Episode 63 – Tis The Season To Critique!

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Episode 63- The Newbie Writer’s Podcast


Just us this week to critique our Nanowrimo works and revel in christmas cheer…. Bah humbug!




Sit and write a christmas letter to yourself.” We all groan when we get the annual christmas letter from Aunty Mabel, tell us what you’d really want to write. Tell us Uncle Kevin is a weirdo, or your mothers cooking makes you violently ill. Tell us about your idiot boss and what happened throughout the year.


Word of the Week:





noun: One who feigns illness in order to avoid work.


From French malingre (sickly). Earliest documented use: 1785.


“Various studies have undertaken how to separate malingerers from the legitimately brain-injured.”
Shawn Vestal; Trooper’s Tangle; Spokesman Review (Spokane, Washington); Aug 17, 2012.



Tortured Sentences:

Courtesy Dr Michael Pinksy

  • “Sure it ended up being tragic and people had to start over an entire civilization, but why the negativity?”  Talk about the glass being half full: this student can’t seem to understand why tragedy and the collapse of civilization would upset anybody.  All those post-apocalyptic mutants in caves just ought to get over it already. 


 Catharine’s Piece:

The Handmaid of Time


It’s an old and rather bizarre story, more like an urban legend.

A girl walks into the bar

The bar tender says, what do you want?

And she replies,

Everything, because I’m not going back.


“We need fresher food.” Mother broached the subject again over a dinner of beans and tough canned meat.

“Oh Mother.” Father picked at his beans, long, thin and light green. “We can provide everything through the Ministry, we don’t need a garden.”

There was a warning tone to his voice. A garden may indicate the family had no faith in the Ministry to provide for all their needs. At twenty one, Charity was old enough to remember what happened to Great Suburb families who flaunted the abilities of the Ministry by trying to provide for themselves.

“It wouldn’t be because we can’t get what we need.” Mother soothed her husband, “I was thinking we could do it as something through the organic movement. You know, food from the earth, it was all the rage a hundred years ago, we’re just bringing it back.” She pushed her own beans around her plate, creating a vague character with the long beans. “Maybe as an experiment, you know, something like that.”

She glanced sideways at her husband – Father. Charity hadn’t heard her parents called by any other name, any other term.

That was her fate, she considered. Marry. Become a Wife. As soon as she gave birth, she would earn the coveted position of Mother. The very fortunate became Grandmother’s.

“Are we visiting the grandmothers tomorrow?” She asked.

“Yes.” Mother looked up from her plate. “Of course we are, right after Temple.”

Father, a thin man, pulled at the remains of his hair. Charity knew her parents were well into middle age, but her father seemed older in the last few weeks.

“Going Organic is not a good idea.” He raised his head and focused on Mother, his gaze was intense and the daughters leaned back as if avoiding danger, or fall out.

“I was called in today.” He said softly.

A fork clattered onto the thick plate rattling the silence.

Mother breathed out.

He continued to hold her gaze, the girls could be statues for all the attention Mother paid them. “The surges are up, on the increase and I,” he dropped his eyes.

“Didn’t have a good enough answer.”

Charity sucked in her breath but held it and did not exhale or make a single noise. They were advantaged of course. Father worked for the Ministry, leaving every morning, returning on time every night. Sunday at Temple, with the family. How could anything go wrong?

But it did go wrong, it went wrong all the time.


Damien’s Piece

“Fool! You are lying to me!” Roared James and he yanked the chair to the side, but despite his age, the old man leaped forward and whirled around to face his assailant. After the brief moment of chaos both men stood in silence, eyeing each other off. The crackle of the fire resembled the prickling of nerves and anticipation.

The old man breathed and began, “Think about the path you are about to take runt with this vulgar display of power. Few have wielded such might and none have succeeded. You are on the brink of bringing darkness to this world. It is my fault entirely for telling you about legends and fantastical quests. Either put an end to this folly and be on your way, or I will have no choice but to stop it. You will never… never know where the second fragment of the stone is. I will not bring the world into horror.”

“Silence!” Roared James, squaring his shoulders in the half light of the small hut. He gripped the black stone in his right fist, dark essence smoking from between his fingers. His eyes, devoid of all colour, deep with swirling hatred. “You will tell me where the second fragment is. I do not have time to bandy about with petty talk.”

“Such has your path been chosen. I have no choice but to prevent you from travelling further down it,” The old man closed his eyes, the flames of the fire flickered as if a gust of wind had blown through the room. The world was quiet for all but a brief moment and with reflexes like a cat, flung a ball of pure blue brilliance at James.

James was quick to react and threw up a black wall of power to block the ball. His mind was crystal clear, no incantations needed, no need for memorising spells. He was consumed by the stone fragment and urging forward he pushed a torrent of impending death and decay back towards the old man. He was stronger than anticipated, and a deadlock formed between the two casters. Warlock versus mage, good versus evil. The foundations of the small wooden hut reverberated with puissant power.

“Give it up old man! Tell me where the fragment is and your death will be swift!” Screamed James over the roar of their theurgy. “Never! I owe it to the world, to Elise, to try and stop you!” came the strained voice of the old man. His resilience was strong but it had it’s limits.

Out of the shadows Ryan strode past James. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as James looked to his left and glared at Ryan. He shrugged and edged toward the old man. With a swift movement he lunged at the old man with a dagger, sinking it deep within the side of his neck. The old man crumpled clutching his neck, blood bubbling from his mouth, a look of dismay as his life slowly blinked out.

“What the hell did you do that for!?” exclaimed James as he let the black tendrils of power wink out. “He was never going to tell you, plus look here.” Ryan reached down and ripped the old man’s shirt open to reveal a pendant on a chain. Encompassed in intricate gold was a stone swirling with inky blackness. He picked it up with the tip of his blade and yanked it from around the dead man’s neck.

“How did you know it was there?” enquired James in a probing manner. “He gave himself away when he said you would never find the fragment. He looked down very briefly and I waited my time. He would never admit to where it was, plus it was the source of his power and why he could match you spell for spell. Sometimes, the simple brutal approach can obtain results. Plus I’ve never stabbed someone in the neck before.”

“You scare me with how casual you are when it comes to these matters.” James said whilst smiling. “Come on, put that chain on and lets be gone from here before day breaks.”

With a nod Ryan headed out into the clearing. The surrounding woodland was quiet in the middle of the night, as if the giant looming trees themselves mourned the loss of one of the land’s protectors. With a deep breath, Ryan conjured up a solid ball of flame in his right hand and flung it at the hut, immersing it in flames. James opened another portal and they left the burning pyre engulfing all the old man had ever known.


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