And The Winner Is

We’d like to commend all the contestants for their courage and hard work. Creative writing requires exposure, at every stage of the writer’s development, to achieve its fullest potential. Posting your work for thousands of readers to scrutinize is always nerve-wracking. Sometimes it’s downright scary. The reward, even if you don’t win the contest, is that you’ve numbered yourself among those who try, and thus among those from whom winners are ultimately chosen.

Keep exposing your work. Keep trying.

We hope you’ve made new friends. If not, snoop around some more, identify pieces you like, and track down the writers. If they’ve responded to comments on their own pieces, often they’ve linked back to their own blogs. Adopting a suggestion from one of the contestants, next time we do this we’ll offer to link to a blog, website, or Amazon page—any place the writer prefers—from the byline below the story’s title.

Make all the friends you can. If you’re new to publishing, you’ll soon find out how much you need them.

Now to the stories. We studied every one, agonized over many of them. Too many, in fact: only a few can be recognized, in order that winning or placing in a contest will have significance. Which means we sadly had to turn down pieces we thought were wonderful. Speaking for myself (Steve), I agonized most over those that touched me emotionally, but that fell a little short as traditionally structured tales. That’s not to say that vignettes, character studies, and nontraditional structures have no place in fiction. Rather that in 250 fiction, nods will generally go to work that has a discernable plot, because among elements of fiction, plot is the greatest challenge within the confines of 250 words. Having said that, we couldn’t resist one or two that eschewed the norm.

Judging is highly subjective. There’s no getting around that. Keep writing and submitting.

First we’d like to thank the readers, whether contestants or not, who contributed to a sense of community. By commenting constructively on entries. By promoting the contest. In general, by being supportive of the event. Naming such readers is difficult, because any cut-off would be arbitrary. They know who they are, and so do we.

Next we’d like to thank the artist who provided the prompt. Catherine Vibert is a professional photographer in North Carolina. Her work has taken her to India and Asia and has earned numerous honors and awards. She is donating an 8 x 10 fine art reproduction of the prompt to the winner of the contest.

Finally we’d like to thank the guest writers. They do the same work as the contestants, without any expectation of reward. They do it for the love of writing and for the sake of sharing. And, in the case of Steve and Wendy, because they’re the judges and figure they need to put their butts on the line too:

#53 Precie
#92 Amara Royce
#100 Stephen Parrish
#106 Wendy Russ
#116 Sarah Hina
#181 Catherine Vibert

A finalist is someone who should have won, yet didn’t, for the sole reason that there can only be one winner. Congratulations to:

Finalist: #35 The Way the World Ends, by Josh Vogt

Finalist: #49 The Old Quilt, by Lee Wright

Finalist: #126 Revenge Served Hot, by Mary McCluskey

Finalist: #136 Daddy's Little Girl, by Sarah Laurenson

Finalist: #149 Less Than the Moon, by Donna D. Vitucci

Finalist: #165 Between Life and Death, by Heidi Heim

Finalist: #226 Mousetrap Thievery, by Chelsea Resnick

The winner of the 2012 Lascaux 250 Fiction Contest, out of 237 wonderful entries, the recipient of the virtual medallion depicted above, $250 in cash, a fine art reproduction of the contest prompt, and publication in The Lascaux Review, is

WINNER: #30 Visitation Rights, by Dino Parenti

Steve’s thoughts: the plot is embedded in a past routine, rather than presented in-the-now, but that doesn’t detract from its power. The theme, the bitterness of divorce, is integrated into the story in the form of allegories; for example, the estranged father takes out his frustrations over losing his house by firing a shotgun at abandoned houses. I especially liked the employment of detail (“gnashing on a spicebush twig”) and the metaphors (“bleed the day,” “exploded the abandoned silence”). And yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: when I read Dino’s story I immediately thought, “This has the feel of a winner.”

For 2013 we’re moving the contest to the spring; submissions will open 6 March and close 22 March, the Vernal Equinox. Prize information and other details will be provided as the contest nears.

The reason for the move is that we plan to conduct additional contests, in short story, poetry, and novel writing, that we believe are better suited for later in the year. The prize money for 250 as well as the others is largely dependent on how much we receive in donations.

Subscribe to this blog to keep up with future 250 contest announcements, or send us your email address using the “Stay Informed” link in the sidebar. If you submitted to this contest you’re already on our mailing list. To stay informed of other contests, check in periodically at The Lascaux Review.

Interested in joining our team? See this post.

—Steve & Wendy, with Erica, Jennifer, and Pete


Elizabeth Grondin said...

Congratulations, Dino! Wonderful story!

Patsy said...

Congratulations, Dino.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Congratulations to the winner! It was a great story, Dino.

Congrats to the finalists, too, and best to everyone. Keep on a'writin'. said...

Congrats to everyone and to Dino as overall winner. I was amazed how many entries there were.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to the winner, the finalists - and the judges!

Catherine Vibert said...

Congrats to everyone, winners, judges, readers and all! Great contest, thanks Lascaux curators, you guys rock!

Elise Fallson said...

Congratulations to the finalists and Dino! And thanks to everyone who made this contest possible.

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Dino and all the other finalists. A big congratulations to all that took the time to write a piece. Thank you to all the readers who went through and read the submission by each of us. This was a great contest to be a part of and I look forward to creating an entry for the spring contest.

Harmony Stalter author of (#23) The Shattered Mirror

Dino Parenti said...

Wow...thank you all so much for your kind words (and any forthcoming ones should they arrive). It's an honor to have been a part of this with so many other unique voices. This is humbling at its best.

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, dino :)

Whirlochre said...

Congratulations to a worthy winner.

Danette Haworth said...

I do love flash fiction. These stories were rich, laden with more than you'd think 250 words could convey.

Anonymous said...

wonderful party. congrats to dino, and to all writers who, as they say, get their butt in the chair every day.

Margaret said...

Congratulations, Dino and all the finalists. Well done!!

Thanks Steve and all the team for a great contest and the chance to read so many wonderful entries.

Jade said...

Congrats to the finalists and winners, and many thanks to our hosts and judges!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Congrats Dino!

Still working my slow way through the entries. Hats off to the amazing judges who not only read them all in a short time, but did so thoughtfully!