Howdy, y’all: welcome to our final regular results show for Flash! Friday — combined today with Saturday’s Flash Dash results (still rather mind-boggled that an 11-year-old managed to write an entire funny little story in the 30 minutes!).
As for the wealth of gorgeous, dragonish love you wrote Friday, I’m going to reserve my comments for Friday, when it’s my turn to say thanks. Remember we’ve a grand finale party this Friday (Dec 11) with Flashversary: mugs, posters, books, and all kinds of magnificent prizes at stake. I hope you’ll come back to write one last time. ♥
Tomorrow is our final global #Spotlight, this time featuring the lovely F.E. Clark from Scotland. Be sure to join us! Haggis optional.
Last for today: an enormous round of thanks to Dragon Team Eight, Voima Oy and A.J. Walker. I’ve loved this pairing: Voima’s poetic spirit, A.J.’s tongue-in-cheekiness (and Catherine’s faithful blinding of the tales–thank you too!). Your thoughtful choices, your funny and poignant comments, your cheery spirits, your enthusiasm, every bit of it. And especially to A.J. who, I think, may have given me more dragons than anyone. Thankful til I die? Oh yes. And beyond. ♥♥♥
Up first: Flash Dash results!!! I love the frenetic world of Flash Dash, getting a little peek at how brains work, how stories are born. Your stories were sheer delight, and yes, some fantastic creativity, everything from genies to werewolves. A literary buffet, y’all. Thanks to all of you!
Special mention first up for 11-year-old Crystal Alden, who defied the time limitations and wrote a creative, cheeky story with a strong start and hilarious finish. Great job, Crystal — you had me laughing aloud. Read her story here.
⇒⇒ The winner of the $20 Flash Dash Cash prize is
Strong voice, spot-on pacing, and OH MY LANDS what a last line, executed with perfection. You’ve earned this one, baby. Watch your inbox for details on how to get your loot. Congratulations! And everyone: read her winning story here.
Now for the final regular round of Flash! Friday! Here are Dragon Team Eight’s final comments:
V — Thank you for all your great stories. Epic and intimate, tragic and funny and brave — each unique and special. It has been an honor and a privilege and so much fun to be part of this Flash! Friday community. To come together, to share stories is a remarkable thing. It takes tremendous amount of time and effort to make this place, this creative space. Thank you, Rebekah, for everything.
And I could not ask for a better co-judge than AJ. Your sense of humor and positive spirit is a delight–not to mention your own amazing talent. Thank you, AJ for making Dragon Team 8 great. Thank you, Catherine, for sending us the stories. We could not do this without you. You are an essential member of Dragon Team 8!
With the closing of MicroBookends, and Three Line Thursday on hiatus, we bid farewell to other inspiring places for very short poems and stories. Thank you, David and Grace, for all your hard work. Thursdays and Fridays will be different now.
These are very special places–here, we can come together. To me, the comments from other writers are part of the appeal of Flash! Friday, Three Line Thursday and MicroBookends. People feel free to interact, encourage each other, appreciate a good line, or a fantastic ending. This means so much to a writer, especially a writer who is just starting, or beginning again, this thing that we all do.
Friendships have been forged here. Lives have been changed here. Writers have been born and grown here.
The community continues to grow and change, inspired by each other. We know writing can be a lonely business. Life can be demanding, and sometimes it seems impossible to write at all. Yet we need imagination and stories more than ever. We need possibilities. We need to imagine better futures. We will write on, I do believe this. And we are not alone.
AJW — When #Team8 were put together all those months ago and the schedule set down, little did we know that we’d end up judging the last of the regular Flash! Friday challenges. It has been an honour to serve our most lovely Mother of Dragons, Rebekah. We’ve all enjoyed the anticipation in seeing what photograph, what phrase or book was to be our touchstone each Friday. Sometimes they floated our boat, sometimes they went up in flames. But always there would be fireworks somewhere, somehow, and Fridays won’t be the same without it. I have sent a personal message to Rebekah and so won’t get too schmaltzy here, but needless to say she has been a star and can be justly proud with what she created here.
This week’s stories have been smothered in thick gloopy love and affection for this special place and the keeper of the keys. The ‘beautiful girl who lived here’ turned out to be Rebekah, and she was either a resplendent dragon herself or very close mates with one (or at least an egg).
To Voimaoy — THANK YOU! For your patience and understanding. And being an all-round great judging partner. It has been a true pleasure. and I think we have worked well together. Cheers x. Thanks as ever to Catherine for forwarding the stories to us so we could judge them blind. Thanks too to everyone who entered this week – I trust that you have all mopped up the tears from your keyboards and that none of your computers exploded into flame from tear damage (I’m sure insurance for tear damaged electronics is impossible to get – more chance of getting Dragon Cover).
After toying for a millisecond with the idea of making everyone a winner, that was discounted for being a cop out; someone deserves the last badge after all. It was a really tough call picking the top ten or so and then drilling down to the winner, but we have. So, without further ado, here’s our call:
Chris Milam, “Table for One.” A bite of reality
Karl A. Russell, “The Girl and the Egg.” A door, an eggshell, magic!
Bart Van Goethem, “Rebirth.” Refreshingly unsentimental–with a wonderful one-word ending.
Carin Marais, “Arad’s Dragon.” V – A beautiful story of friendship — the epic economy of flash
Bill Engleson, “Thanks Stan.” AJ – Hey, I like humour, and this one made me laugh. Snappy dialogue. Simple idea. Not being allowed within 100 yards of a maiden again. Poor lamb. Thanks for the laugh!
Stella Turner, “Sins of the Flesh.” V – Dark, dark, humour–Love this take and the turns of phrase–“sliced bread, butter knife”…and “caught devouring bacon”
Jennifer Terry, “#TimelessBeauty.” AJ – Loved the emotion in this piece. Getting old gracefully, perhaps not confident in oneself, then a nice uplifting end. And of course I’m a big Twitter fan so it needs a mention (Twitter has been great for us writers, hasn’t it?) #uplifting
Geoff Holme, “Aubade.” V – Although a late entry, this deserves mention for a lovely tribute–Aubade is a song of parting, and greeting a new dawn.
Craig Anderson, “Mother of Dragons.”
V — This one had me in tears. It is heartfelt and beautiful in its simplicity–“The hardest part about raising dragons is knowing when to set them free” to “How magnificent they are.” This is a testament to the economy and power of flash. Wonderful and generous writing.
AJW – ‘The hardest part about raising dragons is knowing when to set them free.’ Well, that first line says it all doesn’t it? Like so many of the stories this week the heart is well and truly on its sleeve, on a badge, on the T-Shirt and in bright flashing neon, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story. Bookended (don’t get me started on Microbookends please) by last line; ‘I gave them wings, now they must fly,’ it is an instruction. Or at least a call to try. You’ve all got an extra hour or so on Fridays from now on; see what you can do with it…
Graham Milne, “The Auction.”
AJW – Lovely idea, perfectly written. Who’d have thought dragons could have had their teeth pulled and fire put out by Capitalism? Picturing the once-proud beast with paddle No.68 having to bid for their supper/maiden is a super/supper idea. ‘Faded scales that once glittered’ perfectly encapsulating the idea.
V — I agree with AJ: it is a sad commentary on Capitalism and the current state of affairs in this materialistic world. It is so well done, and I love the take on “dragons bidding” too! We need magic and humor more than ever.
Steph Ellis, “Legacy“
AJW – If someone can sort out the music, it could become an anthem for the FlashDogs and the ‘brothers and sisters’ we’ve found through writing here at FFF. Some powerful phrases and another call to arms/pens. I especially liked ‘‘take their fire, and burn down the battlements, breach the closed doors, of literati’s elite.” I’m feeling emboldened just repeating it! And yes, we do see “the Dragon horde gather.’
Stirring stuff – get out those power chords!
V – Forged in a “volcanic nursery” out of the “monotonous monochrome of the safe and the known” — these are powerful and moving words. This is an anthem, and a manifesto. Write on!
SECOND RUNNER UP
The Imaginator, “A Beautiful Girl Lived Here”
AJW – Who doesn’t like a bouncing bosom (or preferably two)? And I must say we don’t see enough corsets in Flash! so thanks for that. Seriously, a well-crafted story. I liked with the simple use of ‘pon and ‘neath to give us an idea of the time of the setting (although maybe it could be contemporary Morecambe?). The description of the woman ‘a force of nature’ and the effect she had on both the menfolk and the women was very visual. I could picture the scene perfectly, even through to the unfortunate end and the ‘entrails on the moonlit cobblestones.’
V — I couldn’t agree more. This story reads like a folktale, and it’s as visual as a movie (a classic Hammer film, perhaps?). A “force of nature” indeed. and what a powerful ending!
FIRST RUNNER UP
Image Ronin, “The Subject.”
AJW – A neat original take with so few words to play with (I think it could make an excellent longer piece) it brilliantly shows Rebekah’s realisation of what she was and what she’d done. I loved the dawning of reality as she sees her eyes in the reflection in a shard of glass and then her ‘fingers becoming talons’. The use of the font change to end the story was simple and perfect. Well done.
V – The writing throughout is stunning in economy and confidence–“the truth of what she was, of what she’d done”. And the final word –the Greek letters for “Dragon.” Yes! Powerful and fierce and beautiful. This one is for the Dragon Queen.
And now: for her very first time (no, this couldn’t be more perfect; yes, I cried when I saw her name), it’s this week’s
“Through Lettered Lands“
AJW – Time for more olde powere chords? Maybe not. An almost perfect piece (I’m overlooking the added apostrophe (damn autocorrect) – sorry Geoff) and a fitting winner for the last of the regular FF. It perfectly presents us – the writers – from simply ‘writ(ing) a sentence on entering’ through to the creation of entire worlds yet to be mapped, and presenting the writer as an explorer: Lovely. The third stanza in particular stood out for me: ‘Take care little wanderer, they told me -/ once hunted, few care to return from/ the beauty of script scribbled in spaces/ blank, ‘til creation begins.’ A fitting epitaph. Don’t you think?
V — It is an epitaph, an epic poem–but most of all it is a story — our story — it beautifully describes the writer’s journey from initial hesitance to curiosity, and on into ever-expanding lands and worlds into the uncharted unknown—
“It inhabits hearts and minds, they tell me
take it wherever you go
its end starting whole new beginnings…
Explorers seek it, perpetual”
In the as-yet unwritten future — “All write upon entering — Here Be Dragons.”
Congratulations, Catherine! I can’t imagine a more perfect writer nor more perfect story to take the very last Flash! Friday dragon crown. Here’s your lovely, brand new winner’s page; apologies for the tear stains. Watch your inbox for interview questions for this week’s #SixtySeconds. And now, here’s your winning story:
Through Lettered Lands
There’s a world of words, they told me.
Mythic in size and proportion.
The magic admits those
who write a sentence on entering,
leaving chocolate drops behind
to mark their route through lettered lands.
Some territories are unknown, they told me.
You must map them yourself,
with other explorers.
They seek you out, supportive,
once you know where to find them.
They run together in packs.
Take care, little wanderer, they told me –
once hunted, few care to return from
the beauty of script scribbled in spaces,
blank, ‘til creation begins.
It expands on arrival, they told me,
so few know how large it’s become,
save for those who’ve travelled since beginning
their journey some long-score prompts passed.
It inhabits hearts and minds, they tell me –
take it wherever you go,
it’s end starting whole new beginnings,
cartographic creators’ creations,
living inside ever after, full grown.
Explorers seek it, perpetual.
All write on entering –
Here be dragons.