Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Orozco’

First order of business: The madness associated with my primary Twitter account *appears* to have been resolved (though I am getting a tremendous number of spam DMs only to find my account has followed them, so I’m pruning like a mad woman). This experience was frustrating to say the least, and I now have a backup account—@LadyHazmatv2—just in case. Flash Dogs may wish to follow this account as well, in the event Lady Hazmat prime encounters more difficulties.

Second order of business: Related to first order of business. I did a massive purge and unfollowed a LOT of accounts in an attempt to get things back to normal. I did my best to keep everyone from the Flash Dogs on my list, but if you notice that I’ve unfollowed you by mistake, please send me a message (the contact tab on this site is probably the best way) so I can rectify the situation. I’ve also temporarily locked my account, so if you try to follow me, give me a bit to approve the follow. Thanks!

Third (final, and most important) order of business: Voima – I hope you are on the mend. Thanks, Mark, for volunteering to fill in for our under-the-weather colleague. You will find his comments and top picks below.

I’ll keep it short and sweet. Loved the photo prompt this week. I’m not sure I would have picked the same stories as Voima, but hopefully I’ve done her some justice and she’s still talking to me afterwards.

Get better soon, Voima.

Please forgive the lack of extensive comments. You’ll have to trust me when I say there was something in every story that I enjoyed, thanks for taking part and sharing your wonderful words.

HM

Biting off more than they can chew: by Avalina Kreska

Oh my goodness. I’m guessing this is Avalina (or someone knows her so well that they were brave enough to use her as a main character). I cringed through my fingers reading the story, but in a good way. It’s also might have explained how Avalina ended up on that island 🙂

2nd Runner-up

The Curse of the Flashing Cursor: by A.J. Walker

Very smooth read. Humour mixed with horror (is there a better mix?) With the computer acting as a character, it reminded me of a number of films from Her to Electric Dreams (great song, bad film). Engaging, entertaining and fun, and that’s hard to do with small word counts.

1st Runner-up

Big Winner: by Carlos Orozco

I’m sure the title wasn’t an attempt to influence the judge, but all the same, this one came close. Highly enjoyable read. It’s hard to add a twist without it being obvious or too contrived. I should have seen this one coming, but I didn’t because the writer deftly kept it under wraps, focusing on the motives of the characters (which were very well written). When the twist came, I thought it was an excellent idea and great use of the prompt to tell a story. Don’t click those links, btw.

And our Round 97 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Marie McKay

with Virtual

Writing with almost half the word count limit is not an easy way out – it takes extreme craft. Every. Word. Counts. As was demonstrated with this striking entry. Powerful. Observant, and casting remote judgment on technology and the role it plays in our lives and society. I dare not write more as I am on the tech far more than I need to be.

Congrats, dear winner.

Congratulations, Marie! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! Next weekend, Fae Fielding will try her hand at judging. See you all there.

Hey folks. Welcome back. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Thanks to everyone who found time to write stories this round and to AJ for braving the Valentine’s Day weekend as judge. You’ll find his comments below.

Thanks guys and guyesses you did another bad thing. Is bad still good (‘sick’ seems so last year)? Perhaps I should stick to literalism: You guys, as ever, were good.

Those who saw my twitter plea for a lack of mawkishness decided to take that as a challenge; one way or another. There were the odd lines which came damn close to Valentine’s vomitville. These were usually cleared up in the next line or two by a change in direction (usually with the bloke (or boxed pet) ending up somewhere sticky (in a not nice way)). So thank you.

There was a good deal of Liverpool, beer, cheese, and a pet called Mawkish. Even my writing group, Poised Pen, got a mention. I’m not entirely sure whether these nods of obviousness deserve plus or minus points. Sometimes I feel the point scoring can be more obscure than in an episode of QI. In any case thank you also for the notable lack of cats – your assistance in such undertaking to not put cats into these love and anti-love stories is very much appreciated (and without my asking too, you knows me!). Sorry… almost mawkish there. So, without further ado, I’ll plunge right into my picks of Runners Up and Flash Champ. And in true Sal ‘FlashDog review-style’ I’ve put a line in from each piece. Sal, you’ve created a thing!

Lines

Love Potion at the Stilton and Maggot

Fave Line: ‘His gurning grimaces proved the one-toothed rumour beyond doubt.’

Heartless

Fave Line: ‘he was a coward and he could never let her see the man he had become.’

A Right Plum, on his own in the Train Station, with the Lunchbox

Fave Line: ‘Right now, he needed antihistamines.’

Love Train

Fave Line: ‘I don’t care for yellow flowers. But I do want the pilgrim soul.’

A Conscious Coupling

Fave Line: ‘We charge by the hour, so might want to make your mind up.’

Train of Thought

Fave Line: ‘If I can’t be with you, I don’t want you to be with anyone else either.’

Angel of the North(ern Line)

Fave Line: ‘Barry the Spank Engine, wasn’t happy’

Photoshoot

Fave Line: ‘She only ever looked that happy when she was on her phone.’

The Tracks of My Tears

Fave Line: ‘the 12:24 train to Liverpool—home of ‘The Poisoned Pen’, a publishing house that specialised in whodunnits.’

A Plate of Pasta

Fave Line: ‘luckily she had more bullets, one with his name etched on. She hated clingy men.’

————————-

HM

A Plate of Pasta by Stella T

Wasn’t going to select a HM but it was hard to call between this and the other runners-up, but a few typos made the difference (we all been their). But had to mention it because it’s a great story well told. Loved it. Next tim

Second Runner Up

Angel of the North(ern Line) by Mark A. King

Well, come on, you know I’m sucker for a bit of humour so getting me grinning from Line 1 is a good thing – as long as it delivers for the rest of the piece too. And this one did. Nice idea and I’d like to know what the writer had been drinking when they came up with the idea (it seemed like a four pinter story to me).

Anthropomorphic trains was a good slant on the love story for this weekend (why did I volunteer for this weekend – what was I thinking btw?!) and mawkishness was replaced by the rather rude Barry the (well you know). Thanks for the laughs!

First Runner Up

Photoshoot by Carlos Orozco

A good modern take on a relationship being lived in the (not so nice) gaze of social media. Turn off your Twitter between Flash challenges guys (and just get rid of that Facebook malarkey).

I can visualise the protagonists all too easily. Their different view on the day and the pain in it makes me hope that after he’s watched whatever he was catching on the box that they decided to go their separate ways – or at least don’t make it until the next VD.

and our round 94 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Catherine Connolly

with

A Conscious Coupling

No real shred of love in the traditional sense here and the furthest from the Planet Mawk you can get. Huzzah!

I thought this was a really clever take on the prompt with the use of the railway and train terms without said railway or train (and certainly no Spank Engine). It had a feel of Minority Report meets Blade Runner; which is a great bit of world building with such a small piece.

I thought the atmosphere of the piece was choice. Good work!

Congratulations, Catherine! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie. Next weekend, CR Smith takes the judge’s seat. Hope to see you all then.

I thought the basketball hoop prompt might be a bit premature, considering it’s only February, but it’s been in the 50’s all week, and the forecast calls for 60’s by the end of the week. It seems winter isn’t coming to my neck of the woods, regardless of what that rodent in Punxsutawney has to say. So it was game on, flash dogs and you all delivered. Slam dunks from you all. Now it’s time to reveal our winners! Bart Van Goethem was our guest judge you’ll find his comments below.

(While whistling the Harlem Globetrotters tune)

A close-up of a basketball rim. That turned out deceptively simple, didn’t it? So thank you for all the entries. I, again, judged the idea and the tone. Catherine Connolly (strong character, but not basketball) and necwrites (good tone and structure, but I just had to think a little too hard to figure it out) were in my short list, but didn’t make it.

Second runner-up: ‘Tag’ by Jaime Burchardt. Nice idea, and I especially like the story changing in mid action, as the player is hanging in the air. This is just so easy to picture, so it sticks.

First runner-up: ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ by Carlos. You’re going to say I am a sucker for dark tales and you’re right. But this one has a clear voice, coming from a spooky point of view.

 

And our Round 53 FLASH MASTER is

 FLASH MASTER

drmagoo with ‘Untitled’

I was halfway reading the first sentence when my mind was still considering to disqualify this story. Because stories need a title. They just do. But anyway, I kept reading and I fell for the voice of the main character. Also, I love free life lessons like ‘Ain’t about coward or brave, Tevin. About smart.’ The nostalgia and the science fiction take this story a step or two further than the others. I’m going to let that missing title slip. Ain’t about sticking to the rules too much, right? About emotion.

Congratulations, drmagoo! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’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.

Many thanks writers, and many thanks Bart for your comments. Next weekend, Brian Creek will be stepping up to try his hand at judging. Hope to see you all there.

Good evening, FlashDogs. Sorry for the late post, busy day. I’d like to extend a big thank you to Bart Van Goethem for judging the stories this week. You’ll find his comments below.

To use the words of Paul Stanley, lead singer of KISS, on their multiplatinum 1975 double album ‘Alive!’: you deserve to give yourselves a round of applause, let’s go!

As a judge, I wanted to take the rock ‘n roll approach and not over think it. So I read all the stories in one go, took notes, then reread them to see if I hadn’t missed anything. And that was it.

I judged the idea, the tone and the language, in that order. In fact, the less words I had to look up, the more points you got (ba-dum-tss!).

I don’t know if you can generalize it, but in this case the judging says more about the judge than about your writing. I had a longlist that I reduced to a shortlist using an amount of subjectivity like you wouldn’t believe. I no doubt compiled the longlist with that same amount of subjectivity to begin with.

So now, can I please ask on the stage:

Honourable Mention: ‘Bass Cool’ by AJ Walker.

Bass players are cool. Not as cool as drummers, but still. Mister Zevonesque captures this cool perfectly with a laidback feel. ‘Blessed by the Pope, Bob Dylan and his mum.’ Simple, or at least, seemingly simple always wins. The only false ahum, note was the low word count. But if something is groovy, it can get away with anything.

2nd Runner-Up: ‘The Singer’ by Stella.

This is pretty classic stuff: a well crafted story with a nice flow and a last line that just floors you. Funny that!

1st Runner-Up: ‘The Warlocks’ by Carlos.

Rock ‘n roll and warlocks. Do I need to say more?

Okay, then: this is a finely constructed story, the memory and the reality placed in juxtaposition, with a surprising reveal.

And the Round 43 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Sal Page

with ‘Singing to the Flowers’

You all know me: I’m a tough ass motherf_. But I’m also a sucker for this kind of romantic melancholy. In this lovely tale (did I just say ‘lovely’?) we get to know how grandfather met grandmother, with a clever twist on the photo prompt. We discover what happened to some of grandfather’s friends. And we have to conclude that life really is a bitch, because grandmother doesn’t even remember who grandfather is. All this in 360 words. As a judge – and a drummer – I was quite surprised to read ‘symbols’ instead of ‘cymbals’. But the tone and the language save the day: you feel the main character is authentic. The story feels real. So, congratulations, Sal!

And thank you, Rebecca, for this riveting experience.

Congratulations, Sal! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie! Thanks again, Bart. Next weekend, Nancy Chenier will make her debut as Flash Frenzy judge. We hope to see you all there. 😀

~Cheers!

Hello, friends.

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who sent their condolences this past weekend. I also like to give an extra special thank you to Shakes for stepping in to judge for me – though it seemed a particularly difficult challenge this round. (There can be only one!)

Before we get to Shakes’s comments, there are some calls for flash fiction I wanted you all to be aware of.

1: Perpetual Motion Machine is looking for flash to feature in their newsletter. Pay is $20.00 per accepted piece. Limit is 1,000 words. You can find all the information here.

2: The Molotov Cocktail is hosting another flash fiction contest. The theme this time is Flash Future. 1st prize is $200.00.Limit is 1,000 words. You can find the entry information here.

3. Freeze Frame Fiction is accepting submissions for their second issue. Payment is $10.00 per accepted piece. Limit is 1,000 words. You can find submission details here. They are also looking for experimental flash for a special issue.

And with that – let us move forward to Round 34 results!

Hats off this week to my Hourglass brothers and sisters – 21 uniquely wonderful tales from the best flash writers on the internet. I really mean that. It is an honour to consider myself part of this group…until it’s time to judge.

I’m afraid that work commitments have prevented me from being able to wax lyrical about every story – and though it sounds like an empty promise, I could write at length about how much I loved each one. I truly did.

There’s not a story this week I didn’t see a flash of brilliance in – something to try and emulate in my own writing.

That shell was employed so creatively – see for yourself the broad and inventive uses.

How to judge?

How I usually judge:

  • Enjoyment.
  • Connection.
  • Resonance.
  • Language.
  • Structure.

Right – that didn’t narrow it down one bit.

You see, when you read them a few times, the stories become connected. Themes and commonalities come to the fore – and how do you choose one above another? They have come at it at totally different angles…they all use such great language…

A quick DM to our fabulous host. A pleasant enough reply but the implication is clear – MAN UP!

THIRD PLACE: Carlos Orozco ‘Outside’ @goldzco

I am father to the son in the photo. We have had those exact conversations.

I am the son of a man I’m proud to call my father. We have had those exact conversations.

When my time comes around…

You all know I’m a sucker for symmetry. The father’s lesson to the son – remembered, reused, its power increased exponentially.

What a cool use of that shell – a metaphor for life’s twists and turns. It’s only when we stand outside and look down, see the whole that its true beauty is revealed.

SECOND PLACE: Mark King ‘Hide and Seek’ @Making_Fiction

Mark takes his title and uses it to structure the whole story. Each line a carefully constructed blow to the senses. We are caught up in the narrator’s stream of consciousness; the raw hopelessness of the situation – ‘hide when he drinks, hide when he doesn’t…’

Every time I read this there’s a new line that stands out. The form and structure are experimental but fit the piece beautifully. It also helped it to stand out in the outstanding field.

Stunning. Horrific. Real.

Your Round 34 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Cathy Lennon

‘Fossilized’

Clear, simple language with a layered subtext, and if little Ben doesn’t quite get it – we certainly do. There’s a mix of emotions and the changes in tone and meaning are beautifully, nay masterfully handled. There’s not a wasted word here. The story unfolds at just the right pace; the reveals subtle, gradual – timed to perfection so that the last lines floor you.

Its a perfect little story.

That last line…

How could it not win?

 

Congratulations, Cathy! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie.

This weekend, the lovely and talented Jacki Donnellan will be presiding judge. Have a great week and we’ll see you on Saturday.