OFFICIAL EVENT BITE Fall 2018 Voting Thread

  • Welcome back, Iwaku! While we are still working on the site to get it back into shape, we've come back online so you can get back to doing what you love. Check out this announcement for more details.

Which entry was your favorite?


  • Total voters
    24
  • Poll closed .

Applo

Confusion Rendered in Human form
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super Hero
#21
Encantè gets my vote
 

HerziQuerzi

Failures don't get into paradise
DONATING MEMBER
Barely Even Real
BITE Fall Community Pick
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Douche, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Female
Favorite Genres
Fantasy of varying types. Some sci-fi.
#22
 

Jorick

Our knees do not bend easily.
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Douche, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Usually aggressive, but can switch to passive if it makes sense for the character/scene.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy is my #1; I will give almost anything a chance if it has strong fantasy elements. Post apocalyptic, superhero, alternate history, science fantasy, some supernatural, romance, and a few fandoms (especially Game of Thrones) are also likely to catch my eye.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, western, pure slice of life.
#23
We Have Our Winners!

Well, it turned out the extra day of voting didn't do anything to change the final results, but two items of note: Encantè's final vote total is actually 4; and the writer of Have Mercy on My Soul accidentally voted for their own work, so it's at 0 with that retracted, and Bite Me Harder was their actual chosen entry so its score is in fact 2 votes.

With that out of the way, well done to everyone who entered! It was a very good month, and both the tight vote and the private manager chatter made that clear. Everyone can feel free to reveal which entry they authored and respond to reviews if they so choose.

Community Vote Winners

We ended up with a tie for the inaugural run of BITE. At 5 votes apiece, our tied vote winners are Jays Jays with Legacy and HerziQuerzi HerziQuerzi with A Night at Aprilside High. Both of you have won a spot in the BITE Hall of Fame thread, a fancy (but temporary) ribbon to go under your avatar declaring your victory, and 3 months of Donator status.

Managers' Pick Winner

The winner of the coveted Managers' Pick for this first BITE, with all three managers in agreement that it was a fantastically written piece, is Doctor Jax Doctor Jax with Encantè! You've won a nice bundle of goodies due to the generosity of an anonymous donator to our fundraiser last month.

For starters, you get the normal prize package of a spot in the BITE Hall of Fame thread, a temporary winner ribbon under your avatar, three months of Donator status, and $25 in the form of gift cards or a direct cash transfer via PayPal. The anon donator upgraded your Donator status to 12 months, got you a trading-card-sized owl painting by Diana to be sent via the mail, a shitty wonderful piece of digital art from yours truly, and the raffle tickets won a late addition to the prize pool: some kind of silly poem written by Astaroth to be delivered whenever. Holy crap that's a lot of prizes.

Send a private message to Diana Diana to arrange the details regarding the painting and the cash prize, and head over to my Showcasing thread to claim your other art or foist it off on someone else.



Again, well done everyone! This was a fantastic array of entries, one of the best I've ever seen in my years of hosting contests like this one. Even if you didn't win, be proud of the fact that you conquered the mighty beasts of procrastination and nervousness to get something sent in on time. :D
 

Nemopedia

Smile of a friend, heart of the enemy
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
The blubbing encyclopedia
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
Slow As Molasses
My Usual Online Time
GMT +1/2 | CET/CEST | Random, mostly on my phone
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both, depending how much there is going on already.
Favorite Genres
Tragedy, Psychological, Historical, Steampunk, Mystery, Thriller, Sci-fi, see tag list for more...
Genre You DON'T Like
Romance
#24
Congratulations to the winners! :D Enjoy the prizes, especially Jax. That is a fancy package to get.

Also, thank you for the two votes ( RJS RJS , mara mara ). My entry was (as you can guess by now) Finally!
 

Greenie

Here in the Void
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
Posting Speed
Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror
Genre You DON'T Like
Yaoi
#25

Jorick

Our knees do not bend easily.
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Douche, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Usually aggressive, but can switch to passive if it makes sense for the character/scene.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy is my #1; I will give almost anything a chance if it has strong fantasy elements. Post apocalyptic, superhero, alternate history, science fantasy, some supernatural, romance, and a few fandoms (especially Game of Thrones) are also likely to catch my eye.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, western, pure slice of life.
#26
Here are my reviews. As per usual, they lean on negative aspects because I try to give constructive criticism and that requires pointing out flaws. Just remember that pain and embarrassment are part of the process of learning and growing as a writer! 8D

Nice hook at the beginning, first line raises questions and then the body answers some and raises more.

There were a couple spots of awkward word repetition within single sentences, specifically "Hans had been foolish... but she would not be so foolish" and "burying his head into the crook of her head." Also the term usually used for that second one is crook of the neck, not head.

Wrapping things up full circle with the same words is neat, but I was left feeling like the story had really accomplished nothing. It felt like the reader was dropped in after the climax of the story, what might have been a heartwrenching scene of Edda having to slay her partner and apparent lover. Instead we got characters with no real personality running from monsters in a scene without a proper sense of tension because there was no reason to care about their survival, followed by a sacrifice similarly lacking in weight and the kid apparently deciding these leather-clad husks giving their lives for him was a good reason to take up their fight. It all makes sense as a plot, and the whole idea of taking up the fight against he supernatural after being saved as a child is a classic for a reason, but this story just feels really underwhelming because I never found myself caring about these characters in the slightest. This story would have been greatly improved by taking the time to actually show some personality of the characters before getting right into the heavy drama.

There was a bit too much foreshadowing for this short of a story, particularly the first paragraph sort of giving away the twist of Megan being something other than a regular human. The slow build of making it obvious without saying anything that Jessica was a vampire was fine, but the change of pace with the change of perspective would have been better served with more subtle hints, like just the flash of mockery on being asked to hurry up without the starting bit of having mature eyes.

Bonus points for being the first to dare to submit a smutty entry to a contest run by the admins. It was a nice bit of light smut, I approve.

The basic plot worked fine, but it felt rather lacking in explanation. I'd guess the stories around town Megan referred to were vampire attacks, but I can't be sure. There was no explanation whatsoever for what Megan's deal was other than the mention of 'vampire slayer' and the show of supernatural powers. Apparently she also prefers to kill vampires in the midst of sexual activity, given the comment at the end, which seems a rather strange and dangerous way to hunt vampires. All of this together makes it feel like it's the cold open to a longer form story where things will be explained, but that obviously doesn't happen so I'm just left with a lot of unanswered questions.

Loooooooooots of descriptive language used here, which is good... up to the point that it gets overbearing. Setting the scene is good, but when it gets to feeling like every thing and action are being described with these dramatic phrases and metaphors it becomes too much. By the time I got through the description of LA at night I felt like I was reading a cheesy parody of pulp fiction stories about hard-boiled detectives, and not in a good way. Sometimes less is more: when everything is special and dramatic, nothing actually feels special and dramatic. Despite the criticism I have to note that you did choose some great phrases to set a consistent tone throughout the story, and with a more conservative approach it could have been a great enhancer rather than an element that dragged the reading experience down for me.

The dialogue was very awkward at the beginning of this entry. Shoving it off into separate chunks away from any other text is a little odd to begin with, but it was made worse by the fact that you had two people speaking to each other with no indication exactly of who was who to start with and with no separating line between their bits of speech. Would have been better to tie those chunks of speech to descriptions of the speakers or their actions.

You seem to have changed the last name of the troubled people. John and Ingrid Howard in paragraph #3, but when Walker is leaving you called the guy John Lenney. There was also a time discrepancy when Walker was finishing up at the bar with Janet: the clock inside said 3:17 AM, but his watch said 2:24 not long after. Those were the jarring things, but there were a bunch of other typos too. Proofreading is important.

This story was damned long, and it dragged on slowly for the most part. That in itself isn't great, but one of the big problems of a long entry like this (particularly when it drags on rather than keeping the reader gripped) is that it ends up making the ending a high stakes gamble. Will it all feel like a great pay off in the end, or will it feel like a lot of wasted time? Unfortunately, this one was full on wasted time. The twist of everything being an elaborate revenge plot by Walker's son was interesting, but the fact that everything just ended in blood and carnage was deeply disappointing. The protagonist failed everyone who mattered enough to be given a name in this story. This was just a grimdark ending with no purpose. No lesson learned, no greater evil stopped, not even a pithy final line to leave the reader thinking. It was just dark and sad and depressing. I can enjoy dark stories with unpleasant endings, but this one just left a sour taste in my mouth, which I attribute to having to slog through the slow middle parts. That's what I mean about the gamble of a dragging story: I could've been fine with this ending if it hadn't taken so long to get there, but instead it irks me.

Doing a story about something that bites framed as talk about a cold case from normal cops was an interesting choice. I think it worked out well, despite not quiet fulfilling the horror aspect of the prompt.

In a couple places you had two different people speaking in the same paragraph, and in the second one (with the girl suggesting werewolves) it actually did get confusing as to who was saying the second of three dialogue chunks. Always separate your speakers into different paragraphs.

The ending, while amusing, seemed a little odd to me. This guy has been obsessing over the case for 15 years and never once, not even as a wild goose chase guess after seeing a werewolf movie or after having one too many drinks some night, even thought of it? Werewolf was my very first guess, even before the weird meat thing was brought up. Although I had a huge leg up on the detective by knowing I was looking for a bitey beast, it seems peculiar to me that neither this guy nor even a smartass in a previous presentation had suggested the idea. Just a minor issue really, but it does detract from the ending a bit.

I don't have a ton to say about this entry, other than that is was quite good. The setup for the creepy marshy ghost town was neat, the characters each had just enough personality to be interesting, and I like that you went for something way outside the box for a creature that bites. You also did a fine job of nursing the tension that good horror requires, particularly in the way that you provided a couple fake-out moments (Grace getting leeched and Fabiana walking off alone in the creepy school) that spiked the tension with expectation of this being where the monster strikes.

To offer a bit of criticism, there were a handful of minor grammatical errors, but nothing distracting. The ending could have been a little better, maybe by pushing another couple minutes and having the girls say something about what had happened (maybe vowing to just never say a thing because nobody would believe them?), or further still and note that they had told someone about what they saw and a brief note about what did or did not come of it. As it stands the ending is alright though, so that is also not a major problem.

The narrative voice comes off as, to put it very bluntly, a pretentious douche. The mixture of word choice and tone come together in an unpleasant combo to make me think of a smarmy rich guy talking down to someone. The fourth wall breaking is also odd and adds nothing of value to the story. Dropping the fourth wall breaking and choosing to lean either toward dry comedy or formality for the tone would have been better than smooshing it all together. Also worth noting is that there was no sense of horror whatsoever in your story, likely attributable in large part to the narrative voice being odd.

There were quite a few instances of switches between past and present tense, some within the same paragraph, which is always a bad thing.

The tiny bit of conflict had no tension whatsoever. It was just kid appeared, vampire was dumb, vampire got shanked, and then he bit his killer on his way out. There was no dramatic buildup, no reason to care about the flat characters, and no satisfaction in the conclusion. The last of those three issues would be easily solved by fixing the first two, because with proper tension and characters that you care about even a quickie ending like this can feel fine.

You've got some issues with major comma abuse. Anthony's first lines of dialogue are good examples of commas being thrown where they shouldn't be. A good test for comma placement is to read out the line in whatever mood/pace you intended and only put commas where brief pauses feel natural.

For the first section to really make sense, this Anthony guy would have had to go however long feeding on people without ever having a moment of introspection. He was seriously rocked by being told "hey you're doing bad things, stop being bad"? That is very odd, to say the least.

The pacing of this story is very weird. Just zipping through the relationship with Melanie from first night together to end of relationship in a couple paragraphs made it feel rather pointless and lacking in narrative weight, so when she reappears a handful of paragraphs later it just feels weird and poorly planned. Oh, and I guess I should tack on here that the prompt called for horror, but there wasn't much of that in this rushed plot, just some romance.

The ending just doesn't feel satisfying at all because of some fundamental problems with the story. One I already noted was the lack of any real sense of development and connection between Anthony and Melanie. When a story ends with a sort of love that goes to "I will defy the laws of reality to save my lover from Hell" length, you need the reader to actually feel invested in those characters and their relationship to not just laugh at the absurdity. That did not happen here, and I did laugh at the absurdity. Furthermore, having the random killer just so happen to be the brother of the girl Anthony killed on the night Death made him turn away from evil felt horribly trite, one of those eye-roller moments where narrative convenience gets in the way of the story feeling plausible even with suspension of disbelief. This story needed a lot more setup for this ending to actually work out well, mainly a lot more character/relationship development to make the reader care about Anthony and Melanie.

Lots of ellipses used, pretty much none of them necessary. Instead of the triple period, try just a single one for a hard pause. Ellipses are meant to indicate a very long pause or trailing off, not a regular pause, and people don't often pause for that long when speaking so it makes dialogue rather awkward. At one point Suha cut herself off and you used a dash to end the sentence, and those are also a good option to use instead of ellipses when you want to have a hard cut instead of the simple period usage.

At first I was irritated with Cobb, thinking he was just a caricature of a sexist dickhead who wouldn't believe some woman could be a hunter. I'm glad that wasn't the case and it turned out he was just covering his own ass, but kudos to you for hiding the truth with a believable stereotype. There was enough character development to go around that I ended up actually feeling invested in the plot, so that was good. Well, Milt was a bit flat, but he was a kid and not that important so that was fine.

The ending was solid. Twist dealt with, monster slain, brighter future for all the named characters. It was a rather simple plot, but it worked and made for a fine story overall.

The short and choppy sentences at the start are good for establishing the frantic desperation mood, so I can't fault you for them. However, if you're not careful they can end up making your grip on past/present tense feel a big shaky. There was one sentence here ("My lungs burning and my legs starting to cramp.") that caused that issue for a moment, but it's more a minor picky detail than a big problem.

The characters other than Audrey felt a bit flat, but that wasn't a major flaw since the story was all about her. Devon could have done with a little more to show sides other than stubborn and compassionate, though those two characteristics alone worked fine for this story. Doc being pretty bland was fine, just needed to have a name for the person trying to do medical things. Nevaeh honestly could have just not been named and the story wouldn't have been any different. But like I said, none of that is a huge deal since they were firmly placed in the category of secondary importance from the start.

As for the plot overall, I don't think I've ever seen a better version of this idea. Having a member of the group turn while surrounded by their pals is a core trope of zombie tales, but experiencing it solely from the perspective of the one turning and getting their interior thoughts was fascinating. Normally when reviewing entries I'll pause and write quickie notes to be expanded, but I actually had to go through yours again to make notes because my attention was grabbed from the start and held right through to the bitter end. Well done.

The banter between characters was pretty good, and it did a lot to flesh out personality without needing to put heavy effort into it or state personality facts in the boring way. However, they are either awkwardly hesitant speakers at times or you abused ellipses when you should have used other forms of punctuation to denote pauses.

The tension built up by the moments of Izabel being spooked and the sleepwalking and such were a good way to keep the horror vibe rolling. The fact that Manny was always tied to the scary little moments before the big final one made it kind of obvious that he was the baddie of the story, but I didn't feel like much was lost from guessing that before the reveal so it's fine. Also, I'd never heard of encantados before, but they seem to be some pretty interesting creatures of folklore and I always appreciate folks going with something that's not well known around the world for their fictional supernatural threats.

I often find myself irritated by short stories that lack a conclusive ending, but you navigated this one well. Weaving in the Death and the Maiden thing into the end was a nice little callback that also managed to give a good idea of the path forward: Izabel is gonna fight the monster if it comes back and she intends to win.

Solid hook. Both there and throughout the story, there was some nice descriptive language at play that helped to build a clear mental image.

Cutting through bone with a knife is pretty damn hard even in calm and steady situations. Trying to do so while dealing with pain and also being flung about by a running horse-monster seems less than plausible. That broke my suspension of disbelief for a moment, which is not what you want from a story about fantastical events.

That aside, the reveal that the blood on the knife from the start of the story was his own was a neat little twist, not quite what I expected after the forlorn feeling I got from the beginning of the story.

The very end was kind of weird. The plot wrapped up decently with an explanation of what had led to the guy standing there on the riverside with a bloody knife, but then there were those questions. The problem I had with them was that it was set up as "three questions," which primed me for three separate pieces of information. Instead I got the same question rephrased, so I was left feeling like something was missing. It's just one of those oddball things of human psychology, where unmet expectations cause disappointment even if there's not really a problem. A different phrasing for the lead in or just using one question would have been absolutely fine. Oh, and ending on naming what the creature actually was was a nice way to do round out the story, like you answered the final question on the way the door.
 

Pahndora

A Box of Horrors
ROLEPLAY DEPARTMENT
DONATING MEMBER
Cruel Mistress
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
My Usual Online Time
Anytime, I have no life.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Douche, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Transgender, Androgynous
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I'm fine with both, but I have hard time with others using my character(s) without my prior consent. If the other player is unsure, I will have more of an aggressive style.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, romance, slice of life, anti-hero stories, "you're our only hope", fandom non-canons, soft scifi, transhumanism, magical girls, horror, suspense / mystery, monster girls, fractured fairytales
Genre You DON'T Like
Roadtrip style, already-planned-out adventures, rigid GMs.
#27
two votes uwu Thanks everyone for the reviews! My entry was Bite Me Harder 8D I want to apologize to all my writing partners, I promise you that this entry isn't a reflection of my writing abilities lolol :') I'm not particularly good at solo writing, unfortunately!

The idea behind "vampire slayer" and Megan being almost stronger than a vampire was mostly based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as it's the first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear "slayer". I might've jumped the gun with assuming that people would get that reference, but it IS a pretty old show.

Congrats to the winners, I would've written reviews but didn't have it in me this round, maybe next time!
 

Jays

Fealty to the Silence
DONATING MEMBER
BITE Fall Community Pick
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Male
#28
Thank you all for the votes and the reviews. I must admit that my story had all kinds of problems, but I'm happy that people are still able to enjoy it, flawed as it was. I appreciate that a lot.

I did enjoy most of the entries this BITE. Looking forward to the next one. Cheers.
 

Greenie

Here in the Void
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
Posting Speed
Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror
Genre You DON'T Like
Yaoi
#29
Thanks for the reviews guys, I'll surely be looking out in my future writing to fix up whatever I can! :D

My story was the Hunter and the Woodcutter :3 Thanks Maxwell Maxwell for the vote, I appreciate it!
 

Astaroth

Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling.
ADMINISTRATOR
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Chat Roleplays
Posting Speed
Speed of Light, Slow As Molasses
My Usual Online Time
It varies a lot depending on my schedule, unfortunately.
Writing Levels
Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I play what's needed, but I do like to take the lead. In my one-on-ones, I often like being the "Game Master" in the sense of creating the setting, controlling NPCs, and steering the plot. But I still like input and collaboration from my partners. In group games, I prefer to be the GM or to play a leading or mentor role.
Favorite Genres
I love a little bit of everything. My top choices would be Horror, Modern Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism, Noir, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Splatterpunk, Post-Apocalyptic, Historical, Mystery, old-school High Fantasy, and Sci-Fi (especially Spacesagas). I'd love to do some occasional Clockpunk or Weird West or Wuxia or Dieselpunk, too.
Genre You DON'T Like
I guess the only thing I don't particularly care for is high school drama, and even that can be fun with a good hook.
#30
So I would just like to say that this was a stellar round of entries. This is the first time I've had such a hard time narrowing down which entry I liked best. There were several entries I would have been happy to see win, and I had a lot of fun reading these. Great job, guys!

I don't have too much to say about this one, because it was very short and didn't leave me with much of an impression. Unfortunately, the impression was mainly that it was written in a rush. Other than that, I could tell there was some very solid imagery in your head when writing this, and you did successfully convey that imagery.

I appreciated the attempt at a Buffy-esque story, but too much time was spent painting a cliche horror movie scene (two characters making out before something goes horribly wrong) in lurid detail and not enough time on any of the other key elements. I think in places it may have gone a little heavy-handed with the foreshadowing, as well. Megan is not a protagonist I find particularly relatable or likable, in part because we get such a brief snapshot of her and in part because what we do see is sadistic and even unhinged, given her apparent usual method of hunting and the sexualization of the staking. Both characters and their dialogue were a bit stiff. I think this actually might have been more enjoyable as outright smut, with a twist at the end.

My favorite part of this was the beginning, where it showed some promise with the noir murder-mystery overtones and the mystery of Walker. Unfortunately my enthusiasm didn't last, due to the way the piece dragged and was tonally inconsistent. The prose tends towards evocative but in quite a few places the wordy descriptions just weigh down the narrative. A few people have mentioned, I think, the glaring mistake with the timestamps; this could have been easily avoided by omitting these entirely, as I'm not sure they really added anything to the story and are mainly distracting. The twist with Walker's son and the reveal that he'd been behind some elaborate plot left me feeling both confused and struggling to accept this; I don't think this was properly foreshadowed, and it raises more questions about the narrative than it does answers. The extremely gory ending was an especially jarring tonal shift, and I don't think choosing to have Walker rip someone's cock off (in those terms) really helped; it comes off as an attempt to shock the readers, with no real other purpose for narrative or characterization beyond drawing attention, and that's a personal pet peeve. I struggled to relate to these characters, particularly Walker (though I believe that was intentional), Janet (the entire scene between her and Walker where they talked about her brother made it difficult to understand her behavior, and that line about who she was grieving was very confusing to boot), and John (while his plight is very sympathetic and he's the picture of a scared and protective father, some of his actions are very peculiar, such as refusing to clean up the blood in his daughter's room that stinks to high heaven even though the police already have DNA results back and have thoroughly gone over the crime scene). All of this added up to this piece feeling disjointed and rambling up until a splatterpunk conclusion that at very least could have used the opportunity to mention that nice white suit getting allegorically stained red. I am left with the impression that there wasn't a clear direction in mind for this story, and that's never what you want your reader to take away at the end.

It's difficult to use framing devices like the one you used here, and you pulled it off fairly successfully. There are some minor grammar issues, and some repetitive language that I think is born in part from that same framing device, but this was a fun read. The biggest issue is that the werewolf twist is very obvious to anyone familiar with werewolf lore (which it's a good bet the audience will be), and so it presents a lot of problems when the reader is expected to swallow the following:

1. No one has thought of this in 15 years' time, not even to make a joke about it.
2. The reader has to sit through hearing a list of red flags that scream WEREWOLF all the way until the end.

The ending doesn't really hit the right tone, as a result, and the break from the framing device at this conclusion might have been better left off instead. Alternatively, ending with someone making the werewolf suggestion--maybe even asking if it was a full moon and the detective reacting, rather than spelling it out--actually would have been a better cutoff than checking the lunar calendar on the phone, which is too passive an action for something that's intended to be dramatic.

I am always down for some good old-fashioned horrorterrors, so I found myself both loving this piece and ultimately left feeling somewhat disappointed. The writing was technically good overall, but the pacing in places was iffy; the opening dragged, the climax was lurched into rather than properly built up to, and the ending especially wrapped up into a very underwhelming conclusion. The characterization was very realistic, with extremely natural dialogue, but I found myself not terribly invested in any of the girls. The most compelling character was actually Chantelle, largely because of how incredibly hype your monster concept was, and because I was interested in what happened to her and her boyfriend--which still remains largely a mystery (beyond the obvious), as is the origin of the creepy leechmonsters in the first place. (Not that I mind those things being vague or unexplained, but if you're going to leave the main elements of your story as unanswered questions, you really need to nail the execution so that your readers feel satisfied by the end of it.)

...It sounds like I hated this, but the truth is quite the opposite. I enjoyed it a lot; it was tense where it was supposed to be tense, the imagery was effective, and as I said the writing was solid other than a few mistakes. I'm not mad, just disappointed. :[

I appreciate the dry humor in this piece, but the jokes fall a little flat in the face of the plot. It's obviously intended to be a cliche plot with a cliche protagonist and making jabs at both of them, but when writing this kind of story it's important to keep in mind that without something strong to set it apart, all the reader is going to see is those cliches.

There were a number of minor grammar issues here, but the biggest issue is the pacing. The timeskips were very weird, and I think the first half of this story was largely unnecessary; the backstory of the characters was frontloaded, rather than being explored throughout the core narrative. I'm a big sucker for stories that involve the personification of Death, and I really enjoy the concept of Death's daughter and her compassion for lost souls, but I felt the romance was rushed and difficult to understand; we didn't see it develop naturally between the characters. I don't feel we get a very good understanding of either Anthony or Melanie, and so I had a hard time getting invested in their struggles or rooting for them to succeed.

It was a risky move to write a fantasy story with horror elements rather than a straight horror piece, though that was allowed here... but damned if you didn't pull it off. While there were some easily fixed errors (typos, awkward phrasing, etc.) that could have been caught with more careful proofreading and the transitions weren't always smooth, your narrative was cohesive and your style has a kind of very real charm. The characters are fairly stock fantasy staples, so while they weren't particularly original, they are familiar without being off-putting in that familiarity. I think you may have tried to focus on too many of them at once, though, which ultimately made them all suffer just a little for it due to the constraints of a short story format. The biggest issues are with flow and dialogue; both are sort of clunky and awkward, but not enough to take away my overall enjoyment of the piece, particularly because the tone and plot were consistent and wrapped up in a satisfying way. To be honest, I could absolutely see this being published in an anthology of short fantasy stories, flaws and all.

Someone mentioned being confused as to why Milt didn't change after being bitten, but since many vampire stories do not involve people turning just from a bite, this wasn't an issue for me. Just tighten up your technical work and you have something very good going on here.

The technical writing and pacing in this piece were both very strong. I normally do not care at all for first person POV, so I think it says a lot about this piece that I couldn't find much at fault with the writing. Audrey's narrative voice is engrossing and evocative, which is a good thing because we spend so much of the piece purely in their head. Unfortunately the other characters are basically plot devices or backdrops, in part as a result of that choice. While this doesn't at all damage how gripping the writing is, it does I think do a disservice to the story as a whole; there's no context of the relationships between Audrey and these people, despite the fact that we are told they are like family now. Developing those human connections even just a little, either implicitly or explicitly, would have fleshed out both the characters and the weight of what Audrey gradually lost over the course of the story. As it is, the piece felt more like I was reading a chronicle of the zombification process from a first person POV than I was a real narrative (granted, an interesting concept to read) and the tension was somewhat damaged by it being fairly obvious early on that the cure wasn't going to work. I think if the other characters and what they meant to Audrey--and what Audrey meant to them (in particular, the relationship between Audrey and Devon)--had been fleshed out better, this might have been my favorite story.

There was a very palpable atmosphere that pervaded throughout this piece, and that mood and style was what really sold me on this as our winner. The writing itself was executed very well in a technical sense too, despite some abuse of ellipses in dialogue. The characterization was excellent; all of the characters had very distinct personalities, and I had no problem at all visualizing them in my head even though you didn't particularly describe them. That's generally a mark of good writing. I loved the use of the encantado myth, which I can honestly say I have never seen used in any work of fiction before, and how it fit into the setting. Speaking as someone who has dealt with both sleep paralysis and somnambulism, you also managed to capture the creeping discomfort and jarring terror that can accompany those experiences. What weakened the story, though, was some of the pacing (though overall, you built the narrative fairly well and in terms of the horror aspects you were spot on; it's just the other bits that feel almost like afterthoughts, with the climax feeling a little rushed). The ending doesn't quite hit the right note, either; Izabel's closing line felt odd, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of her sudden turnaround.

Kudos for thinking outside the box with a kelpie. I will say that stylistically, I'm not a big fan of so many one-line or two-line paragraphs; while I myself have been known to abuse oneliner paragraphs for impact, it loses a lot of its punch when every paragraph is that short. There were a few really good descriptive lines in there, and you were very successful at conveying the personal horror of James's experience, but I think the briefness of the story combined with the stylistic choices made this a little too choppy of a read for me.
 

RJS

Already getting hyped for the fiesta!
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I'm often fairly passive, but I have no trouble being more aggressive if I know that I won't be stepping on other people's toes or upsetting anyone by doing so.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy and SciFi are the two genres I most enjoy. I absolutely adore Dark Fantasy/Dark SciFi, and I quite enjoy RPs with at least a facet of comedy in them too.
Genre You DON'T Like
Not really into pure Romance (although I don't mind it being present as part of a bigger story). I don't mind sexual content, but I'm not a fan of RPing a sex scene in its entirety.
#31
WELP, now I need to finish my reviews, and read everyone elses, AND get round to doing my PIPS submission.

I think the Britishness of my entry gave it away - mine was Cold Case.
 

Greenie

Here in the Void
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
Posting Speed
Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror
Genre You DON'T Like
Yaoi
#32
Here are my thoughts on the stories, apologies for being tardy!

I thought the story was well written, and I really liked the description of the hunters and their armour- makes sense that they would have protective gear though lots of times you don't really see it in popular media. Edda having to kill her lover (I believe?) was a nice way to start the story in my opinion, and ultimately her having to sacrifice herself. If there's one thing that had me go 'hmm' about the story though was that it felt more like a prologue rather than a story in itself, like the beginning of Harald's story and adventures. Still, I enjoyed it! Great job to the author. :3
I'm not a huge NSFW writing fan; that being said, I read the story and there was quite a bit I like. I enjoyed the fact that the seducer in the story was actually the huntress rather than the vampire. It turned the tables in an unpredictable way. I liked it even better than the huntress wasn't some Lawful Good character, but someone who was clearly enjoying being bad. I think what had me waver was the discovery and subsequent fight seemed rather rushed, and at times I had a hard time figuring out what was happening to whom.
I'm impressed you managed to write so much for your story! I liked the Film Noir vibe at the beginning of the story and the whole mystery vibe throughout the story. Even though it was a long read, I still found myself caught in the story. A couple of reasons why I didn't vote for this tale was because of the rather sad and depressing ending- it reminded me of Devilman Crybaby and I'm bad with sad endings. :'D The other reason was because of the excessive purple prose. Other than that, nice work and congratulations on winning the Community pick!
I enjoyed this story, and it was actually the second on my list to vote for. I really enjoyed the whole class question and answer session. The only reason I didn't vote was because the werewolf bit seemed a little out of the blue, and then the ending was too abrupt. I would have been okay with the sudden ending to be honest if there had been more of a build up to the werewolf bit. This was one of my favourites though, so congrats!
I had my suspicions that you'd either written this story or Encante. Congratulations on winning Community Pick as well! It was a well written story, although high school horror mystery has never been my sort of thing, which is why I didn't vote for this tale. I did enjoy the horror aspect of the story; however I felt the intro sort of dragged on a little. Then again, that could simply be because I'm not good with that genre. ^_^'
I like the vibe you were going for in this story- it kinda reminded me of my first idea XD I'm a fan of comedy after all, so it was nice to see a story trying to make things light. Now, I know many people don't like first person point of view, but I do think it would work better than third person in a comedic story like this, where the main character is addressing the reader. It makes it easier to break the fourth wall in my experience as well as speak directly to the reader.
The idea of star-crossed lovers is a lovely one, and I can admire what you were trying to do here. The first part of the story was good, and the last part with his death was well too. However, because there wasn't much meat to the middle of the story, it was hard for me to feel for any of the characters involved. I think it may have been a good idea to focus more on Anthony and the way he changed to bring a bigger impact to the end of the story, as well as more character development with Melanie.
I voted for this story, and I really hope to know the author! It was my favourite, a little because I enjoy first person point of view, but also because I really found myself immersed in the reading. It was impressive, the changes that took over Audrey, the way her thought process changed, until the end where all that was going through her mind was getting free and biting Devon. I hope to read more from the author in the future! :3
Nice going, choosing to write a story about a mythological creature that not many know of! I enjoyed the dialogue between the sisters, and the whole feel of the story had me immersed- to be honest, i read this really late at night and was a little creeped out xD I think one of the reasons I didn't vote for it was because of the ending.. it felt a little incomplete to me. But other than that, kudos to you, and congratulations on winning the manager's pick!
Ooh, a kelpie! Nice to see yet another creature that isn't as out there as vampires, zombies and werewolves! I thought this was a well written and I honestly liked it; I did feel it read more like a response to a muse, or a flash fiction than a complete story, which is what kept me from voting. I hope the author enters the next Flash Fiction!
 
Last edited:
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays, Chat Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
Slow As Molasses
My Usual Online Time
Sometime after 10:30 PM (with the exception of Sundays).
Writing Levels
Adept, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Transgender, Androgynous, Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Aggressive, but I can also be passive.
Favorite Genres
Dystopian is my main shtick. I'm also open to horror, fantasy, science fiction, science fantasy, steampunk, and much more. I'll write pretty much anything that isn't purely smut and is interesting enough.
Genre You DON'T Like
Roleplays that entirely revolve around furries and smut. I'm admittedly not a huge fan of high school, college, or camp settings. Slice-of-life Roleplays also tend to bore me, but again, I'm fairly open-minded.
#33
Thanks for the reviews guys, I'll surely be looking out in my future writing to fix up whatever I can! :D

My story was the Hunter and the Woodcutter :3 Thanks Maxwell Maxwell for the vote, I appreciate it!
As much as I really liked Legacy and A Night At Aprilside High, I was won over by your story in the end. It's almost ironic seeing as you were the one who linked me to this thread in the first place. I'm not sure what it is that really caught my attention, but I think there is something very captivating about how you told your story. While the rest of the stories seem to be based in modern times (with obvious exceptions such as Untitled), yours was set in a completely unique world with unknown rules and characters. In spite of this, however, I found myself caring about the characters at the end and was pleasantly surprised by the plot twist (?). The ending was also very satisfying and I'm a little surprised that yours did not get more votes.

I'm not disappointed by the results, however, as I think all three entries deserve their win. I'll possibly write reviews for the rest of the entries in the near future as I was pretty thoroughly entertained by all of them. I think they were all pretty glowing though I have some constructive feedback for all.
 

Turtle of Doom

The Monster Under Your Bed
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Douche, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Either works for me. And would prefer if the story was gently led by all participating parties.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Magical, Romance, Dystopian, Religious, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies (but the plot has to consist of more than just mindlessly murdering the undead), Steampunk
Genre You DON'T Like
Yaoi, Furry, Incest
#34
Thanks for the reviews. i appreciate them. My entry was After Bite
 

neobendium

The Freak With Extra Teeth
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
Posting Speed
Speed of Light, Several Posts a Day, A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
My Usual Online Time
Most of the time MST
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Depends on the plot, really.
Favorite Genres
Mideval Fantasy, SciFi, Modern
Genre You DON'T Like
I'm up for mostly anything. But I don't really like voodo and lots of magic. Don't get me wrong, I like fantasy and dragons and stuff....just not the magic part. That's weird to me. And no demons.
#35
Good job, winners! You all deserve it :D

My entry was Bloodstained Memories. I'm really happy I got even the few votes I did, because I was worried I wouldn't get any. Thank you guys for all your kind and well-written reviews. I'll work on incorporating those suggestions into my next piece.
 

Doctor Jax

Lord of the Mice
BITE Fall Managers' Pick
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Chat Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week
My Usual Online Time
3PM CST - 9 PM CST
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Aggressive
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Scifi, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Genre You DON'T Like
Romance
#36
Thank you, all you guys, for the reviews, and thank you to the Managers for picking my story! I agree a lot with the general consensus on mine that it just has a really weak ending, but endings have never been my forte. It is extremely gratifying to know that you all enjoyed the story at the least, and that there were quite a few who voted for it!

Now to enjoy that prize....
 

Holmishire

Ghost with no home.
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Week
My Usual Online Time
Late night PST
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive > Aggressive, but a mix.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Superpower'd, and some Sci-Fi.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anything heavily sexualized or silly. I tend to avoid hard sci-fi, horror, and slice-of-life roleplays.
#37
finally got around to finishing these

I'm out of practice, so they're late and maybe a bit sloppy. If you have questions or want clarifications, feel free to ask. (Of note: The critiques with the most detail are also the ones I typically cut out the most detail.)

Entries with stars were in high consideration for my vote.
 

As quite a short entry, there isn't much opportunity for the reader to connect with the characters. Edda's relationship with Hans was alluded to, but with him dead before the start of the story, it is difficult to be invested in this personal development. It is also odd that Harald is given the most closure, when he lacked any agency in the meat of the story.

The overall structure of the entry works (save perhaps the epilogue), though quite straightforward; Edda faces several challenges, and sacrifices herself at the end to complete her objective. Still, it relies heavily on the exposition forced in at the start to add any meaning to her actions.

The little details hinting at the abnormal—Jessica's «controlled breath», her forced counting at the smell of blood, Megan's «true age»—all subtle enough to fit within the mundane narrative, but memorable enough to be given new light after the reveal.

The dramatic shift in tension from sexual to lethal was sudden, but every bit fitting. It was timed to follow just after a reversal of the power dynamic of the two girls: as soon as Jessica was relegated to the role of reacter, Megan moved in for the kill. This, paired with the quality writing, made for a captivating read.

Overall, while bearing a simple plot, this entry is a strong contender with style.

 

A heavy tone permeates this entry, a gloom perhaps fitting for a story taking place entirely at night. Descriptions were vibrant, due largely to the use of simile and metaphor—at times too vibrant, as those same tools were used to excess. Many were simple enough, providing a clear comparison appropriate for the context: «clinging […] like moisture», a scent of «lilac and rose, like the smell of new graves». Moisture clings, and fresh graves are decorated with flowers; these are sensible comparisons.

Others create confusion by blending simile and metaphor. For example, «he clutched [his self-control] like a man drowning in guilt and self-blame» makes perfect sense as a simile up to and including «drowning»; John is clutched a lifeline. The rest turns the act of drowning into a metaphor for his actual condition, which paired with the simile, make John similar to John. John is John; the comparison is unnecessary. Similarly, «eyes gleaming like sapphire, its color of the ocean's depth» establishes twice in the same sentence the colour blue; once would have been sufficient.

A more effective way of blending the two, by adding a metaphor as parenthesis to the simile is also in use: «Walker's white suit burned like pale flame in the tinted gloom, a phantom traversing a hell of crimson and shadow» and «the door whined like a banshee's wail, trepidation manifested in its purist [sic] form». By keeping them grammatically separate, the act as alternatives to the simile—a second layer of abstraction. Each enhances the imagery, rather than muddying it or introducing redundancy. Still, this technique is highly expressive, and can appear heavy-handed if used too frequently.

Moving on to the structure of the story, the threads connecting each aspect of the investigation were thin. For the most part, Walker conducted his investigation outside of the reader's view. No indication was given as to how he knew to seek out Janet Bailey, and even when a clue was provided to lead him to Lincoln Holmes, it was hidden behind a vague statement—«"Tell me everything you can recall." / So she did.»—and it took one tangential scene and three paragraphs of searching through the house for the reader to be informed that this line of inquiry had borne fruit. By obfuscating the process of the investigation, there is no challenge for Walker to overcome; paired with a climax that reveals his success to have been manufactured, the investigation nearly irrelevant. (It also reduces the impact of learning that it was manufactured, because it is unclear what lengths Albert would need to have gone through.)

The climax itself, while benefitting from an intriguing core concept, was messy in application. Very little of the history between Walker, Albert, Powell, and John's father had been developed—or even properly hinted at—leaving it unclear why any of their fundamental philosophies should matter. Walker refers to an agreement that Powell breaks, but the nature of this agreement is never established. Walker supposedly betrayed his son the sake of another, but this betrayal is never explained. (John and Janet were fairly compelling, as their motives were clear; but they were largely irrelevant to the plot.)

Additional Notes:
  • «"Aren't you going to ask?" […] "Who I was grieving."»
    • Just a few minutes ago, she told him her brother was dead. A short cab-ride before that, she had been smiling as she reminisced about her brother. In addition to being an awkward piece of dialogue that sets up answers she shouldn't have known he'd give, the answer seemed quite obvious in context. (That the answer was someone else entirely, and that Walker was unsurprised by this, made it all the more awkward.)
  • Scenes breaks were sometimes designated with extra spacing, sometimes with a dashed line. Usage did not seem to vary between the two, so better to pick one and be consistent.

 

The choice of presentation here is an interesting one. Adding a degree of separation between the reader and the murder allows the entry to take a controlled approach to which information is revealed, and when. It also shifts the entire focus away from the outcome—catching the culprit—to the process. Of course, this choice does have its downside: while pleasant to read, it lacks in either the tension or the depth to be truly riveting.

Though mostly consisting of dialogue, the writing is clear and fitting for its tone. The introduction in particular sets a solid foundation for Ken, which is important seeing as he is the de facto narrator as well as the only character the reader has the opportunity to connect to.

For the plot itself, it is generally effective: clues are given out piecemeal for the reader to figure out at the same time as the students. Unfortunately, the solution is quickly apparent, and this dampens Ken's final revelation. (Personally, I'd suggest more ambiguity, by removing the mention of werewolves. Rather then assuming Ken to be slow, this would allow us to instead assume that the myth simply does not exist in this culture.)

This entry was a well-knit production: the settings, the creature, and especially the descriptions supporting each other for a united atmosphere. Even without any indication of the supernatural until late in the story—a risky choice, as foreshadowing helps suspend disbelief—there was a sense of unease. The girls were splitting up, even if for only a moment. The atmosphere was oppressive, a little gross, and far from help. And the exposition was doled out carefully, never more than what was needed to understand the current events.

In true horror style, most of the entry was build-up—and the climax was tense. Even after they'd escaped, the silence maintained the possibility of things starting up again. Ending on a neutral note, despite their success, really sealed the creepy tone of the whole event.

 

An odd entry, without much in the way of plot. Confined to but a single scene, the characters played out as cogs in a closed system—that is to say, without real agency. No motives were provided for their actions, nor were they particularly necessary: when a mongoose is caged with a snake, the result is self-evident. As perhaps direct consequence of this, there was little reason to feel sympathy or compassion for any of the characters (save perhaps the servant, whose displeasure with his current situation was at least made clear). The impact of the twist was minimal, because there was no indication as to how the hunter would react to his newfound vampirism.

On the subject of the writing itself, it was effective enough, tying in his faltering memory to the classic gothic descriptions. The role of the narrator was somewhat unclear—at times representing Vladimir's perspective, such as in «How long both had been!», while having been explicitly established to be the readers. That in and of itself is a confounding notion, and seemed to be introduced only so that the initial rush of exposition could be split between to narrators. (Is it ironic to interrupt a «long and dreary introduction» with a longer one?)

Grammar was also spotty: commas used sporadically, semi-colons incorrectly substituted for colons, and inconsistent verb tenses.

Additional Notes:
  • «Long forlorn nights such as evenings like these»
    • By using «these», a category is being established—only «this» would imply tonight. The result is description that compares «evenings» to anything like themselves; in doing so, everything following «long forlorn nights» is meaningless. Even with tonight properly implied, there is no point in creating nested subdivisions for comparison.
  • On the aforementioned verb tenses:
    • «company was overrated» but «snacks […] are welcome»
    • «"Master," a monotonous voice sounded […]. A servant comes in»
  • On the aforementioned improper use of semi-colons:
    • «His name is a [sic] nice and generic; Vladimir»
    • «The audience; us, the reader» (also we are many; «the readers»)
    • «didn't have the time […], or rather; he had too much»
      • For this one, two options: replace the semi-colon with a colon, or swap the comma and the semi-colon. Each side of a semi-colon should be a sentence; you can't end a sentence with «or rather», but you can start one that way.

 

Though redemption and forbidden love are both espoused in this entry, not much attention is given as to the mechanics or value of either. Flashes of dialogue and interaction are separated by large swathes of exposition, often skipping over the juicy bits to get to the single moment representing change. We do not see what horrors Anthony committed, nor do we see the difficult transition towards a moral lifestyle. We do not see what drew the two lovers together—only the moment they coupled up. Because of this, neither Anthony, Melanie, nor their relationship is particularly compelling.

This is not to say that the story required more scenes—revealing only the most pivotal moments is often necessary in this medium. Instead, the scenes simply would have benefitted by containing more details and hints at either the characters' driving characteristics or the core themes. (It wasn't clear, for example, why Melanie sought redemption for Anthony but swift justice for the brother.)

The narration itself was rather plain: effective, but without standing out. That being said, it was replete with punctuation errors. Most severely, commas often split the verb from its object without an intervening independent clause, such as in «he didn't know, that he», «he sought out [the] help, of those like him», and «and reading, things he had once enjoyed».

Additional Notes:
  • «Death turned right and walked away, disappearing, leaving nothing but shadow behind. Death’s Daughter turned left, wrapped herself around Anthony’s body, and disappeared, leaving mist in her absence.»
    • While a nice juxtaposition with which to close the entry, it was dampened somewhat by the lack of established symbolism behind any of its contents.

A very strong entry, without much to criticize.

Splitting the story between two perspectives was an interesting choice. Both were compelling characters, but only Darian had a strong development arc, as he learned to push aside his pride—a fairly standard personal arc, and the story's secondary conflict. By contrast, the primary conflict—hunting the vampire—is largely Suha's domain. (She does have a minor personal arc in allowing herself to not be alone, but it wasn't really established as an issue until the last scene.) Unfortunately, this conflict is resolved a bit too easily by Suha, as she succeeds on tagging the vampire in the first night and Cobb confesses even before she deduces it was him. Without any real challenge, she doesn't have room to grow, and this makes her a bit less interesting than Darian. (Though in a similar vein, Darian didn't really do anything concrete to demonstrate his development.)

Ultimately, the story would have benefitted from a few extra hurdles to build up tension, but was still well-written and a good read.

 

The concept behind this entry is quite interesting, as it follows the process of becoming a zombie from the perspective of the victim. To that end, the first-person narration is used effectively not just to create a closer connection with Audrey's evolving desires, but also to allow for the narrator to progress towards madness. Broken up sentences—such as «I screamed. And thrashed.»—started to crop up to replace the long and eloquent ones of before (though ultimately those remained ever-present, making for an at time disjointed narrative voice).

The opening and closing scenes were particularly effective. Right from the start, there was tension. The character was running, but the reader didn't know from what—and in spite of that crucial missing detail, everything else was grounded. The «cracked pavement», the «lungs burning», the «nasty scrape [...] beginning to bleed»; always something tangible to latch onto. The level of detail also helped to slow things down, enhancing the horror vibe of the scene.

Taking a different approach, the second-to-last paragraph focuses on a barrage of actions. This is particularly effective due to the rather slow pace of the entry up until that point (more on that below), making for a tight climax that is punctuated by an extremely effective last sentence. That it is consistent with the first-person perspective makes it even better.

Still, the bulk of the entry was very dry. The paragraphs were all roughly the same length, much of the narration consisted of Audrey recounting events, rather than experiencing them. The few shifts into the bestial mindset remained surrounded by mundane thoughts. While in no way poorly written, they did account for a dip in interest. This wasn't helped by the lack of development in the characters: Audrey remained worried about her turn, and while there were moments hinting at an arc for Devon, by locking it behind Audrey's limited perspective, it wasn't as compelling as it might otherwise have been.

Additional Notes:
  • «I wasn’t going to beg. But both he and I knew that it was the right thing to do, even though I knew he wouldn’t listen and I wasn’t in any position to fight him. So steadily I was dragged back to the house.»
    • Very confusing sentence, largely due to the proximity of «but» and «even though» creating too many contrasting parts. The end result implies that she was dragged away because both of them knew it was the right thing to do. Simplest fix has two steps: first, swap «but» and «even though»; second, remove one of them, but not both.
  • «But I didn't know»; «And to me, that was it»
    • These are omniscient-leaning statements, which don't make much sense in a first-person story where the narrator dies at the end.

An enthralling horror story that takes its time to provide the proper set-up—the rule of three in good use. The first dream by the river to alert the reader to the danger, the second (story-wise, not plot-wise) to create a pattern, and the third to cash in. All the characters were distinct and relatable, and the setting they were established in was believable enough to create some unease when the oddities started to occur.

The entry was very efficient with its narrative, as well. Little details were called upon later in the story, and every scene served a purpose. The opening and closing lines were also very effective hooks—a great way to leave a strong impression.

The writing was great, with vivid descriptions and authentic dialogue. A balance of long and short paragraphs was employed to maintain the ebb and flow of tension—especially effective in the climax. (I also liked how the perspective switched to Luiza for the first and only time in the climax; it made it plausible that Izabel wouldn't survive the encounter.)

 

The internal pacing of the narration was primarily effective. Moments of action were relayed in punchy phrases, such as «It snapped at him once, reared, and then ran» and «And he began to saw». Periods of horror were drawn out to sustain tension, such as in paragraph twenty-six, devoted to the painful description of James's amputation. This was especially true of the latter half of the entry. (The beginning suffered from a surplus of short paragraphs—sometimes several in a row. A scarcely-used technique can cut to the bone, while many will often prove jarring.)

The narrative voice, however, was not so tightly managed. While it maintained a limited third person perspective, the narrative voice was inconsistent in terms of how it expressed doubt.
  • The first style is best exemplified by the following excerpt: «[...] staring into it with the expression of a man who had lost everything. / Perhaps he had.» That last sentence is ominous, and is an implicit invitation by the narrator to doubt its own perspective. The narrator has separated itself from the character, making assumptions based off James' expression, and then left the reader to make room for their own assumptions.
  • The second style can be exemplified through this excerpt: «That's where it all had started, hadn't it? One touch was all it took to render him helpless at her feet.» Unlike in the previous question, the narrator is asking the reader a direct question, and promptly providing the answer. (Sometimes even the very format of the question presupposes affirmation: «right?» and «hadn't it?» were how the first two ended.) These seem to grace the narrator with James's perspective, and do little to build the tension.
Both, at the surface level, are present to serve the same purpose: to create doubt. One less effective, and each encroaching upon the effectiveness of the other. Is it James's perspective, or an outsider's? (Multiple narrative voices are, of course, allowable; they do require a bit more legwork to ensure that they are fully distinguished from each other, however.)

Unfortunately, it is the structure of the narrative itself that is most problematic in this entry. The beginning of the story reveals the ending—a valid technique—but the difference in time is so short that it leaves no room for intrigue. Tension could not build, because the answer to any uncertainty was readily available. The climax has essentially been robbed of its payoff in order to bolster the hook. (This is perhaps to blame for the out-of-place ending: three questions seeking to shift the entire theme of the piece from the established one man's struggle, to the struggles of many.)

Finally, the character arc itself was not particularly compelling. Because the reader already knew the results going in, James had very little character agency—even if in the fiction, he was forced to make a tough choice. The reader knew he would survive, minus one arm, and the how was not difficult to predict. The reader also had no reason to care about the arm: he won't be handicapped for the rest of the story, because that is where the story ends. There isn't enough detail given to James to estimate how much of an impact this will have on his life. (James isn't even named until the very end—entirely too late. Perhaps it would have been better to not name him at all.)

The writing of the piece is quite good, setting an effective tone for the horror it seeks to convey. It is at the macro level that it could use some fine-tuning and development.

Additional Notes:
  • «As she transformed, he remembered the warnings everyone had given him when he was younger, but now it was too late. Far too late. The woman before him had turned into a horse with devilish eyes and split hooves, with seaweed braided into the tendrils of its mane and tail.»
    • In large part due to the influence of the framing device, the entry suffered from notable verb tense inconsistencies (as above). Generally the past perfect was used for actions taking place in the near past, but this left no easy way to distinguish events in the far past; and eventually the simple past was brought back with neither rhyme nor reason.



Was it worth the wait? Probably not.