Drabblecast 066 - Creatures in Disguise

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Drabblecast 066 - Creatures in Disguise

Post by strawman » Wed May 28, 2008 11:19 am

Creatures in Disguise by James Shackell

They didn't feel things like others did... things like mercy.

Drabble - "Monsters" by Alex Moisi

Music by Devin Anderson

Image

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Post by strawman » Wed May 28, 2008 11:25 am

It all started in the lobby of the Embassy Suites...
If the Board had only heeded Anderson's warning...
This story might have benefited if Norm had used the voice of Elmer Fudd under the influence of quack.

Unconscionable, I say. (DC35)
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Post by adam » Wed May 28, 2008 10:02 pm

wow. that was a great freakin story.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed May 28, 2008 10:08 pm

I'm totally torn about this story. On the one hand, the telling was very good and scary. On the other, the premise is way too absurd to be anything but funny. A funny story told in a scary way. :? Kind of cancels out for me.

The drabble was fun, but I saw word 100 coming from word 10.
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Post by normsherman » Wed May 28, 2008 10:31 pm

Incidentally, that's my favorite type of humor- something ridiculous handled in the utmost serious manor. It was very hard to read this story and come across as James Earl Jones reading Grapes of Wrath without laughing periodically.

On that note- laughing out loud when you live by yourself and are staying up till 2 am drinking whiskey and reading a story about killer ducks into a mic is an all-time low (high) for me.
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Post by jonathancg » Thu May 29, 2008 2:25 am

Just another night in the Sherman household.

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Post by AynSavoy » Thu May 29, 2008 2:54 am

Okay, so:

Killer ducks = awesome. No question.

But, a concept seldom makes a story (at least, a story longer than a drabble), and that's what this felt like: a concept. Since I figured it out at the duck pond scene (as I assume most did) I kept waiting for the punch..."I figured it out early, so it's not a twist, so there must be something else." But there wasn't. We didn't even get HOW they kill. Was the guy in the story running from town to town because the ducks were tracking him, or because he was passing on the information, Paul Revere-style?

I know you prefaced this story by talking about how less-is-more, Norm, but sometimes less is too little.

Mr. Tweedy: a funny story told in a scary way can work for me, and I thought the melodramatic reading of this was fun. But funny/scary works best when you're not sure whether you're supposed to be amused or frightened, and without more to this story, it will never be scary.
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Post by cammoblammo » Thu May 29, 2008 12:23 pm

Okay, drabble = good. Not great, but certainly worth more than the effort I put into it.

The story... well, no. The concept was good, and it may have worked well in print, but there was just too much flashback and explanation to work in this media. I was mentally jumping around trying to figure out when we were, and I had trouble keeping track of which characters were in the scene at any one time.

Having said that, I really liked the overall style, and I'd probably enjoy reading more of this author's work down the track.

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Post by Goldenrat » Thu May 29, 2008 2:54 pm

I liked the drabble - didn't see it coming at all.

The main story - meh. I agree with cammoblammo, the flashbacks and explanation muddled it a bit for me. It was kind of funny trying to think of ducks as ominous. We throw corn and bread out for ducks that frequent our back yard - the lady ducks show up to get a good meal and relax while the drakes fight amongst themselves and chase the ladies around like a bunch of horny frat boys.

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Post by adam » Thu May 29, 2008 4:08 pm

i wasn't expecting this one to get negative feedback. i thought it was right up dc's alley; very black-and-white-animals-esque. the title, content, tone, all of it.
it didn't present the killer ducks as a surprise or a twist really, which turned out great because in DC you're conditioned to expect the unexpected. you find out "what? it's just ducks?" early on, and then you're waiting for some kind of explanation, like alien power infused ducks.. but no. it really is just ducks. and so i laughed. the un-twist was itself a twist.
AynSavoy wrote: We didn't even get HOW they kill.
i think that would have ruined it. the point to me is that there's just NO way.
this clip really illustrates how goofy and helpless an ominous, flat-billed bird really is:

http://www.break.com/index/crazy-goose- ... d-dog.html

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu May 29, 2008 4:47 pm

adam wrote:i wasn't expecting this one to get negative feedback. i thought it was right up dc's alley; very black-and-white-animals-esque. the title, content, tone, all of it.
Nah. BW Animals was over the top absurdist through and through, from premise to plot to delivery. This story had just the absurd premise and then everything else was played straight. Like, if BW Animals has started out with its crazy premise but then had the rest of the story be a grim and sober recounting of human privations under BWA rule, that would have been more like this.

I think Ayn nailed it: Great idea, poor development. Sequel?
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The Quack Apocalypse

Post by Kevin Anderson » Thu May 29, 2008 5:36 pm

Best story about the coming Quack Apocalypse I’ve ever heard. I don’t think this story could play anywhere else. It was all drabblecasty. And was it just me or did this story give anyone else an “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” vibe. (For those that have never basked in the carnivorous cinematic glory of that film – the remake is coming.)

It’s terrifying to think that the lake where I live is really just a killer duck training facility. Thank the gods that Al-Qaeda is not that cunning.

I loved the drabble – My son is fascinated by the Cookie Monster, an infatuation I thought cute and endearing. But now I’m forced to wonder, is it a fascination or evil alliance.

Such a thin line.
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Post by shackell » Fri May 30, 2008 8:08 am

Thanks for the feedback guys, i really appreciate it :)

I didn't give much thought to a 'twist' just because I didn't feel the premise needed a surprise ending. I just wanted it to be an engaging story. Maybe a surprise would have helped this, but I didn't have any good ideas. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the criticisms though, I'll take them into consideration when I edit it. Thanks also to Norm and drabblecast, this is the first thing of mine that anyone's ever 'published'.

cheers

~james

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Post by Chivalrybean » Fri May 30, 2008 6:06 pm

The drabble was pretty hilarious. I expected the monster to get the dad, but didn't exect it to be the cookie monster.

I liked the Quack Apocolype story. Nothing unexpexted happened, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. I think sometimes I/we are used to twist endings that when there isn't one, we are dissapointed. I really think a twist is only worth it if it is REALLY good. I think I spouted on this subject before, so I wont again. A good story is in the telling, not the story itself. It is like a good joke, sometimes two people can tell the same joke, but only one of the tellers can make people laugh. As far as a killer duck story goes, this one was told well. It fit the Drabble Cast perfectly, and in fact, is the type of story I loved to hear when I first started listening. It is good to get back to the way things were. This isn't to say I don't like the stories I have been hearing, but I remember more stories akin to this one in the past. A good mix isn't a bad thing. This is totally a ramble now, and I should get back to work {:0)

Oh, that guy in the story, he sure was toast! ... ... ... ... yeah.........

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Post by tbaker2500 » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:04 pm

Excellent episode! One of the best in a while.

The drabble was freakin' hilarious, and the main story was great! Poor grandma...


I have to say I'm getting turned off by the forums in the last few weeks. This used to be a place to encourage the odd view of life. Now it appears to be the sniping grounds for people who simply want to be critical.

I've been with the drabblecast a long time, and the stories have stayed the same at the very least, and in my opinion, gotten better. So it seems to me that some of the posters' expectations have changed.

I really feel bad for struggling authors who come here just to see their work shot down by a rather consistent posting bloc.

I don't feel that the Drabblecast has ever been a place to find "good" stories. It's been a place to find fun stories.

I just want to thank Norm, Luke, Kendall, and all the great authors for spending your time and hard work (for virtually no pay) for producing great episodes that I treasure listening to every week. Please don't get discouraged if you don't hear this enough, I truly treasure your work.

Tom
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Post by cammoblammo » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:14 pm

tbaker2500 wrote: I have to say I'm getting turned off by the forums in the last few weeks. This used to be a place to encourage the odd view of life. Now it appears to be the sniping grounds for people who simply want to be critical.

I've been with the drabblecast a long time, and the stories have stayed the same at the very least, and in my opinion, gotten better. So it seems to me that some of the posters' expectations have changed.

I really feel bad for struggling authors who come here just to see their work shot down by a rather consistent posting bloc.

I don't feel that the Drabblecast has ever been a place to find "good" stories. It's been a place to find fun stories.

I just want to thank Norm, Luke, Kendall, and all the great authors for spending your time and hard work (for virtually no pay) for producing great episodes that I treasure listening to every week. Please don't get discouraged if you don't hear this enough, I truly treasure your work.

Tom
[Mods --- I feel a thread split coming on!]

Allow me to speak as one who has been a little more negative about the stories over the last couple of weeks.

I can't disagree. I would hate to think that any of my comments (I don't think I've been that harsh) would turn anyone away from doing the work they love. Still, I like to be able to say what I think. If an aspect of a story doesn't work for me, I'll say it. I'll try to be constructive, and I always remain aware that anyone who has a story accepted by the Drabblecast is more of a success of a writer than I am.

Having said that, if we refrain from letting Norm know he's picked a stinker the Drabblecast will suffer.

You're quite right that the quality has been getting better of late. I probably need to add that listening to the DC 'cast is one of my top priorities for the week, regardless of the fact I've got a backlog of around 65 hours sitting on my iPod right now. That's in no danger of changing.

You give the reason why --- I come for the fun, not the quality. So I will try to frame my comments in those terms from now on.

Again, apologies to anyone if I've caused undue offence!

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Post by strawman » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:41 pm

I understand your point. And I too look forward to each Wednesday. It even delights me to engage in the forum, to see drabble news bits, even seeing there's a new post when I check. When there is talk of our community cooperating to produce a viral video from a bbardle, or when Bo Kaier posts awesome superanimals on his website, it delights me just to be here. I really think DC is special, and full of potential.
I read stories in the New York Times about web based cool comedy or songs, and when I look at it, it's just dreck compared to DC.

I really want to see as high a standard maintained as is possible with the resources at hand. And I think one good way to do that is to give writers constructive feedback. So they don't get paid much; but if the Drabblecast is something worthy of mention on a resume, that's worth something.

You're right that my expectations have gone up. But in a way, that is the best proof of the success of DC. It's Norm who's moving the goal line. And being there to see that happen is fun.
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Post by normsherman » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:30 pm

I haven't personaly noticed harshness in the forums, but thanks for voicing your concern tbaker. I've found this forum to be the most likeable and hilarious group of folks around. Because our payrate sucks we get a lot of newer writers (which is great) and so I'm sure the feedback is always appreciated. IMO, most of the negative story commentary has at least been constructive and valid.
We did just bump our story rate to 1.5 cents a word though. Not that we're looking to attract Hugo winners or anything, but we think the payrate should reflect overall growth and set new levels for story quality, donations, production etc.

cammoblammo wrote: Having said that, if we refrain from letting Norm know he's picked a stinker the Drabblecast will suffer.
Don't shoot the messenger! I don't technically pick the stories- Luke and Kendall do. This way I get to wash my hands of stinkerness.
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Post by tbaker2500 » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:55 pm

normsherman wrote:I haven't personaly noticed harshness in the forums, but thanks for voicing your concern tbaker. I've found this forum to be the most likeable and hilarious group of folks around. Because our payrate sucks we get a lot of newer writers (which is great) and so I'm sure the feedback is always appreciated. IMO, most of the negative story commentary has at least been constructive and valid.
We did just bump our story rate to 1.5 cents a word though. Not that we're looking to attract Hugo winners or anything, but we think the payrate should reflect overall growth and set new levels for story quality, donations, production etc.

cammoblammo wrote: Having said that, if we refrain from letting Norm know he's picked a stinker the Drabblecast will suffer.
Don't shoot the messenger! I don't technically pick the stories- Luke and Kendall do. This way I get to wash my hands of stinkerness.
Hee hee..
I listen to all the Hugo nominees on EP, and I have to say that I prefer DC stories.

I'm a great believer of "you get more of what you put your energy on", and I love to see the creative, quirky, fun things you got going here. And since I had seen a shift of late to ~75% of the comments being criticism, I just thought I'd like to criticize that.

I'm glad to hear that you Norm didn't feel the bad mojo, we gotta keep you in top form!

BTW, I now have a co-worker who won't even let cats into her yard after hearing that one liquify. ;-)

Tom
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Post by Chivalrybean » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:22 pm

I must say that I do find the fun-ness of the DC its best point. Sure, some stories aren't as strong, but did you have fun listening?

I listen at work to keep my mind busy, entertained, etc. Even if the story is kinda lame, I'll listen anyways and most likely I'll enjoy the time I spent listening, even if it isn't top notch writing, if the story is fun, great! It is like an old video with old graphics. If it is fun anyways, I'll play it, even if it doesn't look as sweet as Half-Life 2 or something.

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