Thursday, January 22, 2015


Wow! You all made it extremely difficult for our judge! If you missed any of the stories, go read them here. (Feel free to make your own comments.) Done? Good. Now let's read what the judge had to say:

This week my thoughts turned toward the tension of paired contrasts: a new day that’s a final day, and a debilitating condition that is itself defeated. And in the funny way these contests sometimes work, you responded in pairs: the brink of suicide (Lauren Green & Margaret Locke), super-human transformation (Dr. Mike Reddy & Christy), condemned prisoners (Mark Driskill & Michael Simko), macabre physical procedures (Holly “Stephen King” Geely & Kate “All Who Agree, Say Eye” Julicher), and even reborn space explorers (Clive Tern & Nancy Chenier). We also had mountain-climbers (Phil Coltrane & AJ Walker), heart-sore near-princesses (Rose Ketring and Tamara Shoemaker), and incurable incapacitations redeemed by technology (Charles Short and Geoff LePard). How do you do that?!

Thank you so much for sharing your fascinating and terrifying and wondering visions here. It was an honor and pleasure seeing through your eyes, if only for a moment. (Of course, with several of your stories, a moment was more than enough, thank you!!!)

Margaret Locke: What a pleasure to see you at FTT! I hope this is the first of many times. J Loved the look at Tourette’s and its possibilities, and I’m so grateful for the introduction to the very real and awe-inspiring Tim Howard. Thank you.

Dr Mike Reddy: LOVED your imagery—esp the sun “kicking off the bedsheets of night,” what a visceral image!—and the nod to the very, very brilliant Oscar Wilde. And a totally fab last line.

AJ Walker: Cheeky boy, daring to write about Rebekah and a dragon! I love how Rebekah’s physical journey from home to monastery to caves mirrors her internal quest for peace. And I am SO glad you allowed her a bit of hope at the end (I was waiting for you to kill her off).

Lauren Greene: What I loved best about your story is the reminder of how we never know how our words may affect others. A single text saved Marty. May our words bring healing too! We can’t know the darkness others may be battling. Thank you for sharing this story.

Holly Geely: This story ought to have been marked NSAL, “Not Safe After Lunch,” haha! This was both gruesome and hilarious at the same time and just about did me in; I didn’t know whether to vomit or howl with laughter. In fact I’m still shrieking over “His father would have supported him, if his mother hadn’t required his liver for that potion.” DARN THE LUCK!!!!

Tamara Shoemaker: This too was some really, really good worldbuilding. I could totally see our outcast mermaid student miserably flopping along while biding her time. What a fun take on the prompt, from windows and sunrises to the bottom of the sea. Really nice.

Rose Ketring: This piece read like a garden; I could almost feel the breeze and smell the wildflowers myself. How incredibly rich a tale, and so gently told.

Charles Short: I really loved the tension here between a man whose contagion demanded absolute isolation and his innate need for companionship. This story read almost like a cautionary tale and reminded me in way of Geoff’s story, in that the marvels of technology ARE amazing, and yet they are not enough. Such a good reminder.

Christy: Ahhhh, Gilbert, and what he sacrificed for the sake of others! The final lines reminded me of the frame of my favorite musical, Aida, in which Radames and Aida, ancient lovers, meet again in modern times. Are there any themes more universal than love and loss? You’ve illustrated them so well here.

Mark Driskill: Like Margaret and Lauren’s protags, your Captain James was saved from suicide by last-minute intervention from others. This is SUCH a huge story. Oh my word, I’ve no idea how you fit it all into 500 words. I so love your imagination; I’m especially dying to know the history (and fate!) of the Meridian Stone.

Kate Julicher: This was some really fantastic storytelling; it read in some ways like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I gorged on as a kid. Well, a combination of those and the urban legend about waking up in the tub with a note saying, Call paramedics as we’ve just harvested a kidney. –What a great read. Terrifying world. May our society NEVER reach the point where we think this sort of thing is okay.

Michael Simko: First off, yes, being a putz always counts, regardless of the category. :D This was a tremendously fun read. I couldn’t help picturing Cap’n Jack Sparrow, with your womanizing egomaniac who probably deserved the execution he was supposed to get but OF COURSE got saved by a very nice woman at the end anyway. What a romp. Thank you!

Nancy Chenier: I’m a huge Robin McKinley fan, so it was impossible for me to read your story without thinking of her mind-speaking black pegasus Ebon and his rider (one of my favorites!). You’ve taken this Ebon in a direction all your own, however; it was satisfying on so many levels to see Ebon’s deepest fears conquered. The relationship between Ebon and Luna (such great names, all of them!) also worked beautifully as they transitioned between kinds of beings and as Ebon found the courage he needed and peace he deserved. And the gorgeous last line WE hoped for. J

Special Challenge Champion: Geoff LePard: I so appreciated looking out of James’ eyes; technology has brought us SO far, and I’m grateful, but there’s still so much it can’t do. James’ own determination earned him the triumph he’s achieved; I’ve rarely felt so proud of a fictional character.

Runner Up: Clive Tern: OHHH the deliciously fabulously wonderful worldbuilding! What *I* would give to smell chappaberry and the sea, or fly in an aelectropede. This is a strong example of what seamless worldbuilding looks like, and it’s used to marvelous effect here. I could spend a lot more time in this world. Hint, hint.

Grand Champion: Phil Coltrane, “A Conversation in the Airport Lounge.” Ahh, the gorgeous Philippines! I wonder which volcano you had in mind?? I love that part of the world, and this scene read so vividly for me. I loved your saucy interpretation of the prompt—chat windows and Tequila sunrises, haha! Some really wonderful repartee here (“I’m clean and sober! Except for the alcohol, of course”) and character development. Complex and interesting perspective, too, with the thoughtful busboy the one painting the picture of the lovers. Unique take, excellent pacing, fresh writing (do you speak Tagalog!?), strong characters, and a man leaving “paradise” to return to his true “paradise”?  That’s a CHAMP tale for me. Awesome work.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Welcome back for another round of mayhem! I'm glad you're here. Go check out the prompts and write a story! Have fun!

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

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 Rebekah Postupakalso known as @postupak or @flashfridayficRead 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 #2-29 is:

[He] [slowly] opened the window to drink in what [he] knew to be [his] very last sunrise.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Give your protagonist a debilitating physical or mental condition. AND write a happy/satisfying ending!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Lovely! Another week of making the judge's life extremely difficult: accomplished! If you missed any of the entries, check them out here. Otherwise, let's read what our judge finally decided:

Firstly, thank you so much, Alissa, for the space you give us to create and share every week. I’m new to #FinishThatThought and have already enjoyed, learned, and grown my fair share. It’s a humbling experience judging when the submissions are leagues deeper than a story you might have spun from your own prompt. Well done everyone.

Wow, special challenges accepted indeed! And Welsh, nonetheless, gorgeous in script and curious on the ears. I love that you used the mechanic use of AC/DC, rather than the artistic. p.s. Now I want stew!

Such an original take on the prompt! Confession: I’ve never been to a concert but if the world ending is a good parallel to what it feels like, I’m scouring the internet for tickets right this second. The mother-daughter interactions could melt the heart of the Abominable Snow Man. Simply lovely.

You’ve captured the odd moments-“the dirty dishes in my sink”- of a brain in trauma well. Such a horrific event. As writers, artists, fellow mortals we are bound to take note and mourn with their loved ones. Well done.

Dark and soaring. Just the style I love. Countless times I read and caught my breath over the words you wove together: “The voice intones, priest-like, calling the worshipful to prayer,” “Faith alone tells me the rock roof is a kilometre away,” “all the other dimensions known, unknown and unknowable.” And the last line? Brilliance.

Flash Fiction at its best. You’ve packed so much into so few words. Some relationships, when they end, feel like our “own personal Pralaya, Ragnarok, Armageddon” and you’ve created just that sense of closing. Spectacular.

Everything from the title to the tone of this piece matches the theme. The beginning coasts to a start, smooth, almost as if Ong Namo is playing in the background and then-*records being scrubbed* “AC/DC's Highway to Hell.” Delicious contrast throughout!

This. When I wrote this prompt this was the story dancing in the corners of my mind only you’ve spun imagery (“Stars blink out like old Christmas lights and the entire fabric of time is obliterated around me like a crayon left out in the sun”) and conjured phrases (“suffocating darkness and casts it asunder”) far more eloquently than I could. Never stop writing.

This piece still has me laughing! Every word carries its weight (choosing “virile” as the rhyming word for “mobile” - perfect). The Dragon Mistress has breathed fiery life into this story and we should fear for our lives. Benedict Cumberbatch would be proud.

Special Challenge Champion: Doctor Mike Reddy

For rising to the occasion and incorporating not three but all of the special challenge words. So ambitious!

Grand Champion:  Rebekah Postupak

Honestly, this choice surprised me. Not because it isn’t well written- my goodness it’s incredible- but because I’m usually a sucker for the dark and soaring. And it isn’t at all what I pictured stemming from the prompt. However, when I am drawn into the mind and body of a character, when I feel like their words are tickling the tiny hairs in my ears, or I could glance over their shoulder and help them solve a Four Pictures One Word puzzle, that is when I know I’m in the presence of genius. I want to be you when I grow up.

(Me, too!)

Monday, January 12, 2015


Welcome back! A new week, a new judge, a new opportunity for you to share your stories with us. So come, check out the prompt, and get started!

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

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 here! Foy grew up writing fantasy with minimal plagiarism and poems full of whimsy. As puberty set in, her rhymes turned tormented and her stories existential. Thankfully, finding the other half of her orange cleared that up. Next came four years of professors demanding words bound by MLA and APA which sucked every bead of ink out of her. A recent transfusion administered by the Shenandoah Valley Writers has her poetry pink and her fiction flash. Steer clear of her ramblings by not clicking on this link and definitely don’t follow @db_foy on Twitter (she hasn’t figured out how to work it out yet).

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-28 is:

No one expects to watch [the world implode], [atoms] splitting, [time] melting, but here [I am].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include 3 of the following – A vat of soup, the Milky Way, crayons, Pad Thai, AC/DC, a copier machine, or a word in any language other than English.  


Thursday, January 8, 2015


The judge sent this to me amazingly fast (something made possible by it being daytime when the contest ended in her time zone!), but my email didn't cooperate. Ah well, here are her comments at the usual time rather than freakishly early. Congrats to all the writers this week, you made it tough! If you missed any of the stories, go here to read them. Now, read the judge's comments:

@Michaelsimko: Somewhat disturbing imagery of a sloth like couple who, for some reason only have eyes for each other. Very entertaining tale of trailer trash love. I loved the little twist at the end. The Aussie slang was somewhat questionable though.

@zevonesque: Sweet story about a girl reluctant to fall in love. I enjoyed her paranoia and skepticism, kind of reminded me of myself. I'm not sure about trading Coke off for Pepsi though haha. 

@Laurenegreene: Loved how many times you got the name of Coca-Cola in there. Made me thirsty. What a romantic little love story it was.

@JamieRHersh: What a horrible story, so well written. I love how the story takes you right there, right at that moment and then the penny drops. It was actually very powerful.

@AlexandriaMWolf: Who doesn't love a story about kittens and people who love kittens? I'm glad she got to keep her and what a great name for a kitty.

@KL_Phelps: Anyone who appreciates that Pepsi is not a worthy substitute for Coke is okay with me. An entertaining story about love at first sight. I thought for a moment that maybe the phone number might be smudged from the spilled coke. Lucky!

@goldzco21: I think the couple in this story need some serious therapy haha. I loved the end, where she says she is joking. Well written and fun to read about love gone wrong.

@geofflepard: I think I need to sympathise with the teacher here. Okay..only because I was one, but still! Nice way to twist the beginning sentence. I liked the loyalty of the blonde girl as well.

@db_foy: I love this. It is such a clever take on the prompt and is extremely relate able. Hang on.. did she read my blog?

@annae394: Perfectly timed story with a lovely sentiment. Young love and any excuse to talk to each other. I really enjoyed this.

Special Challenge Champion: Lauren Greene
The special challenge winner is @Laurenegreene. Not only was her story entertaining but I doubt Coca-Cola's paid advertisements, mention Coke as much as she did in this story. Well done.

Grand Champion: DB Foy
The grand champion was so hard to choose. I tossed up between three entries for some time before I realised that @db_foy story was a stand out. How could a fellow writer and mother of 6 not relate to that? I loved everything about this little tale of everyday life.

Thanks for entering everyone and thank you Alissa for letting me be a part of it. I had so much fun.

Monday, January 5, 2015


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Hopefully you're in the swing of things now (and haven't flubbed your resolutions quite yet!), and are ready to sit down and write a fun story. I have a bazillion goals for this year, but I'll put those in a separate post eventually (Hmmm, apparently being more timely in my blog isn't one of them...). :) Go check out the prompt and get started on your story, while I go and actually write down all the goals I have for this year...

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

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 Suzie Jay, also known as @zeeyone3. Read her winning tale from last week here! Check out her blog here, and her facebook author page here. Suzie is a mum of six. She used to be a school teacher, but escaped. She lives in Adelaide, Australia with her husband and way too many children and pets. Now, while her youngest two babies are growing up, she's taking a shot at her dream and is in the process of publishing her first book. She would love the company of some semi-sane people on this adventure, so feel free to like her facebook page.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-27 is:

[I'm] not much of a hearts and flowers type, so it had me wondering what spell had been cast to make [me] feel so [schmoopy].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include Coca-Cola.

Also, extra-special challenge: no fantasy or sci-fi 


Friday, January 2, 2015


Happy New Year!!! Thanks for all who turned out for our last competition of 2014! The judge had a little extra time to work around holiday plans, but he got his comments to me this morning. Then I was out all day. Ah well, you have his decisions now. If you missed any of the stories, go here to read all the entries. Now read what the judge had to say:

Welcome to the last Finish that Thought for 2014 / the first judging of 2015. Apologies for the delay in judging, I was weighing if I should proclaim my love for the stories or face the consequences. Thankfully, for yours truly, the stories were amazing.
Something in the threat line that takes people to deities and dragons.

What a fantastic take on the brackets in the prompts. An alien contact story from that prompt — great imagination.

Wow what visuals, “the 100 year old, half blind, obese kelpie dog onto me”. This does a wonderful job of getting us into the head of the Queen. A wee bit of punctuation errors, but the story is lovely.

“The seed planted in pain strives to bloom.” Chills. Fantastic voice captures the epic feel. Amazing how “big” this feels in four-hundred words.

You just rewrote science class. I loved this from the start, and it kept building throughout. It invoked images of American Gods in my mind — and that’s a wonderful thing.

Master storytelling. I can’t help but picture the grandfather from Princess Bride reading the story. You know a story works when you have concern for characters, here’s hoping Tommy shrugs it off.

Mark Driskill
The devotees commit suicide instead of denouncing their faith. What a great take on the prompt. You did a great job invoking the battles of the Reformation.

A work so compelling I caught myself reading it aloud. This is a masterclass in how to quickly establish a conflicted character. The preciseness of language is startling.

I’m still snickering at the gourdan. I read that and thought it was a typo, then the next line delivers how wonderful it is. A stabbing eight-year-old, I love it. Very fun and quirky story.

This story switches from a romance, to a stalker-story, to a touching reunion so fast that the transformation is breathtaking.

Either there was a draft when I read the ending of this or you were able to draw out goosebumps. Well played. I love how Ben is the one who did the forgiving and was the agent of change.

Dragons!  Love the dragon throwing down the threat. There are some amazing lines here, “ruling this world with iron and petals”. “Or Not” is a great second line. This piece sounds like it could power a whole book.

“And before you knew it, I was sitting there in reflective dialogue.” Hahahaha. I’m still snickering at this. Experimental fiction is such a joy to read. On reread, this brings to mind Fight Club.

“Yes, what would be the point of letting you live if you are not going to serve me?” Indeed. Fantastic fiction. Great job incorporating the evil and good tales. I knew where this was going and still loved going on the ride. Wonderful story.

The dragons are out in force this week. How fun to be the sacrificial maiden given to the dragon (at least, I read it as a dragon). The final line leaves me wanting to know if she felt love or if that is the flames coming.

Special Challenge Champion: Lady Rosewood by @JentopiaWrites. Risk meet reward. The father and daughter have a chance to rekindle their relationship in a heartwarming story.

Grand Champion: Suzie Jay.

I can’t help but love the charm of this piece. I read it aloud and my daughter said how much she loved it. This takes me back to the magic of finding “secret chambers”. What a fun way to start the year