Tag Archive | Reg Wulff

Sixty Seconds with: Reg Wulff

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Reg Wulff.  Read his winning story on his winner’s page here, then take one awesome little minute (because he’s that goooood!) to get to know him better.

1) What about the Lord of the Rings prompt inspired your winning piece? The photo: I pictured the mountain as a volcano, wiping out the town like a real life Mt. Doom.

2) How long have you been writing flash? I started writing flash fiction when I began submitting pieces to Flash! Fridays.

3) What do you like about flash? The challenge of fitting a whole story into a limited space, and being able to finish a piece quickly.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Just go for it — start writing and see where it goes.  You might surprise yourself.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? There’s so many incredible writers posting on Flash! Friday, it’s hard to single out anyone in particular.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? No other flash contests other than Flash Fridays; my life outside writing is pretty busy at the moment.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I like writing short stories, although I haven’t done much lately.  I also do some blog posts for work.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? I like to try different genres. I think it helps round me out a writer and offers different challenges.  

9) Tell us about a WIP. Actually, my WIP is going through all my half written WIPs, organizing them, and deciding on a WIP to finish. 

10) How do you feel about dragons? If they were real, they would be my choice of house pet/watch dog type animal.  They are awesome.

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Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 38: WINNERS

 

Happy Monday! What a riot moving from a loud-mouthed and jovial fellowship en route to Canterbury to a clever-tongued and ancient fellowship en route to Mordor and/or Mischief. Your stories were wrenching and hilarious and, as always, unforgettable, which is spectacular news for my poor memory muscles, as they need the help. 

On a personal note: these days are difficult ones for the family and friends of former FF judge Beth Peterson, who’s decided — in her indomitably spirited way, of course — that she’s had quite enough of her problematic, problem-causing health problems and is quite ready to go on without them, thankyouverymuch. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to walk at her side now through these final pages of her life’s story. I read her the stories you wrote this round; though she’s past the point of speaking, she laughed aloud at Karl’s The Seven (which you must read if you haven’t). Your stories — and all the wonderful heartsongs you’ve shared with her (via me) on Facebook — your messages of courage and love, and your prayers, above all, are beyond priceless. Thank you.

(Note: As a part of her fellowship of writers, if you’ve anything you’d like to say to her, perhaps a favorite poem?favorite quote? favorite verse? — and remembering, of course, that funny is entirely appropriate too!!! — please add them in the comments below. It would be my privilege to share them with her.)

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Many thanks to Dragon Team Five, Holly Geely & Foy Iver, for judging the stories this round and teasing out their favorites. Here’s their take:   

FI:  Attempting an adventure epic in less than 400 words when Tolkien himself took four books, is gutsy! Good thing you draggins have plenty of those. If he could only see what his imagination has inspired! A special thank you to those of you who stirred up ember-memories of long winter nights and my father reading the Lord of the Rings to my siblings and me by firelight. 

HG: My Lord of the Rings memories are much less touching: in eighth grade the three “nerd boys” were reading it and I didn’t want them to get ahead of me nerd-wise. I am once again in awe of the abundance of talent. There was a sad lack of turnips, but I shan’t feel disappointed, for there will always be time for vegetables later.

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Most Giggle-InducingWhen a Story Writes Itself by Michael J. BerryHG: Vanity dictates that this story be selected! This is a marvelously fun story and the names are superb; my particular favourite is “Grey-guy.” FI: Love it!! So clever and the thinly veiled references to FF are like hidden candies.

Most Likely to Become a Creation Myth: Legend by Sarah CainHG: Dragons – check, humans who thought they won but really didn’t – check, written like an old-school tale – check. Yep, I look forward to reading the book based on this world. FI: As a sucker for variations of the traditional genesis stories, I was hooked. As Holly said, I’ll be looking for this on bookstore shelves. 

Best Parody of All Things LOTRWhat Really Happened (For I Was There, Have Evidence to Doubt Me Do You?) by Eric MartellFI: Because even presented as farce, this one still made me long to be lost in that world again. HG: Dear writer, I don’t know who you are yet, but I love you. Once again I have different memories – of once upon a time when I wrote parodies for all my friends. Excellent.

Best Sleight-of-hand: Power Play by Brian CreekFI: Had to read this one to my husband. The troubles of a first world gamer. HG: As a gamer, I’d like for this video game to be real (minus the power outage).

 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

A V Laidlaw, Respect.”

HG: The main character has spunk. I like it. She may not be as flashy as Archmage Sparkly (aka Johnny Big-Beard… excellent nicknames), but she knows her strength. The voice is superb; the sarcasm makes me smile. The ending made me snicker.

FI: Strong voice in this one and an irresistible cheekiness toward those who feel they’re better than she is. I have to agree, aren’t they ever out of Dark Lords?

Carin Marais, “The Last Song of Winter.” 

HG: This story is lovely. The imagery is vivid, beautiful and haunting, and I was taken on a journey. The ending is bittersweet; sad but full of hope. The idea of Spring as a beautiful young woman is one I absolutely subscribe too. Beautifully written, and well done. 

FI: Fresh as a winter wind, this story captured me for its originality. The stakes are clear and the battle lines unmistakable; I can see a whole series emerging from this concept.

Mark A. King, “Tinder | Box.”

HG: The three characters complement each other in a spiral of misery-and-hope. The three forms of immortality being sacrificed is an interesting take on both the prompt and the reality of this situation. So much emotion has been covered in this story, I’m still reeling.

FI: Another super original response to the prompt! Like Holly said the intertwined perspectives offers an especially insightful peek into the lives, desires, and struggles of these three. The added philosophical puzzler of digital immortality (vs their true selves) makes it a well-deserved honorable mention. 

M.T. Decker, “To Accept What Cannot Change.”

FI: Such beautiful imagery with a poetic voice that is irresistible! Every line drowns me in its murky waters of forbidden love, harking back to tales of gods who slept with mortals they claimed more fair than their own celestial women. We aren’t meant to live in isolation and this piece shows that well. 

HG: The moth and the flame…great choice! Every word is carefully selected and every line is a tragedy. Well done!

THIRD RUNNER UP

Tim Kimber, “Defender of the Corn.”

HG: You had me at “Oh, bloody… Hail!” Matthis is a delightful use of the “ordinary person” and his no-nonsense attitude is admirable. He became the conquering hero, but…at what cost? What will happen to him next? This has a good mixture of my favourite kind of dark humour; Matthis is in trouble but you cheer for him anyway.

FI: Matthis is fantastic! I can almost smell the dirt on his clothes and feel the spirit in his bones. Though his fate isn’t fully revealed, I like to think he stood his ground and proved the wetter man. Clear characters and a well-developed story arch, gave this tale a podium spot.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Richard Edenfield, “A Butterfly in Brooklyn” 

FI: One of the most unique stories that came of this week’s musings, everything about this piece works in harmony: nature is painted with words that HDT himself might’ve used; paragraphs unfurl like pages of Walden; characters are sketched then filled in the way a human eye might absorb a landscape after all it’s known is the city. Slow, detailed, and poignantly executed.

HG: “The pages fluttered in the breeze.” For me, this last line is the most beautiful. This reoccurring image of the butterfly, and the artist as a butterfly, with a book as his wings…incredible.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Eric Martell, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” 

FI: Gritty and so human, I couldn’t help but identify with this very personal struggle. Though Marl and his wife believe they’ve buried their light, their beauty, death is only the beginning. I appreciate that it ends hopeful where there is little hope. Conflict, resolution, and character depth all accomplished in a few choice words. 

HG: The poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” always makes me think of Pony Boy. It’s a beautiful title for this heartbreaking tale of suffering and loss. “…for why should a man love someone who would be taken from him so quickly, but she was impossible to hate.” My heart is aching. I, too, like the beautiful ending and he birds that help cope with loss.

And now: for his FIRST TIME, it’s faithful FF writer & brand new

DRAGON WINNER

REG WULFF!!!

for

The King Who Wears No Crown

FI: This piece not only gave us gorgeously woven words, it brought echoes of familiar fields where foolish men battle and whispers of a different “King under the mountain”, one that is just as tempestuous as a dwarf by with a heart of true stone. While paying subtle homage to Tolkien, it remains distinct, an incredible feat. 

HG: My favourite line: “He has tasted the tears of creatures chased from the sanctuary in fear for their life.” This is a king who demands respect. The people who underestimated him sure regretted it. The gardener is a fascinating character. The Tolkien-esque elements are there but nothing has been copied – everything is unique and uniquely pays tribute.

Congratulations, Reg! Please find here your brand new, mega sparkly, and very crowned winner’s page. Your winning tale can be found there as well as (shortly) over on the winners’ wall. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for this week’s Sixty Seconds feature. And now here’s your winning story:

The King Who Wears No Crown

As I walk in the shadow of the king, I tend his garden. I slip among the trees, sometimes dancing on the wind. None sees me, but all feel me.

The king likes the garden unspoiled, as it has been for a millennium. He prefers the natural order of things. He calls it the sanctuary of the living, even though death is always part of life. The king understands that the garden has a cycle of life, death and rebirth. He respects the cycle.

Men do not.

The king has heard the cries of the trees torn from the ground and dismembered. Men cut down the trees in their prime and rip them to pieces. Men burn them and live in buildings made from their skeletons.

He has tasted tears of the creatures chased from the sanctuary in fear for their life. Men pursue them relentlessly. He has felt the final heartbeat of the ones that could not escape. The ones slaughtered for their flesh and skin. Men rob the young of a future and the old of a peaceful ending.

When man pushes the king too far he will defend his garden through its destruction. His scorching anger will overflow and destroy those who have desecrated the sanctuary of the living. Their flesh will burn and fall from their bones. Their charred remains will feed the garden as it grows again. I will tend to the young sprouts and give the king a new garden, more brilliant and beautiful than the last. I will weep for the innocent creatures that suffered the king’s fiery wrath, enshrining their bones and singing to their souls.

As death is part of life, sacrifice is part of victory. The king is always victorious.

The mountain may not wear a crown, but not all kings need such a pittance. Once again, man has encroached, and soon, I will have a new garden to tend.

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Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 29: WINNERS

HURRAY!!!!! I love, love results day: a (small) way to honor some really fine storytelling. This week’s round — the last round of that sort of contest prompt here — how do you feel? are you ready? eager? skeptical? annoyed? READY FOR A MAGICAL ADVENTURE?? — struck especially close to home for us. Lots of really funny stories, and lots that… weren’t.  The writing life ain’t easy: no matter how many blogs you’ve read or how supportive your writing groups, at the end of the day it’s just you and the white space… alone…. (As my mother says, It’s only you and Jesus in the dentist’s chair…)  If you haven’t read through the stories yet, please take a few minutes to skim through. Writing about writing is where we’re at our most vulnerable, like a whole glorious parade of nekked Emperors. Thank you so much for sharing your skills and hearts with us.

rof2RING OF FIRE!!!! You poor, patient draggins. I’m shockingly behind on updating the Wall of Flame, and here we are, nearly finished with June! Scandalous! IF YOU HAVE WRITTEN FOR FLASH! FRIDAY at least three times in May and/or June, please let me know here (note: check the Wall first; I think we are current on all requests so far), and I’ll catch that list right up today. Details here!       

 

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Judging for us this round were the fab Beth Deitchman & Emily June Street of Luminous Creatures Press. Many thanks to this valiant team who read and wept and laughed and battled over your writerly adventures, even while, in some cases, hanging upside-down. Such a privilege having you join us in this capacity; thank you so much! Now, here’s what they have to say before gracefully flinging trophies every which way:

Judging such diverse stories is always difficult. We Luminous Creatures tend to focus on certain recognizable literary elements to help make our job easier and provide a structure by which to order our judging. There were, as always, so many worthy stories put before us, but we had to narrow it down to these few. We focused on choosing stories with strong narrative arcs, conflict, resolution, layers of meaning, and solid writing craft.

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Eliza ArcherLet Me Sleep, He Pleaded.” For engaging humor and excellent character names

Nancy ChenierThe White Flag.” For strong writing and memorable images

Caitlin Gramley, “Lively Imagination.” For use of dialogue to tell an amusing story

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Reg Wulff, “Never Ending.” We enjoyed the great opening line and satisfying ending of this piece, as well as the layered commentary on the nature of writers not finishing stories. Haven’t we all been there?

C.A. Crawford, “Symbiosis.” This story hinged on the clever and diverting twist of prizing a writer’s words above an actor’s physical beauty. How could we not love it? 

 

THIRD RUNNER UP

Michael Seese,A Work of Fiction.” This was a creepy meditation on what writers do. Careful word choice created a deft slide from the metaphorical to the literal in lines such as “capturing realistic characters” and characters who “positively leapt into her life.” Well-written and strongly structured, this sinister tale had a satisfying and complete story arc. We were greatly entertained by the choice of Chastity as the name for the evil romance writer.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Steph Ellis, “Writer’s Block.” We love it when a writer takes risks, and this one did, by using puns throughout the story. This could have gone badly wrong, but the author applied the phrases with a deft and judicious hand, slipping in references to “sentences” and “rejection” that worked on multiple levels. We appreciated this unique approach to the prompts. The author’s cleverness permeates the entire story and the puns never overshadowed that fact that a story was being told. Subtle world building and multiple layers of meaning rounded out this stellar tale.

FIRST RUNNER UP 

Foy S. Iver, “Conflicted Flesh.” This strongly written story had layers and layers. The bold language fit the subject matter, offering us such lines as “two heads bound by the same flesh” and “It raked his soul to form the words.” The world building was impressive given the constraints of two hundred words. The juxtaposition of the backstory with the italicized text that the author/narrator struggles against writing developed engaging narrative tension. This story gave us just enough information to incite the imagination, and the fact that the author managed to mention some “luminous sisters” tickled us, too. We wanted to learn more about this world, and yet with each reread, we saw more, too. A truly solid submission, only a hair’s breadth from being the winner.

And now: shattering all records, it’s our very first FIVE-TIME:

DRAGON WINNER

PHIL COLTRANE!!!

for

Dashiell vs the Dragon Invaders, Chapter 3

We have the ultimate respect for this story that shows confidence, restraint, and panache on the part of the writer. Never overwrought or overwritten, it directly and relentlessly focused on the purest endeavor of writing: to tell the story. Whether by natural skill or by ruthless editing, this writer knows how to slay darlings and focus on action. With a satisfying story arc, narrative tension, vivid imagery (“mottled orange sun,” “razor claws”), engaging humor, dragon references (!), cinematic action, and solid writing, this story scored high on all our favorite elements. Like the best genre fiction, it hooked us and reeled us in with fast pacing and perfect delivery, exemplifying that timeless writing rule: show, don’t tell.

Congratulations, Phil! You are the FIRST five-time winner of Flash! Friday in its over 2.5 years of life. What are we gonna do with you, hmmm??? I’m thinking at the very least a magical mug from the Dragon Emporium is in order. Here’s your updated winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please stand by for questions for Thursday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And now, here is your winning story:

Dashiell vs. the Dragon Invaders, Chapter 3

The mottled orange face of the alien sun loomed large in the viewscreen. Sweating bullets and gasping for breath, Dashiell pressed his browline glasses back up his nose. Blood dripped from the clawmark across his chest. “Just a scratch.”

Leaning against the cryogenic conduit to cool himself, Dashiell checked his .38 revolver. “One bullet left.”

With a crash, the hatch deformed visibly, struck by some awesome force. “I may be a washed-up pulp writer,” he shouted, “but I’m a fighter.” Razor claws forced the hatch open. Dash took aim as the reptilian entered. “Somehow I’ll get back to Earth. Then I’ll let everyone know aliens are real.”

The quadrupedal alien approached deliberately, licking its lips. He backed away. “They say write what you know. Want to hear the title of Dashiell Pendragon’s next bestseller?”

The creature lunged at him, seeming to soar through the air. Leaping aside, Dash took aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet whizzed past the reptilian’s crested head, striking the cryogenic conduit. As liquid oxygen gushed onto the scaly beast, it writhed in pain. Dashiell covered his ears to muffle its death shriek.

When it fell silent, Dashiell prodded the lifeless alien’s face with the muzzle of his revolver. “Slaying the Dragon.”

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