View Poll Results: February 2010 Flash Fiction Voting Thread A

Voters
10. You may not vote on this poll
  • Prophecy of Secrets by Brenda Pernack

    1 10.00%
  • Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3

    0 0%
  • A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton/Dwagginz

    2 20.00%
  • Tower of Elves by bobnagga

    1 10.00%
  • The Princess and Fire by Richard Dickson/DailyRich

    7 70.00%
  • The Wiard and Shadows by Carin Marais/marshwriter

    2 20.00%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #1
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    February 2010 Flash Fiction Voting Thread A

    Welcome to the February 2010 Flash Fiction Contest Voting Thread A.

    For those of you who’re just joining us, this month’s theme was Fantasy Clichés. The contestants had to choose their title from a random title generator and base their story on the title they received.

    Rules of the Game

    1. Read all the stories in Thread A, Thread B and Thread C.
    2. Vote for up to three stories in total. (Between Thread A, Thread B and Thread C.) You may not stack your votes.
    3. Please take the time to provide a bit of feedback to each of the entrants. That’s the main reason they’ve entered.
    4. Voting will take place until February 28th when the voting polls close.

    The Entries

    The Prophecy of Secrets by Brenda Pernack/venustar

    Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton/Dwagginz

    Tower of Elves by bobnagga

    The Princess and Fireby Richard Dickson/DailyRich

    The Wizard and Shadows by Carin Marais/marshwriter
    Last edited by NickeeCoco; February 22nd, 2010 at 09:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Could a moderator find some kindness in their heart to sticky this thread, please? Thank you.

    Oh, and peeps, I'm gonna be out of town this weekend. I leave in an hour. I'm off to Toronto to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. Woot!

    So, if there's any pressing concerns before monday please talk to Sterling13. There shouldn't be any problems, though. This contest is running the same way the last one did and the one before that.

    Oh yeah, hope you don't mind, Sterling. Haha.

  3. #3
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    The Prophecy of Secrets, Brenda Parnick
    And now, at last, I see what you were driving at. It took me another read, ma’am, and I apologize for that. I am not as swift as I was in my youth. So, we go from present/future to present to present/future and back to present. It’s there now that I’ve discovered it but the first time through the flashbacks didn’t flash for me. Now that I get it, I really like the story and what you’ve done with the title you were handled. Making Secrets the name of the town was clever. Well done and a contender for my vote.

    Abyss and Fire, Mr. BF1V3, aka subsequent to the prior to
    So, even elfin teenagers reach untenable positions for which they are uniquely unqualified. That is such a good lesson to learn I am forwarding this tale to my grandsons. I am a bit surprised at you, though, Mr. Bingo. It is un-B5-like to have a sentence reading: Do you think there might be a reason for that?
    OTOH, why is it always the princess who is suspicious of their plans, their progress, and their eventual fate? Some day I’m gonna write a tale where the princess drags the prince off to some ill-fated adventure.
    A contender for my vote, though, as seems to be a habit with you.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery, Michael Morton
    I enjoyed the story though it engendered in me a couple of questions: Are the tales and legends the folk told themselves and their children the prophecy? Okay, it’s a stretch but I can make that work. All those tales constitute a prophecy. Now, tell me about the sorcery. Is that what happened when she recited her spell and got shunted off to the beach? I can see that as sorcery, of course, especially since it must have been put in place by those wizards and wizards is just a polite name for sorcerers. I can see that. Now, how is it that the prophecy is above the sorcery? That one I have more difficulty making work.
    Also, as a side trip, can you explain the difference between traps and potential ambushes?
    Little usages like that, sprinkled through the text, are a bit disconcerting when first encountered.

    Tower of Elves, bobnagga
    First, thank you for bringing defenestrate into the issue. It has a really appropriate sound for a tower of elves. But, then, you gave me some less plesant lines to consider: what does it mean to finally overcome ages of animosity in order to attack the tower?
    I feel there just may be an issue of a deadline involved here: He could still come to rule the world if he had time to complete his ritual. He would still need time, though, and time was in short supply.
    This is a three-armed wizard as he is simultaneously wielding a bared knife, shi staff, and the box holding the essence of eternity.
    But, you tell a tale, sir, and the imagination explicit in the setting and plot are commendable.

    The Princess and the Fire, Richard Dickson
    Ah, sure, it’s you again. Nice tale well told. But, you know what? This time I noticed something and the noticing began to be distracting. What do you notice about these lines?
    “,,,the kind that other rocky holes would have offered a blanket and cup of hot coffee to if they'd had the chance.”
    “…its water the dull brown color of spit tobacco, only with none of the charm.”
    “…for every intricately thought-out excuse he'd come up with for not going there had been an equally well thought-out slap to his head.”
    “…sounded as if a large bird was being sat upon by another large bird that was having a third large bird painfully inserted into it..”
    “His head swam in confusion. Actually, it was more a dog-paddle than honest swimming, and the dog was drowning.”
    There is a pattern there that becomes very noticeable. You might want to consider a bit more variation in the delivery.
    Still, a contender.

    The Wizard and Shadows, Carin Marais
    The language of magic read pure and well though I understood not a word of it. The tale read pure and well starting with the prophecy of 1985 – I like that a lot - and I find the rest deserving of a vote. There was one line that momentarily threw me: he leaves the inn and searches the town and then thinks this must be the village. I had to re-read it to get the flow proper.

    I conclude with six contenders and only three votes. It’s easy for me this time because three stories stand out in my mind. Thank you, Michael, Sally, and Carin. And thank to the rest of the contestants for giving me a fine two days of reading and thinking.

  4. #4
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    Do I not get to participate?

    I've been HE'd!

  5. #5
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Wow! I've finally had something named after me. I can see it now - on my headstone - He of the HE.

    txshusker - Your story flows nicely and you managed the title you were gifted with with dexterity. You'd be a contender for my vote because of the polish with which you played it out but, the ending, sir, was telegraphed from the moment the ladies-in-waiting asked their questions. That does not diminish the talent you display but it makes it possible for me to vote for three others. And, yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the punch in the mouth.

  6. #6
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    A Prophecy Above Sorcery, Michael Morton
    I enjoyed the story though it engendered in me a couple of questions: Are the tales and legends the folk told themselves and their children the prophecy? Okay, it’s a stretch but I can make that work. All those tales constitute a prophecy. Now, tell me about the sorcery. Is that what happened when she recited her spell and got shunted off to the beach? I can see that as sorcery, of course, especially since it must have been put in place by those wizards and wizards is just a polite name for sorcerers. I can see that. Now, how is it that the prophecy is above the sorcery? That one I have more difficulty making work.
    Also, as a side trip, can you explain the difference between traps and potential ambushes?
    Little usages like that, sprinkled through the text, are a bit disconcerting when first encountered.
    I'll gladly respond to the best of my ability.
    1) The prophecy was that only one person could open the chest to claim the item, and that it had become one of the tales that the Elders speak of due to the history around it.
    2) That's where the prophecy was "above sorcery". It required a bit of thinking but basically the prophecy cannot be cheated by using sorcery - It is "above" the use of sorcery, if that makes sense.
    3) Of course, I think this is possibly because of the amount of gaming I do. An ambush (to me) is like when a bunch of thieves drop out of a tree onto you, whereas a trap is something physical/magical - Like if you stand on a certain flagstone and you're frozen in place.

  7. #7
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txshusker View Post
    Do I not get to participate?

    I've been HE'd!
    Sorry about that. I have to say I was rushed when I posted everything. I kinda forgot I had to get this up and going. It got lost in the priorities of getting ready to go out of town. Again, my apologies. You've been given a thread all of your own.

  8. #8
    Marshwriter
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    To Hereford Eye



    Yay! Thanks for the vote... As for a hint to the language... I used Afrikaans. A little in-joke using the youngest Germanic language as the 'ancient tongue'.

    For those interested I will place a translation... though it did seem cliche enough to leave it untranslated in the piece

    Marsh

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickeeCoco View Post
    Could a moderator find some kindness in their heart to sticky this thread, please? Thank you.

    Oh, and peeps, I'm gonna be out of town this weekend. I leave in an hour. I'm off to Toronto to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. Woot!

    So, if there's any pressing concerns before monday please talk to Sterling13. There shouldn't be any problems, though. This contest is running the same way the last one did and the one before that.

    Oh yeah, hope you don't mind, Sterling. Haha.
    Crap... I had all this power and didn't even have the decency to abuse it... for shame...

  10. #10
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickeeCoco View Post
    Sorry about that. I have to say I was rushed when I posted everything. I kinda forgot I had to get this up and going. It got lost in the priorities of getting ready to go out of town. Again, my apologies. You've been given a thread all of your own.
    No worries. It happens. Thanks for fixing it.

  11. #11
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    Alright, here we go...

    The Prophecy of Secrets by Brenda Pernack
    I’m not digging this sentence for some reason: ‘I kept the unfounded fear at bay by recalling who I was.’ I understand the purpose, to get some background of the character with the next few sentences, but randomly recalling seems a strange way of doing it. Perhaps Oba could call him ‘Jewel of Secrets’, which then leads to the explanation?

    Overall I really enjoyed this one. I love, love the “Don’t go” warning from the main character that ties back into Oba’s “Don’t go” at the beginning. I think the backstory in the middle of Jewel’s journey to find the doctor could be cleaned up a bit, but the dialogue and the descriptions as Jewel journey’s to find the doctor are very well done.

    A contender.

    Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3
    ‘Varilantoncea’ – I completely stumbled over this name more than a few times.

    ‘She slept on the far side of the tent, keeping him at arm's length.’ – Why? They’re “lovers” running away together, right?

    ‘…the Crackpyre mountains, Varilantoncea was an expert…’ – I think that comma should be a semicolon or a period.

    This response doesn’t fit the question asked:
    ‘“What if there are humans?”’
    ‘“Of course not,”’

    I LOVED this exchange:
    “Look,” Varilantoncea said pointing across the precipice, “a chasm.”
    “Look,” Jzaereh said pointing downward, “an abyss.”
    But the sentence that follows doesn’t feel needed.

    By far the strongest part of this story is the appearance of the wizard and their following decision. I really like that part. An overall solid entry.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton
    I like the little backstory on the amulet at the beginning, but from there I kept waiting for it to get into some sort of action or dialogue. There was just too much (brace yourself, I’m about to use the almighty evil word) “telling”.

    Now, all telling can actually work in a flash piece due to its length, but I think this story may have been better served with a little dialogue.

    Tower of Elves by bobnagga
    “They come.” – Who is saying this line, the dark wizard or someone talking to him?

    “Leave him,” the wizard snapped impatiently, “Prince Yarkan. So good of you to join me. – I believe it should be a period after impatiently, and a comma after Yarkan.

    'He raised the knife, and plunged it deep into the princess’ breast. But… he didn’t. His arm stopped before it bridged half the distance to the elven girl’s bare chest.' – Not a fan of the ‘But he didn’t’ part.

    Alright… I really liked the beginning. I loved the battle shown from the point of view of the dark wizard. Everything there works. My only issue is why the wizard leaves Yarkan alive… why not just chuck him off the edge? Unless you were intentionally going for the cliché there… in which case… well, that’s pretty perfect.

    A contender.

    The Princess and Fire by Richard Dickson
    ‘…the dragon circled over…’ – When I initially hit this line, I was picturing Firendorus looking at the dragon, not that he IS the dragon. Perhaps you need to mention his wings prior to this line?

    Love the dragon’s description of the princess. Perfect.

    Just all around well done. Can’t say I’m surprised.

    A contender.

    The Wizard and Shadows by Carin Marais
    ‘…he could feel their taint…’ – He... oh, nevermind… I’m just a dirty, dirty man…

    Took a little long to get going, but was overall solid in its execution. Standard wizard finds the prophesized boy sort of thing – enjoyable, but I would have liked to have seen a little deviation from the cliché.

    I’m a little confused at the end – When the wizard speaks in the ancient tongue, the boy asks him what he’s saying. But, in the end, the boy speaks in the ancient tongue.


    So, I have 3 for my final list from this bunch. On to thread B!

  12. #12
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    For a so called cliche contest the stories in this first group are great. I am in a bit of a brief mood this month - my apologies. So without further ado...

    The Prophecy of Secrecy by Brenda Pernack
    I really liked this story. It was well written and engaging from start to finish. I got tripped up a little right at the end as to whether she was having a day dream but I think I sorted it out right that she was the one recieveing the prophecy via a vision of the future so to speak - and if so - nice.

    Abyss and Fire by Mr. BF1V3
    Just plain old funny and original. Well done - I laughed. I really dont know what else to say except how much I enjoyed it.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton
    Some really good stuff here - I love Elves. Told with a nice pace. I did not get a sese of the Elf's motivation. I wanted to know more about her and why she was out adventuring and why the pull to the treasure b/c she is pretty powerful in her own right if I read rightly.

    Tower of Elves by Bobnagga
    I really liked the concept you had for your story especially given the theme. Loved the dragon and the death scene. Perhaps too much describing that kept me from getting totally into it.

    The Princess and the Fire by Richard Dickson
    That was well...Rich. Too funny. I dont know that I would change a word. I really liked it. Brilliant ending. You sir are frustratingly talented.

    The Wizard and Shadow by Carin Marais
    Man - another great story. Top notch. My only nit is the overuse of the old tongue. I was a little frustrated with it. A little less of it would have been much more for me. But I gotta say it sure did look great.

    And now a whole other thread and a bit eh? Well this was the easiest bunch of reading I have ever had for this contest so I am looking forward to it.

  13. #13
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Prophecy of Secrets -
    I'm going to be honest and say that on my first read I was left very confused. The paragraphs seemed to be cut up into short blocks for little reason and this made it harder for me to read the story. However, in fairness I returned and my second read was a lot better (I'd obviously missed out important points, and for that I apologise). I found the imagery quite vivid, but at the same time I did end up a bit confused - Namely at the end of the story after the "finding" of the doctor. What I can't work out is if it was a dream (i.e. the events of that night) or if there was something else.
    A good read where I understood it, and I think it could benefit from being a longer story. You're clearly a capable writer, don't get me wrong, I just think this story could have been better if it was longer and the "time jumps" were a bit clearer.
    Apologies if my reasons only apply to me, it's just my honest thoughts.

    Abyss and Fire -
    Quite a light hearted romp, I felt. I noticed clichés like Dragons, Wizards, Elves... But I was slightly confused by the ever-so-slight modern twist that was pulled (College and Cookie Factory) but it wasn't overbearing at all. The title was held to in a very loose fashion but given the story and its progression (and the fact the title was quite a hard one to really link) I don't think there were many alternatives.
    A good read, nonetheless.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery -
    Well, this is just the best story that's ever been written!
    In all seriousness, I was quite glad I managed to get something done given my title and I did enjoy writing this. I don't think I lived up to "fantasy clichés" as much as I could have, however. Would like to thank DaddyDarth for taking the time to proof read it and give me some feedback on it - It's really appreciated!

    @Sterling, thanks for the feedback. I completely understand where you're coming from, and I think in a way it's linked to my low confidence in regards to writing dialogue as well as I felt that adding dialogue to the tale would nullify the pseudo-prologue. I can write it, I just find myself repeating things like "said" or ending up with very short conversations. It's certainly something to work on and I appreciate it being a concern, it shows it's something I should work on.

    @DaddyD, again, thanks for the feedback. It's something you can easily do when writing your work and reading it. You might know the motivation and as such not notice the lack of a decent explanation. To me the mention of its power or value would have been motivation enough, but I can see that expanding this would have clarified it a lot more as well as writing more about the elf. I'll take it on board and hopefully work better character development into the next one.

    Tower of Elves -
    Very rocky start at first. I noticed (what I felt was) some poor grammar and sentence structure which made me a bit dubious. Whilst it holds together well, I think that the overall appearance and flow would benefit from using paragraphs. I liked how you worked the word "defenestrate" into it, I felt like it was an unnecessary addition that didn't really fit and that it was added just to set up a punchline at the end.
    Another small gripe of mine was what the wizard was doing with his hands - One moment he was holding a dagger and fingering a box, the next minute he was using a stave as an offensive weapon then was using his fingers to cast, and I couldn't see how it worked in my head.
    Whilst I regret not being able to give this story my vote, I will suggest that you open this story back up and expand it. It would certainly work as a longer piece (maybe not a novel) and if you could work out the logistics (how is the princess restrained? how is the prince restrained?) and worked on a few things (I doubt the tower would shake to that great a degree if it was being rammed) it could be a very enjoyable read. I could imagine reading it in a collection of short stories.

    The Princess And Fire -
    I chuckled throughout reading this. It was a very, very enjoyable read and I have to say it's in my contenders for a vote. There was wit, there was good dialogue. It felt a lot shorter than 1180 words but maybe it's because it was very well flowing. No real complaints that I can think of except that I felt the use of similies/metaphors/whatever they are at the start were a bit overwhelming. I do it myself and whilst they can be really nice to write, they can detract a little if used too much.

    The Wizard and Shadows
    My last one before I take a short break and move onto Thread B
    Whilst it's a good read, I felt the sentences ended very prematurely in some cases or didn't flow naturally. One such example is "...wary of travellers and even more wary of the strangers that arrived daily and even sometimes slept in the muddy streets". I didn't think that second even was necessary and it upset the flow a little. I liked the story and how the burn the wizard sustained helped him "detect" the presence of the shadow beings. It could easily lead on to further stories and I would say if you feel more stories coming then go ahead and write them.

    Hope those comments were alright and not too harsh or anything.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwagginz View Post
    @Sterling, thanks for the feedback. I completely understand where you're coming from, and I think in a way it's linked to my low confidence in regards to writing dialogue as well as I felt that adding dialogue to the tale would nullify the pseudo-prologue. I can write it, I just find myself repeating things like "said" or ending up with very short conversations. It's certainly something to work on and I appreciate it being a concern, it shows it's something I should work on.
    Don't be afraid of "said"! Forgive the lack of a link, but, essentially, its one of those "invisible words" - readers pass over "said" without even realizing its there. You'll create far more stumbles for the reader by trying to come up with a new word for "said" in each and every instance.

    In addition, by using our simple friend "said" instead of "bemoaned" or the like, you may find yourself describing the movements or reactions of the character rather than telling the reader by replacing "said".

    Bug one of our real author guys on this forum - I'm sure they could put it better than me

  15. #15
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Here is my list of finalists this month & long it seems.
    MrBF for a quick homourous tale. Daily Rich b/c as ever he writes so well and tells such good stories - this being no exception. Carin Marias for good old fashioned great story that hooked me. Mr. Matrunick for a gripping tale that left me wanting more. Sally C for a thought provoking look at an old favourite. HE for a solid, modern story with a surpise ending. Chris Allen for a brilliant story and lastly Mr Banker for a sweet fairy tale.

    This is going to be hard. Good job folks.

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