Our First Ever Flash Fiction Writing Contest Was a HUGE Success!
It was a real battle!
We had a number of fantastic entries and it took every minute of the time we had allotted to come to our decision. In the end, our first place winner was a clear victory. Second place required several heated debates and will be announced on August 26, 2013.
So, without further ado…
Our Winner is?
Susan Pawlicki with her story, “A Change Is As Good As A Rest”.
The judges felt that Susan’s story captured the theme of – A Victory at Work, and, A Defeat at Home with the most creativity. We felt that her entry presented the strongest voice, both her own author voice, as well as her character’s voices. We also liked the subtlety of her plot and the reveals within it. Many of our entries were kind of “in-your-face” with the theme and didn’t allow our reader’s imagination to kick in. Susan’s story revealed some highly creative thinking, and we liked her plot twist. Her story was also one of the best edited entries that we received. All-in-all, we found it an entertaining read.
Congratulations, Susan Pawlicki!
“A Change Is As Good As A Rest”
by Susan Pawlicki
His mentor, who had much experience on the job, looked sideways at the beginner’s eager face and thoughtfully thumbed through the red spiral notebook in his hands. “Well, ‘day’ is a relative term. You get a break from what you’ve been doing, anyway.” The teacher’s lips moved silently as he counted with his finger down a column in the notebook. When he reached the bottom of the column, he tapped his finger twice on the paper. “After all,” he said slowly, “you’ve done so well, bringing over forty potentials to the Organization this month alone—and in such unexpected and original ways….If anyone deserves some time to think away from work, it’s you.”
If the apprentice could have blushed, he would have. “Wow….I never expected….I mean, I thought once the Organization took you on, you didn’t get time off. And you came all the way to my place to tell me. I never thought that was even possible.”
“Well, nobody ever knows quite what to expect going to a new job. I mean, no one ever really understands what he’s getting into, does he?” The trainer looked up. “Even with all that instructional material out there—new stuff year after year, books and magazine articles, lead after online lead, videos, CDs—and everyone thinks he understands how the Organization works…but until you’re out in the field, you just don’t know.”
“That’s the truth if I ever heard it.” The words were out before the apprentice thought, but he heard them as he spoke. His eyes widened, betraying the fear and dismay that sprang up in his stomach. He looked down quickly, aware his face would give him away.
“Pardon?” The teacher continued thumbing through the notebook without looking up. “They’re really quite amazing, your numbers. And your originality—seeing that woman’s potential and nabbing her in the bakery, for example—well, you’ve given all us senior personnel quite a lot to think about. You show incredible promise.”
Maybe he didn’t hear what I said, the apprentice thought. “You’re right,” he tried. “What you said before, I mean—that’s right. No one is ever fully prepared and all that, no matter how much you’ve read or watched and think you know…”
The trainer closed the notebook thoughtfully and turned to face his employee. “Yes… and I do appreciate your attempt to cover your own lack of preparation in such a simple yet effective way—just a lie, an unpretentious untruth to calm waters that may be less quiet than they appear…to calm me, in fact, after I’ve heard not just an unpleasant word, but a rude one. A forbidden one. One that merits notice… and punishment.”
“I’m sorry!” The apprentice took a step backward. “It’s hard to stop using words you’ve used all your life! You know I didn’t always recognize the ‘Truth’ when it was put before me in the past, but I always recognized the truth when it worked in my favor, when what it said was right for me, like I recognized the truth of what you just said! What you said is true, even if you said it! No one ever is prepared, especially for a job like this one!”
“Please, don’t make excuses. It’s unbecoming.” The mentor reached out for his apprentice’s arm. “Given your numbers, I’m surprised you didn’t bother to ingrain the list of unspeakable words into your being a little more firmly. What if you let that word slip with a potential Organization member? It might undo all the work you’d done for us, and we’d lose that person Forever. Don’t you understand that? And Forever is a very long time here.”
The apprentice stared at his forearm, where his teacher held him. “Please let go,” he said, trying not to jerk his arm away.
“Does it hurt?” His mentor’s face was blank, but he tightened his grip slowly. “Does it burn?”
“Yes!” The apprentice gave up and began trying to wrench his arm away. “You said I got time off to think!” His voice took on the high pitch of desperation. “Does one slip take away forty victories?”
The triangular tip of his teacher’s tail began switching back and forth with increasing speed. “Oh,” he crooned, “you get time off from work. You get time to think.” He picked up his pitchfork. “I’m just going to give you something to think about.”
Great Story, Susan!
I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.
You can follow me at
I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.
All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.