Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Write Contest Winning Entries

Here are the winner's from last round's 100 word free write:

First Place
Madison Hines (received 2 votes)

Second Place
Samuel LaRue
Jessica Staricka

Third Place
Jessica Staricka (also placed 2nd)
Alyssa Liljequist

Honorable Mention
Lindsey Bradford
JT Valun

And for your reading pleasure, here are some of the winning entries and a note from the judges about why these pieces stood out.

By Madison Hines, first place

I walk down the hall, my uniform skirt swishing around my knees, and I can hear the whispers. They rasp against my ears like leaves on a sidewalk in autumn. They crawl into my brain, whispering things like "slut", "easy", "tramp". They hole up in my heart and slither down my throat into my stomach. The squirm under my skin and wedge beneath my fingernails like bamboo slivers. I can feel them in every breathe I take, every time I place my foot on the yellow tiles of St. Claire's Academy for the Excellent, which I most certainly am not.

The judges say: If there was a place higher than first, this belongs there. I hope this writer nurtures and treasures her gift of creating such powerful prose. Sometimes, these schoolgirl pieces tend toward high drama or over-indulgence. This one avoids relying on the cliched. The piece is fluid, the figurative language/sensory detail vivid, and the structure controlled. Loved the closing sentence with the play on the school name. Bravo! / Powerful! This sucked me in. I feel for her and that’s hard to do in just 100 words. FANTASTIC job and great description.

By Jessica Staricka, second/third place

Something heavy and cold rushed away from me, and I forced my eyes open. I could still feel a weak echo of its weight on my body: fear, betrayal, making a horrible mistake... The feelings weren't mine, but they didn't seem unfamiliar. Panting, I stared at the slim man kneeling before me. “I'm so sorry,” he said, looking sympathetic and concerned. “I passed right through you. That was entirely my fault.” I just kept staring at him, opening and closing my mouth like an idiot. Why could I see the stars in the sky...through his head? 

The judges say: Ack! I want to read more! That is a great set up and hook. So unique and suspenseful and fun. I want to know what happens!! I love the proper, formal speech of the slim man, and the main character’s shock and reaction. Just great!/ I confess that I skimmed past this entry on my first read as the opener didn't entice me. But the second time, I "got it," and now I want to read the rest of the story!

By Alyssa Liljequist, third place

I pressed my fingertips into the splintered log until my blood began to darken the wood. Evangeline waited with strips of linen. “Why didn’t you like my embers idea, Katherine?”I shook my head. I would take the sharp pain of wood slicing flesh over smoldering embers any day. My fear of fire ran deep. Even my best friend didn’t know how deep. It had left scars no one could see. Evangeline bandaged my bleeding fingers as the memories closed in on me. The stinging pain was nothing compared to what would happen if this ruse did not work.

The judge says: Wow! Intense. Very powerful and emotional. I definitely was drawn in and want to know what is going on and why she is in the position to have to choose between such painful options. Very good job!  

By JT Valun, Honorable Mention

The wind was stinging my raw and already frozen hands. I had been scaling this perfectly vertical tower since dusk of this moonless night, trusting my life to two thick ropes and hooks. They had brought me a hundred feet; only fifty now remained, but that stretch was known to be the sheerest of all. I flung one rope and my hopes upward. Shattering glass soon interrupted my prayers, prompting five whispered words from me: "Please don't cut the rope." My two targets and my current client were mutual enemies. I was now working for all of them at once.

The judge says: Great ending hook! Very impressive. I liked this a lot – very unique and suspenseful. Love the double agent implication at the end.

By Lindsey Bradford, Honorable Mention

Ian looked up at the sky. The tree swayed gently beneath him, the only thing in the world willing to hold him. How could his plan have gone so horribly wrong? He had planned for everything, and they had thrown it in his face. He could still see them… His father recoiling in disgust… his sister backing slowly away from him… his mother’s hollow “This doesn’t change anything, Ian,” that he knew to be a lie… They saw him as a freak. They might never love him again. Ian pulled his wings around himself and tried desperately not to cry. I almost cried with that line about “the only thing in the world willing to hold him”.

The judge says: Very powerful. I also love that we don’t discover what was wrong until the very end, with the subtle mention of the wings. Very X-Men-ish. Love it!


  1. I really like the last one...and well all of them! Great entrees! Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

  2. Lindsey, yours was my total fav! I loved it!

    1. Yeah, way to go, Linzee!!! :D After the Journals Of Doom series, wanna start working on that one? ^_^

    2. I love that one too. Really ... it should have won! :)

  3. The wings in the last one almost remind me of the Maximum Ride series. Congrats to all! I think Alyssa's might've been my favorite. Very mysterious...


  4. Wow, those are really amazing. Great job, winners! The first place one has got to be my fav- it kind of seems like a YA novel :)

    1. Thanks! It is, actually. It's the beginning of my second novel. 'm glad you like it!

  5. These were great!! All of you did such a rear job! It makes me glad that I am not judging. It would take me years to choose between these.

  6. You all did such a great Job. I'm glad you all won instead of me, mine, yours deserved it.


  7. Wow, amazing job, guys! Congratualations!