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Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales Winners

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S.M.A.G., Norah Colvin, @NorahClovin

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By Norah Colvin

Fairy Tales — Fractured in 99 Words

Once upon a time on a virtual ranch,
Was a whole bunch of writers wanting a chance
To fracture a tale in no more and no less
Than 99 words to show who was the best.

The judges were ready, no red pen in sight
And sent out the prompt for writers to write.
In trickled stories one after one
Till time was up and the contest was done.

The judges then read them and read them some more
The stories that numbered ten times four.
They pondered, selected and collaborated
Till agreement was reached on the #1 rated.

Thank you, contestants. We judges, Anne Goodwin, Robbie Cheadle and I, had a wonderful time reading your stories and thank you for submitting them to the Fractured Fairy Tale Contest.

Although many traditional fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’ and conclude with ‘they lived happily ever after’, only one of the stories began, and only two ended in the traditional way (and not one incorporated both). I guess why waste words when you’ve got only 99 with which to play.

The criteria we set wasn’t necessarily easy: to retell a traditional fairy tale with a twist. We said it must include food and we must be able to recognise the story it was based on—all in 99 words.

Overall, responses were excellent with unexpected twists and turns and different interpretations of the original stories, some humorous, some a little dark. Only two stories were disqualified on the word count and two more for not being recognisable fairy tales. All others fitted the criteria giving us judges a tough job to select just one winner.

We were interested to see that a few fairy tales appeared in stories more often than others. Perhaps this was due in part to the requirement to write a recognisable tale as well as to include food in the story. Obviously, it was easier if food was in the original.

We were also pleased to see a modern thread running through the some of the stories. In fact, one of the things we all liked about the winning story was its contemporary feel.

Of the winning story, Anne said,

This entry excited me from the very first reading in its freshness, yet faithfulness to the original right up to the final delightful twist. The voice is crisp and the pace snappy: a fine achievement in so few words.”

 Robbie said,

I liked the modern touches with the GPS and the pizza, and I enjoyed the hint of trouble with the young man with the wolfish smile. I also liked the twist with the young man being attracted to the pizza rather than wanting to eat gran and little red riding hood.”

I also appreciated the use of the GPS and the recognisable touch with it taking her in the wrong direction. The name Scarlett, her task, and the wolfish grin all served to make the story recognisable, and the inclusion of takeaway food completed the requirements. All these worked together to make it the winning entry. We hope you agree with us.

Drum roll, please!

In first place is:

Scarlett by Nancy Brady. Congratulations, Nancy! (Winner of $25)

It was the end of Scarlett’s long day at her new job when she got a text from her mother:

“Take dinner to Gram.”

Grabbing some food from the establishment, Scarlett then plugged Gram’s new address into her GPS and set off in her little red Bug towards The Woods Senior Living Complex.

Yet, despite this, she got lost, making a wrong turn. At a stop light, she saw a handsome young man. She asked for help. Sniffing the aroma, he smiled wolfishly, gave her directions, and then hoofed it to Gram’s for Domino’s deluxe pepperoni and sausage pizza.

Coming a close second is:

Friends of Goldilocks by Hugh W. Roberts. Congratulations, Hugh! (Winner of the ebook, When the Buzz Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton)

Looking in the fridge, Goldilocks was surprised the Bear family had left milk. However, it had turned sour, so she couldn’t make herself a big bowl of porridge to get rid of her hunger pains.

This was pointless, thought Goldilocks, as she got out her mobile phone to check who else had told their Facebook friends they were away.

Sure enough, local food blogger Chris P. Bacon had informed her followers that she was on an overnight food hygiene course.

Perfect. Not only would there be plenty to eat, but Goldilocks could rob the house at the same time.

Of Friends of Goldilocks, Anne said,

I loved the contemporary feel with Facebook used as a central plot device and the subversion of the traditional tale by making Goldilocks a villain. With a few more words – or a bit more time – perhaps the flow could have been a little smoother.

Robbie said,

I liked this story because of the modern touches too. I enjoyed the mention of a food blogger in this piece, and I like the fact that Goldie was a robber and her being in the bear’s house was part of a bigger picture with a more sinister undertone.

I liked these aspects too and loved that Goldilocks checked Facebook to see who was away from home—a good caution to anyone who is travelling. The use of the mobile phone and a food blogger bring the familiar story into the 21st century.

In third place is:

Untitled by Sam Kirk. Congratulations, Sam! (Winner of e-book, Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin)

The wolf was hungry and needed some action. On his way, he saw a beautiful girl in a straw house.

“Let me in, or I’ll blow your house in.”

“I don’t negotiate with terrorists” – were her last words.

Next, the wolf stumbled upon a house made of sticks.

“Let me in, or I’ll blow your house in.”

“I don’t negotiate with terrorists” – were her last words.

He salivated at the thought of bacon, looking at a piggie in a brick house.

He repeated his line.

“Not on my watch” – she shot him and used his fur as a rug.

Of Sam’s story, Anne said,

Like a traditional tale, this story makes a virtue of repetition but with a surprise and humorous ending. The opening line, linking hunger with action, left me unsure whether he wanted to eat the girl or have sex with her. Perhaps it was intentional, but it didn’t set the story up for me as clearly as I’d have liked.

Robbie said,

This story is not as unique as the first two as the pig gets the better of the wolf but the idea of turning him into a rug was most amusing. I liked the comparison of the destructive wolf with a terrorist.

What I like about this story is that it kept to the same pattern as the original story. Neither of the first two pigs was prepared, but the clever third pig was. While I don’t normally condone violence, I think this is a very fitting conclusion to the story. It took me by surprise, and I laughed. It’s good to see women standing up for themselves and against terrorism—a few good messages rolled into one short story. I think the addition of a title would give readers advance notice of what they will read, but since a title was optional, it couldn’t lose marks for that.

In addition to the three winners, from the stories we all rated highly, we each chose a story for honourable mention.

Anne’s honourable mention:

Not-so Modern Love by Liz Husebye Hartmann. Congratulations, Liz!

“WTF! You cut off your toes to fit into my glass slipper? And you cut off your heel! What were you thinking?”

“Cindy!” The two stepsisters looked at each other. “You gotta give up something if you wanna marry a prince!”

Cindy rolled her eyes, grabbed an apple, and pushed through the kitchen door. “You found my slipper?”

“We’ll see,” Flashing his perfect princely grin, he held out the sparkling shoe.

She took it and slid it on.

“Perfect fit!” he crooned. “Now, I also require a prenuptial lobotomy…”

She crunched into the apple. “You really are a jerk.”

Anne says,

In the traditional telling, Cinderella has a satisfying plot, but the happy-ever-after ending is ideologically unsound. I really appreciated this feminist version although, for the contest, perhaps the food is too peripheral to the story.

Robbie’s honourable mention:

Goldie’s Quest by D.G. Kaye. Congratulations, Debby!

Starving and exhausted, Goldie trudged through the forest scavenging for anything edible when she discovered the house in the woods.

Goldie rapped on the door. Curious and desperate, she tugged on the door handle, elated to find it unlocked.

The aroma of freshly cooked sauce filled her nostrils and aroused her taste buds as she spotted three bowls of pasta.

Goldie didn’t hesitate to gobble up all three bowls then headed for the couch for a nap.

Half hour later she awakened to the discomfort of her rumbling, expanding stomach.

“Oh crap,” Goldie exclaimed. “That pasta was not gluten-free!”

Robbie says,

I like this story. I thought the usage of the food theme was very good in this particular piece and the pasta not being gluten-free and upsetting Goldie’s stomach is so modern. Everyone I know has allergies, so this is very topical and will strike a chord with a lot of people.

My honourable mention:

Untitled by Geoff Le Pard

‘Mr ‘ansel? Bad news I’m afraid.’

‘Again? Do you builders ever bring good news?’

‘In Fairyland? You’ll want a happy ending next. It’s the gingerbread cladding…’

‘Yes? Has the cost gone up?’

‘I can’t get any, even with a sack of giant’s beans. You’ll have to make do with carrot or pumpkin.’

‘No way. You heard what happened with that Ella woman?’

‘Cinders?’

‘That’s the one. Her godmother turned the town’s allotment into transport. No one’s changing my house into a veggie vehicle. Where’s the gingerbread gone?’

‘It’s that caterpillar, gone for partially peckish to very hungry and…’ *shrugs

Because this story had no title, it took me a little while to see where it was going, but it all became clear eventually. I like that a variety of different fairy tales and characters have been intertwined to create a plot with a problem. The conclusion, with the inclusion of a very popular and recognisable children’s story, though not a fairy tale, is amusing.

So, thank you to all contestants. We judges had a difficult but enjoyable task in reading all your story. I’ll conclude with a statement from Anne which sums up our thoughts.

Anne Goodwin: I had the impression – and I hope I’m right – that the entrants had tremendous fun crafting these stories, testament to the fairytale genre’s enduring appeal. But I also realised that Norah’s challenge was a lot trickier than it might initially appear. Food plus a recognisable story plus a narrative arc: not so easy to create a new angle in only 99 words.

All qualifying stories entered into the contest are now collected and available to be read under the Rodeo tab Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales.

Thank you, Charli, for hosting the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo for the second year. What a fabulous event that provides an opportunity for writers everywhere to participate in the literary arts in a supportive and encouraging community. We look forward to the third Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo in 2019.


139 Comments

  1. Congrats to the winners and all who entered!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Liz H says:

    You’re right, Norah, it WAS fun! And thanks again to the judges for sorting through so many entries (40–and we hope the reading was as much fun for them!). Also appreciate detail on how decisions/ratings were made!

    Congratulations to Nancy, Hugh and Sam on winning the top three–such a delight to read your twists, and happy and grateful to be twisting the night away, in the background with Debby and Geoff.

    And now, off to view the happy gyrations of the other 34 entrants!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Congratulations everyone and thanks for sharing your stories.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Congratulations to all the winners! All the stories were terrific! So imaginative and fun.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Ritu says:

    Oh Brilliant!
    Congrats to the winners, many of whom I know are wonderful writers!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. […] Source: Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales Winners « Carrot Ranch Literary Community […]

    Liked by 2 people

  7. calmkate says:

    Congrats to the winners!
    I’m off to eat .. err read the others!

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    The results of the Carrot Ranch Contest #4 Fractured Fairy Tales are now posted at the Carrot Ranch. Pop on over to find out who the winners are and to read all the qualifying entries.
    Thanks to all who entered for giving us a fun and entertaining read.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Congratulations to all the writers and the winners of this contest. Fairy fun fiction indeed.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Congratulations to all the winners, their creativity and imagination!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Congratulations everyone! I loved all the stories. Well done. ❤

    Liked by 6 people

  12. dgkaye says:

    Congrats all. Thank you Robbie 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you Charli, Norah and Anne for including me in the fun. Here is my article on Rodeo #4: https://bakeandwrite.co.za/rodeo-1-the-winners-and-my-99-word-dialogue-piece/

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Wow! What a surprise to find my piece of flash fiction being placed in the top three of this contest. Thank you so much, judges. I’m glad you enjoyed my twisted fairytale. From what I’ve read of the other entries of this contest, Goldilocks seems to have been a popular choice.
    Thanks to Norah for her work as lead judge, and to Anne, and Robbie for judging the contest with Norah, and to Charli at the Carrot Ranch for hosting another wonderful contest. Congratulations to Nancy and Sam for their stories being placed in the top three and also to Geoff, Liz, and Debby for their honourable mentions.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Congratulations to the winner! Well-deserved. I enjoyed the judges comments.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Congrats to the winners! Some very wonderful tales here!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. […] little piece secured a HM in the ‘Fractured fairy tales’ competition at the Carrot Ranch. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow! Thank you to the judges for reading all these excellent flash fairy tales. Frankly, I don’t know how you were able to choose between all them. Hugh, loved your choice of name (Crisp P. Bacon); it made me laugh as well as your flash’s twist with Facebook modernity. So, too, did I enjoy Sam’s feminist take on the Three Little Pigs. Gluten allergies, building issues with a gingerbread house, and what women might do for love (or not) were equally clever. Kudos to all of you.

    Now to read the rest of these tasty fractured fairy tales.

    Thanks to the judges for picking mine from all of them. I am over the moon (along with the cow).

    Nancy Brady

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Jennie says:

    I enjoyed each one. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Loved your own fractured fairytale as your intro, Norah! What a great contest, huge congratulations to the winners Nancy, Hugh and Sam and Liz, Debby and Geoff for the honourable mentions. Enjoyed every story in the collection, loved the prompt 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. floatinggold says:

    Oh, man, I did not expect that.
    I’m honored. Many thanks to the judges. Your feedback is most appreciated.
    CongratZ to the fellow winners and honorable mentions. Great crowd.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. […] long time ago, in a place right here where I’m typing on my laptop, the mystical land of Carrot Ranch advertised a contest to write Fractured Fairy Tales and I submitted some […]

    Like

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A 5-Star Readers’ Favorite!

Thank you, Writers of Carrot Ranch!

Congress of the Rough Writers, Carrot Ranch, @Charli_Mills

Inspired Quill Publishing

Lead Buckaroo & Sasquatch

TUFF Judge Laura Smyth

Bob & Sue Spitulnik

TUFF Judge Cynthia Drake

Continental Fire Company

Solar Up

readilearn

Bill Engleson

Susan Sleggs

M J Mallon

Colleen Chesebro

Miriam Hurdle

Rodeo Leader Geoff Le Pard

Rodeo Judge Esther Chilton

Rodeo Leader Irene Waters

Rodeo Leader Sherri & Judge Mike Matthews

Rodeo Judge Hugh Roberts

Rodeo Judge Anne Goodwin

Rodeo Judge Robbie Cheadle

Rodeo Leader D. Avery (Soon to be released new book)

Rodeo Judge Bonnie Sheila

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