And the winner is...
Anent the 12/26/08 Friday Challenge, we've read and discussed the entries, and pretty much come to the same conclusions as Henry did in his comments.
Jamsco: your entry feels like an excerpt from an ongoing series or a much larger work-in-progress and just doesn't work as a standalone piece. When I read it, I get the feeling there's an enormous amount of context that I'm missing. Is there another site somewhere that carries more of Ogden's ongoing story? I'd like to see the larger work and get a better idea of what it is I'm looking at.
Snowdog: I loved it. This dialog between two overworked guardian angels going off-duty at 3 a.m. on New Year's Eve is probably closest to what I had in mind when I posed this challenge — but, surprisingly, it is not "most like what I would have written." Very nice work.
Passinthrough: I'm glad to see that you're writing longer pieces. This one is a very nice slice of life in an America few people see, and almost a prose poem. I'll take that back; it *is* a prose poem. Very evocative. It has a resonance that lingers long after reading, and I find myself still thinking about it. Hmm...
Arisia: a great first entry. You manage to pack an entire dystopian novel into 1,000 words — and maybe that's what's wrong with it. It feels too compressed, and more like an outline for a story than an actual story. In any case, while it's a very good idea, it just didn't engage me emotionally, the way some of the other entries did. But definitely, do keep trying.
Knarf: yes, I know, no one else saw the email from Knarf and the teaser for the story he promised to write, about being present backstage in Times Square when they hauled Dick Clark out of his coffin and reanimated him one more time. Perhaps it's better for the world that that story remains unwritten — but dude, either write the @#$&^ stories or stop talking about what you intend to write!
Torainfor: this one posed us a pretty problem. It is, simply, a terrific story, well thought-out, well written, and thought-provoking. There are a couple of very minor micro-writing things that would benefit from one or two more polishing passes, but again, you've written a story that is probably professionally publishable.
The problem is The Vidad Rule, which we almost implemented awhile back when Vidad was winning routinely week after week. Contests get frustrating when the same people keep winning all the time, and so I started holding Vidad to a higher standard just to give others a chance — and that was probably a mistake, as he dropped out. I don't want to risk driving you away, and I certainly don't want you to back off and take it easy on the others — there is not one iota of "fairness" in the publishing business and you should always write to the very best of your abilities —
But I have to echo Henry's comment. Dang, lady, why aren't you publishing professionally now?
Anyway, while Snowdog's and Passinthrough's entries were both strong contenders, the clear winner this week is Torainfor's story, so Torainfor, come on down and claim your prize.