Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 19

Greetings! Thank you so much for coming back to spend a few minutes with the community here at Flash! Friday. We are thrilled to pieces to see you, wherever you are on your writing (or reading!) journey. Today marks Good Friday on the Christian calendar, and it’s with thoughts of treasure redeemed at great cost I’ve chosen today’s prompt & dragon’s bidding.  

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Today also marks the introduction of our third brand new panelist, a writer you already know well and (if you’re the clever dragons I think you are) adore: Jess West.  She is chomping at the bit to read your stories (thankfully the bit is made of fruit leather). As for what she’s looking for in a winning story, she says, 

#1 Know thy characters and thy setting well, that thou can show by virtue and with vigor that which is seen clearly by your own mind’s eye. (I’m a big fan of depth of character and a vivid setting.)

#2 Enthrall me with a tale of astounding odds and astonishing feats the likes of which I’ll never forget. (Conflict. Stories must have conflict.)

#3 Just when I’m certain of the direction of the tale, flip the world over on its protagonist and send my mind reeling. (That “flip the script” moment in the story that allows natural character development to occur. While not strictly necessary, stories that include such eventful moments tend to make a higher emotional impact, in my opinion.)

Read more about Jess at her judge’s page.

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Sunday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.”   

Now let’s get to it!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the words “thirty pieces of silver’”):

 

treasure

***Today’s Prompt:

 

Gare du Nord, Paris. Photo by Elliot Gilfix.

Gare du Nord, Paris. CC Photo by Elliot Gilfix.

Sixty Seconds II with: Laura Carroll Butler

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Laura Carroll Butler.  Read her winning story here. Note that this is her second win–read her first #SixtySeconds interview (from back in October) here. Then take another minute to get to know her better below.

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  The surreality of the picture and my son leaving home; I seem to write best when I’m feeling emotional.

2) Do you outline, or are you more of a discovery writer? Some of both; I know my character’s history, but they’re like children.  As I write, they develop their own way of    doing things.

3) How would you describe your writing style? Real, but hopefully more interesting than reality.

4) When did you begin writing fiction? As soon as I could write.  I still have the stories I wrote as a teenager, and they are pretty bad.

5) Introduce us to a favorite character in one of your stories. Johanna Somers is born into English nobility, marries a Virginia farmer and lives in Tidewater during the Revolutionary War.

6) What books have influenced your life the most? To Kill A Mockingbird. I wish I were Atticus, but I’m more like Scout. I react from the heart.

7) What are you currently reading? Finally, an easy question!  Washington’s Spies:  The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose.

8) How do you combat writer’s block? With a glass of wine!

9) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?  Write with honesty (thank you Emyl).

10) What do you admire most about dragons? They’re so pretty!  What’s not to admire?

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 18: WINNERS!

Oh my goodness, dear dragonlings, do I EVER have plottings and machinations going on! Forgive the excessive giddiness (though I suppose you must be used to it by now?). It may come to nothing, of course. Or it could be THE GREATEST THING EVER!!!! Stay tuned.

First up: a special thanks to those of you exploring FF’s own missed deadline last week. Craig Anderson… “Flasher Girl”?? BRILLIANT. Unfortunate, obviously. But BRILLIANT. Right up there with Eric Martell‘s perception-altering magic and clock mis-switch. And Scott Vannatter‘s hilariously rain-soaked entries (and tower!!!!). You were all ohhhh, so close…. and yet…. :D :D

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Judge Alissa Leonard says: I had so much fun judging this round! Thanks to everyone for their take on the prompt. I’m not sure if it was the ‘missed deadline’ prompt that drove so many of you to write of betrayals, but the race for survival after the missed deadline led many to look out for number one, so to speak. It was amazing how many things the snow and the fog could become – from mundane to spiritual. You ran me ragged, up hills and mountains and down into ravines, waiting or running or searching or simply experiencing the moment. And moments there were! Let me tell you about some of my favorites:

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Endings: There were some doozies this week (some I’ll mention later). “Dead Line” by MT Decker, “Art Supplies” by Betsy Streeter, “Butter Fingers” by Stella Kate, “Rendezvous” by SJ O’Hart, “There” by Marie McKay, and “I Always Get My Man” by Michael Seese.

World-building: “The Rift Between Worlds” by Phil Coltrane, and “Hidden In Plain Sight” by joidianne4eva.

Use of Language: “Fog” by Sarah Cain, and “Tracking a Nomad” by Chris Milam

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Marie McKay“Out of Time.” I love the feeling of striving in this piece. You conveyed the idea of ‘so close, yet so far away’ so very well. The line “They’re a breath away. A blink. I feel like I can almost hear them.” was so powerful I wanted to reach out and grab hold of them myself. And really, Time Chasing? I want to know more!

Clive Newnham, “The Whisperings.” You paint a clear picture. Even without the photo prompt I could see the mountains and feel the cold. I could hear them spurring one another to move faster and I found myself caught up in the need to hurry. I particularly loved the line “struggling for balance across the shifting scree”. Then you bring in the awesomeness that “sucks at the quarry’s plumes of breath”. That freaked me out – even more so than the frozen, flaking flesh later on. These treasure hunters picked the wrong relic… Very nicely done!

Maven Alysse, “Cold Miscalculations.” Oh my word! That is some serious betrayal. The “Oops” at the end clinched it for me. I just wasn’t expecting it at all. It certainly made me want to know more about these triplets and why one is murdering another and admitting it to the other. The characterization in such a short space on all three of the brothers is just impressive.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Eric Martell (aka drmagoo), Untitled. I loved the dichotomy of the two characters – one was bored and trusting, the other anxious and skeptical. I especially loved it when faced with “a ravine filled with hundreds of things – some animate, some not – that could kill them in an instant.” They seemed like they had done this before…and I’d like to know about that. But, really, the last line is what pulled the story out of the myriad HMs vying for this position – I laughed so hard at accidentally changing the alarm to PM! (…not that I’ve ever done that before…*shifty eyes*) Well played. 

FIRST RUNNER UP

Karl A Russell, “Holding On.” Their love story is so beautiful and deep and rich and you did it with one stinkin’ line! “wondering if they would waste their final moments deep in the arguments of the past” and her response “you sly, charming old fool…” This spoke VOLUMES of their history and familiarity. I also love his gentleness in “[he] stroked her shoulder” and “tears streaking his frosted cheeks”.  THEN (as if that weren’t enough!) you turn this ‘dead line’ into something like the Nothing (What?!?!?!) and you give their love action – even at the last – jumping into the next thing, together. Beautiful. Tears. Seriously. Thank you.

And now: for her second time (the first was Round 46 in Year One), it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

LAURA CARROLL BUTLER!!!

for

“Elysium”

Oh. My. Tears. I don’t know if this resonated so much because my mom is always late to everything, but I know couples like this. You gave their entire history such depth and specificity in large, sweeping brushstrokes. I especially loved how Lila accepted this sometimes annoying character trait and learned to roll with it: giving her ten extra minutes to primp, ‘serenely’ waiting on his arrival – expecting his tardiness and not getting flustered by it, keeping dinner warming in the oven, and greeting him when he finally came to bed. She accepted all of him, and that is beautiful. But the thing that put this one over the top is the way you rounded it out. Your first line “Lila had always been the one to wait” and your last “Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him” have a beautiful symmetry. I can picture him now “waiting with the other[s], peering into the mist” and my heart breaks – for him, for her, for loss, for love. So special. Thank you.

Congratulations on your second win, Laura! Your (new! sparkly!) winner’s badge waits for you below. Here is your updated winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Watch your inbox for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature interview questions. And here is your winning story:

Elysium

Lila had always been the one to wait. Ben was five minutes late for their first date, misjudging the amount of time it would take to walk across campus. By their third date, Lila knew she had at least ten minutes more to primp before Ben arrived.

On his way to their wedding, Ben’s cab broke down and he was late to the chapel. He was flustered and apologetic when he showed up, but Lila smiled serenely. “I knew you would be here,” she whispered.

Dinner was always warming in the oven when Ben came home late from the office. She woke when he came to bed, long enough to kiss him good night.

Now it was Ben’s turn to wait for Lila. Everyday, he waited with the other husbands, peering into the mist, waiting for his wife. Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him.

 

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