Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Flash fiction contest results---better late than never, I guess

Sorry for the delay on posting this.

The writing conference this weekend just laid me out. I never realized how much I work alone until those days when I'm with people from 9 to 5, and I slog home (or to the hotel) and just crash and burn. A couple days of that and I'm sharksoup!

But! Back in grubby beloved NYC, and my very own coffee cart man (who doesn't even ask Large or Small? about my coffee order anymore!) and the subway crowds that don't require any interaction, and the thrum of a city that never really sleeps, and I am recovered!

On to the results.

Recognition for the Steve Forti Amazingly Deft Use of Prompt Words category

Steve Forti (of course)
“Write what you know.” That’s the advice my professor gave me. Cliché, I guess, but this guy knows of what he speaks. A real literature guru. Legend, even. At least, that’s what his syllabus said.

I tried to be unique. You know how many other students wrote Transformers erotica? None, that’s how many. But story after story, he wasn’t impressed. He’d say my work was foul, awful, rotten, etc. “Stop trying.” I thought that was just his way of motivating me. Turns out, I had missed the real delivery of his advice.

“Write? What, you? No.”

James Leisenring
(entry listed below)

Not quite a story but I love the bracket trope here, and the play on "kill your darlings"
Alina Sergachov

Recognition for breaking all the rules, albeit hilariously
John Davis (manuscript) Frain

Writing Guidelines

Professor Jeff Ruhle mixed another metaphor for the bookstore. “Math Without Ruhles bombed like a cannon shot. Sold three copies. Discounted six more, so ten at total.”

Then, his discovery—writers drive the self-help bus. He could sell dozens. From Amazon to Wal-Mart.

“You’re not even trying to follow directions, are you?”

“Thought once you knew ‘em, you could break ‘em.” His true strength.

“Please put your pants on before the final member of our audience leaves. Although her fins kinda scare me.”

Word count whooshed by like a deadline.

(“Do parentheses count?” Jeff said.)

As do titles.


Not a story, and it took me awhile to figure this out. Did you?

A break the rules LETTER SCRAMBLE GAME


They lived without rules by writing their own.
Basic tenet: Nobody is as good as them, As righteous, as alloweD to exist.
The canon: identify the unwOrthy, regulate, gather.
The law: (only one) eLiminate the unfit.
They built camps and chambers and dug holes and Filled them with dreams written in dust.
Their savior? Their undoing.

An ocean away the new ones live without rules, not even their OwN.
The worthy chant the name of their beloveD savior.
The leAder smirks anD stumbLes on weak knees.
Rest in peace dreamers.

Special recognition for homage to the blog

Here are the entries of particular note:

James Leisenring
The soup is nearly ready. At least, soup is the closest translation in the native language. I knock on the door.

“Hold on, Martin, I’m on the can.”

On the can. Disposing of bodily waste. Nettlesome, the way they regularly use language in such a way.

The human I wait for is called Harris Guster Williams, or Harry for short (their naming system is especially flawed). Unable to pronounce my proper name, Harry chose Martin due to its proximity to the name the humans give our species.

I allow this cartoonish transgression. By rule, one does not bother correcting soup.

It took me three passes to find most of these prompt words. Our Steve Forti is getting a run for his money this week.

And this entry is seriously imaginative and totally creepy.
That's a real feat in 97 words.

Madeline Mora-Summonte
Gregory, old and gnarled, slumps on his porch. His lawn, overgrown with weeds and wild things, chokes the once neat path. At the gate, nettles cling, watch deserted streets. He calls out, can only hope for more survivors.

A man and woman appear, dirty, laden with packs.

"Please help! I fell."

They hesitate, the rules different now.

Gregory is desperate. "I have food, water. It's yours.
They nod, start toward him.

He watches the lawn shiver, the monsters within slither out to feed. He listens to the screams.

Gregory is spared. Again. He stands, stretches.

The rules are different now.

Honestly this creeped me out so much I could barely read it the second time.
Thank all deities foreign and domestic that I live in Brooklyn, a place with few lawns.
Of course, the more creeped out you are, the better the writing.

Michael Seese
Susa was livid, though limited.

“Your hoor, this ma stole all my ehs. I ca’t eve say it anymore.” She punctuated her pathos with a plaintiff plea of “Please!”

Cases in the Alphabellate Court can be tricky, often turning on some obscure rule or twisted tenetcality. Susa stumbled into the latter.

“He should face a firig squad. Or a canon.”

A collective gasp sucked the air from the courtroom, and her argument. My smirk turned to face the judge.

“You see, your honor. Reg ipsa loquitur. I didn't steal them all. I borrowed a few. That's not against the lawn.”

Of course this is witty, it's Michael Seese.
It took me a minute to get the joke, which means it's terrific!
Even with all the joking around, it's still easy to understand.
True mastery is making something look easy. And Michael does.

Claire Bobrow
By the tenets, rules, covenants, laws, and regulations of this confounded profession, we, his peers, do find and declare the perpetrator GUILTY as charged.

Henceforth, nowhere shall it ever again be written:

“Chuckles buttoned up his suit, painted a smile on his face, adjusted his pompoms, and, with trembling size 18 feet, climbed into the canon.”

It is our judgment, intention, and pronouncement that the sentence shall fit the crime:

Author to be shot at dawn.

Out of a cannon.

Honestly, I'd have voted for the punishment twice.
This entry just cracked me up.

As usual, I'm having a hard time picking only one of these entries to win the prize.

Let me know your choice, or if you think an entry of note got overlooked.  I'll update the post with the winner tomorrow morning (along with some fresh content!)


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Janet!
I liked Claire's entry. And Colin's, too. You didn't mention it, but I really liked it.

One Of Us Has To Go said...

Yes, I got CarolynnWith2Ns's entry with AdolF and Donald straight away. Doesn't happen very often at all, though, ha ha.

I liked Lennon's story, breaking into your mind so that you would represent his genre (that's at least how I understood it).

Timothy Lowe said...

Good gosh - great stuff this week. I was slaving over finishing a draft and couldn't play. Glad I didn't, with this pack. My brain is malfunctioning after a long day so the only one I really get is Claire's, which is awesome. But the rest are stunning, even if I can't quite wrap my brain around them right now!

Anonymous said...

Oh, so that's what CarolynnWith2Ns wrote about!

I tried to figure out what the capital letters meant, but the N from "Nobody" confused me and I didn't get that it spelled "ADOLF".

Wow. It's brilliant.

Panda in Chief said...

Y'all are just too good.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

They're all so good! Two not listed, that made me laugh, were Just Jan's and Cecilia's.

Craig F said...

Michael Seese, just because its Tuesday.

Colin Smith said...

Awww, thanks, Alina! :D Congrats on the shout-out. Deserved.

As for a winner? Heck if I know. Congratulations to you all, and double-congrats to the one who wins! :)

Dena Pawling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adele said...

Thanks, everybody, for giving me the key to Carolynn's word scramble. I missed a few letters and you can't spell much with DOLFONDD.

I vote for Michael Seese, because it's funny, though I also liked James Leisenring. I've been bedevilled lately by people who argue and will not stop. "One does not bother correcting soup" will please my brain as I listen and nod.

Steve Forti said...

Will have to be wary of James now. Nicely done. And major props to The Manuscript for his entry this week. Brilliant.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

In great company, wow. Thanks for the mention. This was fun.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

My boy Michael!

LynnRodz said...

I like Claire Bobrow's story and I think you missed Cecilia Ortiz Luna's which was quite funny as well. My 2¢.

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations to the mentions, finalists, and everyone else who entered. I'm amazed by the level of writing in these contests.

Michael's story stood out for me. Both because it's so good, and because I read his story (with missing "n's") shortly after posting my story (in which people aren't supposed to use "I/i.") Michael pulled off the missing letter idea much better than I did. :)

Nate Wilson said...

I liked those from Forti, Manuscript, and RKeelan. But James had me at "correcting soup."

KariV said...

Thanks for the shout-out. My first. Hopefully that means I'm getting better.

Claire's story was my fav. Sorry, but I didn't get the others. I'll just blame the copious amount of drugs I'm taking in an attempt to get over bronchitis. Best of luck to all the finalists.

Claire Bobrow said...

Thanks for the mention! So many entries caught my eye this time, the ones Janet called out (extraordinary work, James, Madeline, and Michael) - and some others as well. Cecilia's comes to mind, and Sherin NIcole's (love the wheat-gold wallpaper). John Davis Frain - so funny :-)

I didn't pick up on the clues in Carolynn's entry until reading the helpful hints just now. Nice work!

Unknown said...


Thrilled to be included with such great company. Loved all the ones Janet mentioned. Another one that really spoke to me was Mallory Love’s. It hit me right in my procrastination. There were many other great ones too, well done all!

And if I may go all caps for a moment I CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T GET THE LETTER SCRAMBLE. Part of me thought “break the rules” might mean there was no answer and Carolynnwith2Ns was just messing with us. But looking again, it makes so much sense now. I guess I need to pay more attention to the story and stop getting distracted by shiny things.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Like I said before, this wAs fun, but just let Me say thAt eveN now the letter scrAmble proceSS gives me a headache.

One Of Us Has To Go said...

AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID GET THE LETTER SCRAMBLE straight away (I even let Carolynn know that it's an F, not PH, ha ha).

But, but, BUT: I still don't get most of the others, so if someone could drop a few keys to them (or at least the winner), that would be fun :). Thanks!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A hearty thank you to (One of us has to go)so I wasn't a total failure. Just half a one.

Donnaeve said...

I liked them all, the creativity of 2N's (love me some word scramble) Steve Forti - OMG. I'd never thought of it like that. Write? What, you? No.


Then here comes J(MS)F's in his usual quick and witty style.

I think y'all mostly know how my mind works - creepier/tougher the better.

This is no help, but my faves were James Leisenring, Madeline Mora-Summonte and Michael Seese.

See? No help.

Gypmar said...

You all are the smartest, most creative bunch of people a person could have the pleasure of hanging out on the internet with. Holy smokes.

Of course I loved them all, but Alphabellate court is pretty darn brilliant.

Casual-T said...

So much great writing here. Very inspiring! Thanks to all for sharing your talents and hard work.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you, Janet - I am beyond excited by your words and to be a finalist! Oh, and I grew up in Brooklyn and didn't have a lawn either, but I'm pretty sure SOMETHING lurked in the hedges by our stoop. :o

Donna - thank you!

Lennon Faris said...

So much talent here. Congrats, folks! James Leisenring's creeped me out in such an insidious way. Once I understood it (I had to re-read a couple times too), I couldn't get it out of my head. What a voice. The others were so good too.

One Of Us Has To Go - thank you. I know I mentioned this to you elsewhere, but your entry was so poignantly written!!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

These are all wonderful. I did love Jonn “Manuscript” Frain’s rule breaking entry. I laughed lots. Can’t wait to see who takes home the prize.

And I think Jeff Somer’s owes me a drink. I think i sold about 50 copies of the prize book at JordanCon this weekend to a bunch of newbie writers. No idea how I convinced them this was a magic book that could turn anything into a bestselling writer- even pantless Jeff Somers or a Cactus.

What? I write fiction. I speak fiction too. Naturally.

Karen McCoy said...

Madeline Mora-Summonte's gets my vote. I'm all about the creepy.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Karen - thank you! I love when my stories creep people out. :)