Announcing the winners!
Early Surprise

1st Prize - $750
Kathryn Rantala - "Metropolitana"

2nd Prize - Levenger
"Leather Brief Bag."
David Veronese -
"The Operation"

3rd Prize - Levenger True Writer pen.
Laura Valeri - "Water"


Vince Donovan - "Equalization"
John Cottle - "Sailing Into Orion"
Barbara Lucy Stevens - "Expansion"
Laura Ellen Scott - "Carrion Flower"
Theresa Boyar - "Glass"
Kevin Durden - "Sandman"
Geoffrey Fox - "From A Trolley Stop in Amsterdam"

Comments from
Short Story Judge
Walter Cummins

Judging the Contest

The first quality I look for in a story is freshness, a new experience for me as a reader. My preference is for originality. But most stories return to familiar subjects for our time and placeódivorce, divided families, serious illness, the traumas of aging. In such cases, I want a unique approach, perhaps one that plays against common expectations.

But freshness is just a starting point. The story should develop coherently, economically, and consistently in ways that are more inventive than my expectations as a reader. I want to be surprised, not by tricks, but by the richness of an imagination. And I donít want to be distracted by material that doesnít belong, undermining the storyís integration.

Finally and crucially, the story must have an ending that emerges from the material and gives it a sense of aesthetic completeness. The issues raised for the characters donít have to be resolved; in fact, such a closure might be a falsification. The ending could be a final insight into the situation revealed through a scene or even an image. But it should satisfy by conveying a sense of wholeness.

Walter Cummins, December 2003

In 2004 a Special Issue of INK POT will be published containing the ten top stories and flashes. All authors and regular subscribers will receive a complimentary copy. Readers may order single copies when it is announced.

1st Prize - $250
Yvonne Zipter - "Gunther's Wife"

2nd Prize - Levenger True Writer pen
Bethany Harvey -
"Abandoned School Bus
Off Timber Run Road"

3rd Prize - Levenger leather 'Snap Journal'.
Joseph Young - "Troubadour"


Gary Cadwallader - "One God Is Too Many"
Terry DeHart - "A Cure For Unemployment"
Brad Field - "Chocolate Dum Dum"
David Fromm - "Birth Mark"
Pam Mosher - "Just Like A Girl"
Marc Phillips - "Measured Mile"
Yvonne Zipter - "A Legend In Her Own Time"

Comments from
Flash Fiction Judge
Bob Thurber

First and foremost, I want to thank Beverly Jackson for inviting me to judge Lit Pot's first Flash Fiction Contest. It was an honor to be considered for the job and a pleasure to read so many fine stories. Lit Pot continues to attract new writers and fine talents. I wish her and her staff the best.

There is always some ambiguity for various responses to a work of fiction. Tastes and attitudes dictate. Certainly what follows is a highly arbitrary short list gleamed from a number of impressive entries. I wish there could be more winners, more names, more prizes.

The overall quality of the submissions I read was high. I found something to admire in all of them. Some pieces, to my mind, needed further development (a tweak here, a tiny twist there) but most were well-crafted, and all of them were enjoyable to read.

The "flash" form puts heavy demands on the writer to make every word count, to make every action resonate, to walk a tightrope of character and development and plot. I admire such tension. I crave it in my reading, and often go back to masterpieces like Hemingway's "The Killers," for another dose of relentless pacing and taut suspense, another fix of immersion in a precise and vivid fictional dream.

I congratulate the winners (whose names, at this writing, I still do not know) and I thank all the writers for sharing their wonderful, wonderful dreams.

Bob Thurber, December 2003

Christmas cactus graphic by Glenn A. Osborn © 2003

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