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Author Topic: Calling short stories: Cash Prize
Bent Tree
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Perhaps it is that I just want to feel what it feels to be an editor for a day but I am offering a Cash prize competition.

Competition: Contrasting Futures

Theme: I am seeking stories set in our Earth's future exactly 200 years from now. I will accept stories from two categories. One focusing on the positive aspects of our technology and humanity and the second category pertaining to a worst case scenario )ei.if things get bad: global warming, war etc...

I won't set that many restrictions. I am , however seeking realistic SF. No FTLT, time travel, I will entertain aliens, but here on our planet.

Things to consider: Looking through so much tech that you cannot even see a blue sky, protecting census robots to get an accurate census, biometric technology, K-cal taxation, Being taken over and led by Passive aggressive alien race, methods of population control, reversing greenhouse effect, sepparatist factions and embargo wars, US reverting to a third world country

As authors you will maintain your rights to the story. I will not be publishing it. In fact you can submit it elswhere and get paid again for all I care. I just want to read a great story...well two great stories and see what the best Hatrack has to offer.

Cash prize will be $100 for the first place in each category and $25 for the runner ups in each category.

There is no word limit, but I don't want flash. I find flash entertaining, but I want a great story and it is seldom seen that a flash can tell a great story.

Oh yeah, and get writing the deadline is October 20. Post your first thirteen here in this thread. I will rally up some help with a judging commitee to grade the first thirteens top seventy percent will get through to the final stages of judging. So you will be notified to send me your MS after this is said and done.

Happy writing!


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snapper
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Word count ceiling?
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InarticulateBabbler
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Good question.
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Bent Tree
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I will leave it open ended. I am not really looking for a novel and It would be hard to write one by Oct 20. I really would like to inspire someone to write something new. Not looking for something that has already been submitted elsewhere although there is nothing but the honor system to prevent that.
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LlessurNire
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This is really generous of you, that's a big cash incentive! I am going to try my hardest to whip up a good story, although that is a pretty tight deadline for me...

Questions:

-Is colonization of Mars allowed? Or does it have to take place on Earth? I'm not sure if this is something I will write right now, but a near future mars story is something I have been thinking about for a while now...

-Can we submit 2 stories, one for each category? Not that I think I can actually complete 2 in this time frame, but you never know. Even if it would not be possible for the same person to win both categories...


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Bent Tree
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I would like the stories to be set on earth. Just because I feel it would take more than twoo hundred years to build a Mars colony. You could include preparations for it I suppose, and yes you can submit to each category

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Nick T
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Hi,

How tight is the "from scratch" guideline? I've got a story I'm currently taking apart and re-doing. It hasn't been critted.

Regards,

Nick


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InarticulateBabbler
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You don't think we could colonize Mars in 200 years, but in the last two hundred, we've (USA) come from candles, slaves and fighting the English and Indians with blackpowder guns and Kentucky rifles to satellites, cellphones, and unmanned trips to Mars?

I just wanted to remind you of the leaps and bounds possible in two centuries.

That said, I'm not writing about Mars--I'm not smart enough.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited October 06, 2009).]


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Bent Tree
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You are right, IB. I won't add anymore restrictions. I just wanted to drop a few hints reflecting my personal taste. Afterall the judging will be somewhat objective.

And Nick T, I will simply leave it with the honor system. I am coughing up some dough to hopefully spark a story or two out of us. I know I have been unmotivated to write lately.


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LlessurNire
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I too also respectfully disagree about the colonization of mars, as InarticulateBabbler said, a LOT can happen in 200 years and that could definitely be possible...

that being said, I recognize the importance of writing to the judge's/editor's tastes and will not write about Mars.

I think either so much progress will be made in the next 200 years that we wouldn't recognize anything from our own time period now, OR some pretty massive catastrophes are going to happen that will take a long time to rebuild from, and in 200 years people could still be at the same technological level (or worse) as we are now...

I won't get any further into my theories, I'll save that for the story I am working on now


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Owasm
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I'll go first. This is a post-apocalyptic piece.


Willam and Marnie
Post-apocalyptic SF 3,900 Words

Willam looked out over the little valley. One slim thread of smoke rose up from a cluster of trees to the south. He adjusted his pack and walked down the slope. He hadn't seen another person in two weeks.

He looked down at the self-winding watch he found in the remains of a jewelry story a month ago. Zappers and g-meters were about the only electric things that still worked after the cataclysm, two centuries past, and most of those had lost their power or broken down.

Life was creeping back and the hotspots were fading. A year ago his father convinced him to leave their little community and head east. "Find your own gene pool," his dad said.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited October 23, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Eek! I'm not ready...will you accept first drafts?
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Bent Tree
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I may have to postpone the deadline because I want to have at leas ten submissions so keep at it, but I don't want to make a spectacle of this thing so if you are in get focused.

IB, Keep at it and keep an eye on the thread as the deadline approaches.


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Nick T
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Hi,

Hope this contest goes ahead, if only to get an idea how this story stacks up.

*Edit* I've used the extra time to tighten the story a bit.

Nick

Boaters
SF 9,519 Words

quote:
My deepest regret is that the first thing I feel upon seeing a dead body is curiosity. Sadness only comes in dreams and I’ve seen too many to feel horror. Before me was a naked dead man in a chair and all I saw was a puzzle. A gun dangled from his slack fingers. I rolled on a pair of rubber gloves and examined the exit wound. “You want to put money down on murder?” I said to Walsh.
“Can we claim overtime?” I shook my head as my new partner struggled with his gloves. "Hope it’s suicide then.” He took a deep breath and came closer to the body. “How precise can we be with time of brain death without a citizenship implant?”
I shrugged. “Given the livor mortis, some time this morning.”

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited October 29, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Does this mean the due-date is extended?
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Rhaythe
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*crosses fingers*
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shimiqua
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After
Post-apocalyptic SF

There was still laundry to do. Mouths to feed. Radioactive bugs to squash with the husband’s shoe. Life went on. For some people, anyway.
Miley checked with her eyes that the lock on the front door was still red. She walked down the vinyl stairs with a laundry basket in one arm, and the baby in the other. The lights didn’t turn on, but she had been down here a hundred times before. The infant whimpered in the darkness. She pressed a button on the machine, which lit the room with a small green light.
She sure was a beautiful baby, not scratched at all. Miley wondered what her name was. She slid the basket against the concrete floor and under the washbasin. The clothes sucked up to the spinner, and the lid slid shut. She kissed the sticky skin

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited October 20, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited October 21, 2009).]


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Bent Tree
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I would like to hear from Owasm, Shimiqua, and NickT. Ultimately I will leave it up to them as to what they consider fair.

I can either consolidate the three entries I have now and judge the contest that way.

Or extend the contest for another week and hopefully get more turn out, but still I would have to have several entries in each category in order to have two categories. In the event we stiil did not have enough I could combine all the stories into one category and if by chance the winner was among the few who posted on time, they would get extra money from the other category.

What do you all think?


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Owasm
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I'm all for extending for another week, or even to Oct 31st (Halloween) for the deadline. More stories do make for more fun.

As for the prize money, you da man with da cash, you make da rules.


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InarticulateBabbler
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You let me know. I like my story, and want to be sure and clean it up before I rush it out. It'll probably be my next WotF entry.
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Bent Tree
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Ok, Halloween it is. Get off yer arses and write em ifn your gonna!
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snapper
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I would appreciate an extension as well.
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Architectus
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Bent Tree, does the worst-case scenario have to be so global? Can I make it more personal?

For example: MC builds a fembot that is a childbot for a customer. He knows he shouldn't have, but he needed the money. In the end, the guy that bought childbot Anne, ends up raping and killing the real child Anne that the robot was based on. The MC didn't know this when he built it, and he wonders if he never built her, if the guy would have ever gone through with the rape. So the message is that we should never make it legal to build childbots.

I already wrote that story, so it wouldn't be the one I use, but I wanted to give an example of the worst case scenario from my POV. I prefer close stories like this rather than global ones.


Thanks. Crosses fingers.


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Architectus
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Glitch Me Too
SF entry for worst case


Steve Salvador stepped off the flycar taxi and onto the white walkway, where service bots that looked like naked manikins and where people dressed in business suits walked to their destinations. To his left, flycar traffic steadily hovered above white holographic roads that were almost transparent. To his right, C-class bot 1001 climbed a metal building like Spiderman. It began cleaning a long window. He had a strange feeling that something was off with 1001, but it seemed to be functioning properly. When Steve pressed a button on his wristwatch, which was fused into his wrist, Sandy spoke as if in his mind.

"You really need to stop turning me off like that."

"Sorry, Sandy," he said in his mind. "I need you to check the status of C-class bot ten "O" one. Is it supposed to be

[This message has been edited by Architectus (edited October 29, 2009).]


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Architectus
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Where is everyone? It's almost Halloween!
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Rhaythe
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Got tied down preparing and recruiting for Nanowrimo. =o/
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shimiqua
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I know this may sound counterproductive of me since I currently have a one in four chance at a whole bunch of money, but I wonder what with November right around the corner, that it might be a good idea to push the deadline back to maybe December.

I personally would like to win over at least twelve people, beating these four doesn't seem like as much of a challenge. (Oh trash talk)

Seriously though, I think there are a lot of people interested in doing this, and it seems like an awesome challenge that nobody (besides Owasm, Nick T, and Architectus) is quite ready for.

Bent Tree I bow to your wisdom and copious amounts of money. Whatever you want to do we will do. I would be cool with waiting.

jm2c.
~Sheena

[This message has been edited by shimiqua (edited October 28, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm almost ready. (Looks like trash-talking won't be enough. )

Snapper mentioned shooting for the Halloween deadline, too.


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LlessurNire
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sorry everyone, I had grand ambitions of writing for this competition but have been bogged down with life and have had to put the story on the backburner....(I have this great idea though that I will write when I get the chance)

I am currently focusing on my WOTF story which I felt didn't meet this competitions standards, and currently behind on that too...

I could probably have my story written by the end of November, and would enter it if this comp is still running, but by no means do I expect the deadline to be postponed just for me...

thanks Bent Tree for getting us motivated about a near future story utilizing new tech, I plan on getting a good story written regardless if I make it into the competition or not!


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Bent Tree
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Three days and counting... Whats up? I though cash rules?
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Architectus
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I've decided to also enter the light category since we were allowed to enter both.

Pipinar Free
SF good side of tech

At the far end of his cramped apartment, Cola Freeze rapped his fingers on the unbreakable window as he stared out at the sky scrapers that punched through the clouds, and at the booster cars that flew at all heights. It was a massive entanglement of traffic. Some of the traffic lanes were thick enough to run on and jump on from lane to lane, something he often imagined doing, like some super hero, some somebody.

And now, just maybe, he had the chance to be a somebody because he was on his way to an important meeting. A sexy sounding lady had contacted Cola through the neuro-net and spoke with him via brain link. The conversation had lasted exactly fifty-nine seconds, a useless piece of information he only knew because of his brain chip. Brain chips were good for useless


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm in...but, I'm not posting my thirteen because it's also going to be my next WotF entry (and I don't want to be disqualified).
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skadder
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I thought you had already disqualified yourself, as you've had three stories published on flash fiction on line.

Or don't they count because they are flash? I thought it the criteria was three professionally published short stories. I thought that was why I'd heard nothing about you entering WOTF recently.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited October 29, 2009).]


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Nick T
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quote:
Three days and counting... Whats up? I though cash rules?

The number of submissions that pro-level magazines get is pretty intimidating, but it's important to remember that they're drawing from a very wide pool. I don't think there's that many people at Hatrack who (a) feel like they're ready to expose themselves to competition and (b) write hard science fiction.

Although no one will probably be keen for this idea, I could arrange for an Australia SWFA member author to do $100s worth of critique (or general career advice) on the winning story? With small numbers, this might, ultimately, be a more productive prize for the winner (if Bent Tree's up for the logistical hassles).

Nick


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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:
I thought you had already disqualified yourself, as you've had three stories published on flash fiction on line.
Or don't they count because they are flash?

I thought it the criteria was three professionally published short stories. I thought that was why I'd heard nothing about you entering WOTF recently.


Yeah, it the same criteria for SFWA--flash doesn't count until it reaches $250 in sales. 3 = $150.

You haven't seen me around WotF circles:

1) Because I've opened a new business.

2) Because I suck.

3) Because I wrote a historical novel, which is still waiting for draft #2.

4) Because I'm outlining another Fantasy novel.

Plus, no one else has bought my fiction, yet. (I guess they haven't gotten that desperate.)


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skadder
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That's a shame. I thought you were a SFWA member.

Still in some ways it's good your not if it still makes you WOTF eligible.


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Bent Tree
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Ok all, it is down to the last day. Please post your thirteen in this thread by midnight if you want to enter. Those that have already please send my your stories in an email. There are not enough entries to judge based on thirteen. I will start reading tonight and should have the results by early next week. Good luck everybody.
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snapper
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The Red Sock Turned Inside Out

Ted Williams opened his eyes and saw spots. He was lying on his back and at complete loss of where he was and how he got there. Did I get beaned?
He didn’t recall taking a pitch to the head. He blinked a few times. A bright light shown through the spots. Two silhouetted figures stared at him. The light dimmed and definition began to return to his vision. One of the two figures said something in a language he couldn’t understand but recognized. Korean.
Was he captured? No. He was never shot down and the Korean War was long ago. But how long? He dug deep in hopes of an answer.
He remembered a slow decline in health then pain and paralysis followed by a mind locked in a fog. A massive, sharp pain in his chest ended the fog and brought on darkness. “Where am I?”


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Owasm
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Hard SF? Gee whillikers. I'm afeared mine is not hard enough.


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Bent Tree
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Contest is closed and the official entrants are:

Owasm

William and Marnie

Nick T

Boaters

Shimiqua

After

Architectus

Glitche Me Too
&
Pinipar Free

Inarticulate Babbler

Title witheld(due to Wotf Contest rules)

Snapper

Redsock Turned Inside Out

Please send me your manuscripts as soon as possible via email if you have not already. I will begin reading now and should have the results in the next few days.

Since there only eight entries, most of which are Post-apocolyptic/ worst case scenario stories, I have decided to combine all the stories into one category, but I will be offering three cash prizes. Also if the winning entry was one of the few that posted on time before the original deadline they will recieve an added cash incentive. I can't wait to get reading so away I go. Good luck to all who entered.


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Bent Tree
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I still need your MS, Shimiqua
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shimiqua
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Sorry, I've been in Nanoland. I'm sending it today.

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Bent Tree
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Ok,


The verdict is in. I have read and thought about all of your stories. The top four were so very close that I slept on it an extra day and waited to see which story had more resonance.

I also have a disappointing announcement. Snapper's submission was disqualified to an obviously blatant violation of the rules. I asked that stories be set exactly 200 years into the future and his was set in 2210. 201 years in the future. So I took the liberty of submitting his entry to Postcard From... so it can recieve the funeral it deserves by being consigned to the lake of fire. No, just kidding.

Thank you everyone. I enjoyed all of your stories although one actually made me mad

Here are the results.

Grand prize winner

Nick T.
Boaters

A very intense and complex tale of murder and technology. I loved it all the way through and with a little polish I could see this in a pro-rate magazine.

In addition to the $100 first prize, I am adding another $25 since his entry was on time and we consolidated the competition into one category. For a grand prize total of....

$125

Here is where it got very tricky for me. As sole judge of the contest, I was in a dire stater of inner turm oil. Balancing which stories I enjoyed reading the most versus which stories were better or more professionally written. Which felt like rough drafts in need of a harsh edit versus the more refined. Those that stayed closer to the theme I had in mind and wondering if I conveyed it fairly enough. So I feel the need to explain myself on these decisions and it will serve as my praise and critique contributions for what they are worth, because there are publishable stories in all of these entries.

First runner up...

IB
title witheld

This was a great and well written story about a bleak future, human spirit. Expertly plotted, it provoked emotions ranging the gambit from utter dispare to absolute faith in the future. Nice work.

$25
this should defray the postage to send it off to WOTF where it is sure to do well.

Second Runner- UPs

Owasm

William and Marnie


AND

Snapper

Red Sock Turned Inside Out


"William and Marnie" was actually my favorite story of the lot, but there were others better written. I really feel that this was a great story, but I felt that it was missing one dynamic. While the story is a complete tale, I thought there could be a sub theme interwoven into it that could raise it to a exeptional level. I will be glad to send you a full crit if you are interested. I felt this story had the most potential.


"Red Sock Inside out"Was, I think the best written story. The plot line is incredibly on point and the prose and flow of the reading was probably the best in the lot. I found the theme was in line with the theme of the contest, but the delivery was a little too light hearted for the theme. It has an incredible "slap-stick" comedy about it. I just expected a worst case scenario story to have a darker tone. I must say that you weave humour into your stories with the best of them... Mel Brookes Funny.

I decided to throw in a ten dollar prize for the two runner ups.

So for those of you winners send me your adress or pen pal numbers and I will distribute you winnings to you.

I also found "Pinipar Free" a very entertaining story. I just think it needed a good editing and it could be highly publishable. "Glitch Me Too" had a little too much of an "I, Robot" feel. " "After" was a great story, written with a very impressive theme weaved into it, but although it wasn't flash it was very short and had the punch feel of a flash story, but also I found it very disturbing. Perhaps a little too dark for me. After I had children, my murdering children tolerance threshold dissapated.

Well, Thanks again everyone. I enjoyed the game and I plan on making it an annual event. So let's do it again next year, and we can see hpw right I was on my judging predictions.

[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited November 04, 2009).]


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Bent Tree
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p.s.

by accepting the prize money you must accept the terms that I recieve one autographed copy of the publication in which it first apears


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snapper
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Why thank you for the very fine compliment, BT. Glad you enjoyed it. I am hereby donating my winnings to them lovely children of yours, or for a boutique of flowers to that tolerant wife. Which ever needs it the most.


Edited to add:

Thanks for sparing me from that lake of fire. I've burned enough in that place already.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited November 05, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Congratulations all!

(I'm considering going for a deeper penetration: 1st person. What do you think?)

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited November 05, 2009).]


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Bent Tree
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IB

First person may intensify this story a great deal. Let me know if you have a sampl;e or if you plan to write one. I would be glad to look at it for you and let you know what I think, as if that has any merit.


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InarticulateBabbler
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Actually, I started playing around with it last night. Also began the story a bit earlier.
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Bent Tree
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Send it over whenever you want me to look.
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skadder
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Well done guys. I considered entering, but I have a few stories that I am working on and having too many rattling arounf my brain tends to mean I focus on none.

Well done, Nick T, IB, Snapper and Owasm.

Adam


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