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I Got Idea Man
It's finally done. It's taken me forever, but it's done and it will never happen again. Not like this. Probably should've limited it to one entry per person. Oh well, I wanted entries and I got them and ultimately, I'm happy about that.
More than 100 stories were submitted and I read them all (well, a few were deleted before I got to them). The bad ones, the good ones, the short ones, the long ones (oh, god, the long ones. . .). It really reminded me that the best way to learn about writing is to read. The common pitfalls that people fall into become really apparent.
I'm sorry to say this, but I won't be giving feedback for those who requested it. I feel awful about it, but this has taken me months just to read through them all. I just can't write critiques for all these stories. I like to go in-depth with my critiques and it would take so much time. It sucks, there are some where I would really like to talk to the writers, but it wouldn't be fair to single people out.
I feel like this intro should be way longer, like I should say something of substance, but this has taken long enough. Let's do this.
Below are surviving stories. There's a little over 90.
A-Lord-of-Birds: June 8th, 1944
AldoDN: Mermaids are Starving
AwefulWriter: The Choosing
Blacknumber1: Ole' Broken Bones Pete
BloodyeyedWitness: Boney Bonnie
Cartoon Reaper: Just My Nightmare
ChaoZStrider: Son's Revenge
The Damn Batman: Another World
Datafragment: The Value of Data
DevEngl: But I Came to You
DontpKaniC: Investigation Journal
Dudedosa4: The Red Boy
The Flea bitten Wolf: The Pack Leader
GardenOfShadows: Come, Little Children
Hank412: He Without A Face
HorrorOtaku: Oh Dolly
Itiscoming: My Boy's Wicked Smart
Jamaba: New Generation
Kris958: The Loop
Mikemacdee: Teacher Wanted, Must Love Children
Peppers245: The Deal
PsychoLamb: What Can't You See?
SpongeDemon DeathPants: The Tests of Tartarus
Stovenoven: How Teachers Grade Their Tests
TacoExpress: The Unicorn Mask
TheWorldsWorstSwordsman: Do You Know What True Fear Is?
TicciToby TheThirdProxy: I'm a Sane Babysitter
T0astill: On the Mystery of Human Perception
Trycksterr: Ghost in the Mirror
TwilightJokerHF1: The Crow Caws at Midnight
Umbrello: Jason Loved to Read
Willythekid30303: The Rocky Mountains Incident
If your story is not there, it was either deleted, ineligible, was disqualified for extenuating circumstances or I forgot to put it on there. If it's the last one, let me know.
Before I list the winners, let's look at the huge prize pool they will get to drink from. It has grown since the contest was announced and continued to grow after the submission period was over.
Roll that beautiful bean footage.
Games, Games, GAMES!
Arsenal of Democracy- Reviews on this are kind of mixed..
- I'm not sure about the codes for Septerra Core and System Shock 2. If they get picked and the codes don't work, I will buy and gift you a copy.
And Then. . .It Was Time. . .
For the Clash at Demonhead.
All right, before we get into this let me say a few things. If you didn't win, don't feel bad. Firstly, there were a lot of good stories. There was originally going to be an honorable mentions section, but it was too hard to choose. I'm sorry, I wanted to include it, but I just couldn't make the call.
Also, while I have used no personal bias against any writers, it's harder for me to keep bias toward content in check. And that was part of the contest, I made it clear that I was the only judge and I was judging on my personal idea of what is good.
So, a story might not have made it on the list because I don't care for the style. Another one might have made it on because I find certain plot elements more interesting than others. Others will disagree with me.
Don't take anything to heart. Again, thank you all for contributing.
WatcherAzazel - In The Circle - I love movies and I love plots involving movies. I'd say Azazel does, too, because as a reader he calls out my expectations for something like "Cigarette Burns" by John Carpenter. "In the Circle" has a nice, tight little plot, moves well, I was engaged during it. It was lacking something I can't quite put my finger on and doesn't quite reach great. Well written and with a fairly original plot, I'd say that qualifies as a damn fine pasta.
LethalPen - The Lighthouse in Munish - This is a good story that is almost great. It just moves too fast. There's a wonderful, mysterious air to the story, a potential for some great imagery and a lot of room to flesh things out. I wanted more and it just wasn't there. This was going to be an honorable mention, but so was another LethalPen story The Criars, which also suffers from moving too fast. Two stories that I enjoyed, I'd say that warrants a promotion.
Jemaba - New Generation - When I talk about there being kinds of plots that I enjoy more than others, this is a great example. This is a weird ass story with some gross imagery and a really dark scenario. I'm a sucker for that kind of story. It's fairly vague, but not in a problematic way. I feel the writer knows perfectly well what is going on even if I'm not 100% sure. It could've benefited from a little more, a little more imagery, a little more emotion, but the current amount is not a problem. This almost got second place and even now I'm debating whether to move it or not.
Congratulations WatcherAzazel, LethalPen and Jemaba. You've written damn fine pastas and each win two games.
Banningk1979 - The Demon Tobit of Delphia - Anyone who got the chance to read my story "The Black Dog and Goat" while it was on the site, probably knows I'm a sucker for dark gods and arcane rituals. Banning and I are kindred spirits in that aspect as all the stories he submitted contain dark gods and two contained arcane rituals. I went back and forth a little on which story to feature (this or Secret Bar) and whether this should be a second or third place winner. In the end, I gave it to Banning's ambition and just the scope of the story. I like tight writing, I prefer a shorter story, but I can't deny that this is a great adventure story with the kind of occult elements that I love.
CharminglyShallow - When Gods Blink - This is a great piece of science fiction, it's not much of a horror story, though. There is a horror element to it, that's undeniable. All in all, it's a very clever story with a great flow. Clever stories are a rare find and should always be appreciated.
Mike MacDee - Teacher Wanted, Must Love Children - There's something I don't get a lot on this site and that's the feeling of being excited to read more. Even rarer is having an idea of what's going and it not being right. Both of those happened with this story. This was one of the last stories I read and it was long and I wasn't particularly excited for it. After a few of the e-mails, I was in. Complete 180 mood change.
And then I got to a point pretty early where I thought I had it figured out. I was okay with that, it was a decent twist. I was wrong and I was glad. Whether intentional or not, the misdirection made the story more enjoyable.
Everything is set-up nicely for a pay-off later. The characters are built so naturally. You have to pick up bits of their personality from how they write. It's wonderfully done. The e-mail/text exchanges in this story is a little gimmicky, I don't think it was entirely necessary, but it worked perfectly.
I had only one problem with it and that is one teacher wrote a little too. . .prosey for an e-mail. He was writing a story. It didn't detract much, but it didn't feel natural in places. Other than that, fantastic story.
Congratulations, Mike, you've written a damn fine pasta and won yourself four games.
Here's how it works. First place gets first pick, then second, then third, the the honorable mentions. Winners for each section are listed in the order they submitted their entries. Earliest submission gets first pick, then it goes to the second, so on and so on.
I can get the codes to you a few ways. Either in chat or you can give me an e-mail address (I recommend a disposable one made especially for this). Each person will have some time to realize they've won and make a decision. After a few days, I'll move on to the next person. If you get skipped, you'll be taken care of as soon as you respond, but the game you wanted might have been taken.
If you want to give me a list of games you're interested in (preferably in descending order of interest) and an e-mail address, that will make the process much faster.
If you don't want any games, that's fine. I understand and I dig it. There are no alternative prizes, but let me know so that I know to move on to the next person.
Again, thank you everybody for participating. It was a nightmare, but I'm glad I did it. I hope everybody gets a little more exposure to their stories, not just the winners. And I hope readers take the time to check out a lot of these stories.