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Classic SFF Review


Monthly Short Story Winner: Poetry

Welcome back writers and readers! How was your May? I hope you enjoyed some lovely spring days, because it looks like summer has come early this year, at least in my area of the world. But despite the heat, we have a lot of cool contests to tell you about this month.

First, and most importantly, this is the very last month to enter your short story in our Fantasy-Faction Anthology contest! I know a lot of you have entered already, but if you haven’t and you can hurry, you still have a little time left. The contest ends on June 30th, so get those entries in today!

Now onto this month’s contests!

April’s theme was poetry

Rose Red by KaliLainePhotography

For those who didn’t know (I being one of them) April is National Poetry Month in the US. And since we haven’t done a poetry contest since last March (2011), I thought it was due time to have another one, just for a change of pace. That being said, this month’s rules are very easy.


1. Must be poetry.
2. Your poetry does NOT have to rhyme.
3. Must include some element of fantasy.
4. No dirty limericks.
5. Poems must be a maximum 24 lines, this is normally a short story contest, epic ballads would be a wee bit long.

And the winner of April’s challenge is poochletty! You can read their poem, “The Empath”, at the end of this article. Congratulations again poochletty!

You can view all of our past winners’ entries here.

May’s theme was paths

Path by gordon.adler

Traveling in our world is pretty simple. We print out our directions or type our destination into our smart phones, then take off along marked roads to destinations where we will arrive (barring traffic) exactly when we know we will. In fantasy traveling is not only difficult, but it can be deadly. And fantasy roads don’t always lead where we believe they do. In fact, sometimes the biggest adventure in a fantasy world is the road itself.

This month go where the path may lead you, and write a short story or scene involving travel on a road, trail, or path. It could be a hidden tunnel through the trees, a cart path cut over rolling hills, or stone steps up the side of a snow covered mountain. All roads lead somewhere. Where does yours go?


1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 – 2,000 words.
3. Must include a road or path as a major element or theme in addition to some element of fantasy.

You can vote for May’s winner here.

Voting ends on June 28th. Check back next month to see who wins!

June’s Writing Challenge

African Desert by BethWold

Deserts are mysterious places. They burn with heat during the day and freeze at night. They can be full of life and still look empty and desolate. In fantasy, they can conceal hidden ruins or magical oases. They contain bustling civilizations or stand as barriers between kingdoms.

This month’s theme is deserts. Your desert can be filled with vast hills of rolling sand, towering towers of stone, or populated with unusual and hardy plants. It can take place in the star covered darkness or the blinding heat of the noonday sun. All deserts hold challenges and secrets all their own. Show us what lies hidden in yours.


1. Must be prose.
2. 1,500 – 2,000 words.
3. Must include a desert as a major element or theme in addition to some element of fantasy.

Contest ends June 30th! If you’re interested, you can enter here.

Good luck to all entrants! Check back next month for more Writing Challenge fun!

Now please enjoy our winning poem!

– – –

“The Empath”
by poochletty

What is this terrible pain I feel?
It burns until I want to scream.
Why does this sadness seem so real?
Please wake me from this awful dream.

Who brought this love into my heart?
I can feel it swelling in my chest.
Whose guilt is tearing my world apart?
Why don’t I feel I did my best?

What smile is this upon my face?
My cheeks hurt from its giddy strain.
How do I know the smell of this place?
Why do these memories cause me pain?

Whose tears are wet upon my cheek?
Whose ache is this inside my head?
Whose calmness is it I must seek?
To rid me of this looming dread.

“She’s so unstable,” some people say.
Yet all of my life, I’ve doubtlessly known.
Many feelings that have come my way
Were emotional heartaches not my own.

I weather the storms that would set you adrift.
Leaving me better, or leaving me worse.
I am the Empath, this is my gift.
I am the Empath, this is my curse.

– – –

Congratulations again to poochletty! If you’d like to enter our monthly writing contest, check out our forum for more information. Happy Writing!

Title image by ContemporaryEarthArt.


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