Thanks for joining the fun this week! If you missed any of the amazing stories, go read them here. Finished? Great! Here's what the judge had to say:
These stories were great! The rotten watermelon smell really stayed with me, as did the annoyed ghost materializing from the writer's computer. I also loved the concept of the piano with a mystery ghost sold at auction and the mood set in the story with the rose quartz girl. Be careful with spelling errors, as they can be very distracting to the reader.
LETTER TO AMELIE by Mordea - The author creates a clear mood in this story; however, the plot is not totally clear. Is Amelie an actual ghost, or does the author just think of her whenever she sees the piano? Who is playing the piano? The first sentence is not as well integrated into the first paragraph as it could be.
STORY TIME by Audrey Gran Weinberg - Fabulous use of the story prompt. Enjoyed the bit about her naming her characters after her parents. Rachel's jump to the worry that she might be insane with the ghost's comment was a bit quick for me, especially after the nonchalant way she reacts to the chicken soup smell. This story is very clever, but would benefit with a bit more consistency. Maybe a hint to the reader that the chicken soup might be supernatural?
THE PIANO OWNER by Nada Adel - Loved the concept, although I would have like more detail about witches in your world. The story would also work without your writing that the house belonged to a witch. There is one moment where the story seems to go from third person limited to third person omniscient, when you write about the way that the others at the auction feel. Sheila and the ghost are both very well-realized and interesting characters, but I would have liked a bit more majesty in the last line, as "tunes" seems out of character for the Count, as well as for the music of Beethoven.
UNTITLED by Riham Adly - This story lacks a title. It sustains its melancholy mood very well, but has several spelling errors. I found the description of the piano keys as "checkered" to be a bit jarring, and I was confused by the rotating of the rose quartz pendulum, thinking "pendulums swing back and forth; they don't rotate." The use of quartz jewelry for communicating with spirits needs to be shown. I enjoyed the use of first person for the ghost. I could see this being lengthened into a short story for young adults.
Special Challenge Champion
HOW TECHNOLOGY AND DO-IT-YOURSELF FISH TANKS CURSED THE GHOST OF THE PIANO
by Holly Geely
This story made me laugh out loud! I loved the mix of ghost story tropes (i.e. temperature dropping several degrees) and contemporary irreverence. I would have picked a title that left a little more of the concept to the imagination, as the ending to this story is quite delicious. Loved the rotten watermelon smell and Janet's voice. There were a couple of grammatical and spelling errors that were distracting for me. The last sentence was excellent. The way she described the ghost with all five senses sticks with the reader: the rotten watermelon, the draping pose on top of the piano, and the howls at her attitude. Great work!
AS DISTINCT AS MULBERRIES
by Patrick Stahl
This story is very well conceived and executed. The dialogue is clever and we get a feel for both the narrator and the ghost. The sensory detail fits seamlessly into the narrative, especially the smell of mulberries. I also loved the narrator's smelling the wet paint at the beginning of the story. The spooky but unexpected ending featuring the ghost's father and a mulberry worked perfectly. Congratulations!