Monday, March 06, 2017

FINAL contest results

This was a really interesting array of entries this week!
I didn't get a LOT of them. Either I'm getting stupid (well, ok, I'm not ruling that out) or you guyz are getting more elliptical.  I'd say there were at least ten entries that I didn't quite understand. Usually it's only two or three.  I've noted some (not all.)

But onward!
Herewith the preliminary results.

Final results later today (Monday 3/6) NOW LISTED BELOW

The Steve Forti Award for innovative use of prompt words
Nate Wilson 8:36pm
Colin, hi. Bit late on this, but I don't care. (Your testy mien doesn't scare me.) Since you made sure I'm paired with him, I wanted you to know Seth and I captured a stellar array of specimens during our first spores training. I'm aware you're strictly interested in exotics, but you should know we collected all of them -- chimp, edelweiss, urchin, derris, ewe, llama, xenops, marten, and stag -- entirely on our own in 5 minutes. How many is that, 9? 9. Yet you've never topped 7.


P.S. I've reported this tot
al as Victoria, not as Tory.

And of course, there's another hidden message too. Do you see it?

Homage to Get Smart!
Claire Bobrow 9:20am

Kregger 12:20pm

Homage to all those vintage TV shows!
RosannaM 12:01pm

I don't quite understand this one, and I'm kinda glad cause I have the feeling it's Stephen King level creepy.
Michael Seese 11:00am

I didn't quite get these either, but I have a feeling if I did, I'd love them.
Lennon Faris 1:44pm

Scott Sloan 3:56pm

flashfriday 8:03pm

These cracked me up completely
Sharyn Ekbergh 11:59am

Just Jan 7:32am

Here are the finalists
Cecilia Ortiz Luna 12:03pm
I showed you my Copenhagen
Thanked me with a kiss
You did. Profusely

We danced to 99 Luftballons
Flattered me. Made love to me
You did. Languorously

Never felt this way before, you said
Married me after three weeks
You did. Breathtakingly

Your citizenship granted
Started treating me like rubbish
You did. Unfailingly

With sarcasm, artful jeers
Told me I’ve outlived my usefulness
You did. Cruelly

Despair, humiliation
Ignited my Viking blood
You did. Maximally

I planned like Hamlet
Waited hours for you to succumb
You did. Eventually

Nobody fucks with Gertrud
Learned that lesson well
You did. Posthumously
This is just gorgeous.
It's a story.
It's got rhythm and style to die for.
This is perfect in every way I can think of.

Amy Schaefer 12:25pm
78 flashes on the screen. I look away.

Grandpa wrote in flawless copperplate. The jewel-like shape of the letters arrested me; once I deciphered them, I became a willing prisoner of the written word.

smartly-dressed woman sits down. She glances at my shabby suit.
“Journalist,” I say.
She nods. “Community foundation.”


That’s me.

I rise; we exchange a nod. No words. Not that it could matter anymore.

The Justice
Agent scans my ID chip. “Maximum reeducation.”

The court system is efficient nowadays.

The guard shoves me along. I close my eyes, remembering my letters while I still can.

Of course this sends chills down my spine. This story is elegantly understated and all the more chilling because of it.  Honestly, you guyz scare me with the worlds you create!

Amy Johnson 12:56pm
Dear Janet and All,

I’m writing to confess and say goodbye.

I’ve misrepresented myself here.

Several years ago, I located this group of smart, talented writers and a shark with a gentle side.

I never commented.

Last year, however, I malfunctioned and entered a 100-word-maximum story contest.

After that, I couldn’t stop.

I entered more contests.

I participated in discussions.

But every time I post in the comments section, I lie.

I must stop.

I’m not wired for lying.

I sense I’m approaching a meltdown.

So, I bid you all farewell and confess: I am a robot.



Of course, this just cracked me up completely. I love the malfunctioned and entered a contest line. 

Timothy Lowe 1:03pm
Our time machines are all broken.

11:59:59. The digits are well known. They stare at us from dusty corners of darkened rooms. Dim axioms in the underground, they’re posted above caverns where hollow serpents sleep, their sides slit open, frozen in their migration.

The Old Age lies littered everywhere. In cracked streets, ankle deep in glitter, crumpled party favors and noisemakers wait for an uncoming moment.

They did this - the smart machines. The ones we commanded, in our great unknowing, to unwind the gods.

Now dead things, unblinking, reminders of a gentler time.

We call it 1999.
Our time machines are all broken is one of my favorite lines now. 
"Unwind the gods" is another.

And honestly, this is an AMAZING use of the prompt 99.

Melanie Sue Bowles
I’d always been a tomboy. Grandma disapproved. “Act like a lady,” she’d say, dispensing opinions like a penny gumball machine.

I liked ladies, just didn’t want to be one. My first boyfriend was rough around the edges and a bit of a smarty-pants. Grandma wasn’t pleased. “Go ahead and date the bad boys,” she said, “but marry a gentleman. Proper ladies marry gentlemen.”

Now, that nug
get of advice served me well. But not in the way Grandma intended. 99 more injections to transition into a gentleman, the sort any lady would want. Grandma? Stupefied to the max. Me? Happy.

"Dispensing opinions like a penny gumball machine" should be on my business cards. 
I love the idea of this story. I love the execution. 

Angel Lanphere
I had hoped she'd be smart enough to die naturally but we weren't that lucky.

“Max...well,” she rasped as her eyes slid open to find me at the foot of the bed. She gripped the bed rail, her familiar eyes darted in search of escape. She knew why I was here and who sent me.

She pawed for the Nurse Call button, tubes and wires tangling but it was no use.

I sat beside her now, shakily brushing her hair aside.

“Goodbye Kat-....Agent 99,” I said and kissed her briefly before snuffing out what remained of us both.

I love the mystery of what's unsaid here. And that first line is a true grabber.

No one is so proud as the number 9.

9 is a gentlenumber, the digit maximal, above all others.

I hate the number 9.

It's the smartass number, abused on price tags, unused on microwaves.

It got an indecent act named after me—that was all 9's idea. And all talk, anyway. We never did anything. I certainly didn't.

Worst of all, 9 stole my glyph. Flipped it around and started strutting around town like it was fucking prime.

Well I'm not going to take it anymore.

I say it's time for a change.

I say we switch to octal.

I love stories about math. 
I love math.
I'm utterly convinced that the reason people hate math is cause they had terrible math teachers. Math is so beautiful and pure, everyone should love it.  It's one of the very few true things in this world. 

So of course, I love this story. And it's beautifully written. Plus I had to look up octal. I like having to look things up (don't go crazy putting in weird words, it only works if it's the PERFECT word and I have to look it up.)

I think this might be the best list of finalists I've seen in a good long time. Brilliant work by all of you. Of course, that made it very hard to pick a winner.  I thought about drawing a name from a hat, but that seemed unfair.  And I thought about trying to decide between something that made me laugh, or shiver.

In the end I chose the two stories that did not require any outside knowledge to understand. They will be evergreen (something we love in publishing.)

It's as arbitrary a choice as any of the others, but I thought it was less subjective than choosing something based solely on my reaction to it.

The two winners are  
Rkeelan and Cecilia Ortiz Luna 

if you'll both email me with your mailing address, I'll send you a prize.  

Great work here this week! Thanks to all who took the time to write and enter. I liked reading your work very much!


Lisa Bodenheim said...

Ha! RosannaM's and Amy J's were great. And Nate, you don't enjoy the parameters of the contest!?

In Michael Seese's, I tried to guess the people--Bonnie and Clyde? Jerry Seinfeld's. I'm more sitcoms than crimethrillers. But there's an episode called Jerry the Great--Seinfeld as a Crime Thriller. I was guessing computer or smartphone as the prison filled with downloads?

MA Hudson said...

Melanie's made me laugh, in an empathetic sort of way. Loved the great advice grandma inadvertently gives out.

Amy Johnson's made me laugh too, but can a robot win?! (Of course they will in the end.)

Colin Smith said...

As Janet says, lots of great entries this week, but my pick, hands-down, is Cecilia's. I'm glad to see Janet at least agreed she should be a finalist.

Nice to see a number of Gertrudes in this week's collection too. My grandmother would be honored. :D

Oh, and Nate--as if any restriction could hold you back. ;)

S.D.King said...

Amy Schaefer's entry was so timely. It took me a few passes to get it.

Have to admit, with Janet, that there were a few I didn't get. Great entries, all!

DLM said...

Ack, CECELIA'S! :) AMY J's! :)

I am torn, but the edge in my mind goes to Amy's, just because that is such an enduring reference here.

Donnaeve said...

Amy J - do I need to prove I'm a sandwich before I comment here? :)

Amy J's for originality, and shout out to Amy S for perhaps being on the finalist list more than anyone else.

I can't believe Steve Forti didn't manipulate the words this go round and get his usual shout-out, but Nate W did a superb job in his stead.

There were several I didn't get either - but then again, mine could be on that list for some folks as well.

OT: Today's the closing on the home I grew up in. Mom has lived there for sixty years and will move out on the 27th. An entry I did recently (one before this one I think?) was non-fiction. Every single word truth. Tough times, but necessary at this point. They say hug your child. Don't forget to hug the aging parents too.

Timothy Lowe said...

Love RKeelan's. And Janice Grinyer's daydreaming writer. All of these are fab, though I agree that Cecelia's is heart stopping and Amy J's very fun. I am pickled tink to be included with these finalists. (Sorry - since last week's winners I haven't been able to speak normally).

Colin Smith said...

Donna: I have been tempted a couple of times to catalog all the finalists and track how often people make the list. I agree, Amy S. would surely be among the top scorers, as would your good self, I'm sure. Alas, this is a project I've never got around to doing. Maybe if someone else is so inclined. :)

DLM said...

Donna, it's hard isn't it? A dozen or so years on since my mom remarried after dad died, and we're still hearing about the things we "made her get rid of" that she wishes she hadn't. It's hard downsizing. (You might like one of the links in my last Collection post - about how the many people downsizing is creating an interesting change in direction in the archives of many museums!)

If we ask too much of Colin, administratively speaking - does he start to send US to Carkoon?

S.D.King said...

Donna, I hope that today you are overwhelmed by good memories and happiness. Hope your Mom likes her new home and makes lots of friends.

I am smack dab in the middle of caring for Mom (Dad passed away this last summer). I really do understand what you are going through.

RachelErin said...

I loved Rkeelan - it's really hard to make a math joke that is funny to non-folks, and I think this story does. Although, I am a former math teacher... But taking the POV of a numeral? That's new to me. Molecules I've done, but never a numeral.

"strutting around town like it was fucking prime" is just perfection.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Oh, fun...! A finalist. Boy, that puts a bounce in your step. Yay and thank you.

Rkeelan's "abused on price tags, unused on microwaves." HA! So true.

Amy J's is terrific.

I loved Timothy's "dim axioms" for max.

Nate! What a fun read.

Donna: My very best to you today. My father built the home my five siblings and I were raised in with his own two hands. Way back in the 40's. I can't get the image of the pencil lines all over the door frames in the utility room out of my mind... our names and a date scrawled underneath recording our height through the years. I sobbed the day the house was sold. (But I'm an emotional, sentimental sort).

Lennon Faris said...

I love all of these. Amy J's might have my vote because it's hilarious but it is SO DIFFICULT. Congratulations, everyone!!

In my entry, the girl's creepy stalker is a personification of her depression. Realizing you're not a freak (i.e. it's normal) is a pretty empowering start to getting rid of something(/one) like that! I wasn't sure anyone would get it, but I just couldn't resist.

Congrats again to everyone, I loved reading through them!

Lennon Faris said...

And Donna, my heart is with you. That is rough. I hope your mom does well in her new place.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: Having been to Carkoon, even if granted that power, I could never use it. I like y'all too much. :)

I have to say, when I started reading Amy J's, my heart sank--I thought she was really saying goodbye! Come on, how many others were taken in at first? Admit it. Go on... really? Just me? *sigh* oookay... :\

In the event Janet is still taking ideas for The 100th Writing Contest, I have a couple of thoughts. I still like the idea of multiple agent judges, but I appreciate how busy everyone is, so might it be good to stretch the time frames a bit? Maybe open the contest on a Friday and run it all weekend, giving more people a chance to participate? And then close the contest, but don't announce the finalists/winner until the following weekend, giving the judges plenty of time to come to their decisions.

Anyone else have any ideas?

Michael Seese said...

@Lisa (and @Janet)... They're my MC's multiple personalities.

Unknown said...

I wondered if a panel of us should judge the 100 contest. Just let Janet read and enjoy.

Claire Bobrow said...

Cecilia's is really cool - loved the structure. Amy S's gave me a serious chill. Thank you, RKeelan, for making me aware of the octal numeral system. Amy won me over with humor and Melanie with a happy transformation. Timothy - awesome 1999 story, and Angel - a sad ending. Great work, finalists!

OT: I was at a writing conference all weekend. Learned a ton; trying to process it all. Spent most of last week getting ready, having business cards made (finally!), and getting my first website up and running. Hooray!

Ashes said...

I adored Amy Schaefer's entry, though to be fair I have a penchant for speculative and SF pieces.

This week marked my return to flash fiction. I'd been feeling blocked for a while. Struggling with manuscript #2 but at a full stop with flash fiction so it felt good to get something out.

Looking forward to contest #100!

Amy Johnson said...

Despite the sparking and smoking currently occurring in my system, I must comment.

Thank you, Janet, and thank you to others for the nice words. Colin, you made my day--I was hoping to make it sound like I was really leaving. An early draft had me "heavy-hearted" and "teary-eyed," but then I thought a robot probably wouldn't be that way. And a robot probably would write in single sentences instead of paragraphs--changed that too.

I liked all the stories. When I read entries to these contests, oftentimes I think that I must remember to comment on certain things when comments about stories are allowed. But if I said everything, all the things that made me laugh, all the lines and stories I thought were beautiful, I might be sent away for being very, very talkative. I will mention the story by kdjames. The portrayal of a young person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder seemed spot on to me. Back when I was a social worker, I had an adolescent client who often missed school for the same reason--couldn't get out the door until she had done certain things she "had to" do, and had to do just right. Heartbreaking. I also liked Michael Seese's story and character(s).

I, too, got a kick out of the Gertrudes.

Donna, Hope you're still able to have a happy day. Just yesterday I drove past the house that used to be my mother-in-law's...

Daring to click that box now. This could get really bad.

RosannaM said...

Donna, My thoughts go out to you and your Mom. Yes, hug all your loved ones as often as you can. Time takes them away all too soon.

I agree with Janet about the very fun and fascinating stories we got this week. I had a kick with the reference words, looking up any TV show that ran at the same time as Get Smart and then trying to use as many as possible. I think I got twelve. Fun task but it does make for a weaker story as there just aren't enough words left to work with.

My vote this week has to be Cecilia's. We've seen the kill the spouse story before but the poetic structure and all the perfect 'ly' words at the ends of the sentences, took it to the next level. And I mean up there in the stratosphere level.

And Amy J.'s resignation letter made me laugh. For we all face that test here, proving to the machine….

Great job everyone. It is a delicious thing snuggling up and reading these.

Karen McCoy said...

The Amys definitely have it this week. Such cleverness! Amy J, I hope the box checking didn't cause any smoke or sparks in the system.

Interested in trying different font formats with these stories, but Blogger doesn't seem to be game for it. Tried to use strikethrough to no avail, and was left to italics instead. If anyone knows how to strikethough to cross out words here, I'm all ears.

Colin Smith said...

Kathy: That might be interesting. However, I still like the idea of agents judging. At least for me, the main attraction of Janet's contests is the fact that she's a literary agent. The kind of selection process she goes through here is, I'm sure, at work when she goes through her slush pile. Her comments on the finalists serve, therefore, as valuable insight (at least for those of us still seeking representation) into what she looks for in the stories she enjoys. Which is why I'd be interested in having multiple agents judging, to see how each agent's taste and process differs. So often, when writers get rejection after rejection, it's easy to think agents all like the same kind of thing, and I... uhhh... I mean, the writer in question can easily get it into my, um, their head that no agent will ever like what they write, and I'm--they're just a hopeless hack wasting m-their time when I could be bing-watching "Stranger Things." I mean THEY. THEY could be. It's not about me at all. No. Nope. No sireee Bob. :D Where was I? Oh yes. For example, I wonder how many of the stories this week that Janet didn't get would be stories another agent might have understood, and perhaps even picked as a finalist?

Seriously, though, I think multiple agent judges for one contest would be a good object lesson to us all in how subjective this all is, something it's easy to forget when you're on the wrong side of a form rejection. Unless the agents all pick the same entry, in which case someone will be getting a nice box of books, and my theory will be shot. Which is exactly the kind of writer tormenting agents seem to enjoy. :)

BJ Muntain said...

Amy Johnson's made me laugh out loud - pre-coffee. That says a lot. I was a little worried at first, thinking it might be serious (Yes, Colin, I was taken in, too)... which is probably what made it so funny at the end.

Donna: I try to hug my mum every time I see her. When Dad was around, I'd hug him, too. Though he claimed he wasn't interested in it, I think he appreciated it. He's been gone nearly a year now. So yes, I concur: hug your aging parents. You'll never know when it will be your last hug, and they need the love as much as a child does.

Regarding parents 'downsizing': A friend recently asked me if I've thought about what will happen when it's time for Mum to go into a home. Another friend asked if it might be easier on my mum if I were to move in with her to 'care for' her. I told both of them, "She's not ready for that yet, but when it's time, she'll take care of it. She wouldn't want us to make any plans for her. She will have all the plans made for herself." My mum has always dealt with things on a very practical level. She dealt with her grief over Dad's death by doing 'things that need to be done'. Once the funeral was over, all the paperwork and finances taken care of to put things in her name, all that practical stuff that has to happen to keep life going after the death of a spouse, she decided to clear out the house. She got rid of a LOT of stuff, sold it, donated it, gave it away - and not just Dad's stuff. She's getting ready to move to a senior's apartment someday - not yet, but she's prepared. Right now, she's replacing flooring in the house and other fixes that Dad wouldn't let her do, in preparation for selling the house when the time comes. Of course, this is a woman who already has her funeral planned out - including songs and readings. It's her way of controlling her life. I guess I'm lucky that those decisions are out of my hands.

We moved around a lot when I was young. The only house I really miss was my grandparents' house - it really was the only constant 'home' in our lives. My grandfather died nearly 20 years ago. I told my mum I was thinking of buying their house - I was planning on buying a house anyway at that time, though I hadn't thought to move to a small town. But it was quiet, it was 'home', and it called to me. My mum said they wouldn't sell it to me. I was crushed. My life would have been very different now if I'd done that. Maybe for the better, maybe not. I don't know. My mum said the new owners would probably tear down the little house and it's double-lot flower/vegetable gardens and small orchard, and build a great big house on that huge corner double lot. I haven't gone near it in all this time, afraid that's what I'll find there.

Sorry for the rambling. Donna's comment, and the others that followed, hit a sympathetic nerve, and even the morning coffee couldn't restrain (ha, Nate!) my fingers from typing all this. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to get it all out.

Karen McCoy said...

Donna sending well wishes to you and your mom! I recently helped my parents move out of the house they've lived in for 32 years when my dad broke his leg the same week the move was scheduled. There was lots of "How did this get here?" (Exhibit A: A hymnal in a bathroom cupboard.) And then there was the bed frame with a wheel missing, replaced by a dusty Sears Catalog from 1992, which had to make the migration to the new house because there was nothing else to hold up the bed with.

Moves are hard, especially when it requires uprooting years of memories. Hugs to your mom, and you!

BJ Muntain said...

Karen: Strikethrough is too complicated for the comments box. Just simple bold, italics, and links, I think, are all that's allowed. I just tried underline, and it wouldn't accept it. "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: U" it tells me.

Karen McCoy said...

BJ Yup, that's what I got too. I was trying to use it to demonstrate what *wasn't* being said in the story--but I guess that means I just have to hone my chops more so it can be shown (not shown?) in more efficient ways. :)

Claire Bobrow said...

Colin: ha ha! I just finished binge-watching Stranger Things myself. I mean yourself. Er, themselves?

Forget it. We just need another contest with the word eleven.

Donna: my heart is with you. It's hard to watch our once-strong parents age. And, although it may seem less important in the grand scheme of life, it's wrenching to say goodbye to a childhood home.

Unknown said...

Colin, All good points. I acquiesce to multiple agents (and will refuse to let me brain take me to, Great, now five agents at once don't like my story! :)

Great stories all. Saturday was a long tough day and I kept thinking about getting home and reading the entries!

Donna, thoughts with you. Moved my mom out 4 years ago, am finally feeling ready to sell the house. Interestingly, none of my sibs pushed it either. Hang in there!

Colin Smith said...

Claire: The kids in that show are superb--Eleven especially. Such talented actors at such a young age. Amazing. I'm looking forward to season two. Sorry... waaaay off-topic. :D

Colin Smith said...

Kathy: It would be especially cool if Janet can persuade her New Leaf colleagues to participate. There's quite a diverse range of taste there, and it would be a good promotion for the agency. Each could offer an ARC of one of their writers as a prize for their selection. :)

RKeelan said...

I'm honoured to be a finalist among such a great group of stories. Much though I'd love to win, I can't see how my story beats out Cecilia's. I think that one's a shoo-in.

Congratulations to all the finalists, mentionables, and entrants.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

I loved RKeelan's entry for its cleverness. Janice Grinyer's entry, I think, was about me :) Loved it.

Thank you so much for the kind words.

Angel Lanphere said...

Thank you Janet! You made my day. Congrats to all finalists and mentions but I have to say that Amy Johnson's entry is my favorite.

Nate Wilson said...

I can't choose between Cecilia's, Amy Schaefer's, and RKeelan's... but luckily, I don't have to.

As for the 100th contest, all my ideas center around the number itself. I'm not sure if any of them are actually any good:
- 100-related prompt words (e.g. century, perfect, A+, boiling, acre wood, etc.)
- 100-looking prompt words (e.g. bal100n, b100d, ga100t, g100my, hullaba100, etc.)
- go binary (100 = 4 prompt words) or maybe octal (100 = 64 total words)
- leave the contest open until there are exactly 100 entries

Kate Larkindale said...

What a wonderful bunch of stories this week! I don't envy anyone having to judge them.

Craig F said...

I'll pick an Amy, but that is as far as I can go.

Lot of neat stuff and I hope I stuck a worm in at least one ear about naming a cat Bang Bang Maxwell Silverhammer.

Donna: I hope things go well with the closing. You don't need it to add more to the pile of... There are a lot of good assisted living places out there. Do you homework though, like it all things some are near the top and more aren't.

Everyone have a wonderful week.

JD Horn said...

Torn between Timothy's and Melanie Sue's!

Kate Higgins said...

I love, love Rkeelan's world view from number 6! How did you ever envision binary system diatribe dissing the number 9 !?
I am so impressed! Six thumbs up from me!

BTW The glyph '9' turned upside down is '6' and for those who don't know or didn't look it up – the octal number system completely leaves out the numbers "8' and "9" and is an base-8 number system. Some Native Americans counted using the spaces between the fingers.

So this take on '99' is so different I think it deserves the "99th award" (but I would never ever want to choose a winner in our group :)

french sojourn said...

Not a bad one in the bunch, Good luck J. "The old I gotta chose one lucky winner out of a very talented field trick."

Good luck Donna.

Anonymous said...

Another great bunch of finalists. I can't choose a favourite, but Amy J's had me worried at first too. And Nate's had me laughing so hard, I scared the cat.

Amy Johnson, thank you so much for your comment. I went back and forth between "this is too obscure" and "this is too obvious" and "either way, it's not a story" (I excel at "not a story" in these contests). It means a lot to know that it resonated with someone.

Donna, feeling much empathy for you. Been there and done that recently too.

Steve Forti said...

donnaeve - Sorry to disappoint! It felt really, really weird not to futz with the prompt words this time, but my story came to me immediately based on the words pretty much as they were, and I thought it would work as is. Guess I'd be better off futzing again next time!

Props to Nate Wilson, as that was great.
And my vote this week goes to Amy Johnson. Very clever spin on things, I loved it!

Lucy Crowe said...

Loved Cecilia's - wow, so good! Also, Melanie Sue's. I'm so glad I don't have to choose!I'm afraid I'd be .flipping a coin

Lisa Bodenheim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats to Rkeelan and Cecilia Ortiz Luna! What a great win with the fantabulous competition!

Colin Smith said...

Congrats RKeelan and Cecilia!! Of course, I'm REALLY happy that Cecilia won, because I called it. :D

Megan V said...

Some great work this week! Congrats Rkeelan and Cecilia! You deserved it! Well done!

I'd also like to give a shout out to Richelle this week. REally loved her entry. It made me gasp.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congratulations to the winners! Well done, everyone. :)

Colin Smith said...

I was going to add the following to my comment, but wanted to make sure it was okay with Cecilia first. She said it was, so let me add:

Cecilia: For someone who is a native English speaker, your flash story was amazing, beautifully constructed, and worthy of winning. For someone for whom English is a second language, I’m in awe. Gobsmacked, as the Brits would say.

To say the bar has been raised is an understatement. I think that's why so many of us went elliptical, as Janet put it. It's getting harder to win. I can only imagine what the 100th is going to be like. I'm scared!!! :)

Colin Smith said...

... and I just updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest. Congrats again to SECOND-TIME winner Rkeelan and FIRST-TIME winner Cecilia Ortiz Luna! :)

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats RKeelan and Cecilia! I looked back through all the entries and have to say wow - there's just so much talent out there. What a great thing we are being offered here, not just the ability to have someone in the biz read our stuff, but to be able to read each others'.

Have a great week everyone!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Rkeelan and Cecilia!

And Nate, that was so cool!

Many thanks for the contest, Janet. I learn so much from writing my entries, and reading other entries, your comments, and others' comments. This is a great place for learning and a great community you've created.

Lennon Faris said...

Congrats, Rkeelan and Cecilia! Very well done, truly awesome entries.

Steve Stubbs said...

Wholeheartedly agree. I was trying to guess who you would choose
and guessed Cecilia Ortiz Luna. So I got it half right this time.
Congrats to Cecilia and Rkeelan for composing the winning entries.

Here is a bit of trivis tht may be of interest. You probably
already know this, but Rkeelan is a computer programmer, else he
would not have known what octal is. Nowadays everybody uses hex
(short for hexadedcimal.) Both of those make more sense in systems
that store information in binary form than the older decimal number
system, which is not a natural system. Probably nobody outside the
computer world uses either octal or hex numbers. It takes some
doing to change our thinking from the decimal mumber system we were
taught in grade school to octal or hex numbers.

Just Jan said...

Congratulations to RKeelan and Cecilia for the win! Great entries, all, as usual. Janet, thank you for the mention and for sponsoring these contests--they truly are a gift.

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats Cecilia and RKeelan - such great work! Kudos to the rest of the finalists, and to the mentions. You're a talented (and inspiring!) bunch. Janet - thank you, as always, for running these contests. They're a simultaneous thrill and tutorial.

Kregger: a tip of the old shoe phone to you. The Cone of Silence is a running joke in our household :-)

Susan said...

Congratulations, all! These were so fun to read.

Janet: if you love math, you'll love the novel "The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa. It's a stunning novel about our relationship to each other and the beauty of numbers.

RKeelan said...

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words. And thank you Janet, for sponsoring these contests.

RosannaM said...

Wow! A duo-as winners. Congratulations to both. What a fun round this was. Math and poetry. You guys did something truly amazing.

And I am getting terrified at how high that bar is being set with each contest.

Have pity, oh shark, for # 100. For we may have run out of words…

But then, again. Maybe not. Bring it on! I say. Make it dastardly, wickedly hard. Bwaahaha…..

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I love the concept of the stories being evergreen. Congrats, Cecilia Ortiz Luna and Rkeelan, you're now immortal! Or, at least your stories won't ever wilt.

And I concur with what Timothy Lowe said. As much as I value the feedback from Janet, the opportunity to read and learn from the work of some of the most talented and imaginative writers out there, and to do so within this community of support and encouragement . . . it's a rare and priceless thing.

To any lurkers who might be on the fence about whether to join in, all I can say is that you have no idea what you're missing by hesitating to be an active part of this group. Vulnerability is strength. Do it.

Richelle Elberg said...

So, I'm a newbie here, but I think the fact that the Shark herself didn't get a lot of our entries should give pause.

We only get 100 words. We want to be subtle and teasing and clever. But sometimes (guilty) I think we lose perspective. We're supposed to TELL a story, not make the reader guess at what the story is.

I had edited my entry after my son said 'I don't get it. It's disjointed. I have no idea what it means.' Humph. But I thought my subsequent edits made it oh so clear. Clearly not.

Anyways, for those who care--here's what you maybe didn't get in my story. This has been a good lesson. In fact, my first version was much clearer and my head said, "Don't be so obvious!"

And actually, here's my guess at Nate's which I really, really liked, assuming I got it.

Nate's story: a family of witches, parents, discussing a wayward daughter who keeps disappearing. meanwhile a fly keeps buzzing, buzzing...until smashed. Unfortunately, that wayward daughter had figured out how to become a fly.

My story:

A mother learns that her son's anti-depressant medicine will now cost more than she can afford. She wings it--what can she do? Months later, she's yelling at her teenage son because he's a slob and won't clean up his room. When she walks in, he's hung himself and his suicide note implies that he thinks HE was the garbage she so wanted cleaned up. Depression is real....

Richelle Elberg said...

So, I'm a newbie here, but I think the fact that the Shark herself didn't get a lot of our entries should give pause.

We only get 100 words. We want to be subtle and teasing and clever. But sometimes (guilty) I think we lose perspective. We're supposed to TELL a story, not make the reader guess at what the story is.

I had edited my entry after my son said 'I don't get it. It's disjointed. I have no idea what it means.' Humph. But I thought my subsequent edits made it oh so clear. Clearly not.

Anyways, for those who care--here's what you maybe didn't get in my story. This has been a good lesson. In fact, my first version was much clearer and my head said, "Don't be so obvious!"

And actually, here's my guess at Colin's which I really, really liked, assuming I got it.

Colin's story: a family of witches, parents, discussing a wayward daughter who keeps disappearing. meanwhile a fly keeps buzzing, buzzing...until smashed. Unfortunately, that wayward daughter had figured out how to become a fly.

My story:

A mother learns that her son's anti-depressant medicine will now cost more than she can afford. She wings it--what can she do? Months later, she's yelling at her teenage son because he's a slob and won't clean up his room. When she walks in, he's hung himself and his suicide note implies that he thinks HE was the garbage she so wanted cleaned up. Depression is real....

Marie McKay said...

Congratulations, RKeelan and Cecilia Otiz Luna.Great writing. Great Finalists, all. Thanks again, Janet, for a fantastic comp and the detailed comments that I always try hard to learn from!

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations, RKerlan and Cecilia! Woo hoo!

Amy Schaefer said...

Congratulations to the winners! Beautiful stories.

Janice Grinyer said...

Congrats to RKeelan & Cecilia! I loved Cecilia's mention of the "Viking blood" - since I recently discovered that's where my blonde hair comes from out of a family of brunettes (Rus!) I have been studying carefully about the Varangian guard...And there's a reason why they called a certain group of Viking warriors - both men and women- the "Berserkers"- GO GERTRUD!

So congrats to Winners, the Finalists, the mentionables and the unmentionables (like me!)

Thank you Timothy & Cecilia for your wonderful comments too- glad you could relate! This was actually based on a personal true story :D - Writers write even when there are no tools to transcript :D

Unknown said...

Congratulations to the winners. I've been reading through the entries again and finding more to admire -- so much cleverness & wonderful stories.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Late to comment as it was a long trek from the lurkers' cove.

Thank you, guys, for all the lovely comments. And thank you Janet for hosting these contests.