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!!!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Illusion

This is my entry to Rebekah Postupak's Flash Friday! The challenge is a 140-160 word story created from a word prompt (today's was Space Travel) and this picture:


Bicycle Tunnel, double exposure. CC photo by r. nial bradshaw.

I also had a secret challenge to put in unicorns (for reasons I'm not going to disclose at this time because it would take too long to explain). It was tricky (unicorns, space, and bicycles???), and probably not my best story (I needed a little more time and a lot more words to make it kick), but I had fun writing it. Hopefully you'll have fun reading it!


Illusion


We waited with bated breath as Gwyllian approached, willing his power to hold the illusion for a little longer. He’d come the farthest and must be low on reserves.

The humans would build a road above our heartstone. How could they not feel the magic pulsing beneath their feet? Gwyllian wobbled – or the human riding a bike he was pretending to be did – and I shivered in fear. If he fell… No. He could make it another twenty feet.

Gwyllian made it under cover and dropped his illusion. His sides heaved. His mouth frothed. His withers twitched uncontrollably. His horn gleamed bright in the shade of the tunnel.

He drank from our bucket of water then spoke, “We haven’t much time. We mustn’t wait,” he said. We joined our horns together and connected to the heartstone.

Dematerialization. Rematerialization.

Our ship – in geosynchronous orbit over the dark side of the moon – stood ready. The counsel needed to hear our report.
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #38 - RESULTS!






WooHoo! That was crazy fun! If you missed any of the entries, go check them out here. If you want to read the judges take on his own prompt, go check it out here. If you want to know what the judge had to say about the entries....well then, read on!

 

We had four hearty souls this week who took up the challenge of writing a story with a strange first sentence. Since the prompt broke the rules (in countless ways), I’m going to judge all stories equally.

I had a lot of fun reading your stories this week. I deliberately picked a prompt outside the box, because I wanted to see if anyone could let go of the rules they write by. I have been very happy, and surprised, with the results. And speaking of the results. Here goes.

@CharlesWShort - A marvelous little tale of self forgiveness, and God waiting on his children as they learn to forgive themselves, and accept the events they’ve experienced.

@CaitlinStatus - A mysterious tale indeed. I have yet to come to terms with it, which is not to say it isn’t good, for I found it an entertaining, fast paced read. One that leaves me with plenty of questions. Are we dealing with clones? Animals? Or insane humans? Or some combination thereof? I can’t tell.

@stellakateT - Ah. The games the heart plays with the souls of men. The one he wants being right there, and him lacking the nerve to ask. What are you afraid of indeed.

@postupak - How do people cope with the death of an infant, born or unborn? How long does it take to admit your soul cries tears, and your heart aches? A sterling work of art.

Unfortunately, I have to pick a winner, and a special challenge champion. Wish I could instead hand out badges of courage and imagination to all four of you. You all took a shot at writing a story from a prompt that throws reality out the window. And you all four did well.



Special Challenge Champion - @stellakateT - Hope always springs eternal in the spring, doesn’t it?

Grand Champion - @postupak - As I said. A work of art.



And next week, I’ll be letting my imagination place words on paper.

Great little stories, all of you.