Wonderful job, everyone. Sorry I'm getting this posted so late. I take all the blame, the judge had everything to me early yesterday morning... (Thanks, Carlos!) Anyway, if you missed the fun, head over here to read all the amazing stories. Done? Great. Now let's see what the judge had to say:
Great stories all around. You all made my job really difficult but enjoyable. I think I like this judging thing…Well the reading part at least, not so much the judging, (that part is hard). I like the way you all chose to use the special challenge. I thought the complete randomness I threw at you would deter some people, but I was wrong. I now know better than to underestimate the lot of you. You are all way too talented.
Rebekah P.— I enjoyed the dialogue in this. It’s very natural and believable. You always add amazing twists to fairytales. I especially like how you ground the extraordinary characters with everyday problems. I would love to read a novel or collection based on the fairytale world you build.
Drmagoo—So many lines that I like in this. The first paragraph with the cat moving with the sun is funny and very believable, but my favorite was probably “She had a schnauzer, and I hated both of them.” The dog’s personality is very vivid throughout.
Betsy Streeter—Wow, powerful stuff. And this line (whether it was intended or not) seems to be the description of his and his ex-life partner’s relationship: “This time, he abandoned it to its fate. He had pounded it back on, like an ill-fitting lid of a paint can, enough times. The hubcap wanted to be free. Who was he to stop it?” So much meaning packed into so few words.
Emily Karn—I liked the way the story unfolded. The cause and effect really made the result stand out. The last line really tied the string of unfortunate events together: “Man Harvey, if it weren't for bad luck you'd have no luck at all.” The title also sets the mood for the piece. Who doesn’t have those days when the bed is the only place you want to be . . . for the rest of your life.
David Borrowdale— You had me guessing the entire time. The comedic undertones were great. I also liked how all the loose ends were all tied up in one final ironic line: “That is why our marriage didn't work. You’re a hypocrite.”
Amy Wood—This is too funny. I can totally imagine two grown men still on a psychosocial moratorium, delaying responsibility with never-ending shenanigans. I am dying to know what Ernie has planned. A stoner’s mind is a strange magical place.
Rashatayaket—Deep stuff. I like that he is questioned twice (by himself and the police). The what if’s are powerful thoughts that unlock different stories that could have been. I feel for the guy. It’s a very dark piece, which I always like.
Stella—I am fully freaked out Stella. The animal names were actually old pet names. And yes our cat Pancho was a female cat whose name we never changed. But anyway, loved the line “Ed tried to high five Artur whilst Artur tried to bear hug Ed.” You describe both characters so much in just a greeting. Poor Granddad. I wonder if Mum made it in time?
Michael Seese— Great use of the special challenge. Very clever. The reread was just as enjoyable (almost more enjoyable—almost) than the first time through. My favorite line “The steady rhythm and 24-point Arial bold words conspired to inspire him.”
Casey Rose—I love the coffee pot’s perspective. I think a part 2 of this would be great. What does the coffee pot do after the opportunity to shine passes him by? Does he live out the rest of his life down in the dumps? Or does he work hard and overcome his inadequacies with different owners, finally showing the world what he can do? It’s the good stories that leave you thinking about them long after they are over. If you ever write the part 2 I would love to read it.
Geofflepard—Clever title. Nice twist at the end too. I like how one of Marty’s concerns is what his workmates are going to think. That made me chuckle.
Necwrites—Funny story. How does a “superhero” fail at pet sitting? By tweeting of course. Kind of reminds me of myself when I’m supposed to be writing, but instead I’m sending out failed tweets (0 stars) My favorite line: "‘I can fly, for Pete sake.’ Not entirely true. He could leap. Far. Far-ish.”
Special Challenge Champion: Michael Seese for thinking outside the box with the words I gave you. You twisted cat and dog to mean something else. Oh, and hitman too.
Grand Champion: Betsy Streeter for a beautiful story. I feel like I viewed their entire life and failed relationship in such few words. What is not said is often just as important as what is said, and you used silence masterfully.