Round 85: Winners

Posted: November 17, 2015 in Winners
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hello again. I’ve got results from AV Laidlaw, but first I want to say how much I appreciate everybody’s contributions to this blog. To the judges, writers, and artists who permit me post their work as story prompts – Thank you!  Without further ado, here are this week’s results: 

A long hard slog at work today so not much of a preamble, except to thank the writers and commentators during a busy time. And as always, to thank Rebecca for running the competition.

Not Catching Fish Like My Father – We have lyrical descriptions told with a distinctive voice here, especially with the opening sentence and the contrasting imagery of old-fashioned fishing and the futuristic “a spaceship sailing over the earth” .  I like how the father is only described through the mimicry of the narrator – all those repetitions of the word “like” – giving the story a sense of absence. The Father is unknowable to the narrator, only his outward appearance, a bunch of keys and a watch, the way he walks.  It’s a story that has a great deal going on under the surface of the words.

Life as a Fish – A well-structured story, starting with an intriguing opening, a conflict between Shirley and her boyfriend that reaches a climax as the boyfriend drops a diamond ring on the end of the fishing line, and Shirley’s final decision. But what really makes the story fun is the way it sticks to its own magical logic with the descriptions of how it feels to be a fish. And who wouldn’t want to leave the mundane world behind to swim in the open water?

Undefeated – Stories about current events can be tricky because the humanity is lost in the politics. But I think this story works because it focuses on the emotional attachment of the narrator and their brother.  It’s less about big abstract concepts like justice or revenge, but more about someone trying to save their brother from the self-destructive darkness.

Green Tea – A story full of wonderfully realized details, from the physical description of the sunlight and dock to the conversation between the children.  And the story is carried by the details – we know something bad has happened to the world but exactly what happened is left to our imagination.  It’s a great example of a sparse story (nothing much actually happens) that carries a real weight to it.

The Old Photograph -The guilt of an old man carried through decades… The framing story works well, the narrator’s hand on their grandpa’s, thrown off again and then the final hug.  But I especially like the details setting up the two brothers – the older telling the younger to go home, sharing a cigarette – that help set up the emotional pay-off at the end.

Remember the Days -The second piece about the attacks in Paris. Here we’re asked to identify with the victims – at a rock concert, a café and a football stadium – making the emotional connection so important to any fiction. I like how the penultimate paragraph ties all this together with the idea of innocence – “It was about doing what you want and just breathe”. And the final line about the loss of that innocence. It becomes a story with a timeless theme, the discovery that the world is a brutal place.

Don’t I Know You? – Here there’s a neat contrast between paradise (surely heaven is sitting by the lake fishing) and a darker story about the death of a brother told in the italicized fragments.  I like the contrast between the child-Wally’s viewpoint “her smile stayed sweet as raisin pie” and the harder reality “Banshee-shriek of bombers”. The reader is left to piece together what has happened, reflecting Wally’s confusion and retreat from reality into childhood. It’s a harder read than if told from the point of view of “the grannie”, but gives the story a greater depth.

Results

3rd Life as a Fish – Sal Page

2nd Green Tea – Voimaoy

 

And our Round 85 FLASH MASTER is… 

FLASH MASTER

Richard Edenfield

with Not Catching Fish Like My Father

 

Congratulations,  Richard! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.

Thanks again, AV for your comments this week. Next weekend, Sal Page will act as judge for Round 86. Hope to see you all there

 

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