Congratulations to everyone who participated!!! If you missed any of the amazing stories, go read them here. Done? Great! Now read what the judge had to say:
Ten entries, and such a mix of genres along with inventive uses of both the prompt and the special challenge that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is also my very first attempt at judging a flash fiction contest, so bear with me as I work my way through each and every captivating piece of work.
Holly Geely: Of Mice with Men
A creative entry with a Monty Python quote and a plot that brings to mind a twisted successor to something like the Redwall series. I feel like there could be a whole world uncovered here, and this only touches the surface.
Lauren Greene: No Sweeter Words
A short and sweet coming-of-age tale told in a few paragraphs. Smooth prose, and characters that I want to see in the next comfort-food movie I watch on Netflix. And it made me smile.
Sheri Williams: Austen is Always Right
More Monty Python! I’m sensing a trend here (and not one with which I have any sort of a problem). This one is light and romantic, with witty banter - via text - that makes it a lovely ode to Miss Austen herself.
Andra Jenkin: The Impossible List
And the romance continues, which shouldn’t surprise me with the prompt. But I love that each one has its own voice, and this one has a main character with a voice I’d love to hear more from. Please let me know when you flesh this out into a longer story I can really sink my teeth into.
asgardana: The First-Ten-Millennium
Now we tumble into Sci-Fi territory, and it is riveting. A cold, impersonal future, where people dissect the beloved classics of the past in order to show the reader what we could (will?) become. Nicely done.
ParkInkSpot: Back Off, Damned Sirens
Rich prose dominates this piece. Something menacing lurks beneath the words of the first part of the story, to be rewarded by that sudden twist and brief shot of violence at the end before the classic fade-to-black. I gasped on the last line, and for good reason.
Jude Knight: Untitled
This is the first of the entries that adheres to the time period from which the prompt comes, and it is a delight. In a few short lines, I was immersed in a world of stays and fans and the warmth of candlelight. This was just a snippet, but it promised such greater things to come.
Michael Simko: To Woo the Lady
Ah, and now we have the nod at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And it is hilarious. I feel like I should have a more detailed list of comments to make, but I don’t. It’s just a fun story, the whole farfegnugen thing.
Melina Gillies: Untitled
This is a nice twist, a story told from the perspective we’re perhaps (depending on our life choices) not supposed to root for. A wannabe mistress looking for her next conquest. Her desperation - and her confidence that she’ll succeed - waft from the page like overpowering perfume. And, oh, what an ending!
Geoff Holme: Say It Again, Sam
Now this is taking the Special Challenge to the next level. Nearly all the dialogue is spoken in quotes, and some of them so cleverly done that it starts to feel like an Abbot & Costello routine. I almost wish the word count limit was longer so I could see how more quotes would be woven in.
Now, this was a difficult task for me. I wanted to do all my judging and write-ups last night, and found myself going back and forth over several pieces and needing a bit more time to be confident with my final decision. And I needed coffee. That always helps.
Honorable Mention: asgardana. Probably the best twisting of the prompt, sending us into the future, into a world so unlike what Austen wrote about that I almost experienced a chill while reading it.
Special Challenge Champion: Geoff Holme. A piece that took the special challenge and ran with it like a dog with a squeaky chew toy. I’m not sure whether to shake my head or start up a round of applause.
Grand Champion: Melina Gillies. A story that managed to flirt with the pasts of each person, rounding them up to complete characters with only a few well-chosen lines. And that note in the pocket… I may or may not have punched the air while reading it.
Overall, really well done this week. Judging was more difficult than I thought, mostly because of the sheer talent on display. Thank you for letting me sit back and enjoy your work.