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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Congratulations to all of you who participated in this month's competition and making it a success! Thank you all as well, for helping to add colour to the already exceptional fanfic forum here on Heresy. Hopefully in the following months, we can continue to build up interest and maybe bring some more fresh blood to HO's fanfic forums.

Voting works as such:
Each reader (not just writers) can cast three votes, ranking them 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, or brief reviews on the stories as well, since each of the writers worked hard to get their entries up.

Scoring works like this:
1st place: 3 pts
2nd place: 2 pts
3rd place: 1 pt

When you vote, ensure that you vote in the following format:
1st Place: Author, Name of Story, 3 pts
and so on.

Unfortunately, to prevent any possible dramas, you cannot vote for your own story. If there are fewer than four entries, entrants therefore do not have to cast all three votes.

Additionally, if you wrote a story, you must vote! As the competition grows, I think it is necessary to point this out. If you enter but do not vote, any votes for your story(ies) will not be counted.

By the end of the voting period, all votes will be tallied and a winner declared.

Once this winner is declared, the winning story will be placed into the Winning HOES thread which has been stickied in this forum. The winning writer will be awarded the Lexicanum's Crest (seen above!) forum award for fiction excellence during the quarterly Awards.

Just to emphasize again, you do not need to have written a story to cast your votes! The more people that cast their votes, the better!

The deadline for voting will be midnight GMT 10th November 2014. At that time this thread will be completed, and the winner declared.

The rewards for entering/winning are:
Participation - 1 reputation point
3rd Place - 2 reputation points
2nd Place - 3 reputation points
1st Place - 4 reputation points

Here are the entries from HOES 14-10:

Table of Contents

Mossy Toes - Memory and Vengeance

andygorn - The Currency of Power

Warhawk - Those Who Count

(as Warhawk's entry was only just after the deadline, I am not disqualifying it.)


72 Posts
<Whew, thanks, Dave! I was racing Trick-or-Treaters on this one.>

1st Place: Mossy Toes, "Memory and Vengeance," 3 pts
2nd Place: andygorn, "The Currency of Power," 2 pts

Memory and Vengeance - I'm immediately drawn by the fact that it's space warfare; I have a soft spot for under-utilized genres/settings. The pace was very refreshing even though it ran right up to the 1,100 word mark. It hit the subject of "wealth" indirectly via a description of its being squandered on lesser gains, which is the kind of angle I think these themes ought to be tackled from. The story had its buildup, it's climax, and an abbreviated but still potent denouement.

On the negative end, the first thing that struck me was the author's tendency to make frequent breaks and pauses to better give off the "feel" of the action. I tend to do this a lot myself. Unfortunately this cannot be done all the time, and would be considered unprofessional, particularly in places where sentences dangled without a noticeable trail (i.e. Starting sentences with "And..." rather than having "... and" carrying over from a previous thought, or at least starting a new paragraph). There were also the two cases of Aliandro's "Broken. Sentences," which gave off the right "being really damned pissed" vibe but would be considered unacceptable under ordinary circumstances. More elaboration on expressions like gnashing or grinding teeth, shaking hands on the armrests and so on would have been a suitable replacement.

As for the plot itself, it only lacked in some descriptions and resulting events, possibly due to space constraints. One officer reports that it will take "within fifteen minutes" for the enemy ship to escape, and yet it escapes right after the torpedoes hit; an emotional downturn of the supporting cast coinciding with the buildup of Aliandro's madness would have been nice right here, but the rest of the cast is almost totally forgotten and Aliandro's madness is immediate. Likewise, Equerry Bastis' soothing influence was also utterly forgotten; without some tie-in to the ending massacre, like an emphasis on Bastis' corpse, his presence as a named character seems inappropriate.

All in all, a good depiction of a tense moment (in space, which is an accomplishment without boarding actions!)

The Currency of Power - I'll admit that I still don't know exactly what setting this is, why the library was burned down or what importance the Hymns had, but I overlooked that for the sake of the story itself. The use of a large time-break was bold given the short length required, and it established the tensions for the next scene quite well. All in all the story also hit the topic of wealth from a non-standard angle, although it might have gone out of its way to use the term. A bit of subterfuge and uneven alliances was also nice; tension was maintained regardless of the initial protagonist's actions.

Unfortunately it gets pretty cloudy. For starters, the semi-omniscient narrator's perspective changes half way through the story, from past tense to present, beginning with the line, "A choking grasp wracks..." That's jarring on the reader. What's even more jarring is when the protagonist is promptly slain, but there is no transition: After seeing a time-break for the setup, the lack of one here, to say nothing of a briefing on the woman's thoughts up to this point, is disorienting. This leaves you hanging when the ++External voice++ appears (using time-break "+" signs) and initially says things which could come from the mouth of the antagonist entering the room. It's only towards the absolute end of the piece that the two are clearly separated. There are also issues of formatting, especially cases where sentences by a single character are broken by multiple quotations; lacking many descriptors of who speaks and how they sound, this suggests multiple people when there is only one person, adding to confusion.

By this point other mincing errors are moot, though I might as well point out the example of, "her devotion almost tangible upon his tongues," which makes absolutely no sense unless the antagonist has multiple tongues and is eager to talk about it as he walks away... which is not the impression I get from their surly interaction. The character dynamics did seem nice, but I had to figure them out in hindsight myself. Definitely room for work.

It's an alright read, so long as you're willing to read it without solid context. The space constraints might have made some things more difficult than usual, but the formatting and presentation leave a lot to be desired.

Entropy Fetishist
4,224 Posts
Likewise, Equerry Bastis' soothing influence was also utterly forgotten; without some tie-in to the ending massacre, like an emphasis on Bastis' corpse, his presence as a named character seems inappropriate.
Very true. The idea, due to space constraints, was more that the departure of/lack of the calming presence helped Aliandro slip off the deep end, but it was certainly imperfectly executed, and would have worked better like you suggest.

Thanks for the compliments and the clear-eyed critical assessment!

623 Posts
Warhawk, Those Who Count, 3 pts

Mossy Toes, Memory and Vengeance, 2 pts

Andygorn, The Currency of Power, 1 pt

Interesting stories, guys :).

368 Posts
1st place (3pts): Warhawk "Those Who Count"
2nd place (2pts): Mossy Toes "Memory And Vengeance"

I really liked both of these stories, well written and evocative.
However, I didn't get much (if any) sense of wealth from either of them.

@ Warhawk: Loads of thanks for your comments - always good to get a fresh pair of eyes on things.
Yes, time-constraints played a factor [my fault, nobody else's] and I was trying to be mindful of hoping to make them the same tense -and thought I had- but this obviously wasn't the case :(

I am 100% not 'making excuses' or 'going for the sympathy vote', just thought you all should know:

The way I write isn't what I'd call writing (in the way I was taught at school + college to "go and write about subject x")...it's almost 100% transcribing in that I can't sit and think about a subject and write about it.
Instead, I keep my mind open to sights, sounds, smells, situations, dreams, traits/characteristics, maybe a face or a place or two here and there.
Sometimes they relate to each other, at other points they're dissimilar or disjointed.
If I get a few of these and they seem like they go together, I try to ask & make sense out of them (eg "Does Personality A live in Place B?" etc).
Some of the time they get stored away and see if they make sense at a later date, but a lot of it gets discarded. Occasionally, the same things keep recurring.

Having been given these visions, I try to use my language to make sense of them.
But a lot of the time, they aren't continuous, because I don't actually know what story they're trying to tell, either.
I have put stories down before which have gaps, but then later tales look like they might fill in some (but probably not all) of those gaps.
I happily accept that any failings of the tales are my own fault, not those of the inspirations I get.

Having been diagnosed with suicidal depression some months ago, this was my first attempt at writing pretty much anything since then. The medication I'm on cut me off from the inspirations which fuel whatever passes for my creativity (even though the tales aren't really "mine" as such, because they come from somewhere else).

I've always had a 'busy mind' with loads of stuff going on, so it's been really worrying for me as a person to just be able to sit and have no thoughts at all for hours at a time.
Thankfully, my dosage is coming down, so it's helped me to try to unlock the doors to inspiration which were previously closed.

In terms of the actual tale:
I had the impression that there were 3 people talking, so I was struggling to figure out how to differentiate them (hence the use of the ++ as I've seen novels which use them not as a time reference, but as speech/quotation marks).

I did wonder myself if the setting was 40K or fantasy.
If I decide that it's 40K, then you/I may have the impression that it's more of what I usually put into words and that it could be a continuation of other 40K stuff, at which point it's judged against other works ("cos it has to fit in somewhere"), not as a depiction of a potentially separate scenario.
However, if I say it's fantasy, then this is just a divergence from this, an understandable ''going against the grain'' and me putting it into a sword&sorcery setting (which it may not be).
So I leave it up to the reader to choose for themselves.

The "tongues" came from a dream of a mentor disfiguring/enhancing himself to have more than one (maybe one split down the middle to make a bifurcated one? or maybe several/numerous separate ones?) and where he could even taste emotions in the air (maybe a hint at a slaaneshi minion like Fiends & Steeds who can taste the air to track their prey?).
I didn't think of him as talking at that point in time at all. If he can (or thinks he can) tell someone's truthfulness from the tastes and scents in their voice, then he probably doesn't need to say very much.

I'd welcome any editor's ideas about how to have set this out better (so that it would have been easier for people to read).
Hoping to take part in the next one.

72 Posts
Mossy Toes, re-reading it I do see where Bastis takes the one officer to the infirmary and thereby leaves the scene, but I don't notice any perceptible change in Aliandro's attitude while Bastis was still there. Although his equerry is trying to provide sound counsel, Aliandro doesn't seem affected in the slightest, and his motivation continues unabated right up to his complete madness. My impression as a reader, especially the first time through, is that Bastis was ineffectual in the first place, and his leaving the bridge seems insignificant and easily ignored whereas his absence during Aliandro's revelation is curious. I'd suggest either keeping Bastis around so his death at Aliandro's hands is shocking/humbling, or put more contrast between Aliandro's thoughts and actions before and after Bastis leaves the scene. Again, space constraints can hang that up.

Andygorn, it seems to me you're saying that you open a creative faucet and just let it run. This is perfect for getting the initial ideas onto paper, but it doesn't guarantee coherency, nor does it take into account those who are reading your words as opposed to reading your mind. The whole point of writing (for an audience, anyway) is to "transmit" your ideas to your readers. That isn't possible if you reference personal metaphors with no context, or disjoint the narrative by changing tenses or tampering with conventional paragraph structure. Revising and Editing are key. There's a lot of discipline and patience involved here; artists aren't known for the penciled outlines on which they build, nor the first coat of paint they lay down.

Meanwhile the only criticism I've received is that my focus on wealth was unclear. Come on, guys, don't leave me hanging!

As for that one: My intention was to portray life, in a grimdark "time available to fight" kind of way, as the definition of wealth. As such, anyone who is still alive who can fight is considered "wealthy" beyond all material means. But this only applies to those who are alive: The servitor couldn't care less, as life is irrelevant to its function and purpose for existing. Macharis "counts" because he is alive. The fallen guardsman is "counting up the wealth" Macharis has by pointing out that he hasn't died just yet. But the servitor's entire job is literally counting up the dogtags, without any real importance laid on what those dogtags represent: The servitor is the devil's advocate which proposes that Macharis was not wealthy at all.
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