Tag Archive | Dr. Magoo

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 23: WINNERS!

I hope you’ve had a fantastic weekend filled with all sorts of writerly goodness. It’s always a pleasure seeing you here Fridays, and I love that each week we’re joined by brave new faces. Thank you so much for contributing your amazing stories and for helping push each other onward and upward in our joint pursuit of writing magnificence. And a special thank you to all of you who made contributions toward the running of the Flash! Friday contest; I am deeply touched by your kindness. I’ve said it from the beginning: you are a community like none other. Here’s to another inspiration-filled week! 

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Judge Pratibha Kelapure says: Dear Friday Flashers: once again, you have outdone yourselves. I thought I was keeping up with my reading, but the stories kept coming, and I kept adding to the potential winners list. 🙂 So, honestly, if your story did not make it into the final winners circle, don’t fret. It is the nature of any contest. In each story, there is something striking and worth commenting on, and I do keep the list of those great lines, descriptions, or observations for each story.

This week’s nostalgic and happy picture-prompt combined with the ‘comeuppance’ word-prompt, inspired many stories of revenge and murder.  And what imaginative ways of slaying the tormentors, cheaters, stealers, mass murderers, and bad politicians! And what a wide variety of stories! Some people remembered the stock market crash of 1929 and Great Depression that followed. Some people dug up the history of the first Oscar and gave the K9, Rin Tin Tin, his well-earned honor. A brave few even traveled to the future to either solve a ‘cold case,’ or to deliver a comeuppance. The regulars dazzled me with their original takes on the prompt and flawless execution.

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Worldbuilding: James Marshall VI, “No Happy Endings”: He has built a dystopian counter-culture. Image Ronin, “Metteur En Scene”: A world of theater; chinchin.unicorn, “Before He Cheats”: A vibrant bar culture.

Humor: Karl A Russell, “It Should Have Been Me”; Tinman, “A Whiff of Cordite”; drmagoo, “Cheese and Onions”; Jacki Donnellan, “The Wardrobe Mistress”;

Ending: Image Ronin, “Metteur En Scene”; Laura Carroll Butler, “The Way of All Flesh”; Aria Glazki, “Hero’s Uprising”; William Goss, “The Last Dragon in the Family”;

Dialogue: Whitney Healy, “THE DECREE”; drmagoo, “Cheese and Onions”;

Language: Katrina Ray-Saulis, Untitled; Taryn Noelle Kloeden, “Lesson Learned”; Aria Glazki, “Hero’s Uprising.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

M.T. Decker, “Shades of Grey.” This is well thought out, witty, and humorous story. The Grey Lady trying to get the colors into the period photographs is a familiar character of an eager intern. A realistic portrayal of office dynamics!

Brett Milam, “Whiteface.” It is a story of a son denying his father’s legacy, but having a difficult time doing so. “He showed me how to become someone else. But I became him.” In a short span of 150 words, Brett manages to show the character transformation. The line, “Laughs subsided, but infamy subsisted forever” is truly memorable.

Craig Anderson, “Twins.” A twin laments his inferiority and compares himself to a movie sequel, “[..] sequel, an inferior attempt to recreate the magic of the original.” If you think this is imaginative, brace yourself for the jaw-dropping, table turning development.  “It’s my turn outside, my time in the spotlight. Time to collect my prize.” 

SECOND RUNNER UP

Joidianne4eva, “In the House of the Rising Sun.” Joidianne conveys the pain of an abused and ignored orphan in a few potent words. “He wore his silence like the dirty clothing that covered the scars on his back and the fragile curl of his ribs.” She used both the prompts in a subtle and original way. The sinister actions of the “no-name” boy are silently implied, never stated explicitly, leaving a lot to reader’s imagination. A perfect ode to silence!

FIRST RUNNER UP

Marie McKay, “Leading Ladies.” The story is told in second person point of view, a tricky proposition; but Marie does it effectively. The striking simile, “She enunciates her taciturn fury while her arms wave like a drowning woman’s” took my breath away.  She draws a believable portrait of the motel clerk, “(L)ipstick has leaked into the tight cracks above her mouth.”  The ending is surprising, but we can recognize the sentiment of the protagonist. Well done! 

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

DRAGON WINNER

STEPH POST!!!

for

“Ain’t That Something”

This is another interesting twist on the theme of revenge, funny on the surface, but sad and ironic on the inside. The dialogue sounds authentic. The accidental female bonding between the two female rivals is heartwarming. The image, “The circle of wolfish men,” is vivid and so is the image of Alice, “keeping her eyes on the empty martini glass trembling between her fingers.”  I had to take a double take to see the “wolfish men” in the picture prompt, but I am sold on the concept. The choice of rattlesnake as a weapon against the cheating husband sounds naïve, but is quite plausible for the simple-minded characters like Alice and Scarlett. I like this for the great character portrayal, dialogue, and the double jeopardy for the unsuspecting cheater. Bravo!

Congratulations, Steph! Your brand new (quite sparkly!) winner’s badge awaits you impatiently 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:

Ain’t That Something

Alice had heard you could put rattlesnakes in their beds. Men.

“That’ll shake em up, let me tell ya.”

This from Scarlett, her husband’s mistress, teetering on gold high heels from one too many highballs.

“This girl on the chorus line with me, she said she put a rattler under her boyfriend’s sheets once. Said he never ran around on her again. Ain’t that something?”

The circle of wolfish men, including her husband, had thrown their heads back in raucous laughter, their mouths as wide as manholes, and pressed in even closer.

Alice, sitting three stools down, keeping her eyes on the empty martini glass trembling between her fingers, had wondered where the hell you could find a rattlesnake in Chicago. She had almost dared to ask, when they had found themselves eyeing one another the powder room’s mirror, but Scarlett had winked at her first.

“Corner of Knox and 53rd, honey. Just knock once and ask for Vinny.”

 

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 18: WINNERS!

Oh my goodness, dear dragonlings, do I EVER have plottings and machinations going on! Forgive the excessive giddiness (though I suppose you must be used to it by now?). It may come to nothing, of course. Or it could be THE GREATEST THING EVER!!!! Stay tuned.

First up: a special thanks to those of you exploring FF’s own missed deadline last week. Craig Anderson… “Flasher Girl”?? BRILLIANT. Unfortunate, obviously. But BRILLIANT. Right up there with Eric Martell‘s perception-altering magic and clock mis-switch. And Scott Vannatter‘s hilariously rain-soaked entries (and tower!!!!). You were all ohhhh, so close…. and yet…. 😀 😀

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Judge Alissa Leonard says: I had so much fun judging this round! Thanks to everyone for their take on the prompt. I’m not sure if it was the ‘missed deadline’ prompt that drove so many of you to write of betrayals, but the race for survival after the missed deadline led many to look out for number one, so to speak. It was amazing how many things the snow and the fog could become – from mundane to spiritual. You ran me ragged, up hills and mountains and down into ravines, waiting or running or searching or simply experiencing the moment. And moments there were! Let me tell you about some of my favorites:

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Endings: There were some doozies this week (some I’ll mention later). “Dead Line” by MT Decker, “Art Supplies” by Betsy Streeter, “Butter Fingers” by Stella Kate, “Rendezvous” by SJ O’Hart, “There” by Marie McKay, and “I Always Get My Man” by Michael Seese.

World-building: “The Rift Between Worlds” by Phil Coltrane, and “Hidden In Plain Sight” by joidianne4eva.

Use of Language: “Fog” by Sarah Cain, and “Tracking a Nomad” by Chris Milam

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Marie McKay“Out of Time.” I love the feeling of striving in this piece. You conveyed the idea of ‘so close, yet so far away’ so very well. The line “They’re a breath away. A blink. I feel like I can almost hear them.” was so powerful I wanted to reach out and grab hold of them myself. And really, Time Chasing? I want to know more!

Clive Newnham, “The Whisperings.” You paint a clear picture. Even without the photo prompt I could see the mountains and feel the cold. I could hear them spurring one another to move faster and I found myself caught up in the need to hurry. I particularly loved the line “struggling for balance across the shifting scree”. Then you bring in the awesomeness that “sucks at the quarry’s plumes of breath”. That freaked me out – even more so than the frozen, flaking flesh later on. These treasure hunters picked the wrong relic… Very nicely done!

Maven Alysse, “Cold Miscalculations.” Oh my word! That is some serious betrayal. The “Oops” at the end clinched it for me. I just wasn’t expecting it at all. It certainly made me want to know more about these triplets and why one is murdering another and admitting it to the other. The characterization in such a short space on all three of the brothers is just impressive.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Eric Martell (aka drmagoo), Untitled. I loved the dichotomy of the two characters – one was bored and trusting, the other anxious and skeptical. I especially loved it when faced with “a ravine filled with hundreds of things – some animate, some not – that could kill them in an instant.” They seemed like they had done this before…and I’d like to know about that. But, really, the last line is what pulled the story out of the myriad HMs vying for this position – I laughed so hard at accidentally changing the alarm to PM! (…not that I’ve ever done that before…*shifty eyes*) Well played. 

FIRST RUNNER UP

Karl A Russell, “Holding On.” Their love story is so beautiful and deep and rich and you did it with one stinkin’ line! “wondering if they would waste their final moments deep in the arguments of the past” and her response “you sly, charming old fool…” This spoke VOLUMES of their history and familiarity. I also love his gentleness in “[he] stroked her shoulder” and “tears streaking his frosted cheeks”.  THEN (as if that weren’t enough!) you turn this ‘dead line’ into something like the Nothing (What?!?!?!) and you give their love action – even at the last – jumping into the next thing, together. Beautiful. Tears. Seriously. Thank you.

And now: for her second time (the first was Round 46 in Year One), it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

LAURA CARROLL BUTLER!!!

for

“Elysium”

Oh. My. Tears. I don’t know if this resonated so much because my mom is always late to everything, but I know couples like this. You gave their entire history such depth and specificity in large, sweeping brushstrokes. I especially loved how Lila accepted this sometimes annoying character trait and learned to roll with it: giving her ten extra minutes to primp, ‘serenely’ waiting on his arrival – expecting his tardiness and not getting flustered by it, keeping dinner warming in the oven, and greeting him when he finally came to bed. She accepted all of him, and that is beautiful. But the thing that put this one over the top is the way you rounded it out. Your first line “Lila had always been the one to wait” and your last “Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him” have a beautiful symmetry. I can picture him now “waiting with the other[s], peering into the mist” and my heart breaks – for him, for her, for loss, for love. So special. Thank you.

Congratulations on your second win, Laura! Your (new! sparkly!) winner’s badge waits for you below. Here is your updated winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Watch your inbox for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature interview questions. And here is your winning story:

Elysium

Lila had always been the one to wait. Ben was five minutes late for their first date, misjudging the amount of time it would take to walk across campus. By their third date, Lila knew she had at least ten minutes more to primp before Ben arrived.

On his way to their wedding, Ben’s cab broke down and he was late to the chapel. He was flustered and apologetic when he showed up, but Lila smiled serenely. “I knew you would be here,” she whispered.

Dinner was always warming in the oven when Ben came home late from the office. She woke when he came to bed, long enough to kiss him good night.

Now it was Ben’s turn to wait for Lila. Everyday, he waited with the other husbands, peering into the mist, waiting for his wife. Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him.

 

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 8: WINNERS!

Here we go! And before we jump into this week’s comments & results, let me remind you that the first quarter of Year Two is coming to an end awfully fast–which means it’s time for you to sign up to judge in the second quarter (April – June). Application deadline is February 15; find details here. Don’t miss out!  (And thanks to those who’ve already thrown your hats in the ring!) 

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Judge Nillu Nasser Stelter says: What a thrill it has been judging your stories this week! The truth is out from the lips of Her Dragonyness Rebekah that I like to push you hard. There I was, channeling a stern schoolmistress, wearing a pencil skirt and peering over my spectacles with a red pen in hand, when I realised that it is no use. There is such a high standard of writing in this competition that I am putty in your hands.

This week I short-listed a third of you for a second reading. I found myself enthralled by stories of time-travelers, wizards, fairy godmothers, businessmen, criminals and even a televangelist. There were poignant stories, creepy ones and some that made me laugh out loud. What I loved most about this week was how the Dragon’s Bidding encouraged you to throw in more dialogue than usual, and boy, was it good. Your characters came alive in their speech; they sizzled with period vocabulary and different dialects. There was no fluff. How can there be in 150 words? Instead, this week you gave me a master class in lean, illuminating dialogue.

Before we get to the podium places, first some special mentions for the writers who went that extra mile to infuse their speech with period detail. Maggie Duncan characterized the father in her story ‘You Can’t Phone Home Again’ brilliantly using inventive language – ‘she might near fainted ‘cause she figured you been kilt’ – to reveal his anxious excitement. Bravo Tom Britz for the compelling voice in your story ‘Busted Flat in Harlem’ and your use of vocabulary such as ‘peepers’ and ‘fine gams’, which suited the prompt. Well done also to Marie McKay for her beautiful phrasing – ‘Old stories were spun like fine threads and sewn into the afternoon’s tapestry’, ‘a carousel of pink and yellow delights’ – in her piece ‘Auld Lang Syne.’

Now onto the winners! Are you ready?

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Karl A Russell, “Without Sin.”  This story had a wonderfully original premise, with an accident from the past coming back to haunt the main characters. There was room for poignancy in this story but the author surprises instead with a sinister tone – ‘I held the pillow over his face, just to be sure, while I gave my blessing’ – and a clever use of language – ‘long dead friends stared gravely back at us, our own cherub faces amongst them.’ 

Eric Martell, Untitled. With fantastic use of period detail, this was one of the rare pieces this week which did not use dialogue. It did, however, have a strong conversational tone – ‘She did hit ol’ Tom Coston’s gravestone, but that was the least-gossiped about part of the day’ – that worked well. I really enjoyed the matter of fact tone of the closing line.

Tinman, “Two Wheels Bad.” This was a fabulous take on the Bonnie and Clyde story with a dash of humour, portraying Bonnie as a woman who sometimes followed the letter of the law – ‘Bonnie was trapped by her seat-belt which she always wore because that was the law’ – and plagued by sexism ‘Bonnie had no choice but to smile sweetly at them, having left her machine-gun in the trunk.’ There was also a neat use of the prompt right at the end of the story.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Alissa Leonard, “Family Ties.”  This was the final entry I read, and as the last one of nearing fifty entries, it didn’t disappoint with excellent characterisation of the central character and an original premise. It deals with the birth of a baby – ‘It’s a boy, but he’s gone’ – and has a real sense of joy and anxiety mingled together, much like a real birth! The story is full of suspense and has elements of the detective genre. It was like some of my favourite things mixed into one story: a baby, a hover charm and action. As the reader, I felt a sense of urgency while reading, and the chosen ending, with its comeuppance for the kidnapper, was satisfying.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Sinead O’Hart, “Overdue Justice.” This piece about time travel and a missing son drew me in from the start with the relationship between the protagonists, and its themes of love and loss. The stakes are clear from the outset and the dialogue was well done – ‘ “He’s smirkin’ like he knows somethin’ we don’t.” ’ There was a surprising twist at the end of the story that filled me with sadness. I’m a sucker for a female heroine and outside of this piece of flash, I wondered what Jen would do next. Bravo!

And now: drumroll, please! it’s first time (in a regular week) 

DRAGON WINNER

JACKI DONNELLAN!!!

for

“Disenchanted”

With a clever title and magical sounding names – Madame Marrygold and Angelica – in this story, the author takes the reader away from the realism of a car accident and into a world of fantasy. With such a small world count, the author did a marvelous job of world-building. While she uses the prompt, she convinces the reader that what we saw in the prompt is in fact an illusion. Brilliant stuff. This story had a mood like no other. It was fresh and perfectly pitched and made me smile – ‘A motorized vehicle cannot safely disenchant at midnight, and will not revert to vegetable matter.’ There were fantastic descriptions – ‘Angelica’s blushes matched her cherry-pink gown’ – and good characterisation of the teacher figure in particular, who came across as self-assured and tart.  Congratulations, Jacki!

AWESOME job, Jacki! After your amazing Flashversary win, it’s a pleasure seeing you seize a win in a regular week as well. Here is your updated winner’s page–and below is the Flash! Friday ebadge for you to claim. Please watch your inbox for interview questions for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

Disenchanted

Madame Marrygold tapped the photo with her wand.

“So. Can you identify what Angelica did wrong? Yes, Philowisha?”

“Took the photo in plain sight, Madame?”

Marrygold hesitated. “Well, yes,” she said, “but that’s not quite what I meant.” She turned to Angelica. “Although you evidently aroused curiosity, appearing openly in your uniform like that.”

Angelica’s blushes matched her cherry-pink gown.

Marrygold pointed at the car. “This,” she explained, “is an example of a highly inappropriate and inevitably unsuccessful attempt to apply the Cinderella Formula. A motorised vehicle cannot safely disenchant at midnight, and will not revert to vegetable matter. Furthermore, a loose wheel left lying in the gutter is never an acceptable substitute for a lost shoe.”

She turned to her students. “What is our aim in every Intervention?”

“Happily ever after!” chorused the Advanced Class for Fairy Godmothers.

“Quite. And how did this Intervention end, for this particular goddaughter, Angelica?”

“Somebody called an ambulance, Madame,” mumbled Angelica, meekly.

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