Monday, June 22, 2015

Texts from Mittens Contest Results

You guyz are tormenting me here! The entries are superb, and the finalists each have their own charm.  How to choose! 

 Herewith the results:

A particularly wonderful entry in honor of Father's Day
Kitty 11:59am (hey my clock said I opened this at noon---can Kitty travel back in time??)

Egad, the date from Hell!
Shea 12:02pm

Special recognition for awesome use of a prompt word:
Anemophily… Scott Sloan 12:23pm
ganglia  Steve Forti 12:55pm
philatelist Patricia Cox 2:32pm
remittent Calorie Bombshell  3:07pm
drosophila Just Jan 9:16am

Special recognition for a A Great Reveal!
Ashes 12:37pm
"The Monty Hall Problem. Thank fuck for Cornell."

Always appreciate an entry in the challenging 2nd person!
Matthew Wuertz 2:24pm

Special Recogniton for a great line:
CynthiaMc 4:06pm
"This is why Jesus didn't have children," I told Hubby.

Simon Dowling 8:05pm
"She threw a half cooked patty in the bin, turned around, and gave me the finger."

An entry so lovely and subtle that it took my breath away
Steven 10:32pm

Lori Wilson 3:57am

Meta, and hilarious
Lance 11:10am

Here are the seven finalists.

(1) french sojourn @ 12:07pm

“3 blind mice better knock it off” #carvingknife

We know you got Lenny. Payback is a female dog #bitch

Weren’t me, it was the house creature #2leggedfeeder

A little bird told us she saw you #stoolpigeon

I didn’t touch Lenny. We had a deal.

You’re lying. You ready to sleep with the fishes?

Patty Pidgeon was dishin on me, cose I ate her kid. #fancyfetheredfeast

What was your deal with Lenny?

I would chase him, then I split the treats I got from the #2leggedfeeders. Honest.

Same deal for us?

Note: I love that this is a homage to the Texts element of the prize book, plus it's hilarious and funny, and tells a story. I love that Hank played with format here as well. 

(2) Lobo 12:29pm
The police dragged the gangly bodies of the robbers out. The money still lay in a heap like a patty of lettuce. Nobody saw it except Phillis.

The officers helped the younger hostages. Phillis was old and wrinkled and carried an oversized purse. A dish? Her? Heavens, not anymore! Nobody helped her.

The reporters jabbed microphones toward sobbing mothers with babes. Good TV. Phillis put on her hand-woven hat and mittens. Nobody interviewed her.

The crowd was enamored. Bright lights. Nobody noticed Phillis steal away on feline feet, the oversized purse just a little heavier now.

Nobody saw her smile.

Note: I love that this is a sneaky little comeuppance story. And "feline feet" is a lovely tip of the chapeau to Carl Sandburg (the fog comes in on little cat feet)

(3) Steve Forti 12:55pm
“I’ll kill that philandering bastard!”

“But sir, Ricky seems genuinely s
mitten this time.”

Patty is my sister. No way I let her be defiled by some childish platelet! He lives in the foot, right? I’ll sever this ganglia.”

Martin sighed,

“Yeah, I’ll cause some
gangrene. Get that foot chopped off. Would serve him right.”

“Sir, that’s an artery. Besides, that'd be crazy. You know we’re in a hemo

“A what?”

The inter
mittent pulse erupted in a geyser as the artery burst. The two macrophages struggled amidst the reddish tide.

A voice appeared. Cocky. “Fear not, gentlemen. Ricky’s got this.”

Note: this is just straight up genius. Telling a story with platelets as the main character? Who thinks of that?? LOVE this.

(4) Sisi 3:10pm

Patty Cake sank into her recliner with a grateful sigh.

“Tough day?” asked her husband.

“Got called off Old Mother Hubbard’s gang when three kittens reported a burglary. Finally cornered Jack Horner and recovered the stolen mittens.”

“What a bad boy he is.”

“Then Mary Mary claimed three blind mice vandalized her garden.”

“They’ve changed since they lost their tails.”

“After that I brought in Wee Willie Winkie for PWI.”


“Philosophizing while intoxicated.”

“Well, now you can . . .”

The dispatcher’s voice interrupted him. “Possible abduction at Baker’s Man Café. The dish has run away with the spoon.”

Note: I love the unexpected take on old favorites here. 

(5) Timothy Lowe 7:23pm
Gangland shooting, they said.

Lieutenant Taylor cradled his son’s chubby thighs as he slathered on Cetaphil.

One dead, but it sounded bad. The kitchen was crusted with entrails. Looked like a hamburger patty exploded.

It would wait. Taylor gazed down into the crib. He was smitten. He was freakishly, outlandishly happy.

“You have to go?” Charlene said from the doorway. Her eyes were dark little pools of worry. It was his thirty-fourth murder, but first Father’s Day.

The lieutenant closed his eyes. His partner had texted. He’d discarded the weapon, but he needed cover. Only Taylor knew the drill.


Note: I love that the twist is left up to the reader to discern. This is deliciously subtle.

(6) Poof! 11:57pm
Not sure why it sniffed a spam.

"Patty Gorxski, re-nouned sellist. Tix $50".

Patty Gorxski! Imagine! Smells legit to me.

Not like it was email or eBay. It was CraigsList. Good stuff!

Printed it out. Followed direktions. Everything into envelope. Addressed. Stamped.

Re-viewed direktions one last time …

"Phil in blinks. Inklose remittens."

Done! Sealed it, dropped it into mail slot.

Yup! I'm gang to here world re-nouned sellist Patty Gorxski! Just my dish a tea!


Smell bad? Hey, no! Nothing wrong with my old factory cents.

Skorda big won!

Note: Holy moly! My spell Czech just gave up the ghost on this. I love love love the made up words that are completely understandable and that it tells a story. This is exactly the kind of brilliant word play I've come to expect from you guyz.  Brilliant. Just brilliant.

(7) John Frain 11:49am
Did Hemingway start it? Who cares? It’s my favorite English assignment. Saves time. Easy grading. I pretend it’s legitimate.

Begin with the lazy student, calls himself a philosopher.
For sale. Baby mittens. Never worn.
F for borderline plagiarism.

See what the shy kid wants to say.
Patty. Never fit. New choice. Patrick!
Explains a lot.

How about the biker gang chick, mad at the world.
Special delivery. Surprise! Happy Father’s Day.
Mental note: Don’t flirt with her. (Hey, six words!)

What about that scary new kid, front row?
Dear Dishonest Teacher: Karma’s a bitch.
Remember to sign his drop slip.

Note: I love that the reader has to bring something to the story to fully understand this. I love it when a writer has confidence the reader will get stuff without having to be told in so many words.
 And I love how this plays with form as well.

I just am in a total dither here about who to select.

I'm going to go lie down with a cold compress and hope enlightenment strikes soon.

*time passes*

*more time passes*

*enlightenment hides under the duvet*

Ok, it's 8:27am. I'm close to 90 minutes late posting the winner. I read the entries one more time.

The winner is frenchsojourn at 12:07. A tour de force of style, story and hilarity. 

Hank, let me know your preferred mailing address and we'll get you a copy of MITTENS.

Thanks to all who entered, and a tip of the cap to all the finalists.  This was an amazing set of entries. I'm almost afraid to see what you can do next.



french sojourn said...

I love them all, Steve Forti's was brullianint, then Poof also blue me away with his Czecky entrance.

Cheers to all.

Kitty said...

I vote for #(7) John Frain 11:49am.

Colin Smith said...

Are you looking to us for help? I'm sitting here reading your notes on each finalist (thanks for those!), nodding, yeah-ing...

Clearly they all have merit, but I think I would give it to Hank. I've tried writing flash fiction in Twitter-style (ha--the idea of a cat using Twitter), and it's not easy. Hank's attempt was way better than mine. And he nailed it in exactly 100 words (that includes hash-tags and everything).

But really, I wouldn't be disappointed whichever you choose. They all deserve the win.

Well done, everyone! :D

Donnaeve said...

I can see why! These are all really superb, and your notes help where I might have been scratching my head a bit on a couple of them.

I can't tell (as Colin mentioned) if you're looking for weigh in from the gang here, but if I was going to pick, for me it's Hank and John Frain. OMG. SO GOOD.

And yet...

S.D.King said...

Congrats to Hank! What a wonderful bunch of entries.

Thanks, Janet for another chance to stretch ourselves and flex our writing skills.

And for me it was a chance to shout out father's day to Phil. Memoir, not fiction.

Kitty said...

Thanks again, Janet, for having these contests. I have the best time writing my entries. And CONGRATS to all who entered and especially to Hank!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Way to go Hank! I had to take a nap after reading the entries QUOTKU selected. John Frain's made me think too hard. When I read Hank's on Sunday I knew his was one of the best.

Congrats to all the mentioned it was great fun writing this one.

Donnaeve said...

Congrats Hank!

And congrats to all other finalists, and mentions, your entries were great.

french sojourn said...

Did not see that thanks!

Love these contests, so much great stuff to read.
I need to go get a backpack now, with rocks in it to keep me down on the ground...

cheers Hank.

Kregger said...

Way cool, everybody.
Hank rocks.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats, Hank and to all the others mentioned. So creative and so much fun to read.

Colin Smith said...

Yay! Congrats, Hank!! I'm so pleased Shark and I were on the same wavelength on this one. Now I need to go take a nap. It was hard work ratcheting the brain up to that level...

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congrats everybody, especially Hank! A contest weekend is always a good one.

I know I always say this, but it's always so interesting seeing the different directions everybody goes in, and how similarly (or very differently) the words get used.

Dena Pawling said...

Love all the entries! I especially loved Steven 10:32. Glad that one got a mention.
Congrats all!

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations! This is so much fun.

Pharosian said...

Congrats all! I started one this time, but just couldn't get a story out of it.

@Timothy Lowe: I read your earlier version and got a completely different sense of what was happening than in the very similar final version. Both versions were subtle. I liked Lt. Taylor more in the first version, though. ; )

Unknown said...

Hear ya, Pharosian. What you lose in characterization, you add in story. I needed about 20 extra words. There needed to be more tension in his need to leave his son. The first one said a lot about the character but I just felt it was missing something.

Congrats to all the entries. Don't know about you all but "patty" gave me the toughest time.

Thanks, Janet!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Hank. But all the entries are very impressive. I've been lurking for a relatively short time, and each contest brings out better and sharper writing every time. Wonderful writing everyone (and curses for forcing me to up my game!)

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Hank. Amazing entry.

LynnRodz said...

Great job, Hank, congrats! I had to read John and Steve's a couple of times, well done. Congratulations to all the finalist and mentions.

I'm such a Peanuts fan, I personally loved Steven's. Kitty's was a favorite of mine as well. Both were simply beautiful, glad they were mentioned.

Janet, love the notes you give for each finalist, it's great to peek into why you chose each one.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Holy-freecoly, awesome entries. Congrats Hank and all the rest.

Hey sharky-one, how about a flash fiction memoir. Might be interesting and then again maybe folks would be throwing rocks at-cha.

Colin Smith said...

Phaorsian: That's one of the hardest aspects of the challenge. Coming up with vignettes in 100 words is okay. But the fact there has to be story really pushes the envelope of creativity. And I'm glad of it. As is true with so many things in life, if it was easy, it wouldn't be special. :)

Timothy: YES! Especially if you're trying to go for a less-than-obvious use of the word, "patty" was tough. I went for obvious. :)

PL: Welcome out from lurk-land! Ain't that a fact. The quality of writing here is often intimidating. But that doesn't keep us from trying. Iron sharpens iron and all that. :)

Note to newcomers, lurkers, and use-to-be lurkers: You see the "List of blog readers and their blogs" up on the top right of the blog? Janet hasn't told me to stop adding to that list, so if you want to be added, just let me know either here in the comments, or via email. The purpose of this list is so we can visit each other on our preferred social media platforms. Think of it like dropping in on each other's homes. It's a great way to get to know one another better, and it's useful for keeping in touch during contest weekends, or other times when Janet's blog is less active. My email address is at the bottom of the list. Also, contact me if your list info needs to be updated or removed.

Kitty said...

Thank you, LynnRodz. My entry was part memoir, part fiction. My father died two days after I was married, although not unexpectedly. So he never got to walk me down the aisle or know his grandchildren. My son is the spittin' image of my father, and he's even an electrician like my father.

Stacy said...

Congrats, french sojourn!

John Frain said...


I bow in your general direction. After I look at the map, anyway.

Never Eat Soggy Waffles -- okay, now I'm bowing in your general direction.

To back up Ms. Reid on her choice (as if she needs it!), I tried and failed and tried and failed to create a story of text messages lasting only 100 words. To paraphrase Col. Kurtz: "Oh, the horror." Blithers, that was difficult. But you mastered it with great fun and a satisfying ending. Well done. Tip o' the cap!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Hank! Good job everybody!

Cindy C said...

Congratulations, Hank! And everyone else. It's a cliche, but I really am honored to be a finalist among so many great writers.

Ashes said...

Congrats, Hank! I really liked that one.

I think Lobo's was my personal favourite this time around.

For me this was one of those times when 100 words wasn't enough. My first draft came in at 172. Oof.

Colin, I'm on twitter @whittwrites.

Colin Smith said...

Welcome to the list, Ashes! :)

Just Jan said...

Congratulations to Hank and to all the finalists. You are a tough group to match.

Janet, thank you for the mention and for making my Friday workdays a bit less boring.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Hank and well deserved. All the entries were excellent as usual. I am always astounded at the talent here.

Good job.

Craig F said...

Congratulation to all who entered and especially those who got a mention.

It was already a long day when I got here but I seem to have lost a mitten. Where did Hank hide it?

Karen McCoy said...

So bummed I missed this! I was at a conference. Superb entries, and congrats, Hank!

Steven D. said...

Congratulations, Hank and all finalists. Janet, your kind mention made my day. Thanks for giving us this opportunity. I think my favorite entry was Kitty’s.

CynthiaMc said...

Colin - I'm a newbie here. Thank you for the heads up and please add me to the blog list. My blog is called Escape from Chaos

I look forward to checking out everyone's sites!

I'm embarrassed to say how I discovered you all but so happy I did on Saturday afternoon. What a great bunch! I spent most of the weekend reading through the Query Shark posts. Holy cow.

Cynthia McClendon

Colin Smith said...

Welcome aboard, Cynthia! Good to know you. :)

Calorie Bombshell said...

Congrats to Hank and all of the finalists. Such great writing! I just love these contests.

Craig F said...

Alright, I let my subtle hint sit for three hours. I am sure it is an oversight but:


LynnRodz said...

Kitty, a lovely tribute to your father. My dad has been gone for close to 42 years. Gone, but not forgotten. He was a musician and gave me my love for the arts. He was never without a book.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey CynthiaMc, well howdy doody newbie.
Welcome to this crazy bunch of yahoos. Anybody that escapes from chaos with a holy cow is welcome in the barn.

Anonymous said...

The herd has moved on from the week in review, but I convinced Donna Rubino, to tell her Weimer story because the picture of the shocked Weimer reminded so much of the story and poor Tess looking aghast at what Dash had done.

So, anyway, pop back to WIR for a great story about Dash and Tess.

Now, if we can just get Donna to post more often.


Mark Ellis said...

Craig: Hank was smart enough to riff on the book being promoted here; he doesn't need no stinking mitten. :}

Colin Smith said...

Craig: I think Janet's teaching us an important lesson about agents and publishing. You can break the rules and still succeed, because a great, well-written story will always win out. That doesn't give us license to break the rules, but it does explain why rebels are sometimes rewarded.

That's my story, anyway. :)

Lance said...

Congratulations, french sojourn. Post-modern Tom and Jerry, eh? Also to the finalists, congratulations, and to all. Great stories all. Thank you Ms. Janet for the mention.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I go off for a week's visit to Real Space (the interface was clunky, but the graphics were awesome,) and discover I missed a contest!

See if that ever happens again!

Congrats to all the finalists and a big shout out to my friend Hank, this week's king of the shark tank.


Craig F said...

As I said, I think it was an oversight. I hope our Queen has a rich private life and ran out of time.

It gives me the warm fuzzies to know that she values us enough to work hard to keep her promises.She said on Sunday that she would have results today and she did. Even if she was close to 90 minutes late.

Meanwhile I spent today making a mountain of sawdust and ruminating on if I should spitefully drive two hundred and something former friends and acquaintances to the unemployment line. I'm obviously still pissed about the underhanded trick they pulled on me last week. I'll stick with the warm and fuzzies I feel toward the Queen for her efforts.

french sojourn said...

Craig; I found the mitten on the cutting room floor. Somewhere in the third slice and dice

it went from

A little bird told us she saw you Mittens #stoolpigeon

Good catch, if you knew me better you would say...."typical Hank...."

So I will bow to the next entrant, as our esteemed toothy finned see's appropriate. The one reoccurring lesson....proof, proof...print

Thanks again to all the kind shout outs. We are a pretty amazing group. And my writing has improved dramatically, now to remember to proof more diligently. This little kitten definitely lost his mitten.

CynthiaMc said...

Carolynn - Thank you for that hilarious welcome. I feel right at home now.

Colin - you are quick! (in a good way).

Thank you all for the warm welcome and vast amount of entertainment provided here.

Thank you, Janet for providing the best resource I've ever seen for how and how not to write a query. I'm amazed that you find time to do it and that you share so freely your knowledge and experience. Wow.

Craig F said...

Hank: there is no blame to be ascertained. It was one of those things. Snot happens. I have also trimmed out a key word or two in these contests and banged my head against the keyboard in frustration.

I appreciate you taking the high road. I hope I could do the same if the situation was reversed.

Erin Parisien said...

I'm a little behind on the blog and just now getting a chance to catch up (Stupid life getting in the way of all the fun!) I can't believe how talented you guys are!?! Wow, just wow! Excellent job.