Thursday, April 17, 2014


Well, we had an eventful time with that fire! Thanks to everyone who participated! If you missed any of the stories, go read them here. Much to my chagrin, the special challenge was a cliffhanger... I can't stand cliffhangers! So, now you all need to tell me what happened next in your story. Just feel free to leave a comment below... please? Please? *sigh* Okay, now to read what the judge had to say:

What a group of stories you all gave me this week. There was a little bit of everything and that’s all a judge can hope for.

What a large world you have created in such a small space. I craved to know more about Ik-Naa and her kind, Kthakii, who seemed fierce and deadly.  Beardlings. Their watchfire had been ineffective for none of the lesser beings could make out the form of a Kthakii as it hunted silently on moonless nights such as this. While things were hinted at I wished for more as I read. More about why Ik-Naa was killing so many creatures and the purpose behind it. I would like to see where you could go with this start.

How fascinated I was with this story. Twists came left and right. From one paragraph to the next small things were revealed that opened my eyes to the story at hand. This was the type of story that needed to be reread just to see the layers. One part I really enjoyed was in the first paragraph. There were sausages sizzling on the barbecue, marshmallows browning and glasses of punch ready for the final toast. So much was set up during this sentence and it really helped strike you with the soft summer day that would change so much for these ladies. And by the end I couldn't help but chuckle softly at the old woman, err, I mean young woman.

I had some trouble understanding this story. It was unclear if your treatment of the prompt was a joke or an insult. Either way, I enjoyed the references to being a writer. More detail about the imp would have helped bring this story to life. They are portrayed in so many different ways throughout history that I think this one could have been crafted a little more dramatically.

The intro was very well done. I enjoyed how you continued with the description of the scene. Dark shadows capered threateningly against the jungle's foliage. The barbaric, carved stone idols seemed alive. The heavy, humid air was rank with the usual odors of rot and decay, newly overlaid with the scents of blood and seared flesh. The scene was set up quickly and efficiently. A thrilling ending lead to an excellent cliffhanger. I wish more came to light as to why Heather felt connected to the jungle, this was a bit vague. If that connection were tightened it would be more believable why she was numb to her father’s death.

Summer at 16 fell into place so perfectly at the beginning of this story. Sara was no longer using the long stick to move the logs into optimal positioning to keep the fire hot but out of the sheer enjoyment that came from engaging with the fire without parental supervision. The closeness of these girls was set up well with their backstory and created a more powerful story later on. Both of these girls are so incredibly strong in different ways. Cara might seem weak to some but it takes a lot to not cry for help. It may seem stubborn but it's a level of strength few have. Not saying she doesn’t absolutely need help (Anyone in this position does) which creates such a great friend and person in Sara. To get help for your best friend takes a love and commitment that you are willing to fight for. What a truly amazing piece.

Dr magoo
Oh to be deserted on a remote planet by yourself with wolf-like creatures! Talk about bad luck. And scary. The story description flowed well as the story went along. You built a strong story through the details that this man was experiencing. The last sentences sent shivers down my spine. They weren’t passing me by – they were coming towards me. That was when I felt the touch on my shoulder. There is something about the unknown things in the dark that is cringe-worthy and you succeeded in just that.

What an eerie story! Now I definitely will be unable to sleep tonight! I appreciated how you continued with the sentence flow given in the prompt. He was momentarily drowned out by the wind picking up outside. It ripped through the trees and howled into the cave, shrieking its rage for all to hear. The forest outside was whipped into a frenzy, the trees groaning and crashing amid the sudden onslaught. Through your descriptions the world around this cavern came flowing off of the screen and into my mind. I thought it was great how the high priest kept getting pulled into ritual as it continued. The others so quickly fled when things began to grow into a scary reality. Which all led up to that ending!

There are certain relationships people run across in life that are both passionate and toxic. This piece gave them both in equal measures. The main character's defiance (that you can't help but smile at) and her doubt that led to indecision which her new fiancé easily kissed away. And all of this conflict was scattered with splashes of excellent detail. I prodded the fire again. With a loud HOOSH, one of the larger logs fell and rolled out of the stone circle in a violent spray of sparks. Where the story went at the end was an excellent twist. It left me with both pity for the girl and curiosity to see where it would lead.

Special Challenge Runner Up: Emily - When volcanoes erupt and the ground splits open things get exciting. But when you stop a story when statues come to life, well now that makes for a cliffhanger!

Special Challenge Winner: Samantha - With your descriptions you set up this cliffhanger to perfection. What could possibly go well with a latin demon that has been hidden in a cave for thousands of years? Oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING!

Runner Up: Casey - From the summer of being a Sweet 16 to the betrayal of a best friend, this story was beautiful and thought provoking. Every teenage girl not only deserves such a deep friendship but also a best friend who would face wrath so great to save them.

Grand Champion: Erin - So much came out of this story in unexpected ways. From the subtleties like their worn clothes to the way the man kissed all fear away, the reader can be pulled in so deeply to the story. Wonderful job!

Once again, great job everyone! And congratulations Erin! I pass on the torch and look forward to next week’s prompt.


  1. Hi Caitlin, I hope I didn't offend you with my take on the prompt. It just made me think of that kind of lovingly crafted sentence where you write it down and then go "Now what??!" So I was trying to channel a writer's frustration. I've been struggling with my own inner critic for a couple weeks and reminding myself with that Writing Excuses lecture I mentioned that the voice that says "You suck" every time you write words, is just destructive.

    The thing is I wrote this up and then was able to sit down with my story and churn out about 7k words in two days. I think it broke my block, by creating something else entirely, so I have really kind memories toward writing this and I do hope I didn't offend you. I thought it was a really fun prompt to write. Humor doesn't do so well across the internet, though, and I've heard the fail mode of "funny" is "jerk" so I apologize for the insult.

  2. Thanks, Kate, for sharing. It's so hard to turn off the inner critic for all of us. What a great reminder! And this illustrates what I love so much about flash - it helps us overcome the normal which helps us break free from bad habits that are getting us down. I struggle with beginnings SO MUCH! I write a first sentence and think "Well, that's crap!" then I write another one and repeat. I still don't have a good first sentence for the book I'm working on (even though it's in draft three right now!). I know it will come, but it's so frustrating! I'm glad you're out of your rut and moving forward again! :)

  3. Hi Caitlin, Heather is connected to the fire, it's in her blood. i'm glad you liked my cliffhanger.

    Alisaa, as to what happens next? I don't know yet, the rest of the story hasn't come to me.

    Great stories everyone.

  4. pretty nice blog, following :)