March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting


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Post March 25, 2018, 11:50:14 AM

March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

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The Suspense Is Killing Me - The Voting
A Fantasy Fiction Writing Contest.


General Thoughts:

This segment of the contest is important for the voters and commenters themselves. To communicate with thoughtful responses requires mental labor which develops skills in a person's writing and public speaking.

For the participating writers, the voting and commenting is beneficial for the author, to help them see through the eyes of the readers.

I've noticed that Wormtongue, the Archive Editor is reposting the stories in separate posts so he can link onto them for the archive. I'm going to do that here to make it easier for him. Thank you Wormtongue for being on top of this for the contest writers.


Timeline:

Voting and commenting for "The Suspense Is Killing Me" flash fiction contest begins today and will continue through Saturday March 31, 2018.

The results will be posted after the voting.


Commenting:

If you have something unfavorable to say about a story, make it constructive so the author can benefit from your viewpoint and insight.

Never say anything negative about the authors themselves.

Praise and encourage the authors with any element that is worthy of it. Let them know they did good. You would want it for yourself.


To Vote:

Send me a pm (private message) by clicking on my name on this post and then click the words private message on the following screen. Type in the name of the story you liked the best and click submit.

"The Suspense Is Killing Me" flash fiction contest - voting and commenting begins...now.

___________________

The titles of the 5 stories in this flash contest are:

Bud Durock - Double Take
Sergio Palumbo - What You Have Done
Jolene Wilkerson - The Slasher's Revenge
Twilight Zee - Haven't We Met Before?
Jim Statton - The Older You Get, The More Expensive The Lesson
___________________
Last edited by Jim Statton on March 25, 2018, 12:02:56 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:52:00 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Double Take
by Bud Durock


Many the mind following words in a book, pictures in newspapers, the story of words; come to life. Not life in the way it feels when accidentally pricking the finger with a sharp fishing hook. No, it was more in the way a young lover see’s their love while apart, or the child tossing and turning in his bed from thinking of a new toy he knows is coming. The thoughts are real, the thinker is real, just as the man writing another book to a trilogy; actually, one of many; his fingers clicking the keyboard furiously; was real.

His name was just a name. His real name was hard to pronounce so he used what many writers use… an alias. A ghost writer. But, for him and what was going on through his mind, was not an imagination or just a thought… it was real.

“John, are you feeling well?,” John. Such a nice name for a writer to use. More masculine in tone than say, Bill?

“No. I mean, yes… Yes, I’m fine.” John was acting a bit confused but gratefully took his wife’s fresh, hot cup of tea and softly tested the contents heat.

“What are you working on? It looks…”

John had swiftly switched his computer into another mode as he did not want to see what should not be seen, to see what he was writing… Especially since what should not be seen was now being seen and standing right in front of him. A woman. A specific woman. It was the woman who was his main character in his story.

A story unlike the many he had written before. In this story it was a story about him and his life. It was the story where he snapped when he learned his wife had been giving away their money… his money… to television evangelizers.

John snapped in two like a twig; his mind that is. He snapped and killed his wife with a garden hoe. It was bloody and horrible. Yet, it was real…

“You can’t be here Mabel. I killed you years ago. You’re just a guilt, a thought, an illusion. You are nothing but the source of my nightmares.”

“Oh, but I am John . I am real. As real as you are. Here grab me and dance like we used to!”

John was grabbed by the woman he had killed years ago. He danced and laughed, laughed and danced and in the midst of the dance, he paused to reach out and grab the now-cool tea… His hands passing through the cups handle, the table beneath. At this point, John screamed.

You see, throughout this whole story the only real thing, was the truth of a writer named, John. A man who had brutally killed his wife years earlier. And of course the cup of tea. A cup of tea now cooling in your mind.

The End

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:52:52 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

What You Have Done
by Sergio Palumbo


Daxten Nithercott had stopped writing years ago, and his days now were long and dull, in his secluded house by the lake. But this was what he decided to do long ago and, after all, the royalties from all the crime novels he had written allowed him to live comfortably.

The fact was that he might have continued to write, new ideas were always coming to mind, but he had preferred to stop. Now, after so long, he wondered if he had done the right thing. He knew full well why he had retired and he didn’t want to bring that matter up again.

Then, one day things changed and the bald man of about 75 wondered if he had made the right decision.

The first thing that happened was that he unexpectedly found a Santa’s hat in his yard, just like the one he had written about in his novel ‘Santa Goes Hunting for Fresh Blood’ - which deeply worried him, of course.

The week after that, he stumbled onto a pair of shoes, the same color and shape of those he had depicted in ‘Only Their Shoes Remained’ - about a serial killer that kidnapped passers-by leaving only their shoes behind. This, too, made him apprehensive.

Daxten didn’t know who might be responsible for these objects, but they reminded him of things that had happened long ago, before he had stopped writing.

Perhaps his decision to quit had worked only for a while…So, what had changed? Why were these things happening now, in this place?

The next Saturday he found someone’s finger, a real human finger, dissected and still dripping blood, laying on the stairs leading to his house. This terrified him and, after reporting it to the local police, he decided he didn’t want to waste time and made preparations to be ready.

That Sunday, he grabbed his gun and spent most of the day sitting in an old chair on his front porch, focusing on his driveway with his weapon close at hand.

He almost gave a start when he saw someone coming near his house that evening. He relaxed as he saw it was the same blond-haired policeman from the day before, though he didn’t recognize him immediately because he was dressed in street clothes.

“Hi there, Mr. Nithercott.”

“Hello, Officer. Did you come here to tell me about developments in my case?” the retired man replied.

“Actually, that is exactly what I had in mind. Though I’m off duty today, I just wanted to update you…” That said, he took a notepad out of his leather bag.

“What have you discovered?” the author asked tensely. “Please, have a seat…”

As the man sat down on the porch, they started talking with each other. “I discovered that something like what you reported has already happened to you, in the past…” the policeman said.

“Yes, you’re right…which is why I quit writing many years ago. It wasn’t because I was running out of ideas but I believed it would be best.”

“I saw you pressed charges against an unknown subject at that time. Was someone bothering you?” the policeman asked.

“Yes! I had started finding objects, peculiar things that seemed to come from my crime novels. It was as if somebody was trying to frighten me,” Daxten maintained.

“Do you know why anyone would want to do that?” the other asked.

“No. But it doesn’t matter because one day it simply stopped. And at that point, I decided to retire.”

“Uhm, Mr. Nithercott. Maybe I have an answer to all that…”

“Really? What have you uncovered?” the author wondered.

“Well, in our files there are reports about someone killing people using methods in your book. It seems that somebody used your suggestions to put into action kidnappings and murders.” the policeman made a face.

“So, are you accusing me of those murders? Go on and say it, if you believe that is what happened.”

“Actually, I’m pretty sure that you weren’t responsible. And now I’m going to explain to you why.” the blond-haired man said.

Daxten looked at him wide-eyed.

“I think there was someone who lived in your hometown for a while, before you decided to move out here. He read your books and thought he could make use of the things he learned from your crime novels. You know: how to kill innocent people and get away with it, that sort of thing…”

Daxten didn’t say anything.

“Then, one day, he concluded that he knew why he was behaving that way. He had been swayed by your ghastly suggestions and your ideas! He came to believe that he would never have killed anyone if he hadn’t read your books,” the policeman continued.

“How do you know this since the killer was never found?”

“Exactly! He was never brought to justice. Actually, I was that murderer! It may surprise you to know that I once worked for the police department where you lived. Then, one day I had an accident and I remained comatose for many years. That is why the murders stopped. Eventually I reawakened, it took me time to be healthy again… When I found out you had retired and moved away, I decided I had to move here as well. My doctor said that it would be therapeutic to move to a rural setting…”

It was at that moment, as he heard that strange story, that Daxten noticed he had regretfully left his weapon inside the house.

“Today, I can finally complete my task and re-enact a scene from your last book. Do you remember that novel titled, ‘The Dissected Body of an Elderly Author’?”

Nithercott slowly nodded, his face full of fear.

The policeman stood up and took something out of his bag. “Let’s start now. This knife of mine will show you how I can make your story real. The lines you wrote back then were so inspirational to me…”

The End

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:53:32 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Slasher's Revenge
by Jolene Wilkerson


At 72, Michael Prince was still producing one successful novel after the other. He had to. His public demanded it. So did his publisher.

It was raining outside as another day faded into evening. Michael sat at his computer. “They’re all the same,” he said to himself discouraged, as he crouched at his desk with his fingers moving just slightly off center on the keyboard. He noticed his next line was all wrong. “Jib borage, pure jib borage, that figures,”

No one was home and the estate was quiet. Dayla, his young bride, left him only days before. “Why, now,” he asked himself, feeling distracted, with the pressure of yet another deadline looming. “Why did she have to pick now, of all times, to leave?”

He reached into his paper files in the drawer of his large oak desk and pulled out the prenuptial agreement she signed when they wed. “She can threaten all she wants, but she’s not going to get past this contract.”

As he looked at the contract, he began to see his name as if it was written in thick red, dripping blood. He took off his bifocals and rubbed his eyes. “Okay, now I’m really seeing things,” he said.

In the quietness of his office, he looked around the room. His novels, which were quickly turned into best sellers, lined his bookshelves. Mementoes and props from his novels, many of which were turned into major motion pictures, sat on his massive oak desk and were mounted on the wall in front of him. Usually, they served as inspiration for further writing projects and trophy’s of his success. But tonight, Michael Prince did not feel inspired.

Michael was grateful to Ian Salem, Chief Publisher of Black Knight Publishing. After all, he had helped to make him the icon that he is today. But now, with the added pressure of the divorce suit, and Salem’s constant pressing for the next great sensation, Michael felt stifled.

It seemed the very monsters and hideous creatures that he had carefully crafted were now seeping into his dreams and creeping into his waking thoughts.

Michael jumped. “What’s that.. Who’s there?” he blurted out loud. Above the hum of the fan, he was sure he heard foot steps. He got up and walked through the empty hallway looking and finding nothing, he felt ridiculous.

He walked back to his office, looking around cautiously, and sat in his black leather chair. He reflected on when he was first contacted by Black Knight Publishing. Before that, he got rejections letters from every short story magazine and publisher in the business. He would have sold his soul to just have any serious publisher give him a second look. So Michael did not think too much about signing the contract in blood back then. After all, there were lots of eccentric people in the entertainment business. Besides, Salem assured him that there was a public out there waiting for him that would inhale his work and want more. That is when Murray Princeton became Michael Prince, and when The Slasher series began.

"The Slasher" was Salem's idea. He was a hooded creature who crept through the night, executing his own warped justice with a long steel blade and black cloak, which became symbols immediately recognized with the successful series. His first novel, “The Slasher “ became a block buster success with six equally successful sequels. Murray's then wife, Leslie, left before the release of the second novel, “The Slasher's Revenge.” She said success had changed him.

But now with his rusty red hair turned gray, he looked up at the Slasher's steel blade, mounted on the wall of his office and with a gasp of horror he thought he saw blood dripping red, like ink from the shiny blade. He rubbed his tired eyes. "I am really loosing it,” Michael thought.

All of a sudden, he heard a sound that caused him to jump up out of his chair. It was the scraping sound of metal against metal. It was the sound synonymous with the Slasher sharpening his blade, as portrayed in the movies. It was a sound which proceeded each murderous rampage that delighted audience with horror and suspense. Again, Michael tried to dismiss it until he heard loud foot steps again, this time accompanied by a loud pounding heartbeat, also portrayed in the movies. “Salem, is that you?” he yelped, as his own heart pounding so fiercely that it began to ache.

Just then, a hooded creature entered the room. It was wearing the dark cloak the Slasher wore when it roamed the night. His piercing eyes looked deep into the writer's soul. "Who are you? What are you trying to pull?" Michael Prince yelled with a frightful, weakened voice.

The creature pulled out a long, sharp blade. It looked identical to the prop that hung on the wall.

“This can’t be,” Prince said. “You are not real, I created you.”

But the creature coldly grabbed him by the neck, grasping tighter and tighter. He lifted him high above the floor, with the writer’s feet dangling and twitching in fear. Michael looked around the room glancing at his trophies, his novels on the shelves; the symbols of his success.

At that moment, all that he could think of was that he would gladly trade them all just to have someone there who cared. But there was no one. He was alone.

“Was someone trying to kill him using images from his own novels? A deranged fan, his self centered wife? Or could this be the work of his long time companion and publisher?” he wondered as he gasped.

No. It was just death.


Entertainment News Special Report. Michael Prince 72, successful horror/suspense writer and cult icon died today in his home apparently of natural causes.

The End
Last edited by Jim Statton on March 25, 2018, 11:59:30 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:54:02 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Haven't We Met Before?
by Twilight Zee


Carlton Brock couldn't wait to get home. Today was the day he'd been waiting for almost a year now. As of four o'clock this afternoon, his contract with Borderline Publishers was fulfilled and Carlton had no intentions of wasting any time getting started on his new life as a retired bachelor novelist.

Over the last month as Carlton was finishing up his last novel in the "Old Haunts" series, he had been making plans to retire to a small town called Lazy Acre Cove, located in upstate New York. The local real estate agent had shown him a number of options when he'd made weekly trips into town and as luck would have it, they were finally able to strike a deal just a week ago.

As Carlton arrived home that afternoon to begin packing, he noticed a strange car in his driveway. Long, black and no identifying tags of any kind. He knew of no one who owned a car that looked like this except...hey, wait a minute, this car looked just like the one belonging to Joey Baggs, a less than savory character in his novel, "A Time To Die." Joey was a hitman for the mob and was known to ride in high style, but he...oh what on earth was he thinking? The strain of having to meet his deadline must have been causing Carlton's imagination to work overtime.

Just as Carlton started to step from his car, he was startled back to reality by a series of explosions coming from different locations on his property, the last one leveling his house with a deafening roar.

Standing in the midst of his lawn, as debris rained down around him, Carlton turned to watch as the long black car drove quietly away, disappearing from sight as it rounded the curve in the driveway.

Frightened and in a state of shock, Carlton fought to gain a grasp on reality. He had just watched his house be blown apart by what looked as if it was one of his characters from the last story that he'd written. How on earth was this possible?

Getting back into his car, Carlton made several calls including to the local police. As he was hanging up from the last call, he noticed in the distance at the last curve in the drive, a glint caused by something shiny. Upon looking closer, Carlton's blood ran cold. It was the long black car that had disappeared only moments before. Gaining control of his senses, Carlton made a dash for his car. As he was nearing the passenger's door of his car, he heard the roar of the black car's engine just a few yards away from him. In a terrified leap, he dove for the open window only to be thrown into the air by the black car as it barreled past him.

Lying on the ground, battered and bleeding, unable to move, Carlton could hear the slowly approaching car. With a great flood of relief, he could hear a second car coming near. Upon hearing voices, he realized that it was the police coming to answer the call he'd made only moments before.

He could hear car doors closing and footsteps approaching. But something wasn't right. Not only could he not speak, but what he heard next caused a wave of terror to flood over him." Thank goodness you drove by officer! I was coming to see my friend here and saw a car strike him and speed away. If it's at all possible, I want to aide you in finding who did this. I won't be able to rest until it's resolved, so I’ll be staying on in town. You can contact me at the Plaza Inn."

As Carlton began to fade from consciousness, these words cut like a knife through the fog of pain he was bathed in. "Oh, by the way. My name is Joey. Joey Baggs. You know where to reach me."

The End

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:54:34 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Older You Get, The More Expensive The Lesson
by Jim Statton


An aging man, once active in national service for the country he loved, decided to retire after a presidential election went sour. With some full time R and R under his belt, he dove head first into kicking out stories by pounding keys on a forty year old typewriter.

Now alone, he sits and looks out his window waiting for death and any adventure that may lie beyond.

He simmered in melancholy with a feeling of pensive sadness. Loneliness was so pervasive in all that he was now.

Much like in "The Christmas Carol," General Wisecouf entertained what seemed like ghosts dressed as characters from many of his tall tales.

"Colonel Beauregard, at your service, sir." A stately civil war officer floated in front of the former general in a ghostly like manner. Wisecouf slowly looked up as he began to choke on the tobacco the ghost was exhaling.

"This is somewhat of a frightening honor," the general said wide-eyed and alert. "By the way, I have COPD so will you put out your cigar."

"The smell of smoke dear sir is only in your mind, where I live," the ghost said to ease the general's nerves.

"Well, my mind is choking too, so will you put out your tobacco?"

A young teen girl who looked like she just blew in from, "Gone With the Wind" came over and sat in the general's lap. Miss Stacy Statutory was what she was called by well respected folks. She gave evenly to both sides of the Civil War, if you know what I mean.

After getting up, she sat on the desk in front of the general and said while playfully dangling her legs, "Is this doing anything for you?"

"Not unless you have a handful of Viagra. When you're old, sex is the first thing to go," the general said in a coy manner.

"Oh poo or fiddle-dee-dee or whatever a southern belle is suppose to say."

A shiny knight with lance out stretched careened into the general's living quarters barely missing the lamp.

"Doest thou remember me, dear sir. I am Sir Lance Boil from the land of Tuchus. A more honor laden band of men wrapped in tin cans you'll never find."

The general sat thinking and wondered if all the torture he had afflicted on enemy solders and innocent civilians was coming back to haunt him...he'd have to say yes.

The room grew dark suddenly as flying bats covered the walls, passing by the secondary lighting fixtures.

"Alright, all of you get out! Get back into the pages where I inscribed you." The general was agitated and began mounting a plan to relieve himself of these nuisances.

Pulling one of his many revolvers from off the den wall, he loaded it and began shooting right through the transparent characters, tearing up his home with gun shot holes.

The characters only laughed at him.

With his next assault, the general searched in his files for his original manuscripts that the characters were created on and began erasing them from the pages. And indeed they disappeared...just like that!

A few moments later, the neighbors who were having a costume party next door, rang his doorbell to complain about the noise of gun shot sounds a few moments earlier.

The general opened the door with a plain, expressionless look on his face. The neighbors began yelling at him for ruining their party. The disagreeable men who stood before him, included a pirate, a cowboy, an Arab sheik and a professional bowler, who was too cheap to buy a costume.

The general listened to the caterwauling for a moment and said, "I don't remember writing any of you people.

Then he opened fire.

The End

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Post March 25, 2018, 11:55:16 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Time to start commenting, reading and voting.
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Post March 26, 2018, 06:10:24 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

My votes are in...eh,eh :D

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Post March 27, 2018, 10:20:19 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

For Bud's story, "Double Take", Wow times three!

This has the feeling of great literature, the kind you read and reread many times. Pure poetry.


"What Have You Done" by Sergio, I would like to be able to visualize the main character more. The plot was interesting. The cop reminded me of the cop in "Terminator Two" who was a shape shifter.


Twlight's story, "Haven't We Met Somewhere Before" was a most enjoyable story to read. It had a feeling of comfort, like relaxing in a favorite chair to be entertained. The story's flow is amazingly good. The selection of names and titles like "Old Haunts" for his novel, is a great description and a foretelling as is "Lazy Acres Cove".

I would like to see it lengthened.


Jim's story, "The Older You Get...", light hearted and whimsical yet it has a great sadness of truth. The dialogue and the dialects of the fantasy characters made me smile.


I really enjoyed being a part of this. I hope these comments are helpful and I hope they spur more commenting.

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Post March 27, 2018, 10:57:54 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

It's nice to see new blood entering the challenges. All the stories were interesting and entertaining.

Entertainment can sometimes be found but not be interesting, and sometimes a story that is interesting is not entertaining.

Now, the hard part. To vote.

Each story had it's merits. Bud's story made me want a cup of tea. Jim's story painted a vivid picture complete with sound effects. Jolene's reminded me of the old detective movies that were in black-and-white. Sergio put a lot into his story, filling out with enough to completely absorb a readers attention. Twilights made the car seem real.

It is nice to see writers rising to the challenge.

Good job.

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Post March 29, 2018, 08:23:27 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Sorry I didn't get in, but I will the next time. Been busy.
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Post March 30, 2018, 11:55:29 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

There are two more days to read and vote. I have four votes in so far, I would like a couple more.

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Post March 30, 2018, 09:41:27 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

5 votes in and we still have until late tomorrow night.

Read and vote. There's some good entertainment in these 5 stories.
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Post March 30, 2018, 11:03:38 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Get the votes in, folks. This is going to be close; it took me more than the usual time and consideration to make my choice.
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Post March 31, 2018, 04:16:05 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Lester Curtis wrote:Get the votes in, folks. This is going to be close; it took me more than the usual time and consideration to make my choice.

He's right, it is close. 7 votes in and we have until late tonight to read and vote. Then it goes into the archives.

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Post April 01, 2018, 11:05:14 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

I appreciate every writer who contributed stories in this theme contest. I am proud of the writers and their writing abilities.

Here are the results.

These writers received the following votes.

Bud Durock: Double Take - 1
Sergio Palumbo: What You Have Done - 2
Jolene Wilkerson: The Slasher's Revenge - 2
Twilight Zee: Haven't We Met Before? - 1
Jim Statton: The Older You Get, The More Expensive The Lesson - 1
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Post April 03, 2018, 03:48:20 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congratulations to the winners...eh,eh :D
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Post April 03, 2018, 12:06:08 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congrats to Sergio and Jolene; good work!

This shows why we need more voters, though (or a different scoring system)--too many ties.
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Post April 03, 2018, 04:25:40 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Lester Curtis wrote:Congrats to Sergio and Jolene; good work!

This shows why we need more voters, though (or a different scoring system)--too many ties.

I've got an idea about attracting more people to the contests.

What we really need is more commenters. Why don't we both comment on the stories over the next few days. That will give the authors more value in addition to the votes.
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Post April 04, 2018, 02:34:14 AM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

In Sergio's story, "What You Have Done", I was a bit jarred at the protagonist's failure of vigilance:
That Sunday, he grabbed his gun and spent most of the day sitting in an old chair on his front porch, focusing on his driveway with his weapon close at hand.

It was at that moment, as he heard that strange story, that Daxten noticed he had regretfully left his weapon inside the house.

This seems out of character for a person in fear of imminent danger and thus gives me the impression of a less-than-graceful plot device. In fairness, sometimes the short word count drives the use of such things. This one could have been fixed; say the character needed refreshment and went into the house for some coffee or something--and got distracted and left his gun behind. Then when the cop reveals his true nature and role in the story, the protag could reach for his weapon--and instantly remember exactly where it was. The reader would already know this, but that's ok; it's like in all the bad slasher movies, the audience gets to scream at the characters not to go in the basement.

This, to me, is essential to good horror: don't scare the character, scare the reader. Poe and so many others just bored me with so much narration about how frightened the character felt ... well, duh, he's about to be killed. What's my stake in this as a reader? I'm safe in my armchair.

The reason I liked this story most out of all these was that there was no supernatural element in it; the whole thing was set in a mundane real world, and the depth of the plot was terrific.

So, one minor hiccup; otherwise excellent.
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Post April 04, 2018, 07:34:17 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Lester Curtis wrote:In Sergio's story, "What You Have Done", I was a bit jarred at the protagonist's failure of vigilance:
That Sunday, he grabbed his gun and spent most of the day sitting in an old chair on his front porch, focusing on his driveway with his weapon close at hand.

It was at that moment, as he heard that strange story, that Daxten noticed he had regretfully left his weapon inside the house.

This seems out of character for a person in fear of imminent danger and thus gives me the impression of a less-than-graceful plot device. In fairness, sometimes the short word count drives the use of such things. This one could have been fixed; say the character needed refreshment and went into the house for some coffee or something--and got distracted and left his gun behind. Then when the cop reveals his true nature and role in the story, the protag could reach for his weapon--and instantly remember exactly where it was. The reader would already know this, but that's ok; it's like in all the bad slasher movies, the audience gets to scream at the characters not to go in the basement.

This, to me, is essential to good horror: don't scare the character, scare the reader. Poe and so many others just bored me with so much narration about how frightened the character felt ... well, duh, he's about to be killed. What's my stake in this as a reader? I'm safe in my armchair.

The reason I liked this story most out of all these was that there was no supernatural element in it; the whole thing was set in a mundane real world, and the depth of the plot was terrific.

So, one minor hiccup; otherwise excellent.

These comments are thorough, complete with regard to detail; kind and caring to the author. Professional.


My story comments are in progress.

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Post April 04, 2018, 08:11:49 PM

Re: March 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Comments on the story, "Double Take" by Bud Durock.

This author's style is a free style, free flowing type of writing, without attention to standard writing norms. It was clever in it's conception and application. Philosophical. Not bound by the rules of writing. And for all of those reasons, it was exciting and enjoyable.

It is difficult to analyze a free style work without disregarding the nature of the author's intent. The only observation left to critique is how the reader "felt".

Those who write free style "know" that they are not following generally accepted styles of writing, which may include rules of grammar and punctuation. So the same standard for analyzing works written in proper English, may undercut the author's purpose.

I see a desire for experimental writing by this author with a lilting feel like great storytellers of the past such as, Lewis Carroll of "Alice in Wonderland", C. S. Lewis of "The Screwtape Letters" and poet E.E. Cummings who went on to become an innovative poet, known for his lack of stylistic and structural conformity.

So, these comments are more about the observation of the author, based on this work. It would be impossible to detect which rules were broken or ignored on purpose. So overall, I liked the free form writing of this story. The author's imagery is very strong and yet, it is described by the emotion it creates in the reader's mind rather than descriptive details.

Here is a wonderful example of his writing.

"John was grabbed by the woman he had killed years ago. He danced and laughed, laughed and danced and in the midst of the dance, he paused to reach out and grab the now-cool tea… His hands passing through the cups handle, the table beneath. At this point, John screamed.

You see, throughout this whole story the only real thing, was the truth of a writer named, John. A man who had brutally killed his wife years earlier. And of course the cup of tea. A cup of tea now cooling in your mind."

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