DISCUSSION -- April 2018 300 Word Writing Challenge #29


Independent Author & Publisher
Oct 29, 2013
West Sussex, UK
Congrats to Phyrebrat.

A HUGE thank you for votes to Heijan Xavier, Stable, Victoria Silverwolf, Shyrka, and Ursa major.

Thanks to johnnyjet and The Judge for honourable mentions.

My best showing in sff challenges to date! Nice. Very nice indeed. What with collecting a 3rd Daily Deviation over on DeviantArt and sending my latest novel off for initial reviews, it's turning into a rather good week.

Joshua Jones

Well-Known Member
Apr 6, 2017
Maryland, USA
Congratulations @Phyrebrat and well done @M. Robert Gibson on the very close second. Both were excellent entries and well worthy of your vote totals.

And thank you to @Culhwch for the last minute vote and @Shyrka for the mention! 7 votes makes this my best showing for a 300 worder thus far.

I look forward to next quarter! Now, back to the 75er...

Heijan Xavier

Apr 17, 2016
Congratulations @Phyrebrat! Not easy to wriggle your way to the top this month with so many good stories.

I want to thank @The Judge for her rather harsh review of my novel opening in the critique forum.

After peeling myself up off the canvas, the lessons I took to heart were 1) stick undistractedly to the story and 2) speak deeply from the POV of the main character(s). And voila I earned 6 votes (previous best being 2 I think). So thank you again @The Judge @Ursa major @dannymcg @Joshua Jones @HazelRah and @Mad Alice for the votes. And thank you for the mentions @Stable @The Big Peat and @Shyrka.

Sorry Phyrebrat, I know this is your moment, but I had to share my joy. Life has been brutal lately, sucking dry all of my creative energy. These reactions really gave me the jolt I needed to get back in the game.


Lost Boy
Staff member
Feb 4, 2005
Brisbane, Australia
Congrats, @Phyrebrat! A worthy winner!

After two years off from the three hundred, I feel like picking up a vote and making a smattering of short lists wasn't too bad of an effort. Particularly as I didn't even really understand what was going on in my story! I needed to end it, and I needed to get it in genre, and I needed to do it all in about fifty words, so.. time travel? Sure, why not! But thanks for the vote, @nixie, and thanks also for those who threw a mention my way!


Benevolent Galaxy Being
Mar 11, 2010
Congratulations Phyrebrat

A gigantic THANK YOU to @RJM Corbet - @Ashleyne - @Calliopenjo for the votes

Tales of the Door

"Redoubt" @chrispenycate - Wonderfully written.

"The Taste of Death" @Ashleyne - Monstrously magnificent.

"My Next Door-Ogre" @Moonbat - Fantastic fairy tale.

Honorable Mentions at the Door

@Victoria Silverwolf - And great reviewer
@Cat's Cradle
@Peter V
@Dan Jones
@Venusian Broon
@Heijan Xavier
@M. Robert Gibson
@RJM Corbet
@The Big Peat
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Watching you from upside down
Oct 7, 2016
Congratulations Phyrebrat!

Such a fun competition with so many excellent stories. As proved by the vote spread.

And thanks to chrispenycate, Ashleyne and PeterV for making my day (actually several days) with the votes.

Dan Jones

Free Omar!
Nov 14, 2014
Here, Now
Congratulations to Phyrebrat! I hope you're clearing a space on your bookshelf for the prize... BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

But seriously folks, it was a wonderful story and a deserving winner. Commiserations to M. Robert Gibson on a very close second place, also a story I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks for all the mentions and citations for my own story, which was about... well, let's just leave it to the reader's interpretation, shall we? As for the four beautiful lunatics Chrisp, Perp, Peat and Hazelrah who voted for me, my sincere and heartfelt thanks, and I hope you're all feeling better now.


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2011
Congrats, Phyrebrat.

And congrats everyone for a really good month of stories.

Thank you to everyone who listed my story, and a special thanks to the wonderful people who thought it was good enough to warrant a vote.
It wasn't my first choice of story, but when I sat down to write the other, I realised it didn't have an speculative elements, whoops. But I think I like this one better anyway :p


Friend of Ulysses
Jan 11, 2016
Congratulations @Phyrebrat. The style of your piece this month was just pitch-perfect to my ears, evoking all sorts of Lovecraftian old-school 'weird'. I suspected I was going to have to vote for it when I read the simple but marvellously effective "clouds of iron". I knew I was going to have to vote for it when I read "...the Euclidean geometries of my alma mater". A tip of the hat to you.

Thanks to everyone who voted for or shortlisted my effort. I'm very pleased with my little haul as I hadn't gotten on with my story at all during its creation. The mislead came quite late in the process and somewhat rescued it but I always felt it was rather flat. Maybe next time I'll try to write something a little less bleak...

Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
Mar 3, 2014
Congratulations, Phyrebrat - well done!! And again, how nice of Dan to offer a prize for the challenge.

In addition to my earlier thank yous, I'd like to thank as well johnnyjet, TJ, and Starbeast for the mentions, and Shyrka for the vote. :)

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest
Congratulations, Phyrebrat!! Well, that's saved Dan the cost of postage and packing for the prize this quarter!

Congrats, too, plus commiserations to M Robert Gibson for taking over the bridesmaid's dress, and to Joshua J for his third place as junior bridesmaid!

Thank you, Ashleyne, for the 4th placing! I really should have insisted on 4 votes this quarter.

(Heijan -- sorry my review in Critiques came across as so harsh. :()

Peter V

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2016
Well done Phyre & thanks to anyone who mentioned or voted for my little tale of karma.

Please forgive my unusual brevity - currently on hols & relying on patchy Wi-Fi & a phone which is seriously running out of space


Feb 13, 2011
In your bedroom wardrobe...
Hi Everyone,

Many thanks for the congratulations and in particular:
for the votes.

And many many thanks for the shortlistings. I realise I haven't posted mine, as I stealth-voted on the hop, so, for the record:




Regarding Dan's book... well, here's the thing... I don't really want it. I'm not into techno SF thrillers and I don't like Dan, so I'd like to congratulate @M. Robert Gibson as the recipient of Man O' War.

Don't thank me, just throw money, please. :D

Okay, the real reason.. I had already bought a copy of Dan's book and at the last LonChron he signed it for me (with the best comments I have ever had in a signed book - even better than my Stephen King Bag of Bones signing) so I think it is only right MRG gets it.

Before I shuffle off, I was discussing with others how often there's a disparity of stories we've written and thought, 'Boom! Winner!' and then get few votes, if any, compared with the amount of stories we're 'meh' about that do well. In that regard, I was genuinely surprised to have done so well. I usually am able to write my first draft within 20-40 words of 300, but this one came in at 452 (and made much more sense, I'd say). I whittled and edited, and after a couple of weeks got it to what I posted.

I knew I wanted to have someone folding stone along a dotted line because I'd been listening to Kate Bush's awesome Aerial album; there's a track called How to be Invisible and the lyrics include:

I found a book on how to be invisible;
Take a pinch of keyhole,
And fold yourself up.
You cut along a dotted line.
You think inside out,
And you're invisible
"The dotted line" and "fold yourself up" lines stood out and I had the concept. As far as the voice is concerned... well, I've been inhaling M.R.James (if you haven't subscribed to the Podcast 'A Podcast to the Curious', do so now!), Arthur Machen etc and I really wanted to do a Jamesian feel.

Using Monty as a starting point made for easy ideas; obvs had to be in first person, the POV had to be of an Oxford-educated scholar who was probably an antiquarian. James was Provost of Eton and his college in Oxford so that got chucked in the mix. He likes to take the pee out of golfers so I needed some golfing reference, and as a Daarzet boy, I was competitive about the Jamesian Suffolk beaches and the Brat-ian Dorset ones.

Swyre Head, Worth Matravers and Black Man's Stile are real places. Swyre Head needs a whole blog to do justice to, so I won't go on about it here, but there is (or was when I was a teen) a stile at the site of Black Man's Stile. Worth Matravers is a tiny hamlet up in the hills over Swanage and there is a very old pub there called The Square and Compass. The tables are immense slabs and when there were shipwrecks, the dead bodies used to be laid out on them. Those tables are still used, and I recall from 1993-96 when I spent much of my spare time in Swanage and Worth, being really enamoured of the local smuggler and maritime legends.

My favourite horror film is John Carpenter's The Fog, so that was that, in the end I had a poor man's James mixed in with Lovecraft, The Fog and a bit of phantom slavery.

I did not, however, think; 'Boom! Winner!'

So thank you all, again.

Now, let's talk about those who once again posted but didn't vote... :sneaky::devilish:

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