Hello everyone. I’m pleased to announce the latest competition winners but before I do, a few words about January’s entries.
We received 32 entries from 20 entrants… I say ‘we’, but there’s only me here so the royal ‘we’. Me to receive, sort and judge. 🙂 So to the gritty nitty…
One was disqualified because it was only 91 words (I checked three times) which was a shame because it was a clever story. Two others were disqualified because they were 99, perhaps 100 including the title in one case, the other because of a hyphenated word – the rules already state that hyphenated words, e.g. well-known, count as one.
Five others (three from one entrant) were disqualified because they didn’t stick to the theme of ‘new start’, although one entered via the https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/morgens-new-free-monthly-100-word-competition-with-prizes-over-100 page (which was an entry route back in September) but didn’t seem to fit any theme either although it was 100 words, which was, again, a shame. September’s theme was ‘white’ so the rice the characters ate could have been white. 🙂 I’ve updated the details on that post so it just shows the current and future themes so there’s no confusion (hopefully) from now on. It does mean that the entrant still has the story to submit elsewhere but not to this competition as I don’t accept the same story twice (so it gets you writing more!).
Finally, another author submitted a Christmas story which could have been my fault as I hadn’t updated the https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/100-word-free-monthly-competition as December clicked over to January but I’ve still disqualified it because the deadline was given as 31st December and January’s theme was listed later on the page and this author was the only one to do send a Christmas story so I have to be fair to everyone.
As I read each story, I give a mark (with marks or half-marks taken off for careless errors) and those with the top three marks are placed, with any then coming in (technically) fourth being Highly Commended. Sometimes I know a story is a hit immediately and this month’s winner was a striking story. It struck me, anyway. I hope you agree.
Other stories amused, intrigued and were just darned clever. Some were a little flat while others only narrowly missed the ‘mark’, as the cliché goes. The ‘highly commended’ stories scored 8.5 out of ten and I’m a tough judge so you should all be very proud of yourselves!
All but one of the disqualified authors had only submitted one story each so missed out – because you can send three each – on possibly getting a place, so do consider entering more than once.
OK, golden envelope time… (drum roll please)…
First placed (winning three of my online courses):
Kathy Schilbach (who was Highly Commended last month) with ‘A Fresh Start?’
Mom keeps yanking my arm. She’s mad at me. She’s had to drive right over to the other side of town. I can’t go back to my old school, she says, not after what I did.
Everyone’s staring at me. Like I’ve got “killer” tattooed across my forehead. They’re scared of me. Hah. I aim two fingers at a kid and mouth “bang”. The kid flips me off.
“A fresh start,” they say. Like it’s ever gonna happen. I took Mom’s gun from her purse and shot my classmate dead. She was six, like me. No-one’s ever gonna forget that.
Second placed (winning two of my online courses)
Eleanor Wrightson (who also came second in the November competition) with ‘Tatters’
I opened my briefcase, watching her face drape like silk. She followed my hands as they brought the papers into view.
“This is your beginning, Mr. Briggs. Don’t let her malice turn it into your end,” she said, her eyes like hessian.
“I won’t. Thank you,” I said, rising to my feet. The chair rolled backwards.
“One more question,” she said, “sit.”
I sat back, tumbling onto the floor. My briefcase clattered open beside me.
“Sorry,” I said.
“Do you still believe in love?” she asked. I looked up and her soul had become a waterfall, gushing towards me.
Joint third placed (winning one of my online courses) – in first name order
Alan W Jankowski (new to the competition) with ‘One Chance’
Nikolai reached his hand into his pocket and felt the knife. He had worked for weeks on it, slowly grinding down the stone blade day by day. He only had one chance to take out the guard when he reached the perimeter. From there he would have to rush to the lake and assemble the raft he had made out of drop cloths he found lying around the prison camp behind the officer’s quarters.
He thought about his wife when she woke up in the morning. He’d come for her when he could, but for now, his people needed him.
Joint third placed (winning one of my online courses)
Noelle Bryant (her second time of entering) with ‘A new start;’
The space was warm, dark, restricted. Unconcerned, I slept to the constant thudding soundtrack.
Until the torture began. I was squeezed mercilessly. The intervals grew shorter. The pressure built.
Blinding cold enveloped me, legs and arms flailing in emptiness. I screamed. I was shocked. I didn’t know I could.
I was prodded, poked, moved until at last confined in a warm wrapping and put to lie still where I could again hear the familiar faint rhythm.
One day I would watch the video where Dad leaned down, kissed my forehead and said, “Welcome to the world, Alan. Happy Birthday, son.”
Highly Commended (winning my Entering Writing Competitions course):
- Jeremy Chotzen with ‘Ten Pound Pom. 21st June 1951’
- Laura Besley with ‘By First Light’
- Lesley Middleton with ‘Transformation’
- Linda Mallinson with ‘Janus’
- Michelle Vongkaysone with ‘Fallen Facsimile’
- Paul Isaac with ‘Purple Emperor’.
So, congratulations everyone. As you can see, so many strong entries this month and many just missed out on the top spots. I’ll be in touch shortly with your codes.
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