Monday, August 12, 2013

A Dangerous Fiction writing contest results

Was it the book itself that aroused you all to such amazing entries? Or practice? Or you've all made pacts with the funny little dude down at the crossroads?

Whatever the reason, this contest produced more amazing entries than any of the others. In fact, I had to invent a whole new category for two of the entries.

Herewith the results:

Special recognition for a comment that says EXACTLY what I thought too!
Sheila JG 1:04pm
Okay, I’ve read the book, so I’m recusing myself from the competition. I just wanted to express my opinion about what happens at the end of chapter 6, because it’s evil. All writers will agree with me, I’m sure."

Special recognition for entries that had names that just cracked me up
R. T. Freeman 1:54pm
Janice Sharkowitz-Chumsky

JaredNGarrett 2:07pm
Spade Rogaine by

dylan 3:53pm
Curtis C. Flush (I know, I know, it's a terrible pun, but I laughed!)

Special recogniton for entries that had a great turn of phrase: 11:26am
"framed stories by fictioneers" and "a tart little model-to-be with slush brains."

R L Raymond 11:48am
"forgiveness could be paid back in spades."

Janet Fogg 11:48am
"Sleet pecked at his head,"

Steven 12:26pm
"A doorstop of zom-rom-com manuscripts"

dylan 3:53pm
"slurpeed remains"

Special recognition for entries that had a wonderful line:
Lynn Guelzow 10:14am
"“Here it is, page 262 of volume “S” of the Unabridged Fictionary."

Carolynnwith2Ns 10:29am
"But first, imagine what it’s like to love your son so much you want to watch him die."

Ruthy 10:33am
"My existence lingers like snowman slush."

William Coleman 11:06am
"I had just slushed through the 262 page abyss of clichés and run on sentences"

 Madeline Mora-Summonate 5:17pm
stains tell no tales, fiction or otherwise.

Lance 7:28pm
"Every third Thursday, dressed in her sharkskin body suit, she dived into the slush."

BP 10:16pm
She warps him with a glance beneath tender, mascara-laden boughs.

Special recognition for entries that were not quite a story but still enticing:
French sojourn 10:11am

JD Paradise 10:17am
Claire Gregory 10:24am
Calorie Bombshell 12:27pm
CJKeats 5:28pm

Special recognition  for entries that scared my sox off:
Delphine Roussel 6:22pm

Special recognition for entries that cracked me up completely
Kitty 10:14 am
Terri Lynn Coop 11:31am
Just Jan 1:32pm
Steve Forti 6:29pm

Herewith the finalists:

(1) 10:23am
The dog days of summer saw Dylan slurping a Slushy while sitting next to a boy named Spade. .
He said, “Heard your mom’s still writing a book.”
Spade sighed, “Yeah.”
“True story.”
“How many rejections she had?”
“Huh, must not be any good. What’s it about?”
Spade stared into the distance, “Can’t tell, I’d have to kill you.”
Dylan snorted, “Yeah right.”
Spade reached under the park bench, pulling out a small gardening tool, the metal end gleaming.
Dylan’s eyes widened, “Hey, what’s that for?”
Spade inched closer, “The book’s about me, it needs a new chapter.”

(2) William Coleman 11:06am
“What do you think?”
I had just slushed through the 262 page abyss of clichés and run on sentences. Focusing on the positive, I say, “Well the description of her screams made my spine tingle. And I could almost hear the spade scooping the dirt into the grave.”
“I knew you would appreciate that,” he smiles.
“I thought you were going to write fiction.”
“I figured you might pay more for this.”
“Is that so?” I lift the hammer and swing. Leaning close to him as his light fades, I say, “You should always be sure to know your audience.”

(3) Jo Bourne 11:12am
262 Elm Street. 'Spade/Tuttle' on the mailbox. Two names, the way they did it when some bitch kept the fiction she wasn't married.

He kicked through slush, up an unshovelled walk, hearing dogs bark. Hearing bang-bang death on TV sets down the street. The sound of right-thinking, smug suburbia.

The woman who answered the door was entirely naked.

He said, "Lean over, bitch, and take it."
She did. At the wall. On the floor. On the table.

Afterwards, she said, "How was your day, dear?"
He said, "Can't complain."

(4) Writer of Wrongs 11:23 am (I just love that name!)
“Keep digging,” I said.

His spade was no match for my gun, even so, I kept my distance. Brooks had barely dented the slush-covered ground--not that he had incentive to finish.

Twenty-one years wearing a badge. 262 months of “just the facts.” Time for a change. Crime fighter to crime writer. Fiction had to be easier. I’d use tonight’s research in my novel. Rogue cop. Cliched?

I heard the whiffle of air a whisper too late. The garrote tightened in an unexpected twist.

Brooks straightened, his expression predatory, all gleaming teeth, no warmth. “Meet my accomplice, Janet.”

(5) k.kellie edwards 12:18pm
This tale is fiction, so I’ve heard (though some declare it fact).

The story goes, he was a quiet man and so he promised her a single rose for every time he spoke the words I love you.

The first was when he caught her silhouette against a moonlit sky.

The thirteenth time, she’d slipped in icy slush and burst out laughing.

The ninety-fourth, she traced her name across his fevered chest.

And every year, he promised to keep counting and she always laughed, and kissed him and proclaimed him daft.

Fifty years.

A thousand tears.

One spade.

262 roses.

(6) Sisi 12:35pm
That TV fella showed up a coupla days after I got out, wantin’ to make a show out of my life called Queen of Spades. Reality fiction, he called it, which don’t even make sense. I told him I wasn't interested but he acted like he didn’t hear me. He paid for my diet cola slushie at GoMart and said he wouldn’t give up and could he come with me, so I told him sure and he followed me out Rt. 262. It was right easy buryin’ two bodies in one grave, though I ought not be braggin’ about that.

(7) Amy Schaefer 4:01pm
Where was Grandpa? I looked out the window – there he was, using a spade to chip at the frozen slush on the sidewalk next door.

He stopped suddenly, clutching his back. I stuffed my feet into boots and ran outside.

“Grandpa! Are you okay?”

He grunted something I couldn’t
hear. “What?”

“Get out of here, boy!” he hissed. “I hooked Louise!”

Mrs Martin’s front door flew open and the widow hurried out. I ducked behind a tree. “Walter! Your back! And shovelling my walk, too.”

Grandpa winked at me as they entered her house. Seduction
fiction #262 was a success.

(8) Sarah 4:51pm
We warned them about mountaintop winters. They thought we were exaggerating, feeding funny fictions to the rich newbies.

Four back-to-back blizzards later, I drove up to check on them. Behind their $2,620,000 'cabin', I found Mrs. Redding shoveling slush with a spade. Red-faced and sweating in her snow bunny ski wear, she didn’t hear me until I was right on top of her.

“Helen, you need a-?” I started. I stopped at the sight of a limp, masculine hand protruding obscenely from the icy mud.

She looked me over, and smiled. “Nick,” she purred. “Help would be lovely.”

(9) Naomi 7:49pm
The shuffle, the deal. I sip my slushy margarita.

Tommy's down $2,620,000. If he loses this pot, Jake wins-- me.

Tommy chases a flush through the flop and the turn.

Look at no one, I remind myself. Think of nothing.

"Here comes the river," I hear.

Two of hearts, not the spade Tommy needed.

Jake thinks he has won, taken Tommy's wife at the poker table.

But Tommy's played a long game, this marriage a fiction created for just such a moment.

Tomorrow Jake will be dead. I'll be home in Odessa trying to forget both these horrible brothers.

(10) Madseasongirl 9:19pm
Sal plunged the spade into the ground, whistling while he worked. The snow had long since turned to slush, like a thousand dust moths scattered at his feet.

It's only a story
, they'd said. A work of fiction.

Fiction was the foundation of fact. Didn't they know?

His fingers were frozen claws around the shovel, but he didn't stop. He'd prove them wrong. All
262 of the fools who had mocked him, who'd laughed and told him he was crazy.

heart sped up and he smiled, digging faster.

Sal would make it to China, even if it killed him.

Sometimes when I'm attacking the incoming queries,  merrily reading along something comes along that just takes my breath away.  Sometimes it's for a project I never would have thought I'd want to read but the writing just grabs me and doesn't let go.

That's what happened here.

In fact, I needed a whole new category for this entry:

Holy fuckamoli
Richard Stillman Prime 11:43pm

I wash the floor 262 times. I wash the spade 262 times. I wash myself 262 times. I hear him, though. I hear his blood calling out to me from the floor, and he tasks me – he tasks me, and I am God. It was the spade or the hammer but I am God and He is a gardener and I am a gardener and this isn't fiction and he is slush now and still, still: he tasks me. He is slush and he tasks me and I am God and my punishment is more than I can bear.

And then, just to show not tell that God has a great sense of ironic humor, it happened again:

Lenny Liang 2:51am
I was an "untouchable" but never quite fit in. I was odd. They were even.

Besides 2, I was the smallest one, a single digit runt. They all bullied me, though none more so than 262.

He often said, "Little 5, sum my parts. I'm still twice the number you are."

His words were like a spade to the heart, a heart he plucked and discarded in the miry slush. He made self-esteem a fictional dream.

But then I learned that I was "prime" and became a celebrity.

And 262? He's languishing in Wisconsin.

He can go divide himself.

There's no way to choose between these two entries. Both are brilliant and as different from each other as any entry can be.

Thus, there are two winners:

Richard Stillman Prime 11:43pm
 Lenny Liang 2:51am

and if anyone finds my sox, I wouldn't mind getting them back.

Richard, Lenny, if you'll each send me your mailing address, I'll send you a copy of Barbara Rogan's A DANGEROUS FICTION.  If you've already got a copy, we can find something else.

Congratulations to the winners, and the finalists and those receiving kudos! Thanks to all who entered. This was a very strong field.  I enjoyed reading these entries a lot!


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congratulations to the winners and finalists and everyone who received a special recognition!

So happy to see my name up there for a "wonderful line." Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lennie and Richard!!! Great stories you both had, so easy to see why there had to be two winners!

Ms. Janet, these contests a great for practicing how to not waste words. When you only have 100 or less, it makes one think long and hard about word choices.

Thank you SO much for placing my story in the finalist category!

Anonymous said...

Nothing worse than babbling about wasting words - but that doesn't mean one should misspell one just to save on characters...

Ms. Janet, these contests ARE great for practicing how to not waste words.


Terrance Austin said...

Wow! I thought I would be a little disappointed. But I totally feel the opposite. First, thanks Mrs.Janet Reid for this opportunity to be a part of such a great experience with this other contestants (fellow writers). I believe a literary agent who has a blog or other learning material on their site represents all who are willing to learn without ever having to reject a proposal. Hats off to you Janet. Another literary agent who cares for writers. There are few of you that care. And I believe you are one. Congratulations to the finalists and winnners. I feel like a eagar little kid willing to learn from you guys now. By reading your entries, I look forward to purchasing a novel that you may have or plan to write. Finally, Janet I am totally grateful for the contest and the professionalism it took to make fair judgments in the results. May GOD bless you in all your future endeavors. .... :-)

Claire Gregory said...

You guys are SUCH a tough field to compete in- so many excellent writers, so many excellent tiny stories :) It's great mental exercise doing these, so again, thank you, Janet, for putting in the extra time and effort.

And congratulations to all!

Colin Smith said...

Wow wow wow--such a strong field. I'm going to have to up my game! And that's the great thing about these contests--with such talent, they force you to bring your A-game.

Congrats to the winners and finalists!

Looking forward to the next one... :)

Joel Freiburger said...

Ms. Reid: Thanks for another excellent contest, and for the reminder last week to ensure that our contact info is available. Terrific pieces in this event! Congrats to the winners.

Joel [dot] Freiburger [at]

Kitty said...

When's the next one?

I love these flash fiction contests. I'd love them even if you didn't offer a prize. They're excellent exercises in how to write concisely.

Barbara said...

I loved this contest, naturally, and the entries were most impressive. Congrats to the winners, who both wrote wonderfully imaginative pieces; and thanks to Janet, that most altruistic of sharks, for liking my book and saying aloud.

JD Paradise said...

Lennie, that was so frickin' inventive it makes me jealous. Outstanding work.

Naomi said...

Richard Stillman Prime, do you have a website or something? I want to read MOAR!

Thanks for another fun contest!

k.kellie edwards said...

Wow is right. Some of the entries made me laugh aloud and some took my breath away. Congrats to the winners and finalists, for sure. I'm honored to be mentioned in such fine company.

Thank you for putting on these little contests, Janet Reid. I do believe I'm getting hooked.

Yikes! :-)

Sheila JG said...

Congrats to the winners, finalists, and special-mentioneds! There was so much good stuff in this blog post. I agree with Claire, this is a tough group to compete with. I learn something every time.

Thanks to Janet for providing the fun, and to Barbara for writing such a thrilling novel.

Anonymous said...

I've taken off my jacket and loosened my tie, sharpened my pencil, and bought a couple of extra erasers. Time to get down and dirty in the work. Determined to win one of these flash fictions a la Janet Reid. Thanks Janet again for taking the time to make us work at it. Can't wait for the next one. Congratulations to the winners and special recognitions.

Steven said...

Congratulations to the winners. Another great contest. I'm looking forward to the next opportunity to hang my canvas next to these masters. Thank you, Ms. Reid.

R. T. Freeman said...

Fab contest, as usual ... thanks so much for running these, Janet and a huge congrats to the winners, Richard and Lenny!

BP said...

"Wonderful"!!!! *faints*

I almost enjoy reading the winners more than entering the contest! The 'numbers' entry sent my mathematician heart aflutter...oy yummy yes word puns...go divide yourself...mmmm

french sojourn said...

Thank you for the opportunity to swim in the deep end. And no, using floaties does not embarrass me ta'll.
I figure it take the stares away from my speedo.

Really enjoy this venue, Thank you especially for all the thought you put into these Flash Fiction reviews.

Great job...everyone!

Cheers Hank.

Lenny Liang said...

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments. I am both surprised and humbled that I actually won. I was afraid that I had made my entry too obscure with my geeky math reference. It is gratifying to know that people "got it." I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity that Janet has provided. This was a lot of fun. I can't wait for the next one :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congratulations to the winners! I don't envy you having had to pick.

Madseasongirl said...

Congrats to the winners! I loved both of your entries and I can totally see why you won :) J Reid is so sharkalicious for doing these contests!

Just Jan said...

Glad I could make you laugh! What a great contest. Thank you for hosting it. Off to buy the book now, because I can't stand not knowing what happens at the end of Chapter 6.

Writer of Wrongs said...

Congrats all! There are some deliciously twisted people out there! Most of all, thank you, Ms. Reid. This is a wonderful way to stretch and focus all at once.

SiSi said...

Wow--the day job kinda sucked today but seeing my name as a finalist has erased all that negative energy! Thank you so much for these contests. I love'em.

Congrats to both the winners. Those entries took my breath away.

Lance said...

Lennie and Richard, great stories! Amazing. Congratulations. What a great contest. Thank you Ms. Reid for this incredible opportunity to compete, learn, and have fun. I wondered if my entry actually qualified as fiction, but apparently it was far enough from the truth to make it. LOL

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Yes, Richard and Lenny were indeed both "prime," standing alone from their counterparts. Well done. Well deserved. Well . . . you two are awesome.

Superb contest. The wit in this batch was particularly sharp, so my shout out for making a Shark laugh is particularly appreciated.

Much thanks to Ms. Reid and all the contestants. These competitions produce a pro grade flash anthology every. single. time.

Same time next week? *puppy dog eyes*


Maya Missani said...

hugely entertaining from all.
as a reader who has enough "drama" and heart-heavy material IRL work, i gravitate more towards funny/light/clever, so while I recognize the extraordinary level of both finalists, my own vote goes to lenny - that's saying something, because I'm utterly not a number person but I loved it!

Let us know when you publish something pls.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Love, love, love this.
Thanks for the mention and to all...hey we're gittin' pretty good at this.
Congrats winners.

LynnRodz said...

Congrats to Richard and Lenny, great job! (Lenny I loved yours the first time I read it!)

T.D. Hart said...

I loved the finalists and a bunch of the others, too. Sharkly humor, murder, and bodies frozen in slush. A trifecta of wonderfulness.

KayC said...

I was swept away with the sheer cleverness of Lenny's when I first read it and was rooting for it to win.

There were so many fantastic entries this time round, it was a pleasure reading them all.

KayC said...

I was swept away with the sheer cleverness of Lenny's when I first read it and was rooting for it to win.

There were so many fantastic entries this time round, it was a pleasure reading them all.

Michael Seese said...

I have to say, I was pretty confident about my entry when I submitted it. But I must BOW to the winners.

Good job, friends.

Rachel Green said...

Wow. Brilliant entries and well-deserved wins. Thanks for the contest.