This week saw three authors face off with a handful on interesting stories that ran the spectrum of traditional and more speculative fantasy genre fiction. Sometime shortlister Jana Winston came up against NiTH heavyweights Lydia Trethewey and Ash Warren in an exciting three way standoff. But who was the good, who was better, and who was the best?
Lydia’s sorcerou story of betrayal and sibling rivalry takes us to a tempestuous world riven by powerful magics. Against a Velvet Sky Hasah scales a great volcano with her friend Kafee, int he hopes they might affect a peace treaty. While lies in wait for them at the top, neither expected.
Meanwhile Jana Winston’s The Sway of the Westwind is a densely metaphorical tale that uses repeated imagery and numbering, as well as interesting structural choices, to propel the story forward in a way that makes it feel deeper than any piece of writing under 1000 words that I’ve read in a long time.
Ash Warren’s The Woman in the Mask took us to the well trodden world of Camelot, but picked up the story much later than we were perhaps used to, showing us Gwendolyne’s unhappy betrothal to Perceval, and the strange mystery of the woman in the iron mask.
In the end, despite a lot of too and froing from out judges as their scores came in, it was Ash Warren’s The Woman in the Mask who took out first place!
The Woman in the Mask fit all the criteria for the award, and is a great story as well. Not only well constructed, using words sparingly to create mystery and drama, but was able to key into our preconceived ideas of Arthurian legend to deliver an unexpected climax, a nice little trick by Mr Warren, who has been repeatedly challenging for first place the last few weeks.
This week’s short list will be another exciting award, the Engineers Do It In Their Overalls contest, where a handful of structurally sound (or maybe unsound) stories will attempt to construct something incredible based on some pretty dubious blueprints.
Enough metaphors? Then check out our Writing Contests page for more upcoming comps.