Saturday, January 9, 2010

Flash Fiction Competition

When Husband No. 1 and I both entered the most recent monthly “Flash Fiction” contest sponsored by the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, I certainly didn't expect one of us to win -- and be such a bad sport about it.

This, as you might imagine, has caused some tension in the house. I suppose the winner wouldn't be taking so much pleasure in the victory if the loser hadn't so loudly proclaimed “I'm sending in the winning entry now” upon deciding to also enter the competition.

The rules were simple: Generate the opening of a story with a specific sentence, but write no more than 100 words. The sentence was: “I was glad to find that the ground hadn't frozen yet.” I've listed the entries below in random order -- well, as random as you can get with 2 entries -- so take a look and tell us which one YOU like best.

I was glad to find that the ground hadn’t frozen yet. Mother Nature loved me. Last night at the camp, Harold had humiliated me. “A pistol on the partners hunting trip? Idiot!” This morning in the woods, I’d emptied it into his body. Now a shallow grave, dead leaves across the top, maybe a few branches. Tonight’s snowfall would cover everything. One fewer partner. A growl on the left broke my concentration. A scrawny wolf appeared from the brush, then another straight in front of me, then another to the right, and one behind. Maybe Mother Nature loved Harold more.


I was glad to find that the ground hadn’t frozen yet. It makes it so much easier to clean up the blood. The sight of crimson tentacles spreading through the fresh, white snow would set the wrong tone for the New Year anyway. While most people have traditions like making resolutions they’ll never keep, eating black-eyed peas or buying a new broom, I like to start mine with a clean slate. Unfortunately, that means getting rid of the old by Dec. 31. Good thing the fireworks and popping champagne corks make it hard to hear my Glock do its work.

OK, go back up to the box above my photo and vote for the one you like best! (It's anonymous so no one will know what you think -- but I'd appreciate it if you'd pick mine.)

I should tell you both entries were read aloud at a recent family party because we wanted to know which entry our relatives preferred. Their response was a stunned silence. I’m not sure if it was because:

  • They were blown away by our talent
  • They're horrified to be related to people who would write such grisly things, or
  • They're afraid to take sides
  • (or maybe all of the above....)

However, I did overhear my youngest niece share with her sister what she would have written after the opening sentence about being glad the ground wasn't frozen: “So I wouldn't have to smell the putrifying corpse.”

Now there's a girl after my own heart.

(I'll reveal the voting results -- and the authors -- next week.)

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