Fortnightly Writing Competition: The Shopkeeper (END)

Started by EjectedStar, 08 Sep 2021, 03:05

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Well, sorry it took so long to vote.  What can I say?  I work to deadlines.   (nod)

@ Sinitrena:

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Yours was a brilliant story concept.  The hook at the beginning (the future king's story) was engrossing, your descriptions just thorough enough with well-chosen words, and the revelation of what the shop is and how it works from Pete's perspective was both intriguing and well-paced.  The relationship between Pete and Aethildbriaith was... complicated.  Firstly, as the dynamic between them makes up the crux of the story, it is an ambitious attempt at a coming-of-age moment where a younger person gets a taste of what it's like to walk in an older person's shoes.  On another level, Pete seems to be suffering from a degree of Stockholm syndrome, abused and captive as he is (to say nothing of disagreeing with the revenge methodology employed at times), and yet he is emotionally invested in the health and well-being of his Master.  I understand that Pete understands that he is being punished for his sins, but to like the agent of his punishment seems depressing, especially at the final moment when he learns that Aethildbriaith was no better than him (and very possibly a great deal worse).  It's a little depressing that Pete seems perfectly content to perpetuate the cycle....

@ Mandle:

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Another good outing, Mandle my man.  This story has everything, from imaginative scenarios to great humour, and from intricate diabolical details to great plot turns (I way did not see Darren/Daring dying the first time).  One thing it kinda is missing is the whole Shopkeeper element, which was a bit important due to the theme.  I mean, yeah, the Devil poses briefly as a shopkeeper, but that's kind of incidental to the rest of the story.  I've read other critiques about the length of your story, but it didn't feel long to me.  I think it was important to have the last accident, as the medical miracle of stitching Darren/Daring back together from shark poo surpasses absurdity (and it affords Meat-Pete a chance to become increasingly more doubtful about the reality they are sharing, and to share his own backstory that implicates him as an agent of hell), thus foreshadowing the final plot twist.  My only critical recommendation would be to make subsequent accidents more succinct, once the pattern is established (i.e. edit out the fluff so that each repeat gets quite a bit shorter).

@ Baron:

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I think critical reception of my story is accurate, and has helped me to discern a bit of a writing rut that I've fallen into.  Certain readers have noticed over the years that my stories often start out quite a bit differently than they end.  I usually write my stories over two evenings, often quite close to the deadline.  The first evening I do my "set-up", describing the setting and building characters and worlds.  It is a time of imagination and dreaming, which is my favourite part about the writing process.  The second evening (which is usually the night of the deadline) I think, "oh shit!  We gotta wrap this up!" and then things get silly.  Now don't get me wrong, silly is fun to write too, but it appears to often be an incongruous appendage to the first part of the story.  (Of course sometimes I don't start until the very last minute, and then write a silly story all in one go.....  (roll)).  I think, moving forward, I should A) plan out my story at the beginning more thoroughly so that there actually is a story from the start, and B) leave myself more time to actually do the idea justice. 

Both of my competitors wrote fantastic stories which deserve to win.  I gave only a very slight edge in terms of voting to Sinitrena because her story was more on topic, but judged on the merits of the stories themselves I would call it a draw.  Great writing everyone!  ;-D


I'm just catching up on the stories now and will send my votes in due course, if it's okay.


And so'eth ends the FWC of The Shopkeeper!

These stories were lovely, I laughed, I cringed, I raised an eyebrow or three! It was fun to see that everyone skewed a bit towards the darker side, what with us now descending deep into the month of Spooktober

Here are how the votes ended up:

Sinitrena: 7 + 6 + 4 = 17

Baron: 3 + 6 + 3 = 12

Mandle: 4 + 3 + 4 = 11

That makes Sinitrena the winner of our little competition and now must take up the role of Dungeon Master-, er, FWC Host for the next fortnight (plus extensions)!

As an aside to any readers out there, voting is still open until September 3rd of 2022. It won't influence the final vote tally, but a shopkeeper never goes back on his word!

Thank you to all our participants, I'll see ya in the next one!


QuoteIt's a little depressing that Pete seems perfectly content to perpetuate the cycle....

Maybe he changes a couple of things, who knows? The story's pretty open-ended, after all.

Thanks for your votes, guys!

See you in the next -halloweeny- FWC!

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