Monday, May 22, 2017

Final #100 contest results

I posted the preliminary results yesterday here

Herewith the final results:
Melanie Sue Bowles
PAH 9:00am
Michael Seese
Robert Ceres

And here are the finalists:

Cheryl 8:39am
The landscape, graced with ferns taller than the stars, cries out in fortissimo for a mark, some proof of my final, greatest achievement.

For who would know I made it here? My time machine has dissolved to dust, victim of its own energy, and I am alone.

My signature will be a joke to anthropologists, who will no doubt scramble to decode the anachronism.

The cave will protect my work, I will descend tonight to draw gazelle in the age of dinosaurs, leave coded messages in my handprints.

Millennia from now, before I am even born, I will be famous.

I love the concept of this story (that the earliest cave paintings were done by visitors from other worlds) but I also love the voice. And that last line is simply haunting to anyone who has created art.

Lisa Bodenheim
He asks about her date.
Happily, she chatters.
I place the milk pitcher. By him.
“Scapegallows,” he insults. Of course. “He wouldn’t know a fortissimo from a finocchio.” He eats his cornflakes.
Our daughter gazes, blankly.
Angered, I touch her shoulder, “Fatherly humor.”
He rolls his eyes.
Stiff-backed, I sit, “Finish your breakfast, dear. How was the band?”
She shrugs.
Her cannolo remains untouched.
Damn him.
Patient, I sip my Italian Roast.
He stands—slender and handsome as ever—and scrams.
I accept his tainted kiss, airbrush-style this morning.
He leaves. Scapegoat.
And now?
“How was your date?”

I love the perspective/S here. The dad is both the antagonist and still the mom's true love (slender and handsome as ever.)  And use of the word "scrams" gives us a sense that maybe dad understands what he's done here.  This is a lovely subtle piece of writing.

Beth Carpenter
Wednesday night. She’s cramming. If interrupted, she says, she might never reach the goal. He understands. As a future doctor’s spouse, he can be a time-thief or timesaver. But she has to eat. He brings her a chimichanga, zealous in his need to prove himself supportive.

A gentle knock. No answer. He knocks again. Frets. Faint from hunger? Asleep? He tries the door. Locked. Panicking, he locates the key he hid under the eaves.

Empty – her escape gracefully executed.

He sighs, glad he installed that tracker on her cell phone yesterday. She’d better be at the library. Or else.

I think it's "a gentle knock" that really sets up this very very creepy story. And of course those last two lines bring it home. This is lovely spider web construction: the story is not just what's written, it's the story between the filaments.

Lennon Faris
Horoscope: a moment today will make you a hero!

Half marathon: I’m a gazelle!
…Silver by one millimoment.

Brother’s audition: his cape graces boulder shoulders, regal Phantom rendition. In finale, baritone voice squeaks. Audience laughs.
My 'moment?' Punch them all in the suckers?

Job interview: nail it. “Thank you, sir,” I close.
“…That’s, ‘ma’am’.”
I scram.

Candlelit proposal: girlfriend confesses moment of indiscretion, aka ‘Shawn.’

Universe has dark humor.

11:58 PM, can’t sleep. I text brother: beer fortification??
Phone gleams: sure. I’ll postpone suicide
Bah-ha. Love his morbid jokes.
And, screw you, horoscope.

Midnight: Grab keys.
Brother flushes pills.

 I just love this. It speaks to the very core of my faith: you might never know what good you do in the world, but have faith you will be put where you're needed.

Kate Outhwaite
I found a photograph of you today but the pictures in my head are better.

Your wedding day: honeysuckle scrambling over the gazebo, framing us, as you wave your bouquet at the bee circling my mother-of-the bride hat.

Or this one of Graduation. You,
finished with school, chomping at the bit to make your mark on this world.

And here! 7-year old you: a tumbling, tree-climbing
scapegrace; all legs and laughing independence one moment; claiming comforting knee-kisses the next.

Yes. These pictures in my head are much better than the faded polaroid of you in my arms. Perfect. Newborn. Breathless.

This took my breath away. I literally gasped aloud when I realized what that last word did to the story. This is brilliant.

Every morning I escape grace and wake in an unfamiliar bed.

There's a woman next to me. We're lying side-by-side like two corpses in a double-wide coffin.

I have no idea who she is.

She's old, but beautiful. I probably know her. I hope I do.

Her gaze is on me.

I try to ignore the fortissimo beat of my heart, scrambling for something to say, something to ease the worry in her eyes.

I know I'm supposed to recognize her, but I don't.

I'm supposed to know her name, but I don't.

"Good morning, Dear. I love you."

 And it's that last line that grabbed me. It's unclear to me who is speaking, and that's the beauty of it. 

Nate Wilson
I will not beg a zebra mussel for forgiveness.

The beastly bivalves take over our lake and starve thousands, yet we're supposed to be grateful for cleaner water? No. I'm done paying.

Someone needs to take down this mollu
sc a peg.

is a social construct," I say.

"Don't care. Apologize or owe triple the algae tomorrow."

"Stripes aside, we're not so different, you and I."

"Don't try to appeal to--"

"Except you're small."


"And small-minded."

"Ooh, you're dead, Clam.

"Not yet."

With great ef
fort, I dig in and drag myself directly at the infernal mollusc. Ramming speed!

I've come to expect hilarity from Nate Wilson; we all have in fact, I'm sure. This may be one of the best ever. It's that last line that left me laughing out loud in my apartment by myself.

 And there are pretty deft prompt word uses here. We may need to have a Steve Forti/Nate Wilson head to head competition with some kick ass prompts: scallywag comes to mind.


There was never a doubt in my mind about the winner this week. There were many fabulous entries; probably the best field of finalists we've seen. It was tough competition but this story, in both subtlety and grace led the field.

The winner is Kate Outhwaite.

Kate, drop me a line and let me know if you already have the map book. If you do, we'll figure out something else.  Otherwise, I'll get that out to you at once.

Thanks to all who took the time to write and enter this contest. I loved reading your work.  I wish all of you had contact info on your google sign in names cause a couple of you really piqued my interest about what you're writing and if you have an agent or are looking for one. 


Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congratulations to Kate! I especially loved the honeysuckles.

What a fun and challenging challenge it was this time around! Though geeze, some people really really rose the occasion. Thanks, as always, for hosting it Janet.

Amy Schaefer said...

Hooray for Kate!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Congratulations Kate. Well-done.

Ashley Turcotte said...

I seem to have been left off either list. Alas. Happy to have been on the long list nonetheless! And congrats to Kate!! Like Janet, that ending took my breath away. Absolutely stunning.

Colin Smith said...

Well done, Kate! Win #4! :)

I'll update the spreadsheet in a bit and let y'all know when it's done.

And don't forget to update your Blogger profiles... ;)

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

I knew it! Congrats Kate!

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats Kate! Thanks sincerely for these contests, Janet. What an amazing opportunity. The entries just get better and better.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congratulations, Kate! Such a heartache, heartbreak of a story.

Janice Grinyer said...

Congratulations to Kate :) and to the semis, mentionables and all of us who keep trying ;)

Unfortunately, Kate's is a true story in my photography world of friends. I have a photographer friend who has no children, yet puts up the photos she does have of her stillborn daughter on Facebook, every anniversary of her birth...and death. Decades later, it's how she copes with her pain.

To read Kate's entry was a reminder of my friend's anguish.

I don't think that pain ever goes away.

Claire Bobrow said...

Way to go, Kate! Congrats!!

BJ Muntain said...

Congratulations, Kate!

Thanks again for these contests, Janet, and for all you do for us woodland creatures.

#100 is truly a milestone!

BJ Muntain said...

But... I hate to say it, but I've been searching ever since I read Lisa's in the comment section - I can see Scapegallows and Scapegoat, but not scapegrace.

Is it just me?

Morgan Hazelwood said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking. <3

Congrats, Kate.

RachelErin said...

Congrats Kate!

And, can someone please explain Lisa's to me?

I've read it over and over and I don't get it. Are the daughter and mother mad that he insulted the daughter's date? or the band she enjoyed? Neither of those seem to match with the daughter's reaction. And do the Italian references mean anything in addition to being charming and clever?

I think I got the rest of the finalists - I loved Nate's and Lennon's.

french sojourn said...

Well done Kate, I know it took my breath away for a tragically similar reason. I couldn't believe the effect it had on me, five minutes after, I got my breath back. Beautiful writing. This is a spectacular example of the craft. Enjoy the win, you deserved it.

Cheers! Hank.

Barbara Etlin said...

Congrats, Kate!

Michael Seese said...

Hard to argue with Janet's choice. Nice job, Kate.

Nate Wilson said...

Congratulations, Kate! 'Tis a much-deserved win for a marvelous, heartbreaking tale.

As for going head-to-head, I'm not sure I could truly out-Forti Forti--his April Fool's entry proves that--but I'd do my best to give him a run for his (fiscally wagered) money.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

SUPERB! One and all! Serious congratulations to Kate for that lovely story.

And if you haven't, get thee to the sidebar and read the "Rules for Writers," and, better yet, HEED THEM!


Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, Kate! That was spectacular. I can't read through it without misting up. Very well done!

Thank you Janet for hosting these. And for everything that you do to keep us writers sane and practicing the craft. You really are spectacular!

And thank you to all of you who wrote some kind words about my piece. Very much appreciate it. I think all these entries were wonderful!!

Kregger said...

Great job, one for the ages!

Theresa said...

A fabulous winning entry, Kate, for the landmark #100 contest. Congratulations!

And I hope all the entrants are scrambling to get their contact info up--the shark is cruising the reef.

Just Jan said...

Well done, Kate! What a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. Congrats to all who were mentioned and thanks once again to our hostess for 100 amazing contests!

Colin Smith said...

The Writing Contest Spreadsheet is up-to-date in the Treasure Chest. :)

PAH said...

It was exhausting reading each finalist and saying, "Yep. That one was better than mine."

Congrats, Kate!

Thanks, Janet!

Kate Larkindale said...

Well done, Kate! I thought that one might win. So simple, yet so heartbreaking.

Susan said...

Congratulations, Kate!

There were way too many favorites for me to choose from this week. Seriously--you guys are talented. It's like you're writers or something. ;) All of the accolades were well-deserved.

Alas, I tried to form a story, but my words didn't want to cooperate with me. Fickle things, words are.

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Kate! Very deserved, and excellent as always.
And Nate - bring it on, buddy! I gotta admit, I got a bit jealous at your use of "scapegrace". Magnificent.

RosannaM said...

Congrats, Kate! Heartwrenching story.

Janet: scallywag is not hard enough for those two.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats, Kate! All the finalists are breathtaking.

Unknown said...

Many congrats, Kate! What a stunning story - even without the prompt words. Bravo!

Marie McKay said...

Goodness me, Kate. That is stunning. Congrats! Well done to finalist, too.. Such good stories. And thanks Janet.

Craig F said...

Congrats, Kate.

So very haunting and well executed. It was too close to me to explain right now.

Congrats My Queen for hitting this milestone.

From Left Field: I am not sure I would like to keep up with this drawn out format. 2.672 permutations of the prompt words danced circles around my brain for almost a month. Then, bam, it happened and all of those permutations shot me the bird and went away.

A normal, surprise FF contest allows me to focus on how the prompt words work for me.

Thank you for your time and consideration

Kate Outhwaite said...

Wow! I was just pleased to post something I was happy with (it’s been a while) and I was thrilled to get long-listed in this company, so winning is an even bigger thrill!

Thank you, Janet, I’m really glad you liked my story, but more than that, thank you for running the contests. I know I’ve wittered on about this in the past and I’ve missed more than a few contests of late but, when I do catch up, I just love reading what other people do with the prompts (on this occasion, kudos to the gazers, gazelles and other gazebos out there. I can't even begin to process how some of you dealt with 'scapegrace'!), so thank you to everyone for the laughs (squabbling seafood!) and the tears (Rkeelan, I doff my hat!).

John Davis Frain said...

I'm still in awe. Same entry I would have chosen, but I'd be saying the same thing if it had been Cheryl or several others.

Were the results this time skewed because the words were released early? I dumno. All I know is this might've been the top overall week I've ever witnessed. Even with scapegrace, which my feeble mind found limiting. I tried to write an homage to Julie Weathers, the part-human who foisted the word on us, but I couldn't get it below 140 words. No surprise there, eh? How could you do an homage to Julie Weathers and be brief? I shoulda known that before the attempt.

Kate, I bow toward your brilliance.

PAH said...

John Davis Frain - That would have been smart! I didn't even think to craft the story ahead of time (and doubt many did?) ... in fact, I didn't think I was going to get anything submitted. If you'll notice, my submission was 9:00 a.m. on the dot (had to delete the one at 8:58 a.m. because I left out 'scram') ... Long story short, I've got a 6-month-old daughter and she went down for a nap at 8:45 and a Whodunit with fingers as suspects and a dead thumb just popped in my head. :D

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Geez, this was so much fun. And inspiring (both reading and participating). Well done, Kate! Congratulations. I just reread your entry, and reread it again. Powerful.

I'm honored to be a semi-finalist. Thank you Janet. Bravo to all who entered.

And I think a throw down between Steve and Nate is an absolute must... and more than likely inevitable.

Finally, I'm with BJ regarding Lisa's "scapegrace"... where is it hiding?

John Davis Frain said...

PAH, if that was meant to make me feel better, it fell woefully short! What you did in 15 minutes --

Well, 'nuff said. Great job. I cringe to think what you might knock out if your six-month-old daughter takes a nap with an hour remaining in the contest window! But at the same time I'm cringing, I'd also love to read it, I'm sure.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

All I can say is KATE I've been there.
Can't write anymore.
Too many photos in my own head.
Thank you Janet, for this final choice.

PAH said...

John Davis Frain - thanks! I'd have added #humblebrag if I'd have won! But I wish I'd taken more time.

There were many impressive stories.

Brigid said...

Phenomenal, all. Especially Kate!

2Ns, you aren't alone.

Steve Stubbs said...

Yes, I agree. This really is awesome. I mean, that is the only word for it. I can't get it out of my head. Kate should publish this in a book. It is too good to allow it to die.

Whatever she does, I look forward to reading the next book she publishes.

How did you find all this amazing talent?

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Kate! Your writing is very powerful and the last word really changes everything. Amazing twist! I didn't see it coming.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

First: Congrats Kate. Wonderful story. Wonderful prize.

Second: mea culpa!! aack. I cannot believe it. When I finally can boast that I made it into a long list and even a short list, it turns out I'm illegal? NO....

Scapegrace is nowhere in this iteration. I somehow edited/revised it out, focused on keeping scapegoat. Argh. Please, please, O Queen, don't send me off to Carkoon (since the option to say "off with her head" doesn't exist cos obviously my head's not on my shoulders!)

Claire Bobrow said...

Lisa: your writing was so good that I guess the QOTKU didn't even notice the omission, and that's saying something! But we may have to give you a nickname now. "Scapegrace" seems appropriate :-)

RosannaM said...

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa You are sooo NOT to worry about it. That dang pesky delete/rewrite/revise/edit/fix hex follows us all. It just caught you this time. Your story is good, your story is legit, your story belonged in the finals.

That said, you deserve a glass of wine!

Claire Bobrow said...

I agree with Rosanna!

AJ Blythe said...

Congratulations, Kate. Some tough competition this time around. Well done to everyone who entered.

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Lisa: Whether or not your story remains a finalist is totally Janet's call. But whatever she decides, I agree you can take solace in the fact that you wrote a rule-breaking story that was so good, no-one noticed you broke the rules. Like an awesome novel with a questionably-relevant prologue and an abundance of adjectives and speech modifiers. ;)

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Kate's was such poignant writing I was afraid to vote for it, because I know too many women with the same story. I myself have a couple of the same ultrasounds. Love how the last lines clinch it all together.

Speaking of clincher last lines, this blog entry's took my breath away.

I won't say anything else other than boldness has its own rewards, always.

Lisa Bodenheim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Ditto about Lisa "Scapegrace" Bodenheim's story. If she can make finalist after breaking the rules, that's one good piece of writing.

Me, I'm just chuffed i got honourably mentioned for elegant writing, as that was exactly what I was aiming for. Voice is what will snag me an agent.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

And yes, as Colin wrote, update your blogger profiles. The Queen is interested! That is great news.

RachelErin: Mom is mad at Dad. His insult (a usual occurrence with him) shuts down their daughter's happy chatter. And mom's had it up to here! She may love the man but she's protective of her kid. And...actually, I have a fail in that story. That pitcher of milk she set down by him? That was suppose to insinuate poison, which tainted his kiss. He's the sacrificial scapegoat so the daughter can be her chattering self.

So obviously I didn't communicate the whole of the story I wanted to tell quite as well as needed.

Timothy Lowe said...

Don't fret Loss. A good story's a good story. No matter how many scapegraces are involved.

Timothy Lowe said...

(PS - autocorrect changes Lisa but not scapegrace)

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations, Kate!

Casual-T said...

Congratulations Kate! A well-deserved victory. Such a touching, and utterly heartbreaking piece!

RKeelan said...

I'm very pleased to have made the finalists! (Though, to be honest I'd rather have made the list of people who'd caught Janet's interest--I bet some reiders who've recently updated their contact info will soon get exciting mail in their inboxes!)

Congratulations to the mentionables and finalists, and, of course, Kate, the winner.

I didn't get a chance to read all the entries, or to post yesterday, but Kate's story stood out as I was reading the finalists.

And thanks to Janet for hosting these contests.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Congratulations, Kate, beautifully written. And congrats to all the finalists. And also to the mentionables and entrants.

Donnaeve said...

Late, long day, bad event - BUT! I just had to stop in for a sec and SAY WOOHOO to Kate!

Well done!

Thank you, Janet for the mention in semi's too...

...and a special THANK YOU...I'm very grateful for all you do out here for us considering your workload.

Claire Bobrow said...

I'm over the comment limit today - please, no trip to Carkoon! But Susan Pogarzelski has performed the thankless task of helping me switch from a Google+ profile (which I could not seem to edit properly) to a Blogger profile. Hopefully my contact info will be available now. If not, I'm going to join Lisa Bodenheim for a glass of wine.

Unknown said...

Great job Kate! Congrats to you and all.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brigid said...

I'm sorry, Heidi.

Anonymous said...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I've been so thoroughly distracted lately that the last line of Kate's story didn't click with me until Janet pointed it out here. Or maybe it did click subconsciously, but the rest of my brain (and heart) decided not to acknowledge it. It's even more heartbreaking in the context of Ashley's and Lennon's stories. Congratulations, Kate.

BJ Muntain said...

I didn't mean to make you feel bad, Lisa. I'm sorry. :( I was just looking and looking and looking, and my eyes were crossing, and that gave me a headache... so I gave up and asked.

Obviously, it's a beautiful story if a word like 'scapegrace' is missing, and the Queen didn't even notice it. Wonderful story.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

BJ: Do not be sorry about an honest question about my writing. You were not the only person who wondered. I don't feel bad. Sorry but not bad. It was disconcerting to realize I had edited out a word. But the gang here are so wonderful in their understanding and their teasing.

Julie Weathers said...

It never ceases to amaze me at the talent here. I loved Nate's entry so much.

Kate definitely caught the truth of what happens. Every year about this time I start seeing images of what would have been. She's in my kitchen with me cooking dinner. Her three little ones are racing in and out, filled with life. Two boys and a girl. She wants more. Her husband walks in and kisses her on the cheek. "Mirinda, I'm going to the store, need anything?"

Excellent choice. It's hard to catch the soul of a story like this as well as Kate did.

LynnRodz said...

Congrats, Kate, well done.

Julie Weathers said...

Lisa, I looked for scapegrace and thought I must be just not seeing it. It happens. Don't worry about it.

John Davis Frain

Ha, condensing me down to 100 words. I'm glad you went with Jim Croce. Insanity is so hard to distill properly.

I wasn't paying attention and nearly missed the contest notification. Then had to fool around with scapegrace so it wasn't intact, which resulted in:

"Fanesca, peg race, yay. Er, pig race."

Then blogger decided I was persona non grata again and I had no account. I should have written a story ahead of time like others did or been paying closer attention here.

I'm getting ready to battle the story again. I think it's time to print it out and see where I am. I'll tip the hourglass and think I am going to write for thirty minutes. It's a gloomy, gray flannel day, so I will probably write longer.

My MC's father died in November and SC seceded in December, leaving her in a precarious position with her properties. One thing leads to another and she needs a bodyguard. I haven't done much with his character, but woke up this morning thinking about him. I need to go deeper with his character even though i think he'll not be around long. I did the same with Gallant Pelham, but he was a real person and tragic.

Even minor characters deserve to be alive on the page, though.

Anyway, I hope you all write today. Pursue your dreams. No one can make them come true but you.

“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Now, to write one true sentence.

Barbara said...

Congrats, Kate! Wonderful story.

These were all very inspiring. To tell a story in 100 words that makes sense, doesn't include stilted or choppy prose, and evokes emotion in the reader, is truly a sign of great writing. Congrats to everyone who entered!

gypsyharper said...

Congratulations, Kate! So many wonderful stories, but I must confess yours was my favorite and I'm so glad Janet picked it. Beautiful writing!

Beth Carpenter said...

Kate, congratulations. I knew I'm days late and you may never see this, but had a appendix go bad, surgery, etc. Anyway, I couldn't let it go without saying yours is a perfect story and a well-deserved win for the 100th.

And Janet, thank you so much for your comments.

JD Horn said...

A belated congratulations to Kate!