FFM 2017 Winners!You've been waiting very patiently, and at last the results of Flash Fiction Month 2017 are here!
As ever, the list of people we'd like to thank is as long as our tentacles. But in particular we’d like everyone to give a special round of applause for the amazing volunteer judges who devoted all their time and energy towards making this winners announcement a reality!
We'd also like to thank the extraordinarily generous 2017 prize donors, who made it possible to have the full four prizes for the third year in a row! And of course special thanks is due to the magnificently talented joe-wright, for designing that most coveted flash fiction prize/holder of beverages.
Our Flash Fiction Month discord channel has exceeded all our wildest expectations, and is still going strong.
FFM 2017 Write-Up and FeaturesThis comes a few days later than I’d meant it to, but this July really wore me out. Now that I’m no longer meeting a deadline a day, sleep has taken the top priority.
This is my fourth year doing FlashFictionMonth, but only the second that I’ve done it as intended: the last two years I spent part of the month traveling, which meant that rather than writing a story a day for a month, I wrote (around) two a day for (around) two weeks. You would think that would be harder; so did I. Thus came the great pitfall. I have done this thrice before, I thought, twice under worse circumstances; last year’s circumstances were particularly horrid; yet I still managed it: so this should pretty much be easy, right?
Hubris is the art of remembering successes but not the costs at which those successes came.
FFM is more of a marathon than a sprint, as I have heard more than once from other participants. Keeping it up for a whole month may
FFM 2016 Write-Up and FeaturesAnother July has come and gone: another FlashFictionMonth has been conquered.
It's been an interesting month [double space intentional]. I've had quite a few obstacles to work around this year: first of all MillieBee's excellent shovel challenge, which I hope I've completed to her satisfaction as well as everyone else's (it did turn out less humorous than anticipated, but then so did the entire month); then, the fact that I spent the first two weeks of July abroad and thus had to do most of my writing in the second half of the month; and finally some personal issues over the first week and a half or so that I was back, which effectively crippled my ability to think creatively or analytically until about the last week of July. As you might imagine, this put a bit of a damper on my ability to write for a while there.
Despite all of this, I have written all 31 stories, answered all 14 ch
Goodbye StarmanBy now you all know that the great and transformative David Bowie passed away this month at the age of 69.
He was a remarkable individual, prolific, multi-talented, and inspirational to many in a multitude of different ways. And as anyone who has participated in Flash Fiction Month will know, he has proved a particular source of inspiration to FFM participants over the years in the form of our annual David Bowie Day tradition.
Over the years DBD has made us weep, and laugh, and tear our hair out, and has driven many a Flash Fiction Month participant to the brink of madness. For some it initiated you into the realm of Bowie fandom, or proved a playground for your pre-existing appreciation of his work, and for others it merely cemented the knowledge that perhaps Bowie wasn't really your thing. But in our humble opinion, whatever your outlook, DBD has also consistently resulted in some of the best work that FFM has ever produced, and that's saying something (because you g
FFM 2015 WINNERSBet you thought we weren't coming back, didn't you? Well once again we've proved you wrong!
It wasn't easy. No really, it wasn't, and in fact, in future it would be nice if you guys could be slightly less awesome and make this whole judging business easier. But we overcame the hurdles that life placed in our way and judged the hell out of all your fabulous entries.
And so finally (and apparently for the first time since 2010), we are ready to announce not just one, but ALL of the winners for FFM 2015, who will be receiving this very "flashy" mug, designed by our very own wonderful neurotype!
Isn't it tentacular?
And so, without further ado, the winners of FFM 2015 are...
----------------------------------------------------- WEEK ONE WINNER ----------------------------------------------------
FFM 2015 Write-Up and FeaturesAnother Flash Fiction Month has come and gone, bringing with it glory and... well, pretty much just glory, but it's pretty glorious.
Some of you may recall that I mentioned something about taking it up a notch this year, but then delayed those plans because I'd be abroad for the better part of July and thought that would be enough of a handicap. And it was: I've had to write nearly two stories a day since returning in order to catch up. Good thing I had Flash Fiction Day for practice.
That said, I wrote all 31 stories inside of July (I thought I had posted the first story early; as it turns out, that was true in the time zone I was in at the time, but it is not true here) and did every challenge, and still did it better than last year. There's only one story I'm really unhappy with in a way that can't be edited away with light tweaks, and that one was... a special circumstance. And maybe that's partly down to coincidence, or luck with the challenges, or having recharged a bit during
It Was a Good MonthI had a great time. This month was crazy and awesome and I'm a little sad it's over.
Here are just a few of the excellent pieces I've read this week:
Nameless by GDeykeFFM 2015: The Carcosa by The-Inkling
readback by OnLinedPaperFFM 23 - Serena by distortifiedThe Legendary Golden Chickenbo by joe-wright
FFM 2015 Day 24- Memories by WizardandGalaxyForget by PsychoPath-et-icFluidity by InklingsOfOblivion
Great Magic by OreramarMoon Dance by ThornyEnglishRoseSearch Party by joe-wright
A Trip To The Literary Mechanic by Augmented4thFFM15 - 23: What Lies in the Ice by C-A-HarlandIt's Not That Bad by eV13il
The Beginning: Travis Red by CatLeo9894FFM 2015: Day 22 by The-Inkling
I'd also like to give a big shout out to all the Hydra Heads at Flash-Fic-Month. Thank you for all your hard work. You made this an amazing month.
2015 FFM Feature: Days 4 + 5Time for another FFM feature!
Heart's Ease by SCFrankles
FFM15 - 5: Some Assembly Required by C-A-Harland The Last Laugh by DamonWakes FFM5: Burn the Dead by NamelessShe
Judgmental by SCFrankles FFM 2015, July 5 - Souflikar by Wolfrug FFM 5: The Unexpected Hazards of Pet Ownership by Kathryn-Walt
Have a Good Day by Tobaeus Chronicles of Midlurth VII: Beyond our Borders by joe-wright Sarah by GDeyke
We Buy Gold by Augmented4th The Watch Flower by mimi-lolacute Hello, My Name is Peddy by Tealya
Amanita set down her lantern in the grass, followed by the birdcage. Though forgotten by maps and men, the birds knew this forest well, and avoided it when at all possible – they would detour by a mile or more rather than fly directly overhead. The little sparrow in the cage was overcome with fear at being brought here, but even that paled next to the abject terror it felt at Amanita's presence in this place, of all places. Only by consulting the bird, walking in the direction it desperately tried to flee from, had Amanita been able to locate this clearing: a hole in the canopy through which a long dead constellation stared, guileless, milky-eyed, yet still potent, in a way. Those burnt-out stars could not be seen in human skies, but here, somehow, they were not only visible but connected to the land, reflected perfectly in the arrangement of rocks and growing things.
The trees shivered in the guttering light of the lantern candle as Amanita hung carvings and catchers from their branches, sculpting the leylines. Following the flow of invisible energy with one hand outstretched, she placed prism stones in her wake, delineating a boundary, stirring the vortex, focusing its power. Sitting herself down beside the birdcage, she smoothed her nightdress and starting removing items from her knapsack, placing them about herself within arm's reach. The sparrow shrieked for help, and its fellows answered, but as they swooped down they were swept aside – caught up in a maelstrom unseen and unheard.
All the while incanting, Amanita took a waxen effigy in hand – lovingly crafted, bound with her hair and imbued with gemstone chakras – and picked those gemstones out with a pin, rendering the doll hollow and her own body … pregnable, shall we say? Chakras unlocked. Ajar. She set it below a strange funneled tripod into which she placed bright yellow brimstone crystals. They bloomed into bright blue flame at just a word and a glance. Entropic charms were the first and simplest to learn, since entropy required only the barest encouragement under normal circumstances. Blood red molten sulphur streamed from the funnel and splashed the waxen figure, filling its hollows, and Amanita felt her body yearning to change, her heart swollen with magic potential, ready to burst on catalysis. She removed her nightdress.
Deftly unlatched, the birdcage door squeaked open, and she seized the sparrow with twiglike fingers. She held it in her fist such that it could not struggle – the birds had trusted her once, and her betrayal made fools of them just as it made a sinner of her. With a careful motion, sickening in its slowness, Amanita's knife sliced through the tiny bird's body. As it convulsed she drew it down her face, from her forehead down her nose, and across her bared tongue. She painted a line of blood between her breasts, past her navel to her crotch, and when she was done she placed the twitching sparrow back amongst the flowers. They bled identically, though of course Amanita didn't really bleed at all. Fledging with oversoul, she sang ever louder, and crushed her own effigy in her hand. She felt the magic of it crackle on her skin, but no harm came to her. No harm would ever come to her again.
Lightly she stroked the bark of a tree, and smiled that she would be the first person to know what it was to outlive them. Forests would sprout and shrink around her. Kingdoms would rise and crumble. The gates of heaven would rust before they ever saw her face.
Stepping out of the vortex she sneered at the cloud of birds. She was far beyond them now. Even as they swirled and swarmed around her, she laughed. If their tiny wings beat at her, the oversoul would turn them away. If their tiny claws left tiny scratches, they would heal in seconds. If their tiny beaks plucked at her eyes … it hurt. It hurt so badly. She couldn't see.
She swiped at them, but they flowed around her talons ungraspable, like cottonwood seeds on the wind. She chased them down, but every step away from her circle made her more vulnerable. She tried to curse them, but they ripped her tongue to ribbons.
A single soul is not enough to prolong a life indefinitely. A second soul is not easily obtained, and less easily manipulated. If one is to wear an oversoul, there is but one way: two living souls must be bound, and a sacrifice made.
Amanita spilled onto the forest floor, split and wet with a thousand cuts. As soon as the light left her one intact eye, the birds dispersed in a great ring. Not one of them wanted anything to do with this clearing, or anything the witch had done here.
Inside the circle the sparrow flapped itself upright, miraculously whole again. The stars above reflected in its beady eyes, or perhaps they were now contained there. It chirrupped, and fluttered away.
You bask in the candlelight as the ink dries on your skin. You've been penned by a suitor of Princess Annette, and the heart behind the quill is effulgent with hope – motivated by both genuine compassion and self-concern in more or less equal measure. Not a pure heart, nor an evil one; merely human.
You're folded with care and sealed with wax, and the following morning you're handed to a man, Father Tomas. Since the Queen's arrest for high treason, unfamilar faces have been most unwelcome at the palace; luckily, Father Tomas is almost a fixture of the place. He tells the suitor he saw her highness yesterday, withdrawn and pale with sorrow for her mother – he's more than happy, he says, to deliver you, and bring her something to be joyful about.
Tomas, however, is unlikely to run into Princess Annette again today, her self-imposed isolation rendering her inaccessible to the simple priest, that is unless she deigns to visit the chapel. You are passed instead to Baron Talus, a softly spoken man whom, you suspect, has a great deal of clout. While he gives his word to the priest that he will deliver the letter forthwith, his actual path takes him to the far wing of the palace, where he confers with an ally, presumably of another esteemed house. You gather Talus' confidant bears another letter, similar to yourself, though penned in another hand. The respective merits of your writers, and the potential benefits of the matches you represent are debated at length. Eventually, and much to your relief, you are borne away from the room, while your counterpart is quietly disposed of.
The Baron hands you to Countess Wilhelmina, the young Princess' closest friend. They gossip animatedly, although you get the impression neither of them is learning anything new. It seems half recreational, and half a ritual, intended to keep each other in each other's pockets. In any event, now that you're in the Countess' hands you are confident you will be delivered to Annette before the setting of the sun. Within sight of her chamber door, Wilhelmina is stopped in her tracks. The King wishes to ask her something. A ham-handed attempt at weaselling his way back into her highness' good graces. Wilhelmina forces her most trustworthy smile, and surreptitiously hands you off behind her back to a passing handmaiden.
Susannah the handmaid glides into the Princess' room, exchanges you for a tray with an empty cup and a cold teapot, and leaves again, invisible to the palace at large. With a warm smile at the sight of your wax seal, Annette unfurls you and begins to read.
Your elegance, charm and beauty are far beyond my ability to describe, but nonetheless I find …'
“Well, well, What do you have there?” booms the King in a typical dubious attempt at joviality.
Annette may well be elegant, charming and beautiful, but the first word that strikes you is 'timorous'. If you were to stretch to a phrase it would be 'ill at ease'. She's young, and matters of the heart embarrass her deeply. You're screwed into a ball before you can be read any further, and tossed into the fireplace. The Princess brushes her hands off on the front of her dress, blushing a fetching shade of red at having been discovered contemplating the possibility of courting your writer.
“Nothing,” she lies.