Monday, September 29, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-13




Hiya! Miss me? So glad to have you back this week! We had to shuffle around a bit as our Grand Champion from last week is off camping this week... But Voimaoy, the Special Challenge Champion, stepped up gracefully and with much excitement! So without further ado, go check out her prompts!



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.
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 Voimaoy, also known as @voimaoy. Check out her blog here. Read her Special Challenge-winning tale from last week here! Voimaoy lives in Oak Park, IL on the western edge of Chicago. She loves the possibilities of flash fiction. she has a blog, ChicagoWeatherWatch, where she writes about nature, weather, and other things.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-13 is:



The day it all began, the sky [was gray and rainy].



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include 2 or more of the following:
1. A map
2. A number
3. An alien (or aliens)
4. A made-up word
5. A question




 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!









Thursday, September 25, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-12 - RESULTS!




WOW! If you missed any of the amazing stories from Tuesday, go here to read them now! Seriously, you don't want to miss even one! Back? Good. Now let's read what the judge had to say about all that awesomeness:




General comments: Magic lamps simply can't compete with the power and wonder wrought by a flash fiction writer's imagination. You're probably tired of hearing it, but one of the (many) joys of a contest like this one is found in the myriad directions each writer takes a prompt. Two wishes spent; one left. Are these figurative wishes? magical wishes? And our last chance for what? The real prompt here was desperation, a thing writers may understand better than anyone else, and ohhh did you bring it in spades. Thank you for sharing your stories and your wishes here.

Tamara Shoemaker, "Thief." The magic here is cruel, as a mother watches her child suffer illness. Talk about desperation! This one was a tough read, right down to the knife-thrust at the end. At the same time, I really love how, in a twist on convention, you made fantastical elements literal. A car's blurred headlights as the Cyclops? Wonderful. And the curse of the mother's blood, contrasted with the wishes she'd made, makes for a tragic and emotional conclusion. So much pain, so beautifully told here.

Drmagoo, Untitled. Seriously, "supercilious simulacrum"???? FAB. U. LOUS. I'm going to find ways to use this in casual conversations; it's just magnificent. This game show-turned-video game was such a blast, the Cyclops without depth perception, Morganna the Kissing Bandit, and a game show hosted by a Genie? These characters are fresh and funny, and made this piece a true delight to read.

JM MacF, "Your Wish is My Command." Loved this story told from a genie's POV, which came across as a unique (and incredibly frustrated!) perspective. I wonder how careless we are with wishes on a daily basis? "Be careful what you wish for," is the adage, and one you illustrated so well here (though I do know people for whom a lifetime supply of bacon may genuinely be among their top three wishes!!). The genie's longing for a master to make a wise wish is almost palpable. Nice.

Stella, "Winning is Not Always Wise." What a trip! (hahaha) It was refreshing to meet a character whose wish was actually, it would seem, the right one for once. The Mars trip interpreted as candy and a sporting protest (Go, Spurs!), along with the genie's perhaps too-close-to-home observation were hilarious. I'd love to know what the genie thought after she made her wish! Stuffing her face with candy at the end was just perfect, a wonderfully self-centered balance to her two self-centered wish-mates. Such fun. And extra points for bringing me Cadbury.

Michael Seese, "The Final Wish." Now THIS was a labyrinth, haha! Your chatty asides had me laughing out loud; I think my favorite was, "(b)roken glass, razor wire, cobras." Totally snorted on that one. The appearance of the avatar at the end capped the adventure perfectly, sort of like Tron but with humor and sarcasm, and what a perfect ending. Like the maze itself, this story twisted and turned and dragged me, laughing, along with it. A great read.

David Shakes, Untitled. HOWLED. Talk about wishes gone wrong!!! this was just brilliant, from the island stranding to the parrot needing its mouth washed with soap, to Pamela Anderson. Love, love, love this sentence: "A strange smile crept across Jim's face and I knew we were doomed." Just wonderful. I can totally envision how the rest of their days will play out. Let's see, the parrot's first, and then....? This story had it all: adventure, plotting, humor. A riot.

Voimaoy, "Battle of Wits." With a title like that, my expectations soared, and you did not disappoint. I love that you took the story to a place I didn't expect: choosing sides for a magnificent, otherworldly exhibition game. It's hard to imagine having a cyclops and Cerberus on one's team yielding disaster--but you pulled it off spectacularly. And I think this may have been my favorite ending line of all the stories this round: "Across the arena, my first officer was laughing. 'I'll take the dragon,' she said." (Right up there with another great line, "Why hadn't I thought of Godzilla?") What a glorious attitude to balance out the MC's grim despair. A blast from start to finish.

Necwrites, "Loose Lips." Another totally hilarious piece, the two seniors stuck in hell thanks to careless wishes. I am in awe of how you so artfully incorporated the backstory halfway through--that was some serious craft, Nancy. And my goodness. Allergic to hell's brimstone/mildew? and calling Cerberus "doggie"? I just about lost it. I would give a great deal to read this story's next scene. How does one explain a three-headed hellhound to the super?? Great imagination, marvelous characterization here.

JenFaust, Untitled. This story may have come closest to my Arabian Nights-inspired vision, with the man, his magic ring, and the mysterious woman at the oasis. I loved how Rashad stamped his foot and caused a coconut to plummet--too funny. And like some of the best tales in history, this genie appears to be deliciously untrustworthy. What is this glowing ring, and who is Layla? I have a feeling quite a few more adventures await for these characters! Such a vivid and colorful world you've built for them. Great job.

Taryn Noelle Kloeden, "The Cost." Fairy tale mixups/mashups are one of my favorite concepts, and you've pulled one off here with originality and style. The old woman demanding her question be answered before granting the wish reminded me of some of my favorite myths and that fabulous scene from Monty Python ("What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"). It's compelling reading that kept pulling me forward in the way of the best sorts of stories. And while Ali Baba's Morgiana (the inspiration behind the prompt) is a great deal nicer than who yours turned out to be, you made the whole thing a delightful ride.

Mysoulstears, "Wishes Are a Bitch to Make." Perfection. I mean it. I love how you started in the rather dark, eerie present before catapulting us back into an almost flippant past. Not only did that very cool trick deliver the necessary backstory, but you contrasted the blissful ignorance of the characters' past with their far different, totally intriguing current situation. This story reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, "Half-Magic," where innocent wishes made on a coin similarly turned out not nearly how the wishers expected. Except this was the grownup, darker, funnier, more gripping version. It was intelligent, thought-provoking, and elegantly structured. I loved every bit.

Case Rose, "Nothing Better." Oh, this story was just lovely. If JM MacF's corresponding adage was, "Be careful what you wish for," yours must be, "The grass is always greener on the other side." It was so hard watching the MC's wishes turn out in the expected but tragic way they did. I really love how you unfolded the outcome with a sort of grim humor. That middle part was just awesome: "Also a pigeon pooped all over me. It could have been coincidence, but being really rich had started to feel like there was some bad juju attached." What a brilliant example of showing/not telling, in sketching this character for us and letting us figure him out on our own. And what I particularly love is the implied personality of the genie, whose silence at the MC's last wish must surely connote surprise, or respect. A really lovely tale, well-executed, and beautifully ended.


WINNERS

Chocolate award: Stella, because I counted at least four chocolate bars, which means two for each hand, which means bliss.

Best phrase award: Drmagoo, Supercilious simulacrum. 'Nuff said.

Special Challenge Champion: Voimaoy, for pulling off a genius battle in the vein of aliens vs zombies, with a genie/Jeanie, Cerberus, and cyclops losing to a Morgiana, Godzilla, and dragon. I would pay to watch such a thing.


Grand Champion: Mysoulstears. Not "just" funny, not "just" a good read. "Wishes" brings character development, sophisticated structure, snappy dialogue, and a fantastic ending, rounding off a really, really good piece of flash.







Monday, September 22, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-12




Welcome, welcome! I'm so glad you could join us again this week. I am prepared to be wowed. You all bring your A-game every week, so I'm not worried. Go check out the prompt and get writing. :)



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.
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 Rebekah Postupak, also known as @postupak or @flashfridayfic. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here. When not fretting over her dragons, Rebekah spends her time goofing off at Flash! Friday and picking her jaw up off the ground over how amazing today’s flash writers are. She apologizes in advance for all the mischief about to ensue at FTT.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-12 is:



Two wishes wasted; this third and final one was [our] last chance.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include at least two of the following: a genie, a magic carpet, a magic lamp, a magic ring, a Grand Vizier, a clever woman named Morgiana, a talking bird, Cerebrus, a Cyclops!




 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-11 - RESULTS!




Phew! I think I may still be dripping with pie filling and crust...Yum! :) If you missed any of the entries, go check them out here. I you want to know what our judge thought of those entries... keep reading! :) Congratulations to all!




mysoulstears, Untitled: I enjoyed your twist of a demon making the man kill the people. Favorite line: "Instead, I studied the details of their flapping wings as they moved in slow motion."

Rebekah Postupak, The Date: Loved the dialogue between your characters, nice to know that even other species can have horrible first blind dates. Favorite line: "Ant germs are not a threat I find concerning."

Casey Rose, A Good Hostess: Brought back childhood memories of some food fights between my siblings and myself. Enjoyed your description of the picnic. Chuckled at the brother being a ninja. Favorite line: "Fury took over as I sunk my white gloves into the depths of the ruined red pie, grabbed a handful and flung it into my brother's face."

S. Todd Strader, Preeminent Turpitude: Loved the title. I must admit (blushes with shame) that I did have to look up "turpitude" as I was unfamiliar with the word. Favorite line: "You cannot just incoherently string words together and call it fiction."

justpratibha, A Tall order: I loved the concept of invisible fire. Favorite line: "Is there any school that teaches not to step in the forest of invisible fire?"

geofflepard, Untitled: I got a good laugh over  the "magic "mushrooms. Favorite line: "Instantly the bushes thrashed and the bough of a tree cracked as a gangly and oddly dressed wolf struggled into our clearing."

JM MacF, The Last Piece of Pi: I love a good pun so yes, pi in all its geeky detail counts! I liked the way they were using pi to fight over the pie. Favorit line: "Nah. let 'em experience Alberta in all its glory."

christianflashweekly, The Art of Persuasion: Enjoyed your SciFi twist. Favorit line: "I also smiled that they had created and hidden an escape plan, right beside where our blanket would be put."

@goldzco21, Love and Picnics: I liked your lover's triangle. Favorite line: "An explosion of cream, walnuts, and pie crust flew everywhere."



Special Challenge Runner Up: Casey Rose, A Good Hostess. Loved the interaction between the siblings and your description of the pie's demise.

Special Challenge Champion: JM MacF, The Last Piece of Pi. Geeks of the world unite!


Grand Champion: Rebekah Postupak, The Date. You had me with:" It's just an ant." The germaphobic dragon was just too much!





Monday, September 15, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-11




Welcome back for another round! I'm not gonna chit chat today because I'm reading a book and I want to get back to it. :) So go check out the prompt and write something awesome - I'll be done with this and looking for something else to read soon. Have fun!



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.
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 Emily Karn. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here. Here's what she has to say about herself: I am a fifty-year old woman living in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State, I love reading, writing, cooking, and assorted crafts. I am the person of a cat.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-11 is:


Little did we realize that the peace and quiet of our country afternoon picnic was soon to be rudely shattered.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a pie fight in all its gory detail!




 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








Thursday, September 11, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-10 - RESULTS!




Aaaaaaaand we have results!!!! (Phew! Good thing, this is the results page!) Thanks for all your brilliant entries, once again! I am continually amazed at where each of you chooses to take the prompt. Kudos. If you missed any of them, go read them here. Otherwise, TO THE JUDGING!



I know people have said it before and I agree: this was much harder than I thought. There are elements of each story that are absolutely golden. And I learned quite a few things from the life lessons that I will take to heart: manners go a long way, chinchilla’s should not be purple but purple hair on a human can save a life. Who knew?


But onto my very sophisticated and noteworthy opinions of your stories….



Lori “A Tasty Lesson Never Learned” – If only Anna had been a little more observant! Love how you adapted the prompt to be a baker specifically and the setup for her walking into the house is very well done. “The sounds of dinner cooking and dad yelling at Dodger to take the garbage out before dinner, were absent.” – the tone of that sentence changed the whole piece from being about Anna to being about a bigger picture. Really well done with the phrasing. What made you phrase it that way instead of simply saying, “She didn’t hear the sounds of….”? So much more powerful by explaining the norm and then saying “…were absent.”



Emilykarn “The Not So Great Escape” – My first thought was “I can’t believe someone wrote about a grandma being kidnapped!” and was delightfully surprised that she was snarky and no harm came to her!  The details you included were poetic and I was able to see a neon-green haired old lady driving a lipstick-red Cadillac around town. Not just red, but lipstick-red which is such a simple modifier that says so much. And I guess criminals dumb enough to kidnap grandma are dumb enough to get caught. Great balance of humor in this piece. Well done.



Stella “Plums” – Lots of great stuff going on. There is an unhappy, stuck wife who is trying to rationalize her lifestyle by living in the moment with an unsupportive husband. And a stranger at the door who is just glad to escape and find some company. Not sure if you intended this or not but I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Anna being “on a course of mindfulness” and “meditating over her quandary” and the first thing she says out loud is, “oh for God’s sake!” Such a simple way of deepening her character. Again, not sure if that was your intention but well done! The ending feels like she is going to leave her hair purple forever, leave her husband and run off with John! (At least that’s what I hope she does!)



Geafflepard.com “Just a little prick” – How can you go wrong in a story where someone is smothered by a paper mache mask?  Made out of plastic surgery brochures of all things! Such beautiful irony. I like how the levels of crazy just keep building and Anna manages to creep out the creepy. Bits of humor peppered in really made this story: “having such a major procedure as a tattoo” and “this is trusting” when she goes inside. And I had to look up “kerfuffle” to make sure it was a real word and I definitely plan on using it in my everyday vocabulary.



JM MacF “The Tragedy of Mrs. Chibbles: A tale from Persimmon Hallow” – You pulled us right into your universe and told us what was what. What about the prompt made you decide to write animals instead of humans? I really enjoyed the breaking of the fourth wall and speaking directly to the reader. So we have a vain, attention seeking Chinchilla whose strutting gets her killed. Yes, I believe it.  I like this world, I think I’ll stay and have a look around.



Michael Simko “Judgement” – The flow of this story is really well done. The religious and moral overtones throughout the story show the succinct way in which Chloe rationalizes her decisions.  Her logic is almost like reading her diary. You very eloquently capture how on the path to being a “good” person one often steps on others to get there. I would recommend the movie “Seven” if you are interested in a somewhat creepy rendition of how people’s sins get them killed. Really enjoyed this story. I would definitely read more stories about “The Maid”.



Di Eats the Elephant “Perdido” – Great rendition of the opening line. I really loved the dialogue in this. I got the perfect image of “creek rat” children always either causing trouble or seeking it out.  “I ain’t never seen a mass murderer. I reckon this is my only chance.”- from this line onward I’m am 100% on Skeeter’s side and I am on board with whatever plot he has to be a part of the action. His plan is backyard brilliance. And their shenanigans pay off when they catch the murderer.



@goldzco21 “End Game” – One killer conning another. Yes please! As soon as Stitches said “I’m up on the north side, by 38th” I knew something was weird. Honestly, I thought Chef was going to hunt down Stitches but it makes him almost more evil to use the system to his own advantage against his buddy. Love the concept of the game and how when Stitches finally gets ahead he is already another step behind.



SPECIAL CHALLENGE RUNNER UP: @goldzco21 “End Game” – One evil cancels out another and the braggart learns that the hard way.



SPECIAL CHALLENGE CHAMPION:  Michael Simko “Judgement” – Well written and really took the special challenge to heart.  “The righteousness made her feel better” and killed her in the end.



RUNNER UP: JM MacF “The Tragedy of Mrs. Chibbles: A tale from Persimmon Hallow” – For the affirmation that Chinchilla’s should not be purple.




GRAND CHAMPION: Emilykarn “The Not So Great Escape” – The guy kidnapped grandma and if he had manners he would’ve gotten away with it.








Monday, September 8, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-10




Happy September! Hope you've had a great first week of it. Thanks for coming back to join us. I've been an editing fiend recently, so I haven't been taking a lot of time to be online. ...I really love making progress again. So while I'm marking up my manuscript, you all go write something amazing. Make me smile. :) (And have fun!) HAVE AT YOU!



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.
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 Rasha Tayaket. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here. Here's what she has to say about herself: I like reading and I like writing. I write what I like to read and I read what I aspire to write. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but either way I enjoy the ride!




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-10 is:


The day [Anna dyed her hair purple] was the day the news broke that notorious mass murderer [John "The Chef" Baxter] had escaped from police custody.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Incorporate some type of life lesson or moral.




 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!