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Otaku Prose Contest Round 1 (Vicky VS. Mr. Blonde)


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Round 1

[SIZE="4"][FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"]VI[COLOR="gray"]C[/COLOR][COLOR="Red"]KY[/COLOR][/FONT] [FONT="Impact"]VERSUS[/FONT] [FONT="Book Antiqua"][COLOR="SandyBrown"]MR.[/COLOR] B[COLOR="Gray"]L[/COLOR][COLOR="Silver"]O[/COLOR][COLOR="White"]N[/COLOR][COLOR="Gray"]D[/COLOR]E[/FONT][/SIZE]

[SIZE="1"]Voting is open to ALL Otaku members except Vicky and Mr. Blonde. Voters, please state your vote clearly. Also, please give your reason for casting your vote the way you do. [COLOR="Red"]Voting will close on Friday, January 23.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER]

[FONT="Courier New"][SIZE="4"][B][U]The Challenge: Dying Is Your Latest Fashion[/U][/B][/SIZE][/FONT]
Each contestant will write a short story between [SIZE="3"]200[/SIZE] and [SIZE="3"]500[/SIZE] words. The stories can be told in any format, in any tense, from any point of view. However, there is one requirement: in each contestant's short story, [U]someone must die.[/U]
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[FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][align=justify]The last breath is the best lungful of air throughout your entire life; it beats all those summer nights, all the putrid gases or reeking infestations. I guess watching Forrest Gump on bootleg with your demon ? and best friend ? is as good as any to go. But the breath?s not here now.


?Seat taken??

There was this man, you see, massive and heroic looking, strong with beautiful, void eyes, Northern, who I scoffed at because he looked everything I was not. He sat down and, confidently (which I was not), he spoke.

?You look fancy, what you do??

I smiled nervously. ?I sell cars.?

?Oh you do now? Well car-man, I?m Jay ?Arrison. Bare knuckle boxer.?

?Ha. My second name is Harrison, too.?

I shook his hand and noticed the cuts. I smiled, he smiled. Luxuriously what I failed to be.


My head falls back and my eyes roll in my skull. Jay sits beside me and I feel the smoke from his cigarette in my face as I clutch, literally for life, onto the knife in my stomach, all the burning hatred and love of years for him dripping out little by little until there?s no more to bleed from my croaking mess.

?Missin? best part,? he says.


?Jay? Jay I can?t??

?I know.? He grabs my face gently and pushes his forehead against mine.

I try to speak some more but it doesn?t work.


I remember, once, sitting in a restaurant with Jay. He was slightly cut up from a previous fight but we never talked about that. We were on coffee now, said he loved that shit, but I wasn?t too much into it. Too bold for me. As we talked I noticed his eyes flicking occasionally to the side, an act I refrained from questioning until he grumbled.

?Woman keeps looking at us?? he snarled.

I looked. She shook her head at me then left.

?Come on.? Jay growled from his throat. I scrambled after him and he took to the streets, walking fast but cautiously. I tailed behind with no idea what was going on, until I saw him following the lady.

Got what she deserved, he?d said.


?Don?t cry.? He whispers to me.

They burn down my cheeks which I can?t help when I travel through memories.


He said to me, about a day before he plunged that knife through my stomach, that one of us had to leave. Said it real sadly, in a house that was alive with death and mould? and I knew I should?ve asked.




I was cold now because his hands and head were gone. I turn and expect him there but he?s gone ? Where did he go? Where did he go? ? I gasp left in this cold delusion and in front of the blaring television by myself. By myself.


I was always by myself. Kill yourself with dreams of what you wanna be.


Breathe now ?

[i]- Stop.[/i]

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Dear, friend

I find myself in the lost years, wondering if I?ll ever experience ?found? years. Does it just get worse from here? How does anyone survive? I finally realize the human race is in a quandary. Torn between beasts and gods, we possess the positive of neither, but the negative of both. We must continually occupy our minds, for threat of the many ?illnesses? that plague our psyche are but a whisper away from truth. If given more than a moment to consider our imprudence and tactlessness we recoil and question our humanity and the very point of our existence, like sharks that must constantly swim to breathe. We ask, ?How could ?God? do this??

In these lost years I feel more alone than I ever have, wishing for someone to merely say, ?I understand,? but I doubt I would hear the words even if they were spoken. I live for happiness that will never be fulfilled, and desires that will never be quenched. The human condition is a sad one indeed.

I've searched for a point to life, spending money to learn a skill, spending time to catch a dream that does not exist. The pursuit of happiness has been out of reach for so long that the realization of it is impossible. We all hold onto ?Wait until?? Wait until I finish that, wait until I do this, wait until I have grown so old that my dream can be nothing but a dream. It will be perfect, unspoiled and more real than it could ever have been. Would I be happy then?

Actual feelings escape me. I only realize how I [I]should[/I] feel. I am on the outside looking in. There is no room for any sentiment anymore. I play my ?game? with each and every person; never letting someone know how much I actually enjoy them, and never telling them I can?t live without them for the fear of losing them all together. I wish more than anything to hear, ?I love you?, but will cringe in opposition when I do. It is in this unwillingness that I an not meant for this world; the bastard child of hope and failure, my end is inevitable.

It is at this time that I finally realize there is nothing more that can be done. My acceptance of this fact has been clouded by my blind faith of the 'American Dream', but it is in this hope that I find nothing but hopelessness: the ghost of a life I was promised, but never can have. Even the fact that my 'privileged' life disappoints me is sickening; I have become 'one of those people'. I can no longer stand what I am, now knowing this is all I will be. Now there's nothing more to say. I'm leaving you today; this is the end.

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[SIZE=1]Both very good pieces, but I'm going to go for Vicky this time. This is mainly because Vicky utilised the idea of showing and not telling when it came to feelings and thoughts. While Blonde's idea was very good - in the form of a fiction suicide letter - he tended to tell and not show, which, although it works in context, made the whole thing feel a little clunky to me.

Plus, Vicky's was a little on the surreal side, and I like surreal! She also packed a lot of information into such a short piece, and it really gave me the feel of the character(s).

You both did well, but my vote is with Vicky.
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I'm going to have to vote for Mr. Blonde. Vicky's was confusing, and wasn't developed enough. Mr. Blonde's was mysterious, and I'm glad he didn't let everything out. Plus, a suicide letter is a creative way to do something that could become cliche.
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[FONT="Arial"]Vicky's entry was like seeing into the mind of the person who was dying. It made the story very dynamic and you could almost feel the despair they felt as they died. Blonde's entry got into the manner of how the person felt disconnected with life and therefore took their own life. Since I felt more emotion from Vicky's piece, making it stand out more in my mind, I vote for [U]Vicky[/U].[/FONT]
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[FONT="Garamond"]It took me a long time to decide, but I think I will have to go with Vicky. I enjoyed each piece a lot but there was a lot more feeling expressed in Vicky's writing while Mr. Blonde's piece was almost anticlimactic because all feeling was gone from the individual in question who was writing the letter. There was no loss in the letter, there was more a feeling of resign. In Vicky's you got to see snapshots of many different feelings.[/FONT]
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[FONT=Arial]Critique to follow, in posting order. Voting below.


[COLOR="DarkRed"]Vicky[/COLOR], doozie of a concept. This short exemplifies the fun of writing to me: taking a concept, as simple as it may be, and finding a way to pull a story out of it, to build an instance around it. I was worried for a moment that you might have a decent idea but not good follow-through, but I was wrong; good attention to tenses.

You had one glitch in the Jay Harrison's dialect. One "-ing" that managed to make it through intact. That, and maybe leaving the T off of "don't" would add to the effect. Sure, you can say "it's overlookable", but not striving for perfection when you know you're capable of attaining it is almost as unforgivable as saying perfection is impossible.

Watch your ellipses. Four periods at the ends of sentences, not three.

[QUOTE][FONT=Lucida Sans Unicode]?Don?t cry.? He whispers to me.[/FONT][/QUOTE]
Snag here, too. Either comma after "cry", or say "He whispers it to me." Either way works.

Other than that, I . . . . really don't have anything to say to you. Very nice piece.


[COLOR="DarkRed"]Mr. Blonde[/COLOR]: A suicide letter. Interesting choice, and insightful.

The tone bothers me. Eloquency aside, it is not despairing or fatalistic, but detached and disconnected. Musing, almost. Is that what one feels before they take their life? Or is it a supposition?

To me, the actual fervor is irrelevant; one might be agitated to the point of panic or simply tired and weary, but in whatever case I feel the despair would be the pervading influence. I don't get that from this letter. I get merely disillusionment.

Take that as you will, though, for again that is just [I]my[/I] supposition. I know about as much of being suicidal as any other un-suicidal person, honestly. And while I question why a person would end their life out of boredom [I]with[/I] life (which is the predominant sentiment I get out of the letter), I can't say for certain.

To other ends, reread your work carefully. Twice at least just after you've written it, but at least a few more times after you've walked away for a day or so. Time, I have found, is the best editor's assistant. It'll help catch the one or two misspellings that slip through because you see what you meant to write, and not what you actually wrote; or alert you to instances where you might have gone too heavy on a particular effect?like the single-quotes, for instance.


Here again, both entrants constructed their pieces very well. I could speak to the numerous similarities or counterpoints that should make this decision hard, but when I get to the deciding factor, the rest is rinsed away by its simplicity.

The difference is [U]unique[/U].

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[size=1]Both pieces were good, but it would be hard not to reward Vicky for taking such an unusual idea and executing it well. Mr. Blonde's suicide note was interesting, but I felt like it didn't tell a complete story. It was so formal and eloquent that it felt difficult to connect with the 'author.'

My vote goes to the Vickster.

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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial]
Watch your ellipses. Four periods at the ends of sentences, not three.[/font]

Actually it [I]is[/I] three, not four.

Well the response is pretty much what I expected so far. But I decided I'd rather do something unique and fail doing it than do what I have done before.

Thanks for the feedback so far everyone.
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[quote name='Mr. Blonde']Actually it [U]is[/U] three, not four.[/quote]
[font=Arial]Actually, it is [i]not[/i]. Not at the end. The ellipsis must be followed by the final punctuation at the end of a sentence. With question marks and exclamation points the form is obvious, but if the sentence ends in a period, the period makes the fourth dot.

E.g.: [/font][list]
[*]This is the end...!
[*]This is the end...?
[*]This is the end....
[/list] Edited by Allamorph
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[B]Vicky:[/B] I like how you connected really well to what the person was thinking as they were dying. Very nicely done.

[B]Mr. Blonde:[/B] You're piece was too distanced. It read like an essay on why someone might commit suicide instead of actually being a true suicide letter. It was a nifty concept, but I didn't really feel anything from it.

I vote for [B]Vicky[/B].
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[FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][B]Vicky[/B]: It was a little confusing. I had to reread it twice to figure out whether the point of view was male or female (male, I think?). But the story's construction was very well played out and kept my interest throughout.

[B]Mr. Blonde[/B]: I've read suicide note stories before, and this one just didn't really interest me. It felt more like a philosophy on suicide rather than a suicide note. There was a lot of opportunity for creativity, and I didn't feel like you utilized all of it here.

My vote goes to [B]Vicky[/B]! [/FONT]
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