Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Valentine's Prompt Winners

Well, we had some very united judges during this last round. There are some new names on the list, which is always exciting. And all three judges - independent of each other - decided to throw some honorable mentions on there. There's no points for honorable mention, but it's cool all the same.

Received votes for first place:
Kait Culbertson
Katy McCurdy

Received votes for second place:
Tonya La Course
Jordan Newhouse

Received votes for third place:
Jordan Newhouse
Talia DeAndrea

Honorable mentions:
Tonya La Course
Emii Krivan
Rachelle Rae
Courtney Calvert
Mary Quinn

This round's writing prompt went live yesterday (click here to take a looksie), and if you're looking for some inspiration or an idea that will wow the judges, here's a sampling of last round's winners:

By Kait Culbertson

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day. I never can forget it. That dreary day...my sister and I playing in the yard...the van pulling up and the strange men grabbing us...

Being fourteen, I knew it was my responsibility to protect my little sister; no matter the cost. Dad had always drilled that into me. I shouldn’t have allowed her convince me to play in the yard without the guards. It’s all my fault, and every year when Valentine’s Day rolls around again I am reminded that I failed my sister.

It’s been three years. My parents don’t even know she’s dead.

Fact is, I’m still captive.

The judges' comments: Chilling! You’ve hooked me with this and I can see great possibilities with this. I hope you explore this more. Great pacing with a punch at the end. Good job!/ Great hook. I would delete the last line because it gives the line before it even more punch. My parents don’t even know she’s dead. This is an AWESOME ending hook.

By Katy McCurdy

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day. I always dread it - more than my forced marriage to Tommy McNuff seven years ago. I fear the fourteenth of February like the devil. And not just because it was the anniversary of my baby’s death, but because I knew the next day another mother’s arms would be empty.

I remember the year after the baby died something just snapped in Tommy. On the fourteenth he was gone all day only to return late that night, strangely quiet. When I looked in the newspaper the next day, I knew why. It’s happened every year since. And I can’t get out.

The judge's comments: Oh, yikes! Wow. This piece is loaded with tension. Excellent work!

By Tonya La Course

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day. I never learn,NEVER! After eighteen years you’d think I had it figured out. Every year I convince myself next Valentine’s Day it’s going to be different, I will have a date. It’s like my New Year’s resolution of love.

But this year WILL be different. This year I will give up searching, I don’t need a man to feel happy. Here February 15, I am starting anew and journaling my goal while sipping my coffee at Starbucks.

“Excuse me, did you drop this” His eyes are a deep blue, so deep you could dive into them.

The judges' comments: Exciting possibilities with this! I like that she is going to be comfortable with who she is, and then love comes in the door. I like the phrase New Year’s resolution of love. Very nice./I love the romantic possibilities, the voice, the description.

By Jordan Newhouse

Here's the thing about Valentine's day. I never even knew about it until I was 16.

That day some people came to our apartment. My mother said to stop glaring, they were there to help us. I glared anyway. If marauders hadn't come to our village we wouldn't need their help. We would be at home in Africa and my father and sisters would be alive.

Just before they left one of them looked at me and said, "Happy Valentine's day". I couldn't understand her language, but her kind smile communicated plenty. It was at that moment that hope began to find a place in my heart.

The judge's comments: Excellent! You showed hope that is in this world. Nice original twist on Valentine’s day being about love AND hope.

By Talia DeAndrea

Here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day. I always eat a sandwich. And not just any sandwich – a falafel sandwich. A falafel is a ball made from ground chickpeas, and my family eats them stuffed in pita bread, thus the name "falafel sandwich." Let me explain our tradition…

It started when my parents went on a trip to Israel on Valentine’s Day two years ago. They were eating falafel sandwiches aboard a boat sailing on the Sea of Galilee, and Dad was about to pay the waiter for their meal when he bumped into another passenger. His wallet went flying through the air and headed right for someone’s dinner plate!

The judge's comments: LOVED the falafel sandwich. Unique, different, and I want to know more about what happened.

The entries for this round's prompt are already rolling in, which is so fun. I don't envy our fabulous judges. You guys make their job tough!


  1. Congratulations everyone :)

  2. Wow, I can hardly believe the judges picked my entry!

    My big tip to get chosen would be to focus on emotion. That's what I have learned so far from the comments I have gotten (both on my winning entry and previous ones) there are some great articles on this sort of thing (look up Deep Point of View and Show/Tell) on this site: http://storysensei.blogspot.com/

    Jordan Newhouse :)

  3. Jordan brings up a really good point - use your comments :) All the judges here on Go Teen Writers are passionate about mentoring the upcoming generation of writers. They say what they do because they think it will be helpful and/or encouraging.

    And Story Sensei is a great blog. The writer, Camy Tang, is a sweetheart.

  4. Kait -- Oh! I absolutely LOVE it! I'm hooked. Please write more!

    I think these are great, Steph, because beside's all the amazing feedback -- seriously, who else gets that? -- we get some great story ideas from what we've written! :)

  5. Yay for the winners =D

    I love getting feedback from authors who've had more experience than I have. =)
    It helps me greatly.

    Hopefully my writing will pay off one day.

  6. Congrats, girls! I'm ecstatic :-). Thanks for choosing my entry!! I'm doing a research report on Israel so I think that kind of sparked a little interest for falafels :-).

  7. Mrs. Morrill, did you get my entry for the new prompt?

  8. Congrats winners! This one was fun and I was so surprised I won! lol

    Thanks Stephanie for all the fun!

    - Kait