Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Year 1, Week 13: Results!

Hurray! We love it when we have tons of entries! Thanks to each and every one of you for submitting!

This is us when we have submissions. EVERY TIME.
Excellent stories this time around and we're amused that so many of you are using the photo prompt in your stories! (Maybe we should put an ESPECIALLY WEIRD one in next time *steeples fingers*). We've hit Week 13 running and we're going on to Week 14 this Saturday! Are we a legit flash fic competition now? *wipes away tear*

Onward, to the winners of Week 13!

Honorable Mention

Steph Ellis' Vitruvian Man

Si: First of all, EXCELLENT title. Wonderfully fitting and evocative. I love how you don't immediately introduce what's going on, but first immerse us in the character, then give us a clue by the actions of the character. We're waiting to see what's going to happen next and what the situation is--so when the description of the body hits, it's got more impact. Very clean writing that's easy to follow, but also very charged with the character's emotions. I think a few of the lines in 5th paragraph could be shortened/reduced to keep with the overall very show-not-tell nature of the piece. "He had always kept her on a tight leash and now the roles were reversed. " to "Now, their roles were reversed." maybe. I loved the line "And he wasn't really gone, not yet." Chilling! I enjoyed that we could see how the character had developed and changed even though the scene only has her confident and a little psycho. Great story!

Rin: Oooh, the cold, emotionally-distant tone of this story gives me shivers! The description was done well and the pov character felt whole(if scary as heck). Makes you want to stay on her good side, because she's clearly flipped her lid. I think the story could have used some description of the setting, it would have added to it. The line I liked best was 'Flesh strained against its bindings, new lines appeared on the face, carved from shock and pain, eyes wider as consciousness returned to fresh horror.' because it was easy to envision and the slower pace of the story gives it a palpably drawn-out feel, like I'm experiencing the torture right beside the husband. Nicely done.

First Runner-Up

Pattyann McCarthy's The Reconstruction
Si: Great back-and-forth dialogue and good handle of the characters! In dialogue without tags like this ("said Char1"), it sometimes gets hard for the reader to keep track of who is talking, but you managed it excellently. One spot of improvement is that a few lines of dialogue have an "As you know, Bob" flavor. "All I see is a dilapidated farmhouse, the spires falling and its roof collapsing." for example. I love that you used a Russian setting and matched the speech patterns--a subtle way of showing us we're somewhere different. I LOVED the ending. SO creepy. The idea that they can run and run and end up RIGHT back, facing the creepy house again is great. And I liked that the house is just ominously silent, with only the movement of someone behind the curtain. I loved the way the tone also changes from lAll I see is a dilapidated farmhouse, the spires falling and its roof collapsing. What else is there to see? ight-hearted drunken banter to sinister foreshadowing. Well done!

Rin: The two friends were amusing and their dialogue was good, I can just hear two drunk friends rambling on like this. The characters were fun and distinct from each other, except for that one line where Evgeni slipped into Pyotr's speech pattern with almost saying 'my friend' at the end of his sentence. My favorite line was 'The sun began to sink behind the Ural Mountains, golden-orange fire spilled down the slopes while the pair stood in the field arguing whether or not the spire moved.' Gorgeous bit of description there. I can just envision it and I like how it combined with the next sentence to give a feeling of foreboding. The ending could have used a bit more 'showing' rather than 'telling', but I liked the sense of doom that comes from not being able to escape. Great story!

Y1W13 Winner!

Roger Jackson

with Looking Glass

Si: Wow, excellent handling of suspense and tension in this story! The first line gives us some creepy foreshadowing but the paragraph that follows is starkly normal, increasing the suspense for the reader as we try to guess what is going to go wrong for Maria. The mirror is chilling in its normality until we hit the line where the chair has moved. There's no description of Maria's mental freakout but we can sure hear it happening at that point. I love that you keep the focus of the piece entirely on Maria and the mirror--while some backstory might be interesting (has this happened in the past to her?) keeping the focus really makes it a tightly written, high tension flash piece. We care about what's happening to her NOW and you deliver. The ending is beautiful. We have a theme the whole piece of wanting to look, looking, seeing something--but right at the end, she closes her eyes, just as the glass breaks. WHAT IS HAPPENING? Excellent story!

Rin: I LOVED this one! I like how it started at pivotal moment, then backtracked to catch us up. The rushed pace in the first half added to the tension of the piece well, giving a bit of a whiplash feeling when the story abruptly slowed down as she saw her reflection. The description is good and the story had a good flow to it. The best line in my opinion was 'She lifted her heel from the carpet, no more than an inch, and watched her reflection do the same.' It had me leaning forward and yelling at Maria to STOP MOVING! Like a perfectly executed scene in a horror movie just before someone stupidly goes into the basement, even though it's obvious that's where death awaits. I could hear the shatter of the glass in the last line and her closing her eyes gave the sense of theater lights dimming to black, ending the piece excellently. Fantastic job!
Looking Glass 
'Take a step back and look.' Maria told herself again, this time watching the lips of her reflection mouth the words. 'One more step, just to be sure.' 
She hadn't even meant to look in the mirror, not this morning, not when she was already late for work and those papers she needed were still in their folder beside her bed. She'd rushed into the bedroom to fetch them, her phone in her hands as she looked at the time for the third instance in as many minutes, not even realising the room's lone canvas chair was in her path until her foot caught one of its legs and it toppled to the carpet. 
She bent briefly to return the chair to its upright position, and as she did so she caught her reflection in the full length mirror fixed to the wardrobe. Her image stood as she did, dressed for work, the phone and its inexorable minutes clutched in one hand. Exactly the same, except her other hand, the one without the phone, rested lightly upon the back of the canvas chair. 
In the mirror, impossibly, the chair was behind her. 
She voiced a tiny squeak of surprise rather than fright and took an instinctive step back. 
Her reflection took a pace forward. 
Maria froze, her fingers suddenly numb. She didn't know what she was seeing, but she knew that it couldn't be real. All the same, though, she found herself insisting that she take another step back and look, just to be certain. She lifted her heel from the carpet, no more than an inch, and watched her reflection do the same. Just one more step. 
She promised herself that she'd look, but when she took her step and heard the shatter of glass, her eyes were closed.

We'll catch you all this Saturday! Join us for more totally normal, not weird at all writi--

*from the sky, the beat of Flavio's wings can be heard*

... okay, maybe not totally normal, but isn't crazy so much more fun?



  1. Love this. It's deliciously creepy and it ends at just the point where we want to read on. Brilliant job and a well deserved win.

  2. Wowwie! THANK YOU, Si and Rin for your AWESOME and INCREDIBLE comments! Blown away and so very grateful to be First Runner-Up! CONGRATULATIONS to ROGER and STEPH! Your stories are excellent, WINS well-deserved!

    I'd say in week 13 you make an extremely viable Flash Fiction Competition, and I couldn't be happier or more proud to be a part of your growth! Thanks to ALL admins for running a great site. :D