Sunday, September 20, 2015

Flash Fiction Contest #1 Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in our very first flash fiction contest. I was impressed with all four entries. No, really, I mean it, even though everyone always says that kind of thing. To take a random set of words, to create something new out of it, to do that in less than two days, and to do it in less than 500 words--that is impressive. I'm terrible at flash. I have too many words that want to come out of me. So be proud of yourself, along with me, for just this moment in time.

I know, I know! Stop the words, Samantha, and tell us this week's winner!

Flash Fiction Contest #1 Prompt: Learning how to walk


Entry by Laura Rueckert

The twelve-hour operation was over hours ago, but the anesthesia hit Amit harder than me. My first chance at freedom? Spent in bed, like always. It didn't matter that the nerves and ligaments and muscles were all in the right places now or that the nanobot results were stellar. Until Amit opened his perfect eyes, we wouldn't be doing any walking.

A nurse hurried in and checked our file. I bared my teeth at her. She scurried out. Ha.

With our right hand, I poked Amit's cheek. Dead to the world. How could the drugs affect him more than me? My twin and I shared half our organs.

I poked him again, then gave up.

Death by boredom.

TV was stupid. Internet was stupid. Amit had twice as many followers on Twitter. His smile never forced anyone away.

I turned to him. Maybe Amit's popularity would plummet...if they saw him drooling on his pillow.

I held my phone so both our heads were in the picture and smiled. Damn. Even with drool his face was friendlier. I clicked anyway.

Post-op. Waiting for sleepyhead so we can finally learn to walk.

Seconds later, I had twelve faves. I had fans too.

"Hey, Mahesh." Amit's voice sported that edge that said he was seconds from freaking out.

"It's fine," I told him. "They're ready when you are."

He rubbed his eyes with our left hand. "And the nanobots?"

"Doc says they're working as they should. Give 'em a wiggle." I held my breath. That had been the hardest part of watching him sleep: waiting to see theory turn into reality.

Our right toes flexed, then our left. With a grin, Amit lifted each leg in turn, bent each knee. "Have you tried?"

I swallowed. "Doesn't work for me. But that's what the docs said to expect, right?"

He leaned his head against mine. Before he could try to say something to make it better—nothing could make it better—I pressed the call button.

That same nurse skittered into the room. "Yes?"

I kept my face neutral. "We're ready."

"Wonderful. I'll let them know." She smiled at both of us. But longer at Amit. Whatever.

"Can you imagine, Mahesh? We can go anywhere now. We can walk into a restaurant. Stroll through a park. Where to first?"

I closed my eyes. Wide blue water, sparkling under the summer sun. Would it feel different from the hospital pool? "Granny's lake," I said.

Amit beamed while he paddled happily with our feet. "The lake it is!"

We bumped fists, and I cursed myself. Amit didn't deserve an asshat brother. With a shallow breath, I scrolled on my phone. Twitter. Own tweets. Delete.

The team of doctors stormed our room. "Gentlemen, who's ready to learn how to walk?"

Father squeezed into the corner, his camera ready. My cheeks stretched wide, even though I knew what it looked like to outsiders. Amit and I pushed ourselves up from the oversized hospital bed. We were ready.

***

One more rule: Winners are welcome to enter again (please, come have fun with us!), but I won't choose you again for three months. That means that the next time Laura can win is in the December 4 contest.

In case you're wondering--yes, this prompt was inspired by my daughter. She started taking her first tentative steps about a month and a half ago. Then for a couple weeks, she decided walking is for chumps and crawled everywhere. Then yesterday, magically, she started walking again. Next up: running.

Before you go, I have a few questions for everyone, whether you participated or not. Please let me know, in the comments:

Did I give you enough time to create your entry? I did a smaller window so you didn't have to wait as long to hear the winner. Would you prefer to have the prompt on a Monday and have all week to create something? Or is shorter better?

I posted this when I made a decision, although this is probably earlier than I will usually decide. Would you prefer to have the winner announced at a regular time (say, 10:30 pm, as I said in my original entry) so you don't have to refresh the website all day? Or do you like knowing as soon as I know?

Any other comments, concerns, ideas? General thoughts on creating flash? Was this easy or hard or somewhere in between? Fun or frustrating?

Again, thanks for participating and I hope to see everyone Friday, Oct. 2, for the next contest!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Samantha! This exercise was fun, and I loved trying to figure out how to get in the prompt plus some of your areas of interest. I did find the timing a little short. Maybe if you give only a weeekend, the word count could be lower, like 200 words. Or else a full week for the 500. What does everyone else think?

    As for the announcement, I live in Europe, so I get a lot of information late anyway. This was fine for me. In terms of traffic to the website, I wonder if you might get more reaction on a weekday.

    Anyway, this was fun, and I look forward to participating again!

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  2. Congrats Laura Rueckert! Your flash fiction definitely made me think about jealousy and being stuck with another human who is "better" than me. Loved it.

    Samantha:
    Everyone will have their own preference.

    The shorter time for a 500 word flash fiction piece worked for me. Writing mine in two hours, albeit with too many errors and repetitive phrases--I realized this morning--gave me the push to get it done quickly.

    A longer time would let me procrastinate and cause me to bite my nails while I wait for the announcement. A time period is a good idea and if you post earlier than announced then it's a bonus.

    It was fun and easy. Thanks for providing this flash fiction contest, I'll definitely participate again.


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  3. I wrote mine in an hour and a half, according to Scrivener. I love writing prompts, and 500 words is perfect for me - I don't do well with shorter pieces, so I probably would not enter a 200 word contest.

    As for the announcement, I had been under the impression that the announcement would be in the same post as the contest, and announced close to 10:30, so I began to check around 9pm my time - but only refreshing the page for that post. I only saw the announcement by accident when I refreshed the blog itself. I will know where to check next time. :-)

    I LOVED Laura's piece. I knew it was going to win. :-) It was awesome!

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  4. Thanks for your feedback, guys! I'll be posting a few updates on Sunday for the contest--including how you can get a sneak peak at the prompt the Monday before the window opens.

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