the tension between superhero and the media that they represent. Spider-man's and The Daily Bugle's influence on us I assume.

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13 Dec 2005 01:34 #3787 by ace191
Your comment about being one or two rewrites away from something special was right on. I was exhausted when I wrote this story. Because I had asked for more time, I felt compelled to finish it. I did it at 1 am. The last 1/2 hr I was typing with my eyes closed because I could not see the monitor and I hate to admit it, but All I did was spell check it, I did not even proof read it, but I did get it in.

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13 Dec 2005 10:09 #3800 by marknew742
Replied by marknew742 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
Sorry I've been mostly absent from this one, folks. Very demanding time at work.

But I have read all the entries and enjoyed them. There is certainly a similarity about them, but it's a good similarity!

The two things I would have focused on if I had been writing an entry for this workshop were the reason for the turnabout and how the girl's attitude changed afterwards. In this respect, CF's and Dru's entries "won" for me. I understood CF's girl's frustration -- we men can be such brutes! -- but wasn't it rather disproportionate or immature? I thought the story should have done more to emphasize her immaturity and unsuitability (or unreadiness) for the role she assumed. But the "turn" was very well executed as were the physical descriptions and the usual acts of destruction. And there is a lot of room for sequels, if the Great One decides to bless us with them.

Dru took the opposite tack. His girl didn't change, didn't have to change, and her glee at her liberation from the jurisdiction of her original home planet was very enjoyable. (I did wonder whether Dru is a lawyer. If he is, then he's my favorite kind -- the kind who writes excellent superwoman stories!)

In fact, all of the girls seemed so much happier being bad than good. I wondered a bit about that.

Ace's story worked at a much more basic level, but it passed my tests too. I do love the Silver Age DC comic universe, and Ace knows it so well and hits all of the right buttons. I think I remember the device he referred to. Didn't it look like an archery target. Didn't it transfer the loyal Krypto's powers to a donkey? My only complaint with Ace's story is that he didn't do enough with it -- but I understand from his posts why. And how can I complain when I didn't even enter the workshop this time? Still, I did want to know more about what an angry doubly-superpowered girl can do with all that strength. Sequel? (Shut up, Mark! You know how you feel when they ask you ....)

And then Helix. I had a lot of conflict about Helix's story. On the negative side, it was chock full of cliched lines from other superbadgirl stories. And the other negative for me is that our heroine's "turn" was barely explained and barely understood (by me at least). But counteracting that was the enormous sense of fun I had reading it. And those girls sounded so-o-o-o cute and sexy. How can I resist them? So this month's star goes to Helix and welcome aboard.

Mark

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13 Dec 2005 11:53 #3802 by conceptfan
Replied by conceptfan on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
Everyone's written intelligent, considered and constructive comments! Bother! Here's my ignorant ramblings...

Secret Weapon.

Sure, a bit time for polishing of the text wouldn't have hurt, but I know exactly where Ace is coming from regarding time restrictions. Given the choice between a draft or two short of immaculate and no story, we'd all take option 1 every time. And besides, it hardly mattered in this case. This was great fun. I loved the mockery of Superman throughout. Highly enjoyable was the glimpse at Supergirl's thoughts when she's manipulating Superman before she even gets powered-up and the comment about the giant key.

The story was highly entertaining with enough twists (the fight against Diana especially) to keep me rivetted. And, um, exciting enough in other ways - lots of fem dom and enjoyable descriptions of sexy outfits, plus Supergirl's destruction of the kyrptonite mace was a really strong image of her superior power. Plus it left me wanting more. I want to see the scene with the 2 supergirls "helping themselves" to other women's men...


The Immigrant.

I'd agree with the "Twilight Zone" comparisons regarding the plot-twist. I happen to love the work of Rod Serling, and I thought the pivotal moment of this story was fantastic. An act of goodwill having such awful consequences... wonderful. A complaint would have been that it was not in anyway hinted at beforehand, but do we always need to be told "Watch out, there's a bend ahead"? I'd say yes, especially when we're driving.

Riana is so sexy when she reveals her true personna. Her back-story, when it eventually comes out, is a great one and makes everthing plausible. I particularly adored the way she spoke to the President and (surprise, surprise) I quite liked her treatment of the protesters. Take that, xenophobes.

Now then, Dru, how exactly does she go about subduing the Earth? Sequel!


A New Leaf.

This was an exceptional first effort (unless Helix has been publishing under another name). A really well-written story, covering a broad tale. Sure, you covered a lot of ground that's been covered before, but that's because it's well-loved ground, and at least you covered it with an enjoyable writing style. If I repeat what others have enjoyed - the tag scene particularly (highly imaginative and exceptionally well depicted) - then I have to repeat what other also felt was missing - a little more build-up and background to the change from good supergirl to exciting, er, I mean, bad supergirl. What happened in those 2 years?

That said, you depicted both girls extremely well and they did come across as very sexy. I made the mistake of reading this on my PDA on the bus home. The scene where the two girls get it on together was wonderful, and the mischevious game they are playing together at the end was so thrilling I had to wait two extra stops before I could stand up.

Once again, I was left wanting more. Helix, great to have you as a new author. Now you have to write part 1.5, filling in the two year gap and part 2, "What the girls did next".


I thought all three of the above stories were superb. Thanks so much Ace, Dru and Helix for writing and submitting them.

Thanks also to everyone who's posted comments on my entry, too. I do love feedback.

The narrative has a sweep and scope that's also something of a departure for you. (I'm guessing that the first "Superman" movie was a reference point for you in writing this story.)

Well, the first half of this story is a gender-reversed rip-off of that film. Did you notice that whilst the original featured a phallic green crystal, Clara's crystal is red and, um, breast-shaped?

I think you surprised a lot of your readers with this story. I'm sure a lot of us were expecting that you'd waste little time turning your "good" super-girl "bad." Instead, you gave us a well-thought-out portrayal of a noble, altruistic super-heroine!

Even though it had the usually CF elements I was impressed by how you took considerable care in crafting Clara and the breakdown of her altruistic superhero character.

I had to make Clara "good" so that I could have her turn to "bad". I didn't want a fundamentally "good" girl who gets zapped by a "naughty ray" or eats an "bad attitude pill", so she had to be, deep down, a true Cf character all along. She just didn't realise it. It was a lot of fun chipping away at her veneer of "goodness" with a chisel made of human failings, especially the helpless desire of the male of the species.

I understood CF's girl's frustration -- we men can be such brutes! -- but wasn't it rather disproportionate or immature? I thought the story should have done more to emphasize her immaturity and unsuitability (or unreadiness) for the role she assumed.

You're probably right, Mark. There weren't many pointers to her unsuitability. But then she's had a very isolated upbringing without opportunity to grow up emotionally. Why, though, should she be naturally "good"? It's always been assumed by those around her (especially her birth parents who never actually got to know her as a person). No-one (herself included) has ever asked her how she feels or what she actually wants.

I don't like the kind of stories that you usually write CF. Seeing supergirls destroy human beings, well, it just doesn't do it for me. Which is why I read your story last.

I totally understand. Actually, you used a great expression in another of your reviews - "Destruction porn". I've never come across a better description of the type of stuff I love to churn out. Thanks for reading it even though it's not your kind of thing, and thank you for your comments. I'd agree with you about the interviewing going on too long - the scene ran out of steam. The endless stream of rescues was intended to hammer home the point about her having no rest from helping people but yeah, maybe there were too many in total. But I'm glad you liked the parachutist-cell-phone scene.

By the way, I'd like to point out that you have the distinction of being the only writer who's contributed to every one of the story workshops so far.

Just like the Britain is the only nation to have participated in every Olympics since 1896. We might be crap, but we always turn up.

One general remark: Everyone who participated in this workshop chose to turn a "good" supergirl "bad" rather than the other way around. What does that say about us, I wonder?

I'd agree with those who pointed out that it was MUCH easier this way round. In my case it's also because I think bad girls - the only supergirls who really can do ANYTHING they want, free of physical OR MORAL restrictions - are sexier. Still, it would have been fascinating to read if someone else had managed a "bad girl turns good" effort.

As a sidenote, I was really amused how certain themes popped up in both "A New Leaf" and "Clara's Destiny." The news chopper scenes, for instance, and the tension between superhero and the media that they represent. Spider-man's and The Daily Bugle's influence on us I assume.

For me, the news crew and the pushy female reporter were just meant to be further irritants for Clara. Not a big fan of Spiderman, I'll be honest. The chopper was there to bug Clara, for the reporter to stupidly fall out of requiring rescue and for Clara to effortlessly overpower its engines. Actually, looking back I'm amazed Clara didn't destroy it in the final scene. Probably that happened just after the story ended.

I liked conceptfans story the most, and would really like to read some sort of continuation, are there any chances on that?

Thanks, somat. I'm not sure... I think most of the STORY is behind us now. Where does Clara go from here?

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13 Dec 2005 19:44 #3806 by MackTheMouse2
Replied by MackTheMouse2 on topic Very little to say yet...
I liked Helix's story the best- the character was the most interesting and engaging of the four girls.

I'm not surprised at all that the girls went from good to bad (or revealed their secret feelings, who they 'really were'). That's pretty much what I expected from this crew. :)

Good stuff all around. I'll think up better things to say later.

I had tons of ideas but never enough follow-through to turn any of them into an actual story. Just starters. It's kind of sad.

I'm glad we had four good stories from people on this topic.

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14 Dec 2005 04:58 #3813 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
C f :

With all due respect -- you are, after all, the author of the story (and hence Clara's real "birth parent"!) -- I don't see her as someone who's come to a belated recognition of her true vocation as a "super bad girl."

As I see it, her outburst at the end of the story is the long-delayed explosion of a time-bomb created by years of repression -- repression of her grief over her adoptive father's death, of her annoyance at the impertinent curiosity and lustful stares of the people she has made it her purpose to protect, of the stress of trying to live up to an impossibly exacting ethical standard, of her regret at sacrificing anything resembling an ordinary life, and (I infer from her words at the end of the story) of her sexual yearnings.

Here's how her story plays out in my mind:

Eventually her rage subsides. Her tantrum has been cathartic, but it carries a heavy price in life, property, and public opinion. The ethical precepts that have been instilled in her from early childhood return in strength, bringing guilt and remorse.

Wishing to be punished for her actions, she turns herself in to the World Court or some ad hoc tribunal. Media pundits have a field day; celebrity lawyers vie to defend her ("super PMS" is offered as a defense); others want to advance their legal or political careers by prosecuting her.

But no court can hand down a heavier sentence than the one she has already passed against herself. She wants to atone, but how? She's already performed years of unceasing "community service," and look where it's gotten her. And what can she sacrifice that he hadn't already given up?

She tries exiling herself to the far side of the moon or to an asteroid, where the unrelenting cries for help are inaudible across the vacuum of space, even to her ears. But being alone with her remorseful thoughts is too much for her to bear.

She returns to Earth and tries another kind of exile. Adopting an incognito, she deliberately shuts out all appeals for help, ashamed to return to the public eye, fearful that her personal history will repeat itself. She ignores even emergencies taking place just a few feet away from her. She eventually becomes numb to human suffering, embittered and isolated.

And under Earth's yellow sun, she's immortal ...

Pardon the liberties I've taken with your character, Cf -- but you've made Clara so real, and invested her with such pathos, that her story just kept going in my imagination!

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14 Dec 2005 15:58 #3822 by helix111
Replied by helix111 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments

"super PMS" is offered as a defense


I think that's officially called the Lionel Hutz defense. :)

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14 Dec 2005 20:18 #3823 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
I'm a Simpsons aficionado, but that doesn't ring a bell. What episode does that come from?

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14 Dec 2005 20:24 #3824 by helix111
Replied by helix111 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
No episode. Just sounds like the sort of defense he'd use.

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14 Dec 2005 21:46 #3827 by marty_the_butcher
Replied by marty_the_butcher on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
ok I think I got it now. i read over some of the storys from the last contest and I didnt get it or understand practically a fuckin word in some but now I got it. dont understand everything you goombahs write but here is martys take:

i liked helixs story the best. easy to follow and full of action. if i had to pick one this would be the winner. CF, I read the polls and saw you was in second. my least favorite of the for. it was a swipe of a superman with the name replaced. im new here and maybe im still high on the stainless steel cleaner we use on the slicers, but aint this supose to be original storys? seems unfair. even so, didnt like much. as we say in the neighborhood it was stronzo,man! Ace, see same deal as CF but at least you made it obvious and included wonderwoman and superman.
finally brings me to Dru with the immagrant. You make it sound like thats something to be ashamed of! my ma and pa were immagrants! say it proud man!! :!: with the story i thought it was a close race for first with helix but like a pennington deep ball it fell short at the end. anyone got a prob with any of this? didnt think so!

marty [code:1][/code:1]

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15 Dec 2005 12:50 #3837 by admin
SGInc Story Workshop 1.6
Theme: "An ubergirl changes sides - Good<>Bad" Word limit: none

The poll has now closed. Thank you very much indeed to our 4 authors. I'm sure (most) people will agree, the standard was very high indeed, this time.

To confirm the final vote:

A New Leaf by Helix111 14 votes
Clara's Destiny by Conceptfan 12 votes
Secret Weapon by Ace191 5 votes
The Imigrant by Dru 3 votes

Total Votes : 34


Congratulations to Helix111! Helix now has final choice of topic for SGInc Story Workshop 1.7. A new thread will be posted for topic suggestions.

Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on the stories, and especially to the writers.


admin.

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15 Dec 2005 13:15 #3841 by conceptfan
Replied by conceptfan on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments
Congrats, Helix. That's some debut!


CF, I read the polls and saw you was in second. my least favorite of the for. it was a swipe of a superman with the name replaced. im new here and maybe im still high on the stainless steel cleaner we use on the slicers, but aint this supose to be original storys?

Damn, Marty. I didn't think anyone would notice. You got me!! :oops:

P.S. What's in that cleaner? Can I have some?

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15 Dec 2005 16:37 #3844 by helix111
Replied by helix111 on topic Re: SGInc Story Workshop 1.6 Poll and Comments

Congrats, Helix. That's some debut!


Thanks Cf, and thanks to everyone who voted for my story and gave me feedback. I realise my entry had a lot of failings but this has been a real learning process and hopefully I won't make the same mistakes next time.

Now let's have some suggestions for 1.7!

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