Tag Archive | Curtis Perry

Flash! Friday # 30 — WINNERS!

We were talking in the comments this round about how stories rising from the same prompt sometimes echo each other in concept or theme. But one of the things I love best about these sorts of contests is where they then diverge. Getting to know your unique characters, hearing the distinct voices of your writing emerge–it is a great pleasure and privilege each week. Thanks to each of you for being such an awesome part of the flash community!

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Judge Jaz Draper says, When I saw this week’s prompt I thought, Holy Stonehenge! What are our talented writers going to come up with? I stared at the prompt long and hard and got nothing. But you, my fine feathered writing friends, did not disappoint! Giants! Princesses! Soldiers! And, of course, dragons for Rebekah! As always, you make it as challenging to judge as it is to write flash fiction. Well done, one and all! 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Aria Glazki, “Hidden Treasures.” Of all the dragon stories this week, this one struck a chord: a friendly, protective dragon. Sweet! 

Curtis Perry, “Questions and Answers.” The Princess and the Pea! –No, wait, the princess has to eat her peas! 🙂 Clever dialogue between mom and daughter, and quite believable.

AmyBeth Inverness, “Mortar.” I really like this piece. The last sentence is the perfect way to sum up Jophina’s uneasiness and the conviction that the planet had been inhabited by life and that Nature was not responsible for the structures she was seeing.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Craig Anderson, “Beside the Sea.” Having written poetry myself in the distant past, I appreciate the huge amount of work it takes to incorporate story in rhyming verse! This work was just lovely.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Brianne Barkley, “Imagine.” You captured palpable fear :spasms of shivers:  :teeth clicking together madly:   :just keep it together: …I imagine her imagination was in overdrive, and I do think my own heart was racing a wee bit! Really well conceived and executed.

And our Flash! Friday second time 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

WHITNEY HEALY!

for “From the Rubble.”  I really love the pace of this piece and the measured dialogue. I could feel the angst of Scientist and the hubris of Soldier anticipating his medal. You had me assuming one thing and turned me on my head with the hive/queen twist. Wonderfully crafted from start to (ominous) finish; marvelous characters; overall creative and well-written.

Congratulations, Whitney, and welcome back to the dais! Here are your updated Winner’s Page, your familiar yet stunningly crafted eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please keep an eye on your inbox for another round of sparkly questions for next Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

From the Rubble

“We smoked ‘em!”

Scientist’s complexion was gangrenous, his eyes, pale. He swallowed. Trembling like a drunken veteran, Scientist eased himself to the ground. He vomited.

“Man up. You act like it’s the first time you’ve seen anything die.”

Scientist steadied himself.

“The calculations were off.”

“And?”

“We didn’t accurately measure the bomb’s capabilities.”

“Big deal. Instead of just smoking the bitches out, we destroyed ‘em!”

Mentally, Soldier noted how proud Sergeant would be. Scientist shook his head in disbelief, pulling his hair and pacing.

“Oh, come on, you woman. They invaded our planet. It serves them right!”

“This wasn’t an ordinary settlement.”

Soldier lit a cigarette, uninterested, thinking instead of the medal certainly coming.

“This is their hive.”

Soldier grunted.

“As in, where the Queen would nest.”

“So, we killed ‘er too. Mission accomplished.”

The ground began to shudder, the rubble tinkling like glassware in the middle of a quake. In the distance, she reared her head, stinger glistening in the late afternoon sun, eyes gold and alert, the movement of her wings blowing the shore into funnels.

“Their hive?”

The strange insect clicked. Bee-like-but-still-humanoid creatures responded, surfacing by the hundreds. The Queen’s stinger pulsed. She clicked. Hauntingly, the others joined.

“What now?”

Scientist and Soldier’s spine prickled.

“We run.”

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Flash! Friday # 20 — WINNERS!

What a way to celebrate the TWENTIETH round of Flash! Friday (where does the time go?? it was just born!). You all take my flames away (in a good way); it’s such a pleasure seeing familiar faces and new ones too each round.  Keep coming back, and keep commenting on each other’s stories; YOU are making this contest the vibrant and awesome thing it is. Thank you.

Remember to check back Monday to see which story will be highlighted at Flash Points, and join me Tuesday for Dragon Munchies and my own unbalanced fiction.

WEDDING NOTE: The deadline for the flash fiction bridal shower (#DFQWBS) for Fairy Queen Anna Meade  is Monday, Apr 22. Still time to add your wedding-themed tale! Details here.

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Judge Patricia McCommas says, This was a difficult decision, as all the stories were really good. I would give them all an honorable mention just for putting forth the effort to share their creative muse (comedic or not) with us! I loved all the different approaches, and I love LOVE judging. What a privilege reading the myriad creative stories from a single pic. Thank you, writers!

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Marissa Ames“Katherine.” Didn’t see the end of this story coming. Well done.
  • Marie McKay, “Daisy, Daisy… Daisy?” I really loved the originality of this story, especially once it was explained to me what photo bombing is <g>.
  • Clive Newnham, “Chevalier de Seinparis.” Very creative and original. Love the inclusion of French.
  • Aria Glazki, “Untold Trauma.” Great job incorporating the expressions in the photo. 

THIRD RUNNER UP

Curtis Perry“Poor Eugene.” Hilarious and well done.

SECOND RUNNER UP

The Imaginator“Quiddany.” This was really funny and creative, with the story matching the expressions in the photo perfectly.

FIRST RUNNER UP

H.L. Pauff, “Cold Feet.” Excellent and creative. I had to read this several time to catch all the nuances. It wasn’t until the third reading that I realized all her responses were related to what she was viewing. LOL. Very funny. 

And our Be Careful, Little Mouth, What You Say

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

BETH AVERY!

Excellent! Well written, creative and original. Love the twist at the end.

Congratulations, Beth! Here are your Winner’s Page, your eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap with your email address  so I can interview you for Wednesday’s “Sixty Seconds” feature.

Don’t Fight the Muse

Ronald was furious. “Look at this crap that gets published. You’re supposed to be my muse! I know I’m capable of writing something better than this hack! What do you think you’re doing just sitting there staring blankly while I’m struggling to write. Start doing your job!”

Even after this impassioned plea, Ronald could not get a response out of Helen. She continued to act as if she could not even hear him. In the past she used to offer advice, suggest ideas for stories, or give him quotes that were supposed to inspire his creativity. Ronald rarely used her ideas and often blamed her for leading his writing astray, but at least in the past she had acted like his writing mattered to her. Now she treated him like an invisible spirit whenever he sought her help. Her behavior was completely unacceptable!

“Are you going to answer me? Look at this tripe! I am definitely a more accomplished writer than this fool. Why is C.J. Whittaker getting published when I’m not? Are you deliberately sabotaging me?” Ronald continued to rant until his throat was sore, but Helen never even blinked. After an hour of yelling, he stormed out of the house and spent the rest of the evening at a nearby tavern.

Helen sat silently for several minutes after he’d gone, then she calmly went into the library and sat down at the typewriter. She had a new idea for a story, and she knew her editor was anxiously waiting for another piece from C.J. Whittaker. As she began typing, she wondered vaguely if it had really been necessary to choose a pseudonym so different from her own name. After all, Ronald apparently wasn’t smart enough to realize when he was reading a description of himself.

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Flash Points: Curtis Perry

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Welcome to Flash! Friday’s newest feature, Flash Points. Every Monday we stick one of the previous Friday’s entries under a sparklyscope and talk about it right in front of its face, dragon style. What makes writing “good”? Specifically, what makes great flash? What about this particular piece really works? Let the discussion begin!

Prompt: black & white photo of woman and diver

Word limit: 200-300

Today’s chosen flash piece:  “Untitled,” by Curtis Perry

They came from the deserts, hundreds, maybe thousands, bursting from underneath the sand. From any part of the world that was desolate, dry, and barren. They destroyed and burned cities, towns, forests, reducing them to ash quicker than anyone would think possible.

Relatively few people died in the flames. Most of us were eaten. We are apparently their favorite food. People tried to fight back, but it was useless. Bullets and grenades did nothing but annoy them and draw their attention. Missiles fired from planes would sometimes slow them down, but they were agile enough, especially while flying, that a direct hit was rare.

Those that survived the initial onslaught took to the seas, which they seemed to avoid. Ships, boats, rafts thrown together, anything that would float. We left land behind, along with all our hopes and dreams, and huddled together on the water. How long could we survive on the ocean? Would they disappear under the sands of their newly made deserts before we perished?

Except somebody on one of the naval vessels decided to see what their big guns could do.

Now they are flying toward us, already spewing their acid flames. Most of us dive into the water in a desperate attempt to escape the fire, only some of us make it. Several that do are dragged down into the depths; my light weight clothing is a blessing. A small one, but I’ll take anything I can get. Can I hold my breath and stay under until the dragons are finished? I see someone in diving gear nearby, watching me. I wonder if he’ll help me if my breath gives out before the flames.

And what if I do survive this latest attack? What will I find when my head breaks the surface of the waves?

What works:

Dragons. Oh yes, dragons. So OBVIOUSLY I’m in love straightaway. And the story followed the guidelines beautifully, which always does a heart good.

But here’s what really grabbed me: Curtis saw dragons in an underwater photo of a woman and diver. I love when flash writers take a fresh and unique look at a prompt. Underwater speaks obviously of mermaids and swimming, which means a lot of entries centered on those (and rightly so!). But Curtis looked at water and saw desert. It takes a creative eye to see beyond the obvious–in this case, a world in which humans have fled to the water to escape desert dragons.

The story’s hook draws us right inWhat burst from beneath the sand by the thousands??? I have to know! But he holds back the secret, tantalizing us paragraph by paragraph with hints. The creatures burn. They can fly. They devour humans. It’s not until the 4th sentence from the end we are told point blank: dragons. Yummy!

Another strong and effective feature I love in this story is the use of counterpoint, creating tension with opposition (characters, plot, descriptions, that kind of thing). Curtis uses this tool to great effect, balancing the violent anger of the dragons (“spewing their acid flames”) with the terrified and futile human defense (“We left land behind, along with all our hopes and dreams, and huddled together on the water”). The humans have fled land, but dragons pursue.

Now talk to me:

Do you agree? What grabs you about this story? What goes through your mind when you approach a photo prompt–do you see character first, or plot? or a world? Are you more inspired by photos or text?