Three stories on the short list.
Three reflections of humanity in all it’s grotesque beauty.
And three very different settings.
Before we get to the winner though, let’s hear from one of this week’s judges.
Judge R.D – What makes a good short story character?
I think three dimensional characters are important in any story. A flat character or one that who’s motivations are cliched or
In the contests that I have judged on, many of the short stories spend most of the time moving the plot forward, or describing the settings. Surpisingly, there are very few who actually develop the character.
It’s definitely not easy to make characters sing in a few thousand words or less, but ti can be done. Here’s an example from my favourite for the GROTESQUE PORTRAIT Contest, ‘Oddly Beautiful’
“Father,” Eskander tried to interject.
Fane barreled on, as if he hadn’t heard his son at all. “I have seen this girl down by the windmill. Her emaciated frame disgusts me; she has not a single muscle on her body, her weak arms wouldn’t be able to string even the most supple of bows. Do you know that her bones would snap if she were to fall?” He raised his eyebrows in question. When he received no response he continued his diatribe. “It couldn’t be her strange pointed nose that you like, or her tiny, unseeing eyes that have caused you to feel this way.”
It’s great. I like it because even though Fane is describing the unseen human character, we’re also getting insight into the sort of ‘man’ he is, based on his perceptions, and possibly the culture as well.
Out of the three stories on the short list Judge R.D. favoured Tobias Madden’s Oddly Beautiful. They weren’t the only one. Of the six judges, 3 gave the story their highest scores, making this Romeo and Juliet tale of centaurs and humans the winner for the GROTESQUE PORTRAIT Contest.
Congratulations Tobias, and well done to everyone who entered. Keep an eye out for more from the COMFORTABLY ANON Short list and don’t forget to check out our current award, the LINKBAIT AND SWITCH competition, a quirky, sci themed short story contest.