Tag Archives: Writing Contest

And the 2013 Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

Stabat Mater
by Michael Wehunt


As many of you know, throughout the year we host a bi-monthly flash fiction contest on our forum (not to be confused with the bi-weekly one-hour flash challenge). From those bi-monthly winners, an overall winner is chosen by a neutral judge, to be published in the next issue of Shock Totem.

This year’s judge was up-and-coming horror scribe Bracken MacLeod, author of the excellent Mountain Home. (Click here for our review of Mountain Home and here for our interview with Bracken.)

Of the five bi-monthly winning stories from 2013, Bracken chose “Stabat Mater,” by Michael Wehunt, as the winner. The contest prompt for this story was this Harlan Ellison quote from a Tor.com interview:

“In the introduction to this new edition of Web of the City, Ellison writes of a possible legend about Ernest Hemingway intentionally destroying his first novel. From the introduction:

“Yes, the story goes, Hemingway had written a book before The Sun Also Rises, and there he was aboard a ship, steaming either here or there; and he was at the rail, leaning over, thinking, and then he took the boxed manuscript of the book…and threw it into the ocean. Apparently on the theory that no one should ever read a writer’s first novel.”

The quote was referring to the reissue of Ellison’s first novel. For the contest prompt, I asked participants to write about tossing away their firstborn child and base it on the same theory Ellison describes above. I also asked that they not take the easy road and write something that involves sacrificial/religious offerings.

To read what Michael did with the prompt, check out “Stabat Mater” in the next issue of Shock Totem, due in January 2014.

Congratulations, Michael!

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Jaelithe Ingold Strikes Gold…Again

Our fifth and final flash fiction contest of 2011 has come to a close. The prompt for this contest consisted of two images. (You might recognize them.) Participants were required to build their story around the people who live in the six individual dwellings in the images, not the ominous red light in the window. Of the nearly 50 who signed up, 31 finished.

And once again the women dominated.

This month’s winner was Jaelithe Ingold, who won with her story “Little Knife Houses.” This is her second First Place finish this year, meaning she has a two-in-five chance of winning overall and being published in our next issue.

Gio Clairval took Second Place with her tale, “Six on the Hill of My Heart,” and just a point away was Amanda C. Davis, with her story “Why Ulu Left the Bladescliff.”

All three have either won or made the top three numerous times in the past. Well-deserved, of course.

Incidentally, since we began these contests in January 2010, the ladies of Shock Totem have, in two words, kicked ass. In that first year, we had 19 top-three winners overall (a few contests had ties), and 13 of those winners were women. In 2011, 14 of the 15 top three were women.

The lone man of 2011: Simon C. Larter. (Stand proud, good sir, we salute you!)

That said, congratulations, ladies!

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The Taste of Victory

Our fourth flash fiction contest of 2011 has come to a close. John Boden came up with this month’s prompt, which was “Monsters and Fireworks,” and Damien Walters Grintalis claimed the top spot with her story “The Taste of Duty.”

Damien’s story is now in the running to be featured in issue #5 (January 2012).

Gio Clairval’s “Sparkler” took Second Place, and just one point behind was Third Place winner Sarah Hendrix, with her story “The MoonEater.”

Congratulations, ladies!

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