Archive | February 2014

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 12

This wasn’t supposed to be this week’s photo. Oh, no. Something else entirely. But while flipping, so to speak, through various pages of photos, these three welders leapt off the page and would not leave me alone. You know how it goes. You walk out of the room to do something else, and there they are in front of you again, sparks flying, eyes staring  at you darkly through their goggles.  So ALL RIGHT, Peggy, Ruth, and Supervisor Lee! I yield. Tell me your stories!

In her final turn as a Quarter Two judge is Nillu Nasser Stelter. While I’m certain she’ll be happy to leap back into the regular Flash! Friday fray, her words & encouragement & tough cookieness will be missed on the judge’s bench. Thank you, Nillu, for your gracious and faithful service. (Don’t think this means she’s going to go easy on you today, however…) 

Awards Ceremony: Results post Sunday evenings. 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.” Today’s feast is potluck-style, by the way, so please grab that mystery box out of the fridge and pull up a chair. Here we go!   

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 instructed to do so, e.g. “include the words ‘fillet weld throat‘”):

Vendetta

***Today’s Prompt:

Gary Plant Tubular Steel Corporation.

Gary Plant Tubular Steel Corporation, 1943. Public domain photo.

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Sixty Seconds with: Tinman

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 Tinman.  Read his winning story here, then take one minute to get to know him better.

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  I never really know where my ideas come from, but I remember thinking “He’s going to land in that forest”….

2) How long have you been writing flash? Only a few months, though I never write very long pieces anyway.

3) What do you like about flash? It refines your writing. For example, if you are only allowed twenty words per answer, then you really have to 

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Write the story you want to write first, or it’s no fun. Then work on getting it within the limit.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? The best ones I’ve read write here – the standard is always terrific, which is why I’m so thrilled to win.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Yes – Flash Frenzy, Finish That Thought, and sometimes Trifecta.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? Longer versions of the kind of stuff I write here – I take a daft idea and see where it goes.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? I love to make people laugh, so mostly I stick to writing hopefully funny pieces.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  I’m helping a friend stage a pantomime that I originally wrote for an amateur Drama Group in the 80s. 

10) How do you feel about dragons? I’ve always genuinely believed that Puff the Magic Dragon is the saddest love song ever written.

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 11: WINNERS!

Good evening! Hope your weekend’s been spectacular in every way. Thanks for coming back to celebrate the winners with us! 

Warmest congratulations to our own dear Craig Anderson, who stopped by post-contest to add a precious tale in honor of his just-born daughter (please be sure to read it & leave joy for him!). CONGRATULATIONS, Craig, to you and Lauren, and a fiery (in the best way) WELCOME TO THE WORLD to sweet Neve. Thank you for sharing this most wonderful story with us!

♦♦♦♦♦

Judge Nillu Nasser Stelter says: Oh Flash! Friday community, what a wonderfully talented, wise and supportive group of writers you are. We had forty fabulous entries this week; both old-timers (metaphorically speaking) and the bright new things dazzled me with inventive concepts and skillful prose. As a judge, I found this my most challenging one yet. There are just so many masters of the ink amongst you. I found myself wanting to applaud a fantastic premise here, a wondrous way with words there, an elegant resolution in one story and superbly drawn characters in another. You gave me horror, romance, fantasy, comedy and science fiction. I discovered wonderful contemplative pieces and action-packed thrillers. I read about dragons, lovers, children, soldiers, skydiving octogenarians, planetary explorers, parachuting brides and nature personified. I dove into stories of hope and regret, love and courage, exhilaration and longing. It is little wonder that I short-listed a quarter of you for a second reading.

Before I unveil the podium places, here are some special mentions for writers, whose work leapt off the page for me this week. AJ Walkers concept of an Octogenarian Russian Roulette Club in ‘A Jump into the Unknown’ was equally surreal, terrifying and funny, and held some wonderfully memorable sentences – ‘he plummeted earthwards towards the dark carpet of spruce.’ In her story ‘Body of Truth’, Margaret Locke writes movingly about someone who has finally accepted herself and whose body is its own parachute. Horror isn’t a genre I have come across often during my time as a Flash! Friday judge, so this week I’d like to tip my imaginary hat to Joidianne4eva for her piece ‘With Bloody Feet On Hallowed Ground’ and her alarming concept of menacing trees, whose age has brought ‘wisdom and cunning.’ The final special mention this week goes to current judge Erin McCabe  for ‘Tender Peak’, for a beautifully chosen title that set the tone for her story of a mountain’s consciousness. I was swept along by poetic phrasing – ‘Animals graze under my shadow and drink from pure waters trickling down my ridged body’ – and the simple elegance of the last sentence – ‘I only hope it knew my avalanche was both death and love – was master penmanship at work.

And now, the winners! A rapturous applause please for:

♦♦♦♦♦

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Robin Abess, “The Chosen.”  Robin’s submission charmed me with its beautiful phrasing – ‘Darcy’s breath hung in the air as she floated downwards’ – and melancholic tones. The world-building here was effective – ‘the hungry ground’ – and included the invention of terms such as ‘Otherlands’, which gave the hint of a story unfolding outside of this one. 

R.F. Marazas, “Bored Reckless.” The tension builds beautifully in this piece, in which traditional roles are turned upside down and you find a dare-devil wife and her exasperated husband. I loved the feisty heroine in this piece, who tackles an armed robber on her honeymoon, and there is a corker of an ending.

SJ O’Hart, “The Long Step.” I liked the concept of rebirth in this piece, and the use of paragraph breaks to emphasize the protagonist’s loneliness – ‘Nobody wanted to say goodbye’ / ‘Pablo had no dependants now.’ There was one simple sentence in this piece, with imagery so perfect within the context of this story and the prompts, that I knew it had to make the podium: ‘Peace enfolded him, like a closing eye.’ What clever plotting to have women waiting to catch the newborn at the bottom of the mountain, like evolved midwives.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Sarah Cain, “Second Jump.”  This story encapsulated the innocence of youth and the wisdom of old age. It got off to a cracking start, with the reader thrown into the memories that haunt the central character – ‘He’d made this jump before. Then the night had lit up with anti-aircraft fire – and beautifully-crafted descriptions – when the door opened they stomped in unison, terrified yet exhilarated’. It was filled with clever contrasts – ‘the blood and horror, Jack’s fast grin and bright blue eyes’, ‘he sees now what he couldn’t then’ – and a resolution that the reader knows has been expertly foreshadowed throughout the story, but still sparkles with truth and beauty.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Image Ronin, “The Romantic.” This was one of the rare submissions in which the central character is watching those sky-diving rather than taking part himself. It centred on a romance between Art and his late wife Lara. I loved the gentle tone and language in this piece – ‘mirroring the hypnotic descent of the parachutists dropping out of the sky.’ The ending of the story, in which Art takes his life, was for me unexpected, given that he is merely a spectator of the action, but utterly convincing. I found his wish to be reunited with his wife comforting and moving, particularly given his rather pragmatic look down memory lane. What a wonderful final sentence: ‘Before long he was free falling back to her’.

And now: presenting first time Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

TINMAN!!!

for

“Skyfall”

This comic piece by Tinman stood out for its refreshing take and its tongue-in-cheek homage to that wonderfully British hero James Bond. In this story, Bond is wearing thermal underwear when he is sent on his final mission two days before retirement, which ‘made him practically a walking gravestone’. The pop-culture references and comic timing in this piece are impeccable – ‘[he] pinballed from branch to branch, each one slapping his face like some beautiful spy that he had slept once with and then left.’ The imagery in this story was well chosen for the mood of the piece – ‘he swung gently, like a Christmas bauble poked by an enraptured child’. I loved also the thought that hard as nails Bond would choose to wear thermals for this mission (which proved to be his undoing) ‘lest he catch his death.’ Congratulations Tinman for your win!

Spectacular mission completion, Tinman! Your winner’s badge greets you adventurously below. Here is your mysterious yet debonair winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me here asap so I can interview you for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

Skyfall

Bond had been sent on this mission with just two days to go to retirement which, as any cop in any film could have told him, made him practically a walking gravestone.

So it’s no surprise that as he parachuted in over the Alps he was held up by the thermals, and so overshot Blofeld’s secret base and plummeted instead into a dense forest.

He hit a tree with all the force of Wile E Coyote hitting a canyon floor, then pinballed from branch to branch, each one slapping his face like some beautiful spy that he had slept once with and then left.

Luckily his plunge was halted just five feet from the ground, and he swung gently, like a Christmas bauble poked by an enraptured child.

The elderly Bond had dressed warmly, lest he catch his death, and was being held up by the thermals.

FFwinner-Web