Wednesday, May 20, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-46 - RESULTS!




Congrats to the brave few who attacked this week's challenge! If you missed any of them, go read them here. Now let's read what the judge had to say:




Emily:
Intriguing mystery indeed. Who is this cloaked writer, and why is she sneaking around our sheep shed at night? With whom is she exchanging letters? What is the significance of the ribbons? The anguish created by that final, ominous missive. Love it, hook the readers and pull them into the rest of the mystery.

Diane:
Diane gave us another disturbing and creepy tale. I particularly liked the rise and fall of the story beats—the escalation then calming at the dinner party, and (just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water)—the double take at the end. Nicely played!


Special Challenge Champion: Geoff
Grabbed the ‘not adult’ idea and ran away with it. I love the give and take between Luke and Matt. Where does a little guy acquire such a pronounced accent? “Mayhem ‘n’ Moider.”


Grand Champion: Asgardana

It was really a joy watching this tale unfold, even if some of the topics it reveals are so depressing. The protagonist struggles with her self-image every bit as much as her new heels, while the antagonist pushes her to grow up much too quickly. The conclusion is simply a brutal social commentary. Marvelous (because it’s so uncomfortable) writing.





Monday, May 18, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-46




Welcome back! We've got a versatile prompt today that gives you a lot of freedom. I can't wait to see what you make of it! Have at it!



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words (exclusive of title)
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...


Our Judge today is Dave Park. Read his winning tale from last week hereDave (D. E. Park) spends his spare time writing flash and micro fiction, and just attempting to get enough sleep. He’s a first-generation computer nerd (older than the internet), a lifetime devourer of SF&F (loser geek), even a comic book fan (three strikes!). He actually hasn’t been actively writing for very long (you can't tell?) He lives in Chicagoland with his wife Annie. Follow him @parkinkspot and check out his writing blog at parkinkspot.wordpress.com.






 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-46 is:


[Crimes] are usually [more shocking] because of [unusual settings] and [the previous behavior] of [the criminal].





 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include at least one character who is not an adult.





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!







Thursday, May 14, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-45 - RESULTS!




WOOHOO!!! Congrats to all who came out for the fun! If you missed any of the stories, go read them here. Now let's read what the judge had to say:



Thank you Alissa for hosting another wonderful round of Finish That Thought! We had five entries in all and this group definitely took the challenge to heart. As a reader they impressed me with their range of creativity and emotion. Now, without further ado:

Lauren Green:
We started this week with Christina returning home to care for her sick father. In just the first paragraph you feel the character's conflict, her desire to do what she believes is right versus her desire to keep hold of her anger: "ever since he left mom, I'd told myself he didn't matter." Lauren's piece left me thinking about family ties and the perils of growing old. I felt Christina's forlorn hesitation from the start and Lauren's writing compelled me to stick with Christina right up to her resigned acceptance to help her sick father. Overall this story left me feeling melancholy and sad. Great writing!

Geoff:
A great witty piece! Poor Colin and his Tea-Tummy issues. Geoff's wonderful writing had me chuckling throughout. I especially liked the "superficial passion tattoos" not to mention the "flagrantly unfragrant fissile fusillade of flatulence would finally finish his febrile fumbling" - wooof, that is some flatulent imagery! This piece came to life and I empathized with Colin from his discomfort with his Aunts to his dilemma in bed. Well done!

Stella:
A poignant first paragraph that explained the character's relationship with her mother in such a succinct way. It's hard with flash fiction to concisely describe a character but Stella succeeded! I especially liked the use of the seasons to mark the downfall of the character's mother. The criminal act of stealing cats was a great twist as well! It left me wanting to know more and maybe find out what ends up happening with the rats.


SPECIAL CHALLENGE CHAMPION: Emily
This story brought tears to my eyes, from the children laughing in the autumn leaves to the pristine grave. Such wonderful imagery ("She's not dead. She awaits me now, resting in her underground bed, white lace and satin lining flecked with dirt, and maggots feasting on flesh") to accompany the protagonist's pain. His grief is evident in every sentence. I especially loved the use of the Special Challenge and clearly pictured the colors of Fall throughout the piece. Nicely done!


GRAND CHAMPION: Dave
This piece is haunting right from the start then quickly turns horrific. Fantastic writing that had my heart racing. The ending was a twist, finding out that maybe our character is just as genetically modified as those he cursed earlier in the story was an exciting journey! Dave packs so much into such a short space that I'm both relieved that the struggle is over and left wanting more. Great work!





Monday, May 11, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-45




Welcome back! A little note of clarification as well as a new addition to the rules happened this week. I'm mentioning it here just in case you're one of those people who have read the rules over and over and don't bother anymore. The 500 word limit is exclusive of title for any who were wondering. Also, we will allow you to post more than one story, but only one will be judged. Please indicate which one you want judged if you post more than one, or the first one you post will be assumed your entry. Clear as mud? Good. Go check out the prompt and have at it!



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words (exclusive of title)
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...


Our Judge today is Ashley Gardana. Read her winning tale from last week here! Ashley Gardana spends her time writing short fiction, poetry, fanfic and wrestling with a novel. She always loved writing, even when "forced" to apply that love to countless hours of academic papers. Then she found NaNoWriMo in 2012 and started indulging her desire to write fiction everyday. Nothing's been the same since! She currently resides in DC. Follow her @agardana09 and check out her blog on asgardana.wordpress.com






 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-45 is:


[I] had not felt this way for a long time, but then again it had been a while since [I had returned home].





 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Incorporate one of the four seasons into the setting.





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-44 - RESULTS!




Congrats to everyone and thanks for coming out to play! If you missed any of the stories, read them here. Here's what the judge had to say:



First, thank you, Alissa, for inviting us over to play every week! It might feel like pure fun but we’re working, stretching our writerly muscles. And thanks to everyone who came out to contribute. We had 9 entries and all of them were good in their own rite! (This is a disturbed bunch; I expect to be awake and clutching the covers for a few nights after this.) On to the results…  

Conspiracy TheoryParkinkspot - Our stories kicked off this week with one of my favorite genres, Sci-Fi! Framed as a husband concerned about subtle changes in his wife’s tastes (listening to “Angry Femme” music rather Country, wearing make-up, and getting manicures), we’re led to surmise with him on everything from a mid-life crisis, to an affair, to a robot replacement. In the end, however, it’s poor Doug that “Detroit Robotics” comes for. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so curious.…

Who is He?Geoff LePardA wonderful story that would probably have me rolling if I watched the show. Thankfully, I have enough friends on Facebook who post about this Mr. Dr. Who that I recognized “who” he was. (See what I did there?) Many of those same friends would give anything to be in this woman’s place, waking up next to The Good Doctor. You might’ve convinced me to give the show another try. ;)

Positive ThinkingGeoff HolmeThis bit of fiction tickled my brain: from the inciting event (“It was a step-ladder!”) to his wife’s “power of 'Persuasion’” (taking a hardcover to her husband’s noggin’), I thoroughly enjoyed it! The end left me cheering, “good for her!”  Whoever let a little phobia get in the way of their daughter’s wedding?

Presence in the NightrealmommaramblingsAnd here’s another of the brilliantly creepy stories this week. Reading this, I struggled to breathe, feeling that familiar suffocation of a semi-dream state. You know the dream. The one where you’re paralyzed and a shadow is hovering over you, your chest won’t expand to bring in oxygen, and then you’re falling and the ground is coming up fast and then…you’re awake. Only the vision clings to your mind, leaving you to check the closets and under beds. Nicely done.

Ideal Self Christy - Another Sci-Fi twist! This time we find a wife wondering at the changes in her husband, only to realize she’s the one who’s different. His caresses and voice are not the same but perhaps that’s because he knows she isn’t truly his wife? We’re left to speculate. The last lines are chilling–“Checking how Patrice's first day went – if there were any problems with her transfer let us know.” This “duplihuman” protagonist deserves her own novel.  

Fallen ApplerealmommaramblingsWow! Opening with raw dialogue and ending with a clever perspective switch, this story depicts the erosive power of addiction. After enduring hardships a daughter shouldn’t have to survive, the protagonist succumbs to her past demons, proving that the apple truly doesn’t fall far from this rotting tree. So sad.


Special Challenge Champion - The Eyes on the ShelfEmily Clayton - Does it get much creepier than a demonic teddy bear? Probably not. Oh, wait it does. An ex who’s sold his soul to come stalk you! That raspy voice (“I SEE YOU, I SMELL YOU, I TASTE YOU”) chains us to the words as they unfold, building suspense until the final blood-splattered moments. Of all the stories this week, this one delivered the most effective surprise ending. Superb job! I won’t be sleeping tonight.


Runner Up The StrangerRebekah Postupak - Stunning. A novel-worthy story packed into 190 words. “The Stranger” paints a fractured marriage, the efforts a husband takes to fix it, and his wife’s (understandable) reluctance to trust someone who’s failed her. Word economy is perfect in this piece and that final line “sober” adds, wraps, and chills. A powerful piece.



Grand Champion Skin Changerasgardana - I adored this take! The voice, the pace, the originality, all brilliant! One moment it had me laughing (“I was trying to figure out how my husband’s button down bowling shirt made its way around this woman’s breasts”), and the next wanting to dash out the door with her. Oh, and this line: “the noise was not coming from the woman’s mouth but from her skin, her veins”–delicious! Well done.





Monday, May 4, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-44




WOOHOO!!! It's May and I'm an Aunt again! My amazing baby sister had her second beautiful baby girl on Friday! I do love spring, but now I can't wait for summer and the ability to go see her! I hope you are all enjoying spring as much as I am. Go have fun with the prompt!



If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...


Our Judge today is DB Foy. Read her winning tale from last week hereFoy S. Iver is an aspiring author, poet, and flash fictioneer. She enjoys reading the dark and twisted but every vulture needs gliding in sunlight so feel free to express unremitting joy. This very moment (as far as you know) she’s pounding away on the keyboard trying to get 4 stories and a novel to cooperate. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley but in her dreams, she’s climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains. Follow her on Twitter (@fs_iver) and keep up with her journey on the website (http://www.foyiver.com/).






 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-44 is:


[I] didn't know who [he] was, but [he] was definitely not my [husband].





 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Pull off a twist ending.





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!






Thursday, April 30, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-43 - RESULTS!




Congratulations! We had a fun week! If you missed any of the stories (or the one posted late and not judged), go check them out here. Finished? Great! Here's what the judge had to say:



I was really blown away by the stories this week and very grateful to you all for participating. There are some lovely twists, some great imagery and cunning and imaginative uses of the special challenge requirements.

Soooo

A “Dicken” of a Block by Lauren Greene
This was a tale well told of the tyranny of expectation. It isn't easy to stay at the summit. Xavier is in a bind hoping to emulate the Great Man; it was never going to be easy. Loved the ending: ‘If the words wouldn’t come at home, then he’d go to where the words would come... to destination unknown’

Ginger Nut by Susan
Here we have the problem of Ninja the cat and the misconstrued violence. This story has us hoping for a happy outcome, it teases us with that prospect. In truth by half way, any outcome that kept both protagonists alive was to be welcomed. This cat tyranny is beautifully drawn and the final advert a hoot.

Little Book of Horrors by Emily Clayton
A bookbinder with bad news, that is unexpected. The imagery is well done ‘I watched his false teeth jiggle against glistening gums’.  The stress is real enough as the MC ‘clutches an invisible stress ball’. Things look bleak until we realise the bookbinder has muddled the order. Phew.


Special Challenge Champion

…It Was The Worst of Times by Geoff Holme
This is fantastic. Something like ten Dickens titles which is amazing. Linking things looking ‘bleak’ with ‘house’ sales was neat. Also I enjoyed he had no ‘great expectations’ and ‘whistling a Christmas carol’.


Grand Champion

The value of nothing by Foy S. Iver

Where to start? The recurring tocktocktocktock is creepy as hell. The sinister dialogue, the stockbroker’s nerves and the suspiciously calm MC, the mobile toupee getting lost on the ‘otter brown carpet’. There’s something oddly surreal in some of the dialogue. I loved this and it was a convincing winner.