Flash 405, June 2023: “Crescendo” Winners

For our June Flash 405 contest, judge Shze-Hui Tjoa sought writing “that isn’t afraid of its own intensity, of being too much,” and “language that swells with momentum and power.” Spanning fiction to nonfiction to the stage, her selections all crest unexpectedly and pack a powerful punch.

Learn more about Shze-Hui’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

Judge’s Comments:

When I chose this theme a few months ago, I assumed that I would be drawn to the pieces that blew me away immediately with their sheer magnitude and volume. But in fact, reading the submissions has made me realize that dramatic tension thrives off balance. It’s about how much you say versus how much you don’t say—about how steadily and confidently a writer can walk the line from quiet to intense, from implicit to explicit. After all, a crescendo is essentially an exercise in managing contrasts—things need to start quiet first so that the loudness can make a discernible impact.

It was so much fun to judge these pieces and see all the different ways that writers responded to the theme—to spend time with all the strong and musical language on offer. I hope that you enjoy reading the winning pieces as much as I did.

– Shze-Hui Tjoa

Congratulations again to the winners!

1st Place:
Reasonable Doubt by Nancy Ludmerer (Fiction)

2nd Place:
Curbed by Rachael Carnes (Stageplay)

Honorable Mention:
1000 Feet by Amy Cook (Nonfiction)

Congratulations again to the winners! Check out our Flash 405 page for past winners and news on contests currently open for submissions.

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Photo Credit: Derek Story