April's COF- Sweethearts + sunshine challenge scores.

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  1. #1
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    April's COF- Sweethearts + sunshine challenge scores.

    I would like to say that for the last CoF challenge I thourghly enjoyed judging and hosting this challenge and each entry submitted was awesome and took very different takes on the Firestarter. However we all know there can only be one winner and here are the scores.

    This months winner SueC with her entry Hard Kisses.

    H.Brown RhythmOvPain Total
    Sync 22 17 19.5
    SueC 24 20.5 22
    Smith 22 19.5 20.5
    Bd Charles 22 18 20
    Ned 24 19 21.5

    This took entirely too long and I'm sorry that there was nothing I could do to expedite the scoring. I'm pressed for time so all the extra formatting will have to chill. These are my scores for May.

    CoF April 2018 open challenge thread Sunshine + Sweethearts

    Sequins - (549 words - some violence) by Sync

    From the corner of his eye, a man watched the couple shamelessly kissing on the park bench. He had noticed them right away after she threw herself over him, like a harlot, a whore, like Sharon used to do with every man but him. Venting out his anger, he tossed the ball again, which sent Rex off chasing, barking like a fool. He was a good distraction. Everyone always had their eyes on the dog.

    Moving ever closer, the man felt his excitement grow as the girl's slender legs were exposed along the slits of her school skirt. His hand slipped into his pocket, grasping the hard bone handle of his knife.

    “No,” he whispered. “Wait.”

    All morning he had sharpened its edge, until it blended invisibly to the air.

    “A taste is all I need,” another part of him argued.

    “No,” he told it.

    The lovers had moved from their spot. Holding hands, they crossed over to a concession stand to get an ice cream. Rex came running over to him when he whistled. The dog was well trained. It was time for him to put on a show and see if all that practice paid off.

    He took a look around for police, or anyone too interested in him. This town was new, quite a ways from his normal territory. That meant extra dangers, but the thrills, the thrills were worth it.

    Rex handled the trip well, eight hours in the van and not a peep or mess out of him. He learned well from that first time. Schooling an animal was important.

    That girl would find out.

    With Rex at the sit position, they went through their routine. A twitch from his right hand – Rex crawled on his belly and gave his best puppy eyes look. A slight raise of his left hand – Rex wagged his tail excitedly.

    Distraction is the key to any abduction.

    Two now seemed to be arguing, or at least something had gone wrong, for she had stopped and confronted the boy. Hopefully she'd run off, and the man wouldn't have to deal with that kid.

    Unfortunately, they fixed whatever had broken and were a loving couple again.

    He didn't mind the extra killing, but didn't like the extra work it took. The man supposed he could leave the boy on a side of a highway on the other side of town.

    They headed for the exit after finishing their sweets. He was waiting for them, the van running, Rex at the ready. He wouldn't need his cute bag of tricks for this. It didn't matter if there were a few bites on the boy. The girl though, he wanted her skin untouched.

    It went like clockwork. Rex was a great dog, and grabbed that boy by the neck before he could even let out a cry. Two shakes and that was the end of him. The girl's eyes rolled back, and the man kept them rolling back with a bit of chloroform. A few minutes later he was loaded up and speeding away.

    Looking in the rear view mirror, they looked like such a happy couple, propped up together. Sunlight streamed over their features, her tears glistened like sequins, his throat bleeding like petals of a rose, and Rex, lapping it all up.

    A great day.

    SP&G: 3/5 [Too many commas. The entire story is rushed and it's reflected in the formatting and the punctuation.]
    T&V: 4/5 [There's a lot of humor in this story, and I like the way that it's told.]
    Creativity: 4/5 [I love this rendition but there's seriously no reason you had to ignore the little boy playing with the dog; he disappeared from the story entirely.]
    Effect: 6/10 [Shock value edges you up over 5 due to the scattered narration. Regardless, good attempt, yours was one of two which legit made me laugh.]

    Overall: 17/25

    Hard Kisses
    (697 wds) by SueC

    "Oh, here's a picture of me and Tiffany at the beach one summer. We had been friends since Kindergarten and the only time we weren't was at the end of our junior year of high school. Of course, it was all about a boy." I smiled as I passed the photo to my daughter, remembering those long-ago days.

    Tiffany was my best friend. In our junior year, she met and started dating Chris, a senior who was graduating that year. He was all she talked about and we sort of fell out over that. During the last week of school, though, we happened to be standing at our lockers together; the first time we had talked in several weeks.

    "I'm going to tell him how I feel, Franny. The last day of school, you know when everyone else is off to the beach or the pool, I'm going to take him to the park and let him know what's in my heart."

    On that last day, I watched them as they walked together down the hall toward the sunshine. It was going to be a hot day and as I made my way to the steps outside and watched everyone go in different directions, I decided to follow Chris and Tiffany. I was sure my friend's heart was about to be broken.

    I kept my distance. By the time they got to the park, Chris looked like he was really dragging his feet, almost tripping over an old tree stump. Tiffany somehow found the energy to run ahead. "Let's go sit over there," I heard her say as she pointed at a bench in the distance. Chris slowly followed along. I could hear a dog barking on the other side of the park, playing with a man and his little boy. There didn't seem to be anyone else around.

    Soon, they were sitting together, relaxed, with Tiffany practically lying across on the bench. They weren't talking yet. Chris seemed focused on the clouds and Tiffany had her eyes closed. She said something to him and then just grabbed his head and pulled him to her. They kissed hard, and I put my fingers to my lips. I wondered what that felt like, to be kissed so hard by a cute boy, hard enough to bruise my lips.

    Then they were up, off the bench and heading out again. I stayed behind a tree just long enough for them to get by me. Chris had his arm around Tiffany. We were on the move, heading to the malt shop.

    I let them go in first and then I went in too. I sat in a booth right next to theirs and even waved a little at Tiffany as I passed. She barely looked up at me; was more focused on Chris, as usual, as they shared their sundae. When Chris started talking, I leaned back against the booth to hear their conversation.

    "I'm going to college in Boston," he said. Boston!, I thought. That's like a million miles away.

    I heard Chris tell her that he still wanted to be her boyfriend and would be home on weekends and breaks. He also said they could video chat whenever she wanted. Just then, I looked down and saw fingers moving near me by the floor; I grabbed her hand and she held on to me for just a moment before she let go.

    I expected to hear crying, whining, pleading . . . but then the giggle I heard was not really a surprise either. Tiffany had always been a good actress.

    "What about the boy?" my daughter asked.

    "Chris? Oh, by the time he came back for Christmas vacation, Tiffany was already on to someone else. Of course, she wouldn't tell him, so I did. We met at the malt shop, sat in the same both as he had been in with Tiffany the summer before. And by the time he went back to Boston in January, I had finally found out what it was like to be kissed hard by a cute boy."

    I laughed. "In our thirty years of marriage, those kisses have always been good."
    SP&G: 5/5 [Simply well written.]
    T&V: 4/5 [I like the teenage girl vibe, as well as the sincerity in the delivery. The ending could have been more fleshed out, but it still ends strong.]
    Creativity: 3.5/5 [There were areas which you focused very well on creating a backstory, and I like how you introduce the narrator as Chris's future wife. I think the story ended too abruptly.]
    Effect: 8/10 [Simple, with very strong usage of the original prompt and lots of interesting additions on behalf of the author.

    Overall: 20.5/25

    Closing the Distance (695 words according to Google Drive) by Smith

    A young guy in a blue University of Massachusetts Boston hoodie walked down the aisle with a girl beside him who looked about the same age. She wore a tight black dress that made it clear she wasn’t wearing a bra with those perky breasts, perfectly proportioned for her incredible figure; the hem slid more than half-way up her thick, creamy thighs when she sat in the booth across from mine.

    Cream. I forgot to ask for cream.

    Out of the whole diner they had to pick my cozy, quiet corner, farthest away from the door and closest to the windows looking out onto the sunny afternoon street. I’d normally give dirty looks when this happened, and as the months passed I had more and more time to myself every Sunday. This was a special kind of dirty look for her. I wouldn’t mind at all if she’d kept me company.

    I sighed, and returned to the book. Or tried to. My mind was repeatedly pulled away by their conversation. They were polite and kept their voices down, but I just couldn’t help myself. I was drawn by her radiating allure. Her power was in the sudden, subtle whoosh of flowery fragrance that hit me when she’d first came near. I knew that if I was the object of the look she was giving him right then - a slight head tilt, with intense green eyes and the whispers of a smile brushing the corners of her mouth - I’d be as thoroughly under the spell as he was. The reality of it all would be swallowed by illusion.

    A waitress came back to take their orders.

    “Do you need a warm-up sir?” she asked me once they were taken care of.

    “Actually, could you just bring me some cream please? Thanks.”

    I resisted the urge to completely put down my book. I had to at least seem busy as I listened to them talk. I’d caught their names: Chris and Vanessa. How did a guy like him get a girl like her?

    He was the vanilla malt the waitress brought him. Nice, but boring. Vanessa was doing all the work, asking him about what he was studying, his hobbies. Her voice was as sweet as the strawberry malt she sipped on while Chris struggled through each answer and awkward silence. The color almost matched her lipstick, or the faint blush on her cheeks.

    “So tell me about this girl you mentioned. Tiffany from back home,” she said, licking her lips.

    Oh, now this is getting interesting.

    That smile slowly grew as Chris spilled his heart out on the table. Her legs were crossed lady-like, but now on the top foot Vanessa dangled her shoe playfully. At that moment every single thing about her seemed cold and calculated to me. The cute way she’d tucked her long, brunette hair back behind her right ear, or toyed and twirled with the straight, silky strands in her left hand. The accentuations she’d made with eyeliner and eyeshadow. How she leaned in to listen, and just so happened to give him the perfect view of her assets.

    She could’ve been a porn actress.

    There was a lull between the two of them. Outside the street was quiet. A man strolled by, walking his golden retriever. He stopped to grab his cell phone and send a quick text before carrying on. Then, at that precise moment, I heard a muffled vibration come from Vanessa’s purse. She ignored it.

    “Long distance relationships are tough,” she said finally. “But hey…” She reached across the table and placed her hand on top of his. Beneath the table her foot stroked the inside of his leg affectionately. “Maybe we can close some of that distance. I can roleplay as her if you want. We can go back to your dorm and have some fun! It will cost you though-”

    “Excuse me, waitress! May we get the bill please?”

    Vanessa giggled.

    As they left, I pulled out my cell phone, went to the online classified ads for Boston and searched for Vanessa.

    Later that night she texted back. “Next Sunday, same diner, just you and me?”

    SP&G: 5/5 [A fine piece of writing.]
    T&V: 3.5/5 [The author has become Chris, giving much broader insight into the character's mentality. The story required a couple read-overs but the information conveyed is done so sufficiently.]
    Creativity: 4/5 [Taking the story to its final chapter was an interesting idea. I feel like a lot of the elements that were in the original promt were left out, but in this reality those elements are unnecessary.]
    Effect: 7/10 [It could have been more informative, but I think you were throttled by the word limit. There's definite room for improvement, but that would require at least a couple more paragraphs. Good job with what you had to work with.]

    Overall: 19.5/25

    The View, When Standing In Kings Field by bdcharles

    The man has the sniff of the deceiver to him; I know the type by the way he stands, hands on hips, expectant of something. A gift. The young woman, barely out of her puppyhood, plans to make, out of herself, that gift for him.

    It is, I suppose, biology.

    Do you see how she leans in, presents to him her scent? Or notice the path of starlings in the blue blue sky above? Observe which direction they are going: not north for the summer but circling, like those egg-timery buffery things on their computers, awaiting resolution. He doesn't know it, but he reacts to these cues all the same, can't help himself. They are all so lost. Tension settles between them like a thrummed string. I suppose I ought to distract them, give them something to focus on other than themselves, lest this all blows up into a fiery nothing. Master throws a ball, now check this out - I jump, I snatch it, backflip to the perfect four-pointer. Squeals of delight run among the wild privet and bluebells like a kaleidoscope of wild butterflies.

    Easy, easy.

    The pair are hugging up close now; canoodling, Master calls it. I made that happen - I. But it's a game to him, still. He is leaving her, wants to expand his horizons, needs her on the back shelf. She shimmers blue then and I can't understand their speech but by a quirk of synaesthesia, I know he has told her. The word is Boston. It means nothing.

    He glows yellow. The colour of adventure. Scent carries on pollen drifters to where I sit, bringing the straw aroma of foreign fields. That must be why they call it pastures new. And look - by way of answer the starlings fly on. It is done. Learn how and you can read all the world around you, even converse with it if you've a mind to, bring it round to your way of thinking. They use books, abstraction upon abstraction that I would gleefully destroy in a single sleeping session.

    I hereby put it to you that the world is a living thoughtform of our own creation. See how the young man and his internally-sobbing lover proceed to a burger bar. They're not really doing that; they're not going to slobber down a sorry slab of cowsflesh diced with unicorn horns and ashes and I don't know what else. They're scratching a comma into the paragraph that their lives will occupy. They say something like, I am leaving you COMMA but not just yet COMMA because COMMA as you know COMMA we still have all summer COMMA so what exactly is your issue COMMA Tiffany?

    All these commas, all these punctuations. Look at me - another backflip! I am a small and fluffy semi-colon; rejoice as I, archaic squiggle from an ancient rune, augment the purpose of your lives in subtle ways!

    A dob of ice cream slides down the edge of her cone. They don't know it but that too is a statement, a message. How strange that they cannot see everything is a message. That snail of red-and-white striped dairy goodness, it says, I am going down down down and I am taking all of my hopes with me. Some of yours too, if I can just sink my claws into them.

    Me? I will take what's mine.

    I will take that ice cream.

    ~ 572 excl.
    SP&G: 3/10 [There's a lot going on and I had to read this three times to figure out what was what.]
    T&V: 4/10 [For a dog, the narration was shockingly verbose.]
    Creativity: 4/10 [Seriously, this is a nice example of using EVERYTHING at your disposal.]
    Effect: 7/10 [It's confusing. There's very little else to say.]

    Overall: 18/25

    Switch by ned (453 words)

    John sat on the park bench fiddling with his mobile phone - which was actually a sonic vibration detector focused on the cafe window next to a couple sat at a table. Next to him, sat Diana, equally intent on her mobile phone, which through a lens on the top edge, was really a zoom, trained on their target. What could be more natural, then a couple of sweethearts in the spring sunshine, wholly engrossed in their mobile phones?

    'What are they saying?' asked Diana, without looking up. John pressed his earpiece.

    'You don't want to know. They're talking so lovey-dovey I think I'm going to throw up!...Wait a minute, I think she's testing him.'

    'When you came to visit last weekend, I saw you come out of father's study - what were you doing?'

    Chris came back coolly. 'I thought it was the bathroom.'

    'But father always keeps his study locked.'

    'So he should.' Said Chris, flicking his blond forelock. 'Your dad has a high position in the Home Office, who knows what sensitive material he might leave lying around.'

    Diana reported. 'A new contact has approached the target.'

    She watched as a man in a dark suit sat at the table adjacent to the couple. His rucksack exactly the same as Chris's and he placed it on the ground. After a minute or so of looking at the menu, he picked up Chris's rucksack and casually walked away.

    Quick as a flash, Diana pulled out her radio. 'All units. New target is a middle aged man in a dark suit, carrying a red rucksack, heading west from the cafe. We can take care of the prime target.'

    The radio crackled back. 'Roger that. We're on to him.'

    Once John and Diana had received confirmation that the new target had been apprehended in possession of photographs of top
    secret material, they made their move.

    As the agents approached the table, Chris knew the game was up. Sure, he could run for it, but he knew their were others around, ready to give him a beating for their trouble.

    John flashed his ID. 'Stay where you are!' He picked up the rucksack, unzipped it and fished out a bundle of twenties. 'Looks like about five grand - is that the small price of your betrayal?'

    Banged to rights, Jake relaxed. 'That was just the down payment, sunshine.' He said with a smirk.

    Tiffany quickly stood up. 'You used me to get to my father!' Her eyes beginning to well.

    'Sorry about that. But we had fun didn't we sweetheart?'

    Diana put her arm around Tiffany's shoulder. 'You did the right thing. Telling your father of your suspicions.'

    With dry eyes and a slight smile, Tiffany turned back to Chris. 'Thanks for the ice-cream, sunshine.'
    SP&G: 5/5 [REALLY well written and well formatted.]
    T&V: 3/5 [There's a lot of characters involved in this story, and narration seems to take a back seat to action and dialogue.]
    Creativity: 4/5 [You changed shit around but did so in a satisfying way; you were also very efficient at capturing the theme of the story, if at the expense of continuity.
    Effect: 7/10 [This made me laugh, and it was also an interesting take on the relationship between the two mains. Too many liberties were taken in omitting elements of the original prompt.

    Overall: 19/25

    Okay I hope everyone is satisfied with this, I thank you all for taking the time to write to my crappy Firestarter.

    Great stories.

    Well done to all who entered please find my comments and scores below.


    Spag 4/5 Tone + Voice 5/5 Message 5/5 Delivery 8/10 Overall 22/25.

    Comments: Whi;e I enjoyed reading your take on the firestarter
    Sync I did find a couple of issues with your spag, the main one being the over use of commas and the second being missing words out for example: 'Two now seemed...' I think should have been The two now seemed... Your tone and voice gripped my attention and kept it through the story you tell. You surprised me with your use of a serial killer as protagonist but it was a nice surprise that improved the delivery of your story. The two prompts shone through your story without having to be stated wihich was nice. A great entry well done.

    SueC- Hard Kisses.

    Spag 5/5 Tone = Voice 5/5 Message 5/5 Delivery 9/10 Overall 24/25

    Commetns: Sue I enoyed reading your entry you keep the voice steady and smooth throughout the entry, with no spag issues that I picked up on. I liked the meesage of waiting for that all consuming love and finding it. Both prompts shine through in your writing very well putting me in the scene iwth them. A great entry.

    Smith- Closing the Distance.

    Spag 5/5 Tone + Voice 4/5 Message 5/5 Delivery 7/10 Overall 22/25

    Comments: Smith I liked reading your entry this month, there were no spag issues that jumped out at me as I read, making your voice smooth. The conversational tone that you have chosen to use worked well and established and maintained your story through out. By changing the setting of the story you put your own spin on the firestarters story while keeping enough of it to see it coming through. Changing the time frame also sets your story apart, it reads like a continuation of the young boy's life in Boston while introducing a new charracter/protagonist. A great entry.

    BdCharles- The View, When Standing in King's Field.

    Spag 5/5 Tone + Voice 4/5 Message 5/5 Delivery 8/10 Overall 22/25

    Coments: Bd I like how you chose to base your entry from the perspective of the dog in the field, it was inspired and frankly unexpected, but enjoyable. owever I found the voice and tone a little confussing as both seemed too advanced for a dog, I wouldn't think a dog would know about commas and semi colons, I think if the language had been a littel simpler it would have made me belive it more as a dog's thoughts. There were no spag issues that I picked up on and you captured the prompts in essense. But still an enjoyable read.

    Ned- Switch.

    Spag 4/5 Tone + Voice 5/5 Message 5/5 Delivery 9/10 Overall 24/25

    Comments: Ned I really liked reading your take on the firestarter, you took what ROvP wrote and mde it your own. Taking the setting of the dinner and turning it into a survallence setting and operation while incorporating the prompts clearly. The only spag issue I came across was half way through a sentence you drop it down on to the next line (a formatting issue.) Your tone fits the brisk pace of the story and the action taking place, while the voice is informative and secretive in one go. A really good entry.
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  2. #2
    Member RhythmOvPain's Avatar
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    Congrats to Sue for pulling off an excellent victory.

    All these stories were fun to read; thanks to all who participated.
    My favorite word in the English language is "shenanigans." My favorite thing to do is cause them.

    Smoke weed everyday.

  3. #3
    well done Sue................I'm getting closer!

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Thanks to the judges for their kind words and hard work on the final outing of Colors of Fiction. Thanks to Hannah for all of her special attention today and always . So appreciate all of the encouraging comments. And yes, ned, so close!!!
    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.

  6. #6
    Global Moderator H.Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    Thanks to the judges for their kind words and hard work on the final outing of Colors of Fiction. Thanks to Hannah for all of her special attention today and always . So appreciate all of the encouraging comments. And yes, ned, so close!!!
    Thank you Sue for your kind words it was a pleasure hosting the Cof.Congrats on winning again.

    Ned it was very close you all did a fantastic job, I really liked reading your entry.
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  7. #7
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Awesome job, Sue And thanks as ever to the entrants, judges - and hostess with the mostest!

    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!


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