Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January 31st Writing Prompt Results

Received votes for first place:
Rebekah Hart
Rebecca Pennefather
Rayna Huffman

Received votes for second:
Monica Burke
Mary Quinn
Emily West

Received votes for third:
Rebekah Hart
Sarah Zakowski
Charlotte Buzzard

As I updated the standings (look to the right sidebar) it occurred to me that I might not have explained how scoring works. Sigh. I'm new at this guys, and I appreciate your grace as I fumble my way through. It's pretty simple - a vote for first gets you three points, a vote for second gets you two, and a vote for third gets you one. I keep a running tally in an Excel document. So. That's the deal.

An update on the end-of-the-year prizes for those who finish in first, second, and third overall. Like at the end of the year. If those winners are interested, I'll do some mentoring services for you. First prize, I'm open to mentoring you for up to a year. I'll read some of your manuscripts, we can talk about the biz and story ideas you have, etc. Second and third prize, I'll do a line-edit of the first three chapters of a manuscript. I could also help you put together a query letter if you're wanting to query agents.

And I can't resist saying I feel super weird offering these services as prizes. Like, "Congratulations, you win me! Aren't you lucky?!" But this is a business where it's challenging to get straight talk out of anyone, particularly professionals. I'm offering it because I think it's the most valuable thing I can.

There'll also be other freebies involved (books, maybe some gift cards), but I'm still working all that out.

Now, onto the good stuff - some of the winners' entries from this last round:

By Rayna Huffman

As I stepped off the bus, I thought, If I removed myself from this earth, would anyone notice.
Something deep inside told me no one would care. A pang of sadness gripped my heart, and I cursed myself for showing the softness.
It wouldn’t do for an agent to turn warm.
The bus rolled off, belching fumes and exhaust. I tucked my hand into my pocket and clenched my only coins in my fist. Ahead of me, a mangled Welcome home! banner hung from a tree, a mocking reminder of what I would never have.
Nobody could love Mahlon Crabtree.

The judge's comments: This is great. We know who the narrator is, have an idea of internal conflict, yet are left with lots of questions. Very well written.

By Charlotte Buzzard

The moment I stepped off the bus, I thought, "He’s not here". The words wormed their way out of my mind and escaped my mouth as a soft, disappointed, "oh". I blinked away the tears, chiding myself for childishness. What use was weeping now? What use was disappointment? Yet, for one instance, I had truly believed he might be there. Scruffy hair and scruffy shirt, smiling his stupid smile, just being alive. “Dead…”- it’s such a final word, so blunt, so hard. It rolls across my tongue.
It tastes bitter.

The judge's comments: The way the author was able to tug at my emotions hooked me. In addition, the author’s voice is unique, showing much promise.

By Sarah Zakowski

The moment I stepped off the bus, I thought, these days were behind me, yet they weren’t. Following the swarm of fellow ‘students’, I head toward the long brick school. A group of girls wink and smile at me as I pass.

Maybe there’d be some perks to this, but who am I kidding. I’d been to Hell and I’m back. I was a boy with a noodle body and clown feet, but after just graduating the academy I have come out changed. Still baby faced, I was assigned to go undercover.

My assignment, find out who was killing students and teachers, but more importantly protect the mayor’s daughter.

The judge's comments: Interesting, and unexpected. I like where you went with this.

And I (Stephanie) love that noodle body/clown feet line.

By Mary Quinn

The moment I stepped off the bus, I thought, “Right or left?”

After two years of suffering I needed to start over. Without a note, I created my new world. I imagined his shock when he woke “partner” less, hung over and grumpy.
Probably shocking everyone in town, I defied my largest oppressor. With no family to inform, I had no reason to put it off any longer. I knew the 100 dollars in my pocket, and the bag of clothes on my back had to be enough to get me settled. I ditched my phone in the trashcan outside our apartment.
I was determined to start fresh.

The judge's comments: The author did a great job of establishing the storyline. The character’s goal, motivation, and conflict were clear.

Now that you've seen some great examples, put your skills to work, flex those creative muscles and enter for yourself!


  1. Wow! These are really great entries. Congrats everyone:-)

  2. Don't feel weird! You're in the position we're striving for so what better prize :) feedback is essential !!!
    Id love it it & I don't even have any points

  3. Wow, they're the best prizes ever!!! And beside's that, it's not like you have all the time in the world, so I'm sure whoever wins will insanely appreciate it and be boasting to her family. (That'd be me, anyway!)Almost ready to send my prompt in...

  4. Great stories.I'll have to just do better :) So I can win :) :) :)

  5. Oh and yes, prompts of awesomeness -- great job everyone!! :)

  6. Congratulations! Mrs. Morrill, did you receive the entry I sent yesterday?

  7. Talia, no, I didn't. Would you please try again? Stephanie(at)StephanieMorrillBooks(dot)com.

  8. Ok, sounds good! I sent an entry for the previous contest, but I didn't get a reply for that either. OK, I just sent it. Tell me if you got it :-)!

  9. Aargh! Talia, still nothing.

    Are you Talia Grace? I have your address from the first round. I can try sending you an e-mail and you can respond with your entry.

  10. Oh wow... sounds like cool prizes =)

    Congratz to the winners!

    Grr I need to write my bit for the next one...

  11. Yes, I am. That would be great, Mrs. Morrill!