And the Winner Is . . .

Seven judges read 283 entries and nominated their favorites for consideration, placing them into one of two tiers, depending on level of enthusiasm. To earn a medal a story had to receive broad support—had to appeal to the breadth of tastes on the panel. To win the contest a story had to score highest using a simple algorithm that awarded points for breadth of support as well as relative enthusiasm.

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 K├Ânig 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:

Charles Bukowski
The Author of Gilgamesh
Ernest Hemingway
James Joyce
Norman Mailer
George Orwell
Hunter S. Thompson
Thomas Wolfe

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.

Thank you!

—Steve & Wendy, with Erica, Jennifer, June, Merry, and Paul


JRVogt said...

Congrats to Camille and all the other finalists! And endless thanks to all the judges for your tireless in sorting through all these entries. Must've been exhausting.

Dino Parenti said...

Camille, that was a great story and deserved of the win--congrats! And congrats to the finalists as well. A great contest to be a part of all around.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hooray for the winner and the finalists! Wonderful job of writing and judging.

Wendy said...

Congratulations everyone! Great contest. There were lots of wonderful entries. Very tough competition.

Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to all those who have taken the time to read all the entries and leave comments!

jonathan Riley said...

Congratts Camille! Great story. Congrats to the finalists. Thank you all who ran and judged the contest. I had a blast. Can't wait until next year.

Deb Smythe said...

Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks, also, to all the contributors, commenters and organizers.

Camille said...

I think I'm done hyperventilating, now. What a surprise and an honor to be chosen among such amazing writers. Thank you so much for reading and judging and coffee drinking and arm wrestling. And Wendy, I really hope that you didn't have to follow through with that punishment.

Tanja said...

I am so happy to see that some of my favourites placed!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Camille and all the finalists. In my eyes, I believe everyone who entered is a winner. It took courage and confidence in your ability to enter this contest. Everyone should be proud of themselves.

Stephen Parrish said...

Yay Camille! And Ian, Josh, Thom, Jasmine, D.A., Jodi, Emma, Debbie, Dino (last year's winner), Douglas, Meg, Michael, and Jamie. Hope to see you all again next year. If you want to know who the true winner* is, it's me: I got to meet a bunch of cool new people.

*Drinks, nevertheless, are on Camille.

Jen Harvey said...

I enjoyed that. Great winner. Great contest.

Congratulations one and all :)

Wendy said...

I hope she's not wearing "dry clean only!"

L.D. Rose said...

These stories were all absolutely wonderful! Congrats to everyone! And thanks to the Lascaux team for throwing this great contest. :)

Deb said...

Oh my gosh, if Camille's excitement is any greater than mine she needs a Xanax about now. I keep checking the list to make sure my name is really there...what an honor.

Congrats, everyone!

Thom Gabrukiewicz said...

So many great stories, and I am more than thrilled to be named as a finalist. It just makes me want to continue writing - and continue to enter contests like this to get my writing to a wider audience.
I want to thank the editors for all their hard work in this. And congrats to Camille, a wonder read.

Laura Howe said...

Congratulations to Camille and all the other finalists. Many thanks to the Lascaux team for having this contest and supporting the writers.

I like that you post all the entries and allow us to comment and get feedback on the stories. I enjoyed reading all the entries. And I look forward to next year.

Amber McGlothlin said...

I was really glad to see my favorite story in the contest, 7-11, receive recognition as a finalist. The winner and other finalists were also exemplary, so congratulations to everyone. I enjoyed entering, and would love to participate again next year.

Sarah Hina said...

Congrats to all the entrants, finalists, judges, and of course, to Camille. It was a wonderful contest.

Thanks to everyone at Lascaux for putting on a great show!

Aniket Thakkar said...

Congrats Camille, and everyone else who got oh-so-close.

Thanks Team Lascaux, for keeping the fire burning post CoN. I wasn't as active as I would've liked, for the duration of this contest, as I was shifting houses. Hope to make up for it the next time around.

Michael Rourke said...

Thank you to Lascaux for holding the competition and to the judges for all their hard work. Congratulations to the winner. I am amazed and thrilled to have been placed as a finalist as it was my first submission to a writing competition. Thank you again for this great boost! Michael

Margaret said...

Congratulations to Camille and all the finalists - well done!

Thanks, Lascaux team for all the hard work that goes into running such a contest.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to Camille and all the finalists. I am very proud of everyone, including myself, who took the time to enter. We all placed what we hoped was an enjoyable story together and let the entire internet community read it. Congratulations to everyone for being so brave.

Bruce Roush said...

Congratulations to Camille and finalists. Many thanks to hard-working Lascauxers for providing this opportunity.Even though my entry was passed over, I am happy to announce that the movie rights are available for $250.00. :)

Merry Monteleone said...

Everyone did a fantastic job! I had a lot of fun reading all of the entries... and I really hope to get to see more great work from a lot of you.

Congratulations to the winner and finalists. You guys absolutely rock!

Janice D. Soderling said...

Congratulations to all the winners. A fun contest. Pls do it again next year.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to Camile and all the finalists! Well deserved!

And thanks to the Lascaux editors and judges for such a fine contest!

Unknown said...

Congratulations to the winner, and also to all the finalists! Congratulations also to the judges - that was a lot of reading!

Patsy said...

Congratulations to the winner and finalists - and thanks for a fun competition.