?

Which story should win?

Poll closed Feb 17, 2019.
  1. He Wants to Dance on My Grave

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  2. ON WRITING NICELY

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  3. Fishbowls and Writer's Block

    3 vote(s)
    16.7%
  4. U-Turn

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  5. Desire

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. A Sad Story

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  7. THIRTEEN

    6 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. Tenderiser

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

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    Closed Voting Voting Open: January Short Story Contest

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

    1. Read the entries here: https://www.writingforums.org/threads/january-2019-short-story-contest.160813/

    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 February. Voting will close early (GMT) on 16 February.

    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!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  2. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Contributor

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    There were interesting and different takes on the theme. Well done, authors!

    A Sad Story
    This story drew me in. The concept was one I haven't seen very much of elsewhere. It was creative and well-written. It got my vote.

    Fishbowls and Writer's Block
    I'm always a sucker for SF and this was a SF story, complete with details on the technology of the future. I often think that stories that go steampunk or post-apocalyptic are a copout as they can happily ignore what a non-dystopian future could look like. This wasn't one of those and that's why it nearly got my vote.

    Thirteen
    This was a very cleverly written piece where an author at the end of life lives a day in the characters from their novels. I liked the twist where a dark character ended up upsetting the apple cart. It also nearly got my vote.

    U-Turn
    A story about regret and new beginnings. It was well written.

    Desire
    This was a love story. I didn't feel like it was closely coupled enough with the given theme as it was more about a duality of a student writing about science and then writing about love.

    On Writing Nicely
    It was well written and there was good imagery in the story. I did find it a little confusing, though.

    He Wants to Dance on My Grave
    This has a slow beginning and I struggled to get into it. It was a literal take on the prompt and that was interesting except that the ending left me flat.
     
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  3. Tenderiser

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

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    Thoughtful critiques, Mark!

    I'm adding mine, for what it's worth:

    I like the premise but but I didn't feel any connection to the characters. The narrative was distant and it felt a bit on-the-nose to me. But good use of the prompt.

    I really enjoyed this, love the play of language. Fuck-It the horse will ensure the memory of the story lives on.

    I loved that Jason was grumpy about being brought back to life in an amazing feat of science. And that the amazing scientists wanted to know how his fantasy series ended. [​IMG] I was a bit disappointed in the ending - one thing I've realised from these contests is I really need some kind of twist or punchline at the end. Sentimental endings do nothing for me, for I am dead inside.

    I read this through a couple of times and I can't follow the story. The author creates a strong mood of hopelessness which is really effective, but either the plot is too clever for me or needs to be clearer.

    I like the style here - the short, punchy sentences that you would use in a notebook. I like the writing overall. I felt the 'living twice by writing about it' point was a bit laboured and maybe would've been better made if the author's only way of living was through his writing, rather than him being in the middle of a blossoming romance and enjoying the real thing as well as his records of it.

    I like the premise here, too. It was satisfying to go back with Shaun and be able to relive some of those moments that had made him feel powerless and impotent. I liked the ending. I think this would have been more effective if it were shorter with fewer scenes; the row of very short scenes made it feel choppy and stopped me becoming immersed.

    Very engaging story. Well-written with an interesting mystery and a nice twist at the end. Thirteen got my vote, though I ummed and ahhed over this and ON WRITING NICELY. Apparently I like stories with all-caps titles.
     
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  4. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    The following stories in particular made voting a little more difficult:

    He Wants To Dance On My Grave - I did find the story entertaining and the prompt was well-used. I thought ‘live twice’ was used once for the imaginary world the author writes about and then in some twisted way, he also means his reality. Somehow he tries to make his own life a basis for his imaginary (fictional) world, ‘sprucing’ things up in a crazy way. It reminds me of a movie I watched based on a Steven King book. And yes, it was pretty creepy. Good story, writer.

    Fishbowls And Writer’s Block - the story is absorbing and I liked how the end tied in with the beginning also. I think Jason was a nicer person as a robot? Maybe he lost a little of who ‘Jason’ really is. But 700 years into a world in the future must be very destabilising because he’s lost all connections and barely recognises the world he finds himself in. I guess only a robot of some kind may be able to continue in such circumstances. At least he’s a lot ‘nicer’ person in the end. But it’s not quite happy ever after for Jason. Good story.

    A Sad Story - the MC had his flaws. It might be a little chilling that someone’s instant response on the news of his father’s death is to smile about it. The father is by no means perfect and some people might or might not understand Shaun for reacting this way. The father is abusive but it’s clear that he’s a weak man with very big flaws. He bought him a dog (a sign that he ‘tries’) but the abusiveness is not excusable. It was interesting the insight we got from Shaun.. seeing his whole life flash before his eyes. The idea the afterlife could be re-written by a writer also introduced an interesting concept. Great story.

    Thirteen - this was a haunting and well-written story and the insight into the mind of Dolores, chilling. I was puzzled at the start and wondered about the mystery but then somewhat haunted after the insight into her mind. But it was quite well told.

    Yes, so many of these stories made voting a little more difficult.. but every single story that entered is an amazing effort. Well done to all writers.
     
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  5. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    A special shout out to a story I didn't vote for. Thirteen was very well written but I solved the mystery long before the end. That took the fun out of it.
    Good stories guys! And nobody got eaten this month.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  6. talltale

    talltale Member

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    I voted for:

    Fishbowls and Writer's Block

    I'm a sucker for sci-fi and George R.R. Martin analogies.

    Writer's block is the Jason-Friday the 13th monster that follows us throughout infinity.

    Honorable mentions go to:

    ---------------------
    He Wants to Dance on My Grave

    As writers we create these imaginary worlds where pieces of ourselves slip into the characters and themes. I liked that this story goes a step further and puts the actual writer as a character in the story imagining process.

    I would have liked a more consistent tone. The first part felt more deliberate and serious, where the ending felt a bit too light-hearted. I understand it fits with the title, but why did the villain dance to a 90's hip hop song? Perhaps I missed a metaphor there as era was a recurring theme.

    Also, I am fine with the self-deprecation, but I would ask that it came from a reason. EX: The self-deprecation and doubt was from his alcoholism, or some sort of sort of traumatic event.
    -----------------------------------
    ON WRITING NICELY

    I liked how the writer used her character's imagination as a way of escaping a powerless situation and creating a world where anything is possible.

    The writing style, while at first seemed too unfocused, ended up gelling together in almost whimsical fashion:

    "So, my MC on my pc and the WC according to the NBC when they interview me, hee hee hee, is grooming her pony."

    The ending ventures close to '50 Shades of Grey' territory but thankfully keeps tongue-in-cheek..

    -------------------------------------------
     
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  7. Hammer

    Hammer Active Member

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    Thank you to all the authors of this month's entries - I hope I didn;t break any rules by putting them on the kindle for my bedtime reading which was a thoroughly enjoyable way to engage with the contest. (now all removed)

    Thirteen - I loved the gentle build-up and clever world building. The killer punch wasn't a complete surprise but engagingly delivered
     
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  8. Tenderiser

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

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    Not many votes this month. Everybody bully someone else to vote!
     
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