WooHoo! Splish! Splash! So much water!!! Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories! Week #11 is sunk. If you haven't yet read the entries, you can follow the link here. (There are some serious spoilers below, so go read first!) The lovely Judge Postupak has spoken, and here is what she said:
Dear writing friends: I was pleased to see that not everyone drowned this week. A rather tragic number did (technically 29%, or possibly 43%, depending on what @LurchMunster's judge decides), but since the murders (or double murders, in the case of @NickJohns999) were the delicious, summer beach reading kind, I switched from coffee to iced sweet tea and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank you so much for coming out to share your watery creative genius. As ever, it's a privilege reading your work. Thanks!
@LurchMunster: half Romeo & Juliet, half Julius Caesar, this romantic and bloody tale of star-crossed lovers was heart-pounding in more than one way, a wonderfully dark and watery take on an old concept that felt totally fresh. What sort of bribe would it take for you to tell me the MC's fate...?
@NickJohns999. "Gazing Into the Abyss." Once again, you totally nailed plotting, this time with a relationship gone sour against a backdrop of doom--a really spectacular double whammy. I loved the unexpected poison seeping out of the story's conclusion--your title was so very apt!
Penname "Compulsion." This "inside look" at the cruelties suffered by someone with OCD was both funny and tragic. I would love to know if Gerald survives to adulthood, and if he does, what sort of life he winds up with. You've done a really wonderful job bringing this unique and memorable (mer)character to life.
@ducknado. "The Moon, 10,001 BC." OF COURSE your underwater scene took place on the moon, just as I expected. I probably would have gone though an entire box of Kleenex weeping if you hadn't. Your story with its nervous teen protagonist and silly names was such a blast to read. It reminded me of Captain Underpants, of course, and made me smile start to finish.
Crystal Alden, "The Missing Book." Your story of a girl looking for the right sort of book who goes on an adventure and discovers she needs to write that book herself was just amazing. I liked the funny way you told her story, and how you built excitement by warning us of the coming storm. This is a truly wonderful story, well-organized with a powerful punch at the end, and I enjoyed reading it very much. You are a seriously talented young lady.
@chriswhitewrites. "Duck, Duck, Goose." Mother Goose meets Shirley Jackson! You managed to take a simple children's game and turn it into a mechanism of death. Yours is the same sort of clever mind as whoever first looked at a cheerful clown and thought, "How can I use that to terrify people?" Nice.
@drmagoo. What an effective buildup of tension in this scene! Maria's nerves practically leap off the page in terror. Why is the Commander about to call someone's name? Whose name will he call, and what will happen to them? You've taken a run-of-the-mill school assembly and injected it with a couple strong doses of adrenaline. Nicely done!
Judge's Challenge: @NickJohns999. While I'm not sure why the POV switched from 3rd to 1st person midway, the abyss of deep water is pivotal to this story's central crisis and also serves as a stark metaphor of David & Emma's lethally destructive relationship. In the tradition of Stephen King, "Abyss" is utterly tragic and utterly terrifying; and it is utterly inseparable from its watery setting. It's a powerful and full-bodied use of the challenge, deserving of the challenge title.
Best Twist Winner (no, this is not technically a category, but I'm gonna let it slide this once...'cause, really, I think it's my favorite twist ever!): Crystal Alden. This story is told simply and without ornamentation or elaboration, but the restless longing at the beginning met by the conclusion's triumphant realization blew me away. It offers the best kind of "twist," one that instead of shattering the story, fulfills it. Really, really well done.
Grand Champ: @ChrisWhiteWrites. Centered on a child's game, the story itself is staccato and tornadic, an effective metaphor of style/form for what we soon learn is really going on. No sooner do we catch up to the narrator than the story ends, dramatically and with a terrible, Lord of the Flies-type finality. There isn't much going on in the plot, but there doesn't need to be. This is really well-structured and executed (pardon the pun) flash writing. Great work!