Friday, May 22, 2015


Happy Friday, all! Shannon here to announce the winners of the Show Me Exhaustion contest. We were so impressed with each of the entries and I thought I'd share a fun fact with you. 

From our 30 finalists, a group of teen writers chose the winners. They used a numbered scoring system and at the end, each judge went back and starred their favorites. Here's the cool part: nearly every single finalist entry was chosen, at least once, as a favorite. That tells us something, doesn't it? It tells us that while our stories may not resonate with everyone, they will likely be someone's favorite. I hope that encourages you. It encourages the socks off of me!
We've chosen three winners and two honorable mentions. Here they are:

Alexa T - Winner
Darkness is my subtle captor. It latches onto me, weighing me down, and gradually it convinces me that standing is too much effort. My feet—inch out from under me. The wall—claws my back. I'm slumping down, and shouldn't the stinging bother me? The bleeding? Sitting is a sip of paradise. How can I care? Though paradise, like always, is fleeting. Night—sinking its hands into my shoulders, suffocating me with the yearning to close my eyes. I obey, briefly, almost . . . losing . . . myself in that moment. And that, I can't afford. My eyelids lift with the agony of Atlas shouldering the world. The too-yellow streetlight—plunging viciously into my eyes, a sharp command to let my eyelids fall. My muscles are tangible as phantoms. Only willpower—my friends' desperate battle cries—keeps me from surrendering to nothingness. Then my blood, throbbing like war drums, nearly swamps their familiar voices.

Elizabeth L - Tied for Second Place
The shovel dropped from her hands, but her arm weighed a thousand pounds as she brought her forearm up to wipe away the sticky droplets of sweat that clung to her face. Her heart slammed against her ribcage, pounding out an erratic rhythm in her ears that drowned out every other sound. Quivering with tension, her legs finally buckled beneath her, and she collapsed against the hard dirt. The sun beat down on her, baking her skin, mocking her.

She sucked in ragged breaths, cherishing each lungful of air. She tried to speak, to call out for help, but her dry throat screamed with pain at every gasp of air. Besides, no help would come.
She had been fighting her whole life. But nothing had ever been as hard as digging her own grave in the middle of the desert.

Jillian Haggard - Tied for Second Place
Most people run away *to* the circus, but I'd been running *from* the circus for almost three weeks. I stumbled into the abandoned apartment that had recently become my sanctuary, nearly collapsing against the pile of dirty dishes stacked in the sink. I brought the styrofoam coffee cup to my lips and gulped down the now-cold liquid, hoping the caffeine would kick in soon. My knees trembled, yet I still managed to saunter to a chair.

The mirror on the wall captured my odious appearance: bloodshot eyes, dark circles, a tangled bird's nest of hair. A throbbing pain assaulted my forehead. Although I longed to curl up on my mattress and rest my eyes, haunting memories of the circus threatened to return in my dreams.

So, as I had done consecutively for several nights, I stared at the wall with bloodshot eyes, unmoving, as the clock ticked by.

Maddy J - Honorable Mention
My movements lag behind the music's rhythm. By their weight, my feet are surely stone, but the harsh rock underfoot still bites my flesh. Breath whistles in my throat.
A crescendo, then the music ends. I fall to my knees, chest heaving.
'Take her away.'
'No. I will dance another.' The moment of rest makes rising so hard.
The emperor lifts an eyebrow and gestures; the musicians start a cruel, lively high-step. 'As you wish, slave girl.'
I gather my will-power's remnants and begin, breath rasping. My head, light as air, is floating from my body.
'You delay the inevitable.' His voice, distant, mocks me. I cannot disagree. Five bars of music more, and my body crumples.
I am only conscious enough to know what my fate will be.

Kay L. - Honorable Mention
Three hours ago, her eyes stung.

That same pain had since stained the whites of her eyes a dreary pink, and set a loose border of angry crimson capillaries into full bloom within their meat. Three hours ago, her eyes were slipping shut on their own accord--now they were frozen open by a lining of crud that jabbed at her tear ducts and sliced along her waterline whenever her lashes began to drift downward. She was still holding her book, her fingertips turned violet between the pages, but she hadn't read a word from it in over an hour. A foggy disconnect had settled between her mind and the outside world around three o'clock, and anything that attempted to permeate that membrane, got lost in the haze, including whole chapters of books. All she could do now was wait, eyes red and neck aching, for another hour to pass.

Congratulations to these five and to everyone else who entered! I hope you enjoyed the contest and found the feedback helpful. I do beg your apologies if I've stilted the process in any way. This was my first Go Teen Writers contest and I'm learning. I'll be sending out the finalists' feedback this weekend. Thank so much. You guys inspire me.


  1. Congrats to the winners and to everyone who entered! You guys are awesome! :)

  2. Congratulations, you guys!!! I felt exhausted after reading those entries!! :) Job well done.

    Shannon, I enjoyed this contest so much! My "showing skills" are something I've been trying to improve. Thank you, thank you!

  3. Congrats to the winners! Your entries are awesome!

  4. Wow. Awesome. The first two entries, particularly. God job, guys.

    1. *Good job.* Though God job works too.

  5. Wow! These entries are amazing! Congratulations to the winners!

  6. WOW you guys. This is some amazing writing. Thanks, Shannon, for hosting such a creative contest!

  7. Incredible writing, guys! Congratulations!

  8. Congratulations! I can see why you all won your places when I read through your entries.

  9. Congratulations everyone! All five of your entries were great!

  10. Oh my! I am blown away by all the talent here. Every single one of these entries is just breathtaking. Amazing job, guys! HUGE congratulations to each of you!

  11. I found you on Interest just a few weeks ago. I looked forward to each email. After reading today's email, I just had to write a comment here. All the stories I read, I totally enjoyed and am even in awe of the writers! Thank you all!

  12. As always, AMAZING job guys! And thanks for the contest, Mrs. Dittemore!

  13. Whoo! Congrats, everyone. These are awesome! :-)

  14. Congratulations to all the winners! I'm going to go lie down now--some of those entries had me really feeling it. :)

  15. Congratulations, all! Thanks for the inspiring writing, and keep up the fantastic work!

  16. Wow! The winning entries were amazing! Congratulations guys!