Archive | November 2013

Flash! Friday # 52

** 3 Days Until the Flashversary!! Festivities will run Dec 2 -6: SHOCKING! FIVE WHOLE DAYS to write & submit your stories for prizes and worldwide (minor) celebrity. Set your clocks NOW. If you’re like me and tend to forget things, set your clocks yesterday.

WELCOME TO FLASH! FRIDAY!  Anniversaries tend to make one all nostalgic and backward-looking. With the rip-roarin’ Flashversary around the corner, I’m most definitely looking forward and not that other direction. Still, there’s something to be said for fuzzy lenses and (especially in this week of the American Thanksgiving holiday) gratitude for one’s blessings. Which–go with me on this one–reminds me of how much I’ve learned this past year. Which–see? here’s the connection–makes one think of school. Of course, today’s prompt isn’t your everyday school room…

(Find the instructive contest rules here.)

This week’s personalized educational experience is headmastered by outgoing SVW judge and Arthurian legend-obsessed Jaz Draper, who will liberally award gold stars to writers offering well-rounded characters and crisp dialogue. Be sure to check out her judge page to learn how to escape having your name written on the board.

And now:

Word limit: 100 word story (5- word leeway) based on the photo prompt. 

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (95 – 105 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. 

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post SUNDAY. (Reminder! The Flashversary goes live at 7:30am Monday.)

Prize: An informational e-dragon e-badge, a scholarly and illuminating winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview feature in detention next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME blasted in high-pitched musical tones in the morning announcements of schools around the world. NOTE: No more Flash Points until Year 2. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/tips on rolling the best kinds of spitballs.  And now for your prompt:

Miss Robertson's School Room (1913). Public Domain photo. National Archives Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Miss Robertson’s School Room (1913). Public Domain photo. National Archives Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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Sixty Seconds with: Jackie Castle

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 Jackie Castle.  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? Your challenge caused me to consider times when we are most likely to be contemplative. I wrote about that moment.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Umm, about a month, maybe two months now. I’m hooked.

3) What do you like about flash? The opportunity to let go and allow myself to write what I normally don’t write about. No restraints.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Don’t think too much. Keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to explore ideas you normally hold back on.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? So new to this, I’m honestly not sure. Fave authors are Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and a few others.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I’ve also entered the Finish That Thought challenge.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I have two teen fantasy novels out, a third in progress. Also have short stories in two anthologies.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Favorite genre is fantasy because anything is possible.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  I’m working on book 3 of my fantasy series for teens titled The White Road Chronicles.

10) How do you feel about dragons? Just between us, I have one sitting on my desk that inspires those I write into my stories. {{Editor’s Note: Hey! I’ve got one or two at my desk too!}}

Flash! Friday # 51 — WINNERS!

I wanted to be all avant garde and announce the winners in silence today, but hanged if I could figure a way how to do that. Words are just too powerful, it would seem (much as I would appreciate the irony). And so please allow me to express aloud the gratitude in my heart to all of you for sharing your stories with us this week. Thank you!     

This week’s swan song is sung by Sweet Songstress Beth Peterson, whose love for beauty and elegance has seeped through every pore of her judgery this past year. Thank you, dear Beth, for giving of your time and self so graciously and eagerly. We’re forever grateful!    

THE COUNTDOWN GOES WILD! Flash! Friday Flashversary Festivities launch in one tiny week, Dec 2-6, and Year 2 will kick off Dec 13 with a brand new judge panel. You will get to know our first quarter judges better in the coming months, but for now it is with tremendous honor & excitement I introduce their (familiar) names to you: M. T. Decker, Whitney Healy, Erin McCabe, and Nillu Nasser Stelter. Welcome aboard, dear ones!

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Judge Beth Peterson says, You, yes, YOU, have so greatly enriched my life this past year! THANK YOU!! It has been such an honor for me to be a part of Flash! Friday! (And I’m looking forward to this coming year!) 😀  All of you have produced some wonderful work in this past year of Flash! Friday. There have been *so* many stories I’ve read that are honest-to-Pete gems.

 

But not only that…. I also want to congratulate *each and every* person who has put their work out on the line (because, hey! It’s *tough* to present your creative work to strangers for evaluation…even when you know the people involved are supportive and want to see what you are doing). And further, I congratulate all of you who have entered Flash! Friday multiple times, whose work I have seen develop and deepen over this past year!

 

Writing is a skill! Never, ever let anyone tell you it isn’t! In addition, like all skills, it is work to begin, and work to build those skills to ever-higher levels. It helps to read about skill-building in writing, but it also *requires* practice. And not talking about “I’m writing in my head”, LOL…. I know we all do that. I am writing in my head all the time! BUT… that is a mere shadow of writing for real. Whether you’re writing on an electronic tablet, an old yellow school tablet (like we had when I was a kid), on a really old schoolhouse slate, or even writing in cuneiform on a clay tablet!  Practicing our writing skills is the only way to truly improve our writing.

 

SO KEEP IT UP, you wonderful, creative, courageous people!!!! 😀  As we enter Flash! Friday’s second year, I can hardly wait to see what wondrous, thought-provoking, rib-tickling stories are shared! 

 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

M. T. Decker, “Singing a Dragon’s Praise.” This was well-drawn writing, but the crazy humor of the twist had me laughing and then smiling for quite some time! Thank you!

Marie McKay, Untitled. I love how the prompt led to this unexpected story! The moment of quiet, yet shattering, realization. The decision to revive some of that which has been lost. It speaks to me, for I, too, mourn the passing of the handwritten word.

Joidianne4eva, “And At the End (Let Us Meet Here).” You chose a very interesting concept to write about and wrote it well. Love the turn of phrase, “In this place where the living and the dead collided…” 

Betty Copeland, “The Photograph.” This was some really great descriptive writing of “innerness”! And your last sentence summed up everything wonderfully! A strong and definitive ending to your story. 😀

Ian Martyn, “Choosing.” This really captures that moment of life when we are at a true crossroads. I like the sense of contemplation and the straight-forward, striped-down-to-the-essentials question of direction facing the narrator. I think the use of the first-person POV heightens that impact.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Erin McCabe, “Liminality.” From the title (liminality: the sense of ambiguity or disorientation that often occurs during the middle stages of rituals), through to the stop-and-think “allusions of ubiquity” I was drawn into the rather self-conscious and self-consciously “apart” world of the initiate…in this case, Tenzin. The use of language really works well to impart that sense of separation between Tenzin (encased within the monastic life and Buddhist expectations) and the experience of life as a human being.

 

The last paragraph poignantly touches on that conscious decision that Tenzin makes, leaving the teachings behind and stepping into the embrace of what he is experiencing. I have to wonder how this will change Tenzin. Will this decision lead to other, perhaps life-defining, decisions?

FIRST RUNNER UP

Jacki Donnellan, “Connection.” This is a lovely use of language, in and of itself. Just a piece of that is the phrase, “He glides slowly down the gravel path…”. It immediately sets the tone for everything that follows…almost, hehehe! A wonderful story of quiet observation… AND, what an absolutely ~masterful~ twist of an ending!! 😀

And appearing for the FIRST time as Flash! Friday  

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

JACKIE CASTLE!

for “The Transition” 

The prompt is redolent of contemplation. And this is a wonderfully written piece of the deepest contemplative issue facing all of us. I love the detail given of the here-and-now – poetic and deeply observant. The transition to the look back at a life of choices is seamless, as is the transition right back to the here-and-now observations. And the words!! “tiny veins interweaving…a shadow of his long life lived.” “black branches decked in yellow” Glorious word-pictures! But much more than that as you take on the deep and deeply meaningful transition we all will experience: philosophical contemplation of great degree, welded with magnificent writing. *happy sigh* 

Congratulations, Jackie! Here is your thoughtful Winner’s Page, a dreamily contemplative yet loud dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature.

The Transition

Withered fingers dig into the damp soil mixed with decayed leaves. Breathing in a lung-full of earthy richness, he sighed.

Bones creaked as his head rested against upon the earthen bed. Emerald fronds waved over his face in the breeze.

The tiny veins interweaving along the ferns underside were a shadow of his long life lived. A series of crossed paths and chance meetings, journeys down twisting and turning roads. In the end, they all returned to the earth and she welcomed them, making them a part of her core.

Above, black branches decked in yellow shimmered against the blue expanse. He contemplated his folly. The incessant planning, scheming, striving… only to return here in the end. He should have simply breathed in… and out… and in… and….

Out.

Release from the earth’s constraints. Bindings broke. He extended wider and wider to accept what lay beyond. Free.

FFWinnerBadgeSmall