Tag Archive | Stephen Wilds

Flash! Friday # 47 — WINNERS!

We kick off today’s Round 47 festivities with a fond farewell to judge Dan Radmacher, who has served faithfully and with excellence this past year. THANK YOU, Dan, for being such a valiant and supportive member of the Flash! Friday family. On the bright side, though your judgery will be missed, I’m also looking forward to your return as a contestant! Three cheers for Dan!!

SPEAKING OF JUDGES! As the Year One panel retires over the next few weeks, let me remind you we are accepting applications to join the rotating judge panels for Flash! Friday’s Year 2. Details here! To be considered for the first panel (Dec 14 – March 14), please have your applications in by THIS THURSDAYOctober 31. Thanks to all who have already applied–it’s going to be a magnificent first quarter! 

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Judge Dan Radmacher says, Thank you all for making my last stint of judging such a memorable one. The prompt took some of you in similar directions, while others used it as the barest touchstone to inspire some brilliant storytelling. So much humor, drama and emotion. Great job all the way around.

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HONORABLE MENTION

Stephen Wilds, Intuition.” The impact of this darkly humorous piece all turns on the tremendous characterization of the snide, dismissive Marlin. By the time we reach the twist at the end, we know Marlin well enough to gladly leave him to his fate.

THIRD RUNNER UP

VB Holmes,Bad News.”  Others mentioned the huge nose, but this tale is the one that, for me, prompted the biggest laugh about it with a line that comes way out of left field. The tone of the story pulls us in, even though both characters’ reaction to thinning hair seems overwrought. This is a nice, light bit of fun.

SECOND RUNNER UP

EA Smith, “Quieting the Mind.” I really liked this intimate tale that told us a lot, even while leaving a lot unsaid. The result was an almost impressionistic impact that gets under the reader’s skin in unexpected ways. The girl in the cranberry bog will stay with me for a long time.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Lady Hazmat,Memory of a Murder.” This was a vividly told story with great imagery that brought the abstract landscape of the mind to brilliant life. There are great touches throughout this piece that make the details stand out. I could see the work Oscar was doing and feel the psychic shockwaves between him and the condemned man. This great short story left me wanting more.

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

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

DRAGONSFLYPOPPY!

for “A Meeting of Minds” 

 A simple, beautiful love story. The innocuous dialogue countered by the mutual burning desire expressed in the actual thoughts work together to paint a vivid picture of the scene and characters, even with no words of description. And then the subtle realization of the last line tells us that the story is only just beginning. Truly excellent.

Congratulations, DP! With a name and writing like yours, how could you not eventually win a round!!! Delighted to see you take the wreath at long last. Here is your Winner’s Page, a highly sparkly and mysterious dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. As I do not have telepathy myself, please contact me asap here with your email address so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

A Meeting of Minds

“Hello again.”
My God, it’s you.

“Oh, hi.”
It’s you. It’s really you.

“Such a nuisance when the train is late isn’t it?”
Thank goodness the train is late, it means I have longer to speak to you; to look at you.

“Yes, a real pain.”
And I get to spend just a few more heart-racing, precious moments in your company.

“You, um, look nice today.”
You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

“Oh it’s just an old sweater, nothing special.”
I wore my best jumper on the off-chance I might see you.

“It’s getting cooler now the nights are drawing in.”
Your smile would melt the chill away.

“Yes, much colder.”
If you would only wrap your arms around me.

“Oh, um, here’s your train. That’s a relief.”
I hate that your train is here. I wanted a few minutes longer…

“Yes this is me. Maybe I’ll see you around?”
Say we’ll meet again?

“Yes, hope so.”
I’ll be here, same time next Friday, just as I have every other Friday for the last few months.

“Bye then.”
I don’t want to go.

“Goodbye.”
Don’t leave.

Slowly the train pulled out of the station, leaving two strangers alone on the platform.

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Flash! Friday # 41 — WINNERS!

If you give a writer a storm…. well, no question: hijinx ensue! You all continue to shake the foundations of the global flash community with your creativity. Thank you for coming out to play–it’s always my hope that you have a blast and find your writing challenged and sharpened (mine always is!). I also hope you realize how significant a part of the Flash! Friday community you are. Thank you!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Flash! Points (looks like there’ll actually be one this week, hurrah!), AND remember to look here to see the loads of other flash contests happening this week.  Contests, contests, everywhere. Hop to it!

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Judge Patricia McCommas says, Well, the writers did it again: they done went and made my job very hard. 🙂 Many of the stories were so good that I read them two and three times. Narrowing the winners list down was a difficult task. So many of the entries were not only original with creative twists, they were unique and well-written. Loved the stories this week.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Stephen Wilds, “Scientific Method.” Very unique with an unexpected end. Definitely original. I started out thinking the story was one thing until I got to the end. I was compelled to read it again…twice. Was this a computer animation? Nice job.

Mary Cain, “The End.” Eerie, haunting, emotional and then letting go and embracing the inevitable. This was a well-written original piece told as a complete story

Allison K. Garcia, “Cover.” Well-written, creative, drew me in. Love the honeymoon ending. 

Stephen James Lock, “Just A Boy.” Very unique story. Original. It was full of depth and meaning. I read this one three times. Love it. There is a mystical element present from beginning to end.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Josette Keelor, “Storm’s Coming.” This was really good, with a nice pace and clear imagery. Love the voice, which was consistent throughout. I had to remind myself this was a contest when reading this one–it drew me in. I love the matter-of-fact attitude of the character speaking and his down-to-earthiness. This story reminds us that if you pay attention to nature, nature will warn you of what’s coming. The power and gift of observation come to those who listen, no college degree required. I also liked that the narrator was a writer there to do a story about one thing and it morphs into something completely different. This has a great message for any writer about keeping an open mind and allow the story to unfold naturally.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Amy Wood,Return of the Old Gods.” This piece was a complete story, one that left me wanting to read more, to know what came after for Essie. Original, eerie, haunting, imaginative, hopeful, full of faith, emotional, happy that things turned out well for Essie. Well written. Drew me in. The story flowed at a nice pace.

And returning to the Flash! Friday podium for the second time as 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

CRAIG ANDERSON!

for “I Wandered”  

Original. Love the POV told by the developing tornado from birth to death and everything in between. This story flowed like a bubbling creek racing to the rapids. Poetic, lyrical. Some of my favorite lines are: “With the gentlest of whispers I was born.” “I learned to dance, twisting and twirling across the prairie.”  “I absorbed them all with merciless hunger” and the last line, “I did not see the other until it was too late, and just like that, I was gone.” Excellent. Well-written and creative. 

Congratulations, Craig! Here are your updated Winner’s Page, a familiar and yet still impressive dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please watch your inbox for brand new interview questions for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

I Wandered

With the gentlest of whispers I was born. At first I was nothing but dust drifting in the faintest of breezes. I was young, full of energy and eager to travel. I wandered. I learned to dance, twisting and twirling across the prairie. Creatures would sometimes stop to take my picture, laughing and joking when I swirled around them. I was powerless, insignificant, afraid. I needed to try harder. I zigged and zagged, scooping up leaves, then branches, then entire trees, growing bigger and stronger with every passing moment.

I met another. It was smaller, an infant. I tried to protect it, to nurture it, but it came too close. In a moment it was gone, a part of me now. I did not understand my power until it was too late.

There were several more, but I understood my purpose now. I absorbed them all with merciless hunger. All I knew was the urge to grow. It consumed me, like I consumed all that stood in my path.

The sirens started far on the horizon. I had earned their attention now. The creatures that had once seemed impossibly huge appeared so insignificant. They were the powerless ones now, there was no more laughter, only screams. I swallowed their homes one by one, tearing off roofs, smashing down walls, anything to add to my mass. I felt like I could swallow the world.

It happened so gradually I barely noticed. I grew tired, weary, my hunger sated. I could not sustain the energy, the will to increase. I convinced myself I could spare that house, avoid that school. Soon I could no longer lift them. The creatures stopped running, they hid in their homes. I swatted at them ineffectively.

I accelerated, outrunning myself. There was no escape, only deterioration. It brought relief. As I shrank I became lighter, faster, young again. I was reborn. I no longer feared the creatures. I danced once more.

I did not see the other until it was too late, and just like that, I was gone.

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Flash! Friday # 23 — WINNERS!

Thanks, everyone, for your good-spirited patience this week as I posted results Quite Belatedly. Good thing you all are (mostly) friendly dragons, else I might have been devoured by now. Believe me, I’m counting my blessings.

Thanks also to everyone brave enough to take on my quirky prompt. It was great fun, as I knew it would be; you are also exceedingly clever dragons. And finally, thanks to enthusiastic judge Jaz Draper, who is in absolute conniptions that she had to pick just a single winner. Awesome work, Jaz!

As always, please check back Monday (aka “tomorrow”) to see which of your stories will be dissected at Flash Points, and join me Tuesday for Dragon Munchies and my own unbalanced tale. Wednesday will feature an all-new interview with today’s winner. And new stories keep popping up throughout the week; they just won’t stay put, no matter how often I beg them. Be sure to check back!

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Judge Jaz Draper says, What a strange photograph we were served up this week! I love Nena’s non-verbal language; she has sassy written all over her. And like all good circus acts, there is a bit o fthe “not-quite-believable” in this week’s prompt. I couldn’t wait to see what our talented, creative Flash! Friday contestants would come up with. Five stories stuck out for me and all of them could easily have been awarded First Place. In the end, colorful dialogue and laughter won the day. 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

SJ O’Hart“Dance of Death.” I like how determined the children are to practice a crazy acrobatic feat; I also want to know why they want to kill their mother

Maggie Duncan“Stakkels Klovn.” I really like the story of the old clown, a lovely historical fiction – one of my favorite genres.

Anthony Marchese, Untitled. Sad, bittersweet, and a perfect portrait of young children’s imagination. 

Marie McKay, Untitled. What a wonderfully well-crafted story based only on two letters between a mother and her children! I can imagine Mother fainting when she reads the letter from her cherubs.

COMMENT ON THE TOP TWOI love to laugh, and I love stories that make me laugh out loud; both of these also made my husband laugh out loud, independent of my own laughter. We laugh a lot. I think dialogue is hard to write, but both of this week’s top winners created funny, snappy dialogue that revealed complicated characters, interesting worlds, and the promise of events quite extraordinary, yet laced with undertones of very “ordinary” details of life.

SECOND PLACE, BUT ONLY BY A HAIR

Stephen Wilds, “Mint in Box.” Stephen does a great job weaving interesting characters out of clever descriptions and quick-moving dialogue. Marlabelle’s last sentence is perfect and a hilarious tease of what’s yet to come. Why are they going to the dangerous off-world Ephrata colonies, and what purpose will these acrobatic circus children serve for the couple?  

And our Flash! Friday second time winner (keep making that face and it’ll freeze that way)

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

BETSY STREETER!

for her Untitled tale. Betsy wove a lot of adventure, fantasy, and ordinary details of life (who doesn’t need to run to the store for butter and eggs?) into her vignette. In 198 words, Pearl’s mother reveals details about the last time her son “got lost” during an errand, while Pearl herself moves from incredulity to acceptance of her mother’s ingenious and comical solution to keep the children together. For me, perfect timing and quite unexpected.

Congratulations, Betsy! Here are your Winner’s Page, (which you already had, but now it’s longer), your eBadge (because two are better than one), and your winning Tale.  Check your inbox shortly for another round of questions for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds interview.

Untitled

“Oh my GOD, mom. Are you serious?”

“Yes, I’m serious. Now go to the store and get me butter and eggs.”

“But…”

“Look. What happened last time?”

“Mom…”

“What HAPPENED?”

Pearl shuffles her feet. “Percy got lost.”

“Lost? LOST? That’s what you call that? Five cities, three international incidents and a pirate ship later, and that’s all you have to say?”

“Very lost.”

“I had to convince the King of Samtalbia not to eat you, and not to let his gryphons eat you either.”

“Yes, mom.”

“I had to track you across the Veinous Sea. In a freaking row boat. Or have you forgotten?”

“No mom, we haven’t forgotten.”

“I haven’t forgotten the unique pleasure of nothing but beef jerky to eat for seventy-five days, I’ll tell you that.”

Silence.

“Yes, well, Miss Pearl, this time Percy will not get very lost, will he? As I’ve said, if you can’t keep track of each other, I’ll have to glue your heads together. Isn’t that what I said?”

“Yes, mom.”

“So, there you are. Now, butter and eggs. That’s all I need.”

“Mom?”

“Yes.”

“Can we get some gum?”

“Yes, dear. Butter, eggs, gum. That’s it. Okay?”

“Okay, mom.”

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