View Full Version : [wRHG Tournament] The Valley of Dreams R4: Timed Transgression

11-04-2014, 11:00 PM
"And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence."


The ground flies beneath you as you sprint. Your breath comes in labored and heavy and it feels like something's about to break, but you don't stop.

Chaos roars around you. Lights are exploding. Houses are collapsing. Trees are being torn to splinters.

You dare to glance back and your heart drops into your stomach. There's debris and crumbled buildings--then nothing. It's just like there's some black hole, pulling everything into nonexistence.

And it's getting closer.

You force yourself to run faster, but in the back of your mind you know it's useless. You can't see straight and it hurts to breathe. You've fallen and gotten back up so many times that dirt and blood is permanently stuck to your skin.

You clench your fists and keep going. The tokens in your hand feel like they're about to burn straight through your skin and bones, but you're not about to let go of them. They're your only way out of this nightmare. You can't even remember how many people you've killed for them.

You hear a loud bell over the constant din of shattering glass and breaking stone. It starts chiming to twelve, and you know that time has finally run out.

The dream is falling apart.

The Final Dream: Timed Transgression
Everything is about to end. This is your last chance to escape.

Round Prompt
This round, you will write a story using nonlinear time. This means you must do one of two things: you may either present a story in anachronistic order or write a plot involving nonlinear time (e.g., time loops or time travel).

A story is considered to have an "anachronistic order" if the scenes presented do not come in chronological order. This means that flashbacks and flashforwards are valid. "Anachronistic order" specifically means that full scenes are presented out of order (you can't just have a three sentence long flashback).

If your story is about nonlinear time, it has to actually be a main part of the plot (though I don't see how you would make it not important). Any form of time travel is allowed, as is any other kind of time weirdness. Remember that these stories must be able to stand on their own (so while a Peggy Sue story would be allowed, it would be extremely difficult to pull off).

Now more than any other time, remember to write clearly. Messing with chronology is inherently confusing, so it's your job to make sure that your readers can figure out exactly what's going on; the best plot in the world won't mean a thing if people can't see it.

Your story may be up to 4500 words unless otherwise specified.

Betting Phase
The betting phase lasts five days and ends at midnight CST on Sunday, the ninth of November. This is the time to declare your bets. Your betting range is listed with your matchups below. Remember, if you take too long, your opponent might make the declaration before you, so if you want to go high risk you might want to declare fast.

Once your bet has been set, I will PM both of you your individual prompts and you can start writing.

If neither of you declare a bet by the end of the betting phase, I will set your bet to the minimum.

Deal with the Devil
Deals are exactly the same as they were last round.

You may request a Deal at any point during this round by either putting it in your bet declaration post or sending me a PM. I will issue the Deal 24-48 hours later (if I don’t, then PM me again). You may cancel your request at any point before it’s actually issued without penalty, but you may not re-request the Deal if you do so.

The Deal gives you one extra token at the end of the round, but you must hold up your end of the Deal for every round it is in effect or you will be penalized a token.

If you wish to use your shuffle on the Deal you get, just PM me saying so. Remember, you may only shuffle one Deal in the entire tournament and you are not allowed to return to your old Deal. You are also only allowed to shuffle the Deal you get the same round.

The writing phase ends at midnight CST on December first (12/01/14). Remember, you will be eliminated from the tournament if you submit late, so aim for a couple of days early if you’re bad at time zones. PM me BEFORE the due date about extenuating circumstances, but I will not be generous with extensions/passes. Three to four weeks is pretty generous as it is.

Here are all of the matchups. I will update this with individual prompts and bets as they are declared. Remember, you get your prompt once you declare your bet, so if you want more time to write, then declare your bet sooner rather than later.

Just as a note about prompts, if I say “your character(s)”, that means it must be one of the wRHG characters. If it does not say “your character(s)” (and instead says something like “one or more characters”), then any character may fill that role.

The wRHG characters have to be main characters, not just present in the story. A main character is not someone who does something important to the plot; it's someone who has a presence in the story and helps to drive it. You can't add in a character and completely turn the wRHG character into an extra, because that's how you lose universal points.

BoomerangReturns (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?85261-Sirius-Nightshade-The-Lord-of-The-Night) (10) vs. ErrorBlender (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?58743-Cooper-Price-Bl-An-C-Blast-Android-Class) (3)
BoomerangReturns vs ErrorBlender (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?89797-VoD-R4-BoomerangReturns-vs-ErrorBlender)
Wager: 3 tokens
Head in the Clouds
Hiking is a great way to get exercise and experience nature. You'll be able to take in the sights and sounds and at the same time reflect on more personal concerns. Oxygen gets thin at higher altitudes, so be careful not to overexert yourself.

Setting: A mountain trail.
Scenario: One of your characters is caught out on a lie.
Prompt: Your characters do not have to be travelling together (so it is okay if they just happen to meet). The lie does not have to be the cause of the conflict, but it does have to be an important element to the plot. The existence of the lie has to be discovered, not revealed (the contents of the lie, however, can be admitted after the liar has been caught).Book Ends
Book ends is a stylistic choice in which an author begins and ends the story in the same way (e.g., a certain action or a line of dialogue). It's usually used to show how things have or haven't changed or to recontextualize the scene or sentence or action. You will be given credit based on how well your book ends work with the rest of the story (both thematically and stylistically). You will be penalized if your book ends sound contrived or otherwise forced.

Submitting Stories:
You will PM your story directly to me before the due date, midnight CST of December 1st. You may submit the text as is or a link to a pastebin or Google Doc or other file upload website, as long as I don't need to make an account to access it. I will make the topics and polls when the time comes.

There's no explicit bonus for submitting early, but I'll be able to get to your red pen reviews sooner and your subscore explanations will be more in-depth. It'll help keep the judging phase down to a week.

Ask any questions pertaining specifically to this round in this thread or by PM and I’ll pop them here as soon as I’m able.

Full tournament rules and guidelines are here. (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?85710-wRHG-Tournament-The-Valley-of-Dreams-Rules-and-Guidelines)
General tournament discussion and due dates are posted here. (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?85572-wRHG-Tournament-The-Valley-of-Dreams-General-Info)
The Valley of Dreams R1: Past Projection (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?85916-wRHG-Tournament-The-Valley-of-Dreams-R1-Past-Projection)
The Valley of Dreams R2: Reviled Reflection (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?86759-wRHG-Tournament-The-Valley-of-Dreams-R2-Reviled-Reflection)
The Valley of Dreams R3: Corrupt Connection (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?87771-wRHG-Tournament-The-Third-Dream-Corrupt-Connection)
The Valley of Dreams Concluded (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?90089-wRHG-Tournament-The-Dream-Concluded-Final-Results-and-Summaries)

11-04-2014, 11:00 PM
Corrupt Connection has come to an end. You can view it here. (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?87771-wRHG-Tournament-The-Third-Dream-Corrupt-Connection)

As with last time, scores are listed in the following order: Rubric (out of 45)/Skill (out of 45)/Narrative Challenge (0 or 15)/Vote Points (5*votes)/Feedback (out of 10)
BoomerangReturns (won by forfeit)
Tokens: 10
Round Score: 51
Cumulative Score: 211
Scores: 20/31/0/0/0

ErrorBlender (won by forfeit)
Tokens: 4+1-2
Round Score: 56
Cumulative Score: 212
Scores: 30/26/0/0/0

There were two forfeits: WafflesMgee and Nikx232.

Current rankings are as shown below:Format is Username: Tokens/Completed Rounds/Cumulative Score
1. BoomerangReturns: 10/3/211
2. ErrorBlender: 3/3/212
3. WafflesMgee: 1/2/199
4. Nikx232: 1/2/134
5. Kyra: 0/2/196
6. Tremorfist: 3/1/69
7. Aquila: 1/1/78
8. The Strongest: 1/1/77
9. Xate: 1/1/67
10. Tantalum: 1/0/0
10. zoomxoom: 2/0/0
10. Shadowkirby: 1/0/0
Subscore explanations have gone out. Sorry for getting them out a little late; I was butting up against the PM character limit and I didn't want to split them, so I had to do some fiddling around with my wording.

My comments on this round got a bit long, so they've been spoilered below.There were some serious issues in characterization. A character isn't just someone who does things to make the story happen; it's someone who drives the story. In a sense, the main character and their personality is the story, which is to say that the plot simply couldn't exist without that character and their actions. A major problem was telling and not showing personality traits. You can't write "John loved to bake cookies all the time," because all we get out of that is that John "bakes cookies all the time". If, instead, you write something like, "Aaron smelled baking cookies as he reached the bottom of the stairs and smiled. Maybe if he asked nicely, John would let him eat a few," you establish with those two sentences that Aaron and John are on friendly terms, John bakes regularly, and that John is good at baking cookies and/or Aaron has a sweet tooth. You don't need to write "Jack was angry" if you write "Jack slammed the papers down and stormed out of the room". And you don't have to write "Jack did this a lot," if you write "Irene rolled her eyes and sighed. 'Just give him a few minutes,' she said. 'He'll be back after he gets some coffee'". Readers can deduce a lot from actions, so use that to your advantage.

Another problem was with general style. Like I said earlier, there was a lot of "tell, don't show". It makes stories sound very passive, which kills tension and makes it hard to get invested in the events and characters. If you write events saying "They had looked around", that tells us that that's something that happened in the past, so it's not as urgent. If you write "The sword had pierced his lung," the past perfect tells us that "he" got stabbed in the past, but that's not important right now. If, instead, you write "The sword pierced his lung," the simple past tense suddenly puts us right in the moment where he gets stabbed. Similarly, writing things like, "Jeff fell over because somebody pushed him," is more passive than "Somebody pushed Jeff and he fell over". The difference is that the first one is stopping the action to explain what's going on whereas the second is just telling us what happened. The reader already knows that Jeff fell over because he was pushed because they're in the same sentence. (Also, "Somebody pushed Jeff and that caused him to fall over" or "Somebody pushed Jeff and he fell over because of that" are just as passive.)

There's this weird thing where people keep writing body parts doing things as opposed to the characters doing them. If you say that "Paul's eyes stared at Jean," you're just telling us that Paul has eyes that are facing Jean. Simply writing "Paul stared at Jean" is an action that shows that the character has a certain intent. The thing about isolating body parts is that you end up separating the character from the action, which generally isn't a good thing. People don't really care about Paul's eyes; they care about Paul. That being said, there are points when this is acceptable, like if there's a sequence when the character's body is moving on its own or without conscious intent. Certain sensations are fine when associated with specific body parts, like writing "Hanson reached for the poker and his fingers barely brushed against it" or "Yvonne's toes curled as she watched the grisly footage". This is because these actions don't have intent and are usually to show a character's state of mind through unconscious reactions.

Something I want to note is that a lot of people use "seemingly" or "a figure". The problem with this is that it's vague and comes off as trying to force suspense. Don't use noncommittal language to describe your character ("Cadence was sort of bored" or "Aria was seemingly angry"). Especially don't use negatives like "He did not feel happy" because we care about what he did feel, not what he didn't. Bringing it back to the whole "tell, don't show" issue, saying that someone "likes to bake" doesn't actually tell us anything except that they "like to bake". If you show us a specific instance of them baking, we see a lot more than they "like to bake"--we can see things like if they're orderly or doing it as a job or just because they like baked goods. The key to good writing is being specific--not to be confused with gorging on details and descriptors. Saying that someone "beat up" someone else leaves a lot to the imagination whereas having someone "throw someone to the wall" actually evokes a specific image.

There are some redundancy issues, too. You should never write something like "'Sorry,' Brom apologized". You should never spend three sentences saying the exact same thing because it becomes tedious and sounds like you're underestimating the reader's intelligence and/or memory. If you said that there was a dark hole, then readers will know that it's still dark when you refer to it later. If a sentence isn't adding any new information, then it should be cut. This also applies to explaining things that should be evident (like "Terry was in pain because he got hit by a crowbar" right after saying "Sara dropped a crowbar and it fell on Terry's head").

As for grammar, there's really nothing I haven't said already. There are still semicolon issues and wordiness and tense changes and mishandled dialogue tags. If you're looking to improve your grammar, then you might want to look into checking out some online resources like the Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) or a style guide like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Style).
Really, the most important thing is to read and analyze your text, not just write. You get better with practice, but you need to remember that there's more to storytelling than typing a bunch of words.

Anyways, best wishes for the competitors in the fourth and final round. I look forward to seeing how these turn out.

11-06-2014, 01:11 AM
Subscore feedback has been sent out. Apologies for being late and, as always, feel free to ask me about them if you're confused and/or want more explanation.

Anyways, the betting phase lasts until midnight on Sunday, so place a wager before then.

11-09-2014, 11:57 AM
I'm going to go ahead and wager three tokens.

I'm also going to warn Jess and my competitor, Error, that I have been anchored by NaNoWriMo and school activities. There is a possibility that I may not have my story in, but I'm going to try my best not to let that happen. I'd rather have a mediocre story that can be judged than no story at all.

11-09-2014, 12:22 PM
All right, that's the wager placed, then. Individual prompts have been sent out.

And I appreciate the effort, Boomerang. Everyone's got stuff going, so thanks for putting in the work in spite of that. 's better to at least give it a try, y'know?

11-26-2014, 11:32 PM
Hello, happy turkey day to those in America and happy normal day to everyone else. This is just your friendly reminder that stories are due at midnight CST on Monday, December 1st. Be sure to get those stories in before the due date.

12-01-2014, 05:01 PM
I'm sorry, the combination of NaNoWriMo, crunch time in Stage Crew, starting to work on the toy drive, schoolwork and trying to find stuff to do inbetween has left me with absolutely no time. I'm not going to get it in on time. I didn't want it to end quite like this, considering a lot of tournament finals end like that. I don't know if Error has his in, but I think he was struggling as well.

I truly and deeply apologize because I really didn't want it to go down like this. If I had more time I'd definitely try and churn this one out.

12-01-2014, 06:36 PM
If it makes you feel better, you technically have two more days because of the late deadline. Considering that this is the last round, the fact that you're booted out of the tournament for submitting late doesn't really apply anymore.

But if you're not able to get everything done, I get that. There's a lot of stuff going on with finals and exams and the holidays.

Incidentally, it's well within your rights to submit whatever you have, even if it's incomplete, with no penalty (at least, from our side. You'd probably lose votes). We just judge whatever's there.

Edit: I have not received either story. There are still two days until the late due date (December 3rd) and you can still submit your stories until then.

However, because there are only two people and this is the last round, I'd be willing to extend the due date if the extra time (a week, or until next Monday, the 8th ) would help. Let me know if that's something you want.

Edit 2: The due date has been extended to midnight CST, December 8th. So happy writing and all that.

12-08-2014, 11:04 PM
All right, here I am. The extended due date has passed and I have only received BoomerangReturns' story. I will post whatever I have in 24 hours and after that, judging will go on as normal. Both contestants have until then to submit or resubmit.

After this round is over, I'm going to compile the tournament information and work through some summaries as well as post my lists of prompts for anyone who wants to look at those.

The submissions have been posted. Please read and vote. (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?89797-VoD-R4-BoomerangReturns-vs-ErrorBlender)

12-17-2014, 09:27 AM
I feel a little bad about triple posting, but whatever.

Now that voting is done for the final round, we're basically done with the tournament! I'm going to crunch some numbers and go over the tournament stories to see if there were any trends on where/why people lost points and post all of that in a final summary. Final round results as well as final tournament results will be there, too.

However, this is finals week for me, so I'm a bit busy until Friday. That means that the summary and final stuff will probably not come out until the weekend.

In the meantime, here's an early thank you to everyone who has participated in this tournament--whether it was in reading, writing, voting, or commenting. It was a pleasure working with you.