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Brandenburg III

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Welcome to the newest product in the General Discussions Area of the AAR forum.

The WritAAR’s Building is a forum-wide writing project combining the best parts of the SolAARium, Guess the Author and a few new ideas. Its my hope that this project helps revitalize this section of AARland and returns this area to the activity it had once enjoyed. However, its chief purpose is to help writers to improve and perfect their craft with critiques and discussions from the readers.

The rules are simple and easy to follow:

Submissions have to be a narrative of some kind and must fall into the dates of the Paradox games.

Each new submission will be granted at least four days (96 hours) before a new piece is placed. It may be longer if there is an in-depth discussion on a topic or if there are no new submissions. If there is more time needed, the thread manager will post a notice before the expiration of the 96 hours.

Each submission will be posted by the author unless the author wishes to remain anonymous.

If you see that a reservation line has formed and you want to add yourself to it or if you wish your submission to be anonymous, send your message/writing to: (PM me for now)

Length doesn’t matter whether it be short or long.

If you want to post your material, contact the thread manager. When each new piece is posted, the thread manager will post the reservation line, detailing which authors are next so there will be no confusion.

If an author wishes to remain anonymous, they must pm the thread manager and they’ll be provided with an email address with which to submit their story. They will then be placed in line for the reservation line as anonymous#1, anonymous#2, etc.

If an author posts out of order, their submission will be subject to removal by a moderator.

Mind the forum rules.

Note that if you want your post to be anonymous, you don’t have to remain anonymous during the discussion/critique. You can come out any time you like. However, if you want to remain unknown, your identity will never be revealed.


***

I realize the first submission may take some time but hopefully after we’ve cleared the first post, we’ll have a string that will never end. If there isn’t a post within the first three or four days, I’ll volunteer something of myself to begin this project.

I'll eventually turn the area below these asterisks into an index for the submitted stories.
 
Last edited:

comagoosie

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Good idea the only problem I see with this initiative is that you are counting on a continual flow of writing pieces, which may be harder to come by than thought. Just look at GtA, which oftentimes has a hard time finding 4 works for a month.

That said I wish you the best of luck, and I hope AARland loves your idea.
 

Brandenburg III

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comagoosie: GtA also only allows two different subjects per month. If this project continues and I find that new submissions are hard to find, I’ll probably extend the days to 4 or 5 instead of 3.

The Swert: Right. Hopefully once people begin to notice its around, we’ll have enough people commenting on it to keep it going.
 

Brandenburg III

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Man oh Man

by Anonymous #1



Twas 1110 and anxiety was building in the Isle of Man. For over a century, the dynasty's rule had been unchallenged. Wealth and prestige slowly built up through years of careful management and strong leadership. But now, now their world was about to come shattering down.

The brothers Immor, Petrimarc and Toro, loyal to their father, the count of 44 years, were anxious for their futures. The Count was becoming frailer and had been bedridden for the last month whilst news from overseas told them that a new birth was expected that could displace their line to the throne.

Petrimarc: "Immor, I don't like this situation, I don't like it one bit. And I don't like how we've got to just stand by and watch our fate decided."

Immor: "I know. And to be honest I don't think it's looking good for us, I just heard yesterday that the baby is expected to be born any day now and, with the way the Count is looking, he might live long enough for the baby to be born."

Petrimarc: "That would be a disaster. If only the Count were well enough to proclaim our inheritance and then surely that would be enough."

Immor: "Well why don't we just say he confessed to us anyway."

Petrimarc: "It would never work, not without witnesses."

A moment of silence passed before Toro the Mad, who had been too busy examining his own backside to participate in the discussion, decided to interject.

Toro: "I have a cunning plan!"

Petrimarc: "Oh god Toro. Not another one of your cunning plans. May I remind you, your plans haven't always been the most successful. Like the time you tried to liberate Jerusalem by catapulting a dead pig towards the East."

Toro: "Well the Arabs are scared of pork, and after it landed in the city, the stench would've been so awful. They would've run away."

Petrimarc: "Yes but we're on the Isle of Man, all the flying pig did was frighten a local fisherman when it landed in his boat."

Toro: "Well he didn't need to fish for his dinner anymore did he? We did him a service."

Immor: "Anyway, go on, what's your plan."

Toro: "We kill the Count."

Immor: "We what? I'm going to kill daddy."

Toro: "Well think about it, if that baby is born before the Count dies he'll inherit everything. But if the Count dies first we'll get control of the island."

Petrimarc: "Toro you may not quite be as mad as you look...well actually you do look pretty mad wearing that potato sack."

Immor: "Alright Petrimarc let's get to work on a plan."

-----

Petrimarc: "Ok so Toro, you know what you need to do?"

Toro: "Yes, I'm going to run through the bedchamber naked teasing the guards to come play with me."

Immor: "Right, and then the guards will either throw you out of the castle or go with you to god knows where. And then Petrimarc and I will sneak in and use this specially designed pillow to sufficate the Count."

Petrimarc: "What do you mean specially designed?"

Immor: "It's military grade. See you cover his face and as you sufficate him you pull this lever and spikes shoot out into the victims face."

Petrimarc: "We want to kill him not mutilate him. No, just use a regular pillow."

Immor: "If you insist."

Petrimarc: "Alright, if we're ready we can head over to the castle."

A messenger arrived at the door just as the three brothers are leaving.

Immor: "Out of the way boy."

Messenger: "Sorry sir, but a message has arrived for you."

Immor: "Can't it wait; we're off on a hunt…of sorts."

Messenger: "No sir, this is urgent."

Immor took the note and read it to himself.

Immor:"Oh god! We're too late the baby is born."

Petrimarc: "What! No! That stupid little niece of ours, couldn't keep the bastard in"

Immor: "Friedrich! How can somebody named Friedrich run the island."

Petrimarc: "We're doomed"

Toro didn't seem to think so. He had stripped off and headed out into the street yelling "It's a boy! It's a boy!"

---

Four days later the Count passed away. Despite Immor and Petrimarc's scheming the island's nobles voted 10 to 9 to uphold the laws of succession which saw Friedrich installed as the new Count. Until his arrival from the Continent it was judged that the man who made the deciding vote should take up the reigns of regent, Toro the Mad.

Immor: "How could you vote against us like that?"

Toro: "I liked the boy's name. Reminds me of fried rice."

The End.
 

Brandenburg III

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General_BT & Iain Wilson: Here’s hoping it works.

To all:
Whenever there’s a new submission you can either check the main GD forum or if you see me post somewhere, I’ll have the most recent submission’s date in my signature (as will be seen in a few minutes.)

Secondly, I’m extending the time per submission from three days to four days with a one to three day option depending on how much traffic there is per submission. I’ll make the alterations in the first post sometime later today.
 

Brandenburg III

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Before I go on I’ll go ahead and add another three days extension so this may receive a few more eyes, meaning the next submission will arrive 17/11/2009. There will be another submission but I don't have any planned after that date. Let’s try to get some more submissions/critiques/discussions to keep this going.

I read this first before posting and let it sit a few days before I came back to it.

The first thing that caught my eye was the lack of description. Not that I think that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a good thing when a writer is able to rely solely on his dialogue in the way that you have. It makes it unique in that way. I think it would’ve been great if you could’ve kept the entire submission in this style. Leave description out completely except for the dialogue. In this dialogue you could have told us about their anxiety through conversation and what was at stake while leaving out the sentence about what time it was which wasn’t very important.

As I read I couldn’t help but notice a comma problem. But I’m sure this has more to do with the submission coming so quickly than anything else. However, my personal rule when critiquing my writings is to wait to do anything until after a day or two has passed. The first time I reread I allow myself to read in my head so I can alter the story if it needs altering. The second and final time I read aloud, which helps catch any comma problems that may exist.

I think I would’ve altered the ending somehow but this is just a matter of taste. I probably would’ve made Toro the smartest of the three, planning the plot this whole time. It could set up a future scene for intrigue - if the story were to continue - with your foreshadowing of Toro advising the others to kill the count.
 

The Swert

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Well now that everybody has read the piece and made their comments I can out out of the shadows. Yes that's right, it was me you wrote it! I bet you didn't guess that. Wait a minute, there's nobody here. What a shame.

Brandenburg III, thanks for running this competition and thanks for the feedback. Indeed I did write this piece rather quickly and being a standalone piece was unsure how it write it. I'm not very good at writing a whole story in just 750 words. This piece was actually based on 4 lines of CK history log in a game I ended up reloading. Within 4 days my dynasty was screwed by the birth of a baby and death of the monarch. Originally I wasn't going to include Toro as he was mad and useless in the game, but I figured to include him for comic relief. As you pointed out though, I was unsure how to end it. Could you please enlighten me as to the 'comma problem'?
 

Brandenburg III

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There were just a few but I’ll put them out. You’d probably spot them with a quick read-aloud session though:

Immor: "Well, why don't we just say he confessed to us anyway."

Petrimarc: "Oh god, Toro. Not another one of your cunning plans.

Immor: "Out of the way, boy."



I don’t think there were very many aside from that but don’t let me fool you into thinking I know much about this kind of thing. This is just where I’d put them.

I am surprised to find out that this was from a real game, must’ve been a surprising start. :)


As mentioned I’ll let the story stand until the 17th which will allow others to send comments on this, too.
 

TheExecuter

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Very Blackadder-ish...

You could have done with some better pacing...I felt like I didn't have time to properly enjoy the jokes and the put-down.

All in all, a pretty good substrate to hang a story on. I think it needs to be polished a bit more (punctuation and some way to identify the speakers other than putting their names at the beginning of the line) and perhaps descriptively fleshed out some (facial expressions and the like) to really give us a visual of the comedy.

TheExecuter
 

The Swert

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Thanks for the feedback. Obviously it was inspired by Blackadder which mainly came about when I decided to introduce Toro into the story.

As for those comma issues, personally I wouldn't 'say' a comma in any of those sentences. Grammatically they could be there but since it's a verbal quote I thought it was best to represent it how it would be said.

Any new stories Brandenburg? Or is this great venture dead already? I find it said that the community hasn't supported this.
 

Brandenburg III

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By Anonymous #2




Basil burst into the manor house, his hunting rifle slung over his shoulder. His face was streaked with filth, with water, and with soot. Eliza was cowering in the large drawing room, staring out the window into the darkness. Her face only illuminated by the glow of the fire engulfing barn and other outbuildings. She looked up, weeping.

“My God Basil. What is happening?”

“They are coming Eliza. We don’t have much time.” Basil wiped his brow. “I, I couldn’t save the barn. I couldn’t save anything. Its all ruined, Eliza. There are just too damn many of them.” He sagged against the door.

“Where is Mikhail? And Boris? Where are the rest of them?”

“Dead, dear Eliza. Dead or with the rest of the rebels.”

Eliza bit her lip. “Surely none of ours joined this mad uprising. I mean, yes, Andrei’s peasants. He mistreated them so…but ours? Dear Mikhail? I god-mothered his children. When little Skander got ill, I let the child stay in our home. Oh, how will his Ilyana get on without him.”

“She won’t have to. Mikhail is alive. He is leading the rabble.” Basil hissed the words. The betrayal was bitter for him. Basil had always been kind to his peasants. Treated them well. Even worked alongside them from time to time, to show them he didn’t feel above their work. Apparently, that didn’t matter. Apparently, they had hated him right along with Cruel Andrei. That was the worst.

“What shall we do Basil?” Eliza was scared. They were coming for the house, how could they not be? “Can we run? Hide in the woods until the army arrives?”

Basil was not so hopeful. “They aren’t going to come Eliza. We are going to die.” He moved towards the window, un-shouldering his rifle. In the earlier chaos, he’d forgotten to load the weapon. The rifle had done him precious little good in the defense of the barn. As he walked to his study, to collect ammunition, he repeated the phrase, “we are going to die.” This time, his voice quivered a bit. The thought scared him. Not so much the dying. That would have come sooner or later anyways. No, it was the method. Basil had always thought he would die in bed. Perhaps of a lingering injury or illness. Painful, certainly, but with plenty of opportunities to display courage and stoicism in the face of death. More, plenty of time to say goodbyes and put his affairs in order.

This, he winced slightly, this would be horrible. Eliza would probably be raped. Tortured. Then killed. Basil could look forward to the same for himself. Dying in a frenzy of stabbing, screaming and chaos was not what he wanted. As he returned to the drawing room he looked at his wife. Their eyes briefly met. She was scared. Her whole body was trembling. Such a sweet young thing. Her dark hair in curls about her shoulders and her porcelain skin. Oh to see that defiled, tormented, torn apart. He shuddered.

She knelt on the floor, in a ball, weeping. Basil’s will strengthened as he watched his wife. He knew what to do. The only thing he could do. He quietly came up behind her, raising the rifle. Moving quickly before she could notice or he could lose his nerve, he fired. Once. Twice. Into the back of her head. Her world exploded in white. Basil turned the gun on himself, cramming the barrel into his mouth, mentally sending a prayer to God, and firing, awkwardly but successfully.

The shots were not heard over the sound of the collapsing barn. The mob of peasants, filthy, poor, angry, were shouting at their leader. He’d won them over, Mikhail knew it, but they were not happy. Anyway, they were moving on. To Lord Andrei’s manor. Really, it was Basil who’d done it. They’d all seen him ride up on his horse. They’d seen him aim his rifle. They’d seen him lower it, turn and ride off. He’d been too kindly to kill his peasants. Even when they were destroying everything he owned, he’d loved them. It made Mikhail’s job easy. Yes, the system must end, and for these two, well, the future would be hard on them. Mikhail knew this, but he owed them so much. Too much to see them killed.
 

General_BT

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The piece seemed a little abrupt to me at times... very harsh shifts from Basil coming in, the desperation, the suicide, then suddenly we're at Mikhail's side. This could be useful--the earlier abruptness in scene shift with Basil and Eliza gives the whole thing a sense of urgency. The shift to Mikhail seemed a little jarring in its abruptness almost though...

Now, that all said, I do think it was a wonderful little bit of writing--it really captures the tragedy of revolution, where good and bad alike are tossed into an unceasing maw of violence. The little added details--Basil wiping his brow, etc.--give the tragic scene humanity.

Poor poor Basil and Eliza. They tried to do good, and were punished for it anyway. :(
 

Alfred Packer

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I quite agree. The shift to Mikhail was abrupt, and almost out of place, almost trying too hard? If that makes sense. The whole piece though (and I liked it, don't get me wrong) it reminded me of William T. Vollman's "Rising Up Rising Down," where he talks about the Russian Revolution and the fate of good people in an otherwise evil system.

Overall, I really like it, but I suspect you may be "trying too hard" with the ending.

(of course, I'm mostly known for cheap poo-jokes, so don't take anything I say too much to heart)
 

unmerged(129932)

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I guess I don't understand, but is this a compendium of mismatched short stores submitted to you to be posted here for review?
 

Brandenburg III

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I guess I don't understand, but is this a compendium of mismatched short stores submitted to you to be posted here for review?
Well, there are a few rules but they're very loose so you're basically right. More than that, it’s a place for people to comment on the stories other people submit whether they be anonymous or they tell us who they are. Those who comment will try to tell the author what they did well and what was missed. Also, if you think the other comment(s) are wrong, you can correct them where hopefully a discussion will rise from them. Each submission only comes one at a time so the entire discussion can center around that one piece, allowing the individual author to get the most out of it. And maybe, those who lurk or comment will take something from it, too.
 

Brandenburg III

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I’m signing in to let everyone know that I’ll extend the discussion time on this to a full week. I’ll probably do this for all future submissions until people realize this exists.

Lastly, I’ve edited the first post to include a rule change I mentioned a week or two ago. All submissions will be allowed to be commented on for at least four days with a possible three day extension. If you want to anonymously submit your story, I’ve offered an email address (highlighted in yellow) where you can contact me. I don’t check it every day but I do sign in a few times a week. And there is a pic at the top of the page but I don’t expect it to stay long. If you have a better idea or want to submit something of yourself, feel free to contact me.

****

Submission response:

Even with the short submission I liked the characters and wanted them to fare well. This is a rare thing for me to feel when reading a very short story, or any AAR for that matter.

The only real fault I have, and that’s what General_BT & Alfred Packer both mentioned, was the abruptness of Mikhail. I was so caught up in both Basil and Eliza that I had almost completely forgotten about Mikhail by the time he was mentioned again near the end. The short piece was good but I felt that a longer length would’ve really benefitted the story. While that would’ve taken away from the action-packed submission, it wouldn’t have made all three of us share that abrupt feeling, if you understand my meaning.

Another minor thing I noticed in my latest re-reading was that in one case Basil remarked that he didn’t know where Mikhail - or Boris - were:

“Dead, dear Eliza. Dead or with the rest of the rebels.”

Then, after Eliza spoke, Basil added, “She won’t have to. Mikhail is alive. He is leading the rabble.

Although this may be your intention. Giving us the feeling that Basil may be trying to spare her feelings for a moment but the anger eventually overtakes him and he “hissed” the words.

Something else I made note of was this line:

Moving quickly before she could notice or he could lose his nerve, he fired.

It doesn’t read right to me. I think the “could”s in that sentence should be removed to be replaced by a past tense “notice” = noticed and “lose” = lost. The sentence is shorter, there’s less to read and I think that’s always a good thing in an action sequence.

Maybe this short submission could be turned into a small AAR or a private short story. I’d certainly welcome seeing more of this.
 
Last edited:

Alfred Packer

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I guess I should come clean: I wrote this one. I don't know why I posted anonymously, I guess I'm used to Guess the Author.

The real inspiration for this one is Tolstoy. I love his novels and short stories, but even when things work out for the characters I feel sorry for them. Most of his leads are aristocrats and, well, he's writing in turn of the (last) century Russia, so we all know what happens to the aristocrats.

General BT, I wish I'd left the whole last paragraph out, just ended it with Basil shooting himself. I think the ending is much cleaner that way. Thanks for the comments, Brandenburg, about both of the lines. You are correct in the first, Basil was trying to spare her feelings. You are also correct in the second instance, your recommendations really tighten that sentence up well.

As far as an AAR, it is based on an AAR I'd like to write for Vicky but that will probably have to wait for Vicky2 (I don't like the way Vicky1 handles the Russian Revolution - are there any mods that do it better? I'd be really excited to play such a scenario - and write about it).