Yearning for Wonderland

There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it...until they have grown so old that they forget the way. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again...The world calls them singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. ~ L.M Montgomery

Who Won Dark Fairy Queen Midsummer’s Night Dream Contest?

WINNNNNNAAAAAARS!

For me, the hardest part of these contests is always the judging. One story, I love because of the lyrical writing. Another, because of the gorgeous imagery or the clever plot or the way it makes me feel at the end.

Ultimately, I could probably choose several sets of winners. Thank you to everyone who entered. Judging is very subjective, so I have to leave it to: who wrote a story for #DFQMND that encompasses the theme and does all of the above. I am very excited to announce these winners. I chose two, one for the Dreams package (Light) and one for the Nightmares Package.

So, without further ado, I present…your winners.
DFQMND
WINNER, Dreams

Daniel Swensen, for Annabella of the Spring

Sheer gorgeousness. Daniel, your writing makes it totally worth having to revamp the prize package, since I’m not awarding you the book you wrote. Your story is delicate and yearning and a perfect drop of longing in 400 words. Well done. I will be in touch regarding other prize options.

 

Honorable Mentions, Dreams

J.T. Ellis, for January in Sunset

Dr. Pete Meyers, for Listen

Holly Kench, for Dreaming Just Enough

 

WINNER, Nightmares

Steven Marsden, for The Princess and the Whispering Pines

This is a fantastic surprise, for Steven put up a blog simply to enter this contest. He wasn’t even in the DFQ group before this. Of course, now he is doomed. #MOOGHOOHAH. Steven, your story was lovely and the tempo was classical fairytale, but there’s a dark underbelly that took my breath away. Brava! So glad you entered.

Honorable Mentions, Nightmares

Eric Martell, for Evidence of Things Not Seen

Lyndsey E. Gilbert, for Mother May I

K.J. Collard, for The Coming Winter

 

Again, thank you to all those who entered! You humble and honor me with your collective talent.

Love to all,

#DFQ

 

Dark Fairy Queen Midsummer Night’s Dream Writing Contest

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:

There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;

– A Midsummer Night’s Dream, II.1

I was woken from a dream to a shocking realization. It has been nigh on two years since my last flash fiction contest (see Behind the Curtain). How can this be??

Clearly this must be rectified immediately. And, in classic DFQ fashion, in the midst of full-time job and life and…but if I waited for things to slow down, I would never do ANYTHING.

Thus it is my pleasure and privilege to announce my latest flash fiction writing contest, the Dark Fairy Queen Midsummer Night’s Dream.

DFQMND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here are the details:

It is summer, a faint breeze blows, and the leaves are rustling. As dusk falls, the fireflies glow in a distant meadow. Have you not felt the magic of a summer night? Your story should.

Let us celebrate a midsummer night by creating 400 words.

For your theme, your story must take place, at least in part, on a summer evening. Also, choose one from the following list:

  • Dreams
  • Fairytales
  • Myths

Your story should be posted on your personal blog or a friend’s and linked up below with the Inlinkz tool (which opens July 15).

Need more inspiration? Check out the Faerytaleish Pinterest Board. Our Twitter hashtag to talk about the contest is #DFQMND. If I feel so inspired, there may be another #FanFav contest on Twitter.

Excited about the contest? Here’s the easiest ways to spread the word!

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No fan fiction (original worlds only) or erotica, please.

Prizes will be announced in a future post. You only have two weeks once the contest opens on July 15, what are you waiting for?

 

 

Need the code to link up on your blog? Here it is!

get the InLinkz code

Tales of a Zombie Olive

So my lovely friend Holly is running a zombie flash fiction contest on her hilarious blog, Confessions of a Stuffed Olive.

She draws funny cartoons of olives, cats and other creatures. The winner of her contest will get their story illustrated by her.

Artwork owned by Confessions of a Stuffed Olive

You may recall the last time I did a zombie-themed story. That little story won the Fan Favorite contest run by J. Whitworth Hazzard.

I swore then that I would not write another zombie tale.

I lied. Not only did I have to write another flash fiction zombie tale, it had to be a funny one. CURSE MY LUCK!

Of course, my sense of humor is a little warped, so you can see the result:

 

A Life-Long Dream

She carefully traced a carmine line around her lips. They weren’t nearly as full as they used to be, so she had to employ all her arts to evoke youthful beauty. A hint of blusher, a quick hairbrush and she was ready to go.

“I, Norma Jean Pintucker, accept the crown of Miss Yuba City; it’s a life-long dream for me. I’d like to thank my agent, Quincy…”

Norma Jean frowned. What –was- her agent’s name? It rhymed with “squirter”, she was fairly sure. Her memory was worsening.

As she drove her 2006 Audi to the Convention Center, she fretted, “Werter. Frankfurter.” She examined her reflection in the rearview mirror, “Ugh, my skin looks so pasty.”

Once she reached the stage door, she patted her hair into place and whispered, “Showtime.”

The crowning ceremony had already started without her. That wasn’t right. She struggled through the heavy velvet curtain, applause ringing in her ears.

“I’m here!” she shouted, pushing some highlighted blonde stranger in a showy dress away from the microphone.

She plucked the tiara from the velvet pillow and stepped into the spotlight.

“I accept the crown of Miss Yuba City today. I’d like to thank my agent, Quincy-“

She was saved from recalling his name by the scream in the audience.

“Quincy-“

Just then, her lower jaw fell off and clattered to the stage floor.

She gingerly placed the tiara on her head, kicking her jaw into the orchestra pit, “Thank you, ish been a life-long dream.”

 

Copyright Brian Cameron

 

Ice: 50 words

I promised Bekah Shambrook I would enter her contest, so here it is. Telling a story in 50 words is much harder than you’d think – you ought to try it.

He was not coming.

A distant, watery sun traced the sky, beyond the cobweb beaded with tiny crystals.

She sat, breath puffing in the sharp-spun air. The melt down her face was the only trace of tears.

The Ice Queen sat and waited for a spring that would never come.

Behind the Curtain: The Catch Short Story Film

Today is a very special day, the unveiling of the short story film. This film was created by myself, using Melanie Conklin’s visceral and chilling short story, The Catch. You can read her original story here: The Catch by Melanie Conklin.

This dark and troubling gem was actually the grand prize winner of the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction contest.

The Grand Prize Package for Melanie included many unique goodies, such as an exclusive interview with me (stay tuned!) touting her latest project, a writing notebook from Ruth Long, the chance to collaborate with me on my next crazy flash fiction contest (coming Spring 2013).

One of the coolest prizes I offered was a dramatic audio recording of Melanie’s winning story. This is something I’ve never offered before and, frankly, something I’ve not seen a great deal. There are audiobooks, of course, but not much in the way of short story recordings and frequently the dramatizations are a little suppressed. So it was an exciting idea for me.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my recording process, so I thought I’d share a little, especially since Melanie’s story recording evolved in such a cool way.
The first thing I did was paste her story into a Word document and start breaking up the beats. Every story has a pulse, a natural rhythm, that you must suss out if you are to read it out loud successfully. Some sections must be fast, others dragged out deliciously. I highlight words in different colors to emphasize at different levels. I make notes such as [Pause], [Speed Up] or my personal favorite, [Brogue].

The more I read it out loud (and gave myself extreme chills), the more I realized that I wanted to do far more than just read it. This story needed music!

Simple enough, except I needed music that was royalty-free, the perfect length and mood. No problem. I started sifting through the THOUSANDS of circus-related free music. Most of it sounded like a broken carousel on methamphetamines.

After, no joke, two hours of reviewing music, I found the perfect piece, “Carousel” by Circus Contraption. It was dark, tinkly, and reminded me of a music box slowly winding down. But the section I loved was also two minutes, 30 seconds too short.

So I downloaded some free music editing software and sliced and diced my way clumsily through to the cut I needed. I’m not going to talk about how long it took me to do that or how steep my learning curve was. On the plus side, it ended up fairly excellent and I worked the one editing blip into the story, as you’ll see.

So I had my audio recording and my music. I also had a great vintage photograph from the Behind the Curtain Pinterest board that Melanie used as the inspiration for her story.

I kept staring at that image, which was so evocative; Melanie used it so well in her story that just looking at it was giving me killer goosebumps.

I’m a very visual person, as well as aural, so I finally gave in to the natural temptation. “Clearly,” said I, “I need a movie to go with this audio.”

So I started combing the internet for images that would work hand-in-hand with this photo. It was not easy, but what massively ambitious artistic project is?

Once I had found and edited all the images to my satisfaction, it was MERELY a matter of sequencing them in a dramatic fashion for the story. My hope is that these photographs unfold in a manner that does Melanie’s story justice.

Did I manage?