Tag Archives: stories

Summer of Super Short Stories 2, Week Eight

It is our final week of the Summer of Super Short Stories 2! As we turn towards fall and the light wanes, our prompts become a little darker, too. Our final week brings us full circle to LCP’s fantasy roots with prompts to inspire magic. Week eight judge Beth Deitchman, co-founder of LCP, has a taste for subtlety and panache. To learn more about Beth and her preferences, click here.

Next Tuesday, in addition to the weekly winners, we will also announce the two winners of the contest’s ultimate prizes for most wins and most stories submitted.

Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it. There are no content restrictions.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.


 And here are your prompts!

Use this six-word phrase in any part of your story:

“do not speak of our magic”

the night

Image credit: The Night by Andrés Nieto Porras Flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

 

 

Week Eight Judge: Beth Deitchman

Our final week will be judged by LCP’s own Beth Deitchman!

Beth Deitchman has been a dancer, a university lecturer, and an actor. While studying Spanish in Panama in 2011 she re-discovered her passion for writing and has been scribbling ever since. Co-founder of Luminous Creatures Press, she has authored two books of the Regency Magic Series, Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven and Margaret Dashwood and the Enchanted Atlas, and co-authored two collections of short stories with fellow Creature Emily June Street. Beth is currently working on a novel about ballet dancers. She lives in Northern California with her husband Dave and dog Ralphie.

Beth has this to say about what Kind of flash fiction she likes: “Every word matters, so I like them to be well-chosen. I prefer stories with an arc over meditations on a theme or image. I also want some juicy narrative tension. And I admire panache.”

bd

(Beth huddles in a cavernous chair with her dog, Ralpie)

Week Seven Judge: Kristen Falso- Capaldi

Our judge for week seven is the lovely Kristen Falso-Capaldi, whose heartfelt stories capture realistic characters with deep emotions.

Kristen is the 2015 winner of the Victoria Hudson Emerging Writer Prize, and her story “The Absence of Cows” recently won first place in See the Elephant magazine’s New Voices Contest. Her fiction has also appeared in FlashDogs: An Anthology, Underground Voices magazine and on The Other Stories Podcast. She co-wrote a screenplay, Teachers: The Movie, which was an official selection for the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival. She is currently working on a novel. She lives in Rhode Island, USA.

You can follow Kristen on Twitter: @kristenafc

Summer of Super Short Stories 2, Week Six

Welcome to week six of our contest.

This week our judge is Holly Geely, the flashdog with all the funnies. Check out her upcoming release, The Dragon’s Toenail, a fantasy satire and more. It will be available on August, 30th 2015.

Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it. There are no content restrictions.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.


And here are your prompts!

Use this three-word phrase in any part of your story:

“six crystal pillars”

magic stone

Image credit: Untitled by Julian Povey Flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

Summer of Super Short Stories 2, Week Five

Welcome to week five of our eight-week contest. Don’t forget that not only are you competing for weekly bragging rights, but also for two ULTIMATE prizes;  winners in the categories of podium wins and stories submitted will each receive a signed and doodled print copy of LCP’s latest book, The Gantean.

This week our judge is spec-fic fan Nancy Chenier, a flashdog and a tremendously talented writer. She says she likes emotional connection in the stories, but we suspect she might also appreciate brilliant word choices and mesmerizing verbs (just going by her own writing).

Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it. There are no content restrictions.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.


And here are your prompts!

Use this three-word phrase in any part of your story:

“this creeping fear”

Anthropomorphic Roots

Image credit: Anthropomorphic Roots by Mike DelGuadio  flickr CC 2.0
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

Summer of Super Short Stories 2, Week Four

After week three’s infidelities, perhaps week four will inspire you to consider LOVE? Our judge, romance author Margaret Locke, is an expert on the topic, after all. Learn more about her at http://margaretlocke.com/

As always, below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it. There are no content restrictions, but our judge  this week advises that any violence and graphic material should be necessary to the story and not gratuitous.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.


And here are your prompts!

Use this four word phrase in any part of your story:

“You have a choice

silence

Image credit: Silence by Eddi Van W  flickr CC 2.0
Image has not been altered from its original form.

Summer of Super Short Stories Week Three

Welcome to our third week of summer flash fiction. This week judge Tamara Shoemaker, author of Kindle the Flame and Soul Survivor, is presiding over the proceedings. If you’d like to know her views on stories and content, you can read more here.

Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.

 


And here are your prompts!

Use this four word phrase in any part of your story:

“The truth is complicated

Crossed Fingers II

Image credit: Crossed Fingers II by Katie Tegtmeyer  flickr CC 2.0
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

Summer of Super Short Stories Week Two

Welcome to our second week of SSS 2! Below you will find a photo prompt and a line prompt. Use the picture to inspire you. The line prompt must be included somewhere in your story of 350 words or less. You can see a larger version of the picture by clicking on it.

Submit your story or stories (up to two) in the reply section to this post no later than Saturday at 6pm PST. Please include word count and Twitter handle/email/other identifiers at the beginning of the story. Winners will be announced next Tuesday. Please see our Contest Rules for more information.

***This week we have CONTENT RESTRICTIONS. Do not include MISOGYNY in your stories.***

Our Week Two judge, Tiffany Aldrich MacBain, has this to say:

“I read for a sense of completeness: are the details well chosen, and at the end of the story can I see why each is there, how it functions relative to the whole? I also like to be moved in some way: to look at or think about or feel about something in a way I hadn’t before.”

And her thoughts on grammar: “When grammar and sentence construction are at their best, the reader doesn’t notice them and gets lost in the story. Errors and over-styling can ruin that effect and make the reader aware that she’s reading a piece of writing (one that would benefit from another round of revision).”

Tiffany has little interest in reading about violence that does not serve the story.


And here are your prompts!

Use this five word phrase in any part of your story:

“I wanted more than silence

img_2296

Image credit: Img_2296 by Ozalee Meg flickr CC 2.0 
Image has not been altered from its original form.

 

The Return, by Steph Ellis

my forest dream

“There are more this year,” said Red, looking out from her Grandma’s … no, her … cottage window, an inheritance she had been reluctant to accept.

Nobody heard. She was alone with her memories and the wolfskin rug.

Entering the kitchen, she noticed her father’s axe behind the kitchen door, long unused. That was why the trees had crept nearer. No one to thin them out. No one to cull them.

Red shivered, picked up the wolfskin, wrapped it round her shoulders. Just as she had done as a child.

She sat in her Grandma’s chair, rocked backwards and forwards. Just as she had done as a child.

“Tell me a tale,” she whispered into the silence. But that story had finished long ago.

The air, dry and stale was suffocating, driving Red out into the small garden, taking the axe with her. The trees had crowded ever closer, even in that short space of time. They bowed over her, branches reaching out, wanting to touch, to hold, to claim.

A lone howl caught her attention, a mournful sound that drew nearer with each heartbeat. A wolf appeared.

It advanced fearlessly towards Red, despite the axe she held.

She stood her ground. Remembered.

“You lied, little girl,” he said.

Red hefted the axe, felt that old sense of power. The animal didn’t flinch.

“We both know the truth, don’t we?” said the creature.

The truth? Yes, they both knew the truth. How she had hated her Grandma. Had lost patience with the woman one fine summer’s day. Had taken the axe …

Red looked down at the shaft, the stain had deepened over the years.

The moonlight dimmed. A passing cloud she thought. But as she looked up she saw a dense canopy form, boughs intertwined to create a tree-borne roof.

Now Red stepped back.

The wolf followed.

“We have our witnesses, little girl.”

The trees shifted closer, the light grew dimmer, the wolf’s breath hotter.

“Time to write another story,” he said. And the darkness became complete.


Follow Steph Ellis on Twitter: @el_stevie or her blog: stephellis.weebly.com

Image credit: “My forest dream is still a dream” by Vinoth Chandar from flickr (CC 2.0)
Image has not been altered from original form.

Week One Winners!

Judge’s confession time: I sort of hate the notion of a writing contest. Why do you sponsor one then? you might ask. The answer is that I’m a story junkie. I like to find prompts that move me and to see what writers make of them, so the line prompt for this week, the opening line from my book, The Gantean–“Tell me a tale”– was particularly apt for my judging week. All you participants did not disappoint. Every story I read this week had merit (that’s why I don’t like contests! How to judge something as personal, varying, and multifaceted as STORIES?) Whittling them down to a short list was a difficult task. Of the four stories I had on the final list, I truly felt any could have been the winner. I am including a line or two of feedback for every story, in no particular order, until the final three placers:

Grandpa’s Trees, by Stephen Shirres: This story offers a striking contrast between its past and its present, full of a melancholy yearning for (simpler?) better times. Solid and authentic.

The Bone Tree Copse, by Mark A. King: An elegiac tale with vertical and horizontal layers! It earned extra points for an evocative title. Clever, moody, and full of wordsmithery.

The Trespasser, by Sean Fraser: A lovely, smooth meditation on confronting the world beyond this one. The Trespasser no longer trespasses. Atmospheric and vivid.

The Cat in the Woods, by Voima Oy: This had a crafty narrative set up— by starting in second person and moving into first, the author offered a coy, cat-like invitation to the reader, while also forcing complicity. The ending lended a perfect tightness to the story. Well-designed.

The bit left over, by Liz Hedgecock: A sweet, sad, simple tale, grounded in realism and emotion. Well-rounded and told with restraint and delicacy. Memorable.

Jem’s Not-Wish, by Holly Geely: Rich characterization drives this story—overtly, with the old woman and Jem, and covertly, with the traveler-charlatan lurking behind it all. Solidly constructed and enjoyable.

Where There Is Willing, by Catherine Connolly: Mythic and eerie, this is a true fairytale of the dark and discomfiting variety. The shadowy, arcane tone and the Eastern European flavor suited the prompts.

Errors, by Foy S. Iver: With a world that explodes off the page, this story should be tagged by the author for development into something longer. (I’d be happy to beta read!) Reveals a unique imagination. Stirring and exciting.

The Darkside, by Anita Harkess: A tight, psychological tale that might be a parable showing the difficulties of maturing, or might be something darker. Nice layering.

Formalities, by Holly Geely: A sweet story with strong characterizations of mother and son. Well-written and realistic.

Song of the Muse, by MT Decker: A skillful personification of that elusive and abstract concept, the artistic muse. Shows a love of language and a subtly poetic voice.

Where She Belongs, by Sal Page: A well-structured story with a startling but graceful twist. The narrator has a strong and distinctive voice. Smart plotting shows an expert’s deft hand.

Third Place! Wolf, by AV Laidlaw: Ripe with vivid images and cinematic details, this clever play on Little Red Riding Hood hooked me from the start. Oh, the poor, weary character tropes of fairytales, forced to replay the same conflicts over and over again! I feel for them! The author chose hard-working verbs and wove in description with sprezzatura.

Second Place! A Mother’s Plea, by Nancy Chenier:  A dark and dangerous tale, full of beautiful, evocative images. This story does a great job of showing itself through a small aperture; a vast, tantalizing world exists beyond the parameters written here. I want to know more, but I’m also satisfied with the possibilities presented. A lovely interplay of imagination and language.

AND OUR WEEK ONE WINNER IS:

The Return, by Steph Ellis: A confident, clear voice and solid writing craft rounded out this inspired reframing of a traditional legend with an unexpected twist. The author juggled action, description, dialogue, exposition, and revelation of information adroitly, keeping a perfect balance from start to finish. A work of polish and panache!

badgesss

Congratulations Steph, Nancy, and AV! Steph’s winning story will appear on our blog tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared. We will be back this Thursday with Week Two prompts, and we hope you will be, too! Week Two’s judge is Tiffany Aldrich MacBain, maven of English and essays.