Thursday, May 12, 2011

Winning Entries from, "It had been four years."

Congratulations to the winner's from last round's writing prompt, "It had been four years, but still the memory lingered."

First Place Winners
Jordan Newhouse
Faye Rhys
Sammie Weiss

Second Place Winners
Jordan Newhouse (also placed first)
Sarah Faulkner
Katy McCurdy

Third Place Winners
Jordan Newhouse (also placed first and second)
Alyson Schroll
Georgina Caballero

Honorable Mentions
Rayna Huffman
Sarah Luckadoo

By Jordan Newhouse

It had been 4 years, and still the memory lingered. Tracing my daughter's perfect features with my fingertips the first time I held her. Imagining the beautiful woman she would become.

She is growing more beautiful, I thought as I watched her laugh and dance in the grass.

All I could muster was a weak smile when she skipped to me. As she slid my scarf off to stroke and kiss my bald head, I savored the sweet scent of the flowers woven into her hair. Tears filled my eyes.

Please, God, is 4 more years too much to ask?

The judge's comments: As a mom, this entry really touched my heart. This is a great example of “showing.” The author didn’t have to say that the mom is sick, it’s shown beautifully though the action. Also, the author incorporates our senses with the “scent of flowers woven into her hair.” The emotions, the pleading with God, is so natural and immediately gains reader sympathy. Having a heroine that readers care about is important, and this entry demonstrates this nicely.

By Faye Rhys

It had been 4 years, but still the memory lingered. Whiskey couldn’t drown the memory of her. It didn’t work that way. I’d tried.

I had been young and innocent then, not knowing a wrapper so pretty could hold a heart so cruel. For a half-penny promise I would have done anything for her.
I’d indulged her; anything she wanted. Cheating poor innocents, and taking their life savings. I’d tried and failed to wash away my sins with whiskey, tried and failed to wash her away too.

But here she was again, standing on my doorstep, shining like an angel, asking for one last favor. One last favor…
The judge's comments: Strong voice in the vein of film noir. I could hear Humphrey Bogart saying this at the beginning of a black and white movie!

By Sammie Weiss

It had been 4 years, but still the memory lingered.

I remembered every day with him. His bright eyes, resplendent in the sunshine. His voice, inflicted with the tiniest hint of an accent. And his old guitar, the strings thinned from use.

I took a breath, gathering myself, then pushed the door open. Everything was exactly as he’d left it. His guitar leaned against the faded blue walls. I picked it up and gently began to pick at the strings.

The music began to pour out of me. I didn’t stop until there was nothing left. I looked up to find him standing there, smiling with those shining eyes.

The judge's comments: I love the beautiful simplicity of this entry. The writing is clean and tight, and this is what first stood out to me, even before the characterization. It’s as if the main character has no hope of seeing this person again, and expresses the longing through music—the same medium as the person who left. Then he’s there. Immediately we want to know where he’s been? Did he know how much he was missed? It’s a good hook to keep a reader’s attention. Well done!

By Katy McCurdy

It had been 4 years, but still the memory lingered. Ever present. Closing my eyes, I see it again. I’m standing on the porch facing two policemen and trying to comprehend their words.

Tiffany Beth Stewart had disappeared.

Tears burned my eyes and dampened my lashes. I was only 16 then—what could I do? Helpless, I waited for the police to find her. They failed. She’d vanished without a trace.

But I refuse to believe she’s dead. I’m taking matters into my own hands now. I have a stronger drive that will help me uncover the truth—I am her daughter.

The judge's comments: I liked that the writer withheld the information about being the daughter until the end; I didn't expect that.

By Sarah Faulkner

It had been four years, but still the memory lingered. Most people only have to wait nine months for the birth of
their siblings. The wait for my little brother lasted five years. The first picture I saw of my brother was a 4x6 color
picture, not an ultra-sound.

Most people's trip to the maternity ward is a thirty minute drive, but mine was a thirteen hour flight. I remember when
we landed in Beijing. I remember going to the orphanage the next day.

The first time I saw my brother, he wasn't a pink baby, he was a seven year old boy, and my parents were the ones crying.
The judge's comments: This entry was very unique and heartfelt. I loved the way the writer used contradictions to enhance his/her point and show the differences in the everyday vs. the not-so-typical.

By Georgina Caballero

It had been four years, but still the memory lingered. “God gives and takes away, but the sea only takes.” Her father’s words echoed in the roar of the waves and the lonely cry of the gull. He’d been broken by his wife’s death. Sometimes Aeslinn wondered if the sea had a soul of its own and the storm had risen up to drown him in his sorrow, leaving only empty regrets. She wished he hadn’t left so early that morning so she could’ve seen him one last time. Even more, she wished she’d been brave enough to tell him the truth- tell him that her mother was still alive.

The judge's comments: Wow, great ending hook! Very strong writing, almost literary in style. I love the sea angle and the descriptions. Great job. I also love the line about the sea only takes…powerful stuff.

Congratulations, once again, to the winner's. To see this round's writing prompt, click here.


  1. Congrats, everyone! A lot of you are really good. I keep seeing the same names up there every week! Let's all keep up the great work!
    ~Sarah F.

  2. I try not to play favorites, but Sarah Faulkner, yours was my favorite this time - it made me cry!

  3. I sent in my entry for the next writing prompt!

    Book blogger

    P.S. I don't want to seem pushy, but I just wanted to remind you about the author interview. :)

  4. Thanks Jordan! I cried when I wrote it too. Your entry was adorable as usual. I loved it. Congrats on taking top place overall so far this year.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

  5. I posted it on my blog!

    Congrats to all the winners! I love Jordan N's story!

    Question: Mrs. Morrill, if you started a story and got really far, and then read over it and thought that the writing was only so-so, would you throw it away, or finish it and edit it?

  6. I would finish and edit it. So-so writing can always be fixed!

  7. By the way I am having trouble with my e-mail so I am going to e-mail you a diffrent one that should work. So if you could ree-mail (if thats a word) the stuff from the last prompt that would be great.

  8. Congratulations to the winners! I only wish I could be that good to catch the judges' attention. =)
    I think I love the last one the most, that sounds like something out of a book I would DEFINITELY read. And most likely love. =D
    I really like how its a secret that a girl has kept for a very long time, it intrigues me very much. =)

  9. Congratulations, everyone! I love the talent that is showing up here :D