DISCUSSION -- OCTOBER 2019 300-word Writing Challenge (#35)

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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I am happy! 8 votes and 7 mentions* on my first attempt! Not bad at all, given that the story concerned an unusual concept and was basically just descriptive.
This story started with a line that came out of the blue: The theater was upset. No, scratch that, it was terrified.
That line didn't survive, but started the whole process.

It was in fact the 2rd story I wrote. The first story I had to reject because I couldn't think of a punchline that a. really had a punch, and b. efficiently explained/closed what had gone before. I had to accept that the story didn't make sense (at least not with 300 words.) -> wastebasket. Well, perhaps something for the Improve Thread.
Anyway, it seems I made the right choice! :D

My congratulations for both @Victoria Silverwolf and @Peter V. We await the tie-breakers poll with bated breath....

*All in all to many to name here, but I have already thanked everyone along the way. (I just hope I didn't forget anyone)
 

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
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Cheers my dears to @Victoria Silverwolf, @Phyrebrat and @Dan Jones 'Rigmarole Rogered' for the votes. Also @Cat's Cradle for the kind mention.

Always a lot of fun editing down something that started out in the high 700s wordcount in it's first draft.

All down to the theatre public house, luvvies, for some special porter and small glasses of creme de menthe.
 

M. Robert Gibson

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
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And now the curtain call...

Thanks for the totally unexpected vote @scarpelius and the mentions

Unexpected because, while I thought my effort started and middled OKish :unsure:, I couldn't come up with a decent ending, so I just went the route trod by so many others: a little bit of smut :sneaky: (Mine was the one with the rude acronym)

On reflection I should probably have gone with something like:
I read the brochure's title: 'Theatre And Real Dramatics In Spacetime.'
"That acronym, it'll never catch on."

Hindsight eh?
 

Margaret Note Spelling

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I am happy! 8 votes and 7 mentions* on my first attempt! Not bad at all, given that the story concerned an unusual concept and was basically just descriptive.
It was a lovely concept. The idea of a sentient theater is (at least to me) quite unique--I loved the imagery of its symbiotic relationship with the audience and owner and the stories told within it--the illustration of longevity compared to normal human life--and then to top it all off, the faintly chiastic structure took it to a whole new level. If I'd only had one vote, it would have been for your story. It was philosophical, it was sad and beautiful, it encompassed a life and watched it begin and end. Bravo.
 

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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It was a lovely concept. The idea of a sentient theater is (at least to me) quite unique--I loved the imagery of its symbiotic relationship with the audience and owner and the stories told within it--the illustration of longevity compared to normal human life--and then to top it all off, the faintly chiastic structure took it to a whole new level. If I'd only had one vote, it would have been for your story. It was philosophical, it was sad and beautiful, it encompassed a life and watched it begin and end. Bravo.
Wow! Thank you! I will print this, put in a frame and hang it above my bed! It's worth 10 votes. :D
 

Culhwch

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Congrats to the tie-ees! Two worthy stories - best of luck to you both!

A great big thank you to @The Judge, @LittleStar, @Shyrka, @Star-child and @kameron for the votes, and thanks also to those who listed or mentioned my story. It didn't quite come out as I'd hoped (might have needed a few more words for that...) but I'm glad it still captured the attention of some fine folk on here. I also feel it only barely scraped in to the genre, so thanks for overlooking that!
 

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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If I understand the rules correctly (and I think I do, but please correct me if I'm wrong) it is allowed to post additional entries in this thread. It even says so in a slightly larger and bolder font, which I take is meant as an invitation to do so. Well, invitation accepted.

As I already mentioned a few posts back...
It was in fact the 2rd story I wrote. The first story I had to reject because I couldn't think of a punchline that a. really had a punch, and b. efficiently explained/closed what had gone before. I had to accept that the story didn't make sense (at least not with 300 words.) -> wastebasket....
I lied. A. it was the third story. More on that later. B. I never throw anything I write in wastebackets. I may never use it, but destroying it... never.
And I might as well submit it here, so it may still has some entertainment value. Below is the story with a closing line that had the most punch and made the least sense.

Theatrics

Gaudy, I thought, garish. I had never seen a place that fitted those descriptions so well.
“Garishhh,” I relished the word and listened how it echoed, the way it does in large empty spaces. This may have been a colourful and lively music-hall once, now it was dead and decayed, only the paint was lagging behind, flaky and coated with decades of dust.
Places like this gave me the creeps.
I looked around me, at the empty auditorium, the rubble, the shadowy places under the balconies. There, for a moment, I thought I saw a face. Getting closer I realised that it actually was a face, the face of a puppet. It sat, crouching as it were, behind a board, anxiously looking around it. Who would put it there like that?

I continued my survey, across the desolate stage, to the corridors and rooms at the back. Just more of the same. Abandoned places, occupied by rubbish and dust. And carnage. One room was littered with broken puppets. Literally. Bits and pieces lay everywhere, as if a madman had ripped the puppets apart and strewn the pieces around. The look on the faces of the puppets, what was left of it, showed terror. Much like…. I shook my head, I was imagining things.

On my way back to the exit I got another glimpse of the puppet behind the board. On impulse I went over and retrieved it. It was much heavier than I had expected, even allowing for it’s unusual large size. Very lifelike in appearance, but grey with dust. I tried to brush it of, blew at it.
The puppet shuddered and I shivered in response. It’s eyes blinked, focused and then turned to me.
It grinned, baring pointy teeth, and leapt for my throat.

The End.

I thought of several alternatives, in which I had the puppet say things like:
“Wha…,” it croaked, “Wha’d’ye think you’re doin’, dimwit!”
“Duh! I waz hidin’, dimwit!”
“Behind you!”
“Oy! Let go of me!”
“Put me down, you sod!”
“Don’t hurt me!”
“Is it save?”
“Is it gone?”

But I found it all a bit lame and it still didn't shed any light on the situation in the backroom. So, I wrote another story, just to explore what could have happened there.
But one story at the time is enough. ;)
 

scarpelius

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It is not logical to say "... leapt for my throat ". The backroom was filled with pieces of puppets not with human remains. Unless the narrator itself is a puppet or a robot, it does not make sense to have a killer puppet.
 

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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It is not logical to say "... leapt for my throat ". The backroom was filled with pieces of puppets not with human remains. Unless the narrator itself is a puppet or a robot, it does not make sense to have a killer puppet.
No, a killer puppet makes no sense. Ever heard of Chucky? ;)
This is a forum for stories of a speculative nature. I write stories about killer puppets or sentient theaters.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
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I went again with @Peter V as I did originally.

Thanks to @chrispenycate for the vote, it was more than my rushed entry deserved.

My first piece was dark, depressive and not fun to read. The first thought when I saw the image was The Muppets. In my first effort the tale talked about a character watching them as a kid on TV. From here it developed to watching them again on a TV when adult. The twist though was that the TV was turned off and the character was imagining a better time outside of the institution he was in.

Scrapped that and went with Dark Lord in space instead. Better for my own mental well being :LOL:
 

Shyrka

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If I understand the rules correctly (and I think I do, but please correct me if I'm wrong) it is allowed to post additional entries in this thread. It even says so in a slightly larger and bolder font, which I take is meant as an invitation to do so. Well, invitation accepted.
Thanks for posting that. I've posted my alternates before once or twice. I liked the setup but the ending didn't quite land for me. A variant on "Is it gone?" would definitely work better IMO as it would leave the reader guessing.
 

scarpelius

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No, a killer puppet makes no sense. Ever heard of Chucky? ;)
This is a forum for stories of a speculative nature. I write stories about killer puppets or sentient theaters.
I heard of Chucky before. Never seen any movie with him because I'm not a horror fan.
Back to your story, there's nothing to prepare me for the jump to the throat in the last sentence. In fact in my opinion, the horror is defined but that phrase only. The room with broken puppets did not inspired any fear in me.
 

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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I heard of Chucky before. Never seen any movie with him because I'm not a horror fan.
Back to your story, there's nothing to prepare me for the jump to the throat in the last sentence. In fact in my opinion, the horror is defined but that phrase only. The room with broken puppets did not inspired any fear in me.
Well, you are right. That last sentence made no sense, considering what went before. I said so myself at the start of my post. The reason I choose punch over logic was that I was curious what the chrons would think of it. I got the notion that last-line punches were highly appreciated, important even. Well, I learned that a punch that doesn't work no longer is a punch.
On the other hand, if nothing prepared you for the jump at the throat, I would say it worked very well as a punch!
But true enough, it makes no sense. The room with broken puppets was to create a mystery, not to inspire fear into the reader. The mystery would deepen with an ending like 'Is it gone?" but, well, I found it a bit tame ending.
I had to write another story to find an explanation for that room with broken puppets.
 

Cat's Cradle

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Wow, those were terrific stories, congratulations Victoria Silverwolf and Peter V! I wish I had written both of those! (And reading them again makes me wish the next 300 Worder would hurry up and arrive.)

It was really close for me - I had voted for both of these in the first round. I read them each several times again now, and by the narrowest of margins I cast my vote for Peter V.
 
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