Just one great reason I chose Jim Hamilton as October Contest winner

If you read the collaboration story Jim Hamilton wrote with me, you probably already know why I chose him as the winner for my October Contest. He wrote a great ending to the story!

(If you have not read it, then read it now. It’s fun! And besides, this post has spoilers.)

All the October submissions were great! Next week, I will share one finalist’s story that you will also enjoy.

If you loved Jim’s version of the story as I did, you don’t need reasons to love it. But here is the 1 big reason it was chosen as the winner.

Image: White farm house. Text: October Contest Winner - Almost Home - Winner of the Matthew Cross Flash Fiction Collaboration Contest - matthewcrosswrites.com
WINNERJim Hamilton is the winner of the Matthew Cross Flash Fiction Collaboration Contest

1. It’s the ending!

Here’s one thing I’ve learned in running a finish-my-story writing contest: Pick an open-ended premise and leave it wide open. Let the contestants choose their own direction.

It’s not fun or exciting if there is only one possible ending. If I write the hero into a corner with only one way out, there’s no surprise for the reader. There’s no anticipation.

And it’s worse for the contestants. If there’s only one possible ending, what fun is that to write? Then it just becomes a matter of style. Who can write this one ending with the most flair?

So I’m constantly surprised by the endings that contestants come up with. The variety of endings surprises me every time, even though I plan for a story with endless possibilities!

Jim took me by surprise and I bet he got you, too! For whatever reason, I had imagined the “dark triangles” would be ships of local law enforcement. I figured they were headed towards Cass to enforce some kind of global quarantine. But, I try to include concrete details that are still open to interpretation. I want to leave a lot of room for my contestants to take a different view, a different approach, and give it all a different spin.

Jim did not disappoint!

He decided that the “dark triangles” were ships of an alien species, a dangerous enemy and the source of the Vere. Fantastic!

As I lean to see more clearly, the chitinous head turns in its helmet and three eyes glare out at me.

But wait, it gets better still!

I freak out and without even thinking, pick up a large rock and bring it down on the faceplate of the helmet. I expected it to break open, but instead, it causes a narrow crack through which a green gas sprays into my face.

I love this! In just a few sentences, Jim whips us back and forth. Cass is safe! No, Cass is in jeopardy! Wait, is Cass safe?

Then, BAM! It turns out Cass has found the cure for the Vere and will save the planet!

I didn’t even know if Cass could possibly make it to safety when I stopped writing my portion of the story. I really had no idea how to get Cass out of this jam. I left that task for my intrepid contestants.

And Jim delivered.

Thanks, Jim!

Be stellar!

Matthew Cross

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