Wednesday, March 4, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-35 - RESULTS!




WOOHOO!!! We had three strong entries this week! If you missed any of them, you need to go read them first here. Done? Now let's read what the judge had to say:



I had so much fun reading these! And with three wonderful pieces to work with, I didn’t have to resort to the e-babysitter this week (for that I am grateful). I realized when generating the prompts, I may be… alienating some folk with genre. Maybe I should have bracketed [extra-terrestrial] as it pretty much shoe-horns creativity into SF (unless, like one dragony entry, one brings fantasy into the mix too).  I’m sure our late Mr. Nimoy appreciates those voyaging few who boldly went there (I certainly did). So, since everyone gets some sort of recognition, let’s get right to it:



Honorable Mention: "Letter from Home" by RTayaket—What a great concept for an alien race! The idea of regularly swapping genders reminds me of an Ursula LeGuin series. I adore the way SF can cast new light on our preconceived notions. The way you end ties the whole thing together. Since it begins with a focus on the alien’s gender and ends with the feeling of acceptance, it makes me think that gender-issues are what might make the MC character feel like an outsider. Thus the ending answers many of the questions raised during the tale: the MC’s quiet curiosity and acceptance of the alien, his/her apathy over the poodle, the immediate focus on the gender switch (rather than the more immediately obvious purple skin), the willingness to reject Mom’s ultimatum (and Mom’s willingness to pose one). I would love to see this theme explored in a longer piece.


Special Challenge Champion: "Returning to the Stream" by Foy—Oh, this one made my trekkie heart just sing! (I might even dare to "squee" but we’re in Nimoy-mode, and out of respect, we simply cannot go there). Incorporating the Vulcan language in the psychiatrist’s dictation (and that you made it instantly recognizable in your description) the allusion to Amok Time (sniff) and Returning Home, the evocation of cool logic right down to the very glacial eyebrows and lips of the psychiatrist—all worthy of Trek fan-fic (a tough crowd to please)! I love the way you explore the concept of what psychiatry might be like to such a stoic species—no empathy, no encouragement to let it all out. The ending made me sniffle a little, as it welcomes Nimoy into the world he made famous. This is such a sweet tribute.



Grand Champion: "Honali" by Rebekah Postupak—The spelling of Honali with an "i" almost threw me off, I was ready for Puff, and the sealing wax references. I loved the weaving of fantasy and SF, here. [After seeing who wrote what: Ha, ha! Why am I not surprised?] What sold this for me was the wonderful balance of dialogue, internal dialogue, and action that all lay out a complex friendship between an elf and a dragon. You caught me right up in this world—and I didn’t care from whence references might have been drawn. The conflict comes right away with the contrast between the first spoken and unspoken words we get from the elf. And with every new contrasting layer between the said and unsaid, the tension grows up to the heart-wrenching moment of the elf’s silent, "Don’t leave me". The twist is a happy one and even though it is unexpected, there are hints that lead up to it that sell the twist (particularly the dragon’s warm-not-mocking voice). So well crafted!







Monday, March 2, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-35





So, we had a huge snowstorm on Sunday, which is appropriate for March, right? In like a lion, out like a lamb and all that... We're expecting freezing rain when this goes live through most of the morning. I'll probably be home wrangling kiddos - assuming it actually happens. YOU should go check out the prompt and write a story. 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
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 Nancy Chenier, also known as @rowdy_phantom. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week hereNancy stumbled into flash fiction when the squidlet was born, as writing time has to be carved out of sporadic nap times and sane bedtimes. When not writing, she's probably doing something outdoors. She's eternally grateful for contests like FTT and the incredible flash community (shout out to #flashdogs) for providing such a supportive venue for writers.





Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-35 is (a loose paraphrase from Leonard Nemoy's later memoir):


[I] get a lot of attention from [strangers] due to a connection [I] have with a certain extra-terrestrial.




 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:


Include at least THREE (but NOT Spock or Star Trek): a tribble, pointy ears, red shirt, teleporter, tricorder, stoicism, whales, a bridge, an android, phaser, a resurrection, vulcanism





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








Thursday, February 26, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-34 - RESULTS!




Our prompt this week got people up all kinds of places. If you missed any of the stories, go check them out here. My office chair prompt inspired its use as an office chair both writing and playing video games, on a honey-do list, as a pole-dancing prop (how does that work, exactly - no, nevermind), and as a lure to ask a handsome coworker on a date. All of which are wonderfully valid uses for an office chair... As I must choose one, I will go with MY best use of an office chair - to write. So, congratulations to Lauren Greene for her writing protagonist in The Clown (Though it's use was before the story took place...) Now for this week's judge's comments on the actual prompts:




This has been a special treat for me with a wide range of stories, from sombre to surreal, from humdrum to hilarious. The prompt took people into fantasy, senility and outrageous sexism with a superhero thrown in. Thank you everyone.

The Clown by Lauren Greene
I love to learn new words so coulrophobia ticks a box for me. This story starts bizarre, slips past weird and farce and smashes headlong into creepy. I love the little distraction in amongst the craziness ‘I heard the front door squeak open; it needed some WD40’. Why even in the worst moments do our brains latch onto the mundane? This tale’s nasty sting has shivers written through it.

Basic by Susan O'Reilly
The cringy embarrassment of a teen for a parent is beautifully portrayed here.  ‘She is a naturally lithe sexy woman whereas I take after my dear lumbering dad’. A teenager’s worse nightmare, to be the child of a MILF!  I really enjoyed the ‘it is hard to try and be sexy when it’s your mom teaching you’. I enjoyed the use of senses, including the rather perfectly pitched non-use: ‘I wish I was blind and deaf’.

Moon Roses by Stella Kate
This is so touching, the old lady fighting her battle with her mind and clinging on to herself grimly. The frustration ‘Why was I living in this prison?’, the residual snobbery ‘When did anyone in my circle ever call tea supper?’; and the need to retain self respect ‘Wish I’d put better underwear on.’ In amongst the futile bid for freedom, up the ladder and on the roof her memories are clear. Her mother’s hero, Genghis Khan; seeing Frank Sinatra; tasting cheese. Nice use of sense as memory here.

The List by Charles W. Short
Here we have a late night digging husband; this has to be bad news for the nagging wife. We’re in suspense to know why now and how will the dirty deed be accomplished. What was the final straw? It was yet another list of tasks. And the trigger this time? ‘Get rid of your bad attitude’. So he did. Perfect.

Moth King by Nancy Chenier
This story was so sad; the little lad Santi catching moths because they stole his big sister’s smiles. The angry mother narrator doesn't endear herself at first - ‘That girl has been trouble since she nearly killed me being born’ but when Santi says, ‘Papa can’t even stop them’ and we understand what she means by ‘a hulking thing moves in the shadows of my memory’ the tale takes a darker turn and we forgive that frustration. Those moths fluttering, making their escape convey so much. And some of the imagery is special: ‘I sigh around a stab of annoyance’ ‘His little boy desperation melts me’. ‘I put myself into no-nonsense stance’.

Untitled by Mark Ethridge
The sadness here deepens with every line as we understand this little eccentricity – up at tree at 3 am – is symptomatic of a much bigger, deeper and possibly unsolvable problem. The inevitability of the outcome, despite both man and woman wanting a simpler neater solution is painful. ‘I wanted to tell her I would be OK. But in that tree, 30 feet off the ground, at 3 AM I couldn't because I honestly wasn’t sure I'd ever would be.’ A masterful piece of writing.

Nighttime Troubles by Robin Abess
This was a neatly yo-yoing piece. On the one hand the surreal – Peter is one the ceiling and doesn't know how he go there; on the other prosaic- ‘Answer me or I’m telling Mom...’ Big sister bullying younger brother with the age old threat. Peter – neat name, Peter Parker as a boy perhaps? – has special powers and these are used to embrace the special challenge – eyesight of an eagle, hearing of a bat and sense of smell of a wolf. The cunningness to convince his sister she is sleepwalking is one challenge overcome but the bigger remains: ‘Now to figure out how to get down AND what was happening to him.’ A whole set of Marvel comics perhaps?

Bold Ergonomics by DB Foy
The change to the prompt was unique: ‘up that thought-stream- the schizoid narration a hoot ‘Don’t objectify him’ ‘Maybe he’d like being objectified’. The setting was prosaic – an office cubicle while a chair was being put together but the inner dialogue created a world it was fun to inhabit. Lovely, lovely descriptions ‘Just a little strategy and a throw-on frazzled grin and I’d reeled him in’. ‘Clark Kent glasses and legs long as winter nights by the fire with cocoa’. The war between the voices – Merkel reason v Putinesque indifference – to the consequences - reaches a fever pitch as the chair nears completion – ‘A black phoenix rising from the ash of bubble wrap and cardboard box’. Which voice will win? I think we know early on – the inner librarian is slain and she asks him out. Go girl!



Special Challenge Champion: 
Basic by Susan O'Reilly


Runner up: 
Bold Ergonomics by DB Foy – I’d love to hear how that date went! Me too!



Grand Champion: 
Moth King by Nancy Chenier. I kept coming back to this, to the way the tale pointed you at a back story that was deep and troubling. So well done.







Monday, February 23, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-34




Welcome back! I went to IKEA this past weekend for the first time since I was a child, and I bought myself a new office chair. I'm very excited to use it, but it is, as yet, still in the box. Hopefully, by the time you're reading this, I'll have put it together. It's the first office chair that I can say actually fits me (and I have tried many - plus I sat in all of them at IKEA). Your work space is important; please, take care of yourself. I am going to throw in an optional Host Challenge for the best use of an office chair... 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 Geoff Le Pard also known as @geofflepard. Read his winning tale from last week here!  Check out his website here. Geoff Le Pard writes, walks and cooks. The dog approves two of his current career choices. Geoff has given birth to one novel, a second is on its way and he hopes for a large family.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-34 is:


'Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that [ladder] at this [time of night]?'




 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:



Include three of the five senses.





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!







Thursday, February 19, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-33 - RESULTS!




Congratulations to everyone who wrote this week! Like the judge says below: You're all winners. CUPCAKES FOR EVERYONE!!!! ...actual cupcakes...ahem... If you missed any of the stories, read them here. Done? Great! Now let's see what the judge had to say about them:



I enjoyed all the entries this week, and it was so hard to pick just one. You’re all winners in my book.

@Michaelsimko1  Michael Simko: That Cleopatra is a sneaky one. Never trust a woman. The way you combine history and sci fi together is astounding. And who doesn’t love a story about a love you’d sacrifice your life for? You told so much of this story in so few words. I like the way you weave the challenge words into the story. Great job!

@CharlesWShort: I liked your take on the prompt, with a car accident. The ending was unexpected. I couldn’t understand why she needed to teddy bear at the beginning of the story, but then your last sentence dropped the bomb making it come full circle. I loved the way you led up to the point. Well done.

@howdylauren: Oh for the love of the cupcake! The lovers love of the cupcake. The tone of this piece was great. Your description was so on point, and it takes you from one scene to the next, as you’re trying to figure out what this woman, who is obviously crazy, has done. My favorite line: “Their eyes scanned over the crumbling entrails and torn, half-devoured wrappings.”  Brilliant.

@db_foy Foy: Heartbreaking tale of a father “rescuing” his daughter and sacrificing her mother. The teddy bear prompt was used so well in this scene, and I visualized the beloved bear being trampled over as the wide-eyed child looked on.  The connection between the bear being lost and the mother being rolled over was brilliant. Chilling. You did so much with this prompt—great job!

@KJCollard Kendall Jaye: A fire and a cooking failure. I love the way the president is so human in this piece. She’s so embarrassed of setting the kitchen on fire, and you can feel her desire to run and hide at what she’s done. Great take on the prompt, and great use of all the challenge words too.


Special Challenge Champion: 
MRMacrum: Wow—great use of the challenge words. This little bedtime story stuck with me all week. When I first started reading I thought, “What kind of lunatic tells his granddaughter a murder mystery?” When you delivered the punch line of the cupcake, I just laughed and laughed. I loved how at the end we find out who the president really was! So funny. I may have to tell this one to my daughter.


Grand Champion: 

@geofflepard: Another story that stuck with me all week. As I was reading this little story, I thought maybe she’d lost her cat. Finding out who Cupcake was made me feel heartbroken for this woman.  The dialogue was spot on, and the confusion of the scene is palpable in your description.  I thought you did an amazing job with this prompt, and I can’t stop thinking of Mrs. Abalon and her long lost daughter, Cupcake.







Monday, February 16, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-33




Welcome back for another week of exciting word journeys! Remind yourself of the rules, read the prompt, and show us your awesomeness! 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.
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 Lauren Greene also known as @laurenegreene. Read her winning tale from last week here!  Check out her website here. Lauren Greene spends her time chasing after three kids, working a day job, and trying to make it as a writer. She's been writing since she was seven years old, and when she's not writing flash fiction and novels, she enjoys reading, working out, and drinking wine.




 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-33 is:


He hustled her away from the scene, even as more people were arriving to scope out the damage.




 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:



Use THREE of the following words:

Teddy Bear, President, heart, mastermind, cupcake, nightgown





 
AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF!!!








Thursday, February 12, 2015

FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-32 - RESULTS!




Thanks to everyone who joined our small party on Tuesday! If you missed any of the entries, go check them out here. Good. Now let's read what the judge had to say:



I'll keep this brief so I can submit on time, before the week explodes with craziness. I enjoyed all the entries so thanks for playing; this judging thing is fun.


The Burden (@geofflepard)
I love the language in this one, the way it flows, the last sentence. There are a lot of feelings in these 500 words.

Scent of a Woman (chava812@gmail.com)
This one was powerful. I read it twice and it took me a minute to move on. I know exactly what’s going on here even if Fido doesn’t.

Untitled (drmagoo)
Delightfully creepy and a great take on the non-human idea. It hints at something much more that I’m curious to learn about.

After deadline: wasn’t judged
Primary Job Function (@goldzco21)
I love the main character. He’s better at his job function than he thought. Really delightful.



Special Challenge Champion - Michael Simko with "Quorum." I'll admit I had to look up "quorum"...I need to expand my vocabulary. Anyway, from the very first, this story gripped my attention. It was clever. It was entertaining. It was a non-human protagonist that was almost human. Brilliant.



Grand Champion - Lauren Green with "Berlin." Really clever take on fairies and shapeshifters, and darker things. I really felt for the little girl. Well done.