Friday, 13 July 2018

The cat sat on the mat

Halfway through my first judging read-through, I received an email from Theresa May but, too busy to read it, I deleted it. Then thought she might have liked to help, because for the love of me I could not find any sort of criteria which would help me decide on a winner. So many greedy attention-grabbing opening lines. So much vivid imagery underlining the horror therein. 

In the end I went for the one that grabbed me on first read, just a little harder than the rest: Chris Allinotte’s glass hearts. Truly, this week you all excelled yourself and I found myself tempted to hunt around for three supremely bland prompt words, but guessed you’d turn even them to nastiness.  So ...

Words for next week:  grease tautology yawn

Entries by midnight Thursday 19th July, words and winners posted Friday 20th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Maggot-pies and choughs and rooks ...

Macbeth, raving with powerful imagery, and sounding a lot more poetic than those harsh-calling around here all day. I'm having to be a bit more circumspect  re titles - last week's garnered a lot of interest from porn sites!

Shakespeare certainly created something akin to what we have conjured this week, unsurprising given the words but impressive in the breadth of invention. John’s ‘pending quickness’ immediately set the tone, Atlas’ huge grin after a night in the whoremadillo house continued it and David’s smutty organic life forms finished it off.
This week, Joe’s  ‘A change of mind’ is runner-up and Patricia takes first place, but I can’t decide whether it should be with Kursaal  episode 121 or ‘Pure as the Driven’, so leave each of you to decide.

Words for next week:  execute feckless Venice

Entries by midnight Thursday 12th July, words and winners posted Friday 13th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Rip settings and other devices


Sheltering from the football and selecting a shortlist I realise, for alliteration’s sake, I should pour myself a Smirnoff.  Not that vodka will help – I get the strong impression that each week each of us is spurred to further heights by others’ posts. Jim takes a new path by trying out three endings to his Problem, each of Patricia’s  strong-voiced posts held new delights and I truly loved the hugging humanity of Joe’s ‘The Virus’, but top place, by a whisker, goes to Dave for ‘These things are all fakes’.

Thank you all for your participation – both in offering such a bounty of tales and for commenting.

Words for next week: barbaric nuisance  smut

Entries by midnight Thursday 5th July, words and winners posted Friday 6th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Dreams out of the ivory gate*


And entries enough to disturb many a dream and delight me with the many wicked abuses of innocent words.  For me, candy floss, remembered for its pink and white childhood appeal and subsequent disappointing hard-edged stickiness, on face and in hair, was much more appealing as a character in David’s tale of the same name and I declare him this week’s winner.
*[Sir Thomas Browne 1605-1682]

Words for next week: auger/augur intrinsic pellet

Apologies:  once again my spelling and failure to check has let me down.
The word I meant to be used is augur but for those quick off the mark the alternative version is equally acceptable (although I will delete if instructed to do so) 

Entries by midnight Thursday 28th June, words and winners posted Friday 29th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Black trees against a sunrise sky


I don’t always say, but ought to acknowledge how much your comments validate my pieces. Primarily for me Prediction is valuable for  keeping writing muscles in trim, needless to say your input is a very  pleasurable bonus. 

And bonus points this week, following a lot of shuffling and changing of my mind, go to Terrie for ‘Going Home’. This series goes from strength to strength, plus the title reminded me of Mark Knopfler’s version, theme tune for ‘Local Hero’. 

Words for next week: floss history sketch
Entries by midnight Thursday 21st June, words and winners posted Friday 22nd

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.


Friday, 8 June 2018

Is expiration the opposite of inspiration?


Breathing life into a short story ... or not. It will come, but not, apparently, this week. (And on the subject of short, please do take a look at Rosie's entry, for a master class.) 

And so I came to re-read this week’s several inspirations, thrown up by three not entirely simple words. As ever, the breadth of response is breathtaking, but this week’s joint winners both delivered something a little bit extra. R J Wayne’s ‘The Books Of Immortality 1.1’ grew more powerful with every subsequent reading . and Rob Evangelista wrote something heavyweight and sad. I trust they’ll manage to cling together on top of the podium. 

Words for next week: apparatus deduct  jazz

Entries by midnight Thursday 14th June, words and winners posted Friday 15th June

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 1 June 2018

‘When all candles be out, all cats be grey’


From John Heywood's book of proverbs (1546), the word ‘grey’ sought because that’s been the colour of the sky in the North East of England much of the past week – dishcloth and dreary. Which meant this week’s offerings  – ranging from lizards and armadillos via a sociopath, the devil, female genital mutilation and a fairground attraction;  a dodgy mirror to a salivating diplomat – felt all the more colourful.
But to judge, to rank, to choose a winner – SO very hard. In the somewhat desperate end I decided on John’s ‘Close Shave’, as much for the perfection of the title as my involuntary shock of laughter at the end. Thank you all, for contributions and comments.  

Words for next week: excise tumultuous verify

Entries by midnight Thursday 7th June, words and winners posted Friday 8th June

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Unexpected sunshine

We’ve been visiting Orkney at least once a year since 1981. It lies on the same latitude as Oslo and the wind only ceases 10 days out of 365. With good reason I warned all participants to bring warm and waterproof clothing. So you can imagine our delight when we had four eighteen-hour days of sunshine plus two of only a little less.  Too nice to stay indoors, so much to see, and consequently very little writing done.  

Good to get back and find the choice of winner wasn’t totally unanimous. This week, first  choice was almost simple: Zaiure’s ‘Therapy’,  but I’m grateful I don’t also have to pick a runner up.

Words for next week: egregious saliva tail

Entries by midnight Thursday 31st May, words posted Friday 1st June

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Anticipation


Looking forward to the variety of top places choices and to catching up next week

Words for next week: divide model speak

Entries by midnight Thursday 24th May, words posted Friday 25th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Dereliction of duty


On Saturday,  having left home yesterday, I shall arrive in Orkney to spend a week with a group of writing friends and know I’ll not have opportunity or time to properly contemplate posts and choose a winner. I ask you, therefore, to please select your winner and post it on Friday 18th’s scheduled post, entitled ‘Anticipation’.

This week, yes ... thank you for recognising how hard a task picking a number one is.  Once again I failed to fully appreciate the horror rating of a tongue. David’s ‘The Voice of the Orphan’ came within a whisker of winning, but without wanting to create a precedent for quantity, and because I genuinely felt one should win but could not decide which, I’m declaring Patricia top Predictioneer this week.
Thank you all for your participation.

Words for next week: agony furnish thesaurus

Entries by midnight Thursday 17th May, words posted Friday 18th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 4 May 2018

By the pricking of my thumbs ...


... and because it was me supplied the wherewithal to deliver, I’ve only myself to blame for the fact that choosing one from this week’s imaginative deployment of syringes and celery is going to be difficult in the extreme, because without exception every one of them delivered a unique and entertaining enjoyment and deserved to be named ‘winner’. Nevertheless, I am sure you’ll agree Joe’s ‘A Killer Princess’ well merits a top place this week. (Do check out the last-minute entries of Bill and Rosie Owens). 
As ever, too, thank you for commenting – it’s what keeps us coming back for more.

Words for next week: orphan record tongue

Entries by midnight Thursday 10th May winners* and words posted Friday 11th
* words for sure, winners might be delayed

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Hook, line and sinker


Some  weeks, either because I have been particularly impressed with a way of incorporating prompts or there are several on a similar theme of, say, werewolves (and the only ones of those I’ve ever got excited about were Glen Duncan’s) – anything, in fact which makes my picking a winner more rational – I can pick a theme and assure myself I’m judging ‘fairly’.
 This week I know my choice is entirely a personal response, and is connected with a conversation I’ve been having elsewhere on the subject of the necessary qualities of opening lines. My comment, on first reading the opening line of John’s  ‘Texas hospitality’ –  “... so often your first lines instil a sort of greed for more” stemmed from an instant, gut-felt revelation which encapsulated what we’d spent several weeks trying to define. So, for me John is this week’s winner. As ever, though, the standard was high and armadillos in particular, inventively incorporated – thank you all.

Words for next week: celery local syringe

Entries by midnight Thursday 3rd May winners and words posted Friday 4th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Buds and birds and crooked contrails


Several pieces this week filled with excellently depicted world-wide horror, but it is the tiny, personal ones I especially liked: Patricia’s ‘Cornus Rosea’ with its beyond terrifying theme of child abduction and murder, and newcomer Terri’s beautifully-expressed observations on the travails of writing. Which is not to say I didn’t immensely enjoy the others. Thank you all for both posting and so diligently commenting.

Words for next week: armadillo cheer theft

Entries by midnight Thursday 26th April winners and words posted Friday 27th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 13 April 2018

An insufficiency of cigarette papers


A week of richness, of  fat stories threaded with slender, insidious horrors (some of which simultaneously invoke guilty laughter). I love to read them as they trickle in but on Thursday, when my initial shortlist includes everyone, I know I’m in trouble. This week’s final, post-my-bedtime  spurt of offerings doubled that  trouble. Not that I’m complaining but I am acutely aware that to pick one winner, apart from being near impossible for me, appears to suggest others were in some way lacking – not true!
But choose I must ... and it is Jim’s ‘As always’ which, so very marginally, takes the top spot. And my thanks to you all.

Words for next week: dog opportunity ridicule

Entries by midnight Thursday 19th April winners and words posted Friday 20th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Mops, buckets and disinfectant


For reasons I am unable to fathom, and  despite such innocuous words, several of last week’s entries had a high level of nastiness, reaching unanticipated depths. I thank you all for your enthusiasm and confess to a small amount of trepidation as to what those for next week will bring.
My favourite of the week, however, has to be R J Wayne’s for the action- and detail-packed account of a simple murder.
Words for next week: destination plug surreptitious

Entries by midnight Thursday 12th April winners and words posted Friday 13th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.