Posts Tagged ‘winners’

Happy Tuesday, writers! Thanks to everyone who wrote and submitted stories last weekend. I hope everyone enjoyed the free for all. Thanks also to David Shakes for judging the submissions. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Return of the Monster

“What’s on Your Coffee Table” would really make a genuinely decent show! Pitch it, Stephen, pitch it! The characters’ names hint at details unwritten and the playfully bizarre tone really appealed.

Man Toes

My first question would be – how did Rebekah come across this picture to begin with? A brilliantly woven tale, a slow reveal and expert writing as usual.

The Devil’s New Job

How cool of Carol to write a sequel to her fantastic THE INFERNAL CLOCK story and afford me the opportunity of plugging our new anthology! You don’t need to know the characters to enjoy this story – but it helps! Suitably creepy – loved the boxing up idea!

Overlooking The River

I remember writing a few years back that Patrick would be a writer to watch. This was wonderful in its imagery and the building tension, just to have the rug pulled. I so wish I could see that prompt. Nice one Patrick.

The Poet Goes to the Shops

Dirty carrots?! The poet’s lines, in isolation, contain some lovely phrases and ideas but in the context of the overall tale just add to the beautiful absurdity. A sketch waiting to be filmed I feel. Hilarious.

Big Richard

Where did those character names come from?! Great narrative voice and another (subtle) nod to our new anthology, THE INFERNAL CLOCK which is now available as a Kindle edition and a paperback. I really love this story – what more can I say? A great mix of genres, a strong narrative voice.

Dreams

Is it wrong that I can follow Steph’s line of thought from brick house, to little pigs to evil child? Maybe we’ve worked to closely on THE INFERNAL CLOCK (have I mentioned our anthology?!) I loved where this went. Dark as ever, Steph, very dark indeed.

Confessions of a Portal Guardian

I do like this Voima! The narrative is so good and the last paragraph’s moment of suspense is a brilliant way to end. We both like a portal don’t we? Recurring theme for you and I. Deft storytelling and most satisfying.

Painting Your Troubles Away

I hope that Angelique’s paintballing experience was the only real-life inspiration here! I loved the line:

Revenge would not be sweet, but salty, like her sweat and his tears.’

I may have to steal that at some point! Great twist with the punchbag and the tough (but not life-threatening) paintball plan. Well done Angelique.

 I AM A GOD

Oh unreliable narrator, what to make of you? Brian – you’ve written a good one here. The tone is perfect. I am still undecided – deluded nutter or fallen god? That’s what makes this a cracking tale. I know that Brian’s a marvel fan and this felt like Marvel movie humour – he knows that’s a compliment.

Wasn’t My Fault

I like the idea that Len from next door is the keeper of the lexicon for this salt of the earth narrator. The date of this little round did not escape Stella here and she used it to great comic effect. Obviously, this lot are from Coventry though – that sort of malarkey would never happen in Solihull darling!

Whenever I judge these things, commonalities begin to assert themselves. Great narrators and protagonists seemed to be a strong theme this week. Comedy in all its forms too. A great set of tales and impossible to judge on merit alone. I’ve gone from the gut:

2nd Runner Up:  Overlooking The River by Patrick Stahl for its imagery and poignant ending.

1st Runner Up: The Poet Goes to the Shops by Ewan Smith for the rhythm and juxtaposition in this one.

And our ROUND 133 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Rebekah Postupak

with

Man Toes

Rebekah is back with a show don’t tell tour de force!

Congratulations, Rebekah! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Thanks again to everyone who wrote and to Shakes for judging. Next weekend, Jaime Burchard returns to judge round 134. Hope to see you all there.

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Hello writers. Happy Tuesday. It’s snowpocalypse 2017 at Angry Hourglass HQ, so I hope everyone is staying warm. Thanks to everyone who submitted stories this past weekend, and thanks much to Jaime Burchardt for volunteering his time to judge. You’ll find his top picks and comments below.

Welcome to the first Angry Hourglass Frenzy of 2017! I love that it’s the new year, and I love that none of you made this easy. In fact this may have been the most difficult time I’ve had judging these flash stories due to the fact that you all submitted worthy pieces! Picking just three wasn’t easy, so before we continue I just want to give a bow to all of you. Thank you for your submissions!

3rd Place

“It-” by Rebekah Postupak: This is a story that paints a pretty & tragic story all within its flash walls and the details cannot be denied.

2nd Place

“Them Apples” by zevonesque: I’m a sucker for a one-punch ending, and in this case the rest of the story had the pacing & pleasantness to lead. A nice, detailed and easy-flowing read gives Them Apples its legs.

And our  Round 121 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Ewan Smith

with

“Intolerance”

The wind-up, the pitch, and…what are they chanting about? I found myself clapping at the end of this in sheer joy. Love the dialogue, love the obvious care that went into its crafting. A winner in every sense.

Congratulations, Ewan! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s Hump Day Quickie. Next weekend, Flash Master extraordinaire Steph Ellis is back in the judge’s seat. Stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll see you all on Saturday!

Happy Tuesday! Thanks to everyone who wrote for Round 120, and thanks also to Catherine Connolly for judging the last challenge of 2016. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

So, there were several stories touched by the Christmas – or a slightly more serious spirit, in instances 😉 – this week, given the photo prompt involved a shopping mall or centre, for the Brit based.  By turns hopeful or somewhat ominous in tone, they made me laugh or pause for thought, depending on the subject matter.  I even travelled the eras, along with geographical boundaries, whilst trying to make a decision as to a winner – and, along with that, pick my favourite lines and phrases from them all.

It bears repeating that, as ever, the standard for stories was high, making my decision a tough one.  I enjoyed all of entries on their merits – and big thanks to all of you who found time to put together an entry at a very busy time of the year for most.  That said, I’ve had to come to conclusions, so below I’ve flagged my favourite lines from them all and my winners for this week:-

Favourite Lines

Yet Another Era

‘Lord George shook his head.  “Not even a postcard.”’

Peace On Earth

‘”This place—secular!?” said a young man.  “Look around you, mate.  Every shop in the mall is full of Christmas goods.”’

Views In Ashes

‘Everywhere I look I see young lovers walking hand in hand, their expectations of an engagement proposal high.’

Christmas Shopping

‘The same events of conditioning and control were being repeated in shopping malls across the city.’

Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)

‘The silence rang through the store like a truth told in Parliament.’

Newbie

‘”Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the wild-eyed stare…possibly the gaping mouth…perhaps the drained complexion.’

Runner Up

‘Christmas Shopping’ by Steph Ellis for its sinister imagery of the inhabitants below stirring to life – even for a little while – and imaginative use of phrasing, with runs involving ‘sleepmode’ and ‘wraptime’, amongst others.  The emphasis on language and technology amidst an apparent festive season scented with cinnamon and pine leads cleverly to the image of city-wide conditioning and control and areas devoid of humans.  The bleak last line wraps the story up – with a not so festive bow.  Nicely done!

 

And our Round 120 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

A.J. Walker

with

‘Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)’

Aside from a nicely formulated title, which sets the tone for this story from the outset and got me on ‘track’ (as opposed to off!) for the rest, the back and forth of the dialogue in this piece is brilliantly tongue in cheek and got me laughing, as well as creating a great sense of character.  Phrases such as ‘on the top of the pile..and the bottom’ stack up, until the suggestion of the ‘man with a can’.  (The can do man? 😉 ) Ho ho ho indeed – and fab to boot too!  Thoroughly enjoyed it, gifting this one my winning vote for the week.  Well done!

Conratulations, AJ! Your story will be features as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

In observance of the upcoming holidays, The Angry Hourglass will take a brief break until the first full week in January. Whatever holidays you’re celebrating this year, I hope everyone has a wonderful love-filled season and that I’ll see you all back in 2017.

Cheers!

~R

 

 

Happy Tuesday, friends! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to write and comment this past weekend. Thanks also to David Shakes for judging and commenting on this week’s entries. You’ll find his thoughts and top picks below.

Hello folks.

Thank you Rebecca for inviting me to judge. 2016 has be a pivotal year. Interestingly, a couple of stories touch upon quantum mechanics and the multiverse. My own theory is that we’re now on the wrong timeline – hopefully The Enterprise, Time Cop, The Sliders or Dr Who will show up soon to make some adjustments without causing a temporal rift.

When we’re course corrected, I hope I still have my new job. The only downside is that it’s eating my time like there’s no tomorrow. I’m not writing. I’m still reading. (Always read – always!)

What a pleasure it was to read your stories for what I considered a great prompt. Think I detect some new (to me) voices too. I really loved everything you wrote. Glad to be back in the saddle.

May I just add one more thing? Thank goodness the Hourglass is back! We need this.

As always, judged blind and random order. I’ve made short notes for all and then it’s time for winners:

Thin Spaces, Shadow Places

One of my top three titles. Alluded to this in my introduction – Sci Fi with depth of emotion and some great philosophical moments. Making the here matter most – someone knows my own outlooks or just resonated?  Lovely writing.

From Fear to Modernity

Another of my top three titles. A familiar style – full marks (or Mark’s?!) for emotionally charged imagery. I connected with the character on a really deep level and the ‘caldera eyes of her gaunt doppelgänger…’ is fabulous imagery and heralds that ending. That single word at the end. That word. Sublime.

Of Quantum Ticketing and Squashed Ducks (and Don’t Even Mention the Dog)

Last of the top three titles, first of the laugh out loud tales this week. I first spat my coffee at the line:

‘…it’s not doing duck things anymore.’ and then didn’t stop laughing. The punchline was fabulous and grounding too. Great fun here. Northern humour through quality dialogue? It’s like a treasure hunt this!

LaVon King, Street Artist, Dies at 26

Brilliant in its blunt simplicity. A social commentary wrapped in a tragic story. The brevity of the descriptions of the artwork for the moving gallery still managed to conjure great pictures in my head and the juxtaposition of ‘…dark eyes peering from jungles’ and ‘angels weeping over expressways’ really worked – felt cinematic. Strong endings abound this week – this was one of the strongest.

Through Hell and Beyond

A ‘does what it says on the tin’ title here but a well handled story. Some of the side roads presented us with another type of social commentary and I kept thinking: The Wages of Sin (I suppose you can take the boy out of church…) I liked the last line very much – I suspected that reincarnation beckoned – a chance to be reborn?

Big-Boned

Second laugh out loud story of the week and just great. In the first paragraph and I guess eternity / maternity link and thought – this is the man – The Prince of Puns, Guardian of Grammar, doing his thing. In the second paragraph I didn’t see the ‘…back in two shakes’ and ‘David!’ coming – stories should, they say, connect on a personal level though!

Final paragraph and the set-up pays off – the punchline was brilliant. Well worth it.

A Choice to be Made

This gave me a coffin fit! No – I can’t do puns can I? I thought the white van man reference and the fact that we were delivering one side of the Mersey (mine or Zev’s?) made this a FlashDog tale (tail?) at least and I drew up a shortlist of suspects but can’t guess as well as in others. I found myself in the position of typing ‘Do they burn coffins in the UK?’ in to Google. Seems it’s an FAQ! This is the second example of a simple tale that works because it is what it is without pretense. We’ve had life after death and now life with death.

No Through Road

No parking, deep emotions.

The second story to do the life after death trip and the second one (in the order I read them at least) to feature the loss of children. There’s a focus on memory here, of memory being stripped away perhaps, but not before it’s recalled and reconciled whether our narrator wants to or not. What’s beyond the tunnel? No parking.

No Parking

or ‘To be Frank, He Gets What He Deserves’ – No, puns still not my thing at all. I do like a nice tables-turned story and the predatory Frank will eternally regret dating Ashley. I liked how she still had time to appreciate the well described view at Lover’s Cove and this was the first, subtle signs that she may not be as intimidated as we’d first imagined. Blowing him up may have been a tad too far though!

Composing a Sonnet

Most disarming title award. Psycho killer qu’est ce que c’est?

I really liked how this one played out, with the narrator’s voice taking us along with it, drawing us in to his thought patterns, his motivations. ‘My house is ETERNITY’ – a bold line with, I felt, layers of meaning – backed up with the finality of HERE for the boy’s fate. ‘There, there – all done.’ Chilling – especially ‘…although I must say crimson is a most becoming colour…’ A master of show not tell at work here.

Those Things Are Going To Kill You

Warning signs eh? Signs that give warning. This was great and, upon re-reading, the clues are there from the start – dry lips & breath tests; pins, needles and fast food wrappers. I wondered if the businessman who burned himself was our guy? A glimpse of the future or a past not remembered?  Certainly the repeated use of the word ‘burning’ gave hints, the air being too thick to breathe. Great last line, (haven’t they all been though?) loaded with meaning. Kind of thing I’d try to write to be honest.

A Heartbeat in THX Sound

We start and end with some Sci Fi. A future where the death of cinema and the rise of technology has reached its sad conclusion. I loved the question ‘Would you put The Grand Canyon in your pocket?’ – a fabulous summary of the point our author is making. The real horrors are hinted at in the one-liners – like kissing in person or believing the truth (topical!) being a thing of the past. This is the only entry to directly reference the film too. That last line is so loaded with imagery that I’m still unpicking it.

There are no special mentions as they were all special (and not in that ‘it’s the taking part that counts’ patronizing kind a way) – that’s why I mentioned them all. You’ve taken time to make thought into word and now something unique exists in the digital ether because of it. How cool is that?

Second Runner up is A Heartbeat in THX Sound by Richard Edenfield for premise and execution

First Runner up is Big-Boned by Geoff Holme for the humour and audacity

And our Round 117 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

AV Laidlaw

with

Those Things Are Going To Kill You

…because I enjoyed it the most

Congratulations, AV! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Next weekend we enter the magical month of December, and Brady Koch will be there to kick-off the judging.

We will be breaking for Christmas, but if I can find a volunteer to judge, The Angry Hourglass will ring in the New Year with Round 121!

Until next time!

Good morning, friends. Sorry again about the error with the photo this past weekend. I do my best to mark them with the round they’ve been used for, but occasionally one slips thru the cracks. Thanks to my astute writers who recognized the familiar prompt. Thanks also to CR Smith for judging the stories this weekend. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

I’ve spent a very pleasant afternoon reading all the entries and — let’s face it — they’re all outstanding, which makes choosing a winner all the more difficult; there really isn’t much between them. But a Flash Master must be crowned, so, before I get down to it, here’s a selection of my favourite lines.

Formaldehyde: The nursing home is a carapace of thoughts and cobwebbed memories; the rocking-chairs and statuesque invisible once-young.

Ongar-Bongar Cheese: …which led to acting-Factory Manager Ted Eagle’s concussion, memory loss and subsequent assertion that he won the hand in marriage of the village postwoman, Andrea Goodbody, at a quiz night in The Haunted Poacher in the neighbouring village of Lower Backache.

Knifecloud:She sits in an office chair, her fingers are her weapons: warmed with a cup of organic coffee from a place she’ll never visit.

The Dream of Icarus: But I remember the time before the Drought, when the aeroplanes flew on ribbons of cloud, the sunlight burnishing their wings.

Terror on the Tarmac: The blackness spread, covering its countenance until it ruptured toward him into row after row of pointed teeth, oscillating in a way that made him nauseous.

A Cautionary Tale: He reached out a little bit further, felt the cold metal beneath his skin, saw himself reflected in the panel, fading, disappearing. Gone.

Come Fly With Me: Those with window views marvel at the light of the sun on the clouds, the patterns of fields below, Lake Michigan like a mirror.

Reality Shifting: And only last week he saw a guy dressed the same as him on another of the bikes at the gym then realised it was him.

Little Birds: He identifies with the little birds that populate the airport, they could fly anywhere they want but they are happy with the pickings they get there, no need for them to move on to greener or more exotic climes.

Operation Prodigy: Military jets escorted the unidentified aircraft to a secure airstrip, the world’s media salivating at a 30 km radius.

The Talisman: He had his little rituals but they weren’t compulsive.

The Others: To some, the shade no longer exists — faded forgotten — its original planes and dimensions now flattened into a singular, thin sliver.

HM: Operation Prodigy Nice twist; children coming from the Bermuda Triangle to save the world.

3rd: The Talisman by Stella T: I liked the pacing of this and the foreboding. You just know that by Dan not performing his rituals, it’s going to end in disaster.

2nd: A Cautionary Tail by Steph Ellis: Ah! That desire to touch something you shouldn’t; it always wins out in the end. I like his cynicism at the whole thing being nothing but a money making exercise.

And our Round 102 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Rob Knipe

with

Terror on the Tarmac

Great idea of there being something living on the other side of a reflection. Lovely imagery throughout this piece and that’s what edged it over the winning line.

Congratulations, Rob!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 CR for jugding. Next weekend, Marie McKay will be back to judge Round 103. See you all then.

Hello, all! Thanks to everyone who wrote stories for our 100th prompt. For those of you who missed it, photo contributor Ashwin Rao (@badash13) had some encouraging words for your previous endeavors: 

I just wanted to say what an honor it has been to have my photos serve as inspiration for so many incredibly talented writers at the “Angry Hourglass” blog, which is run by my friend Rebecca. The site has just completed 100 contests, so many hundreds to thousands of stories have been shared and discussed! I am so impressed by the content of her sight and humbled and thrilled that my photos can foster such poignant short stories.

Well done, everybody!

Thanks also to Stephen Lodge who makes his judging debut with this milestone prompt. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Thank you so much for asking me to judge Round 100. Thank you also for the opportunity to read your “Zoe’s Last Birthday.” I really enjoyed it.

It set the scene for what was to follow. A dark selection of stories from truly classy writers. Made me feel like I was standing in the shadows of giants. Apparently at 4 a.m. my wife found me huddled in the corner, sitting on the untreated wooden floor of an unfurnished dream, mumbling “Some birthdays were fun, weren’t they?” Not the ones that had scary clowns obviously, but clearly here is a collection from the dark side of dark.

Fave Moments

Economical – The narrator composing a menu in her head for meals using decomposing food.

Gaap Year In Hell – Black Widow Cupcakes? These should be at bakeries everywhere.

Baked Alaska – When we received confirmation of what we suspected, that Rick was in death what he was in life – a useless lump.

My Runner Up vote goes to David Shakes for “You Can’t Have Your Cake & Eat It.”  –   Shadows dance in the dim candlelight, their languorous sway seemingly independent of its gentle flicker. The remainder of that first paragraph continued to hold my attention. The story’s imagery and descriptions were always intriguing and the small girl’s song so clever.

and our ROUND 100 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Marie McKay

with …To Me

The old house groans, filled with the noises of it’s past. The woman flaps like a bird.

Into any story, throw in an old dark house, a brooding pile with generations of mystery within the walls and then add a bit of a haunting with a twist and I am already on the edge of my seat, howling at the moon and begging for more.  …To Me was my favourite in a very strong field.

Many thanks, Rebecca to you and to all who took part. 

Congratulations, Marie! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Many thanks to Stephen for judging this round. Next weekend, AV Laidlaw returns to judge Round 101. See you all there. 

Hello, friends. Welcome back. For the few of you who might not yet know, the latest FLASH DOGS anthology Time is now available, so you should go order a copy and then come back for results. It’s okay. I’ll wait…

Done? Great.

As usual, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who posted stories this weekend. You are sand pouring through the hourglass, and without your efforts it would cease to exist. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Sal Page for judging the entries. Volunteer judges take the bulk of time commitment each week, making it possible for me to host a weekly competition. You guys are great. Without further ado, here are Sal’s comments.

On the Edge by Steph Ellis This city is a strange and sinister place; empty, with watching eyes and not even on the map. With each line this is reinforced. The city’s a creature that, quite casually, (love the image of the courtyard turning into a tongue), swallows the man down, leaving the woman alone. The last line just adds to the sinisterness by leaving us in darkness.

Tourists by AV Laidlaw. A good take on the prompt to make the man a statue (I did think those white shorts were just too white) and then the whole city full of statues, with the implication that maybe they were once alive. Yes, they’re almost too real, spookily so, with their beads of sweat & tiny hairs. And even, we learn at the end, the tour guide thinks this particular statue may come to life.

Nervous by Jaime Burchardt. Told entirely in dialogue, we learn a lot about the two characters situation. I like the idea of the vampires being nervous about moving to a new city and having to keep a low profile to start with, something Ricky is clearly struggling with. Angela and Ricky sound so normal in many was and yeah, ‘Even freaks need to unwind.’

Tourist Class by AJ Walker. Despite going their separate ways at the end of this, these really two deserve each other. There’s a dual point of view here, which is fine as they really are both as bad as each other. The reader won’t want to pick a side. ‘She was happy though to notice his dandruff seemed to be getting worse.’ made me laugh and, looking again at the photo, he’s very obviously a Cosmo.

Walking in My Girlfriend’s Shoes by Fae Fielding. When I saw the photo on Saturday, my immediate thought was ‘they should swap clothes’. No idea how I would have preceded with that. This, however, is very clever and well executed, with the title and last line working well to tie everything together and create completeness. Based on the idea that each should walk in the other’s shoes, it then becomes so much more. The two of them ‘found their freedom’ from expectations.

Transaction by Stephen Stucko. The two characters begin looking out across the city, in what appears to be a romantic scene. This gradually fades away as we learn more about them. Michael is bored of the city and talks of wanting to go home to his wife. Vicky is there to get money for her hormone treatment. The last couple of lines made me laugh and wonder whether they’re going to stick together after all.

Second Runner Up.  Tourist Class by AJ Walker

First Runner Up. On the Edge by Steph Ellis

And our Round 93 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Fae Fielding

with In My Girlfriend’s Shoes

Congratulations, Fae! 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.

Next weekend AJ Walker will be acting as judge. Hope to see you all there.