Laurie J. Curtis (received two votes)
Jessica Zelli (two votes for HM)
Jenna Blake Morris
Kayla Anne CP
Next round's contest will be posted on Thursday, May 31st, so be sure to check back!
For your reading pleasure, here are some of the winning entries:
By Laurie J. Curtis, two votes for 1st
Five days since my Reassurer quit. Unfamiliar ripples of fear wrinkling my thoughts. Blurred memories sharpening, pricking like needles.
They aren’t real.
I press my fingertips together, studying the applicant. “You have experience in Reassuring?”
The girl smiles. “Aye.”
That’s promising. I reach up and finger my long, graceful earring. “Your employer was pleased?”
"Excellent.” I close my eyes. “Now. The details of this position. I’d want you to constantly assure me of my beauty, prestige, intelligence, and unselfishness. And I would want to be told. . .” My muscles tighten, fragile images dancing through my mind. Don’t believe them. “. . .that my daughter is alive."
The judges say: I absolutely loved this entry. It reminded me a bit of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, in that there’s heartbreak just under the surface. In just a few words, the writer was able to create a world that made me curious while giving me reasons to both like and dislike the narrator. The idea is original and the characterization is solid. Great use of subtlety and understatement, two things that take years of practice to perfect. Well done! /Wow! I’m hooked. Great writing, good pacing, excellented internal thoughts, and strong ending hook. Nice job. Such an interesting premise. I definitely want to read more!
By Rayna Huffman, second place
The lightning-bolt scar between my father’s eyes does not intimidate me. He slouches on the royal chair, velvet robes encircling him, but his nonchalant expression isn‘t deceiving.
I brush my hair from my face, “You’re worried, Sovereign?”
He scowls. Drains his drinking horn, eyes flashing.
I scan the room quickly--everything is in place. The tip of Marcel’s sword is peaking from the drapery. “If I were you, I would worry. And if I heard that my daughter was taking my throne I would want to be told if it were true.”
Father glares at me.
I curse my trembling voice, “Well, my Sovereign, it is true.”
By Karina Vieyra, second place
“I mean, I would want to be told if I was morphing.” Mai shrugged her shoulders and bit into her sandwich.
I kept replaying Alec’s morphing in my mind. Bones snapping, howls of agony, his choked speech…
I flinched at her bark, “Sorry, what?”
Mai glared, her eyes changing from blue to yellow, “I said, when is your meeting with the Council? I can practically smell the desperation of your wolf.”
“Perfect, can’t wait until you’re in the pack.” Mai smiled and walked away.
Alek’s words rang in my ears: New Moon wolf, the Goddess of us all…
I’m the New Moon wolf…
The judge says: Super cool! Love the first person voice, and the opening lines. I love the contrast of the serious, heavy-topic dialogue with the act of eating a sandwich. Awesome! One grammatical note – put a period instead of a comma after the word “bark”. I definitely would want to know what happens next, and this coming from someone who doesn’t typically read fantasy/paranormal.
By Jessica Staricka, third place
“Hey, Guy. I have a moral question for you.” Wallace snatches my menu and slides into the booth across the table from me. His face vanishes behind a blown-up photo of French Silk pie. “You heard about my new job?”
“You're Death's new messenger, right?”
“Indeed I am. But I gotta wonder—if you were going to kick the bucket...?”
I shove his hand away from my glass of Pepsi. “If I were dying, I would want to be told.”
“Oh.” The menu falls to the table. “Then I guess I have some bad news for you.”
The judge says: Ha! I actually laughed out loud. I love the seriousness of the convo paired with the casual air of the diner setting. Love the detail of the French Silk pie. Great writing, great dialogue, very nice job. Strong ending hook, too - obviously.
By Sarah O., third place
“Your ship is taken, Captain.” My enemy pushed his gun’s muzzle against my chest. “You will die like your crew.”
I could feel the warmth of a fallen torch by my feet. If I am going to die now, I will go down honorably and bring this enemy of England with me.
“If I lived, I would want to be told by the Queen that I am a hero. But if I didn’t die, I wouldn’t be a hero. Long live the Queen, pirate.”
I kicked the torch into the barrels of gunpowder filling the room. I never felt the explosion when the ship blew apart.
The judge says: I love the first line of this entry because it pushes the reader off the cliff with the narrator. I was especially impressed with the use of the prompt. The writer decided not to make it a simple, “I’d want to be told if I was going to die.” Instead, a twist that makes all the difference. “I’d want to be told by the Queen that I am a hero.” And right up front, we have the narrator’s motivation and we know he’s willing to take the stakes higher than his enemy ever imagined. He’s willing to die. The best part, though, is the last line. Leaves us with a lot of questions! Great job!