Today’s an emotional day, when I say goodbye to the old Book Title Generator/Flash Fiction Competition. I find myself worrying about whether the people who were so close to the ones who were so close to the one that won (yes, you read that right) know just how good their entries were. I’m hoping that by seeing the quality of the Winner and Runners-Up that it goes without saying: they should be mightily proud of themselves.
The second of the runners-up, ranking equally and without prejudice, other than the 24-hour gap in the publishing of them, is from Annmarie Miles. She journeyed here via the Chick-Lit Book Title Generator, and brought us a treat.
This piece was a standout for its polish, and the fact that like all the best flash fiction, it is small and yet so perfectly formed, that nothing more and nothing less was needed, other than its own beautiful little self. But to add to that:
- It is light, funny, sparkly, and a perfect example of how good chick-lit can be.
- It also pokes fun at itself, which is our most favouritest thing ever.
- It features a complete cast of characters, as instantly well-drawn and as cosily familiar as your bedroom curtains. (Which as anyone who’s ever tried to write flash fiction can tell you is damn near impossible.)
And so, well done Annmarie, who has also published a book of short stories, called The Long And The Short Of It. (She’s obviously darned good at this because she’s actually published a book… but that doesn’t disqualify her from being a mighty contender.)
So, Wishes May Tell…
The closing credits rolled and the theme tune opened with power chords that would bring a tear to a Guns’n’Roses fan. They watched her as she wrote with furious haste.
She was the most feared movie critic in Hollywood. Her words determined whether your premiere was attended by a cast of thousands of Hollywood’s finest, or the cast of Star Trek.
The name struck fear in the heart of every movie producer and director; and quite a number of pretzel vendors.
The music ended and house lights faded up. Most of the film critics were already sipping Mai Tais on 42nd street, but not Wishes. Hunched over her pad, she jealously guarded her words as they poured on to the page like molasses on homemade ice cream.
“She’s taking too long dammit.” Ralph Ecclestein paced, knowing that a long review from Wishes was bad. Her 5 star reviews were always less than ten words.
“Someone make a note that I may need to call Leonard Nimoy’s agent in the morning.”
“Booking him for the premiere again boss?” Ecclestein’s assistant ventured the question; but no audible answer came. Just a series of grunts and muffled swears as Ecclestein continued doing laps of the viewing booth.
“She had her eyes closed for most of it, m… m… maybe that’s a good sign?” The meek voice came from a dark corner of the room.
“What?” Ecclestein swung around. “Who the hell are you? What are you talking about? Who is this guy?”
“Boss! He’s the new intern.”
“What do you mean, kid? What are you saying? Get over here!”
“Well… It’s just… I noticed her close her eyes a lot. She was concentrating hard. Especially at that scene. You know, where the bad guy confesses his love for the gal who’s about to have her appendix taken out by the other bad guy; the one pretending to be a surgeon?”
“That’s the best scene of the whole damn movie!”
“Yeah, well she had her eyes closed for most of it.”
“Dialogue!” Ecclestein punched the table. “Dammit, she was concentrating on the dialogue.”
The discussion continued. Oblivious to it all, Wishes Puddlestock looked up and noticed the empty seats around her and blank screen in front of her. She put her pen down and took a deep breath. Moonlighting for Mills & Boon was taking its toll; but as usual, she was able to complete a brand new story in less than 120 minutes.
She’d already reworded the review she’d written for Ecclestein’s last movie. They were always the same anyway.
She put her pen and pad away and wondered if this should be her last review. Writing love stories was really all she ever wanted to do; maybe it was time to start doing it with the lights on. It felt like the right time to tell people that Wishes Puddlestock was putting down her pen and taking up… her other pen.
She headed for the door and waved at the viewing booth; stretching her hand out to give a big 5 sign to Ecclestein. He didn’t see her. He was busy on the phone, ordering flowers for George Takei.
A big massive huge thank you to everyone who entered, because there wasn’t one entry which wasn’t smashing. Truly. And bye-bye, lovely flash fiction competition [sniff]. I wish I could enjoy you every week.