Sunday 11 March 2012

Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest - the judgment is in!


The Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest had five entries (not counting my own entry or the under-16 entry). The challenge was to write a princess story, from 300 to 1,500 words long, that portrayed a strong princess, the kind of princess that would be more likely to save herself than to wait for a prince to come and rescue her.

I would have loved more entries, but of the five entries for the competition, we had some really good stories to read. There was no specification as to whether the stories had to be written for adults or children and we got a nice mix of both kinds of stories.

Including myself, there were six judges, both male and female, and each judge picked their top three favorite stories, ranking them from first to third. Of the five stories, all of them wound up in the top three of the judges more than once.  Up until the last vote came in, there was a tie for first place. The sixth judge broke the tie though so we have a winner!

And the winner of the prize is...

My Princess Wears a Superman Cape by Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky (Melissa Writes)!!!

'The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction

Melissa, you will be contacted for a mailing address. Congratulations! (I will also e-mail you a winner's badge that you may put in the sidebar of your blog if you so choose.)

The close second place in the judging was The King is Dead by Scott Hunter and deserves to be mentioned.  As I said, every one of the stories was in the judges' top three choices at some point, so congratulations to everyone who entered on writing some thoroughly enjoyable stories!

We only had one entry in the under-16s, so 11 year old Jade with her story The Brave Princess is the winner of the teddy bear!

Princess Parade Flash fiction Challenge Under 16s winner

Congratulations, Jade!

Monday 5 March 2012

The King is Dead by Scott Hunter - Entry for Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest

fairytale storybook

Scott Hunter sent in this entry for the contest.

“The king is dead.”

The court fell silent at those words, and for Princess Cunegonde – sitting, as she was, at her usual place of reverence within the long dining hall – this silence was unbearable. She had dreaded hearing those four cursed words for months now, ever since her royal father had lifted the handkerchief from his mouth to reveal those spots of blood on the stark white fabric.

She felt a tap on her shoulder, then, and Cunegonde was snapped out of her trance – she had not noticed, it seemed, that the hall had long broke out into whispers and movement, so many people scurrying about on new-found business.

“Your grace, let me offer my sincere condolences,” He was the first of many, Cunegonde knew, and that was not a pleasant thought at the moment; and there were those words.

“My good lord,” Cunegonde replied, taking very special care to make sure all the words came out well and fully formed, to not let her grief show, “Your condolences are appreciated,” She paused, then, and deliberated her next sentence, what she wanted to say versus what she should do. 'I will run away this one last time', she told herself, 'I must be alone right now, and tomorrow I can sit on that throne for all time.' So, she continued, “But I fear I will retire to my chambers now, this news has shaken me somewhat.”

“Why, your grace, of course,” How she would like to have hit him then, “Let me escort you out.”

“No,” she interrupted him, her voice a command, “I shall see myself there,” and with that she was gone, knowing that this was the last time she would leave this hall. The guards on the doors did not help her make a subtle exit, but that did not matter once she was outside, away from them all.

Cunegonde felt bad later, she really did, and sat in her chambers for hours, stewing over it. She should not have left, she knew – it was not the action of a woman of her position and, yet, part of her was glad she had done it, 'It was my father who died,' she said to herself, 'Why should I have to remain there for their sake? Now, I am in a position to do as I...' But no, she could not finish that sentence, for she knew it was not true. She was not at all in a position to do what she wanted, only to do what had to be done; and there were things that needed to be done, before the night was through.

It was approaching midnight, after all, 'The end of my last day,' She thought to herself, with some measure of resentment, and then she felt terrible for resenting her own father's death, 'I cannot look back,' she decided, 'There are things that must be done and I must do them – I am not who they think I am, I have made sure of that, and now it is time to become my true self, the person who I was always to be.' So she took some paper and ink, and wrote down two simple words, 'Your grace.'

“Take these to my captain,” she told a the guard outside her door, “And hurry.” Then her guard was gone, and Cunegonde could only hope that her carefully laid plans would come to fruition.

She had not stopped watching that light for hours, the one she could see from her window, emanating from a nearby tower. Granted, there were many such lights, but Cunegonde knew the one she wanted, and had dared not take her eyes off of it, for fear that she might not find it again – no, not for that, for fear that she might miss the moment when that light went out, and all the terror that was wrenching her gut would stay there forever, unable to be moved by anything but the end of that light.

Then, all at once, it was extinguished. Cunegonde exhaled, then, in all manner of relief. It had been done.

She did not have long to enjoy the moment, though, as her attention was directed to a more pressing matter. There were footsteps in the corridor outside, and as Cunegonde hid in the blackness of her chambers, her door opened. Strangely, she was very glad she had not misjudged her uncle, in all his scheming ways; this man entering her chambers now confirmed it all, that all of her actions had been entirely justified.

Things passed very quickly, after that – she saw a figure approach her bed, and heard the rip of metal through fabric as the man stabbed into the sheets; and then she was on him, her own dagger piercing his flesh. She held it firm as the man went limp.

“Your employer is dead,” she whispered in his ear.

“The king,” the man replied weakly.

“My uncle was never the king,” was her reply, “And he never will be.” She had made sure of that this very night.

The man was dead, then, and Cunegonde went about calling for some guards, 'My father is dead,' she thought, 'And so is the Princess. Long live Queen Cunegonde.'

873 words

Sunday 4 March 2012

The Brave Princess - Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest Entry (Under 16s)

fairytale storybook

The Brave Princess
by Jade (11 years old)

Once upon a time, there was a princess named Isabella. She was locked in a  tower.

One night, she told herself, "I can not stay in this dirty place." She was determined to plan her escape.

She sat at her princess desk with her paper and pen trying to think of a plan for her escape. Despite her situation, being trapped in the tower, she was a brave princess. Her plan was to dress up like her mom, the Queen and then tie up some bed clothes like a rope. Then she would begin to moan at the wicked witch.

The wicked witch treated princess Isabella like a slave, so Princess Isabella dressed up as her mom the Queen and acted out her plan exactly as she had planned it.

It worked. Galloping through the woods on the horse that she had found tied up just outside the tower, she saw a handsome prince. "Hello, I'm Prince Andrew and what is your name?" asked the prince.

"I'm Princess Isabella," said the princess.

The prince smiled and asked, "Will you marry me?"

Princess Isabella thought and then said, "Yes. Are you Prince Charming?"

Prince Andrew replied yes, so they galloped back to the castle of the king and queen. The king and queen were delighted to see the princess . After that, they planned the wedding.

One of the phrases Princess Isabella kept hearing being said was "walk through the fire to God." She asked herself, "What does that mean?"
Her family was delighted that she had found love, but soon Princess Isabella started to cry because prince after prince came, another and another and another.  They all claimed to be her Prince Charming, but she knew they couldn't all be, so she ran away from all of them. She ran all the way to England and she is still there.

This story was sent in by 11 year old Jade as an entry for the under-16s.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Modern Day Warrior Princess - Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest Entry

fairytale storybook

I am not elligible for the prize, as I am the one doing the judging (along with some friends), but I thought it only fitting that I wrote something for the Princess Parade Flash Fiction Contest anyway. Besides, it's fun theme for writing a story!

Modern Day Warrior Princess

by Rebecca Fyfe

Marie walked beside her husband in the crisp night air. The movie had been okay but nothing to get excited about. It had been enjoyable to get out away from the children for a few hours though. Dinner and a movie with her husband had been a welcome break. James gently slipped his hand over hers. It was only a short walk home. They’d given up their car many years ago and never regretted it once. Most places were within walking distance from them anyway.

The clouds moved and the light glow of light from the moon disappeared just as they started walking across the field near their neighborhood. A shadow moved in front of them, and Marie was startled when she felt James’ hand grip hers tighter and pull her up short. She looked up and saw a man standing in front of them. He was almost as tall as her husband and was built like a linebacker. It was difficult to distinguish his features in the dark, but there was enough light from the nearby streetlights to glint off the knife he held in his right hand.

“Hand over your wallets and jewelry and no one will get hurt!”

James held up his hand in a placating gesture. “Okay, we’ll do what you say. You don’t need to hold that knife out at us.” He reached into his back pocket for his wallet.

In the next moment, the thug had hit James over the head, knocking him forcefully to the ground. Stunned, Marie could only think that he must have thought James was reaching for a weapon.

“Why did you do that?” Marie surprised herself by yelling at the thug. “He was just getting his wallet out like you asked!”

“I’m the one with the weapon here, so shut up!”

Marie could tell this guy was not the brightest guy they’d ever encountered, but he was right in that he was the one with the weapon. He was also nervous and violent and Marie wasn’t convinced that handing over their possessions would earn them any safety from him.

She took a step toward James as he got to his knees and tried to stand up, but was brought up short by the thug snarling, “Stay where you are!”

“I will not! My husband is hurt and I am going to help him.”

The thug moved towards her, moving faster than she had thought him capable and within a blink of her eyes, he was standing behind her holding the knife to her throat. By then, James was standing and growled out, “Let her go!”

“Stay back or I’ll cut her!” the thug yelled.

Marie was getting really tired of all of this posturing by the thug and she decided that enough was enough. This guy was violent and dangerous and he was threatening both her and her husband. If she didn’t do anything, one of them might not make it home alive to see their children again. She would not be threatened by this moron any longer. She clasped her hands together and swung her elbow back with as much power as she could put into it, hitting him in the middle of his gut while stomping hard on his right foot at the same time.

The thug made a muffled “oof” sound as he bent forward, his knife nicked Marie’s throat slightly as he pulled his hands into his stomach and let go of her. While he was still doubled over, Marie spun around and kicked him in the face. She heard a crunching sound as her foot made contact with his nose.

James was about to move in to help, but realized that Marie was handling the situation quite well on her own. He stopped for a brief moment, experiencing a swelling of pride in her. He watched her kick and pummel with the grace of a ballerina in her movements coupled with the force and power of an avenging angel. She was stunning in her ferocity. He’d always known she had it in her. She was normally easy-going, funny and sweet, but he’d seen the fierceness in her eyes whenever she thought her children were threatened. He’d always known that she’d be fierce and courageous, his own beautiful warrior princess, if given the right circumstances.

But really, he was beginning to feel sorry for the idiot who had decided to threaten the two of them. He was laying on the ground now, blood pouring from his nose, holding his hands over his head as he curled into a defensive ball. James supposed he should take pity on the criminal and call the police before Marie did any more damage to him.

790 words

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Princess Parade Flash Fiction Challenge

fairytale storybook

I recently read this article by Amy Fox about a new Disney Princess book. The book is so ridiculously awful. The storyline makes Cinderella seem so completely shallow. I hate the idea that little girls are reading drivel like this.

This blog might be about princesses, but I have tried to convey that "princesses" as described by this blog are strong, independent, self-confident, clever, creative and kind-hearted, not weak, submissive, dependent, insecure, shallow and self-centered.

In response to Disney's new Cinderella book, I've decided to run a challenge. (Also I need more material for this blog, and a challenge seems like a good way to possibly get some. Besides, I like taking part in challenges.)

The challenge is to write a story that involves a princess in some way. You can use a wide scope to interpret this, but in your story, your princess needs to be strong and independent, possibly even the "hero" of the story. The story can be dark or light in nature. The story has to be between 300 and 1,500 words. You can write it for adults or for children, but remember that this is a family-friendly blog. Post the story on your own blog and link it here by using the button at the bottom of this post. If you don't have a blog of your own, you can e-mail it to me through the contact form in the sidebar and I will post it here. Make sure you post the word count along with the story.

Deadline to get your story posted is March 4th. The winning entry will be chosen and announced here on March 12th. Please go through to read and comment on everyone's stories; it's not required, but it's a nice thing to do.

You must paste the linky at the bottom of your post. (Click the link below  to copy the html code to paste into your blog.)

get the InLinkz code

1st prize is the book "The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the Field."

'The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction

Note: I have decided to add a secondary contest within this one. If any children under 16 years old would like to enter, there will be a separate judging for their entries and the prize will be a different one. The winner of the under-16 entries will win a teddy bear with a special message about the competition on its t-shirt.