Despite such quantification, judging creative writing is unavoidably subjective. Every one of the judges has favorites he or she wistfully regrets didn't make the cut.
It takes courage to post your work in venues such as Lascaux 250. Some of this year's contestants are old hands at it, some are doing it for the first time. My advice to the latter is to show your work as widely as possible, to friends, crit partners, critique groups, judges—anyone who will take the time to read and evaluate it. Creative writing requires exposure, at every stage of the writer's development, to achieve its fullest potential. It's why we post every entry.
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. German-born Heidi König is a graduate of Brighton University and the Slade School of Fine Art. She exhibits regularly at various galleries in London and has sold her paintings and monoprints to patrons worldwide. The name of the prompt painting is "The Dive," oil on canvas, 70cm x 55cm, £1650 or $2500.
We are very grateful to all the professionals who took the time to share writing tips with us:
Sean Beaudoin: Never Describe the Weather
Steve Edwards: The Hard Work
Sean Ferrell: No Great Expectations
Kathy Fish: Read
Roxane Gay: Gentle Reminders About Writing
Debra Ginsberg: Writers Still Need Editors
Jude Hardin: Suspense Starts With Character
JoeAnn Hart: For Sale, Used Once
David Jauss: Shorten it by 10%
Stephen Parrish: Listen to Your Doubt-Guts
Midge Raymond: Be an Everyday Writer
Janet Reid: The Value of Short
John Elder Robison: Audience
Mark Terry: Who Is Your Hero?
Jennifer Zobair: Tell Your Story
And to 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:
#52 Sean Beaudoin, San Francisco, 1993
#107 Wendy Russ, Mid-Afternoon Snack
#121 Paul Liadis, Intangible
#235 Amara Royce, A Flight of Fancy
#263 Sarah Hina, Cracked
Finally, a big round of applause for our celebrity writers:
The Author of Gilgamesh
Hunter S. Thompson
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: #5 Ian Hilgendorf, The Ramifications of Might and Maybe
Finalist: #19 Josh Vogt, Escape Mechanism
Finalist: #44 Thom Gabrukiewicz, Catch and Release
Finalist: #47 Jasmine M. Templet, You Were Never Lovelier
Finalist: #75 D.A. Spruzen, Consumed
Finalist: #102 Jodi McMaster, Absolution
Finalist: #110 Emma McMorran Clark, The Cure
Finalist: #126 Debbie Simorte, Salvation
Finalist: #141 Dino Parenti, Remains
Finalist: #147 Douglas Campbell, House Gone Blind
Finalist: #155 Meg Czaszwicz Burke, Ass Kicker
Finalist: #168 Michael Rourke, Room on a High Floor
Finalist: #242 Jamie Burke, 7-11
The winner of the 2013 Lascaux 250 Fiction Contest, the recipient of the virtual medallion depicted above, $250 in cash, and publication in The Lascaux Review, is
WINNER: #13 Camille Griep, Circumstances
Steve's thoughts: I love the tiny vignettes that suggest stories in and of themselves ("Your nemesis jokes you had to pick the right bow tie"), the specific details ("the Chinese place on 3rd," "thinking about brie and champagne"), the vivid metaphors ("mown through the good cheese," "deep layers of red wine sleep"), and other nice touches ("a unique sound you can't un-hear," naming a character Luella). Although the story is told in second person, Luella, described in third, is its star. Her hesitation outside the hospital room door, and rationalization about failing to receive a call, don't provide a denouement so much as crack open a door to a bigger story.
Medal winners, get your medals here.
The 2014 Lascaux 250 contest opens at noon on 6 March and closes at midnight on 20 March. Later this year we'll conduct a full-length short story contest, one that culminates in a published anthology. We'll also be asking you to nominate candidates for an industry recognition award.
Subscribe to this site 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 and activities, check in periodically at The Lascaux Review.
Interested in joining our team? Write to us at lascauxreview at gmail dot com.
—Steve & Wendy, with Erica, Jennifer, June, Merry, and Paul