Monday, April 21, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #42




Welcome back! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the prompt this week! (And I had it posted HOURS ago!!! Woohoo! :) ) I can SO identify with the prompt sentence this week! Anyone with young children can relate! Can I get an Amen? (For that matter, anyone with a demanding job...or a video game addiction...or is a teenager...or a writer...can relate. (As can anyone else who's not a toddler.)) So... let me hear about it! Go write! :)



If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, 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 Erin Blake
also known as @sneaky_monkee. Read her winning tale from last week here!



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #42 is:


Sleep is a marvelous thing.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Ducks. Just... ducks.



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!



Thursday, April 17, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #41 - RESULTS!




Well, we had an eventful time with that fire! Thanks to everyone who participated! If you missed any of the stories, go read them here. Much to my chagrin, the special challenge was a cliffhanger... I can't stand cliffhangers! So, now you all need to tell me what happened next in your story. Just feel free to leave a comment below... please? Please? *sigh* Okay, now to read what the judge had to say:



What a group of stories you all gave me this week. There was a little bit of everything and that’s all a judge can hope for.

Snellopy
What a large world you have created in such a small space. I craved to know more about Ik-Naa and her kind, Kthakii, who seemed fierce and deadly.  Beardlings. Their watchfire had been ineffective for none of the lesser beings could make out the form of a Kthakii as it hunted silently on moonless nights such as this. While things were hinted at I wished for more as I read. More about why Ik-Naa was killing so many creatures and the purpose behind it. I would like to see where you could go with this start.

Stella
How fascinated I was with this story. Twists came left and right. From one paragraph to the next small things were revealed that opened my eyes to the story at hand. This was the type of story that needed to be reread just to see the layers. One part I really enjoyed was in the first paragraph. There were sausages sizzling on the barbecue, marshmallows browning and glasses of punch ready for the final toast. So much was set up during this sentence and it really helped strike you with the soft summer day that would change so much for these ladies. And by the end I couldn't help but chuckle softly at the old woman, err, I mean young woman.

Kate
I had some trouble understanding this story. It was unclear if your treatment of the prompt was a joke or an insult. Either way, I enjoyed the references to being a writer. More detail about the imp would have helped bring this story to life. They are portrayed in so many different ways throughout history that I think this one could have been crafted a little more dramatically.

Emily
The intro was very well done. I enjoyed how you continued with the description of the scene. Dark shadows capered threateningly against the jungle's foliage. The barbaric, carved stone idols seemed alive. The heavy, humid air was rank with the usual odors of rot and decay, newly overlaid with the scents of blood and seared flesh. The scene was set up quickly and efficiently. A thrilling ending lead to an excellent cliffhanger. I wish more came to light as to why Heather felt connected to the jungle, this was a bit vague. If that connection were tightened it would be more believable why she was numb to her father’s death.

Casey
Summer at 16 fell into place so perfectly at the beginning of this story. Sara was no longer using the long stick to move the logs into optimal positioning to keep the fire hot but out of the sheer enjoyment that came from engaging with the fire without parental supervision. The closeness of these girls was set up well with their backstory and created a more powerful story later on. Both of these girls are so incredibly strong in different ways. Cara might seem weak to some but it takes a lot to not cry for help. It may seem stubborn but it's a level of strength few have. Not saying she doesn’t absolutely need help (Anyone in this position does) which creates such a great friend and person in Sara. To get help for your best friend takes a love and commitment that you are willing to fight for. What a truly amazing piece.

Dr magoo
Oh to be deserted on a remote planet by yourself with wolf-like creatures! Talk about bad luck. And scary. The story description flowed well as the story went along. You built a strong story through the details that this man was experiencing. The last sentences sent shivers down my spine. They weren’t passing me by – they were coming towards me. That was when I felt the touch on my shoulder. There is something about the unknown things in the dark that is cringe-worthy and you succeeded in just that.

Samantha
What an eerie story! Now I definitely will be unable to sleep tonight! I appreciated how you continued with the sentence flow given in the prompt. He was momentarily drowned out by the wind picking up outside. It ripped through the trees and howled into the cave, shrieking its rage for all to hear. The forest outside was whipped into a frenzy, the trees groaning and crashing amid the sudden onslaught. Through your descriptions the world around this cavern came flowing off of the screen and into my mind. I thought it was great how the high priest kept getting pulled into ritual as it continued. The others so quickly fled when things began to grow into a scary reality. Which all led up to that ending!

Erin
There are certain relationships people run across in life that are both passionate and toxic. This piece gave them both in equal measures. The main character's defiance (that you can't help but smile at) and her doubt that led to indecision which her new fiancé easily kissed away. And all of this conflict was scattered with splashes of excellent detail. I prodded the fire again. With a loud HOOSH, one of the larger logs fell and rolled out of the stone circle in a violent spray of sparks. Where the story went at the end was an excellent twist. It left me with both pity for the girl and curiosity to see where it would lead.


Special Challenge Runner Up: Emily - When volcanoes erupt and the ground splits open things get exciting. But when you stop a story when statues come to life, well now that makes for a cliffhanger!


Special Challenge Winner: Samantha - With your descriptions you set up this cliffhanger to perfection. What could possibly go well with a latin demon that has been hidden in a cave for thousands of years? Oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING!


Runner Up: Casey - From the summer of being a Sweet 16 to the betrayal of a best friend, this story was beautiful and thought provoking. Every teenage girl not only deserves such a deep friendship but also a best friend who would face wrath so great to save them.


Grand Champion: Erin - So much came out of this story in unexpected ways. From the subtleties like their worn clothes to the way the man kissed all fear away, the reader can be pulled in so deeply to the story. Wonderful job!



Once again, great job everyone! And congratulations Erin! I pass on the torch and look forward to next week’s prompt.



Monday, April 14, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #41




WELCOME BACK! I'm posting this last minute again (what is up with me lately???), so I won't beat around the bush. I certainly don't need to! There's fire! So go write about it! :)



If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, 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 Caitlin Siem also known as 
@CaitlinStatus. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #41 is:


With every prod the fire crackled and danced, illuminating the night with vermillion flames.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a cliffhanger.



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #40 - RESULTS!




Woohoo! So much fun, as usual! If you missed any of the stories, you can read them all here. Otherwise, let's read what the judge had to say (Thanks, Jeff!):



As always, it's a lot of fun to see how many imaginative variations can be made from a single opening line. This was a very tough call since all of the stories had something to recommend them.

Casey Rose and her story Just Desserts was an outstanding reminder, while it is possible to have your pie and eat it too, it may not be the tasty treat you are accustomed to.

Amy Wood and her story The Glittering Gems will then be Thine had me thinking "the family that steals together feels together." Somehow, I doubt there won't be more mayhem in their future.

Asekingprincess17 with the story Murmade had me wondering just what exactly the girl was taking camera phone photos of. I'm not quite sure I totally got this story but I have my dense moments.


Judge's Challenge Champion:  Snellopy for his untitled story.  This was a very poignant and emotional story in such a small space. The sense of loss underlying the innocence of children was priceless.  The inclusion of the gemstone challenge was seamless and very natural.

Runner Up: Lurchmunster for his tale of Dragons and Angels. This was a nicely-done fantasy snippet and could easily be expanded into a fuller and more lengthy tale. I'd be interested to know exactly what happened to put the two at odds with each other so violently.

Grand Champion: @CaitlinStatus for Guarded Secrets. This was a delightfully-blended mix of secret love mixed with a valiant quest and capped off with an impressive snippet of treachery and betrayal. I would like to think someday this less-than-honorable princess will see the error of her ways but I suspect she may not. Nevertheless, underneath it all she got a fine lesson that being a person of privilege doesn't mean you get everything you want in life. 
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #40




This week is brought to you by the lovely Rebekah Postupak... She mentioned to me on Facebook that she was excited that FTT was going to be posting soon - AND I HAD TOTALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT IT! DOH! If not for her reminder, this lovely prompt would've been pathetically late. So, thank you, Rebekah. And thank you to those writers who check back faithfully every week - even if you don't write something - I love that you share your stories and your hearts with us. So anyway, write on and big hugs! Thanks for stopping by! :)



If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, 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 Jeffrey Hollar also known as 
@klingorengi. Check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #40 is:


[He] stood in the [doorway], unable to believe what he [saw].



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a precious gemstone as a component of the story.



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #39 - RESULTS!






I'm so excited that we had so many great stories this week! If you missed reading any of them, go here to catch up - you don't want to miss them! Without further ado, here's what the judge had to say (Thanks, Rebekah!):




Comments: I'm not sure why I thought of fire from the sky--maybe something to do with our planet's recent tragedies, or maybe a general lack of sleep. In any event, fire fell in my head and I could not stop it. What a pleasure it was diving deep into your stories of raging flames of all colors and textures. So many charred villages! (And let's not forget the llamas.) Thank you for taking the time to build worlds and craft characters here at FTT. Your time and talents are so appreciated. 

Story comments (in the order of submission):

Jess West: I LOVED the concept of a "fire caller." Even before I discovered what you meant, I knew I wanted to be one. The world-building here knocked my socks off with its vibrancy: a people nourished by flames, and a novice fire caller for whom things seem to be going very wrong. A totally compelling read. 

Emily Karn: Like Jess's fire caller, a Fire Lord is a magnificent and thoroughly enjoyable concept. Hugh reminded me a bit of Montag from Fahrenheit 451 in his hatred of and obsession with fire--becoming a fireman after such a horrific childhood trauma. I especially appreciated the way you carried his secret through the story until its violent and surprising unveiling at the end.

Pratibha: What a powerful and sophisticated contrast between the opening's angry dragonfire and the quiet peace of the yellow flowers. As Jess commented, it's a story almost seen in periphery, and it needs an extra reading or two to sift through the MC's pain/fear to what's really going on (and I love stories that make you work a bit. It's like Alison Crutchley's (@AccidentoBizaro) advice in her interview last week at #SixtySeconds: "Find all the bits that make it obvious what’s going on in your story, and cut them"). And the twist was spectacular, in one blow both solving and unraveling the story.

Caitlin: Having a beloved sister myself, I'm a sucker for sister tales (yes, I therefore think "Frozen" must be one of the best movies of all time), and "Pure" was no exception. The magic here was wonderful and interesting, and what gorgeous dueling parallels between the water and fire magics, the pure and impure hearts, and the two sisters. Wrenching that final opposition into a love triangle was a masterful step (or misstep, I suppose; poor Moira). Loved, LOVED the last line's echo of the opening; what a satisfying if awful ending.

Casey Rose: This story is both gorgeous and painful. The dancing fireflies' inner light served as a powerful metaphor for the MC's own inner fiery demons. How I hoped that the abused girl would not follow in her mother's evil ways but alas, I hoped in vain. We are not told just how she begins to cause fire from the sky herself, but we can guess. The tale is both tragic and angering, because it's all too possible, and the horrors are all too real. Beautifully and powerfully written.

Stella: What FABULOUS and memorable character, the pathological liar whose poison oozed from childhood. The name she chose for her new life is of course reminiscent (and contrasting) of the equally disturbed and frightening mother/son pair in Psycho. That her nemesis turned out to be her own son is satisfying on many levels, as well as his inability to truly defeat her. I love how you've left the ending vague: are they dead together (is the world safe?), or does the supernatural tone of the final lines mean they will together wreak their horrors on the world? Either way is terrifying. Great job.


M.T.: Wonderful, wonderful use of voice here. I almost didn't care what the plot was, the story was just so darn readable. But of course then the plot itself hurtles through the air at breakneck speed, taking the reader with it. You twisted the prompt on its head by planting your MC right in the fire itself. The falling angels and squad of "smoke jumpers" combine into an action-packed story of rescues, near misses, and death, for one explosive ride. I'm not one who normally pictures stories as movies--but in this case, its pacing and tone were instantly visual. And loud. Loved it.

Jeffrey: SPACE BUGS!!!! Like Mary's story, this one was instantly visual. There is something universally compelling about heroic defiance, and this one captures that moment of intelligent, brave, all-or-nothing rebellion perfectly. Shades of the Alamo, I thought, in which the heroes, knowing death is imminent, stand firm, and take many of the enemy along with them. Who doesn't want to meet death in such a way, "backs straight, heads up and eyes wide open"? Fantastic world-building, smooth and effective character development, and a glorious end. This story has it all. 

JM: HUGE props for being the only writer to take advantage of swapping the fire for something else. And not just anything else: llamas! I laughed out loud at this one, and at the thought process that must have led up to it. "She said we could swap the fire out... FINE, I'm going to swap it for the craziest possible thing!" While Jeffrey's story bore shades of the Alamo, this one felt very Douglas Adams to me (falling whales and potted plants in space? Why not!). This story simply bursts with hilarious images: llamas body-slamming the train, masked would-be heroes sidling alongside outside the cars just because, and the loud, clear tones of betrayal at the end. "It's a trap!" Too funny. A great read.

JUDGE'S CHALLENGE CHAMPION:

Pratibha. I've seen a lot of twists done badly (here's looking at YOU, Hans in "Frozen"--WORST TWIST EVER; totally out of the blue and incongruous and unsupported)--but this one was sophisticated and marvelous. Yes, it flipped the story on its head because it shifts the story in a totally different direction. But it's not effective just because it's unexpected. It's effective because it complicates the story in the best kind of way; it's an ending, but instead of closing the story, it flings the plot wide open. It's the kind of twist that demands a rereading, or even a re-rereading. Really well done.

RUNNER UP:

Stella. For a disturbing, creative, memorable, strongly written piece of horror. And I don't even like horror!

GRAND CHAMPION:

Jeffrey. Great story. Great writing. I'd love to read more about this heroic character, the Tainted Lands, and the Evil Space Bugs, and what happened next. The story is familiarly dystopian and sci-fi, but you take it in a direction all your own. As the MC, Chelik is really well drawn, and the conflict surrounding him is unrolled with excellent pacing and innovation. Excellent job!
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 31, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #39




We're back! Welcome to April! I hope you had a spectacular week! Spring is in the air and we may - please, please, please! - be finished with the long, cold winter weather. I have dreams of sitting outside to write rather than in my office... Soon! :) I hope everyone gets to enjoy warmer weather finally. Okay, enough rambling. Go write! I wanna know what's falling from the sky! :)



If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

Rules:
1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST



Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, 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 and @FlashFridayFic. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!



 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #39 is:


It wasn't the first time [she] had seen [fire] fall from the sky.



 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include a really spectacular twist at the end.



 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!