Tag Archive | James Marshall

Flash! Friday # 52 — WINNERS!

OH MY WORD. We’ve made it through a WHOLE YEAR of spectacularly awesome flash fictionning here at FF. Have I told you lately how crazy I am about all of you? Thank you, thank you. And I can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow bright ‘n’ early for the kickoff of the #Flashversary. Don’t forget–Monday at 7:30am Washington, DC time!      

Our final farewell is organically bred by country gal Jaz Draper, who has brought her unique style of wit and love for dialogue to FF. Thank you so much, sweet Jaz, for your awesome contributions this past year! I’ll always be grateful for your time & spirit.    


Judge Jaz Draper says, So this is my swan song: the last judging assignment for Flash Friday 2013. One year plus a few weeks ago, I walked into the Edinburg library 2 weeks into National Novel Writing Month and met a wonderfully supportive group of writers. No, I did not finish my novel, nor have I had much time to devote to it. But over the year I’ve gotten to read a lot of fun, thought-provoking and creative flash fiction written by our little community. Did I say little? I know Rebekah is thrilled with how our group has grown!


Since this is my last assignment and because I’m in a food coma, I asked Rebekah to be easy on me. She obliged by limiting you all to 100 words plus or minus 5. But once again, she selected a spectacular prompt and you, my dear writing friends, did not disappoint.


I don’t feel like I have many words of wisdom to offer you except: write. Just write. Whenever you can; wherever you can. I should heed my own advice, I know. Remember to always check your spelling and grammar and syntax, but do it after you get your ideas down. And practice good dialog because dialog brings characters richly to life.


Good luck. I’ll be watching…and reading and hopefully doing some of my own writing. Namaste.




Jaz says: Each of these phrases reflects the title of the piece in simple summation. Brilliant.

John Cosgrove, Photographic Memories. “Grandpa didn’t hear me. His mind was decades away from here.”

Jacki Donnellan, Strands. “It must be tamed, though achieving this may hurt. And it cannot cling, nor weave itself into tangles.”

LadyhazmatThe Watcher. “Plucked from her bed like a piece of ripe fruit, she’d been peeled and parted, her tender flesh consumed by an insatiable ill on a moonless, winter night.”

Hannah Streett, Losing Meaning. “The letters jump around in their silly little jig, switching partners so often that I lose their meaning.”

Dieter RogiersThe Wager. “As the clock gobbled up the minutes, well past the hour, a sense that all was not well set in.”

Patricia Carroll, Untitled. “If thinking got me here, how do I unthink?”


Jaz says: Both of these pieces are macabre in their twist on what should be happening in a classroom.

AJ Walker, “The Practical.” The last sentence, “Unfortunately there were no graduates from Robertson’s School for Spies in 1913” brings everything together rather nicely.

Rezzi, “The Smell of Smoke.” Wow. Tough school, this one. I could palpably feel Robert’s panic. Nice, tight writing.


Today’s Chapter, “Cheese.” This piece leaves me asking myself over and over: “Did he take a picture or shoot ‘the one that starts the great war’ with some James Bond-esque camera that’s really a gun? A little time travel, some angst, and a bit of mystery. Well done. 


James Marshall, “The Adventures of H.G. Wells, Schoolteacher.” I like the unexpected reason the desk was empty. Several writers centered their stories around the empty desk, describing missing people (and the reasons they were missing were very creative). But the invisible student woven into a well-known story was a clever yarn.

And appearing for the second time (just before she begins her judging stint!) as Flash! Friday  



for “Reservations” 

 Although there were several takes on the Indian School which aptly captured the injustice of the time, I really liked the link between Erin’s title “Reservations” and the reservations the young girl was having about the rigid, uptight white society oppressing her freedom. The phrases ‘gloriously naked’ and ‘running bare-skinned under the warmth of the sun’ and the comparison of her dress to a tipi call to mind delightful visions of the unconditional freedom and oneness with nature that was taken from the Indians in a subtle way. 

Congratulations, Erin! Here is your updated Winner’s Page, a totally awesome but retiring dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Note: Because of the #Flashversary, there will be no #SixtySeconds interview this week. However, we look forward to getting to know you better as a judge for the first quarter of Year Two!


I wanted to strip off my clothes and run into the distance, travelling deep into the unknown, gloriously naked.

“Stop fidgeting!” my sister scolded, as I fought with my pinafore; stiff and unmanageable, it was more akin to a tipi than a dress.

“Cultural Assimilation” they called it, but in truth it was cultural assassination and schooling was a key weapon in their arsenal, aimed squarely at me on a daily basis.

If all “Americanisation” could offer was dusty rooms, starchy frocks and endlessly dull words about dead white presidents, it was little wonder I daydreamed about running bare-skinned under the warmth of the sun.



Flash! Friday # 49 — WINNERS!

BRAVO and THANK YOU to everyone who dared set foot on the gorgeous Fairyland bridge (also called the Bridge of Immortals) this week. Didn’t that photo make you want to visit?? Here’s another look at the bridge which is, I might add, at 5,000 feet; and here are a couple of options for reaching it. I would say perhaps it’s safest to read about rather than attempt climbing it, but given your stories….? Maybe not. 🙂  

This week we’re saying thanks & goodbye to outgoing judge Kinza Carpenter Shores, whose beautiful swan song is below. Thank you for bringing such passion & heart to reading these stories, Kinza, and for forging through the tough decisions. You are so appreciated!    

THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES! Flash! Friday Flashversary Festivities will run Dec 2-6, and Year 2 will officially launch Dec 13. Raise your hand if you’re as giddy as I am!! 


Judge Kinza Carpenter Shores says, First off, I’d like to say that judging these flash fiction contests has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s simply amazing to be a part of this fantastic flash fiction idea- this idea that one could make compelling, complete (!), amazing stories in such small little clear, concise pieces. It’s revolutionized the way I view writing. Every week I’m amazed by all these great writers who always come up with beautiful, poignant stories. There are people who have never won this contest that I’ve had on my top 16 list every single time. You are all so talented! I’ll definitely miss it, and thank you all for the opportunity.



Aria Glazki, “Flight Plan.” Aria’s fantasy adventure captured my interest right away as the imagery is vivid and the threat very realistically described. I felt I could connect with the heroine and feared for her as she made the tough decision to jump. If this were in a novel in the YA section, I would definitely pick it up to find out what happens next.

John Cosgrove, Untitled. This piece exemplified great witty dialogue, and the descriptions of the characters were also vivid and hilarious. This piece was good at things I’ve never thought I was particularly great at, dialogue and humor. It also far and away blew away the competition with the vivid characterization.  


Dr. Magoo, Untitled. For third place I chose DrMagoo’s piece. Setting off a great tone as the first story in the contest, it intrigued me and I read it several times. The mystery made me want to know more, the culture of the place was also intriguing, as was setting the entire piece in some bygone era long ago. The word choice was excellent, as well as sentence structure. I felt the story was very well put together. And I have to say, how did he get the first piece in the middle? I’ve just GOT TO KNOW.


James Marshall,Value.” Its originality and how different it was from all the other stories set it apart for me. I was also impressed that someone managed to put science fiction into a contest about a fairy bridge. Perhaps it was my own NaNo novel being science fiction, or that I’m currently reading Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy to my husband, but this piece amused me. I loved how it humanized these humans far into the future and also made snarky commentary about our current situation–inconsiderate customers and the ever-lingering presence of the company apple. I found that incorporating such a vivid futuristic setting flowed so easily in perhaps a humorous manner and every line in this story well written.

And appearing for the second time as Flash! Friday  



for “Bottleneck” 

 I chose “Bottleneck” as the winning story, perhaps more for the surprise and originality than anything. For this story to have been about a battle, the diction and imagery were wonderful, so vivid and detailed. That twist at the end just floored me. It made me realize that all these stories could possibly be seen from a multitude of view points. The story was crafted beautifully, and every line seemed to have a purpose. It was just great writing.

Congratulations, Mary! Here is your updated Winner’s Page, a hilariously warlike/childlike dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Watch your inbox for your next Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds interview questions.


The battle had raged for hours, but the small defensive force had brought the invading army to a halt. For three hours Daniel and his men held their ground. Shoulder to shoulder, they blocked every attempt to take the bridge.

The narrow space had forced the Khan’s men to fight in small groups, rendering their superior numbers useless. There was no going around the bridge and no way of reaching the ravine below other than falling.

Daniel had chosen the defenders’ position well. As the fight continued, the Kahn signaled for his archers. There was more than one way to take out a soldier, no matter whose god was on their side.

One volley was all it took.

The Kahn was about to begin his triumphant march into the city when a booming voice echoed across the chasm.

“Danny, it’s time to put your Legos away and go to bed.”