February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results


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Post February 25, 2018, 01:06:32 PM

February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

"A Clone Again...Naturally"

The Voting

I've glanced over the way the previous members did the flash challenges and chose the methods from each person that I liked the best.

I will list the authors names as well as encourage commenting during the voting.

I will not reveal how people vote, except to an editor for verification purposes at the end of the voting period.

If you have something unfavorable to say about a story, make it constructive so the author can benefit from your viewpoint and insight.

Never say anything negative about the authors themselves.

The voting is one way for the authors to receive benefit for their submissions and commenting on their stories is another.

I think comments from other writers is a great help.

To vote: Send me a pm (private message) by clicking on my name from this post and then click the words private message on the left of the following screen. Type in the name of the story you liked the best and click submit.

You have one week to vote on these stories. Have your votes in by Saturday March 3, 2018.

I've enjoyed this. Thank you everyone!

______________________________________

The titles of the stories in this flash contest.

Double Double - by Jim Harrington
Defective Huh? - by Jim Statton
The Worship of the Unending Pain - by Sergio Palumbo
Divide and Conquer - by Robin B. Lipinski
They Prey on the Hurts of Others - by Megawatts
______________________________________


Double Double
by Jim Harrington

“Let me see if I have this straight,” Alex said to his best friend Brad. “A gentleman came up to you last Monday afternoon on the street, shook your hand vigorously, and congratulated you for doing an excellent job on a task you’d never heard of.”

“That’s correct,” Brad replied sitting across the booth from his friend since high school, a plate of Huevos Rancheros cooling on a plate in front of him.

“And then two days ago a young brunette you’d never met before with, shall we say, well-developed breasts and a birthmark over her left eye came up from behind you at a party and rubbed the girls against you while whispering in your ear.”

“Yes.”

“And you found this distasteful how?” Alex said with raised eyebrows and a grin. “Never mind.” He bit into one of his beef tacos with extra jalapeños before continuing. “Perhaps your mental condition is such it makes it difficult for you to know truth from fiction.”

“But that’s what happened.”

“Bullfinches.” Alex swigged some beer and waved to the waitress for two more Dos Equis. “Then, yesterday, you saw this man who looks exactly like you.”

“Yes.” Brad shifted on his seat as the waitress arrived.

“Your twin?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Did he see you?” Alex asked

“I don’t believe so.”

“And you’ve never seen him before.”

“No.”

“You’re sure.”

“Dammit, yes, I’m sure. How many times do I have to say it?”

Alex leaned over the table in a conspiratorial fashion. “And now you think you must be a clone, or something similar.”

“What else could it be? We look alike, walk with the same gait, and wear identical clothing.” Brad sat up. “Maybe he and I are both clones, and I’ve yet to meet the real me.”

“Whoa,” Alex said. “That’s a stretch.”

“Maybe that’s what this is all about. Someone is stretching the rules.”

Before he could continue, Brad felt a presence enter the room. He turned. It was his double. Unlike the previous time, the man’s eyes were blood orange, anger covered his face like a mask, and his hands were outstretched as if he was about to strangle someone. Drool oozed from the corner of his mouth. When the man didn’t stop, Brad pulled a taser from his belt, set it on high, and fired. The man fell to the ground. A wire popped out where the beam broke the skin. His eyes sizzled. A dark green fluid flowed from his nose.

When Brad looked up, he saw another ten people on the floor, including their waitress. He turned back to Alex and saw he was down also. Brad knelt next to his friend and held his hand.

“We were supposed to all live on different planets,” Alex whispered. “Someone screwed up. It wasn’t your fault, man. Wasn’t your fault. It was. . .” Before he could finish, Alex shook as if stuck by lightning and stopped breathing.

Brad’s orders were to not tell anyone of his true identity. Not even his friends. He was glad now he hadn’t. His government agency learned of the clone invasion via an intercepted message, but had no way of knowing who were the real residents and who were the imposters. Now that a few secret identities had been exposed, the group could move forward with finding the source. The next step, though, was obvious—to identify one of the clones on a neighboring planet and kill it, causing the rest to die. Hopefully, this could be done before the clones’ creator figured out how to stop Brad’s plan from happening.

The End

_____________________________________


Defective Huh?
by Jim Statton

The dawn of a new day. A damnable day. A dawning doublely damnably day.

And with it - a smile half-cocked. If misery loves company, my life is set. I think I've tapped into something here. Tap...tap...tap.

The sky lit up one Nebraska night. It would have been beautiful to see. However, I was in the basement of a research hospital in New York that night. White tile walls and floors with the smell of amonia permenating the air. My DNA was about to be sliced, mapped and resequenced for the creation of a new human species.

I felt like Adam and Eve all rolled up into one deliberately miserable person. I wish I was a little bit of Eve, cause I've never really had a girlfriend and I would have liked to have had a steady date.

"Will you stop that chattering, unit?" The man standing over the gurney that I was laying on thought he could talk down to me just because - he was wearing a white scientific looking coat. Stern looking man with a short beard. He looked rather unkempt for a scientist.

How dare him speak down to me like I couldn't have easily stolen a white coat from the supply room and told HIM off.

He yelled again. "I got this white coat when I earned a degree in genetic engineering so just keep your mumblings to yourself!"

He looked angry. Oh poo.

After thinking for a moment I said to myself, "Damn! Was I talking out loud? Could he hear my inner voice? Is my unending speaking irritating the..."

"Yes, please just shut up!" He was all mad and frowny faced again.

"Oops. Maybe I don't have a...(repeating the words again in a whisper)...maybe I don't have an inner voice."

Another scientist came into the room. He was tall and lanky with a dark receding hairline. He was an order giver. Oh, he thinks he's something, just because all his girlfriends were built from spare parts.

He pointed to me and told the first scientist, "We'll silence the clone's vocal processors while we replicate his genes. Maybe this time, his genetic material won't disintegrate so easily."

I said to the whitecoats, "Say what? I'm a what?"

Finally realizing the implications of what the scientists were saying about me, I got mad and yelled, "What are you motor fakers talkin' about?"

"Restrain him!" the second scientist said to the orderlies as they were entering the room. The two men got on each side of my table. The one on my left was trying to strap restraints across my chest and the other grabbed my right arm so the white coats could give me an injection.

I felt so helpless. No...I really didn't. I grabbed both men by the balls and squeezed real hard like I was making orange juice. They screamed.

"I bet you didn't know I would do that, did you? We clones may not be too smart, we just don't have anything to lose."

I jumped off the table, grabbed the syringe and began waving it around like a weapon.

A large, burly security man grabbed me as I was backing out of the room. I jabbed him in the thigh with the needle. That sucker began screaming in my ear. Damn that was loud.

I ran down the corridor toward an exit sign, running over patients in wheelchairs put-putin' along. Yeah, like I'm suppose to give them the right away.

I ran out the door and down the street and into a bar called The Clam Bake. I noticed the joint had wall to wall biker chicks who were looking me over pretty good. Then I noticed I was naked.

Of course, I thought to myself, genetic experiments go hand-in-hand with being naked, for the test subjects that is. Normally, this would be the premise for a bad dream, but I don't know...my prospects for female companionship looks pretty good about now.

The End

______________________________________

The Worship of the Unending Pain
by Sergio Palumbo

Everything seemed pleasant on the sunny island, but nothing was really as it appeared.

Since the moment Frank Brett, a middle-aged dark-haired man, had started feeling pain in his arms and legs, he had been afraid that something might be very wrong, but his worries had only become real when the doctors at the only hospital on the island told him the cause: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

There was no treatment on this island for the illness, no way to become healthy again. The illness he was affected by was always deadly…it was just a matter of time.

What was even worse was that, in this country, the citizens weren’t allowed to travel abroad to seek treatment. A person could try to escape but it was nearly impossible given the distances involved in traversing the Pacific Ocean. And you couldn’t board an airplane or a boat without the proper authorization from the local government.

That brought him to another problem: euthanasia was not allowed on the island. It had never been approved of by the authorities. The fact that the ruling (though never voted) political party was called The Worship of the Unending Pain told you everything about their views on the subject. According to the religious beliefs of the government, a citizen had to live according to the will of the Great Giver of Joys and Pains, who didn’t allow anyone to stray from their predestined path. This also meant that, if you were rich and fortunate, your life might be as pleasant as anyone could hope for. On the other hand, if some illness affected you, well, you just had to accept your sad destiny and that burden until you drew your last breath, with no way to end your suffering.

As there was no way to get permission to be euthanatized, Frank knew his only choice left was to live until he died a slow, painful death. It would take months of pain…

Then, one day, in a desperate act of rebellion, he decided to try something dangerous. He steeled himself and approached one of the few tourists who visited the small island. Luckily he was wealthy and was able to ask for assistance by giving the visitor a small fortune. It was only by good luck that the tourist didn’t report him immediately to the government. The tourist safely made it off the island with all the money he had been given in secret and with the genetic data of his Frank had provided.

Many long weeks went by and the man thought that his desperate attempt had been unfruitful. Then, one day, using a secret way of communicating, he got a reply from that same tourist - but what he read left him speechless.

It didn’t take long before Frank was called in to the main hospital in the capital. He was surprised to find a high-ranking officer of the Worship already in his room. The man was immediately ordered to sit down.

“Mr. Frank Brett, you have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is a deadly and painful illness. Do you know why we called you here today?” the officer asked him.

“Yes, possibly. I think this meeting must be connected to what I recently discovered…” he replied.

“And what is that?” the other insisted, in a low tone.

“That I am just a clone. The clone of a dead man.”

“Yes, that is true. And what else did you learn?”

“I discovered that my other self, the man I was before dying and before being reborn as a clone here, was born and lived in a country where the Worship of the Unending Pain doesn’t rule. He was affected by ALS like me but he was allowed to undergo euthanasia finally.” Frank lowered his eyes.

“So, what happened when that man, the one you are a clone of, died?” the officer inquired.

“The genetic materials from his corpse were harvested, brought to this island in secrecy where the Worship used the DNA to clone me, and so I was born.”

“Do you know why our government did this?” the other continued.

“I believe so. The Great Giver of Joys and Pains can’t accept it when people choose to put an end to their life, even if they are in pain with no hope left - because this is not in accordance with the principles of this government.”

“Precisely. The Worship itself can’t prevent people in other countries from putting an end to their life legally, and it can’t fight against such powerful lands. All we can do is to take the genetic materials from the corpses of people who were euthanized and make them be born again on this independent and secluded island. Of course, all the clones are born with the same illness as their originals! You see: we can’t allow anyone to escape the destiny that was meant for them! If they died through euthanasia in their native country, they are reborn here to suffer until the end of their days, as our principles dictate.”

“Are you saying that I’m notthe only clone on this island? That there are others?” Frank looked shocked.

“Of course there are. All the other citizens on this island are clones except for the members of the Worship itself. They are clones of dead people, people who tried to escape their illness. This is why we force them to be born again and undergo the dutiful, painful path they were meant to experience.”

Frank looked at the man who was mercilessly sneering now, and the only thought that came to his mind was the saying, ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved.’ Then he lowered his eyes another time, really saddened. He doubted that sharing this woe would be of any comfort to him when the long nights of suffering came.

And the end would require more time to happen, with the pain getting worse and worse each day, unfortunately…

The End

______________________________________

Divide and Conquer
by Robin B. Lipinski

With the light came the blurs, the dust, the smells and sounds. With the light came movement; heat; life.

All around there was activity to show something was going on, it was happening, it was another day.

Mainly though, there was hunger. Such ravenous hunger and he ate till he could hardly eat anymore, and then after a short time span, he would eat again.

All around him, the others feasted also. So many eating and not just those of the same gender. She was ravenous also, and she ate till she could hardly eat anymore, and then after a short time span, she would eat again.

Music played in the background; sound of a beating heart. The mood was moist and warm. It was a beautiful orgy of consumption and crowd.

“Hey, just to let you know, I’m going to eat you…” he told her.

“No, I’m going to eat you,” she said in reply.

The results varied, he ate her, she ate him. The orgy of consumption was vivid and violent. The crowd grew. The sound of the beating heart becoming overwhelming to the point of being almost unbearable.

“Something is strange, can you feel it?” he asked his neighbor.

“Yes, I can feel it…”the reply came before he was consumed by her.

She said, “I feel it too. Very strange.”

“Yes, I feel it too,” another female voice stated just before she was devoured by him.

Surreal is a real name to describe what really cannot be described. The beating sound of the heart was now so loud no other sounds could be heard. The crowd so huge the numbers were uncountable. The moisture, heat, smells, taste; orgy of Life so huge, so vibrant, so surreal, it was indeed, real.

No longer could the individual voices of her or him be understood. It is here that only a narrator can fill in a mind reading this story which really cannot be understood if the reader was relying on logic or familiar data.

What you’ve been reading about is an experiment gone horribly wrong. A case of science starting a chain reaction that cannot be stopped. An, ‘end of the world’ scenario.

You see, it all began when a large bio-pharma company was finding new ways of engineering artificial intelligence. Of combining intellect with real life.

This company infused cells with sub DNA particle’s much smaller than the standard DNA humanity was familiar with. The result was a cell able to experience cognitive reasoning; voice; hearing; touch; all the familial abilities of so many other species.

They could replicate fast, so very fast. Each cell the same, each cell remembering, each cell hungry.

As for male/female sex… there was not any, nor was it needed. They were cells. The female cells had received their sub DNA from a female human lab assistant while the male cells came from the lead male scientists. Both types needed as to replace the computer zero and one, both needed for the mainframe of the new life form. Both needed to grow, multiply, consume, and take over the world.

Already they had consumed any creature in the lab possessing a beating heart and with the open door of the lab now leading to new feeding opportunities, the new Adam and Eve were poised to show this world a new perspective on Life.

The Beginning

The End

__________________________________

They Prey on the Hurts of Others
By Megawatts

“When Timmy died . . . I was devastated. How I loved him. I loved him as much as you,” Monica said, Timmy and Daniel mother.

“Why didn’t you tell me,” Daniel said.

“It was so long ago . . . then you came along and my mind settled on you. You were such a nice and loving baby, everything that your dad and me ever hoped for,” Monica said.

Daniel got up and tossed the box of pictures and certificates across the room. He looked at his mom for a moment then turned and walked toward the door. At the door he stopped. He turned and looked at his mom again, grit his teeth which twisted his face into a semi-snarl with eyes piercing so deep into her soul, that they appeared as laser beams locking onto a military target.

He said nothing for a moment.

“You’ll never and I mean never see the baby again! How could you!” Daniel said. Sweat beads formed on his forehead as his eyes continued to drill into hers.

Out he stormed with his mother pleading with him to come back. She begged and begged.

He fired up his Harley, clunked it in gear and sped down the driveway and out onto Shady Lane. He revved up the engine which caused a neighbor to yell, “Slow down!” Dan ignored the order and sped down the two blocks to Sunrise Boulevard. At the stop sign he made a right.

With the air streaming through his hair and the feel of the Harley answering his commands, his mind flashed back to images and the hospital that treated him once for a hereditary disorder.

Gene Disorganizing Syndrome. What a joke. His wife Cindy a registered nurse couldn’t find anything out about that disorder.

About two miles down the boulevard, Dan pulled over and parked in front of ‘Advance Medical and Diagnostic Center,’ a hospital that was closed to most patients. The hospital had no emergency room, and no outpatient or any community services, yet the parking lots were full everyday. For years his mother took him there. He finally rebelled at eighteen and refused to go. That caused many phone calls to his home and some visits by doctors. Dan wouldn’t talk to them; he had enough of the bullshit—especially the needles and the never-ending tests they always wanted. No more!

Now at twenty-two he was married—against his mother’s wishes and especially the wishes of doctors from the medical center according to what his mother said. He didn’t believe his parents anymore nor did he trust anyone from that center.

Dan got himself checked out at the Cleveland Clinic in which they preformed extensive tests to see if this Gene Disorganizing Syndrome had any merit. It didn’t! No such syndrome existed in any medical journals anywhere in the world.

A swarm of picketers were outside the hospital and chanting, “We have a right to know!” Dan sped past them and gave them a thumbs up. How could anybody know. And the people that should be trusted lied. His parents.

Once at home, Cindy hugged Dan and wouldn’t let go for a long time.

“Honey, I love you . . . you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. If something would ever happen to you . . . .” Cindy said.

Dan glared at his wife but his eyes changed into a loving look that only a wife and husband know. He didn’t know what to say, yet his feelings for his parent mixed themselves like an eddy seen at coastal waters cascading around rocks. His hatred for his parents started to wane, and he knew feelings often drove loved ones to act out of desperation.

“Honey, I don’t know what I’d do if we lost little Nicky. I . . . don’t know. Maybe I’d want . . . I don’t know Honey I just don’t know------“ Cindy said.

Little Nicky ran over to his father with a Star Troop Attack Ship and buzzed his dad.

“Vooom, Vooom , Vooom,” came out of little Nicky as he buzzed his father.

Little Nicky ran back toward the family dog, Rambo. Rambo immediately ran behind the sofa upon Nicky’s approach and snuggled himself well in. He decided to wait out the siege there.

Cindy picked up Nicky and hugged him. Nicky still had the Starship and continued to make Vooom sounds as his mom hugged and hugged him.

“I just don’t know, Honey,” Cindy said.

“I’ll be on the noon news,” Dan said.

Dan turned on the TV and sure enough what the newspaper article said this morning, the local TV now had a full report on it live from in front of Advance Medical and Diagnostic Center.

The news reporter outside the facility said: “We have further information that this is a research facility disguised as a private hospital that was supposed to select patients with very rare disorders. That was an elaborate cover story–one that worked for years. If it wasn’t for Dr. Ocolan the whistle blower, we might never have known that this facility has been illegally cloning humans for twenty-five years. They approach young couples that have lost an infant or young child from an accident and while the body is still fresh . . . .”

“Oh-my-God,” Cindy said.

Dan picked up some pictures of his parents and him that he got out this morning: The pictures were when he was a kid. “My older brother looked like me so much. Now I know why. They said he got killed by a drunk driver when he was four. I know that is true. But this . . . .”

“Honey, if anything happened to Nicky would we . . . ,” Cindy started to say.

Dan’s forehead crumpled into a frown and his eyes narrowed.

“I’ll have to calm down before I talk to my parents. Honey I want you and the baby to come along.

I just don’t know about things now. I just . . . .”

The End

___________________________________

This concludes the stories for this contest.
Last edited by Jim Statton on March 04, 2018, 01:01:04 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post February 26, 2018, 12:13:56 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Firstly and formostly, it was nice that Jim came up with a fun contest. Secondly and secondmostly, the stories were all fun to read. Thirdly and thirdmostly, I vote for all of them. Having learned from the modern society I now am forced to be imprisoned in, everyone is winner...

"Robin, seriously? You've never been imprisoned anywhere and there is always a winner and loser. Thus, I vote that you're the loser and..."

SPLAT!

There is something deeply gratifying when little itty bitty pieces of the parasite are sticking to the bottom of my well worn crocs.

Anyway, it was fun and I have my pick of the one that gets the little ducky sticker (or is it a gold star? sigh. modern thinking is soooo tiring)

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Post February 26, 2018, 02:51:30 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Lipinski wrote:Firstly and formostly, it was nice that Jim came up with a fun contest. Secondly and secondmostly, the stories were all fun to read.

Thank you Robin for being supportive. It has been an enjoyable enterprise. I am amazed at the joy of the writers involved with this contest. I have seen a real love of writing in them. It creates a great atmosphere!

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Post February 26, 2018, 02:55:20 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

I have a question about writing. How much description should be included in a flash fiction piece? Just a general over view to get the idea of what everything looks like or a more in depth visual of the physical and internal attributes of the characters.
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Post February 26, 2018, 07:42:59 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

My votes are in...eh,eh :D

Some really good stories...

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Post February 26, 2018, 10:43:24 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

How much description? That is the author's call. Flash fiction is so short that it can be difficult to have description that we would see in a short story. However, the talent of the author is the final test. Flash fiction can make you come up with unique techniques, I believe.
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Post February 26, 2018, 11:26:12 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Got my votes in. Glad we are getting back into action at Aphelion!! Maybe I'll come up with something! Who know?
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post February 26, 2018, 12:06:12 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Jim Statton wrote:How much description should be included in a flash fiction piece?


A: It depends…

I tend to follow the advice of Stephen King in On Writing. “For me, good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else.” (If you haven’t read this book, you should—regardless of what you think of the man as a writer.)

How long is the story? A 1500 word story provides more opportunity for description than a 500 word story.

Is the setting important to the story. The premise of my first published story (and it was no prize winner) was of a husband and wife who loved ice cream so much they had their kitchen remodeled to replicate a 1950’s soda shop. As I got into the story, I realized that many readers may have never been in such an establishment. So, I included enough details to give them an idea.

Is it important to the story to know how the character is dressed, or is there another feature that is more important? In my story for this month, I don’t describe the characters. To me, what was important was that they’d been friends since high school. (I didn’t describe the restaurant either. Did I need to?)

Are there conflicting details that show the reader something about the character? A character running down the street isn’t very interesting. A character running down the street with a limp and dressed in a clown’s suite is.

I often spend a lot of time deciding on a character’s name, as this may provide clues that eliminate the need for description, like Javier, or Ilsa. Just knowing the names how would you describe them? I named one character Innocencia—and she was anything but.

Is what’s being described integral to the story? I began another story with a young woman walking down a highway in a dreary drizzle. She noticed a black car (I don’t remember the make, but it was expensive) pull up next to her. Uh Oh. For me (and a couple of editors who published the piece), this set a necessary mood—that did not improve by the end. :) A third story was set in a public park on a sunny afternoon, with a father and son playing soccer (football for some of you), while the mother sat on bleachers watching. Other families played on swings and slides, etc. Here, I provided more details than I normally do, but still allowed the reader to fill in some of the details. Was the grass green or worn with dirt patches? How big was the field? By the way, this was a misdirection, as the story’s ending was anything but happy. So first, decide on how important the description is to the story. Then decide if it’s needed.

As Megawatts said, it’s up to the author; but the decision as to how much description to include depends on how much is required by the story and how much is required for the reader to fill in the blanks. And often, for me, this isn’t easy to determine. In every rewrite, I often cut and/or add descriptive passages.

Above all else, do not include so much description that the story bogs down.


Okay, time to fall off my high horse, dust off my chaps, and mosey over to that sorry excuse for a bar across the street. (Oh wait. That's a descriptive passage isn't it? 8))
Jim

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Post February 26, 2018, 12:29:37 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Megawatts wrote:Got my votes in. Glad we are getting back into action at Aphelion!! Maybe I'll come up with something! Who know?

Yes, me too! It has been great encouragement writing with you, Jim, Sergio and Robin. I'm glad you're involved.
Last edited by Jim Statton on February 26, 2018, 12:49:29 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post February 26, 2018, 12:34:58 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:
Jim Statton wrote:How much description should be included in a flash fiction piece?


A: It depends…

I tend to follow the advice of Stephen King in On Writing. “For me, good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else.” (If you haven’t read this book, you should—regardless of what you think of the man as a writer.)

How long is the story? A 1500 word story provides more opportunity for description than a 500 word story.

Is the setting important to the story. The premise of my first published story (and it was no prize winner) was of a husband and wife who loved ice cream so much they had their kitchen remodeled to replicate a 1950’s soda shop. As I got into the story, I realized that many readers may have never been in such an establishment. So, I included enough details to give them an idea.

Is it important to the story to know how the character is dressed, or is there another feature that is more important? In my story for this month, I don’t describe the characters. To me, what was important was that they’d been friends since high school. (I didn’t describe the restaurant either. Did I need to?)

Are there conflicting details that show the reader something about the character? A character running down the street isn’t very interesting. A character running down the street with a limp and dressed in a clown’s suite is.

I often spend a lot of time deciding on a character’s name, as this may provide clues that eliminate the need for description, like Javier, or Ilsa. Just knowing the names how would you describe them? I named one character Innocencia—and she was anything but.

Is what’s being described integral to the story? I began another story with a young woman walking down a highway in a dreary drizzle. She noticed a black car (I don’t remember the make, but it was expensive) pull up next to her. Uh Oh. For me (and a couple of editors who published the piece), this set a necessary mood—that did not improve by the end. :) A third story was set in a public park on a sunny afternoon, with a father and son playing soccer (football for some of you), while the mother sat on bleachers watching. Other families played on swings and slides, etc. Here, I provided more details than I normally do, but still allowed the reader to fill in some of the details. Was the grass green or worn with dirt patches? How big was the field? By the way, this was a misdirection, as the story’s ending was anything but happy. So first, decide on how important the description is to the story. Then decide if it’s needed.

As Megawatts said, it’s up to the author; but the decision as to how much description to include depends on how much is required by the story and how much is required for the reader to fill in the blanks. And often, for me, this isn’t easy to determine. In every rewrite, I often cut and/or add descriptive passages.

Above all else, do not include so much description that the story bogs down.


Okay, time to fall off my high horse, dust off my chaps, and mosey over to that sorry excuse for a bar across the street. (Oh wait. That's a descriptive passage isn't it? 8))

Your story was fine the way it was. It is technically professional to me.

Thank you for your insight into description of characters and scenery. I'm still studying your story to improve the structure of my writing and my own technical writing ability. I'm also going to study what you just wrote here and then I will comment on it in a little while.

I know the next story I write will improve because of it.

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Post February 26, 2018, 10:55:23 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

To Jim and Megawatts,

I've been thinking about your ideas about character development and I have a thought to add to the discussion.

Wouldn't the amount of description also depend on the scope of the story. If an actual full length story is being written with an opening, a plot and a finale, then doesn't the description tend to be less for sake of the word count.

But if the story's scope is small such as bringing life to a few minutes of action, then wouldn't the author be able to create for the reader a better visual experience.

What do you all think? Anyone can comment.

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Post February 27, 2018, 11:52:24 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

From what I’ve read over the years and talked about with others who write---- writing can’t be broken down into some mathematical formula that will get results if everything is followed correctly. A story that grabs and hold one’s attention from the first word until the last is a story well worth studying.

Description, plot, character development, dialogue, foreshadowing and a host of other academic
terms designed to analysis a story are worth the effort to review. I believe in literary analysis as the famous French Addy Ernest Dimnet so often suggested in his great work The Art of Thinking.

Thinking is paramount when writing. Stephen King has very good points----- so do many other authors. King doesn’t like to use adverbs. Other good authors use them. Some authors describe vividly by adjectives and adverbs while other authors place the reader in the story by just using action and dialogue.

There is no formula for how much, to what extent, how long or how short or how often elements needed in a story should be presented. The author’s talent, experience, education, cultural background, all dictate how a story will unfold.

I believe the best method of investigating on how to balance the ‘show and tell,’ description, dialogue, character development is to study the story that grabs your attention and holds it!

The short story that I always loved since high school is, ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ by Richard Edward Connell. However, I love all stories that gab and keep my attention.
Last edited by Megawatts on February 27, 2018, 05:10:36 PM, edited 2 times in total.
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Post February 27, 2018, 04:08:59 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Well stated, Megawatts. I agree. I'll add something I try to keep in mind. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. It's all about the story and moving the reader from beginning to middle to end without the author getting in the way.
Jim

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Post February 27, 2018, 05:07:01 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Thank you. I'm no great writer, but I've kept my eyes and ears open all my life. And I believe there is still more to say!
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Post February 27, 2018, 07:18:23 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Megawatts wrote:Thank you. I'm no great writer, but I've kept my eyes and ears open all my life. And I believe there is still more to say!

I enjoyed your story. I think you are a fine writer. I'm glad you're involved.

What you are saying is I should read other writer's writing and see how they do it. I've thought about that, but I don't want my writing to be influenced by things I like in the stories of great authors.

I would like to learn by doing and from writing rules or tips on writing and try out things to see what I like about them.

But you're right about the character development. I'm going to really work on that.
Last edited by Jim Statton on February 27, 2018, 07:27:34 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post February 27, 2018, 07:25:04 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:Well stated, Megawatts. I agree. I'll add something I try to keep in mind. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. It's all about the story and moving the reader from beginning to middle to end without the author getting in the way.

This was the first time I've written something with the reader in mind.

The first draft was writing the way I would have enjoyed reading a story. The second draft was about word choices and editing out unnecessary material. Normally, I would just send that version in, but I gave it to my family to read and they pointed out a few things that took them out of the story. Things I might have thought were funny, but were like speed bumps.

I had not considered that before when I wrote and so I took them out with some thought. It was much better with the edits.

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Post February 27, 2018, 07:29:50 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

All 5 contest writers have voted. I would like to have a couple more votes through Saturday. These stories are worth your time. I think you will enjoy them.

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Post February 27, 2018, 11:51:20 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

"Can I vote! I wanna vote... Can I, can I, can I? Pretty please.... I reaaaallly wanna vote."

No. Parasite. No you cannot vote. I already voted.

"But you're a moron... How about me. I have rights! This country is supposed to be free! You're suppressing my creative will, my religion, and you're eating my potato chips. Knock that off."

(munch, munch, crunch) Nope. Still can't vote parasite... AND you can't have any of my chips... But, out of curiosity, what would you vote for?

"Ha! I'd vote to have your sorry (censored, censored, and more censored...)ignorant, self-serving butt put down like a sick dog. And then I'd..."

That's enough parasite. Though, if you feel your rights have been taken from you I suggest you write down your complaint on aluminum foil with a permanent marker and then insert into the 'complaint' slot commonly known as the living room wall outlet. You'll find the experience not only refreshing but shockingly invigorating.

"Gee, thanks moron. Later."

(this world would be doomed if things like the parasite had rights)

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Post March 01, 2018, 01:08:37 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

6 regular members have voted. I thank you for them.

We still have Thursday through Saturday to read and vote. 5 stories, 5 adventures, 5 bursts of satisfying entertainment.

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Post March 01, 2018, 10:33:04 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Here are 13 tips on writing flash fiction, including writing description.

https://tinyurl.com/y88c7ms2

Jim

NOTE: You may have to copy and paste the URL for it to work.
Jim

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Post March 02, 2018, 10:33:09 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:Here are 13 tips on writing flash fiction, including writing description.

https://tinyurl.com/y88c7ms2

Jim

NOTE: You may have to copy and paste the URL for it to work.

Wow! I'm going to read this tonight.

Thank you Jim.

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Post March 02, 2018, 10:34:07 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

2 days left (today and Saturday) to read and vote on 5 great stories!

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Post March 02, 2018, 11:15:08 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

It's nice to get back into writing. Last year, I lost my daughter, my brother and my wife's favorite nephew. Much more happened with the dynamics of the family in which I'll not venture. Good friends, some distant relatives, and the group I sing with have helped me throughout my grief. I have faith in God and sometime wonder why. I 'm a Vietnam Veteran and sometimes wonder if agent orange had sometime to do with my daughter's death.

Aphelion is a great site and I never want to see it become dormant. Too many good people have visited this site and contributed excllent stories. Flash Fiction had been a motivating challenge. Within 1000 words we much describe, show/tell and write believable dialogue. Flash Fiction could be considered a study in conciseness---a technique needed by all writers in all genre.

Thanks
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Post March 02, 2018, 02:57:42 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Megawatts wrote:It's nice to get back into writing. Last year, I lost my daughter, my brother and my wife's favorite nephew. Much more happened with the dynamics of the family in which I'll not venture. Good friends, some distant relatives, and the group I sing with have helped me throughout my grief. I have faith in God and sometime wonder why. I 'm a Vietnam Veteran and sometimes wonder if agent orange had sometime to do with my daughter's death.

I am so sorry that these things happened to you. I do not know why bad things happen, but I believe everyone lives out a purpose. Writing is great therapy. It helps me as well.

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Post March 02, 2018, 03:00:21 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Megawatts wrote:Aphelion is a great site and I never want to see it become dormant

We won't let that happen...you, me, Jim, Sergio, Robin...

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Post March 02, 2018, 10:13:49 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:Here are 13 tips on writing flash fiction, including writing description.

https://tinyurl.com/y88c7ms2

Jim

NOTE: You may have to copy and paste the URL for it to work.

I've read this and it's a great guide, Jim.

I like the points on brevity. I think things should be as simple as possible.

I will enjoy working this instruction into my own writing.

Thank you for thinking of us.

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Post March 02, 2018, 10:46:46 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Sounds like a pretty (censored) hand of cards you were dealt Mega. Death of relatives to include siblings is almost the natural order of things... but to have children go 'first' is just no good no matter how it is viewed.

You raised an interesting point. Agent orange is well documented as to the harm it does to the human body. Heart, liver, lungs. Many vets have been killed because of being around it, many more are suffering from the reactions to it.

I do not know the circumstances of your daughters death but it does not matter what the cause of death was as death is death, and not a pleasant situation for anyone to endure.

Great to see you're writing though. Writing lives on long after we're all past breathing or war or anything of this world. And I agree with you about Aphelion being a great site. I know the parasite will be here as it just is a pain in the (censored) and there will be other writers; old and new, who will dabble here.

It is good to write. Good to appreciate life. Good to share. And really good to eat fresh onion dip with chips, or consume a fresh mushroom, olive, pineapple, anchovy, pizza!

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Post March 03, 2018, 01:28:35 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Thanks to all!
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post March 03, 2018, 06:20:07 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

We have through tonight to receive more votes. The results will be posted tomorrow.

Have you all enjoyed this?

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Post March 03, 2018, 11:17:45 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Jim Harrington sent me a great flash fiction piece from his website. It's a story that is told by dated log entries in first person. I'd like to share it with you.

Here's the link. http://jpharrington.blogspot.com/

If you take a look around his site, you'll find a lot of very interesting story adventures.
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