You can help by promoting next week’s #SatSunTails on your blogs, twitter, G+, facebook, tumblr etc, that would be great. Also, if you’re on twitter and you’d like an @reply every weekend in order to remind you that the competition is open then please leave a note regarding this along with your twitter handle in the comments of this post so I can set that up for you.
But for now, let’s get to the winners!
Runner Up Mentions
This story had some very vivid imagery that made it clear that it was paired to the photo prompt exquisitely. What I didn’t feel strongly enough was the sense of guilt. All in all though, well told.
This was definitely a unique and innovative take on the prompts. Again, here I didn’t sense or feel the guilt. If that was the intent, to show “anti-guilt, it went by me. Again, well told and super inventive view.
I found this story a very inventive take on the prompts as well. If not for an awkward bit of phrasing here and there, it would have been even more awesome. Truly seeing evolution in your writing.
I hesitated to go with a repeat winner but ultimately couldn’t do otherwise. Of all the stories in an excellent pool of contenders, it was the one that I felt paid the best tribute to the photo and phrase prompts. The turmoil in what was, essentially, a no-win situation would have conveyed the sense of guilt to me even if the prompt had not been used.
It was hard not to stare at such beauty, shimmering and opalescent in the night sky. Eden, soul of the universe. One billion lives living in perfect harmony. His home.
“Make your choice,” the voice whispered in his ear.
The children would be rising now, welcoming the dawn with song. His wife would yawn, stretch, her face soft with slumber.
“Make it!” It was more urgent now, slithering over him like a curse. Lifting his head, he turned his face away from Eden, looked into the shadows.
“You want to understand humanity?”
He placed his hand on the child sleeping by his side. “Him, I choose him.”
Soft laughter in the night. The boy stirred, sat up. “Da’ what’s that? Fireworks?”
Flame streaked the sky, the blood of a dying planet. A billion voices snuffed out.
“Can ma see?”
Unassailable guilt twisted. He avoided his son’s wide-eyed stare. “No.”
Now, as promised, Jeffrey’s critiques of those entries that didn’t make it.
I liked this story in the same manner as I have come to expect from Nicole’s writing. Bruce’s genuine angst is clearly conveyed and very palpable. The almost-clinical indifference of his analyst is also nicely conveyed. This story actually misfired for me at the very end. Had the word count been more flexible, Bruce’s reaction to the eclipse might have been fun to explore. As is, I think Alfred Hitchcock’s premise of “sometimes less is more” applies. I think it would have been far more compelling to remove the last line of the tale and to let the reader imagine an ending of their choice. Still liked much of what I saw.
I acknowledge lupus as a truly adept short fictionist and, perhaps for that reason, may be somewhat overly nitpicky here, but that’s the privilege of judging, eh? The story seemed to go in a lot of different directions at once and left me trying to find a thread to follow beginning to end. Also, while fully correct mechanically, I found some of the sentences too long. I feel to keep the pace of short fiction alive is a subtle blend of short snaps and flowing passages that set a tempo and leave the reader feeling they just read something far longer than they did. I love ya, man, but this one just didn’t do it for me.
This tale had an awkward tense switch that caused me to stumble a bit before heading on. With short fiction pieces that use a photo prompt, I usually place them on my blog. I place the picture above my story to reinforce the link between the two. In this case, while the story has some fine elements, I would not have paired it with the photo prompt based on its content.
So thank you to all of those who entered. The criticism is never meant to harm. It is there to help you better your writing and someday win overall. I’m sure it will also benefit those who were not criticised. I hope this has helped you as well as encouraged you to join in again next week!
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