DISCUSSION THREAD -- 300 Word Writing Challenge #51 (October 2023)

paranoid marvin

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Many thanks to Yozh for the shortlisting and BigJ for your vote.



My votes:

M Robert Gibson. Quite brilliantly devised and written chiller. Would work perfectly well as an episode of Twilight Zone.

Parson. Really well told story, very high standard of story telling.

Luiglin. Very good, with a killer (pun intended!) punch line. Makes you go back and read the story again from a different angle, which only the best writers can do.

Astropen and Phyrebat make my short short-list.
 

sule

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Honorable Mentions:
The Watcher in the Dark by BigJ
Non-Euclidean Siblings by Phyrebrat
human things by Daysman
The Circle of Death by Elckerlyc
Historic Farmstay at Yggdrasil by Yozh
The Forest by Christine Wheelwright

Votes:
So the Tree Rustles in the Evening by johnnyjet
The Custodian by paranoid marvin
Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On by Ursa major
 

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
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Shortlisted:

@johnnyjet - So the Tree Rustles in the Evening
@Parson - A Woman for All Seasons
@emrosenagel - Bones in the Mangrove, Soul in the Orchid
@Christine Wheelwright - The Forest

My votes are for:
@AnRoinnUltra - Octophants always play the long game - A deceptively simple, down-to-earth story that touches the heart and has a mysterious element, making me wish I had met an Octophant in my life. Loved it.
@Phyrebrat - Non-Euclidean Siblings - Just the kind of madness I love in a story, emboldened by characters who just take in their stride and uses it to their advantage.
@Yozh - Historic Farmstay at Yggdrasil - More madness, And horror. And humor.
 

The Judge

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Well, I can't remember the last time I had so much difficulty in creating a shortlist -- as I was reading through the stories the other day I was mentally sorting them out and practically every other one was getting listed and it was just as bad doing it again tonight. Looks like we'll have to have photos of Phyrebrat's lovely sister every quarter!

Anyway, I had to cull a lot of good stories in order to keep the shortlist relatively short, but in a rare move I thought I'd list those which just fell outside, often by a whisker.

Longlist:
BrenG -- The Odyssey
Christine Wheelwright -- The Forest
Elckerly -- The Circle of Death
M. Robert Gibson -- The Bois De Mort
Parson -- A Woman for All Seasons
Phyrebrat -- Non-Euclidean Siblings
mosaix -- A Dead End
Ursa major -- Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
Shortlist:
AnRoinnUltra -- Octophants always play the long game
BigJ -- The Watcher in the Dark
emrosenagel -- Bones in the Mangrove, Soul in the Orchid
johnnyjet -- So the Tree Rustles in the Evening
Jo Zebedee -- The Gift
Luiglin -- Memory
Yozh -- Historic Farmstay at Yggdrasil


My first vote was easy, since I creased up laughing at Yozh's story of holidaying by a terrible tree which I thought was a standout for a completely weird initial idea and the brilliant TripAdvisor way it was told, with all the Norse myth details wonderfully dripped in. After that, things got harder, but for the second vote I finally plumped for emrosenagel's poetic bittersweet tale of loss and letting go. For the third vote it came down to a tussle between three stories including the cynically dark voices of murderers from BigJ and Luiglin, both of which had twists I'd have loved to have written, but in the end I went for johnnyjet's sad sweet tale of forlorn hope.

And emrosenagel gets The Judge's Special Prize for the lovely title which I found utterly bewitching.

Many Mute Waiting thanks for the lovely mention Starbeast and very many Great Oak Storytelling thanks for the glorious votes Victoria, Astro Pen, emrosenagel, Parson, johnnyjet, Yozh and Jo. Oh, and stealth votes! Lots and lots of Belonging thanks nixie, elvet, Phyrebrat, BigJ and CC!


@The Judge .... Waiting Under the Tree .... Her Honor has written a sweet story with a happy ending, but emphatically not the one I was expecting.
Ha! That's what I like to hear -- I hate to do something expected! (But then presumably at some point my doing the unexpected is going to be expected, so does that mean I will then have to do something which is expected, as that wouldn't be...??) But I have to ask, what ending were you expecting? Meeting a lover there, or her parents coming for her?
 

Rafellin

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The Judge

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Well, that was wholly unexpected! I was quite ready for Parson to have a last minute surge of votes, bringing a tie-break which I would have ignominiously lost (as always...)

Thank you all for the congrats, but do spread some of those around to Parson, and johnnyjet and Jo, who all wrote excellent stories!


Not much of a backstory for my piece this quarter -- the muse finally deigned to consider Phyrebrat's photo and gave me "Wait under the tree, for me, my darling" which sounded like a popular Edwardian music hall song, but I got nowhere with that despite coming up with some sarky riffs on it (eg "Wait under the bus, for us...") Then I played around with a kind of ET abandoned-child story, but nothing gelled there except the somewhat predictable, and it wasn't terribly SFFish. Eventually I realised the "outsider" child was probably on the autism spectrum and then things fell into place. (I wish I could say I decided it was important that she actually does all the work of liberating herself, with the magic sign only the catalyst/guide, but that didn't occur to me until after I'd written it that way.)

@Parson might be interested to know I chose the name "Ruth" because of her words to Naomi which I love -- "whither thou goest, I will go" -- which fitted in with an idea I temporarily had about the plot, but although the piece moved away from that, I kept the name because of its double meaning, both pity/compassion, but also grief/sorrowing.
 

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