Monday, September 30, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #13




Is it just me, or is time set on warp drive mode??? It does not seem possible that an entire week has passed already! BUT that just means we get to read more great stories by you all! Who's ready for another week? Well, let's get to it! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted


Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Tinman. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #13 is:


It was something [s]he'd never done before.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


[Mention] TV game show[s].


 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #12 - RESULTS!




It's finally here! The moment you've been waiting for...for longer than usual. Communicating with the other side of the world takes some schedule coordination that I just didn't have this week! ...Plus, someone *cough* me *cough* was offline for over 24 hours unexpectedly. Enough excuses, we're here to see what the judge has said. He made comments on each story on the original post here. If you missed them, be sure to check them out. Otherwise, here are his winners!!!




Special Challenge Runner Up:

wh1006

Dollhouse, by wh1006. I think this story could do with some fleshing out, and I think that there’s no greater compliment to give for a flash piece than to say you’d love to read a longer version, and to see more of the world the author has written. I’d love to read a longer version of this, and to see more of the characters and world you’ve created, wh1006. I think that lengthening it would let you add more suspense and terror to the piece. Mr Harvey is creepy, in an innocently evil kind of way. Although we don’t know exactly what he’s doing to his little dolls. Creepy and inventive.


Special Challenge Champion:

PenName

I’ve been trying recently to use the line the sky burned as the introduction to a story – which is why I chose it in the first place – and none of the stories I wrote carried it off properly. So it’s a line that I’ve had to cut from about six science fiction/fantasy stories. Penname’s story Delia’s Dragon, or How Delia Discovered Her Ancient Powers is the kaiju story I was trying to write. The dragon is immediate and real, “…his golden tints glimmered with every fire-blasted breath, looking every bit like a swarm of swift fireflies.” And I loved the nail-polish names in this piece, too. What a dragon!


Runner Up:

duckglow

Although duckglow’s 53 Seconds did have a couple of issues I loved the descriptive work in this story, this line in particular: "Gusts of wind ripped through the desolation and carried off pieces of men." As I said, there are a couple of things that need touching up, but I do love a good apocalypse. A story that captures that moment at Ground Zero, and it carries the weight of that moment in cleverly spartan prose, handling it matter-of-factly and making it even realer.


Grand Champion!

Tinman

It takes a certain dash or flair to make a very short story like Tinman’s untitled piece work. I love flash and micro fiction – I feel swept along when I write them, like the story carries me, rather than the story being dragged into being by my writing it. I especially liked the humour in this story, it’s hard enough to write humorous writing, let alone make it so brief. Other than the typo (and I’m sure it’s a typo, not a grammatical mistake), this story is great. I feel like it could be either shorter or longer, and that’s a good thing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #12



We're back! Another week has flown by! I swear, they've been moving faster than normal recently! I'm really excited to see what you do with this prompt today! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted


Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Chris White also known as @chriswhitewrite. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #12 is:


The sky burned.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a predator vs. prey situation


 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #11 - RESULTS!




WooHoo! Splish! Splash! So much water!!! Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories! Week #11 is sunk. If you haven't yet read the entries, you can follow the link here. (There are some serious spoilers below, so go read first!) The lovely Judge Postupak has spoken, and here is what she said:




Dear writing friends: I was pleased to see that not everyone drowned this week. A rather tragic number did (technically 29%, or possibly 43%, depending on what @LurchMunster's judge decides), but since the murders (or double murders, in the case of @NickJohns999) were the delicious, summer beach reading kind, I switched from coffee to iced sweet tea and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank you so much for coming out to share your watery creative genius. As ever, it's a privilege reading your work. Thanks!

General comments

@LurchMunster: half Romeo & Juliet, half Julius Caesar, this romantic and bloody tale of star-crossed lovers was heart-pounding in more than one way, a wonderfully dark and watery take on an old concept that felt totally fresh. What sort of bribe would it take for you to tell me the MC's fate...?

@NickJohns999. "Gazing Into the Abyss." Once again, you totally nailed plotting, this time with a relationship gone sour against a backdrop of doom--a really spectacular double whammy. I loved the unexpected poison seeping out of the story's conclusion--your title was so very apt!

Penname "Compulsion." This "inside look" at the cruelties suffered by someone with OCD was both funny and tragic. I would love to know if Gerald survives to adulthood, and if he does, what sort of life he winds up with. You've done a really wonderful job bringing this unique and memorable (mer)character to life.

@ducknado. "The Moon, 10,001 BC." OF COURSE your underwater scene took place on the moon, just as I expected. I probably would have gone though an entire box of Kleenex weeping if you hadn't. Your story with its nervous teen protagonist and silly names was such a blast to read. It reminded me of Captain Underpants, of course, and made me smile start to finish. 

Crystal Alden, "The Missing Book." Your story of a girl looking for the right sort of book who goes on an adventure and discovers she needs to write that book herself was just amazing. I liked the funny way you told her story, and how you built excitement by warning us of the coming storm. This is a truly wonderful story, well-organized with a powerful punch at the end, and I enjoyed reading it very much. You are a seriously talented young lady.

@chriswhitewrites. "Duck, Duck, Goose." Mother Goose meets Shirley Jackson! You managed to take a simple children's game and turn it into a mechanism of death. Yours is the same sort of clever mind as whoever first looked at a cheerful clown and thought, "How can I use that to terrify people?" Nice.

@drmagoo. What an effective buildup of tension in this scene! Maria's nerves practically leap off the page in terror. Why is the Commander about to call someone's name? Whose name will he call, and what will happen to them? You've taken a run-of-the-mill school assembly and injected it with a couple strong doses of adrenaline. Nicely done!

WINNERS:

Judge's Challenge: @NickJohns999. While I'm not sure why the POV switched from 3rd to 1st person midway, the abyss of deep water is pivotal to this story's central crisis and also serves as a stark metaphor of David & Emma's lethally destructive relationship. In the tradition of Stephen King, "Abyss" is utterly tragic and utterly terrifying; and it is utterly inseparable from its watery setting. It's a powerful and full-bodied use of the challenge, deserving of the challenge title.

Best Twist Winner (no, this is not technically a category, but I'm gonna let it slide this once...'cause, really, I think it's my favorite twist ever!): Crystal Alden. This story is told simply and without ornamentation or elaboration, but the restless longing at the beginning met by the conclusion's triumphant realization blew me away. It offers the best kind of "twist," one that instead of shattering the story, fulfills it. Really, really well done.

Grand Champ: @ChrisWhiteWrites. Centered on a child's game, the story itself is staccato and tornadic, an effective metaphor of style/form for what we soon learn is really going on. No sooner do we catch up to the narrator than the story ends, dramatically and with a terrible, Lord of the Flies-type finality. There isn't much going on in the plot, but there doesn't need to be. This is really well-structured and executed (pardon the pun) flash writing. Great work! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #11



DOH! I did it again! So sorry for not posting last night. I don't know how I spaced it. Thanks to Rebekah for asking me about it...I was asleep when she did, so you get it when I got up. We can extend the deadline if we need to. *EDIT - We will push the deadline back to 6:30am Eastern time to give everyone a full 24 hours* If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted


Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Rebekah Postupak also known as @postupak (and her contest acct @FlashFridayFic)Go check out her blog here (Where she hosts the Flash!Friday! flash fiction contest every Friday (just in case that wasn't clear...)). Read her winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #9 is:


[She] waited, trembling, for them to call [her] name.




 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

The story must take place primarily (preferably entirely) underwater.


 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!
(if a bit late...)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #10 - RESULTS!





Week 10 has been conquered! If you haven't yet read the entries, you can find them here. Seriously, go follow that link and leave some love of your own! Comments are always appreciated. Certainty or uncertainty...that is the question. Well, one thing we ARE certain about is PenName's decision. The judge has spoken! ...And if I just stop typing you can read what he said... But I'm feeling ornery today... Are you still reading this? Are you certain? Just checking. Oh, alright! Go read what he had to say:



What a drop this week, only four. (sadness) But, I'm excited that I was allowed to judge the entries this week. Below are some of my thoughts about each of your entries. I tried to be constructive, but keep in mind that I am a very critical person, (people hate handing me their papers to read because I will usually tear them apart) so realize that I am just being my usual fault-finding self. (That was literally one of the descriptors on a personality test I took once, fault-finding! Gee thanks.)

Sorry, I've rambled. I loved reading all your stories and seeing how you took the first sentence and just ran with it. I really do consider it a pleasure to give you guys my thoughts and award a winner, so without further ceremony, here are the results.

duckglow
I really like how the characters in this story went from being vastly uncertain about what was going to happen, to being wrong and then being certain of everything. I was a little bit confused by some of the language used to describe some things - “ 20,000 years in the making” and “billions of years into the distance;” and “moments passed in an instant.” But, perhaps that was the point, giving a sense that time and space wasn't exactly what it seemed. I was not sure what was meant by “explored the very limits of our peculiar nature.” But, all in all, I loved the idea of being at the end of the world, the end of time, the end of the universe, that brink. But, now I want to know what happened in that instant, and what will happen next, you've left me thirsty for more.

jessicapwest
I don't feel that the first sentence had a lot to do with the subject matter of the story, though the story itself was certainly one we can all relate to – man, have I had those days! I was a little confused by the switching of tenses and there were a couple of times where I had to go back and reread because I didn't follow it the first time. At the end I was expecting some sort of crisis moment, where the ordeals of the day finally coalesced into some sort of drastic action or climax. They were resolved to a certain extent, but my expectation was for something a bit more. All that said, I felt the pain of Evangeline, and each moment through the day, I was rooting for her and hoping for something to get better for her character. Keep writing!


Grand Champion Runner-Up:
 
mysoulstears
 
I loved this take on the first sentence. There were some wonderful descriptors of the kitchen and I like how almost the whole time the husband just wasn't exactly sure what had gone wrong, though it had seemed that he had tried to do everything right. I also like the hint of relationship issues that were larger than the cooking incident itself. The husband's reaction said a lot about his character and the way things currently were between them.


Grand Champion and Special Challenge Winner:

Rebekah Postupak
 
This was a feast of words! The descriptors were fast and furious and the sentences long and meandering. Dense reading, but I love dense reading, so that's fine with me. I particularly liked the use of the challenge words; so natural and unforced, it fit right into the text and enhanced the flow of the story. Of course I also loved the characters and the potential story here. I was ready to read about his quest to avenge his love, and was interested in the particulars of her death. I thought this was a brilliant use of the lead sentence and a beautiful and interesting story.

Monday, September 9, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #10




We've reached TEN! WooHoo! Ten weeks! We have ten fingers and ten toes and now ten weeks of #FTT! Let's make this week the best yet! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted


Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Penname also known as Aaron White. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #10 is:


[He] was uncertain, though there was plenty to be certain about.



Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include the words:
peculiar
impunity
empyrean

 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #9 - RESULTS!



Yay! I'm so glad everyone came out to play! We had FOURTEEN entries!!! (I think that's a record!) I'm glad we didn't overwhelm Rebekah by sheer numbers! She survived! And she had a few things to say! But first, go read all the amazing entries here! Finished? Good. Now let's find out who won! :)


Judge's notes:

It's said a person's character is revealed most clearly under pressure, so with this week's contest I wanted to see what your own characters would reach for in a pinch. And while many of them did wish for magic wands (always handy!), others regretted not having books, truth serum, a flamesword (I want one!) (Me too!), a guitar or--my personal favorite--a vengeful tigress (can't tell you how many times I've wished I'd brought one of those! she might actually put me on a level playing field with my toddler). What a pleasure it was reading your vibrant adventures. Thank you so much for sharing them! 

Note: the only way I could have enjoyed it more is if someone had brought ME apple pie :cries softly:. (Mmmmmmm, apple pie....)

Now on to the winners:

JUDGE'S CHALLENGE:

Your poetry was multi-faceted and marvelous. Shouts out to Margit Sage for some particularly tender verse and to Jessica West whose intertwining wordplay (the one you love, loves the one who dies) was just delicious. 

Runner up: Lady Alainn. Your ogre poem was snappy and sooo funny. I think I'll make my children memorize it, or at least I'll shout it to them every morning at breakfast until they feel like ripping up a few turnips themselves.

Winner: Nick Johns. The poem delivered by the Goth nurse was smooth and haunting, reminding me strongly of the seer's warning to Julius Caesar so many ages ago. And of course, as the narrator ought to have known, in stories a seer is never wrong. This poem serves as the story's hinge--the reader knows the narrator's not going to get away with it--and of course Geraldine's foreboding words are echoed in the story's final lines. Nice job.

GRAND CHAMPION

Shouts out here to stories with totally awesome twists: Melissa's "The Bully," whose heroine demonstrates both spunk and inventiveness, and Jessica West (again) for a sneakily barbed surprise.

Runner up: Nick Johns. Who doesn't love a good Faustian tale? In "Quid Pro Quo," you give us a character doing his darnedest to cheat his devil, but in the end we discover our narrator isn't Daniel Webster--he's the devil himself, trying to have his evil cake and eat it too. It's a marvelous spin on the old conflict, right up until the narrator narrates his own death. Wonderful comeuppance; wonderful storytelling.

Winner: Penname, "The Pharisee." This story grabbed me from first read with its voice, at once clever and jealous, smooth and arrogant. That the DJ wishes for a bishop's staff to teach the upstart nemesis his proper place is hilariously ironic. I love the DJ's anguished cry--He's not moving to my beat! -- and his furious admission that the nemesis knows something more than the DJ himself. And even as the DJ has him thrown to the curb (a betrayal paid for with a Judas-invoking thirty bucks), we are left with the suspicion that the world has tasted something better and may not be satisfied with the hybrid much longer. What a fantastic scene and masterful use of voice and subtext. Congratulations on an artfully crafted and well-written piece.
 
 
Congratulations Lady Alainn, Nick Johns, and PENNAME!!! WooHoo!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #9



WELCOME BACK!!! I'm so excited to see what your brilliant minds create from the sentence today! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted


Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Rebekah Postupak also known as @postupak (and her contest acct @FlashFridayFic)Go check out her blog here (Where she hosts the Flash!Friday! flash fiction contest every Friday (just in case that wasn't clear...)). Read her winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #9 is:


If [she] had known [he] would be there again, [she] would've brought [her] [magic wand].




 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include at least one original verse of poetry (4 lines)

 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!

Wannabe

This is my entry for Jeffrey Hollar's Monday Mixer flash contest. He has nine words you need to include (well, three of the nine, technically) in the piece...I couldn't help including ALL NINE in ONE SENTENCE! I really couldn't help it. Really. It just came out that way! I'm serious! It was too much fun and way too overachiever-y, BUT I REALLY COULDN'T HELP IT!  :)  So, anyway, here's my story (150 words exactly, as per the rules) with all nine words (in the first sentence!).




Wannabe
 
Well, you certainly do seem to typify a modern day prodigal son: your vainglorious ideals – thinking you were the exemplar of a son of society – and your inability to glance at a d├ęcolletage without being ensorcelled by the promise of more, left a slew of debilitated women in your wake and a fractious relationship with every single member of your entire family. However, the parallel breaks down at this point in your story.”

“What do you mean? I went off to live my own life then came back. Exactly the same. I deserve this.”

“Have you ever read the original story?”

“No. But everyone knows how it goes.”

“I’m sorry, but there’s something lacking from your application.”

“Excuse me? I didn’t reconcile with my arrogant father and suck up to my prick of a brother and his know-it-all friends so you could turn me down! What am I missing?!?!?”

“Humility.”