And the finalists are…



Our contest was about discovering what lies Beneath the Surface, what is hid by the Id, how vast the chasm can be between what is seen and what is actual.  We’ve had about 40 entries, and they have run the gamut; horror, war narrative, homespun, poetic, funny, poignant.

So our finalists, having broken the surface, have a ready made prompt:

Over the Top

Here is what I pulled off the internet:  Over the top.

To an excessive degree; beyond reasonable or acceptable limits.(por ejemplo, the editor-in-chief’s seventh grade humour)


over the topIn the First World War the phrase was used by the British to describe the infantry emerging from the safety of their trenches to attack the enemy across open ground. An early example of that in print is from a 1916 edition of War Illustrated:

“Some fellows asked our captain when we were going over the top.”

More recently, with allusion back to the WWI usage, the phrase has come to describe excessive or foolhardy actions. This figurative use originated not long after the war and the earliest record of it that I’ve found is in Lincoln Steffens’ Letters, 1935:

“I had come to regard the New Capitalism as an experiment till, in 1929, the whole thing went over the top and slid down to an utter collapse.”

Since the 1980s, in the UK at least, the phrase is often shortened to OTT.

O. T. T. was the adult version of the anarchic children’s TV show Tiswas. It was broadcast by the UK television network Central Television in 1982.

Barr and York’s Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, 1982, included a definition of OTT:

“OTT, over the top – outrageous. Usually ‘absolutely’ or ‘totally OTT’.”


And so… our finalists have until 6:00 pm, Tuesday, August 25th, Moscow time to submit up to 350 words using this prompt.  The words must appear in your submission.

Everyone who entered the contest has three votes: two for their favorite, one for the next favorite. Finalists may vote, but not for themselves. No votes accepted until all entries have been posted. Votes sent to

Three finalists were chosen by me based on my taste and professional judgment, and two were chosen at random.

Finalists are Mac Eagan for “Marcus”, Nicole LeDonna for “To Buy a Coat,” Katie C. for Annie Anyoka, Mike Stang for “Child”, and Grant Laurence for “Remembrance.”

Winner will be announced at the book launch for Tiffany Vakilian August 29th. Thanks, Tif, for helping me post some of these stories!

Soooo, my pretties, Fly, Fly, Fly! (but nothing over the top…oh! …wait!)

7 thoughts on “And the finalists are…

    • Mac Eagan says:

      My first-round entry took three attempts before it finally landed in your Inbox, so I’m letting you know I just sent in my finalist story. If you don’t get it, let me know.

  1. Laura G says:

    Thanks for hosting this contest! Commenting, supporting other writers and voting will be as fun as competing in the past! And the trophy is the best yet!

    • thorn says:

      All stories will be posted before 8:00 am on Wednesday. You will have until Friday morning to cast your votes. Remember, ONLY those who entered the contest can vote: Two votes for your favorite, one for next favorite. An entrant cannot vote for themselves. All votes and attempts at bribery(get creative here) sent to Winners announced Saturday, August 29th at the book launch of Tiffany Vakilian, and broadcast on the site on Saturday evening, or Sunday morning, dependent upon editor’s alcohol content.

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