Monday, November 07, 2016

Extra hour writing contest RESULTS

These writing contests always cheer me up! Reading your work, and seeing your really twisted minds at work is one of the great pleasures of this blog.  This week you rose to the occasion again!

One of the best lines EVER in these contests
Jeanette Lee 11:00pm
What you know, you know, she purrs her Iago to his Othello.

Talk about a tale of pure horror!
Colin Smith 1:49am

One of my favorite lines of all time
Maximilian Forscher 9:48am
Gangsta reading club start noon sharp.

This is a sentence that should start a GREAT thriller
Manda Zim 11:52am
“Get moving Alice. You got IDs to burn and a fucking armadillo to see about bad intel and one hell of a favour.”

Words I had to look up
battailous Michael Seese 11:36am
avgolemono Claire Bobrow 12:59pm

Invented words that I intend to use as often as possible
ornitho-moron Kregger 6:42pm

Very meta!
LynnRodz 5:22pm

And here are the finalists!

Cynthia Mc 8:59pm
"Hell of a fire," Chief said.

"Who do you think started it?" Benny asked.

"Couldn't've been the wife. She was at work - came screaming at us to save that cat."

Pudgy stared...blinked.

"Not the husband."

The air tasted of soot.

"Ya think the cat did it?"

"Don't see how."

It was easy, Pudgy thought. Bastard drank himself to sleep, Cuban cigar burning.

Paw flick - whiskey bottle - oopsie.

Tail flick - cigar - whiskey - WHOOSH!

Pudgy yowled himself hoarse until the firemen came.

Alayna kissed him on the nose.

"Thank you," she whispered.

"You're welcome," Chief said.

Pudgy purred.
Very adept use of prompt word hello, which is always fun.
And I love that little twist in the final three lines.
Very elegant, not a wasted word, storytelling here.

Steve Forti 9:03pm
Grinch stared at the TV, no sense to be found there.
Just candidates lying, or trying to spread fear.
The pundits, the scandals, the soundbites a-plenty.
And those that dropped out are now prepping for ‘twenty.
When out catching breath (for he found the Hill airy),
Some Trumpets were blowing, and made him feel wary.
So up on Mount Crumpet, he detailed some smitin’.
“I’ll steal all their ballots, and fill ‘em with write-ins.”
They said that to end it, “you’ll just have to vote us.”
But Grinch thought that he’d make one hell of a POTUS.

This made me laugh out loud. "Detailed some smitin'" is one of the great phrases of all time.
And of course, this is Steve Forti, so the prompt words are used so deftly I have to search by letter to find them. Brilliant stuff here.

Dena Pawling 10:37pm
CAT – After midnight comes the social worker. One suitcase for 12 years' possessions. Cole leaves his mom. His dad. His cat Lucky. Tears for Lucky. Goodbye.

NOSE – First placement. Cole wrinkles his nose. Pine-Sol. Foster care - a disease to eradicate. No tears. Goodbye.

TAIL – Second placement. The revolving door. Cole's portion, the tail end of everything – clothes, food, sleeping accommodations. No tears. Goodbye.

STARE – Third placement. Three strikes you're out, or three times the charm? The lady embraces Cole. “I'm so glad you're here. Welcome home.” He stares – smiling lady, purring kitten.

I liked the innovative use of the prompt words, as "chapter headings" so to speak. And of course, it tugs at my heart strings. Did you know there is a place you can contribute to that helps foster kids get suitcases for their stuff, not trash bags? It's here. Check it out.

FlashFriday 9:12am
“You shouldn’t—”

Juicy steak!

Come-hither stare hello

All for me??

Nose wriggles

No smell. Oh well!

Tail wags

Here goes!

Body hurtles joyfully through air at TV

“—have done that,” said the cat.
This is a mastery of what to say when. Notice "the cat" comes at the end. It gives the whole story the delightful twist.  The story would have been utterly ruined with "The cat said" at the start. 

And of course, the actual image of the dog throwing himself at the television is hilarious and I can see it happening clear as day here.

Very evocative story telling.

The Noise In Space 12:26pm
I’ve watched her sleep every night since she came home from the hospital. Four years now. Hell, only four? It feels like a lifetime.

There’s something cathartic about the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest. Her pretty little nose twitches as I stare at her face, aglow in the moonlight.

3 am. I should get some sleep myself. I get up from the rocker and start putting everything back into place-- stuffed elephant on the nightstand, pink blanket draped over the chair.

The devil’s in the details.

Wouldn’t want her parents to start locking the windows, too.
I gasped aloud at this one.
Had to lean back in my chair and breathe for a minute.
It's a very good story, right up till the end. Then it's perfect.

Rkeelan 5:10pm
Susurrafax lowered his head and wrinkled his nose. "Hello there."

The intruder stared back defiantly. He had a thimble-helmet pulled low to his eyes, a bottle-cap-buckler strapped to his arm, and an xacto-sword held before him.

"My name is August St-George," he said. "Today, you meet your doom."

Susurrafax swished his tail then padded away. Metal foes were not to his liking.

St-George followed.

They stopped in front of a bowl piled high with food.

"Tribute, delivered daily," Susurrafax said.

He indicated a nearby contraption of wood and cheese and metal wire bent at right angles.

"And there is yours."
I love the subtlety of this. I couldn't figure out if the name Susurrafax had any hidden meaning, but it's a great name even if it doesn't.  "And there is yours" is just sublime. The imagery for St-George is brilliant too. This is a terrific story.

I was sure one of these entries was the winner right up until I read one that took my breath away.  Can you guess which is A and which is B?

A was of course Steve Forti our resident prompt word magician. I loved the entry for it's content and style. And it made me laugh. I wasn't sure how anything could make me laugh more!

Then here comes Noise In Space who didn't make me laugh at all! A complete 180.

This week's winner is clearly Noise in Space. All the entries were terrific; that one blew me away. 

Noise,if you'll email me your mailing address, and the kinds of things you like to read, I'll send you a book.

Thanks to all who took the time to write and enter the contest.  I love reading your work (even if you never get mentioned.) 

I'll announce the winners later today.

And there's a very special blog post coming today around 6pm. Stay tuned!


french sojourn said...

I love the cheese-eaters set-up. Although I will say this weeks contest had some of the best entries from top to bottom. Congrats to the finalists, and all that entered, really great entries.

Thanks for the time and intellect you put into it QOTKU.

Cheers Hank

Steve Forti said...

Ooh a finalist! I'm going to guess The Noise In Space is B? That last line made me swear out loud. Really powerful twist. Plus, the way you worded it sounds like it was a later one.

DLM said...

Steve Forti is the only person who's made me smile about the campaign - that earns my vote! EXCELLENT piece!

Donnaeve said...

The entries this week were sublime. So many interesting ways to present the 100 words!!! I loved the variations, and creativity.

I have to give a shout out to Diane's entry because as I read it, I thought she set her scene with authority. AND, it's not in her usual wheelhouse of 13th century historic fiction. (give or take a century :) ) And that little twist at the end where she said "the gates are really covered in pearls," then HELLO. IDK. It was just a cool entry.

But now to the others! I guessed some of these would be finalists - so I'm either getting better at this, or it was the freedom of not worrying over an entry!

My guess towards your A, and then B...I'd say Dena's was your A - cause I know you love a tug at the heart strings sort of story...and then the B that came along is The Noise In Space. There have been one or two other entries that were similar in the past I think were finalist as well because of that one last sentence. This one also does a stupendous job of setting a scene, and then, FLOP! The rug is jerked out from under our feet.

Good luck to the finalists, and congratulations to all the mentions! I'm off to Raleigh shortly and can't wait until I return and see who won, and what that special 6:00 p.m. announcement is...

I think I might know...

CynthiaMc said...

Woo hoo! Monday morning finalist! This is going to be a great week.

Colin Smith said...

Excellent entries. Thanks for the nod, Janet. Considering I wrote that at the end of a long couple of days (including a long day of painting), I'm chuffed you enjoyed it--sort of. :)

I suspect Dena's was A. Whether or not The Noise in Space was your choice B, it's my pick for winner. Excellent writing, and a fantastic twist.

Well done everyone, entrants, mentions, and finalists!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations to all who entered. Amazed by the creativity. Am I the only one here who finds herself writing, speaking, thinking in condensed sentences after entering one of these contests?

Rachel McCauley said...

I'll be honest. I checked my windows after reading Noise in Space.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Not sure. Your meaning? ;)

DLM said...

Donna, thank you VERY much, that means a great deal. (I want to say, I read no entries before I wrote mine - looks like Jennifer Delozier and I went to a similar place, though!)

I'm fascinated we had two Othello mentions, but how different they are.

Maximilian Forscher's has more than one good line going for it - love the rhythm, and that's lightning world building.

Cynthia Mc's was a nicely surprising take on the kitty-in-jeopardy-with-firemen idea. FlashFriday's has economy of words DOWN - impressive!!

Kate Higgins's and Rachel McCauley's both cracked me UP.

Tammy Houtz - The Poe Toaster! What a nice reference.

Gabby Gilliam ... no words.

RachelErin said...

Amy, you have at least one other one. My articles are significantly shorter whenever I manage to squeeze an entry in.

Which means I drive the verbose academics in my care even more batty. Although to be fair, when writing about science for the public you don't want the cobweb-style story where they fill in the spaces with whatever preconceptions they have.

It also means I get behind on Nano - (wait, I wrote 1000 words where I need 100? Must...cut...the blather). I'm pretty good at shutting off my internal editor, but I can't stand to let something boring and/or repetitive count towards my goal.

Really fun entries this week - something about the prompts prompted a wider-than-usual range of story topics, which I always enjoy. Steve's made me laugh, and the way he wove together the prompts, the election, AND accurate references to The Grinch was just plan impressive.

I also really loved the reference to Anne of Green Gables - I forget who it was.

I'm glad I read The Noise in Space this morning, or I would've slept on the floor in my kids' room last night.

Kate Higgins said...

A) Noise in Space - it gave me shivers.
B) Dena's because I am a sucker for happy endings that involve kittens.

Thanks for using my illustration as a prompt Janet! It was delightful seeing what words and pictures can inspire from this group of reef dwellers (from the creepy to the purring).

Grinch for POTUS; now there's a debate I'd love to see!

Amy Johnson said...

Colin: After writing a story here, I find I fall into a temporary "keep it to 100 or fewer mode." Say, instead of responding to "How are you?" with "Great. How are you?" I'm more likely to say, "Great. You?" That kind of thing. :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Dena's tugged at my heart strings. Steve Forti's made me smile for first time about the election. Can I vote for the Grinch? All of the finalists are superb naturally. I can't begin to think which one blew Janet away- but that's why she's the queen. Good job everyone who entered. I am NaNo'ing my little heart away or I'd play too. And I would lose . The talent here is insane.

Claire said...

The Noise In Space wins it for me this week. Though Steve Forti's also made me smile. Lots of great entries as always!

Off topic, but this morning I sent off my first ever queries for my first ever novel. Gulp. Now I just sit by my email and hit 'refresh' every 30 seconds, right?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Claire That's what I did with my first. Perfectly valid way to go about it. Good luck in the query trenches. I actually miss it. And it is no small feat to get a book to the point that it can be queried. Great work.

Amy Johnson said...

Claire, Congrats on finishing the story and getting out your first batch of queries. Remember, there's no such thing as a rejection letter, only passes on the possible opportunity to work with you. :D

Yikes--my third comment of the day. That's all for me. Who said writing flash fiction makes a person less chatty?

Colin Smith said...

Claire: Yay! Congrats. :) And yes, if you have mastered the 30-second email refresh, you have mastered querying. ;)

Dena Pawling said...

OMG! I'm a finalist??! What a wonderful surprise to wake up to! I was wrestling with my MG WIP [no I'm not doing nano, just wip wrestling] and took a break to write that entry, which is actually based on my wip. My MG protag is a boy in foster care, altho in the WIP he's placed with his 25yo beach-bumming uncle. Since y'all liked this flash so much, I'm definitely gonna add a kitten! It actually goes along with what happens at the end, so I think I will =)

Loved the twist from A Noise in Space. Very creepy. Reminded me of the book A Pleasure and a Calling.

Claire - congrats!

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats to the finalists, the mentions, and everyone who bravely put their foot in the circle. As usual, I enjoyed reading and re-reading the entries. So much good work there!

Jeanette Lee kudos to you for that great line!

I loved the tragic TV steak leap and the mousetrap (bummer!) and the Grinch as POTUS (only if Max can be VP).

Happy Monday to all !!

Sherry Howard said...

Some weeks the writing seems at a different level, and in so many different ways excellent. The Noise in Space would be my guess for the late surprise, because it is such a reveal. Good luck with queries Claire! I'm there, too, but I can manage to send them off and forget them. Lucky for me!

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Claire: Congratulations and bravo!

I wasn't able to participate in the contest this week... sorta glad. Just now reading through them. Wow! What a bunch of terrific entries. Loved so many.

Steve Forti: YES! The Grinch for POTUS
Loved: CynthiaMc, Dena Pawling, Lynn Rodz, Kate Higgins, Colin (HA!), Gabby Gilliam, Timothy Lowe.

Noise In Space won it for me. Everyone, outstanding stuff.

The Noise In Space said...

Yay, a finalist! Thank you, Janet!

Dena and Cynthia were my favorites this round - both tug on the heartstrings in such different ways (and I'm a sucker for a cat story!) All the entries were incredibly strong this week - well done, everyone.

Beth said...

They're all so good, in such different ways. Love Cynthia's with the hero cat named Pudgy. The Grinch was masterful and funny. Dena's warmed my heart and Flash Friday's made me laugh. Rkeelan's had a great twist. I really enjoyed all fifty-eight of them when I read last night, and I love the illustration at the top.

But it's Noise in Space that had knocked me off my chair. The mood is set so well, and then comes the final sentence and - bam - reality shifts. Shudder.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

What great entries. I started a ff story and the weekend took a different turn than expected, so I surrendered.

Loved Dena's story. Noise in Space's is spooky. And, Steve Forti and FlashFriday, thank you for the laughs. Much needed.

Bethany Joy said...

What a batch of spectacular stories! I enjoyed reading them all and I got the chills when I read the twist at the end of The Noise In Space’s entry. Loved the description of August St-George’s armor. Nice work, everyone.

Congrats to Claire for sending that first query!

Manda Zim said...

Congrats to the finalists! What a great bunch of stories this round. I have to say, Noise in Space has done the best job ever of creeping me out in less than 100 words. Congrats to you.

Pretty excited to get a mention in this round for the first time (woot). I may just have to take that line and start writing again. I'd only be 7 days late starting NaNo. Totally doable

Barbara Etlin said...

There's some stunning writing in these entries. I really loved Steve Forti's poem. Congrats to all of you!

I'll guess that Steve Forti was the almost-winner and the final winner is Noise in Space.

LynnRodz said...

Definitely meta!

Btw, I love what The Noise in Space did in less than 100 words.

Michael Seese said...

It's hard not to be amazed by the last sentence by Noise In Space.

I agree with Barbara Etlin's take.

Kate Larkindale said...

Argh! Noise In Space… You gave me shivers all over.

Great work everyone! Some really fabulous stories here this week.

Julie Weathers said...

Noise In Space caught my breath, but I had to laugh at Rkeelan's entry. I'm going with Noise.

As always, the entries were stellar. I am always impressed so much.

Good job.


Lennon Faris said...

I think my vote goes to Flash Friday (hilarious) or Noise in Space (eeek why). They are all excellent, though!

I also loved Susan S.'s entry about the veteran. Well written and poignant!

Colin Smith said...

Congrats, Noise--well deserved. :)

I'll update the Contest Spreadsheet shortly.

Colin Smith said...

OK, that took quicker than I expected! Here is the updated Writing Contest Spreadsheet:

Congratulations, again, First-Time Winner, The Noise in Space! :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Congrats, Noise. Well-earned and really well-done.

So curious about 6 PM post. Should I leave work early to prepare for it? Can I leave early? :/

Marie McKay said...

Congrats, Noise. That is a brilliant story. Congrats to all finalists. All your stories were so good!

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Noise! Had a feeling that's the way it was going to shake out. So close! But cannot complain to lose to that last line - it was magnificent. Audible reaction inducing.
Good work all.

Timothy Lowe said...

Hats off to Noise and all the entries. Well done people!

CynthiaMc said...

Noise - I was sitting in the sun in my Florida garden and I got a chill on your last line. Brilliant!

Thank you all for such kind words about my story. I saw Pudgy in my mind and he demanded I write about him.

Loved so many of the others - loved gangsta book club - so right about Scout!

Janet Reid said...

E.M. Goldsmith, you do not need to leave work early to prepare for the 6pm post. You might want to lay in supplies though: batteries, jewelry, canned goods. (ok, I'm kidding!)

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, Noise!! Well deserved!

I'm also curious about this 6 pm post...?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

But, your Majesty, what if I get caught in traffic? Oh, very well. I do already have a lovely bug out kit- whiskey, coffee, tea, stinky candles, kale, eternal darkness, and an injured pug. I will manage. Somehow.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats to Noise! A lovely twist at the end.

I also loved FlashFriday's.

Such great entires! I love these contests. :)

Janice Grinyer said...

Wow- Noise in Space, the minute I read yours last night, I knew you were it. Why? Because when the hair on my neck goes up due to one sentence... you freaked me out. And it takes a lot to freak me out. This coming from someone who keeps inserting guns into their stories (I am not a member of the NRA, I just happen to have a cow elk tag this year and I have three weeks left to fill it...pressure to fill the freezer, so rifle on the brain)

Congrats to all the mentionables, finalists, entrants (excellent reading on a Sat. Night!) and of course, Noise in Space. And thank you JR, for such good reading too. I always learn when I come here!

Peggy Rothschild said...

Wow. Just wow. Amazing entries. Congratulations to one and all!

Dena Pawling said...

Congrats to Noise!

AJ Blythe said...

Congrats everyone. Brilliant entries as usual, although Noise in Space also made me gasp! Well done.

Donna, saw your note on the other post and figure that's the special post (although I have no idea how to work out 6pm so hope it isn't too far away).

I have been a tad unwell of late and am having major surgery this week, so not sure when I'll be online after the "special blog" today (don't want to miss that). Probably not for a couple of weeks. Don't have too much fun without me *grin*.

RKeelan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RKeelan said...

I'm so pleased I made the finalists. I have a two-week-old at home, and almost didn't enter.

There is a kind of inverted significance to the name Susurrafax.

My first idea for the story was that this cat was very loud, and his owner called him Susurrafax (based on susurration) as a joke.

I thought that sounded like a dragon's name, and my original idea was going nowhere, so I changed tacts.

BJ Muntain said...

AJ: I hope you feel better very soon. We'll miss you!

And congrats to the winner, the finalists, the mentionables, and all who entered!

Craig F said...

Congrats to all, especially all of those who were mentioned and the winner. Spooky.

LynRodz: good to see you back in the game.

AJ: Hope all goes well and recovery is trouble free.

Just Jan said...

Great story, Noise, and congratulations! Thanks for a great contest.

Angel Lanphere said...

Great job everyone. Congrats Noise!

Claire said...

Congrats, Noise! A very deserving winner.

Hope all goes well this week, AJ Blythe.

And thank you all for the lovely comments re my first dip into the query trenches! This is such a heartwarmingly supportive community.
(No responses yet - I think the internet must be broken...)

RosannaM said...

Can I just say i love, love love these stories! Steve Forti---I loved your Grinch and Noise--I am so glad I am past the new baby stage of life. I don't think my windows are anywhere secure enough.

100 words?? Come on. These were such excellent and complete stories. Thank you and can't wait to see what awaits me in the future FF contests!

Oh, and all you runner-ups? Yeah, you rock.

The Noise In Space said...

Wow! Thank you everyone for your kind words, and most of all, thank you, Janet!