May 242015
 
Photo Credit: David Joyce via CC.

Photo Credit: David Joyce via CC.

Welcome to the results show. Another fantastic round of Micro Bookends. That photo coupled with the bookends, FEAR and FLYING, really got your creative juices flowing. Gold teeth, bad breath, bad trips, and screaming. Lots and lots and lots of screaming. I think this is one of the strongest top threes we’ve ever had. I had all of them in the winner’s spot at one point. In the end I chose…. well, you’ll just have to read on to find out.

Honourable Mentions

Positive Thinking by Geoff Holme

Some very clever wordplay here – power of Persuasion, nicely done. Poor Sam might not make it to his daughter’s wedding, showing how real flying fear can be. It’s just as well Alicia is a bibliophile as well as a bookworm. Imagine if she had a flimsy James Patterson she’d picked up at the airport. Good fun.

Not-So-Impenetrable Walls by Caitlin Gramley

Great use of the opening bookend: “Fear is what keeps me here.” The character’s OCD (“Healthy is my name, cleanliness is my game”) has led him or her to this desperate situation. I really like the sense of panic from the short sharp closing sentences, right down to the Yodaesque finish.

Contemplations of a Dying Man by Carlos Orozco

Appropriate that Fear and Loathing is playing on the television given the psychedelic nature of the story. Very powerful images throughout: “He tried to lower his jaw to the floor, so that the flavor could crawl out.”, “The only logical way to get rid of the taste now would be to swallow his tongue.” Terrible (in a good way) ending. Nightmarish stuff.

Mining for Gold by Steph Ellis

Excellent use of the photo prompt: the harvesting of valuable items in the Nazi concentration camps. A harrowing story. The line “a small sun that shone briefly before the pliers did their work” speaks volumes to me. Thankfully, the story ends on a positive: “rumours about the approaching Allies started flying.”

3rd Place

Fear’s Lozenge by Foy S. Iver

Such a good title and concept. I think we can all admit to be swallowed by fear from time to time. Beautiful language from the excellent opening line (“Fear pops you in its mouth and sucks on you”) to the hopeful finish (“Somewhere – free – your almost-children are flying.”) Bonus points for mentioning the gold tooth, tongue, throat and saliva. You certainly squeezed that photo prompt 😉 .

2nd Place

Fear by Jacki Donnellan

Fear as a drug to be used to cure a humdrum life. Such a good concept and brilliantly explored. We get the humdrum from the “magnolia-walled office” and the MC “plodding from one safe, sanitised moment to the next”. I love the descriptions of the effect of fear: “boredom to unease; heartbeat to hoof beats.” But like all drugs, it’s possible to overdose on fear, especially premium grade: “Above the crescendo of my scream I can see Death’s angels flying.” Such a powerful closing line.

Winner

Phantom by Marie McKay

The opening line grabs you and won’t let go until the story has taken you through its lovely rhythm to nightmarish conclusion.  The story and word choice are excellent, but what I really love about this piece is the rhythm. I don’t know if we’re looking at a supernatural being or if the MC has a mental disorder, but the short sharp sentences heighten the sense of unease. I always think good dialogue can carry a lot of weight, and the line, “What’s keeping you, Lady?” shows more than a few lines of description ever could. And speaking of rhythm, the train thrumming “Take care! Take care!” to the MC adds to the nightmarish quality of the story.

Phantom

Marie McKay

‘Fear me,’ he says- just as he hands me my change; just before the train pulls up; just before the guy behind me shouts, ‘What’s keeping you, Lady?’

I try to find a trace of the words on his face. In the lines across his forehead. In his pinpoint pupils. In the shiny gold between his yellow teeth. But they’ve disappeared.

Except, somehow, I am in possession of them. I carry them onto the train, feel them fluttering at my chest. I try to pull them into some other shape. But the train thrums, ‘Take care! Take care!’ I turn towards the squawking skies and watch the noises flying.

Who is Caitlin Gramley?

 Who is the author?  Comments Off on Who is Caitlin Gramley?
May 192015
 

Caitlin GramleyOur most recent winner is Caitlin Gramley. Check out her blog, enjoy her winning story again, then read on to learn a little more about her and her writing:

I am a mother of two rambunctious boys and wife to an amazing man. I recently found my long lost love for writing and I have flash fiction to thank for that. It’s hard to believe I walked away from writing and lost my way for a bit, but I’m back and my love for all things literary is stronger than ever!

So, great story. How did you get there from the prompt and bookends? When I see fight scenes I often think about the many inner battles people face daily. When I saw the word FACE, I knew my character would be facing herself in the mirror. It took me a while to figure out how to use BOOK, but once I established that the loud voice was Satan feeding her lies and the small still voice was God, I wanted to end it with him saying she was in His book, symbolizing that He loves her and knows her name.

100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? I usually keep the word count in mind when writing but I always go over. Then I go through and edit out the unnecessary content and hope that I can still get my point across.

Why do you like flash fiction? I have a very short attention span when it comes to writing, so flash fiction is just the right length for me.

Been writing long? I used to write all the time in high school. Then I got married and had kids and my interests were elsewhere for a while. I have only been writing flash fiction since march 2015.

You write anything else? I mainly focus on flash fiction and poetry. You can read my work on my blog Real Momma Ramblings.

Any advice for other flash writers? Well, I am new to flash so… to other newbies I would have to say, don’t let other’s stories intimidate you. Instead, learn from their work to better yourself as a writer.

Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? Not at the moment. I have many ideas but nothing concrete. Right now I am focusing on getting more involved in the writing community, both online and in my own town.

I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? Shrilugh (The Shrilugh Saga Book 1) by Myndi Shafer. The world Myndi created is just so fantastical. I wish I could go there.