Here are a few of the winning entries:
By Rye Mason
I never thought I'd come back, yet here I am. White lights burn the top of my head where my hair has been rolled into curls tighter than I thought humanly possible. The pressure makes my face tingle. I twist my knuckles and run my tongue over my lips, pulling away shreds of lipstick that taste like crayon, folding them under my tongue and trying to concentrate on the acidic taste instead of the camera bearing down on me. Breathe. Please breathe.I hear the click and whirr of the camera before the faceless row of an audience that assumes me guilty.“I did not kill my brother,” I say.
The judge's comments: Wow. You got it all…setting, intro to characters, mood, hook, and big stakes. Superb.You’ve done a wonderful job lacing imagery, strong verbs, and conflict into your story.
By Alyssa Liljequist
I never thought I’d come back, yet here I am. Blossoms quiver on tree branches. The spring air tastes sweet. I want to spit it out.This is where I lost him. Right here on this street corner. They came. The men. The car. The guns. They came.That day he had been grinning, tugging my curls. I gazed into his soft brown eyes. I laced my fingers through his.They took him.Tires squealing. Strange voices barking orders. Hands grabbing, throwing him into a car.I couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t even think. Not until it was over.Besides, if they could kidnap a spy, what could I do?
The judge's comments: Excellent! Very vividly written—the use of short, punchy sentences perfectly conveys the mood, and it leaves with a bevy of questions. This is a hook that would leave me desperate to flip to the next page.
By Jordan Newhouse
I never thought I'd come back, yet here I am. My brother Aaron stands with me before Ramses, who was also once my brother. Their piercing stares challenge each other to realize their true positions - the one a slave to Egypt, the other a slave to power."Great Pharaoh, the God of our fathers demands that you release Israel from bondage.""And why should I believe that your God has spoken this?"I drop my stick and even before it touches the ground it begins to writhe and turn into a snake. Ramses remains unmoved."Quite impressive, Moses. So you ran away to the desert to become a magician?"
The judges' comments: Awesome job! The hook is clear, conflict strong, and the characters are introduced through their actions. Overall, you do a great job writing a strong opener. / Love it! A familiar story, but the closing dialogue gives it a wonderful flavor, perfectly showing how little such a thing would impress a man surrounded by magicians. I also love the “slave to” line.
By Monica Burke
I never thought I'd come back, yet here I am.Ed wastes no time. He slaps me across the face as hard as he can before asking in a low voice, “Where have you been?”My cheek stings where his hand made contact with my skin. “I-I was at school...”“LIAR!”Suddenly, I find myself lying on the ground, my head throbbing. The world around me slowly turns to black and the lines that define my surroundings begin to fade. Ed is reduced to an indistinct shadow, dark and foreboding, looming over me.“No more lies, Abby. Where were you?”If I only knew.
The judge's comments: Strong ending...made me want to know more.
By Katie Scheidhauer
I never thought I’d come back, yet here I am. No other reason I could have come back. Leilani. Aloalo. Her simple songs were kahaulani, slipping down to earth. Her music, forever beautiful. Even when paralyzed from the waist down at fifteen, my best friend never lost faith, always hoped. She loved me even when I, Lani left her and Moloka'i for silly dreams. I always admired her for being someone that I knew I could never be. Leilani had never forgotten me. Now she was gone, leaving me with only bittersweet memories and music. She had truly learned hakumele--to weave a song, a song of hope and redemption.
The judge's comments: Beautiful. You do a fabulous job of weaving a bittersweet picture, full of Hawaiian breezes and regrets. It’s a quiet hook, but a good one. I’d keep reading just to enjoy the setting and see where this awakening takes the character.
By Courtney Calvert
I never thought I'd come back here, yet here I am. Guilt consumes my body like the fire burning the apartments in front of me, my old home. Innocent people were killed because of someone I should and could have stopped. He's gone too far now. All his other crimes were innocent with no deaths and I didn't mind being his partner in crime. We needed some way to survive in New York City. But now, as firefighters try to fight the growing blaze, I vow to stop him at all costs. I'm coming after you, John. You're no longer safe as my brother.
The judge's comments: Great job developing an enticing hook and using strong verbs to create mood. You’ve created some interesting conflict with a unique twist.
By Avery Wall
I never thought I'd come back, yet here I am.I had hoped that it wouldn’t happen, that I wouldn’t become one of the monsters that my parents told me stories about so long ago before they were murdered. I remember seeing their fangs, long and sharp and dripping of their blood. They spared me, but I didn’t understand why and still don’t, but maybe I’ll get my answer even though it’s not how I want it. I wished had been quicker, stronger, smarter, but that’s what every predator says before they’re killed by something better, faster, stronger.“I hope you make it,” a man whispered into my ear before I blacked out from the pain.
The judge's comments: Menacing tone actually caused me to squirm!
Again, congratulations to the winners! Don't forget to check out this round's prompt and get your 100 words into me by Monday night.