Thursday, August 14, 2008

And the winner is...

So in the end I was down to choosing between three entries, all of which were very good and all for different reasons. On the short and wry end of the spectrum, Leatherwing gave us a quick glimpse of Tech Support Hell, which looks exactly like being trapped in a Starbuck's by a mob of putz users being driven slowly insane by Microsoft's weekly automatic updates. There is not a word wasted in this story; it's clever, funny, and ends with a really nice, dark, twist. A good short-short story is hard to write, but this one is very good indeed.

Just as I was about to give the award to Leatherwing, though, I'd take another look at Al's story, "Recursive Stack Overflow,", and then I'd waffle. Al's story is a much different take on the idea: very dark, very cerebral, and in the end, very creepy. Of all of the entries, this is probably closest to what I would have tried to write. But, as I keep reminding myself, the object here is not to train you to write just like me — there's already one of me and that seems to be sufficient, thank you — so just as I was about to give the award to Al, I'd force myself to take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to be a bit more objective.

Which effort always brought me around to DaveD's entry. What I like best about this one is the way it just grabs me and drags me along at a breakneck pace to the ending. Even though I've now read it four times, once I start this one, I must finish it. This one is a really good example of great pacing in a much longer short-story.

And so I would continue to sit there, contemplating my three-sided waffle, unable to pick a clear winner.

Until this morning, when I once again asked Karen her opinion, in one of her moments of startling clarity, she said, "Look, you've already blown off two other Friday Challenges since this one. Why don't you just declare it a three-way tie and move on?"

Hey, look at that, we have a winner! And it is, amazingly enough, a three-way tie! Leatherwing, Al, and DaveD, come on down and claim your prizes!

New challenge tomorrow...