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Week 252 – Teen Speak, Small Chimneys And A Wish For A Christmas Jumper.

Well here we are at Week 252.

The submissions continue to pour in. The brilliant thing is, we now have two months of stories. We’re delighted to have so many in advance as we reckon that things may quieten down this month.

It’s hard to explain what we look for in a piece of work.

It has to be well written and it either needs to be totally original, a bit edgy, is a different outlook or so beautifully written that it can’t be ignored. Our holy grail is all four in the one story!

Just being well written, I’m sorry to say doesn’t cut it. Initially, we need that but the content has to do something for us.

What makes me smile is when someone decides to try and make their work that bit hip. This is normally some middle aged person trying to relate to the kids by using what they perceive to be teenage terminology. That’s like a politician trying to relate to anyone who didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge or is earning under eighty grand. It just doesn’t work.

We have also had those stories that try to be edgy by writing genre by numbers. They use a tick list of the issues and traits that they are going to mention. Their terminology gives them away as does their ‘knowledge’ which doesn’t come from experience, it comes from a text book.

What they are doing is as obvious as the intentions of a sweating prince.

I’ve mentioned Christian Fiction writers before. They try to sneak their message in without anyone noticing. If any part of a story could have the phrase *’… and you know, in a way, that is like Jesus…’ placed at the end of an idea, then we know the score.

But to be fair being sneaky about true intention is what The Church is all about.

And the last type that makes me howl with laughter is the safe writers who decide to rebel and be edgy. This is like reading a Victoria Sponge recipe with one reference to ‘Fucking Butter’.

They throw a maximum of three swear words in their story and maybe a mention of, dare I say it, someone being physically aroused.

When we read those types of story you can spot that they are as false as a politician, the integrity of a prince or the denial of the church.

OK onto this week’s stories. We had two new writers, two old friends and me.

Our topics this week include; Transition, common traits, a ghost in a machine, consequence and a keepsake.

As always our initial comments follow.

 

I was first up with ‘White Is Best‘.

This story initially caused a bit of debate and it being gratuitous was considered. I have learned a lesson. If something isn’t focused with any reasoning, then it can be considered as being distasteful for distasteful sake. It needs to at least hint at some sort of focus.

Generalisation never works when it comes to stories. (Are you reading all those who refer to their character as ‘they’ or a trait for a known single person?!?)

Anyways, it was an honour to share this week with who I did and as always I thank Nik and Diane for all their support and help.

On Tuesday we had Mr Fred Foote. In my opinion Fred is at his best with this type of story and this one is an absolute belter.

The Motherliness‘ was amazingly his 56th story for us. If you haven’t read any of this gentleman’s work, have a look back I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

‘A brilliant piece of character driven writing.’

‘The dialogue crackles from the first word to the last.’

‘Her final realisation that she was more like her mother was all about pure inherited survival instinct.’

Our first new writer was next up.

We welcome both of them, hope they have fun on the site and we are looking forward to reading more of their work.

Jeffrey Kulik broke the back of the week with, ‘ City Prairies.’

‘This looks at murder that was never premeditated. It was all about survival or an understandable revenge swing.’

‘The characters and sense of place felt very real. There was a great pace to it’

‘Outcome and conscience were never in any of their minds.’

Tina Klimas was our last new writer. We extend the same welcome.

A Diner And The Cello‘ nearly finished off the week.

‘I was enthralled.’

‘This is character driven and the characters were very visible.’

‘This was a joy to read, it was very well put together.’

And we finished off with the delight that is Leila Allison with her 55th story. Both Leila and Fred are on a parallel and again I would say, if you have not read any of this writers work, have a sift through her stories.

The site wouldn’t be the same without this inventive and talented lady.

The Quillemender And The Authoress: A Feeble Fable Of The Fantasmagorical‘ was our story on Friday.

‘The tie-ins that Leila has throughout are complex and it’s incredible that she can lift and lay them at will.’

‘The way this is written, you believe in these ghosts.’

‘Leila involves herself in the story, for anyone else to do this it would be self-indulgent. But Leila has such skill and charm that this works so well. She can be brilliantly self-disparaging and you forget that she is the writer. The creativity she has is in a league of its own.’

 

That’s us for another week folks.

The usual reminders.

Please keep commenting. It has been a bit sparse this week but I hope this is just coincidental and not a quieting trend.

And the Sunday Re-Run is a very popular feature – This had the second highest reads this week. But again, the comments are a bit thin on the ground.

Anyhow, if you want a go at at this, send us in an older story that you’ve enjoyed, write a spiel or an introduction and throw in a couple of questions for the writer, we will publish exactly what you send us.

I mentioned the ‘C’ word last week and to finish that theme I was thinking about what were my favourite films for this time of year. I came up with four.

Gremlins – The scene where Phoebe Cates character explains why she hated Christmas is hysterical.

Scrooged – Bill Murray is a legend – Wanting to see nipples and considering stapling antlers onto mice is what Christmas is all about. And who could forget the fairy beating him up with a toaster. The film is brilliant up until the ending. I don’t watch the last ten minutes. Who wants to hear that shite?

Bad Santa – The blood stained wooden pickle present is genius.

Die Hard – The legend that was Alan Rickman showing us that OTT acting works when handled correctly.

The Exorcist – A feel good romp for all the family.

I’d suggest you gather the kids and have a movie marathon on Christmas Eve watching these films. That will leave you Christmas Day to watch all of Tarantino’s and to finish off with the beautiful message that is Black Christmas.

George Bailey can fuck right off!

Hugh

*A nod to Mr Billy Connolly

Image – Pixabay.com

4 thoughts on “Week 252 – Teen Speak, Small Chimneys And A Wish For A Christmas Jumper.”

  1. Wonderful comments and roundup this week. I am fond of two characters from Christmas movies, Randy Quaid (I got red-lined here, isn’t that how you spell Quaid?) in “Christmas Vacation” and Alistair Sim (a Scot, I believe) in “A Christmas Carol.”
    Sim was just plain funny and unique in everything he did, especially in his final film, “The Ruling Class.” Two times Quiad was able to get me to sit through pictures with Chevy Chase (my candidate for World’s Most Annoying Actor) in them. He deserves a Nobel Prize for accomplishing the impossible.
    Regards and my thanks for the kind words.
    Leila Allison

    Like

    1. Hi Leila,
      I think Chevy Chase and Steve Martin are two guys that I don’t really get. Although Mr Martin was brilliant as the dentist in ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ but he was bouncing off Bill Murray so he didn’t have much to do.
      Randy Quaid was in one of my favourite darker films – ‘Midnight Express’ The only ‘National Lampoon’ film that I enjoyed was ‘Animal House’ – The whole film was worth watching for Belushi alone.
      Alistair Sim was a brilliant character actor and probably his cross dressing in the St Trinian films should be a warning to most men that they don’t look good in a frock! He always reminded me of Alec Guiness in ‘The Ladykillers’. (When not in a dress that is!)
      Thanks as always for taking the time to read and comment!
      Hugh

      Like

  2. Interesting comment on the number of stories and what you are looking for. I’ve heard that a lot of sites are receiving more stories, which is good because perhaps the short story genre is reviving. Maybe also Literally Stories is becoming much more known. I’d also like to see more in the comments sections.
    I’m retired, so have lots of time to read and check out the stories.

    Like

    1. Hi Harrison,
      We do seem to be getting more submissions in. We are regularly rejecting around fifty a week. The acceptance rate, I think is around one in nine at the moment.
      Yep, the comments can be disappointing but this is a common problem. We all ‘met’ in a now defunct site called ‘Shortbread’ and they were sometimes publishing fifteen plus stories every few days and there were still only a few who commented. We did and I think the only other people who have been around this site who commented were James McEwan, Vic Smith, Sandy Wardrobe and June Griffin. There were a few others but no more than dozen who commented with any regularity.
      I honestly don’t know why it is the way it is, maybe it’s just that folks don’t like to feel vulnerable by revealing their thoughts.
      But no matter – I look forward to reading your comments and thank you for them.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

      Liked by 1 person

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