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Workshop Entries

15 Jun 2017 03:40 #54806 by Dru1076
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rebel4life wrote:

rebel4life wrote:
OK, first of all, I'd really like to thank bigtime all the 4 contributors to this WS, I very much appreciate all the time and efforts you put into this.

I've read only Element X by DKC so far, not by actual choice, but because it appeared first on the list, and it was really an outstanding read.

However ...

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]


And, come to think about it ....

Warning: Spoiler! [ Click to expand ]
Still an awesome story, though, and just my two cents.


The same could be said of my story. I was surprised by how similar at the core Element X and my entry are. I understood that the given power had to be central to the story, and I think Element X stays true to that. It's the l first power she steals, because it was used against her to motivate her, and it's through obtaining it that the main character discovered her ability.

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15 Jun 2017 03:52 #54807 by rebel4life
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Dru1076 wrote:
The same could be said of my story. I was surprised by how similar at the core Element X and my entry are. I understood that the given power had to be central to the story, and I think Element X stays true to that. It's the l first power she steals, because it was used against her to motivate her, and it's through obtaining it that the main character discovered her ability.


Ah, I'll read your story right away, but that is stretching the rules thin. The basic and central power of Eve in Element X just ain't telekineses, period. I don't think there's any way around that conclusion.

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15 Jun 2017 04:21 #54808 by fats
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HI all,


The ruling on the field of play is this.

DKC did not break the rules, he took them in a different direction but stayed within the spirit of them. As such his story is NOT disqualified.

Fats
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15 Jun 2017 05:08 #54809 by d_k_c
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15 Jun 2017 11:25 #54813 by Woodclaw
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I'm going to point out one important thing -- and pulling out my bachelor degree by doing it -- words are by their own nature arbitrary. Butchering the scripts of Ferdinand de Saussure a lot: we, as human, only agree on the general sense of a word because there is a consensus built into us by a shared culture, but by no means we all think of the same thing when we use it. when someone say "dog" I think of my old dog, another person might think of the dog that took a shit in his courtyard, or a plush dog, or Snoopy. All these images pertain to a shared context, but they're wildly different and we are talking only about one cultural perspective. Just for the sake of context there are populations that don't have words to describe shades of color, but only the level of saturation.

What I'm trying to say was that this workshop provided words, not objects, nor context, just words floating in an empty space that needed to be put into context, so I kind of expected someo them to be used in a wildly different manner.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

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15 Jun 2017 23:14 #54821 by argonaut
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OK, I've read the stories. Time to leave some feedback. First up:

"An Interest in Chuck," by Dro1076

The basic plot is pretty standard -- girl gains vast superhuman powers and goes on a spree of killing and mayhem. What makes it stand out from other stories of this type is the character of Charlie. He provides focus for a story of a world-changing event, an objective view of the unusual goings-on in the town and the world, and his unique immunity to Irene's mind control adds an element of mystery. (Though it's never explained, unless I'm missing something.) The opening pages put me in mind of the old Twilight Zone series: I can easily imagine Rod Serling stepping forward to say: "Submitted for your consideration: Charlie Ulray, an ordinary man in an ordinary town on a far from ordinary day ..." Smoothly written and nicely paced, with a momentum that kept me reading until the end. Props!
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16 Jun 2017 01:11 #54825 by argonaut
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Next up: "Element X," by d_k_c

As Dru pointed out, you and he used the same basic idea in your stories -- a superwoman who can absorb the powers of other superhumans. In fact, your story could have been an entry in the previous workshop ("power transfer with a catch").

But since your story spans years instead of a couple of days, you were able to give your protagonist more depth and nuance, and to present her attitude toward her power as it developed over time. I do think the story would have been more effective in this regard if Maria's killing of Becky had been presented as an act of self-defense, and her killing of Melissa as a prank gone wrong, rather than as deliberate homicides. It would have made Maria a more sympathetic character at the outset, but maybe that's not what you were aiming for.

This didn't affect my enjoyment of the story, though. As always, you take your readers on a wild ride, and like Dru you kept my interest right up until the final credits. The little epilogue at the very end was a nice touch -- kind of like the scene some movies include after the credits roll.
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16 Jun 2017 02:05 - 16 Jun 2017 02:20 #54828 by argonaut
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And finally -- "The Story," by Castor

What if a superwoman were actually to appear in public? How would people react? How would news media -- from the New York Times to tabloids to cable news -- cover the story? What kinds of comments would you find on social media and what kind of conversations would you hear in diners and bars? I've always found this an intriguing topic, though one that's not often explored by our writers. So Castor's story hooked me right away.

Letting the story unfold through the voices of the ordinary men and women who witnessed some part of it was an original approach, and I enjoyed the contrast between the magnitude of the news and the mundane details of the witnesses' daily routines. And Fort Lauderdale really came to life through the various stories. I'm guessing you know the city well.

Lots to like in this story, but I have to say the last couple of sections left me scratching my head. The Chief of Detectives was raising questions about the coincidental appearance of Sunfire in the go-cart shop, but it wasn't clear (at least to me) where he was going with them. I wondered if Sunfire's additional power might be precognition, or maybe telepathy, but when I checked the lists Fats posted, I saw that her power is atmokinesis (weather control). So presumably she had something to do with the odd rain that spooked the "bum" -- but what?

Like I said, I enjoyed this story a lot, but you've left me hanging!
Last edit: 16 Jun 2017 02:20 by argonaut.
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16 Jun 2017 11:42 #54834 by Dru1076
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argonaut wrote: OK, I've read the stories. Time to leave some feedback. First up:

"An Interest in Chuck," by Dro1076

The basic plot is pretty standard -- girl gains vast superhuman powers and goes on a spree of killing and mayhem. What makes it stand out from other stories of this type is the character of Charlie. He provides focus for a story of a world-changing event, an objective view of the unusual goings-on in the town and the world, and his unique immunity to Irene's mind control adds an element of mystery. (Though it's never explained, unless I'm missing something.) The opening pages put me in mind of the old Twilight Zone series: I can easily imagine Rod Serling stepping forward to say: "Submitted for your consideration: Charlie Ulray, an ordinary man in an ordinary town on a far from ordinary day ..." Smoothly written and nicely paced, with a momentum that kept me reading until the end. Props!


On In the Blink of an Eye, I gotta say you let us know we're in for a good adventure with the James Bond opening early on, and continue to keep the pace of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I liked how Lex wasn't just a wallflower by any means, but was a strong and important part of the story in his own right. A thoroughly enjoyable story with well thought out arc. With this classy Saturday morning adventure, DKC's well delivered classic, and Castor's intriguing approach, I've got my competition well cut out for me.

You picked up on my subtle avoidance of a real explaination about Charlie. I did have a few ideas, but thought it made him more mysterious and therefore a little more interesting if the reader didn't know for sure, just as Irene doesn't know. Just as I avoided explaining why Irene was so unique. The main reason, tbh, he is immune to her mind powers is because he has to be for he story to work.

Thanks for the reviews, Argonaut. And thanks to Team Acenaut for delivering a great story!

"Stupid Reality!" - Homer J. Simpson
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16 Jun 2017 15:53 #54838 by smoki07
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I did read 3 of 4 workshop stories. My fav stories are Element X and Interest in Chuck. I just wanted to say bravo to writers. Sadly, I stopped reading "The Story"' because of too many fonts changes. For me, it's unpleasant and disturbing to read without disrespect to this writer.

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16 Jun 2017 23:23 - 16 Jun 2017 23:37 #54844 by argonaut
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Dru1076 wrote: On In the Blink of an Eye, I gotta say you let us know we're in for a good adventure with the James Bond opening early on, and continue to keep the pace of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I liked how Lex wasn't just a wallflower by any means, but was a strong and important part of the story in his own right. A thoroughly enjoyable story with well thought out arc. With this classy Saturday morning adventure, DKC's well delivered classic, and Castor's intriguing approach, I've got my competition well cut out for me.

You picked up on my subtle avoidance of a real explaination about Charlie. I did have a few ideas, but thought it made him more mysterious and therefore a little more interesting if the reader didn't know for sure, just as Irene doesn't know. Just as I avoided explaining why Irene was so unique. The main reason, tbh, he is immune to her mind powers is because he has to be for he story to work.

Thanks for the reviews, Argonaut. And thanks to Team Acenaut for delivering a great story!


"James Bond opening" was a phrase Ace and I used when we were writing "The Supergirl of Smallville." We'd often begin a chapter with a scene of Supergirl in action that was unrelated to the main plot of the chapter, just like the opening scene of a James Bond movie. We figured it would help to draw readers into the story. Here, of course, it also establishes that Superwoman is a familiar presence in Metropolis by the time the story takes place.

Although I've written some take-offs on Saturday morning cartoons (with super-powered versions of Daphne from "Scooby Doo": and Jan from "Space Ghost"), for this workshop story Ace and I were aiming for something more like an episode of the Lois & Clark TV series.

Getting back to Charlie for a moment: I don't know if this is one of the ideas you had in mind, but I was wondering if his lack of sociability and his aptitude for mechanics meant that he was at the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, and if this had anything to do with his immunity to Irene's mind control. But I think you were right to avoid providing an explanation. As you say, his immunity is simply the "given" on which the story is built.
Last edit: 16 Jun 2017 23:37 by argonaut.
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20 Jun 2017 17:27 #54906 by argonaut
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When will the workshop poll be posted?

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20 Jun 2017 17:33 #54907 by fats
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Very soon.

Fats
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21 Jun 2017 03:39 #54919 by Dru1076
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argonaut wrote:

Dru1076 wrote: On In the Blink of an Eye, I gotta say you let us know we're in for a good adventure with the James Bond opening early on, and continue to keep the pace of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I liked how Lex wasn't just a wallflower by any means, but was a strong and important part of the story in his own right. A thoroughly enjoyable story with well thought out arc. With this classy Saturday morning adventure, DKC's well delivered classic, and Castor's intriguing approach, I've got my competition well cut out for me.

You picked up on my subtle avoidance of a real explaination about Charlie. I did have a few ideas, but thought it made him more mysterious and therefore a little more interesting if the reader didn't know for sure, just as Irene doesn't know. Just as I avoided explaining why Irene was so unique. The main reason, tbh, he is immune to her mind powers is because he has to be for he story to work.

Thanks for the reviews, Argonaut. And thanks to Team Acenaut for delivering a great story!


"James Bond opening" was a phrase Ace and I used when we were writing "The Supergirl of Smallville." We'd often begin a chapter with a scene of Supergirl in action that was unrelated to the main plot of the chapter, just like the opening scene of a James Bond movie. We figured it would help to draw readers into the story. Here, of course, it also establishes that Superwoman is a familiar presence in Metropolis by the time the story takes place.

Although I've written some take-offs on Saturday morning cartoons (with super-powered versions of Daphne from "Scooby Doo": and Jan from "Space Ghost"), for this workshop story Ace and I were aiming for something more like an episode of the Lois & Clark TV series.

Getting back to Charlie for a moment: I don't know if this is one of the ideas you had in mind, but I was wondering if his lack of sociability and his aptitude for mechanics meant that he was at the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, and if this had anything to do with his immunity to Irene's mind control. But I think you were right to avoid providing an explanation. As you say, his immunity is simply the "given" on which the story is built.


I was tossing up between "Saturday morning" or "primetime" adventure. When I think about it, the latter would have been a more accurate description.

As for your observations on Charlie, I would say he is definitely "on the spectrum".

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23 Jun 2017 00:03 #54957 by LustMonster
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fats wrote: Sorry for the delay but the voting is now live.

It will close on 1st July 2017

The winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Fats


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23 Jun 2017 01:37 #54959 by castor
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Regarding my entry

I started my entry before the contest as a story that was unrelated-but when i looked at my list of entries i figured it kind of all worked out. Especially the power.. So i did some Rewriting not perfectly. I see the chart that Wrap was intended as the lunch-i live with that.

The story itself actually is more actuarely intended as Novella. Its obviously inspired by like World War Z, or Humans of New York, and i thought there was an interesting idea to take that from a horror context and bring it into modern day. I admit i have been to florida only once in my life, but do kinda of enjoy that genre of story called "Werid Florida" and that seemed a place to set this kind of tale.

The idea has been for a graphic novel at points-that may not happen for formating reasons. I would still certainly like to have a lot art and photography in it as well. Make it a neat little book

In any case it would likely be about 5 chapters long. This is the first one-this was Day 1. Each chapter is a unit of time after her appearance. . I have written more or less the second, and have the oultline for the last 3.. What i haven't necessairly is the ambition to finish it-i am busy with a robot projects and still somewhat devoloping my big ubergirl movie. i though seeing how well it did in the contest may inspire that, inspire the photoshoping work etc If this inspires people to want to read more that would be great-and inspire me to finish it.

If not i apologize for ending the story abbruptly-its kind of intended as cliffhanger but will see.
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23 Jun 2017 02:12 - 23 Jun 2017 14:21 #54960 by Woodclaw
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Since I've finished reading all the entries I need to make a bit of clean up in my mind before voting.
One big disclaimer first these opinions are mine as a user of this site, not as part of the staff (since I've been accused at least once of "trying to pilot other's opinion").

The Story by Castor
I have to agree with the general opinion so far that this story is, probably, among the most unusual not just of this workshop, but of the entire site. The common -- and not so common -- people perspective is a good trick that immediately gives the story a special identity, but it also highlight the fact that this might not be the best format for it. I can totally see this kind of trick being pulled as a filler episode of a TV series and it has the potential to work very well there. As a story it felt very fragmented and it lacked a cohesive element, a single narrator that chained all these voices together.
There's also a second element that might not be up to everyone's alley: we never really see the payoff. We got many little treats along the way, many hints of what the local supergirl can do, but we never really see her in action. I understad that it was done on purpose to keep in with the tone of the story, but it also limit the possible perspective. It's a very trick balance and I believe Castor juggled it pretty well given the length of the entry, but the feeling of leaving the theatre after the first half of a movie is strong.


In the Blink of an Eye by Team Acenaut
Compared to "The Story" this entry is extremely classic in theme and execution, but it also gave me a weird unfinished feeling. It's the same I got when I buy a issue of comic book I love after years: the characters and the situations are immediately recognizable, but there are a lot of gaps. One of things I like the most it's the many little cameos and homages Argo and Ace crammed into the story: e.g. Lana working as an illustrator reminded me of the '80s Captain America, when Steve Rogers worked as a cartoonist for the Marvel Comics. While the story is about Lana, I think that Lex stole the show because he's the character we can appreciate more in terms of personal growth. While Lana/Superwoman is still playing the same game, just in the big city, Lex has moved on and put his limited -- but by no means insignificant -- talents to good use. Like in some chapters of TSoS, she might have the powers, but he's the one that plays the hero in the end.
The description used by Dru of a Saturday morning cartoon is very appropriate and ties in with my original feeling: this is a piece of serial narrative taken out of order. This is part of the story style and it's clear that Ace and Argo mastered it quite well, but it's also a bit of a drawback: I want more, I'd love to know what happened to the other characters starting with Clark and, also, see how things developed in this world for many other classic Metropolis faces, like Lois, Perry and Jimmy.


Element X by DKC
In terms of crossing stories this is the beast of this workshop. As far as I can tell there are at least 3 intertwined storylines and that's without considering the background and personal stories of some of the other superhuman involved (like Jen and Eve). All this potential makes for a very vast world that, unfortunately it's only hinted in many cases. As Argo observed before the fact of seeing a change in how Maria deals with her powers and their consequence is and excellent story tool, but I'm not sure it really clicked with me this time. I might be dead wrong, but in some moments it seem to me that Maria's struggle it's more with her own self-image, rather than the real implications of her powers. I think that it depends on my perception of her first big decisions: I can see her killing Becky in a hindbrain reaction to being telekinetically bullied, whereas what she did to Melissa was actually very deliberate, but she seemed to struggle more with the first act than the second. Perhaps having a bit more details about her time in juvie hall would have made the transition from teenager Maria to adult Maria smoother and her refusal to use her powers later on more poignant.
The final struggle is probably the highlight of the story and, in spite of a little WTF moment for me when Blender revealed himself as an A.I., I enjoyed the combat and a couple of moments -- like the final "breast press" -- were very nice in their own kinky way. Both the end and the post-credits are extremely well writter and close the main storyline pretty well, while leaving some manuvering space for future expansions.
In spite of all its flaw I found this story enjoyable in its very classic style.


A Interest in Chuck by Dru
Looking at this story side-by-side with Element X, I think that the similarities between them are present, but not as deep as they appear at first glance. While both DKC and Dru used the gimmick of a power-copy character, the way the two character wield their abilities are very different and produce very different results: Element X is the story of Maria, while this is the story of Irene told to Chuck and adding this second voice makes all the difference in the world. Also pointing out what is Maria's signature power is hard for me, because Maria use many and they all seem equally important to her characterization, while in Irene's case it's clearly mind control. She has incredible physical powers, but the whole story revolves around her ability to mind control people on a global scale and how encountering a single anomaly, the one person out of 7 billions that can resist her, set the entire plot into motion. Like Lex before, Charlie stole the show, but for reasons that are completely different: in a world going crazy, he provides a link to our normal perspective that we can relate to and play along. The comparison to Twilight Zone feels absolutely spot on to me.
I have to say that while this entry has a bit of that terrible feeling of "super-powers with a in-built tutorial" the pace and the delivery worked really well for me and I enjoyed this entry a lot.

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Last edit: 23 Jun 2017 14:21 by Woodclaw. Reason: Never write a review at 3 A.M. during a day when you pass out due to a heat stroke.
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