March, Distance +Light Scores 2018.

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    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    March, Distance +Light Scores 2018.

    I would like to say a massive thank you to all of our judges in this month's challenge as without them we could not have the CoF. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has entered and made the CoF's re-launch a success. I hope everyone has enjoyed it's return as much as I have. And here we are your March's winner is...

    Congratulations to
    Bdcharles with his entry At The Crossing.

    H.Brown rcallaci ROvP Blackstone Total
    SueC 21 20.4 22 21 22
    Serra 19 21 15 18 18.5
    Bdcharles 23 19.3 23.5 23 23
    Ned 24 21 19 22 21.5

    A brilliant month with only four entrants, but each entry had it's own merits that made for very challenging judging. Well done to everyone.

    SueC The Inevitable.

    Spelling/grammar 5
    Tone/Voice 5
    Creativity 4
    Effect 7
    Overall 21

    Review: Sue you took the firestarter and kept the bare bones of it, characters and plot, yet you still managed to turn into into your own unique story. Each line kept me entranced as I read, with an entertaining yet personal tone/voice. A fantastic entry. However you have failed to use the two prompts of distance and light within your entry as per the challenges rules.

    Serra Fire and Ash.

    Spelling/grammar 5
    Tone/Voice 3
    Creativity 5
    Effect 6
    Overall 19

    Review: A nice entry Serra, there were no spelling or grammar issues that I picked up on, but then it was a short entry. You have a Nic tone/voice but I don't think you gave it enough time to develop it to its maximum potential. You also took the firestarter and made it your own changing everything but the car crash. However you failed to use either of the prompts of distance and light in your entry.

    Bdcharles-At the crossing.

    Spelling/grammar 5
    Tone/voice 5
    Creativity 5
    Effect 8
    Overall 23

    Review: Bd you took the firestarter and kept parts but changed enough that you made it your own. I enjoyed your flawless writing and seem less tone of voice that drew me through from beginning to end. I enjoyed your take on my story and you managed to incorporate both prompts into the story. A great story.

    Ned- Blinded.

    Spelling/grammar 5
    Tone/voice 5
    Creativity 5
    Effect 9
    Overall 24
    Review: Ned I enjoyed your ghostly tone of voice that you created in your entry. I also liked how you took the firestarter and based your entry a month afterward, clever. I found no spelling/grammatical errors and you incorporated both prompts seamlessly. A great story.

    Firestarter: Host and Judge
    Our Last Drive-- by H. Brown

    Spelling/Grammar: N/A
    Tone/Voice: N/A
    Creativity: N/A
    Effect: N/A

    Overall: N/A--- As a Firestarter amongst other Firestarters’ I’d rate it as one of the better ones.

    Review This story had just the right amount of meat and bones. It had faceted elements for other writers to take a bite, taste it and then add their unique take to it. A nicely crafted piece: well done.

    The Inevitable: by SueC

    Spelling/Grammar: 5
    Tone/Voice: 4
    Creativity: 3.1
    Effect: 8.3

    Overall: 20.4

    Review: A well written and crafted story that gave a bystander’s perspective. But I wasn’t wowed out of my seat. It was good storytelling done in a mundane tone

    But that end, Man, that’s one hell of a great piece of image writing.
    I saw Dave turn into ash before my eyes and heard that scream in my head- Now that’s a great, great, powerful ending.

    Fire and Ash: by Serra

    Spelling/Grammar: 4 had a problem with phrase ‘to see her alight’ a clumsy phrase.
    Tone/Voice: 4
    Creativity: 4
    Effect: 9

    Overall: 21

    Review A mini flash fiction done quite well. Before I read the piece I thought this is too damn short. But to my surprise each word popped and was filled with expression. A very dynamic piece! You gave homage to the Firestarter utilizing Mythic overtones. A very, very, good read... Sometimes less is best

    At the Crossing: by bdcharles

    Spelling/Grammar: 5
    Tone/Voice: 3.2
    Creativity: 3.5
    Effect: 7.6

    Overall: 19.3

    Review A well written piece but it hugged too close to the Firestarter, word for word in some sections. Although I liked the intention of it, it lacked that zing I look for. But the last paragraph did the story proud. It gave it the needed juice. I just hope she walked through, the hell with Dave.

    Blinded: by Ned

    Spelling/Grammar: 5
    Tone/Voice: 4
    Creativity: 4
    Effect: 8

    Overall: 21

    Review: An engaging piece. I loved the creepy aspect of the story, the not right feeling, the building panic and the dash to the light, running away from death. Nice ending- a tight piece, faithful to the Firestarter.

    These are posted from shortest to longest. Each revieved equal attention. I beg forgiveness for any discrepancies; this is my first time judging.

    All of this is being done from my phone, but I will format it to the best of my knowledge in an appropriate fashion.

    Entry 1: Serra - Fire and Ash [178]

    She was made of youth and fire, cinnamon hair and starry eyes. A soul not to tame with roses, but to ignite with adrenaline. He loved her selfishly and lived everyday to see her smile, fed her on speed and sunsets just to watch those eyes sparkle with life. She became his world and he became hers. Although time passed, and their bodies grew old, their love was ageless.
    He wanted to scare her, to see her alight. In a car that roared like thunder he showed her the moon and the stars, made the streetlights dance between the trees. Faster and faster they drove, certain nothing could touch a flame that roared so bright.

    They were wrong.

    She was made of youth and fire, cinnamon hair and starry eyes. But he was Icarus of wax and dreams. Addicted to the height. He drove them too fast, too far, too high. He gave her speed and danger. Then a crook in his wings, a turn in the road, a crash onto asphalt. He may have given the fire his love, but he left her nothing save ash.
    1. SPaG - Lots and lots of commas and run-on sentences. I can't sugarcoat this: sentence structure is the single most important facet of writing. Unfortunately, I found this entire story to be lacking in a firm grasp of SPaG.

    2/5 (never did a moment occur when the story did not make sense)

    2. Tone & Voice - Throughout the story, the narrator is consistently attempting to convey the thoughts and emotions of the characters; this takes away from the personal aspect of the story as a fictional piece, turning the characters into cut-out pieces of paper. The narrator is consistent, however, so...

    3/5 (no disrespect, just develop your writing technique)

    3. Creativity - Well done taking the original prompt and expanding on it. No qualms here.

    4/5 (it's just so damn short)

    4. Effect - Strong focus on consistency. Grammar is correct for the most part, and cohesion is prevalent.

    6/10 (it's missing like 2/3 of the allotted word count)


    Thank you for participating and please learn from this experience.


    Entry 2: ned - Blinded [327]

    Here my life had ended.

    On this lonely stretch of nowhere road - just a winding strip of tarmac between two sleepy, coastal villages.

    The sun disappeared behind grey clouds and within seconds, the sky darkened dramatically until it mirrored that fateful, moonlit night when I lost David, just a month ago.

    The wind picked up and the black trees became spirits dancing against the backdrop of the misty ocean. And I pulled up my coat collar against the sudden drop in temperature.

    A fogbank quickly emerged, flowing and turning in on itself to form a ghostly tunnel hugging the tarmac into the distance. Blanketing everything else except a bright, white and unlinking light about a hundred yards up the road.

    And it all came flooding back to me - our car rounding this bend, the sound of ripping steel as we crashed, and that bright light in the distance. What was it, a parked car or a trick of the light? I had to find out and strode into the tunnel.

    But just twenty paces on, I was stopped in my tracks.

    ‘Deary!’ Said a familiar voice and I turned to see my long-dead mother emerge through the fog, quickly followed by my equally long-dead father clasping an arm around her.

    ‘Don’t leave us Deary.’ He pleaded. I was too shocked to answer, or even move.

    ‘If you go into the light, we’ll lose you again. Stay with us Deary.’ And they both smiled creepily.

    That was it! I was so freaked out, like in a bad dream, that I spun on my heel and ran toward the light - seeking refuge, seeking answers.

    As I got closer, the light became blinding, making it impossible to see its source, but I kept on running right through the light, with my eyes tightly closed.

    I slowly opened my eyes and heard a voice.

    ‘She’s coming round now. Respiration, heart and brain functions approaching normal.’
    1. SPaG - Aside from starting a sentence with "and," zero grammatical errors. Bad formatting and a lack of cohesive paragraph structure hurt your score.

    4/5 (the formatting is just horrible, and I feel like this is 100% too short, but honestly there's nothing "wrong" with it.)

    2. Tone and Voice - Consistency is prevalent in the voice of the narrator. There's never a moment I feel like the story loses itself.

    5/5 (you earned this)

    3 Creativity - OKAY, this is like, entirely subjective. You're creating an entirely different scenario built around the story, and it's not wrong or bad in any way. I can't say there's 100% cohesion between the original and your prompt, but yar. I'm fighting not to rate you too high because of what it's LACKING (the romanticism). It MAKES UP FOR IT with the whole left-field, twilight zone concept. It's funkeh, but I don't particularly love it.

    3/5 (you did well to keep the theme, there's no denying it's based on the original and it's a very creative take on it)

    4 Effect - I honestly feel like I know what you were trying to do, and I feel like you would have succeeded had you posted maybe 150 more words or utilized all of the material given in the original. This score will hurt.

    7/10 (I'm positive you could have done better)


    Sorry if I came across a little harsh, but it's just not there. If it's any consolation, I spent more time trying to figure out how the hell to score your promt than anyone else's. Great job.


    Entry 3: SueC - The Inevitable [682]

    This path was always fodder for the foolish. I guess in my youth I was the same way, but somewhere along the line I developed a deep respect for the highway and what could happen to a careless driver. It doesn't occur every night, of course. Sometimes, the moon shines, the crickets cricket and peace prevails. But there was one night, not too long ago, where the worst - and the inevitable - came down this tricky lane.

    In my usual routine, that night I was walking from my house down the well-worn path that brought me to the edge of the highway. My intent was to turn then and suffer the harder part of my practice, going back uphill. It was at that moment I heard the car, long before I saw it, and in the wind I also heard a girl scream with laughter. The name David followed somewhere behind. Many nights are like that; the voices of people far away being heard in the stillness, wafting among the tree branches, as if they are alive with invisible beings. I even remember looking up, as if I would find someone named David sitting in the tangled, black web of tree limbs. This was right before my attention was captured by the sound of the racing car, wheels squealing around the turn just behind me.

    I yelled Hey! as loud as I could when they sped by. I knew what was coming next, the inevitable, so I started to run down the highway toward the racing vehicle.

    In the curve ahead, I spied a large truck on the opposite side of the road, it's headlights almost overwhelming in the darkness. There was a moment when the speeding car lost its grip on the road and faced those headlights head on. Blinding lights, they must have been to them, those careless two, losing all sense of time and space for the moment. Then came the noise of breaks screeching in the night, a horrible sound, echoing back among the trees that could only stare and watch the carnage happen.

    The car became airborne, and as if in slow motion, everything was deathly quiet for a nano-second. Not long enough for the night noises to resume, but enough to give pause to an observer such as myself. And then the crash; the thundering, amplified sound of a car being mangled beyond all recognition; a different type of scream this time - of metal on metal engulfing the night. And inside that car, two souls, a man and a woman, whose fate was yet unknown to me.

    I was already out of breath from the race toward them on the road, but began scrambling down the side of the hill toward the mangled mass. An explosion just then, shaking the very ground I was standing on. I hesitated, unsure of how close I should get. Then I saw her; a movement off to the side. In the glow of the furnace on the hill, she lifted an arm, a thin white limb stark against the black earth and then it fell. It was my guide to her. She was far enough away from the heap that used to be a car that I could reach her. She was face down, but conscious.


    "No, not David. Let me help you."

    For a moment, we both looked at the burning vehicle. I could see the figure of the man David in the front seat. The passenger door was gone, and we clearly saw that his hands were still on the steering wheel. He was not just on fire, he was fire, and as we continued to stare, unable to look away, he released the wheel from his grasp, his arm falling and crumbling into ashes.

    The scream from the woman tore through the night, and there it remains, if you listen hard enough, among the branches and limbs of the darkening trees; serving as a reminder of a horrific crash that took David from her, and ended her life with him.
    1. SPaG - Dilly dilly!

    5/5 (zero issues [except for one sentence, but I won't bust your balls. <3 )

    2. Tone & Voice - you really lost consistency with the ending. It went from an interesting story to an urban legend in the span of one sentence.

    4/5 (clear, concise, well thought out, well presented narration with full use of the characters portrayed in regards to the main character's POV)

    3. Creativity - Well, you win this one. Great job. Seriously. The only way I could be more impressed with the weave you wove was if you wrote it from the perspective of the truck driver. This is such a hars category to quantify, but from my perspective you get an A.

    4.5/5 (dat ending doe)

    4. Effect - A lot could be said about this prompt. You caught my attention and played the creative license card like a straight up G. You wrote well and told your story well. With only ONE ISSUE, I give the following score:

    8/10 (what could have been doesn't necessarily have to be, but it could have been better.)


    Way to go!


    Entry 4: bdcharles - At The Crossing [693]

    The funeral came and went four days after the accident, the well-wishers and mourners departed on the sixth, my mother on the eighth until finally, on the tenth, my daughter returned to her busy city life and I was alone. David had been my world for so long now that I didn't know how to exist by myself. Days stretched, long and empty, like the now-silent hallway of our empty home. Here, it seemed, my old life ended.

    His family blamed me, I could tell. The unreturned calls, the shoulders turned away, unloving, into the sea-mist. No-one visited after the funeral, nor call or email and I didn't care. In this lonely rhythm my life continued to pass me by, a widow in her own world of depression and despair, locked inside a castle of solitude and silence.

    They cared for Rachel, oh yes. Things will get better, Rachel, in time you'll see, they said. It won't always be this way, honey. They had uttered these platitudes and others into my daughter's ear, hugging her close. All the while I watched and cried from the corner. What about me? I screamed into the void, a selfish harpy concerned only with herself, her own feelings. What about me?

    Fourteen days had passed before I ventured outside. That afternoon I sat on our bench, watching the swallows play, dashing tear after tear from my cheek. Our flower beds and vegetable patch had fallen into neglect, almost visibly before my eyes, petals curling to black, marrows rotten and split open, like a mouthful of seething maggots and I could almost see worms, bleeding out of the ground before burrowing back under.

    In disgust, at the sight of me.

    Had I killed David? Was it my fault? How real the turning earth appeared, and how like another life behind a pane of murky glass seemed the daily doings in which I had taken such an interest before. In the distance there had been a light, and with alarming suddenness – no time for fear, just a confused Oh? as we sped around the curve, missed the crossing, too fast, always at my urging – the truck was upon us. There had been no pain, but in its place was a strange disquiet, as if something had happened. It blocked out any gratitude I might have felt at having escaped. Something was broken in me. Of course. That was why Rachel was so distant.

    A leaf dropped from the maple, crumpled up into a charred nothing, vanished.

    I walked the winding streets, ignoring the sea and the cliff-face, as I retraced our fateful drive. Brine filled my nose with its bitter tang. A chill wind froze silent tears to my skin and my heart collapsed anew. My steps hesitated as I came to the last curve in the road. There in the distance I watched as a light grew brighter and brighter, finally I remembered.

    Here my life had ended.

    In my dreams, where I had died before, I was able to twitch and spasm myself out of it just in time. This time the urge wasn’t there. My body failed to respond. Of course it did. It was six feet under the pristine lawn of Attendo Civic Cemetery.

    Hereafter my life was something new and twisted, something that should not be. A tremble, far below the ground, rattled a tiny light inside me. What was it that they spoke about in Sunday School, with bunnies, and cutouts of pigeons, and crosses? How dare they be so blithe? Like an onrushing truck, a cold moraine of terror, vanishing into the sky a thousand miles high and a thousand miles away, impossibly vast, sludged against me now and I could not withstand it, nor hope to run or duck away.

    A voice. Calm. Go through. Just go through.

    Icy. For some reason, it reminded me of a family holiday in Sweden, familiar, but old, and very clean. There was something important. What was it? Had I lost my keys again? David would be mad.

    Ah. That was it. I cast my perception about.

    If I was here, then what of David?
    1. SPaG - It saddens me to come back to the same issue again, but running sentences, poor sentence structure, and commas pollute this prompt. The formatting is awkward; I believe maybe you made concessions to trim the word count down? I really don't want to sound rude, but I expected a better performance from a nearly 700 word prompt.

    3.5/5 (zero grammatical errors, no issues with cohesion, a well written draft of a much deeper story)

    2. Tone & Voice - HOLY SHIT.

    5/5 (you win)

    3. Creativity - Amazing job. Much like Sue, but in an entirely different aspect of the story, you took the original prompt and expanded on it swimmingly. Everything falls in perfectly with the original story, however. You win again.

    5/5 (zero discrepancies; massive amounts of creativity)

    4. Effect - ... This isn't a joke: your story is provocative, engrossing, and extremely well thought out. I wish it was written with a little more finesse, because it's just so overloaded with commas and randomly spewn instances where sentences could have been written simply better than they were; if you edited this sans wordcount you could probably take it to another level.

    9/10 (I just wish it was a little better. =x )


    WOW. You win. I'm honestly shocked and a little upset the better written prompt didn't make the cut.



    I hope no one takes offense to any of my criticism, and above all else that my criticism holds valid. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to critique your work. <3

    The Inevitable - SueC

    SPAG - 4
    Tone/Voice - 4
    Creativity - 5
    Effect - 8
    Overall - 21

    A good piece. For a first person viewpoint would have liked a little more emotion, a little more identity, but as an account of the tragic events it was strong. A few minor punctuation missteps but nothing important.

    Fire & Ash - Serra

    SPAG - 4Tone/Voice - 5
    Creativity - 3
    Effect - 6
    Overall - 18

    The writer is engaging in powerful, colorful language and there is a strong poetic quality along the themes however the brevity of the piece and the lack of adherence to the plot elements in the firestarter makes it hard to score this highly.

    At The Crossing - bdCharles
    SPAG - 5
    Tone/Voice - 5
    Creativity - 5
    Effect - 8
    Overall - 23

    For me this piece excels by how it captures the torment of the main character but retains a coherent narrative. Other than the occasional misused comma, excellently written and polished.

    Blinded - Ned

    SPAG - 5
    Tone/Voice - 5
    Creativity - 4
    Effect - 8
    Overall - 22

    Another piece that favors the emotional side, and strongly written on that front. My biggest issue was that I suspect without the firestarter and context being known (so if presented as a standalone work) it would have been confusing. That said, I do love the additional exploration of the afterlife theme.
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  2. #2
    Member RhythmOvPain's Avatar
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    Congrats going out to Bd; good job everyone!
    My favorite word in the English language is "shenanigans." My favorite thing to do is cause them.

    Smoke weed everyday.

  3. #3
    well done BD - and thank you to the judges............great feedback.

    I love this challenge.............I'm so lazy I need someone else to start my stories!

  4. #4
    BD - awesome job you! Really nailed it. Thanks so much to the judges for the wonderful feedback; it always helps.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.

  5. #5
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Woohoo! Thanks guys! I really didn’t expect to win this one as there was such solid competition. This was a great fire starter so thanks H.Brown and the judges - I always learn loads from these comps

    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge

    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"


    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous


    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!

  6. #6
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    Well done Bdcharles!
    Thanks to the judges for all the feedback, and to H.Brown for the Firestarter. I’ve learnt a lot from this and the feedback is very much appreciated.
    Hopefully I’ll enter next time… just with a longer piece

  7. #7
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    Well done to all our entrants and congrats to bd, you improve each time you enter. Serra definitely enter again this month's challenge will begin tonight when I post the Firestarter, so I hope to see you all there and who knows maybe I'll enter this month.
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    Visit My Blog to get to know me better.Hidden Content Hidden Content A fun group of like minded new writers.
    Hidden Content Hidden Content A place for young writers to talk and chill.

    Why not check out the Hidden Content and join in the latest challenge discussions.


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