Tag Archive | Emily Karn

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 28: WINNERS!

Welcome back! This week’s Victorian prompt was such fun; royal salutes to each of you brave writers for tackling it and giving us heavily bejewelled tales of cunning, humor, and lots and lots and lots of prideful pride. 

DON’T FORGET! Flash Points is back on Mondays (will your story be chosen for dragony critique??); there are often fresh stories for the readin’ on Tuesdays & Thursdays; and Wednesdays brings us #SixtySeconds‘ awesome interview with today’s winner. Loads of reasons to keep coming back & commenting!

Hopefully you saw Friday’s announcement of the new judge panel for the 3rd quarter–if not, check them out here & scope out their bios! Never to early to start strategizing a win.

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Judge Jess West says: The prompt this week inspired many tales of, well, Queens and arrogance, which was to be expected. But the writers of the Flash! Friday community had a few tricks up their sleeves, many taking the prompts into dark corners and some taking it somewhere else entirely. One thing that really would have stood out this week that I didn’t see was a dragon, but I guess even dragons need a break. 😉 { EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s a stinking rotten rumor. } Still, I found gems in every story. Once again, you guys have raised the bar. One more week and then I get to rejoin you on the battlefield. I have to say, I’m a little nervous, but definitely looking forward to a little friendly competition. Cheers! 

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

For catchy titles that tell a story of their ownBrian Creek, Kat LewisClaudsy.

Killer first line, starting the piece with action right out of the gate: Mark Morris, “The Crown”: 

Tegan sheathed the blade in the Queen’s chest, following through and pushing her to the ground.

For a unique take on the prompt, reaching past cliche: Marie McKay, “The Immortal”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Tinman, “Heart’s Desire.” For the humor delivered, “Heart’s Desire” deserves an honorable mention. My favorite part is the very realistic exchange between the wizard and his customer: 

“It must be wonderful,” said Mrs Aladdin. “You can lay your hand instantly on anything.”

“Er, yes,” said Djisraeli. “You’d think, wouldn’t you?”

StellakateT, “The Jewel.” This twisted Cinderella tale gave me no small amount of satisfaction at the end, when the writer reveals that the “homely” sister is the jewel of the family. I don’t know if she’s happy with her lot, but I felt as though she at least had some measure of retribution with the match.

Craig Anderson, “Crowning Around.” It’s hard to write two different POVs in a flash fiction piece, especially one so short as 150 words. Craig pulls it off, with just enough characterization to bring both the arrogant ambassador and the cunning Queen to life. 

THIRD RUNNER UP

Emily Karn, “Freedom of the Press.” Emily uses little more than dialogue to really bring these characters to life. The Prime Minister has his hands full, trying to ensure that the Queen is satisfied and keeping her subjects loyal at the same time. As for the Queen, well, the arrogant cartoonist is just a shade beyond tolerable, but she is wise enough to seek the council of the Prime Minister in dealing with him.  There’s a whole world behind such few words as these, and that in itself never fails to impress me. 

SECOND RUNNER UP

Bart Van Goethem, “Queen.” My first impression of this story was that it was a cute tale of a boy with great ambition, and by the end I was sure he would, in fact, go on to rule the world. The combination of hints – the time frame, the title, glimpses of the child’s appearance and his personality – made me curious to find out if this Farrokh Bulsara was a real person. When I Googled the name, I was delighted to find out who he was, and impressed with the subtle twist by a writer who turned out to be Bart Van Goethem. Well done, sir!

FIRST RUNNER UP

Carin Marais, “To Kill a Fly.” This is another of those stories that appeals to my dark side, a tale of justice delivered in a satisfactory manner – by the victim herself. Carin does a great job making me hate John enough to want him dead, including just enough details to show me how he feels about Mary and how he treats her. Details woven in throughout the dialogue help to clue me in to the time frame of this piece without loading it down with inessential elements. Dating a piece is easy when you include a cell phone or a chamber pot, but I’m particularly impressed with Carin’s ability to draw on the state of affairs at a specific moment in history to put the reader in the correct frame of mind.

And now: what a thrill to welcome back to the dais second time Flash! Friday

DRAGON WINNER

JOIDIANNE4EVA!!!

for

“God Save the Queen”

I have this dark streak buried deep within me – well, maybe not buried so much as seething just beneath the surface – that enjoys a good revenge tale. “God Save the Queen” definitely delivers a sharp dose of deadly vengeance. That last line strikes a discordant chord within, ending the piece on a deep, dark note. What makes it hit so hard is the distance (internal thought, immediately present) and that this thought feels completely natural to the narrator. From a reader’s perspective, it seems as though this story were told through the writer, as opposed to having been written by the writer. I’m really impressed with writing when it’s crisp, clean, and powerful, and yet appears so effortless.  This story is one that sticks with you, with its subtle, dark tone and perfectly written and conveyed themes. Congratulations! 

Congratulations, Joidianne4eva! Your regally supreme winner’s badge awaits you below. Here is your crowning achievement-ed, updated 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:

God Save the Queen

When Disraeli approached Aasha in his quest to make a crown befitting of India’s new queen, she accepted.

She did not speak of her nights spent waiting on the dirty streets as her mother vanished into dark rooms with strange men, only to come back with barely enough to feed her family.

Aasha did not ask where this queen had been when their children were dying from hunger and disease.

She simply did what she was told.

She mixed her blood into the gold that coated its frame and whispered ancient prayers while she wove the fabric that would rest upon the queen’s head.

Aasha poured her heart into her work and when Disraeli handed it to the queen who accepted her offering with an arrogant nod, she smiled.

Aasha’s heart was a black and twisted thing that brought death to all who touched it… just like the poison with which she’d laced the crown.

No God would save this queen.

 

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 10: WINNERS!

Howdy! Welcome to the results for Vol 2-10; let’s jump right in! 

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Judge Whitney Healy says: I had a difficult time judging this week: many competitors chose to write with open-ended conclusions that sometimes confused me while others used allusions to mythology or other parts of history with which I was not familiar. Some of the entries took more time to evaluate because I had to do the research to fully understand the allusions–which is always okay, of course: I’m a life-long learner and an English teacher, so I like having to do some “homework” in order to fully appreciate a response.

I’d like to talk a little bit about the prompt. Every week I look at the prompt almost as soon as I get up so I can reflect on it myself before I start reading, often thinking about what I may write myself if I were competing. This week’s prompt really caught my attention: I actually thought it was a Salvador Dali painting, for the colors and angles echoed of the recognizable Melting Clocks. With my knowledge of Dali (way back when in my Art Appreciation class in college he was the artist I chose to research), mentally I painted my own picture of what I’d write–something bizarre or unexpected. Then, when I revisited the picture just before judging, I realized it was a photo and not a painting! Interesting, I thought. Judging this week could be fun.
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Before I begin, some of you deserve some mentions. Those mentions this week are EmilyKarn1 (your writing echoed of Edwards’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), Allison Garcia (I really liked your piece, but it was over the word limit), HLPauff (I love how you implied the genie was being punished by his master), and SJOHart (It’s rare to see Death portrayed as a powerful temptress: I liked it). I’d additionally like to note Rebecca Allred‘s Gravid–this piece had so many layers, and it is something all mothers could relate to. All of you created tales that made me smile, think, or empathize. Thank you for sharing your work! 

(Ahem!)

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Sarah Cain, “Honor Your Mother.”  I appreciated this story because it was circular in style and because it hinted at the personal beliefs you may have underneath your text: it was actually one of the first that “wow”ed me, and, boy, does it make us think. We really should value the little time this planet may have left. 

Charles W. Short, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” In college I minored in psychology, heavily interested in what makes the human mind tick (or fail): PTSD is a disorder that always made my heart pain for those afflicted, and your tale reads exactly like a testimony, confession, or session: excellent work.

Scott Vannatter, “Preparing for the Storm.” Echoing of the imagined post-apocalyptic fight for survival, this tale made me hungry to learn more about what the people were preparing for. Was it really a storm, or was it something much, much more? What exactly are the “night-crawlers”.  A chilling piece that I enjoyed reading.

Maven Alysse, “Sloth.” This piece is an excellent metaphor for the deadly sin of sloth, as our “hero” (though perhaps more tragic) begins to “clean out” his penance. I thought this piece mirrored the very action (or inaction) sloth is: laziness, apathy, and jealousy. An extremely multi-layered response with a lot of symbolism.

THIRD RUNNER UP

Jeffrey Hollar, “Dimensional Difficulties.”  By the end of this somewhat sci-fi story, all I wanted to know was what was underneath the text. What were they researching? How did our hero go so wrong? It was a piece that made me want to hear even more.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Caitlin, “Relenquished.”  In a post-apocalyptic tale unlike most that we’ve seen in recent popular culture (no zombies, no scientific disease–only the power of nature), we see how the strength of family is what counts in times of crises. I particularly liked the line “filled with the trinkets of another lifetime”–there is a LOT of symbolism here. Those “trinkets”, on the surface, may seem only mementos, but I believe they represent what was and what was lost. I also appreciated the use of dialogue used to tell the story. A read I think you should consider extending.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Marie McKay, “The Chosen.” Marie, I am partial to sci-fi, so perhaps you were playing my taste, but regardless, this tale was extremely well-crafted. I appreciated the use of a long opening paragraph describing your setting of Novus. In the opening you also took the time to develop the crew just enough so a reader knew what kind of characters they were: strong, carefully chosen, and capable. Then, you changed to a rapid-paced dialogue between the explore sight and control: and as readers we discovered how “lost” our explorers really were, all while your played on the concept of time (which most of us associate with sand). I appreciated the mystery the ending of your story evoked, and I found myself applauding the tale, as it was one of the few “unexpected ending” pieces that still felt complete enough. A story I could find myself reading over and over again and still be entertained.

And now: presenting first time Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

PHIL COLTRANE!!!

for

“The Sands of Space and Time”

From the opening, this story had me hooked. In fact, my very first note was “This is what I have been looking for!” In so few words, you persuade a reader into believing everything you say about lost civilizations, a reader nodding as you make your points naming the lost. Your structure also lends itself to make a reader think: you mix lengthy, descriptive sentences with short, harsh fragments that read as points in your argument. By the end, unlike the other pieces, this piece taught the lesson of perseverance without actually saying that the subjects had to be patient, dedicated, and so on. I appreciated lines like “They proudly build upon our Sands, yet for all their mighty works, despair: threescore and ten are there years, and then they die…” I mean, look at this line! There is so much underneath the text, so much wisdom and truth: there is pride, ownership, desperation, perseverance, darkness, secrets, and defeat! And so well-written! Those are the kinds of sentences that cause the metaphorical weep for their pristine perfection. A standing ovation have you received.

Great job, Phil! Your winner’s badge greets you eagerly below. Here is your brand new, hot-off-the-presses 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:

The Sands of Space and Time

We’ve watched their history. The passing of nomadic tribes. The rise and fall of city-states. Carthage. Babylon. Karakorum. Empires and peoples come and gone. San. Bantu. Boers.

They live and die upon the Sands, those fleeting giants of the Earth. For all their towering height, their length of time upon this world is short. Ten thousand of us would not match their height. Ten thousand of their years is but a blink to us. They proudly build upon our Sands, yet for all their mighty works, despair: threescore and ten are their years, and then they die, and are buried in our Sands by their progeny.

The first of us to come to Earth, in countless ages past, was fruitful and multiplied, and (thanks to exponential growth) subdued the earth. Our forty-five-greats-grandparent was progenitor to us all, the Sands who fill the deserts and the beaches.

Mankind, too, will pass; we Sands will carry on.

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Flash! Friday # 44 — WINNERS!

This. Was. AWESOME. No kidding, tears of laughter on some of these. The students at Pataskala Elementary School will be so grateful to hear their deprivation was not in vain. Thank you for taking the time to leap with such gusto into the madhouse–you all are amazing. And hilarious. And, in some cases, a little bit scary (you know who you are).

DON’T FORGET that in just a few weeks is the Flash! Friday first anniversary BASH. Real prizes. More time to write. It’s going to be EPIC. Stay tuned for dates & details!

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Judge Beth Peterson says, Some great writing was seen this week! I loved reading your stories, although you all made judging difficult. GO, Flash! Friday Writers!!! I especially loved how many people used their titles to grand effect this week — Well Done, ALL!! And for those of you newer to writing, Congratulations on taking the scary step into writing and sharing your flash fiction with us! I hope you enjoyed the writing as much as so many of us enjoyed reading them!! (And I can’t help myself… a shout-out to *both* my sisters for entering this week’s contest!)

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Amy Wood, “The Cupid Adjustment Bureau.” Every time I read this story, it made me laugh. I loved the idea and the interchange between the two cupids was unexpected and hilarious – loved the wrestling!! I’d love to see the ending of your grin-inspiring tale strengthened even more. Maybe use that boisterousness between the cupids? But, like I said — you *already* have me laughing every time! 

Sarah Cain, “Fountain of Change.” ROFL… Sarah, what a great concept!! I love that the water transformed people into what they were inside! (I’m a big fan of comeuppance, lol) The one thing that threw me was the time frame — it seems to me that the victims wouldn’t be nearly so far apart in time, and that Mrs. Berryman would have taken action a whole lot faster. Oh, Mrs. Berryman!!! I ~adore~ this character! You drew her up in so little space, and yet I have a clear mental picture of her in my head — Very Well Done!!

Charles W. Short, “Pressing My Luck.” Oh, Charles!!! Do you read a lot of Poe? I can’t decide if your story reminds me more of Poe or the Twilight Zone, but both are great company to be in! The one thing I might love even more would be if you would enhance the shivers to screeching level at the end, LOL — write a longer version and slow it down (especially now you don’t have to worry about 150 words!) and let us experience your MC’s desperate realization sinking in with its full weight of terror… and perhaps betrayal? Even though you gave me the shivers, I sincerely thank you for letting me read ”Pressing My Luck” – and the title is SPOT ON, btw!!

Laura Carroll Butler, Don’t Question.” Laura, you have a very interesting premise and I really like the use of the Swedish phrase for “don’t ask” for the company name. Very diabolical…. And you made me squirm more than a bit! (In a you-got-me-hooked sorta way, which is what we all strive for!) And your idea is huge!  I’m left with *so* many questions…. Who is behind all this? Why? What is their goal? Why aren’t the teachers affected, since (at least when I was in school) teachers often use the same water fountains? I would love to see this developed into a fuller story. I’m practically jumping up and down to find out!! I really hope you don’t set this aside; it has so much potential for a ~~great~~ tale – maybe even novella or novel length!! (Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year and need a story to write…?? hint, hint)

SECOND RUNNER UP

Emily Karn, “The Fountain.” 4 DIB (Dragons In Black!) I *really* love the way you use an official report style, Emily! It really created the atmosphere of the whole story, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Your take on the fountain of youth was brilliantly fresh! 

FIRST RUNNER UP

Erin McCabe,School Daze.” 4.75 Nastily Grinning Dragons! You made it *so* hard to choose, Erin!! I had such fun reading it! I was thinking how fun it would be if an apparently confused/innocent Paul – or even another character or the student body in general – were the designated witness(es), which might further build the feeling of chaos for the reader, as you reveal the chaos in each classroom. BUT…even without doing this, you wrote one devilishly fun story! (And remind me never to visit that school!…. Or at least remind me “Don’t drink the water”! *chuckle*)


And appearing on the Flash! Friday dais for the FIRST time as 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

BEN MILLER!

for “Contraband”  

5 Mad Hatter Dragons! I love the subtlety of this story. The issue is never stated concretely, and yet we can all draw the inferences that create so much sub-text in this story. To be able to create that in 150 words is something I for one heartily applaud! You also somehow have managed to convey a truly strong sense of friendship and “group” with the HHC within these same scanty 150 words. Well Done!!

 

Congratulations, Ben! Here is your brand sparklin’ NEW Winner’s Page, a brilliant and superbly crafted dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Contraband

In the end it was a good that the Hat Head Club drank our own water. Teachers just ignored us when we complained about the taste of the fountain. It was Monday and the HHC was meeting near the fountain. All five of us wearing our crazy, custom knitted hats and watching the gym class let out, each kid taking turns gulping the water, making a face, and turning away.

Sarah gave us the new hats she had finished. Mine was an owl! She knew it was my favorite. Jenny got the three eyed alien, Sasha the panda, and Mica now had spiky, yellow, yarn hair. We giggled over our new prizes, fawning over Sarah’s gifts. Then Mica’s face turned serious as she covertly handed us each a bottle of water like it was contraband. We nodded solemnly reminded of the reason for our hats, our solidarity with Mica’s baldness.

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