Read the submissions HERE.
See the voting results HERE.

(I find it interesting that NONE of the pieces that placed in the top 3 for the public vote were in my top 9. And the winner of the jury vote was my #9. “Viva Voce” was my 3rd choice, and it came in as a first runner up. The others that placed for the jury vote were not in my top 9. The overall winner for round 2 wasn’t even in my top 30. So…I may be looking for something that others are not, and not seeing things that others are. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see my top choices.)

It’s hard, but not impossible, to write a complete story in 100 words. That was the challenge with this round. So many of the entries were more what I’d call a “scene”–a moment in time with little or no connection to any plot; it also means little tension or character development.

Without those things, there is no story, and I have a hard time connecting in that case. Scenes, unless extremely unique or emotionally riveting, are less impactful than stories, and as the assignment was to write a story (which requires exposition, rising action, conflict, a climax, and a resolution), I easily disqualified entries that did not measure up to these plot demands.

When the word limit is tight, certain elements of plot can be hinted at rather than described in detail. But, I feel that one cannot skimp on character development or tension. If there is no sense of conflict, there is no real story.

With that said, here is what I thought about each of the entries. As always, I encourage writers to take what helps and leave the rest. It’s easy to become discouraged or to take a bit of criticism personally. Since there were so many entries, I haven’t slowed to make the criticism too specific, but if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or twitter (@brigitwrites).

1)The Guilt Trip
–Dialogue makes for a strong beginning, throwing the reader directly into the story.
–I would have liked some promise of a story outside of the scene.
2)The Rival *
–No wasted words here…each one really seems to count and each one is well-chosen. Craft and style are high in this entry. In such a small space, this piece manages to create tension.
–I’m just a bit confused about the rivalry, but with such a small word count there wasn’t much room to expand.
3)Wicked Wishes
–Good use of dialogue.
–There is little real story here…nothing much to set it apart from the others.
4)The Reverent *
–Lovely style and word choice – sentences are crafted carefully. The internal tension is there, and the character is clear.
5)The Long Wait
–This piece tries to cram to much action and passing of time into one small space. It would be stronger to focus on just one part of the story and allow a hint at the rest, rather than to cover so much ground in just a few short paragraphs. I’m left feeling unsatisfied. I don’t get to really feel anything about the characters, and there is no tension.
6)Keeping Warm
–It’s well-written, and I do get a sense of some story…a bit or the dynamic between the two characters.
7)Inches of Ink
–I want to love this one. The idea is creative, but the whole thing felt rushed.
8)What They Don’t Know
–I’m confused. They? The men? And then suddenly there is a Her? With a van? I’m not sure what is going on here. I need more back story.
9)Surrounded by Friends
–This is certainly erotic, but I don’t get much sense of the characters or any real story.
10)Double Trouble
–Some hot description, but another scene that gives me very little insight into the characters or any real story.
11)His Master’s Wife *
–Well-written and gets at the heart of the tension and character motivation quickly. While this is only a scene, it hints at the story outside of this paragraph — the desire for his master’s wife.
12)Midsummer Mantle
–Very poetic. The clipped sentences at the beginning, blend into longer more descriptive ones. Description is this author’s strength. I still really dislike that phrase… “a blessing of suck and fuck,” and I don’t think it fits with the rest of this writer’s voice.
13)Behind Closed Doors
–Sexy description…but just a scene – nothing more than a hot hotel encounter – nothing to make this memorable. No surprise or unexpected twist. I get no sense of character here. Who are these people and why should I care about them?
14)To Ask Consent
–Another that is very poetic. The language is beautiful and the sentence structure is complex. I like that, but there is still little in the way of character development or plot.
15)Obedient Screams
–Hot…but no story. I get no sense of the characters, nothing to remember.
16)Sleight of Hand **
–Ha Ha! This one made me laugh! I like how this writer kept with the overabundance of alliteration. It added to the humor. There is character motivation, and the plot twist at the end definitely makes this one memorable.
17)A Nocturne *
–This is beautifully written. There is a sense of character, and though I’d like more story, I do get a feeling of something happening outside of this scene.
18)Scent into Heat
–Well-written. I get a sense of the narrator’s character, though not much of a story beyond this scene.
19)Moonlit Lovers
–The sentence structure could use some work, as the majority of the sentences begin with pronouns or articles. It lends the piece a monotonous rhythm.
20)The First Night *
–It’s well-written, but there isn’t anything particularly memorable here.
21)Academy Award Winning Performance
I’m assuming there is a remote-controlled vibrator at play here, but it isn’t clear. And what is the point of the Oscar Nomination? I’m confused. I can see this is an attempt at a twist or surprise ending, but it left me with more questions than answers.
22)Mating Rituals *
–I like the premise here…the character motivation and the character development. There is also a well-employed line of humor and a lovely ending. I am bothered by the shift in verb tense – “She she shivered slightly…” when the rest of the piece is in present tense. But, this is still a good story. Great title, too.
23)Her Guilty Pleasure
–Just a scene. I do like the momentum that intentional fragments can create, and if this were simply a paragraph within a larger piece, I’d call this good writing. As it stands, there is nothing that stands out about this piece, no conflict or tension, nothing about the characters for me to grab hold of.
24)Carnal Catharsis *
–The initial sentence that this is built around already had the necessary tension and character development needed to catapult it into a story. I like how this writer expanded on the scene. I’m not sure if that tear is caused by intensity or guilt. But this does motivate me to wonder, and that is a good thing.
25)25 Momme Count
–There is an overabundance of the pronoun “I” in this piece. And there is no story. It does not instill in me any sense of emotional connection to the “narrator.”
26)Midnight at the Bluenote
–This piece paints a good picture, building the scene/setting, but there is no plot or indication of any story outside of the moment described.
27)More than Friends
–This one moved too quickly, spanning too much time in too little space. It tries to cover too much ground.
28)First Lesson
The title is good. It hints at a next lesson, which means there is more to be told. It’s well-written, but I don’t find it particularly moving or unique.
29)What Do You Want?
–This one attempts, somewhat successfully, to create character, but I’m left wondering, who is she talking to? Is there another person here, and hence some tension to be built? Or is this simply a monologue?
30)Following Instructions
–This entry does impose some tension into the story. But, I feel like there could be more character development. There is promise of a story outside the piece…another night, so the writer has taken care to couch the scene inside the possibility of a larger narrative.
31)Beneath His Gaze
–A hot description, but there is no story here.
32)Viva Voce ***
–I do like this one! It is immediately a story – the setting detailed efficiently, and the characters’ roles created quickly, mainly through dialogue. I like the promise of the story to follow, even though the Professor seems a rather unwelcome pursuer.
33)Kei Conquered
–I can see the seed of a story beginning to grow, but the dialogue is off a bit and doesn’t blend stylistically with the narrative. Maybe it is intentional, to make the Madame seem crass? There is tension here, as well.
34)A Dark Little Corner
–This one paints the setting and develops the conflict well, though I am left wondering, is this man aware of her lust for him? Is she just “another conquest.” I have a lot of questions.
35)The Lesson *
–I like how this one sets the scene and builds the tension, but I’m wondering about the ending. How is this prophecy? I get a sense that he is understanding his wife might want this, but there isn’t enough for me to be sure.
36)Bound Flower *
–This is well-written and builds at a steady pace. The dialogue is also good. I’d love more character development and more of a plot (or hinting at one).
37)So Greedy
–The description of the scene is good. Anticipation is built slowly. It felt a little anticlimactic that she just settled in a gave up to her desires. There wasn’t anything else to be done, no promise of more to the story. Nothing memorable.
38)Bound to Secrecy
–Nothing memorable here, either. Just another forgettable description without character development or plot outside of the sex scene. This writer did do a good job of blending the borrowed sentence, though. It fit perfect, like a puzzle piece.
39)Predator and Prey *
–Hmmm…I get the distinct sense of something supernatural at play here. And I like the idea of the prey being the predator. I’m iffy on the 2nd person narrator…it does create a more active and feeling of audience involvement.
40)Lead the Way *
–This pretty simply and effectively sets up the premise of a story, rich with anticipation. I like the connection between the two characters, and the reassurance of the repeated inquiry. That also gives it a sense of completion, the dialogue a set of bookends to the exposition of a story that could be continued in a second part. Nice job. I found this one very satisfying, stylistically.
41)Blowing the Organ *
–While I’m not in love with this (the female character is a bit cliche and the intro a bit clumsy), I do love how beautifully this writer blended their story with the original sentence, providing it the backstory it so desperately needed. Plus, the humor is enticing.
42)Parting, Such Sweet Sorrow
–There isn’t much to remember here. It’s written well enough, but there is nothing to set it apart, no unique element in character or plot or conflict that draws me to it and won’t let me free from it.
43)Forever Fisted
–I like the subtlety in description for a very unsubtle moment.
44)Winner Takes All *
–Good blending of the original sentence. It provides a backstory, though I wish there were a bit more to grab me in style or narrative.
45)The Sacrifice ***
–Well, shit. There’s a good momentum here that leads us to that powerful finish. I’m just not sure it would be a bedframe he’d be tied to, would it? This definitely has the primal feel I bet this author was going for.
46)Wet Cunt, Whetted Cunt
–While there’s no question that this writer has style and craft down, I’m confused by the interaction between the characters. How did Kirnan get in front of the bus, is he a supernatural creature, and why is it a question of whether Blair will let him back in? Too many question….
47)Time and Familiarity
–It’s a sweet scene, and I do get a sense of time and character, but it is still just a scene.
48)Peep Show
–How do you slip a dress up and down your arms? It’s an interesting premise, but I crave more character development.
49)Prima Nocta **
–There is promise of a story to come, dialogue, and tension. I had to look up “prima nocta,” but once I did, it made the story much more rich (obviously) and gave it complexity and depth.
50)Nerves and Anonymity
–This one does have a bit of tension, but a few awkward sentences killed it for me (He sounded very almost too much/…the hardness he’d described her fantasies as having caused him). And the final sentence, while alliterative, is simply not powerful enough to be memorable.
51)Memories of You
–Who wouldn’t remember that? However, the story itself is not enough to stack up against the competition. No twist or humor or striking characters. Just a quick retelling of a wanton moment.
52)Shameless Chaperones **
–I love when a writer uses the title as an integral part of the story. It actually explains the conflict of the story…the thing that creates the tension. I did like this one, as I could imagine the action in my mind’s eye, and also because it made me giggle rather gleefully at their naughty escapade.
53)Easy Come *
–This writer does a nice job with character development. I get a pretty good sense of Connie. I also appreciated the continued alliteration throughout the piece; it made it blend well with the original sentence.
54)The Widow
–This one does a decent job of creating a premise – the connection between the characters and a motivation for Garret’s actions. But it was a little melodramatic.
55)Virtuous Reward
It’s a decent set up to a story. I get a sense of the characters and the premise for their interaction.
56)Leap of Faith
–I have a lot of questions, and I am quite distracted by the verb tense shifting.
57)Waiting for Permission *
–Good word choice, description, and dialogue. But there isn’t much that is unique or memorable.
58)Night Bus to Pleasure **
Well…that would be disappointing. I like the ending.
59)A Simple Solution
This successfully gives context to the original sentence.
60)Tender Longing *
–There is a sense of conflict, as the character is unsure if Lana realizes her lust for her.
61)Waiting For…
–The last line leaves the reading with a wondering anticipation.
62)A Carnal Conundrum *
–I’m not sure if this writer takes it too far, or if I love it. I’m strangely perplexed.
63)Dante’s Club
–This piece tries to create a sense of story with the reminiscence, but I’m not positive I understand the lighting issue.
64)Her Pain, Their Pleasure
–I get no sense of character development or story. This appears to simply be sex for sex’s sake.
65)Tahitian Shores
–A well-written scene, the original sentence blended perfectly, but there is no plot here and no character development.
66)No Longer Hidden
–Same as 65…well-written, well-blended, but no plot. I think there is a bit of character development, at least of the narrator, but otherwise…nothing to build on.
67)In Harmony
–This felt more like a poem…beautiful phrases that abstractly describe a setting and scene.
68)Succumb to Seduction
–The staccato sentence structure (short, starting with pronouns, subject/verb construction) felt repetitive. There is no emotion here.
69)Ex Machina
–The language here is rich, but I’m not positive I really understand what is going on.
70)Office Space
–This one has potential, as I see an obvious dynamic and character motivation. But, I don’t get a real sense of plot/story, outside of this closet.
71)Amy’s Board Room Reward
–I get a sense of the connection between these characters, and a bit of plot set-up…but what did she do to be rewarded?
72)Starlit Surrender *
–it’s a beautiful piece of writing and blends well with the original sentence’s style. I crave more of a story from this scene, though. This is merely a moment, and there is no hint at a greater plot outside of it.
73)From Across the Room *
–A romantic, sexy moment. The characters’ connection is apparent, and I like the repeated dialogue used as bookends on either side of scene.
74)Mother Superior’s Big Day ***
–Funny! I am a fan of puns, and this one uses the device perfectly!
75)People Watching
–There is potential here. This writer uses dialogue well, but I’m left wanting for a more satisfying ending.
76)Longing
–Verb tense is a problem here. I get no real sense of the characters and little emotion in the words. This piece doesn’t make me feel anything.
77)Exquisite Torture
–This particular original sentence seems to have encouraged a very similar response from many writers. This one, like the others, is a beautiful scene, but there is no plot…no character development. And the last line is a little sentimental. Watch out for too many sentences beginning with “She” or a like pronoun. Vary the sentence structure a bit.
78)An Unexpected Dinner Guest ***
–I love how this ends on the precipice of tension! This entry has a perfect sense of timing and builds to a crescendo.
79)A New Life
–This one tries hard at creating a story, but there isn’t enough emotion infused in the words. It comes across as a little empty, considering the intensity of the situation.
80)Sloppy Seconds ***
–Oh my! I did not see that ending coming! (Ha Ha…see what I did there?) This is a brilliant (and unique) use of the original sentence). I don’t love the title, but I can look past that.
81)Life Itself
–I’m not sure I even really know what is going on here…or why. I get no real sense of context for the events or the characters.
82)Jacob’s Fantasy
–Not bad. It doesn’t use the sentence quite to the level that other writer’s have, but it sets the scene and explains the connection between the characters. The ending just isn’t as gratifying as say…78.
83)Best Friends Forever
–This feels more like a retelling of a story, rather than the story itself…quick, direct, too the point, and devoid of detail and emotion.
84)Slow Seduction
–The pronoun You is overused. There is no real plot here, just a sexy scene.
85)Pheromone Fete *
–I have many questions about this one. Who is she meeting…why? The phrase “as if he cleaved the evening’s gloom” give the scene an essence of foreboding, which seem s out of place against the rest of the description. I do like the possibility and expectation in the final line.
86)A Good Girl
–A lovely description, but I don’t find it particularly unique, nor is it really much of a story.
87)Blind Anticipation
–The title is good…as this does create a feeling of anticipation.

Overall, there were many very good entries here. The writing itself was good, pretty much all around. The thing that sets apart the excellent from the good, however, is craft. Those entries with true elements of plot, good use of dialogue, humor, and/or real stories that made me feel something were the ones that rose to the top.

My very final decisions were for those stories that packed a punch in some way and were hard to forget. They were well-written AND had a certain artistic flair. They were more than just scenes, they were nuggets of biggr stories, and they expertly hinted at those larger narratives.

I put a * next to the entries that stood out for me, and a ** next to those that I ended up choosing as my top 9. I put an extra * next my top 5.

My top 5 are the stories that I knew right away, from first reading, would be in my top choices. They had that certain something that can’t completely be defined. They were tight pieces that hit all the marks for a good piece of erotic flash fiction. They show that it CAN be done, and well, in 100-125 words. Look to them as good models for the next round.

My vote:
#1 – An Unexpected Dinner Guest
#2 – Sloppy Seconds
#3 – Viva Voce
#4 – The Sacrifice
#5 – Mother Superior’s Big Day (interestingly, the only writer of my choices with whom I am familiar)
#6 – Prima Nocta
#7 – Sleight of Hand
#8 – Shameless Chaperones
#9 – Night Bus to Pleasure

And as always…may the odds be ever your favor…

14 Replies to “Smut Marathon – Round 2 Feedback”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to give some feedback. As someone who is still a bit of a newbie to all of this; I appreciate the honest feedback. It helps show where I need to work on things a bit. Yes writing a story in 100 words is possible ( flash fiction and micro fiction exist after all) but damn if it isn’t tricky, lol. Learning to balance plot, character, show don’t tell, and have everything make sense…this is what I will be working on to prepare for next year’s marathon.

    1. I’m glad it helps. I put a lot of time in to it, and the whole point is to let writers know their strengths, weaknesses, and what I am looking for as a judge. These first few rounds are really hard, I think…partially because it is difficult to stand out in such a large pool of entries.

  2. Thank you for your feedback Brigit, I really struggled with this assignment. I tried to write a few ideas down with different sentences, but the sentence I chose, the idea I had, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

    I don’t know if I will still be in after the next round, but this has been an experience I will never forget.
    Sweetgirl recently posted…People Watching – the bigger picture.My Profile

  3. Great feedback Brigit – I do think with so many entries it would be difficult for everyone to choose the same and of course as you say what we like to read is so subjective. However I thought it was pretty good that three of my top nine were also in your top nine and the same again with cousin Pons.
    I am enjoying being a judge far more than I thoughtmay i would x
    May More recently posted…Round two feedback~ Smut Marathon 2020My Profile

  4. Thank you, Brigit, for such fulsome feedback and, of course, for your flattering approval of my story, ‘Viva Voce’. As someone who is very new to this game, it was hugely encouraging to me to be rated by two judges!

    I have a feeling that it might turn out that the ‘short and sweet’ is my strength – I’m more nervous about future rounds, as the word count grows… but we’ll see.

    I’m loving it – I wrote my Round 3 on Sunday afternoon and had to force myself to hold back on sending it in straight away! Maybe I’ll refine it, or write something else that is better – I’ve got a bit of time to mess around with it this coming weekend but I rather suspect that my spontaneous output will be the version that gets submitted… Then it’s the agony of waiting for voting and results all over again!

    1. I agree. When I competed, I’d worry over it and then write 2 or 3 possible entries. But I usually went with my first. I’d say, trust your gut. If you really like it, you will never feel bad about what you submit, and the results are secondary to how you feel about your own efforts.

      1. Good advice, I think! And I’ve followed it and, after minor tweaking, I’ve submitted my story… Hope you, and others, will like it (but, as you say, Brigit, the important thing is that I’m happy with it!)

        1. Excellent! I can’t wait to see how the cards fall this next round. I’m always so excited to find out who wrote what piece.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to review all the entries. You mention you had a lot of questions on my entry (56 / Leap of Faith) and I’m interested, if you have time, to elaborate a little on that. I did think about the need for a story and create an arc of sorts, but the limit of words was a challenge. I found one of the most awkward parts was getting the tense to line up with the sentence, and realise now while I had adjusted the start of the piece, I’d missed the last two sentences. I’m always looking to refine and improve, so if you have time I’d be interested as to what was missing, the reason for the questions that remained.
    Dirty Romantic recently posted…youmakemeneedyou:Want to read a ton of erotic flash fiction? Want to see all the interesting…My Profile

    1. First, I was wondering who these characters were, what they were doing, why they were there. That isn’t a problem with a longer piece, because making a reader wonder can hook them. Here, you’ve hooked, but I’m left at the end still unsure. At first I thought they were in a library, but later details suggest this is an office. Others are sleeping…who? What is she risking? That is the big question, since, ultimately, THAT is the conflict. If the setting, character dynamic, and conflict were clearer and set up earlier, I wouldn’t have been so confused. I hope that gives a bit clearer picture. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

      1. Those are very good questions! It appears you failed to look inside my head at the exquisite backstory I had created in the halls of the old Swiss finishing school. I tend to like to let the reader fill in the gaps themselves and create their own elements of the story, but I can see how that doesn’t work on such a short piece. Points to consider for next time and a few more words to see if I can achieve that clarity. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

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