Friday, February 17, 2012

Winning Entries from the Alex prompt

Instead of doing a prompt sentence last time, there was a "set up." The guidelines were that it be about a character named Alex who had somewhere to be. Much of the feedback I received from you writers was that this was much more challenging than the prompt sentences. Yet the feedback I received from judges Erica Vetsch and Sarah Holman was that the entries were so good, it was nearly impossible to pick winners.


Sarah told me she spent 2+ hours reading and rereading, trying to determine which was the best.  Erica told me this was the best batch of entries she'd seen yet, and that they could have all be honorable mentions because they were so good.

So way to go, guys! Next Monday morning, the next round will be announced, so make sure you check back.

Here are the winners and their entries:

First Place
Gillian Adams
S. J. Bouquet

Second Place
Gillian Adams (also placed first)
Rachel Crew

Third Place
Rachelle Rea
Faye Oygard

Honorable Mentions
Paulina Czarnecki
Lindsey Bradford
Kaitlyn Evensen
Katie Scheidhauer

By Gillian Adams, first and second place

When a fellow has an appointment with destiny, it’s usually best not to be late.
Still Alex hesitated, crouched behind the monolithic stone lions guarding the Academy entrance.  He eyed the uniformed sentries flanking the door.  No spurs.  Not knights then, mere squires.
A few more minutes couldn’t hurt.
Sweat ran down his face and he longed to swipe it away.  How did the sentries stand so still?  He fumbled with the unwieldy collar of his new page’s uniform.  So constricting.  Like a noose.  He shuddered.  Best not to think about nooses, not with what he was about to do.  

The judges say: A totally delicious opening line and well done grounding me in the setting./I loved this! It was so humorous, so attention grabbing, and is action packed.

By S.J. Bouquet, first place

It was hate at first touch. A rough hand pounded against my chest and sent me flying. My spine shot fire through my body; my head smacked the cool, dark cement. I was out of breath, chest pounding, limbs aching. My brilliant plan of escape just demoted itself to a fantastic way of getting tossed back into the Fortress of Archaeus.
“Alex, going somewhere?” Felix ripped my mask off my head.
The frown on my face flitted upwards for a moment to hear the gasp escape Felix’s lips. My black hair fell to my waste.
“That’s Princess Alexandria to you.”

The judge says: I picked this because the descriptions were wonderful, the word choice was excellent and the story had an unexpected twist, even if it was only 100 words.

By Rachel Crew, second place

It was time for the deed to be done. Alex sprinted through a pile of wet leaves, the bundle pressed to his chest. He dodged an empty swing set and leaped over the short fence. Forty more feet to the statue—thirty—twenty.

“Stop.” A dark form stepped in front of him.

Alex jerked backwards, barely managing to keep his feet. “Out of my way, Dodger.”
He leaped to the side and took a few more steps toward the statue.

Dodger lunged.

As both men crashed to the ground, the bundle rolled away. An infant’s cry punctured the midnight silence.

The judge says: Great action and a twist ending that caught me off guard.

By Rachelle Rea, third place

For a moment, I thought my plan would work.
“Alexandra.” Colwyn hissed my name, his eyes saying he wanted to strangle me.
How many times do I have to tell you? “Alex.”
“Who taught you how to hold a sword, Alexandra?”
I glared at him. He grinned. Taunting me.
“That is none of your concern.”
“You are my concern.”
I blew out a breath. True. “Much to my dismay.”
“By my troth, this promises to be an interesting journey.”
So my escape had been foiled by this belligerent knight. No matter. I would find a way to Aristae somehow.

The judge says: Chosen because there is conflict and tension right away between the characters and so much potential screaming from this entry. A story begs to be written from it.

By Faye Oygard, third place

“Wait, you don’t understand!” I cried, stumbling a few steps after the jailer. “I have to get to him, tonight.”
 “Your father can’t have any visitors, Alex. I won’t go against the king’s order.” The warden dropped his calloused hand onto my shoulder. “I’m sorry, boy.”
I twisted away from his grasp, unwelcome tears coursing down my cheeks. I had only tonight, in the morning it would be over. My father would be beheaded.
A hand clapped over my mouth. I struggled against the iron hold.  “I can take you to your father.”
 I froze.
The hand slipped away. “Come.”

The judge says: This story gripped me; it was so full of emotion.

By Paulina Czarnecki, honorable mention

Alex glanced at her watch again. The meeting was happening, it was happening now, and it was happening whether she was there or not!
Alex was part of an elite group of only the richest, most beautiful seniors at Rushmore High—the Prom Planner Committee. And she was about to be late for the first meeting. Because of Rob. Of course.
She’d only gotten in by pulling a few strings with the chairman—who said money couldn’t buy happiness? But now her boyfriend Rob was late, a-gain. And if they threw her out, she couldn’t do what she was really there for…

The judge says: Great job at telling a story in so few words. You really did a great job setting up the story and told you’re reader a lot about the character in a short time.

By Lindsey Bradford, honorable mention

“I’ll be there by five. Love you.” Alex hung up the phone. Hopefully Sophie would understand his cryptic voicemail and have a car waiting by the time he crossed the border.
  Alex swung the duffel bag over his shoulder and sighed, looking down at the prison. They would soon realize what he had done. The guard in charge of roll call would hear silence after his name. The warden would find an empty cell. He would be gone without a trace.
  Alex pressed speed-dial 2 and walked away.
  The prison exploded behind him.
  He hoped Sophie had that car waiting.
The judge says: Gets an honorable mention for the wow factor. It felt like the opening to a movie.

By Kaitlyn Evensen, honorable mention

“Are you really leaving us Alexander?” I sigh and turn away from the saddle bag I am packing, “For the last time, call me Alex.” My sister crosses her arms, a frown etches itself into her delicate face, “You don’t have to go.” She says as she absent mindedly pets my horse, “Of course I do, this is my chance Esmeralda. I could be the finest knight in Elderdon!” I take her hand in attempt to cheer her up, instead her eyes grow dark, “A storm is coming Alex. And if you go you will be the heart of it.”

The judge says: You did a great job capturing the emotions in this scene with your actions like
crossed arms, hand touch, and dark eyes. Very well done.

By Katie Scheidhauer, honorable mention

Trains sounded in the distance.  Alex pulled his scarf tighter around
his face, trying to hide the unmistakeable scar on his right jaw.  It
would be recognized immediately.  He had to cross through Nazi
territory without arousing their suspicion.
"Halt!  Your papieres, please."  The soldier's voice was impatient.
"Of course Herr.  Just let me find them."  He feigned a search for the
papers that weren't there.  He had left them behind when he had become
one of Hitler's most wanted enemies.  But he couldn't tell the waiting
gaurd that.  And he wasn't about to be taken back.

The judge says: Gets an honorable mention for a unique setting and circumstances.


  1. Wow, amazing prompts! Congratulations to all the winners! I wish I had entered this time :)

  2. Wow! Congrats winners! You all did great!
    It was so fun to have participated! I wish I had been able to see everyones entries. I'm sure they were all fantastic! What a great opportunity.

    - Cheyenne Lynnae

  3. Wonderful entrees! I really liked Rachelle's. :) Congrats everyone! Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

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  5. Amazing entries! Triple congratulations and three cheers to the winners! Excellent choices for the top 2; those were definitely the best. I wish we could read all of them, though. :)

    So! When's the next contest?

    1. Next contest opens on Monday, Allison.

    2. Yippee! Thanks.

  6. Wonderful entries everyone! Whew! I personally loved the challenge this time - working from the setting rather than the prompt. There was so much room for imagination. I loved getting to see how everyone added an entirely different twist. From knights, to Nazis, to exploding prisons! So creative everyone. Well done.

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  8. Great job everyone. I love them!!!

    Linzee, we're totally putting yours in one of our stories. ;)

  9. Congrats, everyone! My favourite was actually the last one -- would be pumped to read that as a book. Intriguing, interesting, action-packed, mysterious and I can just hear the humour trying to seep through the lines...

  10. These were so so so good! I had a blast reading them. I really liked Gillian's, I could see it so perfectly. :)

  11. Congratulations, everyone! Though the most challenging yet, this was also a really fun for me! :) Also, I loooooove the feedback on mine (oh, and thanks so much, Sierra!)...I just might have to take her up on that. ;)

    1. Your welcome :) And it really would make a great story :) Sierra
      Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

  12. Congrats to all winners! Now, I just hope I could make it for the next contest...

  13. These were all amazing! I tried writing one for the first time, and I realized just how short 100 words is! These are a definitely a challenge, but from what l see here, they are well worth the effort!

    1. I agree, Laura! It's super tough to write short.

  14. Hey Steph, just wondering -- did you ever actually get my prompt? Because I never got any feedback from it. :)