?

Which story should win?

Poll closed Wednesday at 9:51 AM.
  1. Secret Santa

    1 vote(s)
    5.3%
  2. Country Christmas Eve

    3 vote(s)
    15.8%
  3. A Box with Air Holes

    4 vote(s)
    21.1%
  4. The Gift of Gifts

    1 vote(s)
    5.3%
  5. Kringle Karma...

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. The Little Red Party Box

    1 vote(s)
    5.3%
  7. Charlie's Angels

    1 vote(s)
    5.3%
  8. Merry Christmas

    1 vote(s)
    5.3%
  9. Cavallucci

    7 vote(s)
    36.8%
  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Closed Voting Voting Closed: December 2018 Short Story Contest

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest' started by Tenderiser, Jan 2, 2019.

    1. Read the entries here:
    https://www.writingforums.org/threads/december-2018-short-story-contest.160303/

    2. Vote. Authors, please do not vote for your own story. If you don't want to vote for another but still want to know the poll results, don't worry - they will be visible to all once voting closes. If you really can't wait then feel free to PM me and I'll tell you the current results.

    Voting will close early on 16 January.

    You can use whatever criteria you like to choose a winner. If you want some guidance, the criteria we used for the 10th anniversary contest were:
    • Technical ability (spelling, grammar, etc)
    • Entertainment
    • Originality
    • Use of the prompt
    Beware: Replies may contain spoilers!
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I'm in G-love with a Wonderful Lady. :) Contributor

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    I voted. Lot of strange stories to send off the holiday.
    Though I think I picked the strangest. :superwink:
     
  3. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Things got a little weird this month didn’t they? I voted for the one that made me laugh.

    I always say I'm gonna post my thoughts once the winner is announced and I always lose my notes so I'll put out my thoughts on some of them now.
    A Box with Air Holes - I voted for this one. It was basically just one conversation, but it was structured very well and I kept wondering how the title was going to fit in, and when I finally got to it it made me laugh.

    The Gift of Gifts -
    [​IMG]
    This one was funny in a very different kinda way.

    Merry Christmas - I'm not a huge fan of meta, but I can appreciate the creativity. And it definitely was a twist, I was getting a totally different vibe from it. Words like "puzzled," "cyclopean," "shapeless creatures" gave me a very strong Call of Cthulhu feel, I wonder if the was intentional? I'd love to hear from the author about that after the voting is done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  4. Artifacs

    Artifacs Active Member

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    Voted. Some words are still bouncing in my head like a pinball. Not sure I've understood all the stories, thought. But now it's done. Good luck to all.
     
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  5. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    OK. Voted.
     
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  6. historymom

    historymom Member

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    Where is the January prompt posted, please?
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Nowhere, yet. :) I'm catching up on things and plan to posts prompts for the next several months soon - hopefully next week.
     
  8. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    I voted for Charlie's Angels. The twist at the end was good, although historically inaccurate, but still good! Merry Christmas was a good effort but it was preaching to the choir (and I didn't think of doing that first) so that was out. Then, there were the stories where people got eaten... no. Demonic Christmas tree? Great idea but... Cannibal Santa? I smelled the end waaay too early to make the rest of the story readable, but well written. Not really a stinker in the bunch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  9. talltale

    talltale Member

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    Secret Santa

    A well-written story that may not have received my vote, but gets an honorable mention.

    Memorable lines:

    "He began to be obsessed by the secret identity of his benefactor, so much so that he had trouble logging on to his computer. PASSWORD DENIED, the monitor kept saying. PASSWORD DENIED."

    I'm probably way off on guessing the story sub-text, but here goes..

    The Secret Santa gift, and the its growing in size over the years represents Mr. Miller's fear and regret from not living a more fulfilling life.

    --------------------------------------------------

    A Box with Air Holes

    An enjoyable, lighthearted yarn.

    Memorable lines:

    "Heather stared at the ghostly image for a while longer. It was in black and white but the black was not quite black and the whites were nowhere near white. "
    ------------------------------------------------
    The Gift of Gifts

    I'll be happy to give away all of this story's secrets at a later time.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kringle Karma

    Well, obviously a bit short. I do like the idea of incorporating a karma theme to Christmas.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Merry Christmas

    Honorable mention. Plenty of good stories to go around this month.


    I liked the reverse gift giving idea for this story. The characters and their stories await for us and our imaginations to be set free. Clever.

    Memorable lines:


    "White cyclopean columns along the room emerged from gargantuan footings carved with runes and hieroglyphs before vanishing into the darkness. The ceiling was barely seen, it seemed a pitch-black maelstrom of shapeless criatures that twitched and swirled competing to devoure the light from below."

    ---------------------------------


    The Little Red Party Box

    This story got my vote.

    I thought the story descriptions were downright delicious, err, delightful.

    First time I read it I missed all hints scattered around: "seasonings", "marinated in joy", etc. All nice touches.

    And of course the name Pandora and its association to danger.

    Memorable lines:

    "She didn’t need luck though, Santa was waiting for her. He turned from away from the tree, with a small red box in his hand. "

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Charlie’s Angels

    This story gets an honorable mention.

    Solidly constructed story with a semi-twist at the end.

    Memorable lines:

    "‘Nothing, Mummy,’ said Mary, slipping the box back under the tree and adopting a look of such innocence that it wouldn’t have melted the driven snow of Charlie’s blank manuscript."

    ---------------------------------

    Cavallucci

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we have another well written story entry.

    Cavallucci does a nice job of setting up the main characters and their plight of breaking family taboos.

    I would have liked the themes of gifts and holidays being more central to the plot but it did wrap up the story in the end.

    Memorable lines:

    "Snow had been falling in a wild, demented dance since that morning and the sky was as silver as a new coin."
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  10. flawed personality

    flawed personality Myr tolmizh lo myr tolmizhaolinai

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    Voted. :)
     
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  11. Norfolk nChance

    Norfolk nChance Banned

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    Taking part so won’t vote.

    With a Christmas theme prompt we certainly covered some very wide subjects... lol

    Was Great Fun reading my peers





    Norfolk
     
  12. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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  13. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    My thoughts on the stories:

    Instant sympathy for Mr Miller. Enforced workplace fun = bad. Workplace Secret Santa = even worse. I've never seen one that didn't end in heartache.

    Mr. Miller immediately felt ill. = :D

    I thought the description of the office could have been pared back. We're all familiar with the soulless corporate office being described, even if we've never worked in one, so all we needed was a couple of subtle images and we would have been able to picture it perfectly. Hints/suggestions feel more elegant to me than more detailed descriptions.

    I really liked the voice and the premise of this story. I always feel a bit cheated when a story is built on a mystery and the mystery is never revealed, and I had trouble with plausibility at the end. The gift box grew perceptibly several times in the first day, so over 20 years it must have been the size of the Earth itself. :D

    I had trouble focusing, as I usually do with anything written in present tense. I think I would have enjoyed this mischievous author in past tense, but my brain just refuses to read present.

    This made me smile, both the punchline at the end and the interactions between the mom and dad. The technical side of the writing needs some work, especially use of commas and properly punctuating dialogue.

    This one definitely kept me surprised. Am I a bad person for laughing at, "Maslow, we talked about this. Grandma is NOT to be eaten!" ? Poor Grandma. I would have liked to be more in Julie's head, rather than feeling like I was watching her from across the room. I like to connect with the protagonist. The technical side of the writing needs some work, particularly formatting and punctuating dialogue.

    More of a flash fiction piece than a true short story. I liked the drollery and I suspect the author may have made a cameo appearance :).

    I was so hoping that Santa would turn out to be a creep as soon as I read "taste their essence." I thought I was going to be disappointed because the rest of the scene was very sentimental and fairytale-esque, but then I was gratified at the ending. Loved that. I liked the running theme of the children's smells/tastes being described in ways that could be taken as innocent or sinister, but I wish the author had played with it a bit more and maximised the tension. There were also quite a few comma splices. This was a promising story and I think it could be great with a bit of work!

    Twos? Threes? Anything under twenty-one sounded terrible to Charlie. - Ha. Personal thing, but I really don't like stories featuring authors. It makes me think of the author behind the story, and if this is a self-insert character, which pulls me OUT of the story. This writer-character seemed a bit of a stereotype, suffering from writer's block and with an agent pressuring him. BUT I did totally sympathise with his feeling trapped in family life. I think it's a lot more common than parents care to admit.

    I loved the twist at the end and definitely didn't see it coming. It was too sentimental for my liking, but fitting for a holiday story. Just personal preference.

    Very cute. :) I'm sure WF appreciates the shout out. I certainly appreciated the quirkiness of the story and the deliberate absurdity. A good bit of fun, which is maybe all it was intended to be. To give it some more depth I would've liked it to be more grounded with one character, letting me inside his/her head to see the events unfold.

    Aw, I liked the sentimentality in this one; it was well-balanced with tension. And I always love a feisty old lady character. The ending is eerily similar to a holiday story I wrote, so of course I think it was genius. :D I would have liked a little less 'telling' and a little more subtlety - I think the story could have started with Giovannetta and Allegra at Ernestine's house, letting me work out the dynamics from the dialogue and characters' body language/reactions. The author is very capable and you should have more confidence in yourself to communicate what's going on without having to tell us. :)

    I'm pretty torn between Secret Santa and Cavallucci. I think Secret Santa was stronger technically, but Cavallucci got me emotionally. Very tough. Well, since the holiday season is all about love, I will go with Cavallucci! Honourable mention to The Little Red Party Box because I so loved the ending.
     
  14. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Non-practicing American Contributor

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    Voted. One of them made me a little upset, but there were some good choices otherwise.
     
  15. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    We've got stories from carnage to cannibalism to coming out and everything in between in this contest, and pretty much all of them got at least one vote. Maybe I was just being thick all of this time but that says to me that, there really is no right or wrong way to write a story. Who'd a thunk it?

    I certainly hope that when the contest ends the authors will let us know what their stories were about, when they started working on it, and how it fits with the prompt. Some of these I didn't understand at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  16. BabyNayahi

    BabyNayahi Active Member

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    SPOILER ALERT!

    Although I'm dissapointed with the ending of Secret Santa, because I really wanted to know what is in the box, I had to vote for it! I really liked the simple mystery and just the overall story telling.
     
  17. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Supporter

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    Voted. A mixed bag this time round.

    Cavallucci got my vote, mainly for the imagery. It was the story I could see clearest in my mind's eye.
     
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