Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winners from "The time has come to leave."

Don't forget, the current writing prompt contest is open now, so make sure you get your entries in! What a great line up of judges too! Betsy St. Amant, Fred Warren, and Melanie Dickerson, all sporting gorgeous new cover art!

Below is the list of winners and their entries from the "The time has come to leave" contest.

First Place
Rachel Crew
Kaitlyn Evensen
Faye Rhys

Second Place
Micah Eaton, double-finalled
Whitney Stephens

Third Place
Lindsey Bradford
Jessica Staricka, double-finalled

Honorable Mentions 
Emii Krivan
Morgan Sutton
Rebecca Pennefather

By Rachel Crew, 1st

It had never been easy, being someone who didn’t exist, but this was the hardest part of all. I stepped over the squeaky third step and padded down the hallway. Even in this darkness I knew my way around Charlotte's house. Slipping through the recently oiled door, I listened. Gentle snoring assured me that all was well. It took but a moment to remove the painting and crack the safe behind it. Ten minutes later the burglary was complete and I stood outside my once best friend’s house. A nondescript car pulled up to the curb and I jumped in.
“The time has come to leave.”

The Judge says: This is the sort of lead line you want in a novel—one that immediately grabs your attention and doesn't let go. I'm already wondering about this person who doesn't exist, why he/she robbed his/her best friend's house, which is exactly what you want from a story you're investing in. 

By Kaitlyn Evensen, 1st

I sit with my back against the cool metal wall. One leg hangs limply over the edge of the cot. Solitary confinement is better than I had hoped. Here the prisoners thoughts do not reach me. I jump when a high pitched whirring pierces the unusual lack of noise in my head, drawing closer and closer to the wall I'm leaning against. I take a deep breath and stand, hoping that the government has not tracked me down. The whirring stops, then the wall explodes. My hands fly up to shield my face, and as soon as I lower them, a very familiar voice says from beyond the hole, "Michael, the time has come to leave."

The judge says: Generally, the suggestion of something dystopia doesn't appeal to me, but I was drawn in by twist on solitary confinement being better than expected, followed by the the prisoner's thoughts not reaching the narrative. Those two sentences hooked me.

By Faye Rhys, 1st

I see my reflection in Prince Raoul’s faded eyes. He feels what is happening.

The revolutionaries beat a queer tattoo on the once-solid gates, which separate us from their madness. I can see every rebel cheer registering on Uncle Raoul’s face. Every sacrifice he made for his people thrown to the ground in disgust.

The voices outside grow.  A single tear threads its way through a lifetime of wrinkles and scars. I place my unblemished hand on his careworn, aged one.

An earsplitting crack saturates the air, followed by a roar of voices and a frantic clatter. Our eyes meet.

The time has come to leave.

The judge says: Nice, poignant, compelling, good images.

By Micah Eaton, 2nd (twice!)

The daggers are bloody, the deed’s done. My toga’s purple lining is darkened with gore.
It smells like metal, blood does, and I breathe it in, the scent of freedom, joy, and heady victory.
My fellow conspirators have no idea it was a female’s hand that cut the Great Caesar to shreds, but I glory in the knowledge, shoving it silently in the emperor’s slack, blank face. “A girl, a girl brought you down. Not so hard, in the end.”
I hear distant screaming, and jerk to my feet, sandals slipping in incriminating evidence.
The time has come to leave.

The judges say: Nice rhythm to the writing. I definitely want to keep reading./If I could have a first place tie, I would because this strong, sensory writing hooked me. Great use of syntax (" It smells like metal, blood does..."). Not sure if the writer intended to evoke Julius Caesar-like comparison, but it was my first connection!

By Jessica Staricka, 3rd (twice!)

Dust comes off on my cold fingers as I push open the door. In my other hand, I finger a worn blue note, smeared with ink and stained with water—and tears. I can't read the words from the small message any longer, but the image of sloppy cursive, written long ago, still burns in my memory. Promise me you won't leave the house while I'm gone. Please don't worry—I'll be back within forty-eight hours. Love, Daddy.Eyes closed, I step over the threshold, and let the blue piece of paper fall to the ground.
The time has come to leave.

The judges say: You do such a great job of showing not telling in your hook, a vital component in successful writing. I definitely would keep reading just to find out what actually happened with her dad./The set up is very evocative and makes me want to keep reading. There’s a lot of emotion and history packed into these few sentences.

By Lindsey Bradford, 3rd

I turned in time to see a slavering, fang-filled snout fill my field of vision. In a sudden panic, I swung a wild fist at the dog's face, knocking it aside by such a small margin that the animal's teeth caught at my hair.I kicked at its flank and missed. I could have sworn this thing was asleep when I broke in. It snapped at my ankle. I groped behind me for the book, not daring to turn my back to the animal that wanted me dead. I found the book and pulled it close.
One thought rang clear. The time has come to leave.

The judge says: The strong writing hooked me, plus the introduction of a book into the otherwise violent scene.

Congratulations to all the winners!


  1. Wow! The first one had me totally hooked, and I also loved the "Dust comes off on my cold fingers as I push open the door. In my other hand," one! Congrats everyone, they were great!:)

  2. Yes, it was a great round! Amazing stories :)

  3. Those where some great entrees! Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

  4. awesome!:)

    - Elisabeth Greenwood

  5. These were great, everyone! Congrats to all the winners!