RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

The Bolthole's monthly 1,000 word story competition.

RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:17 pm

This is the voting thread for this month's competition, the story thread of which can be found here.

You have three votes. Your first place vote will receive 3 points, your second place vote will receive 2 points and your third place vote will receive 1 point.

Please be clear when you're voting and please use all your votes.

The deadline for voting this month will be 2100BST on Monday 1st July. If you want an extension to that, you need to PM me as soon as it becomes clear you won't make the deadline.

This is particularly important this time around, because, as stated at the start of the story thread, there is a requirement to vote if you have posted a story. Anyone who does not vote will simply have the votes allocated to their story discounted. Please make sure you vote!

:)

Regards,

JDD
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Liliedhe » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:29 am

1) Bloody Mary - What a heavy burden is fame, 3 pts
2) Kentigern - Burden, 2 pts
3) VictorK - Rabid Dog, 1 pt.
"You were a warleader, a fighter, when did you gain such illuminating insight into the minds of others?"
"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Richter_DL » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:01 pm

1) Liliedhe - Ratione Peccati, 3 pts
2) Bloody Mary - What a heavy burden is fame, 2 pts
3) Commander Shadow - The Hill, 1 pts
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Kentigern » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:38 am

1. ViktorK - Rabid Dog, 3 pts
2. Commander Shadow - The Hill, 2 pts
3. Bloody Mary - What a heavy burden is fame, 1 pt

Enjoyed the stories folks, nice efforts!
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Bad guys send them there.
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Bloody Mary » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:13 pm

1. Liliedhe - Ratione Peccati - 3pts
2. VictorK - Rabid Dog - 2 pts
3. Kentigern - Burden - 1pt
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:14 pm

- 3 pts, Ratione Peccati - for, somehow, bringing to life a 40k-verse which is properly gothic without actually describing events normally considered to be gothic.

- 2 pts, The Hill - for its imagery and language.

- 1 pt, Rabid dog - for bringing the usual darkness and grittiness normally seen in 40k into Warhammer.
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Shaggy » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:04 pm

Thoughts then votes...

Bloody Mary "What A Burden Is Fame"
A brave move, not just writing for a character exclusive to one published author, but choosing one who falls far from the tree that is the usual style of 40K - Cain being almost the antithesis of 'grimdark'.
And it feels almost like Cain... but not quite. Maybe I'm setting the bar too high here - or maybe Sandy Mitchell has done so - but whilst you almost carry it off, I don't feel that it's quite there. Not sure I can put into words exactly why... maybe the 'feel' of Cain is totally dependent upon Sandy Mitchell's own style, I don't know. The style doesn't seem to be quite wordy enough for Cain (and Amberley Vail's interjections certainly aren't).
But nonetheless... I applaud you, and would be somewhat curious to see where you'd take this particular situation. A sequel/continuation in the pipeline, perhaps?

Liliedhe "Ratione Peccati"
I like this. It's neat and forms a coherent whole. The choice of subject possibly sparked off by the recent interest in the Deathwatch (spearheaded by Steve Parker) but it's a good choice. There's little or no wasted motion here... the characters fleshed out just enough for the purposes of the story, the contrast between the contemplative weapon maintenance and the altercation - there's an elegance of simplicity here (something that I for one especially appreciate, seeing as I rarely achieve either of those standards).
I just wish I knew what the title means! :lol: :oops:

Kentigern (title?)
It really sucks to be a grunt in the Imperial Guard, doesn't it? No matter what you do, you're 'fethed' (isn't that a phrase unique to Gaunt's Ghosts?). The welcome of inevitable death, of laying down his burdens (both the banner and his life) - a nice quietly-emotive piece.

YeOldeGrandma "Patience"
A neatly-written piece, but (and I accept this is probably my own failing here) I just don't see where it is going. There appears to be a bit of confusion here... both the Astartes and Juvas calling the other "Lord", the Astartes apparently showing deference to Juvas (possible, if somewhat unlikely I'd have thought) and then the Astartes losing patience... but conducting a commando raid on the Imperial Guard HQ instead of simply launching an assault on the enemy? To me, at least, it just doesn't add up... which is a pity, because the writing flows quite nicely.

Commander Shadow "The Hill"
Present tense... interesting choice. Makes it work all the better, I think. You're describing what is (if you'll forgive me) something that is utterly standard for the Imperial Guard and for 40k as a whole - but the choice of style makes it feel so much better. An emotional burden this time instead of a physical one... but they are often the heaviest. No clue as to the identity of the enemy, the focus is purely on the Guardsmen - good, that purity of focus adds weight to the story, I think.

VictorK "Rabid Dog"
Yet again, I really don't know what to say about your story, VictorK. You are IMHO one of the better writers here (certainly far superior to myself) and this story doesn't deviate from that. The writing is good, the plot seems coherent, the language used has quality, there's nothing that really jars or throws the reader off. I just can't connect with it, and I don't know why. I can recognise its quality, even if I can't evaluate it. My apologies... I just don't know.


My votes:-

1) Liliedhe "Ratione Peccati"
2) Commander Shadow "The Hill"
3) VictorK "Rabid Dog"
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Liliedhe » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:25 pm

Thanks for the vote :)

Ratione Peccati means "because of sins" and it's used here because on the one hand, it's all the various traits they inherited from their fathers that make them like that (so, the sins of the fathers^^) and because a flippant answer to the question why somebody ended up in a sucky job is "for my sins".
"You were a warleader, a fighter, when did you gain such illuminating insight into the minds of others?"
"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby J D Dunsany » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:22 am

Just reminding everyone that the comp ends on Monday at 9:00pm BST.

There's still plenty of time to get your votes in.

JDD
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby TunnelRat68 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:54 pm

Thought this was a great theme and wished I'd met the deadline myself!

Scoring:

1st - The Hill, Commander Shadow
2nd - Ratione Pecatti, Liliedhe
3rd - Patience, YeOldGrandma

A mention for the other entrants who were also a good read, the above I wanted more of?
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby VictorK » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:15 am

Pretty good month, all told.

"What a Burden is Fame" - Bloody Mary

I like the concept, and the execution is serviceable. I don’t know the character so I’m stepping into them for the first time, and I have to say I was a little curious as to the concept of ‘celebrity’ in 40k. But, of course, it all comes back to war in the end. That’s what we’re here for.

First person is always tricky to me because it’s much more important to nail the correct flow than a third person perspective. I wish I could pull it off, but I’m lousy at it. I think that’s the biggest drag on what is otherwise an enjoyable ride; first person magnifies those little grammatical/flow missteps that we inevitably make. There were some good turns of phrase, particularly the line about halitosis that made me chuckle. Maybe a little over the top with the Space Marine showing up at the end, but I sense that this is not a particularly serious piece. Levity is good. I call it a solid effort.

"Ratione Peccati" - Liliedhe

I’ve noticed, as these contests go forward, that I don’t often join the rest of the forum in voting for your works. You get a sense after a while as to what different people like, and I had begun to think that we just weren’t on the same wavelength.

So I was very pleased to find that I enjoyed your story immensely. It’s much more grounded than your usual submissions, which I often find to be too abstract. Nope, just three battle brothers, a great framing device in the rite, low key conflict, good characterization, and pretty good prose if I do say so myself. I don’t really have much to add. I particularly like how you managed the reveal of the other two battle brothers. It would be one thing to just describe their argument, but by giving the main character his own space and relying on auditory cues you allow yourself to really control the pacing of the piece, so that by the time we see the two arguing space marines you’ve had enough background with the cleaning that you can wring a nice visual metaphor with the cleaning brush. That’s one of those little touches that I appreciate as a reader.

Kentigern

I might be a bit of overkill, in a contest where the theme is ‘burden’, to name your main character Job.

That said, the piece works. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with it, but I can’t say that I was blown away (pun) by it. I don’t really get into Job’s head, he’s just another Guardsman. The prose works, and where it doesn’t I’ve made some notes below. There’s not much of a payoff in the ending, I suppose it links back to why the lasers are different colors, but if you were going for a ‘wow quirk of fate’ ending…I’m not sure it’s warranted by the story up to that point. There’s no payoff for Job, he just gets lucky. Sometimes that works, but I’m not sure you pull it off here. I would read some of commander shadow’s stuff, of all the RiaR writers I’ve found that he paints the most convincing picture of guard life and breathes a lot of life into his characters.

Bad stuff:

Detachedly is a terrible adverb. Don’t use it. Same with disinterestedly. I’m noticing a pattern of reliance on adverbs when you would be better served by varying your sentence structure. Oh man ‘suddenly’. If you ever find yourself writing a sentence ‘Suddenly, x happened’ stop and rewriting. It’s lazy to try and tell your reader that a shift has taken place in the narrative without your text supporting it.

"Patience" - YeOldeGrandma

Quick note: the comma goes inside the quotation mark.

This story is a little frustrating for me. On the one hand, I really like the frame. I love the idea of a bunch of exiles coming home to try and recapture their homeworld, and I like the little 40k spin on it that you’ve given: losing their home is evidence of their lack of faith/usefulness, so getting it back is not so much a matter of reclaiming something it’s proving fitness to survive. Mixing in the Astartes is a good idea, though maybe not for a story of this length.

Because, ultimately, I’m not sure you’ve done enough work here to warrant the sudden betrayal. The reader is left to infer that there’s more going on that just impatience; the comment where a nameless Astartes bemoans the weakness of mortals seems, to me, a way of hinting a turn towards the darker powers. Or at least treachery. It’s just not plausible to me that they started slaughtering because they were dissatisfied with the pace of the campaign. That seems to be a rather counterproductive way to speed things along.

But here’s the real problem with the story: the decision to have the Space Marines turn on the guard steals the story away from your viewpoint character. The story is about the Space Marines, not Janx. And you can’t do that, the story has to be about the main character. Janx doesn’t learn anything, and we don’t particularly care that he’s dead because his death is not a result of his character traits. He just happens to be a bit player in the Space Marines’ drama. I think you have a great setup, the writing works, the stage is set for the characters, and I know you can build them…the focus is just off.

"The Hill" - Commander Shadow

Present tense. Here we go…

And now you’re anthropomorphizing death and I’m buying it. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME

There are a few times you fall into your old habit of comma misuse, such as ‘Corpses, litter the slope.’ There is absolutely no reason to have a comma there. And you use ‘litter the slope’ twice in the same paragraph, which is jarring.

‘They can hear the yells, shouted orders, screams of the wounded, whimpers of the dying, overlapping and intermingling.’ Classic commander shadow list. I’ve noticed you do this with some frequency. I’m not sold on it as a narrative tool, you paint such a lovely picture it seems a shame to rush like this.

Ok, I’m being a little nitpicky there. I’m a big commander shadow fan. You can push all my buttons and I still come away loving how you can put together a characterful, detailed tableau. And that’s really the effect that present tense has: it enforces separation from the reader and the character. And sometimes that’s ok, most often, it’s a disaster that new writers encounter. I should get turned off by the sentimentalism, but you pull it off. There’s just something about your stories and the way that you handle the Guard that is right up ol’ Victor’s alley. I don’t really have much criticism for this one other than what’s been noted. The pacing is good, the character is fine, the focus is where it needs to be and the writing supports it all.


So, tough to decide this month between Liliedhe and Commander Shadow. There are things I want to reward about both pieces, but I think I will go with Liliedhe because he made a lot of very good choices in how he constructed his story and his characters, while Commander Shadow, whose execution I always find to be top notch, is retreading familiar ground. I would love to see Commander Shadow branch out, though there are admittedly many nooks and crannies in comprehensive picture of guard life that he can continue to mine for good material. And so:

1. Liliedhe
2. Commander Shadow
3. YeOldeGrandma

Responses on my own story:

YeOldeGrandma: there is nothing approaching canon in my story. Hell I think they've even mostly scrubbed away the Storm of Chaos. The "rats" and the Kingfisher are completely made up by me. We are treading into Victorhammer territory. It's a good thing Athelassan doesn't read these I'd drive him crazy.

However, the entire focus of the group is about individuals who encountered chaos, and the different paths they take. I give a slight nod to a character of mine, Morgenthau, resolving where she ended up after her last story (eds. note: The Daemon's Eye, RiaR, Lies!) but not how she got there. There's lots of story to mine from the Storm of Chaos and intend to build a little narrative of my own there.

Shaggy: I was once told by a history professor that my writing (academic) was too boring. So I've always had trouble building that connection to a character. I think I can set the scene well enough, but the writing leaves something to be desired. There are two parts of making that connection: the character has to warrant it, and the writing has to convey it. Still working on that one.
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Commander Shadow » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:15 am

its about 11:08 my time and i'm remembering that the bolthole runs of uk time and i'm freaking out because i wanted to give comprehensive feedback to all the wonderful stories which i loved reading but i'll post that somewhere else i think.

Sorry for the rush, work and training have left me scant time to wander the internet. A lot of great stories on here, all in all it was really close.

1. Rabid Dog-
2. Ratione Peccati-
3. Untitled-

will get up overall feed back for all and thanks for the critiques possibly tomorrow if free time presents itself.
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby J D Dunsany » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:33 pm

Last couple of hours of voting! LL's already started this month's competition. (No flies on him, despite the rumours to the contrary...)

:D

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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby J D Dunsany » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:56 pm

And we're done. Six stories, nine sets of votes, all the stories voted for - one clear winner.

How cool is that?

Congratulations to Liliedhe for winning with Ratione Peccati which accrued a convincing 19 points, including no fewer than six first place votes.

Second was Commander Shadow with The Hill on 12 points.

Third was VictorK with Rabid Dog on 11 points.

Thanks to all who take part and, indeed, everyone who's participated in the comp over the years and made Read In A Rush what it is.

All the best!

JDD
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Liliedhe » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:01 pm

Thanks to all who voted for me *bows*.
"You were a warleader, a fighter, when did you gain such illuminating insight into the minds of others?"
"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:38 pm

Liliedhe wrote:Thanks for the vote :)

De nada! :D

Congratulations upon the win... well-deserved (six first-place votes don't leave much room for doubt).

Ratione Peccati means "because of sins" and it's used here because on the one hand, it's all the various traits they inherited from their fathers that make them like that (so, the sins of the fathers^^) and because a flippant answer to the question why somebody ended up in a sucky job is "for my sins".

Nicely done... an elegant double-meaning is always nice to find (even if I have to have it explained to me! :oops: ). I can't help wondering if you may not have hit upon a semi-hidden truth about the Deathwatch... service with the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos has always been touted as being a major honour (and it probably is) - but I also get the feeling that there's a reason so many apparently-maverick Astartes end up there. Maybe it's designed as an honour - but at a convenient distance from the Chapter!

VictorK wrote:Shaggy: I was once told by a history professor that my writing (academic) was too boring. So I've always had trouble building that connection to a character. I think I can set the scene well enough, but the writing leaves something to be desired. There are two parts of making that connection: the character has to warrant it, and the writing has to convey it. Still working on that one.

I think that you might be a little hard on yourself there (although I get the feeling that you're something of a perfectionist). You do indeed "set the scene well enough" - I'm hard-pressed to think of another RIAR contender who does it better. But that doesn't detract from the other facets of your writing... a good vocabulary for a start, one of the best with the technical use of the English language... and don't sell yourself short on character development either (which is damned difficult to do in just 1000 words at the best of times). In the short time that I've been here on the Bolthole, your "The Seventh Proctor" ('Silence' thread) and "The Knight, The Girl & The Dragon" ('Shield' thread) stories - to name a couple that spring to mind - had all facets covered quite nicely, including characterisation.
I think my problem with your writing is that I'm almost a complete opposite to you... I'm all instinct and go-with-the-flow, writing whatever comes spilling out of the recesses of my skull - not the careful craftsmanship that is your trademark. Makes it hard for me to relate - but not to admire. I applaud you, sir.
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In victory, revenge.

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Re: RiaR: Burden - Voting Thread

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:15 pm

Response to comments (Shaggy and VictorK):
It seems that I tried to fit too much into a story too short. What I was going for was to try and build tension, a sense of unease originating from the looming presence of the Astartes, giant superhuman killers that they are. I deliberately chose the Steel Confessors, a successor chapter of the Iron Hands, since I've heard that the Iron Hands have, on occassion, killed off weaker allies. The idea was to let this explode at the end.

It should be mentioned that I had watched, and read, the Game of Thrones just prior to this.

This is why Janx was killed off just like that, VictorK. It may be crudely done, but I can't think of another way of doing it.

If the Astartes raid seems uncalled for, then, as I said, I tried to fit too much into too few words, leaving too much unsaid. I personally think it could make sense, but I obviously needed to flesh it out in my story.

As for the chain-of-command (Shaggy): I didn't give it much thought. If I had elaborated on the theme of mortals having to reclaim their homeworld, it might have made more sense having a mortal in command of Astartes. I think it could happen, though it would feel awkward for the Marines.




Congratulations to Liliedhe. Well deserved.
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