Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recent Writing Prompt Results

Okay, as promised, here are the winners from the January 17th writing prompt, "With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed."

Received votes for first place:
Courtney Calvert, who had two votes for first
Rachel Heffington

Received votes for second:
Emily West
Abbie Mauno
Joshua Hildebrand

Received votes for third:
Kait Culbertson
Moriah Newhouse
Emii Krivan

Congratulations, everyone!

As promised, here are some samples of the winning entries and the comments of the judges:

By Courtney Calvert
With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed. But Phillip Screwdriver had never been sent to the principal’s office because of his name before. Consequently, he was wary as he sat on the not so comfy chair in the principal’s stifling hot office. When Mr. Aldrich finally came in, Phillip’s hair was sticking to the back of his neck and he was convinced that he wouldn’t last the whole year in this Arizona heat. As he saw Mr. Aldrich raise the gun however, he realized he might not survive the next few minutes.

The comments:
This seems so simple, yet there’s so much going on. I love the last line – so unexpected after the ‘ordinariness’ of the rest of the paragraph. I also love how tight the writing is, and how beautifully vivid the descriptions of the heat/Phillip’s hair/the office are.

I chose this one as my favorite because it took a familiar scenario and turned it into something extraordinary. The character is in DANGER! What a great hook!

By Rachel Heffington
With a name like his, he could never go unnoticed.
Pride. A Pilgrim name for a kid born on Thanksgiving Day. People thought it was hilarious.
Mr. Pride Afall. He was grown now, and the years gave the name no dignity.
It was constantly before his eyes. Even on his license. He took to poking fun at his name before anyone else could, like a clown telling a joke before being asked. It was his way of coping with the humility.
“I know what you’re thinking: Pride goes before Afall, right?” He would laugh. If he kept it up long enough, he might grow to see the humor in it.

The comments:
What kept this from becoming just a clever use of a proverb was the attention to the characterization. Also demonstrated control by having an introduction, middle and close in 100 words!

By Emily West
Poor Banquo. With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed.
We decided to sit down at a table away from the band. He told me he had just moved to town, and ventured towards The Brew, which was my mom’s coffee house.
“So tell me about yourself,” I said sipping my coffee.
“Well, I named after some dude from MacBeth, my mom’s a drunk, and I have a dog named Jabber. Any questions?”
I had tons of questions and started to ask my next one as I looked into his gray, hazy eyes.

The comments:
I like the voice and dialog – how both the setting and the characters are quickly identified and made unique in a few short sentences. Lots of information is given, quickly with no wasted words. There’s a sense that this will be a very deep story about very deep characters.

By Abbie Mauno
With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed.

I had met the new kid across the street. He was seemed nice. But Tullula Does the Hula from Hawaii had no chance of surviving in our ninth grade class. When the teacher announced his name, the whole class erupted with laughter. As Tullala’s face grew red, he glanced at me, like he wanted some backup or something. I tried to work myself up to say something in his defense, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.

I looked away as Tullula took his seat in the back of the class.

The comments:
At first, this would appear simply comedic. The writer, though, surprises with the conflict within the narrator and, ultimately, his failure to stand up for someone.

By Kait Culbertson

With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed. And that was exactly what Paisley Calamina wanted.

“Sir, have you seen the front page of today’s Times?”

“No, I haven't. Thanks Charlotte.” Paisley said as he accepted the newspaper his secretary held out.

Striding quickly into the connecting room, he sat down at his desk before glancing at the headlines.

Independent Presidential Candidate, Paisley Calamina, Makes History Yet Again By Claiming Another Blue State For His Party.

A smile lit his face as he read. Everything was falling into place perfectly. No one would ever forget the name Paisley Calamina.

He would make sure of that.

The comments:
This entry reveals the author's understanding of motive and the promise of a story waiting to unfold.

By Moriah Newhouse
With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed. It was Archibald's sophomore year and his first day at Elkwood High. He knew he had a problem when his name was longer then his school. Breakfast, the school bus and finding his first class went by nice and fast, but then someone introduced herself to him.
"salutations! My name is Ninarika-Nicolle. I am so terribly fortunate, Nicolle is spelled with two L's."
"Mine is Archibald."
"That's it? Only one moniker? It's not even that long. Wait until Zuriel-Erasmus hears!"

The comments:
This one rocks. It’s funny! I really like how the author took a familiar idea (who hasn’t experienced anxiety walking into a new school for the first time?) but turns the conflict on its ear… the essence of comedy. Good stuff!

By Emii Krivan
With a name like his, there was no hope of going unnoticed.

I’d moved to Hollywood because my dad was directing a movie. Only, he’d failed to mention it was starring Zac Efron.

“What? Dad, no! I wanted to be the normal kid, for once in my life.”

I’d imagined myself walking the halls like any girl in her sophomore year, as they called it in the USA.

But I was sure of it. The moment word got out that my dad was directing this movie, there would be absolutely no hope.

That was, before I met Plan B.
The comments:
This is a nice set-up to the story; the girl’s personality, worries, and problem are quickly established, the writing is tight and to the point, and the voice is right on target. Also, the last line is wonderful.

Just a reminder, there's a new writing prompt out, so get those entries into me by the end of next Monday.

And when I'm not writing to you from a cold-medicine-induced-fog, we shall discuss setting.

Off to Zzzzzzz....


  1. Oh wow, there's some great stuff in here! I especially loved Courtney's twist -- I had to read the sentence twice to make sure I'd heard right! -- and your name, Abbie! "Tullula Does the Hula from Hawaii" Oh, and Pride Afall was pretty clever, too. Congrats everyone! :)

  2. "Tullula Does the Hula from Hawaii" is someone's real name! I just heard about it last month (and the person was from New Zealand, not Hawaii, I believe - that was just part of the name!)

    Great stuff here. Congratulations to everyone, but especially my sister Moriah! (I'm not biased...am I?)

  3. Wow! These are so great!I'm impressed. Can't wait to see the next ones!

  4. Congrats to all the winners!!


  5. It was so cool to read different stories!Congratulations!Sierra

  6. Great entries, everyone! Can't wait to see what comes from the next round. (Of course, then I have to pick winners, which is ridiculously difficult, I assure you.) =)

  7. Yes, Congratulations to all of the other winners! :) ~Rachel Heffington

  8. Jordan -- really? Wow. That is an insanely cool name.

  9. I love the way you guys support each other! Makes this so much fun.

  10. I really enjoyed reading all the entries. They were all so creative. Congrats to the winners, and to everyone else for putting in a great effort and making this THE most fun contests I've been involved in yet!