Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Year 1, Week 12: Results!

We want you to know that though there were only three entries, we thought all of them earned their spots on the result's roll this week. They were all excellent stories, and all well-written. 

Also, tired Mars is way too tired to come up with something witty to say here this week. Who knew that working for your money would make you tired? (*Recently got a job*) Get thee to congratulating the winners.

Honorable Mention

Firdaus' Letting Go

Mars: I actually rather like how you mutilated the prompt for this. It was a great way to introduce two contrasting characters; the daughter is given a light-hearted, angelic sort of feel, while the father is given a dark and brooding one. 

The piece has a bit of a monotonous feel to it--I'd suggest watching out for sentences that start the same way: "She danced well", "The young man bent", "The room exploded", "He couldn't take it". The phone call feels more natural than the story (good dialogue!) because the sentence structures are more varied. 

At first I kind of thought he was a dance tutor of some sort for the daughter, which seemed really creepy, but the jig was up for me at the beginning of the phone call--who would call their old tutor to tell them they were doing well? It was cleverly done.

Rin: The main character was very well done, feeling fully developed. I liked how the little hints throughout had me thinking that the pov character was an old dance instructor/lover of the girl's, then twists around to show him as being the girl's father. My favorite line was 'But as he watched her look lovingly into the young man's eyes he felt the cold fingers of jealousy curl around his heart.' as it was good description. I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, it felt natural and realistic. Nicely done.

First Runner-Up

Steph Ellis' Babylon

Mars: Oh man, haven't people learned by now not to revive dead people? Simon and Jenni should watch The Mummy. Or even think about it: what if you accidentally resurrected Hitler? This seems like a bad plan, guys. Pretty much my favorite part about this piece was the irony. "Lol it would be funny if it was Babylon"; "Pah, no way"; "BABYLON used RESURRECTION!"; "What have we done?!" (Excuse my terrible sense of humor >.>)

The thing that strikes my curiosity the most is the line, "Such stories had no relevance anymore." It's a little disappointing that there was nothing else about what had happened by 2050 to make religion irrelevant (but, of course, there's only so much one can do with 300 words, so it's forgivable.)

It feels like there should be a DUN DUN DUNNN at the end of the piece; the sudden tone shift from humorous and boredom to OH NOES was great. 

Rin: I loved the building tension in this! The futuristic setting added to the creepy tone and the little bits of description were done well, making it easy to picture. I liked how the characters' distinctness was clearly shown in just a few words. My favorite line was, "Then they lifted the lid and those coal black eyes looked right at them, right into them. She smiled a terrible smile.” It gives just a perfect sense of impending doom! I thoroughly enjoyed the seven guests as a reference to the beast in Revelations; it was a great touch. Great story! 

And now, put your hands together foooorrr--

Y1W12 Winner!

Carin Marais

with Life on Canvas

Mars: The first thing that attracted me to this piece is how elegant it sounds. I also really like the color descriptions (well, I like colors, so usually they're more descriptive to me than other words; they set the mood of the scene); they brought the piece to life.

The sentence "He never did bother learning names," took me a bit to figure out. The pronoun can refer to either Jarl or the patron in this instance, because we have "She had always called him Jarl" in the next sentence. 

It's really great how Jarl's mood fits the somber dignity of the piece, even though we know by the end that this is killing him. There's no cliche "Oh woe is me angstangst," but just matter-of-fact thought processes and observations. That really drew the story's tone together. (Also, totally, that last line brought a great song to mind: Leader of the Pack.)

Rin: This was beautifully done. The slower pace was well matched to the tone of grief and the setting was easy to envision without being bogged down with too much description. It drew me in and the characters were done well. My favorite aspect of it was how fantastic an example of “show not tell” it was, the understated detail was masterfully done and made me feel Jarl's emotions, without saying even a bit too much or going too angsty. The only thing that I wish had been more clear was the meaning of “The man reached out to touch the threads, but the picture kept on changing as before.” In what way was the picture changing before? Were the finished pictures alive? Would have liked to find out, but regardless, this was an excellent piece. Loved it!

Life on Canvas

Her face was painted gold, her eyes hard and dark as coal. Lifeless upon the canvas, she stared out unseeing at the workshop. Her artist started adding more flourishes with his finest needle and silk. Jarl traced filigree with threads the colour of rubies, emeralds, and the finest silver. Sapphire strands lay ready to colour her eyes, but the artist did not pick that up yet. The eyes came last. He always brought the canvas to life that way.

The workshop fell quiet as their patron entered. The artist looked around and continued on while the patron inspected a finished tapestry against the far wall. It showed his son on the battlefield raising the banner bearing the family crest.

"It looks just like him!" the patron exclaimed. "It even smiles just like he did!" The man reached out to touch the threads, but the picture kept on changing as before.

"It will not respond like the living would," one of the artists said.

Jarl sat back and regarded his work. Though unmoving, she did look alive but for the eyes. Those eyes that once regarded him with love.

"You capture my daughter well, artist," the patron said. He never did bother learning names. She had always called him Jarl. Never sir Tellah or artist Tellah. If he closed his eyes he could still feel her lips on his.

Jarl nodded, not trusting his own voice.

"I am sure her new husband will like it as well. Will you be finished in time for their wedding tomorrow?"

Jarl nodded and picked up the blue thread while his eyes burned with tears. He had to remember her eyes when she was happy and in love. Not the way they looked on the day she had to say goodbye.

And that's the end. See you all next week! :D

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