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. #16
    Lost in Devaland venustar's Avatar
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    Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3
    Ha! Cute. I think I would run home too.
    You did well with the theme and your title. Good job!

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton/Dwagginz
    So the prophecy really did prove to be above the sorcery. Very well done.
    I had some issues with a few heavily worded sentences, but the writing was rich, overall. I really liked it!

    Tower of Elves by bobnagga
    This one was interesting. You did a great job bringing your wizard alive- just the sort of character that everyone loves to hate. I think it would have benefitted a bit more with some more detail regarding the elves, and of course some clarification of the wizard’s actions (as has been pointed out).
    I think it was a pretty strong entry!

    The Princess and Fire by Richard Dickson/DailyRich
    I LOVED THIS! I loved this, I loved this, I loved this.
    I love your wit, and your writing.

    The Wizard and Shadows by Carin Marais/marshwriter
    “To lighten the mood, one of the less sober gents began a rendition of Bring me another partridge or I'll drink all of? your? beer.”
    This sentence needs a rewrite.
    I can’t quite place why or which one, but this reminded me of a manga I read some years ago. I think it was the scar reacting to the shadows. No matter, not important.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the read. There was some minor clunkiness, but nothing that detracted much from the story.
    Good job overall!


    Okay, between catering to a sick kid, catering to a bored kid, and offering my less-than-stellar feedback, I think I'm in need of a break. Will be back for the other threads soon!

  2. #17
    Abyss and Fire
    Man, I don't know. I just didn't get into this one. I mean it's well told and everything, but it seems like you were just trying to throw out every single cliche you could think of in passing. There's nothing wrong with it, That sort of thing's just not my bag, baby.

    Prophecy of secrets
    This one took me a minute. It's good. I didn't figure it out until the end that it was a vision. I bet that's what you were going for, huh? I couldn't really find the cliche part of it, though. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but whateva. It's pretty solid.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery
    It's really too bad about these 1200 word limits. I'd love to see where this one was going or where it came from, you know?

    Tower of Elves
    Man, it was difficult after reading Memory Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams. It's like fate said "Ha, ha, here you go. No plagiarizing, now!"

    Princess and Fire
    That was pretty funny. "Don't start leaking again" Someone said something about it was hard to determine the Dragon was the dragon. I don't know where that came from, I got it immediately. FIREndorus? Though I don't see a dragon's trouble with a gorge. Anyways, I like it.

    Wizard and Shadows
    It was alright, that language, though, just threw me off. I couldn't stay with the flow if it after all that. I don't know. It was just too short for gibberish, ya know? Maybe if you had the space to... talk right? it would have fit the story better.

    Now no one take any of this personally, it's just a matter of opinion and preference, they were all well written and I think that most issue is from the fact that they all need more than 1200 words... I guess that's where the challenge comes in. Anyways, I'd like to see all these expanded upon.
    Last edited by bobnagga; February 23rd, 2010 at 07:27 PM.

  3. #18
    Marshwriter
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    Here are a few comments – in no particular order…

    Prophecy Above Might
    I really liked this one. The idea was very well executed… no pun intended... I loved having the “hero” just standing to one side, waiting for a deux et machina to instate him as ruler and having the Norns’ words actually keeping him from doing what he would have done otherwise to keep his crown.

    A Prophecy above Sorcery
    Though it was a good idea, and I liked it, I feel the execution could have been better. It took too long for me to really get moving. I think you could trim some more, make it tighter, and then it would work better. The beginning is too long and the ending too short to my liking.

    Tower of Elves
    Kudos for using the word “defenestrate”! Nice touch also in letting the princess be the one to let the wizard lose his grip and not the hero…

    The Princess and Fire
    Thanks for a good laugh, Richard! Your style is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this quirky story. You definitely have my vote!

    My votes go to The Princess and Fire, Prophecy Above Might and Tower of Elves.

    I hope to have some more comments in the next day or two…

    (Thanks to all for the helpful comments! To those that are interested, I have put up a version of "The Wizard and Shadows" with the 'ancient tongue' translated.)

    Marsh

  4. #19
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    The Prophecy of Secrets by Brenda Pernack

    I wonder what it says about my perceptions that I assumed the narrator was a man, so much so that "ripping the fabric of my dress" threw me for a bit of a loop. Even being called "The Jewel" didn't tip me, since the definite article there implies a title, not an actual name. Didn't affect my enjoyment of the story one way or another, just an interesting observation.

    Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3

    Maybe it's just the way my mind works (or maybe it was seeing there weren't a lot of words left to go), but as soon as the wizard started describing the test, I knew they were going to chicken out of it. So a little of the surprise was lost on me.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton

    I think the last paragraph could have used something a little more concrete to show that it was the prophecy that sent here there and not simply a spell gone awry. And I didn't mind the wordy style -- it sort of reminded me of the style Tolkien employed in The Silmarillion, a deliberately formal wording to give the impression of some sort of canonized tale.

    Tower of Elves by bobnagga

    Something nags at me -- if this wizard is powerful enough to summon dragons and open huge chasms in the earth, how was this elf army ever a threat? Seems like he had the power to deal with them quite easily, and simply doesn't because there wouldn't be a story if he did. Stylistically, there are an awful lot of paragraphs that could be combined into one. As it is, it makes the whole thing seem rather scattered.

    The Wizard and Shadows by Carin Marais

    My take was that the boy speaking in the other language was merely the dying wizard perceiving it that way. As for the story as a whole, it did seem to hit a lot of the cliches head-on, and while I do think too often we look for a twist -- so much so that sometimes we don't always appreciate a traditional story told well -- I think this could have used just a little something more to make it stand out.

  5. #20
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DailyRich View Post
    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton

    I think the last paragraph could have used something a little more concrete to show that it was the prophecy that sent here there and not simply a spell gone awry. And I didn't mind the wordy style -- it sort of reminded me of the style Tolkien employed in The Silmarillion, a deliberately formal wording to give the impression of some sort of canonized tale.
    I didn't intend to draw from The Silmarillion (not actually read it ), but I would think that's a compliment. I like to think my sometimes wordy style comes more from reading Lovecraft than it does Tolkien
    As for the last paragraph; I wasn't overly sure what I wanted to do with it. I tried to convey that the chest "reacted" to the spell and teleported her to a seemingly random destination as a consequence. By the time I was coming to do the last bit of the story I was very close to hitting the word limit and my reluctance to trim things probably was a factor in the weakness

    If that makes sense

  6. #21
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    It makes sense as is, I just wanted something a little more. For moment, I thought we'd see all these other disappointed wizards sitting there saying, "You too, huh?"

  7. #22
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Well, at any rate, it's something to work on for the next one

  8. #23
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    It's more a matter of my tastes than anything you did or didn't do.

  9. #24
    Prophecy of secrets
    I had to read this twice before the shift in viewpoint became clear. Otherwise, it was a neatly told tale.

    Abyss and Fire
    Teenage elves meet grumpy old wizard. I enjoyed this very much.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery
    Nice story - but I felt the ending was a little flat.

    Tower of Elves
    All the right elements - but I would have liked a bit more background. How could an all-powerful wizard get himself into such a mess in the first place?

    Princess and Fire
    Loved this. Almost impossible to criticise something that made me giggle so much.

    Wizard and Shadows
    I liked the feel of this, apart from finding the ending a little hasty - a word count thing, I guess

    Apologies if I'm a little terse - this is the first time I've participated and I'm still finding my feet.
    Last edited by SallyC; February 26th, 2010 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Wrong entry

  10. #25
    Lost in Devaland venustar's Avatar
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    Just a quick question on my entry. I tried to make it as warped as I could, while still maintaining the simplicity necessary for a flash piece. I wanted to convey a sense of shifting, in certain spots:

    Then the world stopped and he stared at me, red-faced and belligerent, his chest heaving. Shadows and perspective bent for a moment

    Minutes, hours, days slid forward as Oba’s fear melded into cough. The fever came in the same sinuous fashion

    The world dropped away to silence, then exploded once more; with the call of merchant and passerby

    All of this was intended to keep the reader somewhat confused, but then the ending was supposed to reveal the true Prophet.

    I'm surprised that no one guessed what was being "prophetised" (my own word, okay?). I'm wondering if anyone understood my intent.

  11. #26
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Venus - was she not the prophet? I though I sugested that in my minute feedback. Am I way off?
    By the way thanks for the kind words and you sure started my morning off nicely.

  12. #27
    Lost in Devaland venustar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Darth View Post
    Venus - was she not the prophet? I though I sugested that in my minute feedback. Am I way off?
    By the way thanks for the kind words and you sure started my morning off nicely.
    DD, yes. She is the prophet, or rather, she's receiving the prophecy from the stranger. I wonder if the prophecy itself is moot.

  13. #28
    Speaks fluent Bawehrf zachariah's Avatar
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    Like last month, I feel like I’m flying in the face of public opinion. Here’s my minority report:

    The Prophecy of Secrets by Brenda Pernack/venustar

    Oh, those naughty flashbacks – they make things so confusing when not blatantly telegraphed. I was left dazed and confused on the first reading, convinced there’d been some terrible mishap with the cut and paste buttons.

    Past that hiccup, I like this chilling tale that cunningly weaves hints of supernatural devilry with the reality of disease in a medieval setting. I’m a sucker for stories that present different interpretations of the event, letting the reader decide which version they prefer.

    I love the over-the-top high-fantasy purple prose – “A hodgepodge of contorted figures shivered like a ripple upon a lake, and the resonance of agony crescendoed”, “a cacophony of suffering” – I enjoyed cringing.

    I did think it was a bit of a cheat to have ‘Secrets’ being the name of the town.

    Abyss and Fire by MrBF1V3

    Love all the intentionally cumbersome names. Lots of lovely cliché boxes ticked. Dragons, wizards, a quest given, a quest refused...What the hell did you mean by ‘H___’ though? That threw me. I can understand blanking out the word for a contemporary story, but not for fantasy.

    I know, that's a pretty trite criticism but there's nothing else to castigate except, it just didn't grab my cojones sufficiently to secure a vote.

    A Prophecy Above Sorcery by Michael Morton/Dwagginz

    A tour de force of old-school fantasy writing that hits all the right buttons. I was afraid to do a spoof like this but you really pulled it off. Not quite in the same league as Eye of Argon, but getting there.

    Tower of Elves by bobnagga

    Disappointingly, the princess’s eyes weren’t described as limpid pools and her chest was not depicted in terms of swollen orbs, but otherwise a very pleasing romp through the classic finale scene. As usual, I’m left angry and confused at the evil overlord’s tendency to throw the match but that is the way it must be.

    You missed two things that would have secured my vote. Yarkan’s epithet should have been: “Consider this a defenestration,” and then he and the princess should have done some smooching (or I would have accepted the sudden appearance of the comedy sidekick to break the tension).

    The Princess and Fire by Richard Dickson/DailyRich

    Princess, dragon, foggy chasm – so far, so cliché. The Pratchett-esque asides just fell a little flat for me, and padded out what is really a one-gag sketch. It’s a good one, though.

    The Wizard and Shadows by Carin Marais/marshwriter

    Ah, this is what I was hoping for. I think Carin is the only one this month to really get into the spirit of the fantasy cliché. We’re treated to a mini prologue/prophecy, a wizard with a staff (and an old wound sensitive to his enemies, and a name with two, count’em, apostrophes), a snow-bound inn, a Dark Lord, a golden-haired boy to fulfill the prophecy (though it counts against you that he’s not an orphan or a shepherd), an exotic (and comedically overused) foreign tongue...

    In short, everything I was expecting in one package. Do better next time with the typos please.

    The Princess and a Blood by TXHusker

    A familiar tale, charmingly told. Unfortunately the only thing fantasy-related were the nouns – this could easily be a historical romance, so the theme-target was missed by a country mile.

    A Wizard of the Sorcery by Rich Matrunick/Sterling13

    I wanted to like this, because you’re such a good writer and your work is always interesting. The scene is slickly done, but without a foothold for the fresh reader – and crucially, without any noticeable sign of fantasy cliché – your inventiveness worked against me really getting into it.

    A King Above the Truth by Victoria A. Rogers/NickeeCoco

    Good old nuts-and-bolts fantasy, a refreshing look at the people behind the giant monuments we take for granted. I’m not sure what the men are implying at the end – are they pointing out some unmentioned part of the mountain, or saying they can put the face on the mule? Both options feel like a non-sequitur.

    Prophecy Above Might by SallyC

    (I wrote this next bit before DailyRich’s comment was posted, so I’ll let it stand) A carbon-copy of one of my favourite old cheesy jokes, which ends with God talking to a recently-deceased Priest. This Priest resisted all attempts to save him from falling to his death, confident that God would come to the rescue. “I don’t know what went wrong,” God says, “I sent a boat, a helicopter, some hikers...”

    Successfully strikes that earnest, worthy tone so beloved of high fantasy. Well done.

    Sword of Knowledge by Hereford Eye

    As usual you do not disappoint, coming up with a quirky, subtle play on the theme. I’m not sold on the answers given by the sword as being indicative of a female point of view. And it’s not enough just to know what they want – he’s got to provide it as well, and the sword won’t help him with that. So the story’s payoff isn’t quite as sastisfying as I was wishing for. But still! Good mojo.

    A King Above Secrets by Mike Hazelwood/DaddyDarth

    Good, sterling stuff, straight from the book of tried and trusted plot points (my favourite example of this scene is when Jaffar is thrown out of the palace in Disney’s Aladdin). Solid writing and wonderfully pompous regal dialogue from the king. I would suggest brushing up on the meaning of ‘regale’, though.

    Princess Above Blood by Christopher Alen

    And last, but by no means least, this month’s weirdest entry. I read it when first posted, liked the lyrical quality but didn’t understand it. Then I saw your explanation. I can’t read it now and have my own interpretation, and the Sun/Planets origins don’t gel with the sensations I get from the story.

    This doesn’t detract from the superb writing, not that I’d expect anything less.

  14. #29
    Boba Fett Lives Daddy Darth's Avatar
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    Zach,
    I am currently cringing. What was I thinking. Cripes! I need a good dictionary obviously.

  15. #30
    Speaks fluent Bawehrf zachariah's Avatar
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    Don't sweat it, you should see my stuff pre-edit.

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