Truth be told, I found judging this a lot harder than I thought I would (or perhaps I knew I’d find it hard – I didn’t intend it as a competition, after all.) But that doesn’t mean I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed reading the nine entries and the fantastically creative ways in which their authors have all responded to their respective prompts.
All the entries had something to commend them. @codexonline’s Speed dial I liked for two reasons: firstly, the fact that the phone had been deliberately stolen came as a surprise to me, and I loved that the main character tried to regain the upper hand. As for @HornyGeekGirl, well, what can I say? In a way, this piece was the bravest of all, as HGG was the only one to break out of fiction, the result being a stunningly honest blog post.
@JillyBoyd wrote a beautiful little piece of flash fiction and really made the most of the prompt – the surroundings felt real to me, which matters a lot when I’m reading erotica (but more on that later.) @FSolomonRR cleverly used the prompt both figuratively and literally, and I *loved* that her heroine was a proper sassy hot mess who I could relate to. And that picture!
In @IamAnnaSky’s piece, it was the second paragraph that rang particularly true, especially given the current weather. ‘Foreplay for the apathetic’ sounds like a wonderful way to spend time. @The_Lady_Sybil’s piece was brave too – I had no idea she wrote erotica until she got in touch and asked for a polish name! I was more than happy to host her writing, especially given the little details like the way the heroine orders vodka knowing full well it’ll be the last choice she makes that night, the fact that Daddy asks her to write lines. But most of all, it was the sense of shame that did it for me: ‘You taunted me. Showed people. Told me what they said. It didn’t matter that my face wasn’t on them, I knew.’
@MSM1647’s Pedicure was a great tease – for the reader and for the main character alike. Pedis do nothing for me generally in terms of sexiness, but this really was a sexy little piece. And then, coming back to little details that do it for me, it was the little touches of Glaswegian dialect in @Juniper3Glasgow’s piece that drew me in and, in @EA_Unadorned’s Eternal Optimist, the insouciance with which the slick-haired city boy ‘jogged back to the comfort of his corporate box’ left me horny as hell.
Anyway. Of the nine stories, I didn’t have *too much* difficulty narrowing it down to three potential winners. And then I got stuck. I’m usually pretty scornful of people who introduce a 2nd and a 3rd prize at the time of judging (Just pick one, already!) but in the end I decided that’s exactly what I’d have to do here.
Third prize goes to @FSolomonRR. Aside from what I said above, it was the ending of this that really did it for me. I don’t often get off on erotica that ends before the main event, but the sense of longing and anticipation in those final lines (‘Afraid he would get it all over his fingers, she tensed biting his lip before remembering the polish was not wet anymore. But she was.’) stayed with me all of today. I wanted to send her the polish that inspired the story, but it seems to have been discontinued, so instead, she wins another of my favourite nail colours.
The final two are *almost* a tie. I found it so hard to choose between them that I ended up sending them to two friends for their take, only to have one friend choose one story as the winner and another choose the other. So much for trying to delegate judging responsibility!
I mentioned earlier that surroundings/sense of place are weirdly important to me when I’m reading erotica, and both of these pieces do that. You could argue that @EA_Unadorned potentially cheated a little bit here – by writing about Cheltenham when I’d done the same some months back, he knew the setting would turn me on. But earlier I mentioned that the details matter too, and I could list the hot ones from this piece almost endlessly – the tights around the heroine’s ankles, the flowing Guinness, the slap on the arse – all those things made me wet. Couple that with the fact that I think this is a bit of a departure from EA’s usual longer erotica pieces/style and it more than deserves second place. So, what does he win? Well, Alison Tyler’s anthology for Sommer Marsden has just come out, and it’s a great cause, so it seems like a fitting prize.
Incredibly, 1st prize goes to someone who hasn’t written fiction before (although you’d never know it) and who said they thought their story potentially read like a ‘bad porno,’ which I can assure her it doesn’t. Given a nail polish called Marrakech, it would have been so easy to write a piece set there, and I really like that @Juniper3Glasgow decided to put a different spin on it. Sure, I kept reading ‘comeable-on’ wrong, but I *fully* emphathised with ‘I’m not interested in the family he buys them from in Marrakech, because I wish I was slipping a hand inside his trousers.’ Then there’s the risk of getting caught (‘He’s not even flipped over the ‘Open’ sign to ‘Closed”) and that irresistible trickle of come down her side. Hot, hot, hot. Nor does this piece win because Juniper hasn’t written fiction before – it’s especially good considering that, but it’s a fantastic piece and a worthy winner even without taking that into account.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined in, and winners, email or DM me your addresses and I’ll send your prizes ASAP.