Tag Archive | Dody Chapman

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 36: WINNERS!

How to thank you, the incredibly talented writers who return faithfully to support and challenge each other here at Flash! Friday each week? No words big or deep enough exist — believe me, I’ve looked. I hope each of you truly understands the profound impact you have on each other’s lives. Thank you.


Judge Betsy Streeter says: This week’s prompt drew a vast array of responses from the writers – everything from world-building to bugs to gods, kings, queens, a fair number of monks and dragons {Editor’s Note: Dragons?? Yessss!} and everything in between.

The stories that stood out to me conveyed a world or a point of view, along with a story, in the limited space. This is tough – too much action and you haven’t described the situation adequately, too much description and nothing happens or the action seems incomplete. Some were metaphorical, others went all the way into fantasy. But the ones mentioned here committed fully and made each word serve their purpose. That’s not easy to do. Congratulations to all!



Dody Chapman, “The Taming.” For a terrific range of language, sentences filled with color and texture. Also, a very nice and compelling conflict right from the first sentence. Can I say how much I love that first sentence: “The City of Granite lives to spite the lofty City of Lightning.”

Pam Plumb, “The Visionary.” For far-reaching implications in very few words. It made me want to know the story that comes between the first and second paragraphs. Loved the sentence: “She knew she would revisit the city, make it proud to have sired her.” There’s a relationship to past and future there that intrigues.

Mark A. King, “Acceptance.” Another story that brings its world into focus very quickly with phrases like “bleached bone frameworks jut, jostle and gape at obscene angles within the ceilings.” My other favorite here is “I run my bony fingers over my legs, full of disease” – this conveys a deep sickness that I can really see and feel.

Liz Hedgecock, “Troglodyte.” For use of point of view to tell the story. First from the inside, and then from the outside. The switch is quick, but well-punctuated. This story reminds me of a George Saunders short story I read a while back. Makes me feel for the poor creatures.


Elisa Average Advocate, “Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.


Image Ronin, “Le Chateau do Tromperie.” Many stories made use of the punctuation provided by a storm, but this one did it particularly well. I loved phrases like “polished stones and glistening metal marking our certainty.” Also, “built knowingly upon treacherous sands” is all you have to read to know this relationship was flawed from the beginning. And finally, the ring hitting the table brings it all together.


FCFL Railway, “Memory Garden.” This story, again, is so efficient in how it opens up situations and worlds for the reader. First you are with a child, who is describing a fanciful imagination used to cover over ugly reality. That’s great. But then you read, “And now you ask me for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” and you know exactly where you are – and why. Brilliant.

And now: appearing for his first time at the top (I’m so crazy about first-timers!!), it’s Flash! Friday




“The Farm”

This story does a masterful job of moving between two realities while flipping them on their heads. At first, it’s just an anxious band of humans. And, I love the sentence, “False hope is cruelty.” But then, you pull out to see an insect and the whole description shifts to a new language. Clicking mandibles, hatchday. And you realize, the humans are the scurrying, terrified bugs, and the bugs are amusing themselves without a care. The statement, “They are so cool!” conveys just how the bugs see the humans. Which is just the way humans see bugs. This is a great one to look at for examples of how simple word choice draws such a vivid picture – and how vocabulary can also create contrast. Congratulations!


Congratulations, Michael! Below is the extremely sparkly winner’s badge for your wall. Here also are your winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me here ASAP so I can interview you for this week’s #SixtySeconds interview. And here is your winning story:

The Farm

The clap of thunder sent them scrambling for safety. Up, down they hurried, scurried, traversing the steps carved into the unforgiving rock face.

Fear creased their weary eyes as they huddled in the remote recesses of the caves. The parents hugged their children, hushed them, reassured them that everything would be fine.

But would it? Had they made the gods angry? Would the earthquakes return?

Nights, after the children had gone to sleep, the parents would gather and talk quietly.

Of escape.

Of freedom.

Of a life beyond.

They never spoke these words in front of the children. False hope is cruelty.

On the other side of the glass, Worker 1421 clicked his mandibles excitedly.

“They are so cool!” he said to his fellow drone. “I’m going to ask the Queen for a People Farm for my hatchday.”

“They are fun to watch. And so industrious. Still, I think I’ll shake it up and make them start all over again.”





Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 21: WINNERS!

Once again I’d like to thank Jeffro Uitto, whose carving talents boggle the mind, for lending us his photo for our prompt this week. As ever, it was a pleasure and privilege reading the stories you all carved out of the white space. Thank you so much!  (And happy May the Fourth to our dear #nerd dragons.)


Judge Alissa Leonard says: Wow. What a beautiful prompt picture this week! It was mesmerizing, intoxicating, and powerful while on a different level being restful, peaceful, and serene. It’s like potential energy – at any moment it could become kinetic energy and move, but right now it’s resting with possibility. And OH! The possibilities! From dreams to lunatics, memories to time travel, sculptures to prisons, living wood to tattoos… Here are some of my favorites:



World building: Alana Guy Dill, “Driftwood”; Image Ronin, “The Joust”; Dody Chapman, “Luz.”

Endings: Steph Post, “Dreaming”; Tinman, “Gift Horse”; Charles W. Short, “Mina Ibrahim: Seeking the World Between Extremes”; Jon, “The Foreigner”; and John Mark Miller, “Jubilee.”

Language: Chris Milam, “Embers in the Dirt”; Miss Meow, “The Inspiration of Chocolate Mousse.”

Title: 20/20 Hines Sight, “Powerful”; Bart van Goethem, “The Guinevere Complex”; and AJ Walker, “In the Name of A King.”


Craig Anderson“Reflections of Battle.” You set this scene so beautifully, a bellow and a polishing. I’ve been that squire, frantically working at a task that could save people and having no one understand, but doing it anyway. I loved the curse and how it worked.  I loved how you tied the title into the whole thing. And I absolutely adored the last line – it’s so rare to be recognized for the tiny things you do. Very fun.

Margaret Locke, “Kindred Spirits.” I appreciated how you took the seeming isolation of the picture and drew from that mood – the battle between the stillness of the statue and the movement of the waves. Your use of language was beautiful. I could almost see the visions she had of riding as a knight or a cowboy. I especially liked the line, “Every day she climbed onto his back, closed her eyes, and willed him to break free, to run, to carry her away. Every night she returned home, broken, bridled, chomping at the bit.” Using horse terminology to describe her prison (whatever it was) was brilliant. 

Yanying, “Memory.” Whether the memory was a previous life or just his imaginations while creating the sculpture, this story evoked that feeling of connection between an artist and the art. I could almost see his wistful gaze. His pretense as he said, “I’ll miss him.” His wife’s understanding of how difficult parting with it was for him. …And then the last line. To think that our work, somehow, knows us back… That’s beautiful.


Karen Oberlaender, “Call of Duty.” I loved the progression from nonchalance to action in this story. I could almost see her turn over in her bed and put the pillow over her head! She peeks an eye open and that’s when the adrenaline hits. The world-building had me curious all throughout the story. What’s going on? Why 500 years? And you don’t answer those questions, but we’re given a glimpse at the end. She sets off into the past, fully restored to their true forms. And life goes on. Without that last line, I would’ve been extremely frustrated, but the ordinary-ness juxtaposed with the fantastic really worked well for me.


Dieter Rogiers, “Fire ‘neath the Bark.” I could FEEL this horse transforming! Your imagery was perfect. “Weathered bark broke his velvety black skin. Living, breathing pores clotted into wooden knots. And the sound of snapping twigs reverberated throughout his body.” I could feel the poor animal fighting back as he “fought the curse with vigour, striking at his invisible enemy with his front legs…” Your use of language let me see and feel and therefore empathize, especially when the princess starts crying for him. I wanted to cry with her. I suppose he got her close enough to survive? But I love the glimmer of hope you gave us at the end: a beating heart. 

And now: another first! for her very first time, it’s Flash! Friday  





The world-building on this is fantastic! The little hints you gave were perfectly portioned to provide me with just enough to fill in all the details of the epic battle, the curse, the sacrifice… I can see it now: The girl “forced him from his chargers back, and…bravely smiled.” I love the feeling of how much time has passed when he “saluted with gnarled hands, battle aged.” His kingdom now “forever secure” he comes to offer her the thanks she’s due. And then the tears… And the switch… And…wow. It felt so full-circle, and I’m dying to know who she is and what she does next! Thanks.

Congratulations on your first win,  Ellen! Your winner’s badge waits all nice and shiny for you below. Here is your 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:


She looked as vibrant as the day he’d yielded his mount to her.

The knight studied her cheek with its single petrified tear. Drops of gratitude rolled down his face. He did not rub them away, but saluted with gnarled hands, battle aged.

Oh, to take her in his arms again, thank her for his chance at life and more, victory! The kingdom now existed forever secure. He returned to his steed, gathered a queen’s finery, the value of her sacrifice, and lovingly arranged them, an offering. He remembered the moment she’d forced him from his charger’s back, and cursed to sculpture, she’d bravely smiled.

He climbed up the petrified stallion, wrapped one arm around her waist. His tears flowed. He wiped them with his fingers, impulsively touched her lone tear.

She stood on the sand, startled by the statue and knight that rode it. Was it…? Richly appointed raiment caught her eye. And she knew.