Amount

SGInc "Short" Story Workshop 2.3 Poll and Comments

04 Jan 2006 11:30 #4005 by admin
There were a total of 9 stories submitted. The theme was "An Ubergirl comes to the rescue" and all entries contain 1000 words or less.

As ever, many thanks to all our authors for their contributions.

Read the stories in the SWM StoryBank ( http://www.superwomenmania.com/storybank/index-d.html ) and then vote for your favourite and post your feedback here. The poll will be open for the customary 7 days. The author whose story gets the most votes wins the right to choose the topic for SGI Workshop 2.4.


admin

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • admin
  • admin's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • SWM - Administrator
  • SWM - Administrator
More
04 Jan 2006 20:48 #4009 by brantley
For Shylock, it's a pound of flesh. For Conceptfan, it's a pint of....

But where was the guy keeping it while he was in death row and on the hot seat?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • brantley
  • brantley's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
05 Jan 2006 10:50 #4011 by conceptfan

But where was the guy keeping it while he was in death row and on the hot seat?

His BROTHER brings it at the END of the story.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
05 Jan 2006 14:13 #4012 by brantley
Arghhhh! Stupid me!

One of your better stories, actually. And I guess the pint is just the right thing -- won't do to have a CF superwoman rescue anyone in the name of justice or out of the goodness of her heart!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • brantley
  • brantley's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
05 Jan 2006 14:59 #4013 by brantley
Who in blazes is Xoronewithnature?
All I know is that he or she has my vote for "Asylum," as the best and most original story for Workshop 2.3.
It's amazing what that story crams into 1,000 words. We know we're in a mental hospital, and apparently there's some sort of general disaster -- no sign of the cops responding to the riot (Maybe society is breaking down, as in MAD MAX). And we have a doctor and a patient in a strange and ambiguous relationship: does he suspect what she might be, after her survival from the train wreck? (Anyone catch the allusion to the movie UNBREAKABLE?) Does she? When he taunts Dagon, he's trying to save her -- and yet, perhaps it is danger to HIM rather that is necessary to trigger her response. And what a character -- a seeming waif, traumatized by her memory of the train wreck and the madness at the hospital and perhaps the world. God, that "Professor Moonpie" bit -- seemingly trivial, but it packs an emotional wallop.
This workshop has been unusually rich, IMHO. While the other entries aren't as spectacular as "Asylum," they are generally inventive and witty.
It’s great to see Daphne here with her first short story (as opposed to be blog and her RPG). It's a terrific introduction to her super-sexy teen superheroine, and I love the humor ("Ashley and Mary-Kate Do Dallas," and that great punch line at the end),
Argonaut's "Snow Angel" and B.W.'s "A Little Less Conversation" take relatively standard rescue situations and redeem them with witty dialogue. Those gags about what else Karen can do with her super-breath and Mindy singing about Armour hot dogs are deliciously outrageous.
I'd say the same of Ace191's "This is a Job For?" except that the wit doesn't work well with the deadly seriousness of the situation -- you'd expect Susan to be too angry about the horrors that took place before her powers manifested themselves for her to start wisecracking.
Marknew's "Rescue Him Now!" God, I can't spoil it by giving any hint what it's really about. But it's TOTALLY outrageous. Only, not funny. At least, not to Barney.
Conceptfan? Well, we all know Conceptfan, so as I already posted, we all know that his girl will have the impurest of motives for her rescue operation. Although I still can't figure out what she wants to DO with her prize -- well, WHY, anyway!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • brantley
  • brantley's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
06 Jan 2006 02:36 #4015 by argonaut
With 9 entries, I'm going to post feedback on three stories at a time.

BW: I enjoyed your first story, but I thought it was kind of "generic." I remember suggesting that you try to give your next story a more individual tone. Whether you actually set out to follow my advice I don't know, but that's exactly what you achieved this time around. "A Little Less Conversation" has a very enjoyable, lighthearted feel. I actually enjoyed the domestic banter between John and Melinda more than the rescue scene (which occasionally got too "jokey" for my taste). Moments like Melinda picking up the sofa one-handed to vacuum underneath it are too rare in this genre.

Apparently Melinda used her legal know-how and super-powers to clear John's name after she broke him out of prison. How she did it could make for a good story! (What would you call it -- an "interquel"?)

Xoronewithnature: When you posted feedback on the last batch of workshop stories, you mentioned that you have some definite preferences in genre fiction -- so I was curious to find out what kind of story you wrote. Like Brantley, I was struck by the assured craftsmanship of your tale. Every detail, every line of dialogue carries the story along while guiding your reader effortlessly through a chaotic scenario. No laborious exposition -- just effective, economical narration. And Dr. Roberts's bravery, compassion, sense of responsibility, and ingenuity all come through clearly and believably.

My only disappointment with this very impressive story (a front-runner for my vote) is that the actual "ubergirl content" was pretty minimal. But I hope to see more of these two characters, so perhaps you can make up for that in a sequel!

Daphne: I wasn't sure whether you were the blogging superdaph until I read Brantley's post. I have to admit I haven't been following your blog, so I may be missing some back-story (e.g. why Daphne "needs" her baby-sitting "gig"). Didn't matter, though -- it was an enjoyable story and your teenage ubergirl is an appealing character. (Although the opening paragraphs -- in which we see Daphne through Joe Walker's eyes -- made me expect a darker kind of story ... something like an ubergirl version of "American Beauty.") I will definitely make it a point to catch up on her blog soon!

After all the "bad" super-girls featured in the last batch of workshop stories, it's nice to read about some good ones ...

TO BE CONTINUED

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • argonaut
  • argonaut's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
07 Jan 2006 00:46 #4031 by brantley
Hey, if you're out there, Xoronewithnature, I found "Wannabe Heroes" in a Google cache of Ubergirls that was. Would love to post it under Other Voices at The Bright Empire to give it more exposure. And maybe other works of yours.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • brantley
  • brantley's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
07 Jan 2006 03:44 #4039 by argonaut
"Snow Angel" -- I'll just say that I had fun writing this and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I see that it's already gotten more votes than any of my other workshop stories. I'd like to think that's because of its clever dialogue and the vivid description of the avalanche ... but I suspect it has more to do with Karen's blouse straining against her chest as she inhales!

I'm thinking of writing a longer story (or series) about a husband-and-super-wife team with a "Moonlighting" / "Thin Man" flavor. "Snow Angel" is kind of a warm-up for that project.

"The Slave's Rescue ..." -- sss, I think this is actually an improvement over the ballad you wrote for the last workshop: The shorter lines scan better and the rhymes are generally more effective. And since the first poem established the background for the second, you were able to tell a more focussed, personal story.

But I'd like to see what you can do in prose the next time around, without the restrictions imposed by rhyme and meter ...

"This Is a Job for ?" -- ace, you have a flair for the short form. You begin your stories at just the right moment in dramatic time, you keep back-story and exposition to the necessary minimum, and you use dialogue and detail to good effect. The 1,000-word limit seems to bring out your best story-telling instincts. (Much as I enjoy your longer stories, I sometimes feel that they could use a little trimming and tightening here and there.)

I do have one reservation, however -- not so much a criticism of the story as an admission of the mind-set I bring to it. For me, "genre fiction" is a temporary escape from the grim realities of the daily headlines ... so when an ubergirl story is set in present-day Baghdad, for example, I just can't enjoy the fantasy whole-heartedly. I don't know whether my sentiments in this matter are typical; perhaps other SWManiacs have thoughts on the subject?

TO BE CONTINUED

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • argonaut
  • argonaut's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
07 Jan 2006 23:47 #4047 by conceptfan

I do have one reservation, however -- not so much a criticism of the story as an admission of the mind-set I bring to it. For me, "genre fiction" is a temporary escape from the grim realities of the daily headlines ... so when an ubergirl story is set in present-day Baghdad, for example, I just can't enjoy the fantasy whole-heartedly. I don't know whether my sentiments in this matter are typical; perhaps other SWManiacs have thoughts on the subject?


I do! I've got to agree with you Argo. This is supposed to be escapism. Stuff I can read while travelling on the London Underground to take my mind off grim reality...

I always enjoy Ace's stories and this one was no exception - fantastic pace, great action. But the last lines sent a chill down my spine. "Clean up" what? who? how? At best this is "French Interior Minister-speak" at worst it is quite sinister. "Clean up" = "Cleanse" = most of the worst excesses of mankind.

I'm sure this is not what Ace meant, but it might have been best to avoid the possible confusion by not including the phrase or concept in the story at all. You could have achieved the same impact, but made some of us a lot less uncomfortable, by setting the tale in a fictious or simply unnamed conflict and forgetting that hateful "clean up" line.

Ace, like I said, I'm a big fan of your writing and your stories, so please don't take this as an attack on anything more than your choice of final line in this story.

And, whilst I'm on the subject - I swear I wasn't going to comment on this but I'm on a roll now - why does the villain in Daphne's otherwise brilliantly told and extremely sexy story have to be so obviously Hispanic? Why weren't the nice middle-class father and his darling perfect kids Hispanic and the burglar a theiving, nice-home-invading W.A.S.P.? Just a thought. Fantastic story - shame about the racism.

Great point, Argo, btw.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Jan 2006 01:28 #4049 by argonaut
I see your point, Cf, but I think you're reading too much into the final line of ace's story, and I feel obliged to say a word in his behalf. ace is one of my regular correspondents, and he's just about the most decent human being I've come to know through this, or any other, forum. That Susan is about to embark on a program of "ethnic cleansing" is light-years from anything he could have meant to imply. I know you acknowledged as much in your post, but I wanted to underscore it.

Okay. Now to finish my comments on the workshop stories:

"Perfect Timing" -- Cf, I think this is your best "short" yet. Description and action are nicely balanced, and the "one pint" device gives the story closure. You might consider retiring that motif, though -- you don't want to, uh, flog it to death ...

"Rescue Him Now!" -- Mark, this is the first time one of your stories has left me scratching my head. The action itself was perfectly clear, but I felt that I was missing out on the back-story. Is every woman super in this fictive world? And if so, is this a recent development or a long-standing state of affairs? I know there's only so much you can do in 1,000 words, but a hint or two along these lines would have been welcome. Still, a thoroughly enjoyable story, as always, especially Emilia's pillow-talk -- teasing, dominating, and very sexy.

"Serious Radio" -- Brantley, I really got a kick out of this story -- in fact, it's been short-listed for the coveted Argonaut vote. I've only seen a few snippets of Mr. Stern's program while channel-surfing, but the dialogue you've given him SOUNDS authentic, and I like the way the entire story is told through dialogue.

Of course, Sam's plan to expose Dern as a craven, self-serving jerk fails to take into account the fact that he doesn't pretend to be anything else ...

Another great workshop! Thanks to the authors and thanks to admin!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • argonaut
  • argonaut's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
08 Jan 2006 10:11 #4052 by marknew742

Is every woman super in this fictive world? And if so, is this a recent development or a long-standing state of affairs?


I didn't put more pointers in I thought it was more fun leaving it open, but this is the way I had conceived it:

In this world, a signficant minority of woman are super, say about 5%, but no man is super.

It is a development within, say, the past ten years, so that everyone remembers what life used to be like, patterns have begun to develop in how the women use their powers (and obviously different "philosophies" are out there) but long encrusted traditions have not yet formed.

And if you can think of other answers that work, they might be more correct than mine. There is no one right answer here. :wink:

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Jan 2006 16:36 #4055 by ace191
Like most everyone else I expect, I enjoy SWM because it is a nice break from reality. I thought long and hard about writing this story which I will admit is a blatant antiwar, pro troops piece.

The mess that I was referring to is the 2,350 of our troops killed so far in this whole thing along with another 16,000 + wounded. Iraqi causalities are something like three times that high. I don’t know what the British losses are other than most likely, too high.

Want I would really like to see is an end to the needless slaughter and all of our troops back home safe and sound. It would be nice if a magical Supergirl could just take care of it all by disarming everyone and making all factions play nice together, but that in all probability is not going to happen but it still makes for a very nice fantasy. I would like to apologize if I upset anyone with this story and I promise I will not write one like this again.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
08 Jan 2006 17:14 #4057 by conceptfan

It would be nice if a magical Supergirl could just take care of it all by disarming everyone and making all factions play nice together,

Ace, perhaps Susan should have actually said "Now to disarm everyone and make everyone play nice together". That would have avoided the bulk of my objections. Sorry if I came across a bit harsh, but that "clean up" line really jolted me.

I promise I will not write one like this again.

Oh please do! I enjoyed the plot of the story and the action in it. Just watch your settings and above all, terminology.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
09 Jan 2006 13:48 #4063 by marknew742
Now having done this short format three times and read about twenty stories, I've developed an idea of what I like about it and what I don't like. This will explain my reactions to this group of stories.

1,000 words is too short for a real story, but it's long enough for a scene. What works for me is a well-written scene that hints at a larger story out there. There doesn't have to be another story, but there needs to be more than what is going on in this little snippet. Vivid descriptions, a choice action moment or two, a personal reaction and more vivid description make it shine. On the other hand, exposition, filling in the blanks, etc. waste precious space.



A Little Less Conversation by BW

A super-heroine confronts a criminal and makes poor wisecracks. All participants in the story and this reader agree that her wisecracks and devotion to standard superhero story requirements of using superpowers to defeat ordinary criminals armed with guns are boring. It's very hard in this amount of space to make fun of the ordinary day of a superhero. It just seemed too ordinary to me to be exciting. In the end I wanted a lot less conversation.


Asylum by Xoronewithnature

I had mixed feelings about this one too. Crazy person has superpowers, which she fails to use to escape from her padded cell and instead indulges in silly destruction of her sleeping mattress.

The flash of action at the end was very nice, from " Dagon stared at little Carrie ...." I also liked the fact that she used her "thin arm" to protect her beloved doctor -- although only after first letting the bad guy beat him bloody.

But the back-and-forth Moonpie bit left me uninspired and confused. (Or is this another movie I've missed?) Also, the old plot-surprise-generated-by-a-character-suddenly-doing-what-she-should-have-done-before trick isn't my favourite. Maybe it needs more space.

In the end I liked the way the innocent super-hero saves the doc. I just wish the story had started just before that part and left more room for her to show more power. Still this did pass the "atmosphere" test and the "story beyond the story" test for me.


Perfect Timing by Conceptfan

Bad guy rescued by bad supergal. Good violence. Good sexiness. He's finally gotten the story length problem right.

Only gripe: Incomprehensible plot motivation (I mean, super-heroine motivation) and ending. Unless you asked the writer and he told you.


Snow Angel by Argonaut

Supergirl in sexy dress rescues husband. I really liked this one, especially because it was great even when breaking my 1000 word story rule -- it stands all by itself. Of course, it didn't hurt that Argo wrote a great body-against-dress description, good use of superpowers, great sense of superheroine style. She does it without breaking a sweat or losing her smile. I really liked that, even though she used her powers for good rather than evil.


Serious Radio by Brantley Thompson Elkins

Celebrity stories don’t do it for me, especially when I don't know or care about the celebrity. So I started out several touchdowns behind.

I thought the plot twist at the end was very clever -- but then it was spoiled by the foul smell. Shit just never turns me on.

Oh well, not this time. I look forward to the next one.


This is a Job For? by Ace191

I had a couple of gripes about this one. It had one of my favourite story moments -- the super-empowerment of an ordinary girl -- but it was over before it began. Please cut down on everything else but leave space for that.

And then there was the political question. What mess will she clean up? Ace has since helpfully explained it, but when I read it I wondered, "Will she kill all Iraqis? All Evildoers? All Sunnis? All Shiites? All Kurds? Or just the bad 'uns, leaving the rest to have town meetings like we do in New England? Or will she kill the Americans" I think it's fine (although risky) to be topical but be careful out there. A few of you know what my good <--> evil story would have been if I'd had time to write it, and it was also about Iraq. Anyway, say what you mean but watch what you say.

But I really liked the prisoner to super girl idea. Ace knows what a story is. More please. And focus on the good stuff.


The Slave's Rescue and Re-rescue Song by Supergirlssexslave

Good images even if it's bad poetry. My favorite lines:

Men disappeared, exploded, flew upwards
The sound of female laughter chilled my heart.

The battle lasted seconds
She moved to (sic) quick to be seen
Her hands destroyed dozens,
Leaving blood where men had been.

That final line is a doozy. And it even rhymes with seen if you mispronounce "been." Who is this masked poet anyway? Does s/he ever write in prose? What will s/he do next?


Daphne Does Baby Sitting by Daphne Orgone

This has a plot. A superbod. A mystery that pre-dates the story and extends beyond it. Some real dialogue. Descriptions need work, but still left me interested. Very interested. Even though it's not clear why any supergirl needs a babysitting job, I didn't mind. She has her own reasons, obviously, and who am I to argue with a supergirl with giant breasts and a sense of fun. Eh?

The Hispanic burglar did bother me. Change his name to Joe Cocker and I'm yours.

If Superdaph has as much fun as this story, then I've got a daily read.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Jan 2006 05:07 #4066 by brad328
Thanks to everyone who voted for me and all who've commented on my latest attempt at a story. I was worried that, in my attempt at humor, people wouldn't get the joke. After all everyone's sense of humor is different and not everyone watches the Simpsons to get the hot dog joke or Seinfeld to get the Vandalay joke. But it went over better than I thought so I'm relieved. If my first story (Supergirl Phenomenon 2.0) is the main comic book story, consider this one the short story that fills up the last couple pages (or those Hostess ads where the superhero foils a plan with Twinkies).

Argo was the biggest influence this go at a story when he said I should aim for a distinctive flavor in my writing. I went with the more lighthearted/humor approach which comes more naturally to me. It seems he did as well and did a much better job than I.

Now my next influence is what conceptfan wrote about my last story and marknew said about this one and that is the lack of action. Which I totally agree with. I think my strength is dialogue (not good dialogue mind you, but dialogue nonetheless). That's why I named this story "A Little Less Conversation", because my stories need that. I'm currently writing a continuation of my first story and I've written almost 1300 words of conversation before getting to the action point.

My problem is that I don't really know how to write action. In a world where my main character is super and no one else is, where there's no supervillain to match up with, and no weakness of said main character, I don't know how to create an elaborate action scene. It seems that any type of fight would be over quickly. So what I get is these truncated generic scenes that people have read a million times. Any direction or suggestions would be appreciated.

I enjoy the short workshops because it helps me keep a more focused view on the story at hand and if it fits in with future topics, a sequel may be on the way...for better or worse.

Again, thank you everyone and have a good night...or day.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Jan 2006 05:41 #4068 by lfan
Have been remiss in commenting (and participating) on the latest few workshops, but wanted to write a quick note thanking all the authors for their time and effort for a great batch! Special kudos go out to Argo who got my vote with his well-crafted "Snow Angel"

Peace
LF

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • lfan
  • lfan's Avatar
  • Away
  • SWM - Administrator
  • SWM - Administrator
More
10 Jan 2006 08:57 #4069 by marknew742

My problem is that I don't really know how to write action. In a world where my main character is super and no one else is, where there's no supervillain to match up with, and no weakness of said main character, I don't know how to create an elaborate action scene. It seems that any type of fight would be over quickly. So what I get is these truncated generic scenes that people have read a million times. Any direction or suggestions would be appreciated.


Brad has certainly identified a problem with super-hero stories. Taken to their logical extreme, a super-hero with Silver Age DC Comics super-powers could fly around the world in less than a minute and right all wrongs at super-speed. What would she do during the next minute?

Ways to handle it:

Superhero is not super-efficient because of:
desire to "play with" her victim or villain,
desire to "make a point",
constraints on using powers,
emotional baggage,
relationship issues,
the victim or villain has a surprising counterattack,
etc.

Also, the action of the story can go beyond the mechanical events and include the inter-action of the characters. That slows things down to human speed, notwithstanding the superhuman abilities.

Also, you can always create a supervillian with just a few keystrokes. I find making the characters unequal is more fun, but to each his own!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Jan 2006 10:36 #4070 by conceptfan
Mark, you should be holding masterclasses!

Brad, I love the sense of fun in your story.

In terms of battles/fights between mismatched opponents (i.e. picking an example purely at random - ubergirl vs. ordinary man) being over all too quickly, one trick I've learnt is to make the few seconds of fight last longer by portraying them in "slow motion". I try and do that by going into great detail depicting the action.

Say a supergirl beats up 10 guys inside 5 seconds of real time. That doesn't have to translate to 5 seconds of "reading time". She might push a guy away inside sixty microseconds. But the story can tell us how she opens her fingers, places them on his chest and gives him the gentlest of shoves, generating the power from her writst - not even bothering with her shoulder or upper body. Then he flies backwards. How? Well, first his chest moves back. Then maybe his feet come off the ground. He starts to rocket backwards. Maybe now he starts to shout. By this point, his body is bent almost double around the point where he was pushed. The supergirl is casually letting her arm hang back by her side. The man has travelled about two yards through the air. Does he hit something? What happens when he does?

Maybe he's still airborne when she turns her attention to her next attacker. To him, her movements are just a blur. He's only beginning to realise that his friend is flying backwards when he sees the girl is suddenly looking at him. Her hands might be a blur for him, but the readers have the benefit of the same superspeed powers as the girl. The readers also have the ability to read minds: What's the supergirl thinking? "Wow, I hardly pushed him, and look at him flying away!" or "Foolish creature, thinking he can oppose me"? or "I hope I haven't hurt him too badly"? Or "One down, four to go. This is boring."? What's the man flying through the air thinking? "Ouch"? "What's happening?" "Did that sexy girl just do that to me? How strong is she?" "Now, I'm really going to teach her a lesson"?

All that, and the guy still hasn't hit the ground/wall yet. And there's four more attackers! Less than a second of time has passed, but we've had several paragraphs' worth of (hopefully) entertainment. ;)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 Jan 2006 12:02 #4071 by brantley

"Serious Radio" -- Brantley, I really got a kick out of this story -- in fact, it's been short-listed for the coveted Argonaut vote. I've only seen a few snippets of Mr. Stern's program while channel-surfing, but the dialogue you've given him SOUNDS authentic, and I like the way the entire story is told through dialogue.


Thanks for the thought, but I hope you'll vote for "Asylum."

Still, my timing is right. Stern's first satellite cast for Sirius Radio is being reported in the tablods today.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • brantley
  • brantley's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Uberposter of Distinction
  • Uberposter of Distinction
More
10 Jan 2006 16:05 #4072 by WhitePaw
I've just submitted "Feeling Fine", late and over budget to "Addy the Admin" for this workshop. We all know I'm forever fated to loose any and all of these voting things so it's no big deal. I just wrote it over lunch yesterday anyway. Consider it a bite of flaming desert on your multicourse buffet.

I'm an aquired taste, of course. :P

N-Joy, and nice job to you all.

Wuv,
-White Paw

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
Time to create page: 0.138 seconds