?

Which story should win?

Poll closed Saturday at 12:01 PM.
  1. The International

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  2. Chasing the Rainbow

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  3. I Am Midnight

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. In the Other Closet

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  5. Traveling Jackson

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  6. The Ring

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  7. Jock and Blacksnoot

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. The Lunite

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  9. The Midnight Rule

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Unnamed

    4 vote(s)
    18.2%
  11. Neptune's Gold

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  12. Inexorable Tide

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,535
    Likes Received:
    10,130
    Location:
    London, UK

    Closed Voting Voting Open - February Short Story Contest

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest' started by Tenderiser, Mar 1, 2019.

    1. Read the entries here:
    https://www.writingforums.org/threads/february-2019-short-story-contest.161285/

    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.

    Get your votes in by 15 March. Voting will close early (GMT) on 16 March.

    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!
     
    talltale likes this.
  2. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    A lot of stories this month. Great! Now we can only hope for a lot of votes. I've been reading the stories as soon as they were posted. A bunch of them came in last night and I guess that's because the last story posted seems to have won the last few months. Well, Okay, but I don't think that was the reason.
    It was between Chasing the Rainbow, and I am Midnight. Chasing the Rainbow got my vote. I didn't really care about the MC but the setup, action in the body, and twist at the end were great. Good Job! I really enjoyed the Sci-Fi stories there at the end but, I've seen it before. I didn't think there was anything truly original if that's the right term. They seem just derivative of the genre. But I could be wrong!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
    talltale and dbesim like this.
  3. GB reader

    GB reader Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    493
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Several good stories.
    As they were posted noted the ones that i liked.
    Neptune's Gold, any SF in space will get on my shortlist.
    I have a soft spot for "reality" type stories.
    Chasing the Rainbow
    The Ring
    Fantasy, supernatural
    The Lunite
    Borderline stuff
    I Am Midnight


    When it was time to vote there was one that had stayed, that had added a small room to my story world. A mode, a style, a feeling.
    Sometime in the future, some character in a story of mine will say (maybe in the first sentence of the story).
    "I am midnight."
     
    Dan McLeod, dbesim and talltale like this.
  4. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    520
    Location:
    London, UK
    The lack of a prompt in this contest made for a huge selection and a very different collection of stories. There was something in here to please every type of reader but the SF and futuristic stories possibly stood out the most (this is the making of a very popular genre).

    Here’s my comments on all the stories:

    The International - this was an absorbing genre and I liked the focus on the sole two astronauts above the spaceship and the emphasis on what made these two people so different, with a focus on their upbringing. I also thought it was dramatic that they were commanded to kill each other so suddenly as their nations were plunged into war. That was unexpected but it made things interesting. Also how Adriel (unlike Yuri) had a conscience which probably cost him his life. I’m not quite sure if this is a finished story, however. It would be much improved with a little bit of reworking at the end. Is Adriel really dead or is he supposed to survive this? I think if this was part of a piece to a larger story, a whole lot more could be done with the idea, but at the moment it doesn’t feel like Adriel dying this way is a very satisfying end. This may be something for the writer to think about.

    Chasing The a Rainbow - this is a touching story about a couple literally living on the edge of life. I was captured by the story-telling and it was emotionally engaging and heart-warming as much as it was tragic. Some people may say that the protagonists were very courageous.. and others would say simply crazy (!) If only Johnny hadn’t taken that final plunge, then maybe the two could have been happily married. I guess stories like this don’t give way to happy endings, but at least Laurel was able to finish what Johnny couldn’t.

    I Am Midnight - I think the technical devises the author uses through the story-telling sets it apart and done very well. The story starts off in the first person and breaks off into third person always keeping the same two protagonists central. At the start of the story it sounds like Scott and Jenny are breaking into their favourite restaurant and this is captured in first person through Scott’s POV. The story-line then moves on to third person when it narrates another day in the past when the couple has visited the same restaurant on Valentine’s Day. From Jenny’s narration we get a good description of the action taking place behind Scott’s back. And what sounded like a nervous man intending to propose turns to someone intending to poison the woman he’s with and turns to a criminal incident followed by a kerfuffle where Scott is tragically killed. The script returns to a first-person story-telling in the end where the events are unfolded and retold once again. I was particularly mesmerised by the end of the story because it can be interpreted in many sorts of ways. On the one hand Scott has been re-incarnated and he’s with Jenny again and on the other hand the two are part of some kind of time-travel scenario where the same events are happening all over again. The only weakness in the story is I don’t see how the end of the story ties in with the beginning where the couple are breaking in to Gino’s. What happened to the beginning part where they’re breaking in? Also I thought the phrasing ‘I am Midnight’ may be a relevant association to the replay of events that occurs in the end. Overall, quite a good story.

    In The Other Closet - This story was great and I also thought there was somewhat a very intriguing debate happening in the midst of the story between Samantha and her not-grandpa. It was interesting to see that despite the importance of keeping this man sitting on his seat so that she can get the material she needs to complete this essay, she also can’t help her own personal feelings and convictions against his views coming through and projecting what she really feels about the type of person he is. Ironically when ‘grandpa’ says this
    “That is the very definition of the word 'Prejudice'. You've judged me before you've heard me out. You judged me before you sat down” it does make Samantha look like she’s the one who’s doing all the judging (not him).. and yet it’s easy to see why she feels the way she does, too. Amidst the story-telling the debate between them is quite interesting. I also like the ending because it’s amusing that “grandpa” himself was the inspiration behind the question (as well as being the object). Although it may also be a little unusual because it’s not incidental and apparently Professor Lydenbrock’s most commonly used question in an unchanged syllabus. However, still amusing.

    Travelling Jackson - This is an incredible story from the perspective of money and one of my top two stories in the contest. The POV lends itself to some very abstract story-telling and the creation of an effective story-line is not lost while doing so. I really like the part where the note says it prefers to be ‘saved’ rather than spent because of the own connection he has developed with the hands of its owner. Although it’s an amazing emotional argument in the story-telling it also homes in the importance of saving rather than spending money and makes a good point. I also like the way the note observes the details of his owner and how he found his way back into the pocket of the poor old woman when she won the lottery (great!). I also enjoyed the description on how lonely the bill was when trapped in the vault with all the other bills. Great story, author, and amazingly told! One of my top two.

    The Ring - this story is an intriguing one and probably captures the character of one of the silliest and clumsiest protagonists to behold. So clumsy, he loses the ring and falls to his own death. In a way, it is tragic, and we perhaps feel sorry for a man who constrantly trips over his own feet and falls to his death in an otherwise relatively safe and peaceful environment. Then again perhaps not. I guess he couldn’t propose to the woman he loved in the end but that’s just as well, his profound clumsiness would probably have done away with her too.

    Jock And Blacksnoot - This is an excellent tale of the primitive men and Jock’s interaction with the wilderness. I loved the descriptive details of the primitive peoples with the animal world and also the understanding the wolf developed with Jock, while saving him by luring his people over to the right location. This story put me through amazing adventures and was incredible and imaginative and there was everything about the setting and location that I loved. I also liked how man’s understanding with wolves was demonstrated and how this understanding was connected to the modern day in terms of the love and understanding we have for dogs (and dogs for people). Incredibly moving and touching. Good job, author.

    The Lunite - This has the ingredients of a great story, what with the magical and imaginitave world being described and the beautiful connection between the protagonist and his uncle. Although I was captured by the magic and the supernatural, I thought that the story-telling itself needs a little bit of re-working. This could go from being just a good story, to becoming a great story.

    The Midnight Rule - although I enjoyed the eeriness and intrigue of the setting, as well as the tension that the protagonist feels with the events he observes, I also feel that the story-telling here could have been sharper and more astute. For example, I find it strange that the protagonist does not think to contact the police following the events he witnesses and while possessed with the knowledge that something isn’t right. I don’t feel like this is how we would react when caught in a setting like this. Still, the strangeness of being at a train station in a foreign country is retained. I also needed something more happening at the end of the story too.

    Unnamed - This is an excellent story, and like the Travelling Jackson, it’s also in my top two to vote for. I found myself immersed wanting to know the reasons it is this man finds himself on trial. The reason isn’t given. Everything about the events of the unfolding of the court case, including the arguments of the prosecutor and the man who stands accused, lends itself to so much bizarreness, I found myself thinking ‘what’s going on here!’ The abstract quality brought out through the story-telling is shocking and mystifying, while posing one or two questions about how justice itself is being carried out and how bizarre it must be for a man who finds himself so ruthlessly accused for something he has no idea he has done. Eventually we find out he stands accused of a murder he would commit in future?? Once again, beautifully abstract and out-of-the-box thinking. Not to mention the event when he finally commits the crime - bludgeoning his prosecutor to death before the eyes of the court while everyone stands to witnesses and nobody stepping forward to do anything about it. How do you stand a man on trial for an act he is provoked to commit in future? Excellent premise, author, and excellently developed plot and characters.

    Neptune’s Gold - This SF story is made particularly effective with the various twists introduced. I found it amusing when Henry turns tables on Jude and Lisa and parts of the struggle was quite funny. I also like how the Ozzy Osbourne song was incorporated into the tale. I also felt like it wasn’t to be taken too seriously particularly at the end when the whole thing wasn’t even real but a simulation observed by a girl wearing a helmet. Good job.

    Inexorable Tide - I found that this story could really work as a piece of action setting and found myself visualising how well a story like this would fold out if it was captured in a movie or something. I liked the strong female lead as well as the conflict. The story-telling itself was sharp and there were good descriptions. Also, the fact that the mission did not carry out perfectly because of the rebellion opened up other sort of questions and dilemmas. I think the story could be extended to focus in more detail of the causes and consequences of the rebellion and think that more could be done with this story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    Dan McLeod likes this.
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Evangelizing Athorist Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    9,673
    Likes Received:
    18,068
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    A lot of very good stories this time around, my thoughts on my top three:

    Traveling Jackson: This story had an interesting premise, and it was technically very well done. I could easily see this being published somewhere. It hit all the right notes of introspection and social commentary. I thought it was going to get my vote, but it was just a little too far on the literary side for me. I honestly believe that out of the current crop, this one has the best chance of ending up in a magazine somewhere, I just don't think I'm the target audience.

    Inexorable Tide: Okay, I think I know who wrote this, but I do my best not to let that influence my judgment. This was very readable, the premise of Jakarta being a "drowned city" was appealing... No, I didn't mean it that way, I don't want to see any cities drown, but it fits in well with the current "ecopunk" movement (and likely future events). The only reason this one didn't get my vote was because it didn't really feel like a short story to me, it felt like an excerpted chunk of a larger novel. Hell, I hope it is an excerpted chunk of a larger novel, I'd love to read more. It's just those last few lines, when she finds out it's water and not fuel, and...done. Take me to the next scene, I want more, this isn't all, is it?

    The Lunite: This one could have used a bit more editing, but I liked the premise that the MC wasn't the Chosen One, but rather just the only person around when push came to shove. Something about stepping into the desk drawer to travel a ways down the road really intrigued me as well, it had a bit of a Gaiman/Mieville feel to it. There were a couple of SPAG errors, which I'm usually pretty harsh on when casting my vote, but this story managed to win me over nonetheless.

    Thanks to all of the writers in this month's contest, every one of you had something good and interesting for us to read.
     
    Dan McLeod and dbesim like this.
  6. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Polls have been open for 4 days and there are still more entries then votes. Anybody else thinks that's weird?
     
    dbesim and Iain Aschendale like this.
  7. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    520
    Location:
    London, UK
    It could be a case of there being so many entries. Some people probably still haven’t read all of the stories and are still struggling to get through all of them before they decide. Some people are fast readers. Some people are slow readers. But hopefully a whole lot more votes come through before the polls close!
     
  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Evangelizing Athorist Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    9,673
    Likes Received:
    18,068
    Location:
    Seat 29e, Air Gradia 452
    Yup, almost 40,000 words in total, and a bunch of those stories came in close to the wire. Give it time.
     
  9. talltale

    talltale Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2017
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago

    So the number of writing entries has increased, but the number of people voting can be improved...

    Perhaps the mods can add incentives similar to what Amazon does; give a reviewer rank/badge based on some calculation of number of times voted, commented in, and likes received in the writing contests comment section.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
    exweedfarmer, Mark Burton and dbesim like this.
  10. Dan McLeod

    Dan McLeod New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    6
    I will second this.
    It's taken me a while to get through them all!

    Some great entries. I really enjoyed the mix of styles.
     
  11. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    Playground of Dorothy and Tinman
    This was a pleasing mix of genres and styles. I really enjoyed this month's entries. Thanks authors!

    My three top picks are:
    • Chasing the Rainbow;
    • The Lunite; and
    • Neptune's Gold

    They are all very good in their own right and difficult to choose between because they are also so very different. Neptune's Gold got my vote by a hair's breadth because I'm a sucker for SF and it was such a great story that I could forgive the rough cut.
     
    Iain Aschendale, dbesim and talltale like this.
  12. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Finally, more votes than stories. Order has been restored to the universe!

    I like the whole horse race aspect of these contests. Maybe there should be betting.
     
    Dan McLeod, dbesim and Mark Burton like this.
  13. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    520
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ooh! there’s currently a tie for first place! And also a tie for 2nd place! Will that change?
     
  14. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    not unless somebody else votes. Hint hint.
     
  15. Hammer

    Hammer Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    1,270
    Location:
    UK
    Wow – such a lot of work in this month’s shorts. Nearly 40,000 words in total – half a novel’s worth of short stories

    Well done to the authors who had a go; I will confess that I had, to some extent, to play the “hook me” game with them – a bit more than just three sentences and I did skim-read all of the entries, but I only read three critically and thoroughly. I feel a bit mean in a way, but like everyone, my free-time is limited. I am not a professional judge or your mum, I need a reason to read a story (c:

    The three I narrowed it down to were Robert Finn’s day in court (Untitled), the sci-fi of Neptune’s Gold, and the tear-jerking fisherman’s tale The Ring

    In the end I plumped for …

    Robert Finn’s surreal battle with himself which, I assume is a battle that a lot of us fight! Well done whoever wrote that, good job highlighting the vagaries of mental illness.
     
  16. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    This is fun. No one story is pulling away, it's going to come down to the last vote I think. It could even wind up in a three or four way tie. What would you do with a fourth of a shiny dot? I agree that there were too many stories to properly digest in one sitting. If there are this many entries again perhaps it should be split up into two sections. Maybe six day voting for one section and six for the other and another round of voting in the last three days between the top four... or something.
     
  17. Stephen Barnard

    Stephen Barnard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    48
    I guess it was the absence of prompt that has led to the swell in number. I must admit, my entry was a story I'd already written and I imagine I'm not the only one to take that approach. Will definitely have to write to order for the next few months' prompts though!
     
  18. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Undecided.
    Hey Stephen aren't you supposed to have a shiny. From last month's short story win? Or are you just making room for this month's?
     
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  19. Stephen Barnard

    Stephen Barnard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    48
    Still waitin'. I know it shouldn't matter much, but they are nice to see on people's thumbnails, and I'm proud of the pieces I put up here, so...
     
  20. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    520
    Location:
    London, UK
    @Wreybies seems to be away.. or it’s likely he would have responded. You might have to wait a while.
     
  21. Stephen Barnard

    Stephen Barnard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    48
    Thanks @Wreybies - sorry for hassling you!
     
    dbesim likes this.
  22. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    7,541
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Where's mine @Wreybies? A bronze. @Snowwhite got gold, @exdrugdealer silver, at Christmas, remember? Ruined the New Year up to this point :(
     
    exweedfarmer, talltale and dbesim like this.
  23. ugly henry

    ugly henry New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Great Pacific Northwest
    I voted for In The Other Closet because I felt that the topic was in need of exposure if not discussion. I applaud the author, it is a difficult subject and I look forward to this sort of awareness in the public forums.
    I would also like to thank whoever voted for my story.
     
    dbesim likes this.
  24. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Earth
    • I only managed to finished the “unnnamed” story. I was taken in but the Jackson story for a while but it started to rambled on a little and the novelty of the approach didn’t save it. Also, The Lunite was probably the best technically, yet due to my mood,or something else, I found it to be more like the start of a novel than a short story. My attention started to drift even though I enjoyed thr style so I moved onto the next one. Some of the others I hardly made it past the first few lines. Note: If you want feedback as to why then let me knwo when voting is done and I’d be happy too offer my view.
    • My judgement was based on one simple principle. If I lost interest I moved onto the next story.
    • Three held my attention, but only one managed to hold my attention enough to finish the whole story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 10:50 AM
  25. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    520
    Location:
    London, UK
    We’ve gone from a two-way to a three-way tie. Things have just gotten interesting.
     
    Mark Burton likes this.

Share This Page