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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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I wasn't even one of the original writAARs. I just submitted this one as a backup to CatKnight. :)

Well, for submission #3, I was testing a completely different style of writing. I don't think it worked so well, and many of you have raised valid criticism, all justified. Part of the issue was me throwing it together without truly editing it or reading it over much at all. However, that is not a valid excuse. Perfection is always the goal.

Now for feedback on the submissions:

Submission #1:

I found this one hilarious. Very well-crafted, and the story flowed very well, though that was less important here than the humor. :)

Submission #2:

This one had some promise, though it seemed sort of rushed. To me, the one thing that stood out in this selection was that Enrique, though one of four people named, is listed as a statistic (i.e. 'the seventieth casualty of the charge'). Plenty of promise, and if it were fleshed out, and lengthened, could be pretty good.

Of course, I won't tell who wrote it. :D

Submission #3:

Already covered. It was mine, after all. ;)

Submission #4:

Yep, Peter, completely missed the joke. The "I did it my way" threw up some red flags, but still didn't catch it. Now that I read it again, it makes perfect sense. Good job.

Submission #5:

At first, I was wondering why Australia was not mentioned, as that was what this continent obviously was. Then, I realized that Australia was a European name. If the Chinese discovered it, it obviously wouldn't be 'Australia' for them.

Also, I appreciated the discussion of the succession, and how policies would radically differ from one monarch to the next.

Nicely done.
 

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First, I would like to apologize to those authors that submitted work during this last round as I never did have time to read through and offer critique. However, I was pleased to see others picking up that slack. And I hope it continues as we are about to embark upon another run for Guess the Author. Yes, it is the 1st of the month and that's when I like to get a new group to submit and leave the rest of the month to read, critique and discuss. So let's get going.

For this round, I thought we would try something just a little different. And thus, the topic for this round will be - The Wlak!

Yes, that's right - the famed and mythical wlak. You may choose any direction for your submission as long as it somehow includes the wlak. To get more familiar with the history of this creature, you may wish to read up on it in this thread for it will detail many things learned over the years.

I will accept the first four authors that PM me, and your submissions will be due no later than October 7th. I will then post each in anonymous fashion and the critiques will begin. I will detail submission guidelines in my response to your PM.

So who's game? Anyone have a new story to tell about the famous wlak? Let's hear 'em. :D
 

coz1

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Just a reminder note - those who owe me submissions and have yet to send them - today is the deadline to get them to me as outlined in my return PM to you.

Look for the next batch of G-t-A submissions to be posted tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. :)
 

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It's that time again, to read and offer critique on a few anonymous submissions from members just like you. We have four excellent examples and I hope you will read each and give honest and thoughtful critique.

As always, please remember that rudeness will not be tolerated, but constructive criticism is welcomed. And further keep in mind that each of these writers put good time into writing these pieces and thus deserve good time spent on reading them by their fellow members. I hope you enjoy them.

Recall again the subject - The Wlak

I will post all four in a row and then the floor will be open for critique. After a goodly amount of time, I will reveal the authors and allow them the chance to answer their comments and discuss their work. Thank you ahead of time for your support on this project, both for myself but especially for our four writers.
 

coz1

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Author #1

THE WLAK ATTACK

"I donna think he's comin'," growled Angus. He poked his head over the tall grass surrounding the Kansas slaughterhouse and glowered. "Donna see why we need 'im anyway."

"He will come," replied Celene softly. "You must be patient."

"Patient!? Those are our people down there!"

"She knows this," murmured the third in a deep baritone. "She also knows the vorkers are at lunch. Production has ceased. Ve have time, da?"

"Easy for you to say, Mooski," Angus snarled. "And I donna care if she is the Holy Cow! Sometimes faith isna enough. I mean, whoever heard of an American wlak? " Mooski and Celene frowned.

"We're better at hiding than our European brethren." They heard a faint hum and the wlak shimmered into view as the electromagnetic field bending light around him dissipated. He stood head and shoulders above the bulls and cow, his head tossed back proudly.

"And where the curdled milk 'av you been?" Angus demanded. He hated being the shortest, and his reddish brown fur bristled.

"Scouting," the wlak replied coldly. "Know thy enemy."

"Very good," Mooski stepped forward. His fur was jet black except for a curious red scar on his forehead shaped like a star thanks to a glancing slice from a scythe. The commander of this operation, his experience featured six years in the Third Battle Cattle fighting renegade sheep in Chechnya. "Vhat did you fynd?"

"There are eighteen humans in the main processing area, all male, and a few more in the office area, but they are universally out of shape. We can consider them non-combattants."

"Speak for yerself!"

The wlak ignored Angus. "Three have rod guns - extreme short range, easily avoided. Eight have stunners. The rest are unarmed, but there are various tools they could use in an emergency. Your friends are in a pen awaiting slaughter. The pigs I cannot answer for: They're already dead, or will be by the time we arrive. Boiling."

"Holy Hathor," murmured Celene, with tears in her soft brown eyes, "I commend to you the souls of our allies..."

"Enough talk!" Angus snarled. "Let's get those bipeds!"

"You hev done vell, komrade. Ken you get us through the fence?"

"You're the one with the artillery. I'm more of a surgical attack wlak. I'll get your friends. Just keep the humans off my back."

"No problem!" Angus grinned.

"Try not to hurt them," Celene said. "They do not know the evil they commit."

"____ that!"

"She iz ryt, komrade. Ve do not vish to trigger a var."

Angus snarled.

-----------

The whistle blew, long and mournful, promising fear, pain and death. Mooski slowly lowered the visor across his eyes. Electronics hummed softly as the infrared sensors clipped to his horns recorded, analyzed, then transmitted. The bull nodded slowly. "They are leeving the buildeen." He lost sight of them momentarily as they passed behind a great oak. "I must move into position now. You are readee?"

Angus looked up from the cattle-pult. "Aye!/ Get outta here."
The older bull left. Celene stood next to Angus, sighing. "I hate this."

"What? Rescuing our friends? Are ye daft?"

"I hate that it's necessary," she replied. "Cows and humans aren't supposed to fight." She shook her head. "I hope no one gets hurt."

"You do that, lass." Angus said. He opened the cattlepult's ammo box and pulled rubber sleeves over his hooves.

"What are you doing?" she demanded as he drew a small metal cannister and gently attachied it to the rock meant to batter a hole in the slaughterhouse's fence.

"I believe the bipeds call it sendin' a message!"

------------

"Your friend better hurry," the wlak noted. "They're taking out your friends now."

It was true: Three workers opened the pen where three cows with soft brown fur waited, tied to rails. They shied away as the men approached. One drew a bolt pistol, pressed it to a cow's head and fired. A metal bolt shot from the barrel into the beast's head. She screamed once and fell.
"Nyet!" Mooski stood. "Angus! Fyr!"

Angus fired. The rock sailed high over the fence and slammed into the office building, where it exploded in a fireball. Flames shot out as hot, burning wind struck Mooski. He cried out at the flash of light and all went dark.

When his vision returned, hell had arrived.. The office building was gone, the ancient oak a towering spear of flame. Humans ran about, screaming and burned. Cows screamed also, struggling with their tethers.
"Piotr's ghost!" Mooski breathed.

"Your friend isn't very good at sneak attacks!" the wlak cried. He charged, followed shortly by the thick Russian.

Celene whirled on Angus. "Look what you've done! Why!?"

"They killed my mum," the bull replied coldly. Autocannons sprouted from his harness. "Someone 'as to teach them a lesson." He turned away.

"Angus, stop!" she cried, as he charged into the maelstrom, an orange cloud rising above their heads. She sat down, tears matting her fur. "Hathor forgive him."

The wlak leapt into the pen and looked around. The humans had fled, some in cars, most just running blindly. Perfect: Only a fool fights if he doesn't have to. "Ladies!" he bellowed, lowering his head against the smoke.

"What's happening?" screamed one.

"Stand back! We're leaving!"

Mooski battered the fence down by sheer bulk. "We hev to get out of heer!"
"Where's Angus?" the wlak demanded.

"Over there!" The small bull chased the fleeing humans, cannons alternately firing.

"He's going to get himself killed!"

"Da! May keel him meself!" Mooski ran to the captive cows and cut their restraints. "Let us go!"
 

coz1

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Author #2

David and Adam sat together on a log, watching the herd. It had been a long day, and was just now getting into the hours of the afternoon when a wlak is least active and most amenable to staying put. Adam was eating an apple.

“Say, David,” said Adam suddenly. “You don’t suppose that we could get a better price now for these wlaks than in the fall when all the other wlakherds go to market?”

“How would we do that, you imbecile?” David snorted. “The animals haven’t been fattened up yet; no one will buy a thin wlak.”

“Well, I was thinking that if we could get one of the regular buyers to sign an agreement to pay us a certain price now, in return for getting so many wlaks in a few months, he would be quite glad to have part or all of his quota filled up. You know that most of the animals that are sold just go through Edinburgh down to London, and then to the Crown or to the colonies or whoever in England has a taste for Wlak meat and hair. I thought it was a very good idea.”

“Well, it’s stupid.” David turned back towards the herd and shouted at the herd dog that was looking like it was considering gnawing on a dead animal rather than watching the herd.

“Why is it stupid?” Adam was intent on pursuing the question.

“Listen, if you don’t shut up I’ll go find some manure for you to talk to,” said David.

“But I really think it would work. I mean, getting your wlaks at a price you and the seller can agree on ahead of time, instead of relying on whatever fluctuations the market may go through in the time between now and the slaughter! John Company, the upscale aristocratic market, knowing they are assured, say, one hundred head of Wlak for a good price, absolutely assured!”

“And what is to assure that they get their wlak?”

“Well, contracts for one thing. Do you want to get taken to court? And that isn’t an argument; John got thrown in jail because he didn’t deliver a wlak last October and went bankrupt.”

David was getting annoyed. He didn’t see the purpose of this discussion and was getting dragged into it anyway. “Hmmmm… suppose that the buyer decides he doesn’t want a wlak in September that he wanted in March. What then?” He thought this was a strong argument. “Is it just to force a man who does not want a wlak to take the wlak and keep his money? Perhaps he cannot afford to have the wlak in his possession,” (David was getting high flung here, for a wlakherd) “and simply must reject the wlak in order to continue supporting his wife and children?”

“He can sell the wlak to someone else. He can sell his house, after all.”

“Now why on earth would he do that when he could just eat the wlak?” David did not realize he was contradicting himself, and neither did Adam.

Adam thought for a minute, and said “Well… I don’t really think that matters, because if he can’t support his family he can’t really afford to go out and butcher the wlak properly to feed them.” Adam still did not realize David had contradicted himself. “But back to my previous point. Not only could he sell the wlak, but I see no reason why he couldn’t sell the contract to buy the wlak. Just come up to you and me, or whoever he bought the wlak from, and say ‘I’ve sold my right to the wlak to so-and-so so when the fall comes bring it to him.’ Yes, in fact I think there could be a great market in the buying and selling of these contracts. Someone who does not care to have a wlak, except one that he has gotten cut up nicely from his butcher, buying these contracts and then selling them to someone else who has not been able to cut a deal directly with the farmer… This could be a great thing, David.”

“But you never say how this will work in actuality. It’s just a flight of fancy, a normal farmer lie you and me couldn’t get all this arranged…”

The dog decided that, since his masters were quite well occupied, he could safely gnaw on a dead animal and let the wlaks take care of their own.
 

coz1

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Author #3

I had laughed at old Dmitri. From those first days when he had come back from his hunts, to last week’s pleading tale, I did not take Dmitri seriously. No one did, for that matter. He never could provide proof of his vicious predator’s existence. If he were a drinking man, though, we might have accepted it as drunken ravings, but Dmitri never drank.

One day in mid-April, while I was up at Piotr’s shack, selling him plow my uncle had forged, I decided to visit Dmitri, who lived less than an hour’s walk off the main road. Dmitri’s shack looked more rundown than when I had last come. Dmitri had always been a neat man; the shack should not be in such a state. I tied Ivan to a large, sturdy tree, as it would not be smart to allow him to wander off.

I knocked loudly on the door, hoping the hermit would be home. I was answered by silence. Opening the door, ignoring the creaks, I stepped in. I looked around the dark room. The inside was as in need of repair as the outside. Dust covered everything, shelves, tables, chairs, even the bed. Dmitri hadn’t stayed here in weeks, yet he had come to my father’s inn, imploring that we believe him just last night. His pleading had been desperate, like that of a condemned man. The ancient clockmaker, before he died, had adopted that same demeanor. He had put his entire being into the repair and construction of clocks. He would spend nineteen, twenty hours a day working in his shop. It was the pleading of an obsessed man.

I stepped out into the afternoon sunlight. Blinking against the harsh light, I made for the road, to head back. I stopped three steps outside the shack. Ivan was gone, the rope I used to tie him to the tree, cut. My village had not had trouble with bandits since before I was born. A chill coursed through my bones. I had never known such mortal fear as the arrival of interlopers. The village had to be warned, before it was too late.

With resolve, I hiked back to the road, and turned south. A couple minutes later, I heard an unearthly noise off to my left. After a couple moments of thought, I turned off the road. A clearing, a mere couple hundred yards from the road, held Dmitri. A large beast, whose glorious figure cannot possibly be described, stood next to him. He looked up from the saddle he was tying to the creature, and noticed me.

“Vladimir! What brings you out this way?” His voice was held artificially level, and cheerful.

“Dmitri, there are bandits around. They took Ivan from near your home.”

“Of course there are bandits around. Though soon, young Vladimir, they shall be no longer. Soon we shall be left with the bandits who stop by from Archangelsk, collecting our earnings. However, there is little we can do about such tax-men.”

“What is that creature next to you? Why can you be so confident that the bandits will be wiped out? Why…?”

He interrupted my questioning. “You are young, Vladimir. Remember, one question at a time.” He smiled at me, one of his condescending smiles he used only occasionally.

“The creature you see next to me is a wlak. It is an ancient, almost mythical creature. I found him after a lifetime of searching through old books in the abandoned monastery to the west. I came here, because your village was close to the sulphur springs the wlak likes to frequent. It is like vodka for the noble beasts. They love it, though it makes them drunk, and easy to catch and tame.”

“He breathes fire, and his hooves are made of sharpest steel. The hordes of the hated Tsar Gegkhis rode on these creatures. The legions of Musselmen under Saladeen could not stop him. The bravest knights of Lithuania and the Orders could not stand against the Mongol, all because of this powerful beast.”

My breath caught. The creature looked at me levelly, and seemed to smile. I shivered, and started backing up.

“As to your question why I am so confident that the bandits will be easily dispersed, I believe I have given you an answer.”

The wlak burped, smoke emerging from its nostrils. By now I had decided that it would be far better to leave, and now.

“Thank you for your explanation, Dmitri. I wish you the best of luck in the destructions of these raiders.”

I ran towards the road. The wlak ran the other way, with Dmitri on its back.

A couple days after these events, I ran across a group of a half-dozen horses and men, burned to skeletons near Piotr’s abode. I never saw Dmitri or the wlak again. Some have ridiculed me for chasing after ‘myths’ and ‘legends’. I know it for truth, for I have looked into the eyes of God and survived. Perhaps I will be my village’s Dmitri? There is no shame in such a role.
 

coz1

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Author #4

Jefferson, Adams and Franklin sat around the table as the evening light waned in the distant window. Drinks had flowed freely, but for some reason, only Mr. Franklin seemed to enjoy the libations. Thomas Jefferson had a tankard or two and John Adams had one and said ‘no thank you” when offered more. But the distinguished Dr. Franklin never could stop himself when the steward suggested another round.

Thus it was when the conversation turned to items detailing things such as emblems and national symbols. Jefferson stood and walked around the room for a time as he thought on the matter while John Adams looked at him with a perturbed frown. It lingered enough that Franklin saw it and the old man was finally heard to say with some delight, “Drop it Adams, or it may remain that way.”

Only an “hrmph” could be heard in response. Finally Jefferson sat once again and announced he had an idea.

“For the seal,” he began in his usual calm and thought out manner, “I propose a blue background with an animal of some sort with a scroll flowing from its mouth.”

“And why would an animal have a scroll in its mouth?” Adams chimed in with a huff.

Jefferson looked at his august friend with no more than a twitch and continued, “And what is important is that it should suggest something that details both the many countries we hope to include in this nation of ours and yet a symbol of the whole.”

“E pluribus unum, perhaps?” Franklin finished the thought as he filled his tankard with more ale.

“Hmm,” Jefferson thought on it for a moment and turned to see that Adams nodded in assent. “Yes…out of many, one…yes, that’s it exactly!”

John Adams could not help but continue his agreement. “I whole-heartedly concur. Grand thought that, Doctor.”

“Why thank you, boy.” Franklin never could help when he had the chance to dig a little at Mr. Adams. He knew how it bothered him so.

“Wait a moment,” Adams stopped them. “Why blue?”

Exasperated, Jefferson did decide to pour himself another drink as he turned to his fellow congressman and attempted to explain. “The colors of our nation should be significant, as should all else. The red in our flag presents an attempt to show hardiness…and valor. Just like each state. The white, what we hope to achieve in our purity and innocence. And blue, good sir, our perseverance…vigilance and justice…or something like that.”

Franklin let out a hearty guffaw, but stifled it as he saw the young man look back with irritation. Adams too shot the old Doctor a look that burned.

“The point,” Jefferson tried to continue, “is that we should hold our symbols dear as a statement to the world of what it is we stand for…and hope to become.”

“That is all well and good, my dear boy, but what if we come to naught?” Franklin did not jest as he asked and both men knew it.

“You are old and cynical, Franklin,” Adams tried to explain but Jefferson cut him off.

“We may not, good sir, but we must strive to be or we shall never be that which we wish. This is the grand experiment, yes? And as such, we here have a duty to do what we may to assist in any way we can. If we fail, these symbols will either be remembered as evil or none at all. But if we succeed, then it will forever be remembered for the why and what for.”

“I wish I had your exuberance, my young friend, but my years suggest differently. However, I do see the point and cannot help but be pulled along by the excitement of it all. Pray go on.”

Jefferson was about to but Adams stopped him once more, “So this animal…what did you have in mind?”

Jefferson could not help himself as he allowed is lips to curl into a smile, “Why the wlak, of course.”

“What?” Adams followed incredulously.

“You heard me…the wlak!”

Franklin pivoted slightly in his chair with curiosity, “The Carpathian wlak?”

A snort escaped Thomas Jefferson’s lips as he thought on the prospects of that calamity. “Of course not!”

“Then you mean the long-strided wlak,” Franklin followed naturally.

“Well I didn’t mean the shortatthefrontlongattheback-strided wlak,” Jefferson answered with sarcasm.

“But…but…” Adams followed through with the thought, “Isn’t the long-strided wlak generally considered the English wlak? I certainly think we should shy away from such a show of support from those that mean to have us hanged.”

“True…it has had that naming, but so too have so many other things that we hold dear. Are we not descended from these peoples? Should we forsake all that we inherit from them?”

Franklin stood from his seat and walked to the door. He opened it and motioned for the steward to bring more drink. Turning back to the men, he wrinkled his face with uncertainty. “I am not so sure you have the right of it on this one, Jefferson. True, I like the color scheme…the phrasing…and I should add we might include some sort of dual nature symbol of peace and war…” He walked back to his seat as he allowed his head to venture back to the door waiting for his further drink, “But the wlak?”

“Yes,” Adams chimed in again. “I really cannot see how this could become the symbol for all we hold dear, Jefferson. Look, man…I know you are brilliant…”

Jefferson, in his modesty, tried to hold up his hand but could not.

“But this is simply too much. I suppose it is meant to symbolize our ruggedness…or perhaps our ferocity at those slights we will no longer stand from the old world. But truly…as the good Dr. Franklin has asked…the wlak? You must be mad!”

Jefferson paced as he tried to think of the best way to bring the men to his side. “What about this? The wlak is known to give off the sound of noice, rather than noise. Should this not be a perfect symbol for our individuality?”

“Oh, for the love of God, man!” Adams could take no more and pulled the pitcher of ale from the steward as he entered the room. Pouring himself and the good Doctor another cup, he tried his best to argue…which was not hard. “Noice? Tis not even a word! It is only the stuff of legends and it is ridiculous on the face of it to try and play this as something unique to the new world. There’s never even been a sighting of such a creature this side of the great ocean, Jefferson. How about something more practical…say…the eagle. Yes, the bald eagle!”

Adams smiled at his mind at work even while Franklin grimaced. “Dare I remind you, Adams…such an animal has bad moral character.”

“What mean you by this?” Adams turned on the good Doctor with quick speed.

“Well,” Franklin began as he took a drink from his cup, “He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”

“Tis simply using his wits,” Adams attempted to argue…which, as we have seen, was never difficult.

"With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward.”

“Coward?” Adams stood at the affront, as if it were aimed at himself. “How dare you, sir?”

For his part, Franklin ignored it. "In truth I find the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. He is besides, though a little vain and silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on. And did not the first settlers feast on such a bird? One must ask why? In fact…I wonder if we have any present.”

Franklin lifted from his chair and walked back to the door to inquire as Jefferson shook his head at the old man’s humor. Adams would have none of it and stood himself. “Such is laughable, good sir. Why, the turkey is nothing more than fowl for the feast as your own good stomach may attest to. If we are to choose a beast for such a purpose, it should be something with honor.”

“Well then…let us not argue the point. I’ll eat just as much as honor, Adams. You’ll find not a problem with me on that account.”

Again, Jefferson allowed a laugh to push forth from his lips, even though he wished not to offend his good friend Adams. “Which again explains why we should choose the noble wlak, sirs.”

Both turned again and in unison responded, “Again with the wlak?”

“Yes,” Thomas Jefferson attempted to explain, “Such an animal is known for its continued rise in history and its never-ending struggle against self determination and extinction. Are not we one and the same, and further to remain so?”

The two men nodded apprehensively.

“And this grand beast instills fear into the hearts of a European simply by statement. Why…” Jefferson fumbled with some papers for a moment before pulling one out to prove his point, “…I have it on good account that a good sir de Bloomefielde was scared out of his wits by such a beast and put pen to paper to show for all time. It is one of the most widely read bed stories for young children. Now that is an animal that we may all fear. And dare I mention this de Bloomefielde was a British Sergeant, or so I have been told. If there is one person we wish to instill fear in, it is the British, is it not?”

“They may have their floppy hats all they wish, sir. I’ll not find worry in their hides…wlak or no.” Franklin finished his ale and set the empty cup down as he stood.

Adams too stood with no little amount of anger. “As the good Doctor has stated, this is simply too silly, my good man. I fear we have been amongst the spirits too much this eve and should return with a fresh head come the morn.”

“Bite your tongue, young man,” Franklin turned on Adams. “I’d just as soon accept the wlak as give up the drink. How does one assume I remain so sprightly at such an advanced age as my own?”

“Oh give it a rest, Ben.” Adams turned to leave the room with disgust. “And you too, Tom. Get a good night’s sleep and please…please, let us not spend one moment more on this topic tomorrow. I am still trying to get used to your brilliance with the declaration. Yes…yes…I know I told you that you had the right of it, but I’ll not stand idly by and allow this…this…thing as our national emblem.”

By this point, Benjamin Franklin had already begun to leave the room, good-naturedly talking to himself, “I wonder if they have any mustard to go with that wlak…I mean, turkey.”

Adams threw his hands up and Jefferson rolled his eyes. But suddenly he had a fresh notion come to mind and tried to holler after his two cohorts, “Wait…wait…what about the Wooly Wlak? ‘Tis North American I am told!”

Unfortunately by this point, neither man was listening. History would prove Thomas Jefferson wrong, but his later letters would show his undying loyalty to the strange and beautiful creature. In one of his last letters to John Adams he was known to write,

“John…you simply underestimated this grand beast. Though the buffalo may some day be hunted out, we shall never hear the end of noice from this great beast we know as the wlak. Mark me and remember my words of our time together. Even today, in the lands of Wallachia, they are known to rise from sure death to mate time and time again. Is this not what we wished? I shall be proven correct on this, but I fear neither of us shall live to see such.”

And neither would as they both died that following July. But future historians do not misunderstand the resurgence of the wlak as the recent christening of the new modern aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Wlak may attest to. Thomas Jefferson had the right of it and not for the first time or the last, much to John Adams’ dismay. And Ben Franklin? For his part, he did enjoy the turkey sandwich thanks to the mustard found in the neighboring alehouse. And thus, was another legend formed.
 

J. Passepartout

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Author #1: Hmmm, animal animal rights activists. Pretty good, although at times I was confused as to whether it was cows saving wlaks or wlaks saving cows, mainly because of the character Angus who brought me back to my childhood memories of a herd of Angus cattle my parents briefly owned. And one or two other names and minor dialogue. But I figured it out.

Author #2: This was somewhat amusing also (although they all are, because the wlak is basically an excuse to make jokes. :)) It might have been nice to be more clear what time period you are talking about. I got the impression that it was the 18th century but it could have been any time between the union of the crowns and 1857. I liked thd dog.

I am going to come back to the other two at a later point.
 

Nil-The-Frogg

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#1

Interesting far-off story. I can't help but think about “Worms” with cows... Not to mention that Angus uses a “holy grenade” and could be regarded as a “cow attack”. I almost waited for the “cement donkey attack”. I enjoyed the general tone of this piece. Looks like the Wlaks have largely surpassed us technologically but have nonetheless retain our inclination for religion. Holy Hathor... :rofl:


#2

Amusing, but a little short. Still wondering if that's supposed to get somewhere... Peasants endowment for business is way underrated here too. But perhaps the Wlaks have influenced their masters? Could we have some sort of Adam... Smith here?


#3

I have nothing to say about the style. My read has been smooth, which means it's correct, at the very least. This Wlak has been buffed, eh? Not in the same way as in #1, but still... [Shivering]I try to imagine the Mongol hordes! [/Shivering] :eek:


#4

Grand! I've laughed at this one although my American history knowledge is rather scarce. Nicely written and original. Franklin looks like a sympathetic character, not to mention that he was also a scientist, wasn't he?
 

fj44

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Author #1: Someone was having fun here. ;)

I laughed quite a bit when reading this piece. The tables have been turned. It's someone else's turn to be charbroiled. It was also interesting to see that the wlak maintains a stature of a mythical, great beast, even to those who arguably would know it best.

Author #2: It seems Adam ought to pick up a last name...like Smith. :D Nice little discussion of early economics in the context of wlak-sales.

Though the character I liked the best was the dog.

Author #3: A nice little story. One more thing that I noticed was the exchange of roles the narrator takes, from the skeptic to believer.

Nice little discussion of the Mongol Invasion, and the 'weakness' of the wlak. :D

Author #4: A fun little story, though to me replacing 'eagle' with 'wlak' wasn't the funny part. The part I liked the best was the interplay between the three statesmen, especially the Adams-Franklin relationship.
 

Storey

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Author #1

This story reminded me of a science fiction story I read where the earth was conquered by an alien race and a few humans were planning an underground resistance. One human who worked as a servant for the aliens tried to explain to the others what the aliens thought about humans and he said they looked on humans as cattle. And as such he asked how many farmers sit in their farmhouse worrying about the cattle revolting? ;)

There is a bit of uncertainty about this being a routine or a first time insurrection. In fact one of the most experience bulls in the story was:

“The commander of this operation, his experience featured six years in the Third Battle Cattle fighting renegade sheep in Chechnya.”

Fighting sheep but not humans? But this uncertainty isn’t really important.

Several droll play on words sprinkled throughout the story spiced things up. It was a fun read.

Author #2

First time I read through this story I didn’t appreciate the fun the author was having with it. Two shall we say unusual wlak-herders having a highly unlikely conversation on the possibilities of creating a complicated Future Stock options market while their dog gnaws on a dead animal. :p It was a bit convoluted at times but I think that was part of its charm. Well done.

Author #3

What I like about the way this story is written is, for lack of a better phrase, it’s told in a ‘rustic style’. In other words I have no problem believing that a farmer is telling the story from some small country village. It’s simply told and for this story that’s the best way to go. A very imaginative tale fit for an almost mythical creature.

Author #4

After several lines I knew where this story was headed but the enjoyment of a story isn’t always in trying to guess how it will end. The journey the story takes you on is where the fun is found. An impressive piece of writing to be sure. The characters are clear (undoubtedly helped with a readers knowledge of American history) and consistent throughout the story. Dialogue flowed effortlessly and the writer either did a lot of homework or was around when the wlak was born on the forum as evidence with references to the various types of wlak and de Bloomfield making an appearance. A First class example of writing. :cool:

Joe
 

coz1

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Thank you very much to those that have offered critiques so far. :)

Just a reminder that we have four submissions posted and the floor will remain open for further critiques at least for another week or so. Let's hear what you thought of each.
 

J. Passepartout

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Author #3: Quite interesting. The exceptio to the joke-making about wlaks, and Dmitri is convincing in his descriptions. I would like to know more about the clockmaker, but obviously that is a subject for a different story, or a much longer version of this story. Quite good.

Author #4: This was entertaining even apart from the bit about the wlak. I am happy to see Jefferson move away from his views on doves in favour of this majestic beast. Whoeve wrote this apparantly is a revolutionary history enthusiast. I would guess Catknight, maybe.

All very good stories, I am quite pleased.
 

unmerged(61559)

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Well, I'm rather new here, and I'm not very good at critiquing the writing of others. However, I feel like saying that I really enjoyed reading all of the short pieces in this thread. They show an amazing level of creativity and skill with English. With that said, I look forward to the next round of stories. I'll try to make some good comments then. :)
 

coz1

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J. Passepartout said:
Is everyone on vacation or what? Who goes on vacation in october? Why am I speaking in questions?
Do I know why you speak in questions, JP? Can I answer why I chose to answer in such a way? And who does go on vacation in October? ;)

Quintilian - I am glad you enjoyed them. Just to give you an idea of what this project is about, we use it as a sort of writer's workshop. So often it is difficult for members here to give good honest feedback for fear of hurting feelings and such. But we have many writers who truly desire to better their craft. This project enables them to write in anonymous fashion, hopefully allowing the writing itself to stand up without the name or following of the writer to interfer.

Detailed anaylsis is not necessarily called for, though it is surely welcomed. But the kind of comments this project provides are more on the "what worked" or "what didn't work" type level. After reading the four pieces, try to point out something from both angles that might assist the writer in knowing their strong points and weak points. And of course, there is the general enjoyment of the work itself, and perhaps even the fun of trying to guess who wrote what, though that's surely easier for those that have grown familiar with the certain styles of members that have been around for a time.

By all means join in next time (or even now if you decide to do so before the authors are revealed.) And look for the first of each month as I put out the call for new submissions. If you wish to try your hand at it, we'd all love to see it! :)
 

coz1

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I'll most likely leave this open for comment for another week before revealing the authors. Anyone else have some good critique for our brave writers?