Archive | April 2014

Sixty Seconds with: A J Walker

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 A J Walker. Read his winning story here. Then take a minute to get to know him better!

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  Firstly, a pint of Hank and Trapper’s Hat! Image shrieked of fear and suspicion, but with the phone of normality.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Three years or so, but only seriously (i.e. often) over the last year.

3) What do you like about flash? Taking a fresh course each time to an unknown destination. The challenge of creating something tangible on a blank page.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? I’ll just say 1) do it and 2) don’t worry about others liking it – as long you do. Enjoy it!

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? Catherine Connolly, who is currently enjoying great Flash momentum. Catherine’s in my writing group too! 

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I love VisDare (hosted by Angela Goff), which always has great photo prompts. I used to do Trifecta (RIP). Occasionally do Mid-Week Blues Buster (hosted by Jeff Tsuruoka).

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? An occasional beer blog called Scrawling Home. Very occasional twee poems. And far too much Twittering. A possible novel… 

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Fun fantasy stories with attempted realism. Or real stories with attempted fun and fantasy.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  I have quite a neat idea for a time travel novel. Or maybe I’ve not had that yet.

10) How do you feel about dragons? There’s a nice one in my local pub who lives in their cellar and keeps their central heating nicely toasty.

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 20: WINNERS!

This week’s prompt was the essence of contrast: clothing representing a firm and changeless tradition, and a very modern piece of technology. What does one do with that sort of tension? And that was the dilemma put into your hands, O Valiant Ones, to make of what you would. And did you ever. Thank you for coming out (especially all you brave new ones!) and daring to imagine the worlds hidden within those laughing eyes. You did awesome. 

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Judge Pratibha Kelapure says: Once again, the community has generated an overwhelming and brilliant response to the prompt this week. It evoked many emotions and ideas, and it even “pissed off” past three-time winner and judge Maggie Duncan. As rattled as she was, she nonetheless produced a hilarious tale, “Seek and Ye Shall Find.” 🙂 Everyone tried to uncover the knowledge hidden behind the burqa, and once again, I struggled to designate just one winner.  Many of you produce amazing stories week after week on some obscure image prompts, and it inspires me to be a regular contributor from here on.  You are all winners in my eyes, and I truly mean it.

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Craig Anderson, “Undercover.” A tender love story, at least the beginning of one, and a hilarious take on the prompt.

Maggie Duncan, “Seek and Ye Shall Find.” I could not stop laughing at the ending. 

Margaret Locke, “The Naked Truth.” This piece captures the suspicion and chaos in the modern world. The ending, “Because her eyes are smiling,” left me breathless. 

Chris Milam, “Warring in Kabul.” This piece subtly sheds light on the patriarchy in the society.

Dieter Rogiers, “The Eye of the Beholder.” I liked this take on what lies inside the frame vs the outside world. Pictures capture one moment in time for eternity, but not the truth or the reality of the world.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Marie McKay“The Witness.” An intelligent and informed take on the media frenzy. It makes one wonder about the veracity of the stories we see and hear in media. “The world’s perception narrowed by its storytellers.” What a brilliant construct.

Sinéad O’Hart, “Buried.” A tragic tale told from a position of strength and compassion under a dark cloud of greed and patriarchy. Sinead dazzles us with her incisive language.  Just take a look at this understated sentence: ‘But I could not find a place large enough inside me…’. 

Bart Van Goethem, “A New Beginning.” This is a revenge tale, but it took a second for me to realize it. The subtle and surprising end is cleverly hinted at. The two women are looking at two different changes in their lives, “Things are changing. And we have to be ready, ready for that one moment, that shift in balance.”

SECOND RUNNER UP

Paul Gledhill, “The Window.” This piece is a monologue that still manages to tell a complete story. The saga of the dichotomy between abuse and free will ends up in self-hate. This is a rare insight into the mind of the abused. I was captivated by the ending. “And then I look. And I don’t like what I see!”

FIRST RUNNER UP

Laura Carroll Butler, “The Flame.” She had me transfixed by the sentence “The stench outside of goat pee and stale cigarettes was the smell of despair and occupation, the smell of her life.” The ending is chilling. It captures the emotional chaos in the modern global world: I have a point to prove, and even though I have nothing personal against you, you are going to be blown to pieces. 

And now: for THE VERY FIRST TIME!!!!!, it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

A J WALKER!!!

for

“Race”

I was floored by the unexpected twist at the end. The imagery, the word choice, and the tone led one to expect the worst before the clever twist. I liked how the duality of the expression of the protagonist and the audience was created seamlessly. The words such as ‘crept,’ ‘explosion,’ and ‘electricity’ conjure images of the heartless sabotage. The image of “excited atoms before an explosion” prepares readers to expect the worst. Just when the author has readers gasping for breath, he breaks the tension by the image of little girl in an egg and spoon race. Brilliant!

Congratulations on your FIRST EVER win,  AJ! Your winner’s badge (yours!! all yours!!) waits for you below. Here is your brand new winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me asap so I can interview you for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

Race

   invisible

She could feel everyone looking.

        they couldn’t really see her

She crept into the area with the knowledge that this was where it was all going to happen. The best speck in town.

        no one knew who she was. for certain

She felt her eyes jumping with electricity, like excited atoms before an explosion.

        her handbag behind her

An explosion.

        her heart raced; she smiled. no one could see

She took her phone up, pressed record. She was going to catch it all for posterity. The magpie cocked his head to one side, seeming to look at her suspiciously.

       she in a portable hide. no one could see her. she was there;

        someone was

Hidden in plain sight. Cocksure and happy as goosebumps plumed over her, hairs standing to attention as the moment approached – the phone was going to catch it all.

As her daughter passed with the egg and spoon intact she blushed; this video would be priceless.

 

FFwinner-Web

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 20

We are barreling through another year — today marks the last FF of April already. Is anyone other than me in total shock about this? Whether shocked or totally unfazed, you are, however, totally and absolutely welcome to this weekly writing contest. It’s always such a pleasure seeing the writing community coming together to find inspiration, encourage each other, and then, of course, try to make the others eat their dust. Poetic justice is, perhaps, one of the finest forms of poetry!   

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Flash! Friday also welcomes back to the judge’s podium character-loving Pratibha Kelapure.  Genre and plot, she says, take second place to flowing narrative and fleshed-out characters. Adventures of the mind, perhaps? She can’t wait to see what characters you introduce us to and explore with today’s prompt. 

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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 “Encyclopedia Britannica'”):

Knowledge

 

***Today’s Prompt:

 

Canal Workers (Suez Canal). Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.

Canal Workers (Suez Canal). CC Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.