I'll keep my remarks short, since I'm getting this posted late (sorry!). If you missed the fun (and, boy, did you miss the fun!), go check out the stories here. Otherwise, let's read what the judge had to say (Thanks, Caitlin!):
Well golly! I was just blown away by how many awesome stories were waiting for me! I am so glad you all came to Finish That Thought this week! I had a great deal of fun reading everyone's stories this week and had an excruciating time picking winners! Everyone took the prompt and just ran away with it, from mountains to deep in the heart of terrifying forests to kitchens where hearts were spilled. In the beginning of each review is a quote from the piece that stood out to me. So, here we go!
He drew up short to keep from knocking her off the side of the mountain and into the creek far below. He wouldn’t mind the quiet, but the villagers used the shallow stream to wash their clothes.
Great use of words! So many small hints set the characters’ personalities better than ordinary description. From Bogarts precision to not knock Martha off the mountain to Martha’s tight braid of gray hair so much is shown. The story unfolded smoothly and the justification at the end left me with a strange case of warm fuzzies. What a fun little twist.
How could I explain my mother’s machinations to a fox?
I loved how the beginning and end coincided, once I realized that I read the story again and saw so much more. I imagined the girl to be young because of her ease with which she accepted everything in The Enchanted Wood. The wood had a slight Alice in Wonderland feel to it that I quite enjoyed. There was a lightness to the story that added a fun touch to the tale.
Chin Chin Unicorn
Maybe then you’d be here now with your wide-blues and yellow curls, seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. How did you survive this long anyhow?”
With the force of the narrator’s voice the beginning felt almost harsh which created an extremely intriguing start. I wanted to read more immediately. And I wanted to keep reading after the story was finished. Your use of characters was fascinating, how the narrator kept talking to and speaking of ‘you’ and the hostility and annoyance this conveyed. The sarcasm throughout gave the story a sly tone which balanced extremely well with the man’s grieving.
If only she’d known what she was walking into, where she was walking to, but in those modern times people had forgotten folklore.
In the first paragraph I could already envision a 6 year old girl traipsing off into the forest to follow some sweet boy. You set that up quickly in so few words. The hint at myths forgotten that actually held truth was a great touch. I wanted to learn more. And even though Alice regrets so much she cannot overcome her instincts which was fascinating. The ending did have me wondering what became of the boy since Alice didn’t die completely when she went into the wood.
His eyes desperately searched the deepening gloom.
What a fun title! The detail in the setup was quite impressive. The tiniest details helped to give this story a unique depth. This was a fun adventure story that was enjoyable to read and gave me a chuckle at the end. If I ever got lost in that woods I would hope Alyxzandyr would be by my side.
The leaves crunch under her dancing steps rhythmically swirling with her pirouettes.
I felt like a leaf dancing and twirling around the protagonist’s feet, enchanted right along with her. With her brief thoughts of the life she was leaving behind the piece came off as a story within a story. The reader knew the protagonist was truly entranced for how easily she said goodbye to her life. What was the last thing she had to do? She was surprised to see her son so I assumed it wasn’t him.
I wish I had continued enjoying the journey. I wish I had continued making my notes. I wish I had stayed on the path.
What starts out as a simple beginning turns into a deeply impactful end. The truth that one simple thing can have such a huge impact on one’s life, even if that doesn’t seem like it at the time, stood out from this tale. The journey of this man with one simple job that he was so desperate to prove to the King that he destroyed on his own stayed with me long after the story ended. Excellent job.
My Souls Tears
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard those words. It wouldn’t be the last. I’d make certain of that.
This story left me with a profound feeling. The protagonist’s need to have Tim understand where he was at struck deep within me. To have the knowledge that Tim would never change his mind was heartbreaking. And though there was sadness I was so proud of the main character for stepping off the path and realizing that his dreams could be so much more than the status quo.
You’ve heard the rumors ever since you were a child - the whispering voices that swirl through the trees, the mysterious figures spied by late-night joggers, the children who wander off to play and are never heard from again. And yet here you are.
Loved the second person point of view. The setup was fantastic. Telling the reader what to do but still leave open ended questions was a great spin. The flow of the story was great. The story gets progressively more downtrodden, building intensity with every sentence. I know I should have felt scared or anxious but I was mostly exhilarated to see what would happen to “me”. I was definitely not disappointed.
Pouty lips pulled down in a frown as she examined her forested surroundings. Back and forth, back and forth she paced under a rhododendron leaf with the tulip bulb clutched firmly to her bosom.
And I now know where all the tulips go! This was a fun pixie-size story. I loved the perception we got from the protagonist; from the beast of a cat to the giant human it was fun to read what was happening from a new perspective. With a Tinkerbell vibe, this had me smiling the entire time. I could just picture Hetty tumbling back into her world all discombobulated.
The darkness curled slowly, implacably around my ankles and the laughter rotted away in my mouth.
I’m still reeling from the twist at the end! The entire story I was thinking one thing and I completely had it turned around. The love these sisters had for each other was so apparent even through their differences. And to see the thoughts that came through during the last moments on either side of the wall was almost intimate to read. Every emotion was able to come through in this short piece.
He cursed furiously under his breath and stomped on an unfortunate snail who happened to be passing by. “Any other day, girl. Any. Other. Day.”
The title added so much to the story. I loved the vibe it set off for the beginning of the story. We were thrown right into the middle of everything and it was intense but hilarious. The complexities of the wolf balanced with the innocence of Ruby to give the reader a little bit of everything. The female wolf created a fun and quirky twist toward the end allowing the reader to never know what was really going to happen until the end of this Red Riding Hood rendition.
Special Challenge Runner Up: Charles - The interesting thing about your forest was that it seemed completely ordinary until the protagonist stepped on the path. Suddenly the forest was all consuming, never letting him out of it’s grasp. I thought that was a very unique take on the challenge.
Special Challenge Champion: Rebekah - What a forest! Everything about this forest was both enchanting and haunting and it cast a beautiful spell over the entire story.
Grand Champion Runner Up: Erin - Your entire story had me grinning. The personality that was portrayed by the actions of a wolf was mind blowing. I craved to have more to the story after it ended.
Grand Champion: Chin Chin Unicorn - Your story was so unique and entertaining, it had me reading and rereading. There were so many moments where you finessed the situation perfectly to create a balance of the situation at hand.
Again, thank you to everyone who participated this week, what a pleasure to have so many great flash fiction pieces! Congratulations to Chin Chin Unicorn. Here’s the judges torch, enjoy and have fun!