Every week I trot out another nine reasonably unused and somewhat obscure words from my vocabulary and challenge writers to weave no less than three of them into a coherent story of exactly 150 words. I have yet to be disappointed by either the variety or the quality of these entries, but this week was especially tough to call. With nine entries, it comes down to the smallest margins of what tales do and do not receive recognition. Rest assured, I enjoyed every one of the efforts and hope to see all of you back next week.
Lisa Shambrook for her story Moonlight Tryst. As always, Lisa presented a tale with good flow and compact precision that was structurally perfect. The emotions and actions of her two characters enfuse them with both natural believability and stark realism. I liked this story very much and couldn't imagine where it might be headed, but was totally unprepared for what devolved. For me, the presence of the caltrops and their damage to Liam seemed too unexpected and out of place in what was an otherwise cohesive offering.
Sarah Fiete for her story Castor Gray. This was an extremely freaky and unsettling story of two brothers out for a night on the town and the unexpected consequences thereof. It left me with a vague sense of unease and confusion with its stark simplicity. I, freely, admit I read this story again and again before I finally realized the key to understanding it was concealed in the title with exquisite subtlety. I would have loved to move it to a position of higher renown but was left feeling the solution was just a bit too subtle.
Snellopy for his story Watchtower. Six of the prompt words were used to their best advantage in this tale. It appealed to my twin loves of things historical and things martial. Having been the hapless lookout waiting for the appearance of the enemy, I understood exactly how Bran felt. Snellopy captures perfectly the mixture of adrenaline-fueled apprehension and quiet resignation experienced by a reluctant warrior who dares not fail in his task. This would be an excellent foreshadowing of a more expansive work. Bravo!
Kate for her story Earnest Ernest. From experience, I can attest working all nine of my prompt words into 150 words is not an easy task. I sometimes try it myself, just for fun, and this week wasn't any easier than other times I've tried. Kate managed to accomplish this with consummate aplomb. Her tale of an unassuming man and the things he so loves being inexorably swallowed up by progress has a universality understandable by readers anywhere. His angst is genuine and palpable and left me nostalgic for simpler, less-evolved times. Well done!
Robin Abess for her story The Firth. This story, like many of the Monday Mixer Winners, took the "less is more" approach to the prompts used and did it beautifully. Robin's imagery was very flowing and evocative and gave me a perfect mind's-eye view of the scene. Not content with merely painting a vivid picture, she brings us a tale of affections not returned, unexpected conflict and, finally, unassailable regret. I especially enjoyed how her main character still rubs salt into his never-fully-healed regret by returning, yet again, to the place that can never be free of guilt for him ever again. Outstanding!
Please bear in mind my decisions are entirely subjective and may not find favor or agreement with all, but decisions are like that. For those writers not mentioned, no slight is intended and I hope next week will find you back for more.
Here is the link to view and read all of the truly inspired offerings for this week. Please show a little Monday Mixer love and make a point of clicking on each entry and checking them out. Remember, each link clicked on takes you directly to that particular writer's page and provides them blog traffic and, hopefully, feedback to encourage them to come out & play next week.