Archive | January 2014

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 7: WINNERS!

Welcome back! Once again I’m writing you from the frigid depths of my basement. My fingers aren’t quite blue, but I am imagining they are, which makes writing this Winners’ Post feel very heroic. And since each of you is a hero in my book for showing up each week and daring to raise your keyboards in a writing battle, perhaps my imagination’s not too far off, eh?  

Judge Erin McCabe says: Wow, my judging week has come around again so quickly, and of course I couldn’t be happier. Thank you all for taking the time to enter your stories; it was a tough prompt this week and required great skill to capture the breadth and depth of a concept such as destiny in such a short word count. I enjoyed the humour in many of the entries submitted this week and the diverse range of characters and plots you all devised, another great week of writing!

Like the other judges, I judge blindly, dividing entries into different categories and then re-reading until I’ve determined my final list. So without further adieu, let us begin.   

♦♦♦♦♦

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Ian Martyn, “The Empire Builder.”  I really liked the pace of this piece and the language, for example the use of “geometric perfection” to describe the aesthetic value of the statue. Our character is destined to watch over the common man and to value his endeavours however large or small for the rest of history; a price to be paid for vanity, frivolity and lack of empathy. It seems fitting and is captured brilliantly within the language used throughout this story. 

Phil Coltrane, “Standing Before the Public Thing.” It is no secret that I am in love with the Zombie genre and so this piece really stood out to me. The theme of destiny was expertly embedded, and the reveal of the undead was a welcome surprise. I really liked the flow of the piece, but most of all the final line of “Brains,” and the casual tone in which it was expressed, caused a huge smile to spread across my face, so well done.

Tinman, “To Caesar What Is Caesar’s.” This one definitely deserves a mention for making me laugh; the theme of destiny was well constructed through the rise of Caesar Septemberus, which also linked well to the pictorial prompt. Winning the people over with Salad versus the persuasive power of pizza however is what I loved the most; so humorously written, great!

SECOND RUNNER UP

Dieter Rogiers, “Thou Wouldst Be Great.”  I loved the title and particularly the power of this entry from beginning to end. The Dictators wife: persuasive, corrupting and merciless; her power and his unvoiced submission is tangible throughout the piece. There is realism to this which I love; there have been many women through history, some known, many cloaked in anonymity, which would have taken this approach to gaining power. The theme of destiny is very strong, culminating in the ending, “Build my gallows high.” It’s a perfect ending to bring the story full circle through future echoes.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Sinead O’Hart, “The Stonecarver’s Boy.” What I appreciated most was the writer’s ability to condense the life of this boy into approx. 150 words. The idea was well formed, and the story of the boy’s work and fate were a good interpretation of both the prompt and the theme of destiny. There was also an excellent emotional aspect in terms of the Mother’s distanced love, knowing she cannot protect him but fruitlessly attempting to do so anyway. Death with a purpose but for no real purpose was well told and yet not condemned by the central characters, the frivolity of his death ultimately creating an even greater sadness within the reader.  I really liked this piece.

And now: drumroll, please! it’s back-to-back 

DRAGON WINNER

CINDY VASKOVA!!!

for

“Some Men Would Let the World Burn”

This story ticked so many boxes for me: the link to the pictorial prompt, the theme of destiny, a great ending, a brilliant title and some excellent world building. Well done, Cindy! I loved the language used to describe the deep-seeded contempt and disgust boiling over within the protagonist. The language had tones harking back to the industrial age but was also peppered with futuristic mechanical references, “buzzes and the clacks of apparatus modern.” This actually made me think of the steam-punk genre, which I really like. In particular, the line: “Is it the look of my own handmade apparatus?” really made me think, as it almost suggests, that our protagonist is a man-made man, adding a whole new dimension to his plight. I liked this ambiguity as it captured my attention and made me think deeper about the piece. Well done, a well-deserved win!

Congratulations again, Cindy! think you may be the first writer to win back-to-back, and with two different judges! Your winner’s badge welcomes you back in a very impressed sort of way. Here is your updated, still very sparkly winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please watch your inbox for another set of questions for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

Some Men Would Let the World Burn

Let dollars be thrown in the air in celebration of the future, of prosperity and innovation, and let the electrical body be immortalized! Let men from each side of the world join hands and put great minds together to create and improve. But God let that be at a lower cost.

Oh, how each light bulb pulsates with power, so bright! So many!

In the crowd I am alone, amongst the buzzes and the clacks of apparatus modern and astonishing. Beyond that I see a society that does not abide by the rules given to it by Destiny. I breathe the air of its false utopia and it sickness me. I have seen a future of Godlike men, emotionless. So tell me Lady Republic, what shall I do to save you?

Ah, there comes old Moore, frightened and absurd. Is it the look of my own handmade apparatus?
“Visconti, wait! What are you doing?”

Salvaging, cleansing. Let it all burn.

FFwinner-Web

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 7

Friday AGAIN!!!! Can you believe it?! So much fun and happiness, all wrapped up in one little bitty day. Thank you so much for coming to share part of yours with us here at Flash! Friday. Wouldn’t be the same without you! PS. I mean that. Would be very, very depressing. And lonely. Though also perhaps slightly less well-behaved, I’m thinking.     

Back taking another turn as judge is mischievous Erin McCabe! She loves a great twist at the end of a story, so let’s twist away this week! Read more about her (though she is suspiciously silent on the topic of breakfast cereals) here.

Yes, please! In case you’ve been away for a while: we now have a required extra challenge with the weekly prompt, called the Dragon’s Bidding. The element (inscribed in the dragon’s own bejeweled pendant) changes every week and must be a thematic component in your story. Note that you do not need to include the exact word in your story unless instructed to do so (e.g. “include the word ‘Schicksal‘”).  

What Else: Results post Sunday evenings. Flash Points, a feature in which a particularly outstanding FF story is highlighted, posts on occasional Mondays. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner will post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.” And being served up in the Flash! Friday mess hall this week is a good, ol’ fashioned bowl of chicken soup (take your pick: the comforting can o’ noodles kind, the white bean chili kind (wow), or the totally awesome pho kind, which I could eat every day for years before tiring of it).  

Your turn!

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 that is specified):

destiny

***Today’s Prompt:

Statue of the Republic @ the Court of Honor and Grand Basin, 1893. Public domain photo.

Statue of the Republic @ the Court of Honor and Grand Basin, 1893. Public domain photo.

Sixty Seconds with: Cindy Vaskova

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 Cindy Vaskova.  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?  The repetitiveness that surged from the construction, it just had me thinking horror and mental experiments.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Two years and some months now.

3) What do you like about flash? It’s a very tight fashion of writing; it just takes cleverness and vivid imagery to build a strong piece in lesser words. It’s brilliant fun.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Take a chance at it if you haven’t, it’s great fun and a priceless experience!

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? I’m bad at pointing out! Follow everyone, each person out there is an inspiration and communicating can be a great deal of help.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Friday Flash – it’s my first experience with flash writing and the community has given me lots of advice.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I try a bit of everything. I try to be versatile in order to shape a style. I’ve got serials, some book reviews, shots at poetry and a comic book in the making.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Oh, I love horror and sci-fi! The darker the genre is the more passionate I am about it. I love tormented characters and bizarre world creating. Dark fiction all the way.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  Two men working in the world of evaluating prized possessions suddenly find themselves in a district of town they’ve never heard of and one of them appears to be dead, though his ghostly like presence tends to argue. 

10) How do you feel about dragons?  I love them! I worship them, I want to pet them, though the latter might be not a good idea, in case I’m not a dragon tamer, which sadly I’m not.