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Monday, October 20, 2014

MWC Prize Flash Fiction Contest Results

I'm delighted to announce that the winners of the myWritersCircle Prize Flash Fiction Contest have been decided.

To remind you, the task for this contest was was to write a short story in exactly 100 words, which included the three words jade, conduit and effervescence. In addition, entrants were asked to provide a title of up to 15 words, which didn't count towards the 100 words.

The first-prize is a copy of the CD-based course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days, also known as the Nick Daws Course. The second prize is a copy of the downloadable Blogging for Writers, while the third prize winner receives a copy of Essential English for Authors. All shortlisted authors also receive a $10 discount voucher that can be used against the price of any WCCL course or product.

The contest was judged initially by moderators Mairi (Ma100), Jeanette (Distant Sun) and Dawn, and then by published novelist Patrick Fox, who chose the winner and runners-up from a shortlist. All the judges were extremely impressed with the standard of the stories, and in particular by the many ingenious methods that were used to incorporate the three key words! Over 100 stories were submitted in total, which is actually a record for any prize contest on myWritersCircle.

The judges were looking for stories that, even in just 100 words, engaged them both intellectually and emotionally. They wanted stories where the three key words fitted into the story in a natural and unobtrusive way, rather than standing out like beacons. And, of course, they wanted stories that were well written; adhered to the 100-word requirement; had a beginning, middle and an end; and had been checked for spelling and grammatical errors. It was a challenging task, but I'm pleased to say that the winning and short-listed stories met all of these requirements.

Of course, there can only be one first-prize winner, and I am pleased to announce that this was The Deceiver by Jen13. Here it is:
The Deceiver

Dazzling, jade green eyes. A conduit, she was convinced, to a union of bliss.
She’d never known this excitement. Her heart stuttered. She could not look away from those eyes, would do anything they asked of her.
An effervescent hiss when he spoke and she knew only need.
They were under an arching canopy of trees, shaded from the heat of the day.
The juice exploded and ran down her chin. In that moment, she knew he had told her only half-truths. She discovered fear for the first time.
She cried out as she ran, "Adam! Adam! I need you!"
Patrick commented, "The Deceiver is a cleverly written story that manages to conceal it is a reworking of a familiar tale until the twist at the end."

The runner-up was The Further Adventures of John Drake, Special Agent by Grownup. Here it is:  
The Further Adventures of John Drake, Special Agent

A wind chime sang as Drake pushed aside the beaded curtain. An oriental crouching behind a low bench glanced up as Drake sank to his haunches, placing a squat green figurine on the surface. The man grasped a bottle. Drake watched acid rise through the pipette's narrow conduit. Drops fell onto the base of the figurine, creating effervescent bubbles.
'Jade,' the man nodded, greedy eyes alight, 'Very valuable.
'How much?'
Drake grabbed the proffered wad of notes and dashed out.
Acid bled into the minute detonator and the opium den dissolved in an inferno of flame.
Patrick said about this: "The Further Adventures of John Drake, Special Agent fits comfortably within the conventions of its genre and delivers a short, punchy story that would be at home in any pulp detective magazine."

The third prize winner was My Hope by Sara. Here it is...

My Hope
At first you gave me jade necklaces and ruby rings. We danced, laughed and lived. Then the War came.

And brought a hurried wedding with effervescent drinks in champagne flutes.

Now the postman brings your letters those days seem far away.

Do you remember?

Do you remember me?

I can’t picture your face, a blur in my memory where you should be.

Your letters talk of mud and uniformed boys lined up like water droplets in vast conduit trenches.

I don’t recognise the words.

It scares me.

Will you come back?

I hope more than ever as another letter drops.
Patrick said: "My Hope is a poignant study of a period in history. The hopes and fears of its protagonist capture the atmosphere of what it must have been like to live through that time."

The four other short-listed stories were as follows:

Into the Light by Malou
Apprentices are More Trouble Than They're Worth by Grownup (again!)
Under the Unknown Road by elevengrace
The Wedding Night by sthomas37
I will be in touch with all the winning and short-listed writers in the next few days with details of how they can claim their prizes, so please keep an eye on your forum messages!

Congratulations to the successful writers, and commiserations to those who did not win on this occasion. As I said above, the standard was remarkably high, and with other judges, the results could easily have been different.

Thank you again to all the judges, to moderator Laura H for acting as forwarder (to ensure anonymity), and to everyone who took the trouble to submit an entry and/or spread the word about the contest. Big thanks as well to our sponsors, The WCCL Network, who kindly donated the prizes.

I hope everyone who entered the contest enjoyed it, and that it may perhaps have stimulated your interest in writing these ultra-short stories. If so, there are various websites devoted to the form that you might like to check out (this one, for example). And there are regular flash fiction contests on MWCs Writing Games and Challenges board, of course.

Watch out for more prize contests on myWritersCircle soon!

Photo credit: wickedrice on Flickr.

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