Phaedrus' Street Crew
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  1. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    So, er... is the Fiction Jam an ex-jam?
  2. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Better late than never: here's my take on Rumours & Hearsay. (Lest I seem rude: I've been discussing twmac's story with him over email!)
  3. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Hey all, just wanted to drop a quick message to say I have almost finished something for this month. I'll probably finish and publish it tomorrow morning. However... knuckles may need rapping. I've already exceeded the word count, which was an accident, and I interpreted the brief 'creatively' and made a Twine game instead of writing a traditional story, which was not an accident. I shouldn't massively exceed the word count - maybe by 1000 words or so.
  4. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Oh, and looking forward to reading your story too, Mawd!
  5. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    @twmacb - I was tickled to see this story almost immediately laying its cards on the table: it's writing about writing! Funnily enough, the original protagonist of my story this month (er, last month) was also a writer, and also fond of a drink. I like the way you set up the precognitive moments - it's a nice conceit to have those additional words on the page following an alcohol-induced blackout. I also like that there's a lot of ambiguity around these: did he write it, or did someone or something else? Are those words really on the page at all? Is he predicting the future, or making it? Okay, I'm leaning toward the former on the last point, but I like that it's not explicitly laid out. The ending doesn't really work for me, although I think it could. It's a shame that we stop following John right at what feels like a critical point: what happens next? The weird precognitive writing has converged with his superego, which feels like the last step on the road to a climax. The switch to Piotr is a nice conceit as it suggests that these odd events don't begin and end with John, but while it offers some resolution to John's story, it's a bit... conclusion ex machina? It's interesting to hear that you originally didn't plan for the story to resolve itself. I feel that that could've been a better direction to go in, but wordcount limits can be a bitch. It is quite hard to make writing-about-writing interesting because it runs the risk of being too autobiographical or navel-gazing, in a way that is less interesting to the reader than the writer. Despite your not being super happy with this story, I think it's a pretty good effort at a tough short story trope. Personally I would have ramped up the weirdness and gone full Borges, but I'd level the same criticism at my own story if I'm honest. Oh, and I love Agnieszka's putdown at the end. Sometimes a character just springs to life with a single line, and that's one of them. Thanks for your feedback on my story (elsewhere)! I opted to go with Siri and iPhones because they're something a contemporary person is likely to explicitly recognise, rather than being coy and describing a smartphone. I wanted to make it immediately clear that Picasso was using a human text-to-speech tool, and Siri is the most famous, but there may have been better ways to approach that. Ordinarily I would veer away from 'product placement', unless the story was supposed to be drenched in corporate branded shit, or otherwise demanded it. @SuperBiasedMan - I like the excerpt you generated. I cannot help but read it in Chris Remo's voice. I think this could be the new "Good news, everybody! I invented a machine that makes you read this in Professor Farnsworth's voice." Did you fork a version of the Python tool you linked, or is that the version you used to generate this? Thanks to you also for your feedback on my story. I think my scene transitions were a point of confusion last time around too, so clearly I need to think about how to handle that better. B&H is indeed Benson & Hedges. You're probably right; B&H feels like a universal shorthand to me, but I've no idea how widespread the brand or that abbreviation is. I suppose I didn't need to define the brand anyway as it's not at all relevant. I may have just been thinking "what kind of cigarette would Clara smoke?" Your instincts are correct: you aren't supposed to be able to intuit such details as a reader. I have a bunch of worldbuilding stuff established that more-or-less explains what Picasso & Friends were up to, and how some of their technology worked, but I think it works better without of that: it's just more strange, less explicable, and doesn't involve any tortuous info-dumping. Glad you found it fun (with a horrifying ending)! That's what I was going for. The story in other respects isn't what I originally planned. I had wanted to insert some subtext in there that made the dialogue between Clara and Picasso possible to interpret as the relationship between Gamergater types and games journalists. Nothing thumpingly obvious - just an interpretation that it was possible to read in. I ran out of time and will to do that, sadly, so as it is Picasso is just kind of a sadsack anthropologist who didn't want to entirely let go of his project, and Clara is just unlucky.
  6. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Right! I have a finished story. Work, weather, birthday celebrations and nauseous hangovers all tried to stop it - and all failed. Readers Like You
  7. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    I'm also working on a 'Readers Like You' story, and hope to have it finished by the weekend. Or at the weekend. Soon, anyway. I'll read what everyone else has written once I'm done.
  8. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Readers Like You, eh? That suggests a broad swathe of possibilities. I might go for something fun, after my fairly depressing take on the last title. I guess we'll have to see what fey mood takes me! Thanks for your feedback on my story, SuperBiasedMan! Good point about the shift in perspective not being immediately obvious; someone else has mentioned this to me as well. I'm glad you liked the vignettes and the way they were connected. Had I not run out of time, the latter few would've been better connected... Good luck with the pseudo-random generation approach; that should produce something amusing at the very least.
  9. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    @SuperBiasedMan: That was fun. I liked the ending! Like twmacb I thought it would've been stronger had it not been clear from the outset what the victim was. Figuring it out would be easy and add to the joke. But the ending comes enough out of leftfield that I think it works whether or not you make the nature of it super obvious from the get-go. I feel like you could get some mileage out of the two bots having different purposes and working at cross-purposes to each other. E.g: Thanks also for the welcome. It was indeed fun! @twmacb: Thanks again, man. Much appreciated! Similarly you already know my thoughts on your take of this month's theme, but to reiterate for the thread's benefit: I like the voice, I like the tense, I think both fit the story well. The emotionally reserved characters feel authentic to me; British men of older generations weren't particularly open about any aspects of their private lives, so I can accept these people knowing each other for years, being friends of a sort, and yet knowing next to nothing about one another. I expected the story to leap in a fantastical direction of some sort, and so the actual conclusion was a little sad, an everyday tragedy. But the final line alleviates that with a bit of humour. It's good!
  10. Idle Fiction Jam - Rumours and Hearsay

    Hello everyone. twmacb successfully encouraged me to get involved in the jam, so here's a thing that I have written. Interested to hear what people think. I'd have liked to have done more but I've pretty much run out of time to work on this, so here it is, warts and all. Looking forward to reading more entries! It was a good title; I almost went in a completely different direction, something in the vein of Midwich Cuckoos or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
  11. RetroN 3

    I'm going to drag this thread back to life in order to ask... does anyone know of a UK-based (or European) reseller that stocks the RetroN3? I've been wanting one of these things for several years but the substantial shipping and import tax fees I'd be facing have put me off (it more than doubles the cost).
  12. Elemental Fallen Enchantress

    I picked FE up a while back on the back of Tom Chick's enthusiasm for the game and, while I'm liking it, I find that I am doing pretty poorly at it. The AI players appear to outstrip me very quickly and it doesn't take long for them to show up with much stronger heroes and units. Looking at the stats for player performance, I'm always lagging quite a way back. Is there supposed to be a distinction between Kingdom and Empire players? E.g. Kingdom always starts small and Empire large? Or am I just terrible at FE? Haven't touched the game in a few weeks so I can't really be more specific than that unfortunately. I have tried a couple of different maps, and also tried fast expansion and one-city strategies, and both approaches tend to hit their limits pretty quickly. The only thing I've not tried is churning disposable units quickly rather than constructing more buildings in my capital, but that didn't feel appropriate for FE. Re. the comment above about the monster armies standing back - I've had them destroy cities and passing armies before, and seen them do the same to the AI. I've also seen weaker monster armies assault my (stronger) heroes.
  13. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hello other new people! I'm impressed, loads more new people since I posted upthread and I only joined this time yesterday.
  14. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hellooooooo Thumbs! As is probably going to be the case with a bunch of people, I was lured into finally joining the forums with the promise of exculsives thanks to the Kickstarter pre-order. Sweet. I run/write for Arcadian Rhythms and have been known to also play video games. Am currently having all of the original Idle Thumbs casts streamed into my face. Thanks for that guys; I am now giggling uncontrollably on public transport.