Archive | July 2013

Sixty Seconds with: Allison K. Garcia

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 Allison K. Garcia.  Read her winning story here, then take one minute to get to know her better.

1) What about the prompt inspired you to write your winning piece? It reminded me of Italy and the mountains, and I pictured all my senses but thought of sight last.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Two or three months.

3) What do you like about flash? If I don’t write anything else all week, at least I wrote something! Also, it’s fun reading other people’s stories.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Just try it out. It’s super fun!

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? I love Barbara Kingsolver. I also love classic literature. You can learn a lot from reading the greats!

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Nope. I am loyal to Rebekah. 🙂 Heehee.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I mostly write novels but am foraying a bit into short stories and penny fiction. 

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Contemporary. Most recently I wrote some Latino/Chicano fiction, and it was awesomely fun!  

9) Tell us about a WIP. Vivir El Dream: an undocumented college student deciding whether to stay in the shadows or stand up and fight. 

10) How do you feel about dragons? Um… glad they don’t exist in our realm {Editor’s Note: THAT YOU KNOW OF}. Although Pete’s was okay.

Advertisements

Flash Points: Allison Garcia, The Sequel

FlashPoints3

Welcome to Flash Points. Every (ish) Monday we stick one of the previous Friday’s entries under a sparklyscope and tear it to pieces (in a good way). What makes writing “good”? Specifically, what makes great flash? Let the discussion begin!

Prompt: Cable car

Word limit:  70 – 80

Today’s chosen flash piece:  Above the Cloudby Allison K. Garcia

Giovanni breathed in deeply, filling his lungs with crisp, mountain air. A certain calm silence surrounded him. The only sound was the wind. It whipped around him, mingling the thin air with Ana’s perfume. He smiled and reached out for her arm, his boots crunching the snow as he turned.

“Oh, Giovanni,” Ana sighed. “It’s amazing up here. I have never seen anything so wonderful in my life.”

He didn’t need to see to know how beautiful this place was.

What works

Allison’s hit two homeruns in a row in the past few days, first with Round 33’sHot and Cold,” followed by this round’s “Above the Cloud,” which garnered her the well-deserved win. 

This piece does all the right sorts of things the best flash stories do: vivid yet economized descriptions; a plot/storyline aptly suited for the required wordcount; a memorable, powerful punch at the end. No cumbersome backstory! No excessive worldbuilding! In fact, “Above the Cloud” shows us even less than a complete story: it’s only a single scene, a infinitesimal moment. But ohhh, the world contained in that tiny moment! 

The story’s opening bursts with sensory details. We’ve got the feel of the wind in Giovanni’s lungs, the smell of Ana’s perfume, the crunching sound of boots in the snow. Allison devoted a hefty fifty words to bringing this scene to life, making it almost tangible for the reader. While not all flash pieces can afford to spend such a large percentage of the story on description, Allison has done so deliberately, and her descriptions are lovely and alive.

The twist too is a clever one. Giovanni is blind, and the painting of the gorgeous mountaintop scene is carefully worked to make his unique, heartfelt appreciation of its beauty a true surprise to the reader. You know how at the end of a detective story, you sometimes can’t help skimming back through the novel for missed clues? “Above the Cloud” did that for me; after the surprise of the final line, I had to read back through, and only then did I begin to grasp how delicately and intentionally the groundwork had been laid. 

I’m also completely amazed (again) by Allison’s skill at layering the story. While she doesn’t attempt to cram too much plot into her 80 words, she still manages to hint at more than can be caught in a first reading. We glimpse in a single sentence, for example, the deep love Giovanni feels for Ana. Further: the first paragraph’s description of the mountaintop is given to us from Giovanni’s point of view. It’s an almost invisible rending of the fourth wall, actually, as we experience the mountaintop in the same way the blind man does. After all, as readers we can only see the writer’s world as the writer gives it to us (at first, at least, until our imaginations seize the world and burst into flame on our own), and in this scene we are “shown” physical beauty by a man unable to see it directly himself.

Stories like Allison’s remind me that though I may not be able to smell Ana’s perfume or feel the cold mountain wind against my skin, an entire world may be brought alive in front of me within the barest minimum of words, and just like Giovanni, I too may drink in its beauty.

Yep. I love this story. How about you?

Flash! Friday # 34 — WINNERS!

Whoooooooooop! What a mad dash of an affair yesterday’s contest was! Thanks to everyone for showing up and playing in such impressively good (and hasty) form. And now, here are the results for Round 34.  Don’t forget all stories remain eligible for dissection by Monday’s Flash Points feature.   

♦♦♦♦♦

Judge Patricia McCommas says, The stories this week were creative, original, and entertaining, with a few stories leaning toward the dark and mysterious. Narrowing the list down was very difficult–I had to read, reread and, in some cases, rereread. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congrats to the winners!

♦♦♦♦♦

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Lisa McCourt Hollar, “And Then There Were None.” I love the 180 degree change from “Who in their right mind lived on top of a mountain” to “Who in their right mind accepts an invitation to dinner on top of a mountain.” This was a power-packed play on words. You could remove all the other words and still have a complete story in these two lines. What great writing.

The Imaginator, “S’no Goat.” Creative and original. This is a complete story infused with suspense until the end – and you did it all with dialogue. Great job! Now I want to know if they survived the missile. The moral of this story: don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  

MT Decker, “Good Eats.” Excellent, well-written piece. I love its originality and the unexpected twist at the end. I did not expect “good eats” to mean humans as dragon food! Great job.

DoctorMikeReddy, “Ascension.” The story is original, creative, and engages my emotional senses. The trip down is a frightful thought. It made me think of those destined for the highway to hell. Their glimpse of heaven would make hell that much worse, knowing they could never enter. Really good story and well-crafted. With a bit of polishing of the end, this would make a great flash story for publication.

2nd RUNNER UP

Ian Martyn, “One Last Time.” I love that you tell the story from the deceased’s POVCreative angle told poetically while embracing both sadness and excitement for what lies ahead. 

1st RUNNER UP

Pratibha Kelapure, “Untrodden Sorrow.” Excellent, poetic opening line. This is an excellent, romantic piece overshadowed by sadness for the love she will never have. Pure poetry in motion, told in flash style. Love it. 

And a super fast but totally heartfelt welcome to the winner’s dais: our Flash! Friday 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

ALLISON K. GARCIA!

for “Above the Cloud.”  This is an excellent story and a perfect example of showing, not telling. You engage our senses to SHOW Giovanni is blind without actually saying it. Your descriptions are clear and poignant. Well-written with vivid images. Congratulations, Allison, for a spectacular (and moving) story.

Congratulations, Allison! Here are your Winner’s Page, your very own rapidly but brilliantly crafted eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap (here) with your email address so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Above the Cloud

Giovanni breathed in deeply, filling his lungs with crisp, mountain air. A certain calm silence surrounded him. The only sound was the wind. It whipped around him, mingling the thin air with Ana’s perfume. He smiled and reached out for her arm, his boots crunching the snow as he turned.

“Oh, Giovanni,” Ana sighed. “It’s amazing up here. I have never seen anything so wonderful in my life.”

He didn’t need to see to know how beautiful this place was.

FFWinnerBadgeSmall