Mark A. King did a stellar job judging our mini-contest, and the results are here. Mark has left a bit of commentary on every story, so take a look below to see what he had to say about yours and others’ efforts. Thank you all for participating. It was truly a joy to see names old and new offering up stories here at LCP. The dragony theme especially made us miss the days of Flash Friday!
Here are Mark’s lovely words about judging:
I want to pass on my sincere thanks for being given the privilege of reading and judging your stories. As you undoubtedly know, both Emily and Tamara are masters of their craft. Such fine authors deserve mighty fine flash fiction and, wow, did you deliver.
It was a tough, but highly enjoyable task. Your words are truly a gift. You are talented. Believe it. Keep writing.
1.) Seamus and Declan on a Welsh Beach by Maggie Duncan
MK: The land of dragons, and leprechauns on a beach, what’s not to love? Wonderful use of dialect.
2.) Here Be No Stones Or Dragons But I Wrote A Story Anyway, by Margaret Locke
MK: “The earth’s rich belly swelled above the sand like a ripe melon, water flowing over her, waves baptizing her anew.” aka – how to completely nail an opening.
3.) The Unmarked Grave by Taryn Noelle Kloeden
MK: It’s incredibly hard to draw emotion in such a short word-count. It takes great skill. In the first few lines, I pondered if the subject was a lost love, a child, or parent. Touching, well-crafted and one to savour.
4.) [Untitled] by David Kleeman
MK: Wonderful language. With these sort of word-counts it’s about leaving much unsaid and letting the reader fill the gaps. Knowing what to leave and what to write is the hard part. Job well done.
5.) What Is Lost Can Be Found by @carolrosalind
MK: What do I like about this? “So much” is the answer. A simple concept, but crafted so well that it’s wonderfully mysterious. I love the suspense and the thought of the snakes pulling the narrator in.
6.) Sapphire Spellstone by @davejamesashton
MK: I enjoyed the masking of the setting. I had somewhere else in mind, until I discovered it was a pawnshop (I loved this idea). A phylactery, possibly containing the spirit of a magical creature? Fabulous.
7.) Draconic Destruction by @davejamesashton
MK: “She had awakened, eager to mate.” This scared me. Adored the word “wyrm”. Wonderful ending.
8.) The Black Stone by Voima Oy
MK: This story is how to craft perfect flash fiction. Superb use of big and small stones. Swapping jewelry boxes for peanut butter amid a post-apocalyptic world. Hungry waves. Brilliant!
9.) Dragon Mountain by Craig McGeady
MK: Gentle, subtle and heartwarming. Using the picture to show not tell a wonderful moment between generations.
10.) Dark Waters by David Kleeman
MK: Great sense of mystery and intrigue. As a reader, I’m curious and want to know more.
11.) Imprisoned by @el_Stevie
MK: Splendid use of setting, mythology and legend. So good, it felt like I was sitting in Stonehenge, enthralled as a great fire-side story-teller recounted daring adventures of ancestors.
12.) Salvage by Nancy Chenier
MK: Breathtakingly good. Inventive and deep. Sumptuous words and images. Excellent work.
13.) Happy Anniversary by Nancy Chenier
MK: Majestic opening. Delicate yet intense piece that crosses time, space and species.
14.) [Untitled] by Jennifer Faust
MK: This felt like watching the pivotal scene in a sweeping fantasy movie. Lovely build-up and enjoyable ending.
15.) They Themselves by Josh Bertetta
MK: I love that the author has taken the image and crafted not only a different world/s, but cross genres and built a fantastic back-story. Fabulous imagination.
16.) Dragoncall by Dave Lankshear
MK: And so the real story begins. Even in a micro story it’s possible to use pace to engage the reader, and the author of this story has done just that, building up to the finale (or beginning, as I like to think of it).
17.) [Untitled] by Rebekah Postupak (Crash Site)
MK: So many reasons to adore this. The personification of the stones (each with distinct personality). The partners discussing the merits of asking for directions (just brilliant). The crash site itself. Thoroughly enjoyable.
18.) Sea Shells by Allison K. Garcia
MK: Yes. This is how to mix fabulous dialogue, humour, and first-class words such as ‘eep’, ‘sizzle’, ‘chomp’. Loved it—thank you for making me smile.
19.) The Reluctant Dragon-keeper of Drabenvord by Geoff Holme
MK: I’m a big fan of experimenting with structure in flash/micro fiction. Here the author has included both authors, Street & Shoemaker and their respective novels, Embrace the Fire and Sterling. Clever.
20.) [Untitled] by Rebekah Postupak (Touch my Stuff)
MK: And let that be a lesson to you! Never. Ever. Touch a dragon’s stuff. See anything like that on the beach – just leave it there. Trust me.
21.) Stone Quarry by Brady Koch
MK: This is like a great movie trailer. It condenses a huge plot and backstory into a tiny space. Good craft.
MK: There can be only one winner (sadly).
It was a close call but I have chosen Salvage, by Nancy Chenier. I hope you agree it is a worthy winner in a field of incredible stories.
The words are beautifully written. The images sublime. But it’s much more than that. It is emotion in its highest form, squashed under the weight of intense gravity and condensed into the space of 100 words. It’s a sense of the unknown. It’s a ride on the wave of fear, loss and injury. It’s the complex relationships between ourselves and our families. It’s the intricate struggles with ourselves, who we are, who we were, how we came to be and who we can become. Stunning. Congratulations.
Congratulations to Nancy Chenier, the winner of A Few Days of Fantasy Flash 2016! Nancy, please contact Emily (emily (@) luminouscreaturespress (dot) com) to collect your winnings of copies of Sterling and Embrace the Fire!
LCP, Emily, and Tamara extend a huge THANK YOU to Mark for his detailed and careful judging.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and submitting stories!