Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And the winner is...

So, out of fairness, I did my best not to look at any of the query contest/writing prompt entries until all the entries were in and the deadline had passed, and wow! There were so many great, fun, really creative entries.

Before I get to the winner, I want to highlight two other entries I really liked. "Honorable mention," if you will.

First, Allan Petersen's entry for prompt #4 (the worst smell in the world): http://elderswill.blogspot.com/2011/08/worst-smell-in-world-is.html

This is a clever, compelling concept that takes the prompt in a really unusual direction; given the framing of the story (the protagonist contemplates his own death), I especially liked Allan's use of first-person here. Trust me, you'll want to know where the story goes from here.

Next up, Chelsie's response to prompt #9 (disappear without a trace): http://rosehipsredink.blogspot.com/2011/08/response-to-prompt-number-nine.html

What I like here is that the characterization is so strong. Her use of language gestures at a lot of detail that isn't technically present on the page; I feel like I know these people. Her narrator and protagonist's descriptions and turns of phrase evoke a region, an educational level, a socioeconomic status, and a religious background. This is a character who's lost everything, including her faith, and again, I want to see what she does next.

But for this contest, at least, there can only be one winner, so without further ado, here it is. Brian Buckley's response to prompt #3 (inside the last box): http://briandbuckley.com/2011/08/25/flash-fiction-marva/

Brian's got a really economical style with the worldbuilding here; a sparseness that really underscores the bleakness of this character's life. Without inventing a lot of new terms for the various castes of his world, he gives us a good sense of the hierarchy that's critical to understanding the twist at the end of the story. The "rule of three" is a classic for a reason: it's a great way to build suspense, and was used to good effect here. Moreover, the humor that comes through in that twist ending was delightful and unexpected, and the differentiation of the voice of the Empress from the other characters was the icing on the cake for me.

Congratulations, Brian. Email me (there's a link on the Profile page) and let's talk query letters!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. This was a real highlight of my summer, and I hope it was fun for you as well. Let's keep the writing prompts as a weekly feature, and we'll do another contest soon.

Got an idea for a contest you'd like to see? Drop me a line in the comments section.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Courtney! And thanks to everyone that read the story. This really was a lot of fun.

Chelsie said...

Thanks for the honorable mention! I really enjoyed writing responses for your prompts, and I'm glad you liked my personal favorite enough to mention it. Also, I'm glad Brian won. His prompt response was pretty spectacular. Thanks again, have a great week!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Brian. Thanks, Courtney, for hosting the contest. It was fun.

fOIS In The City said...

Enjoyed the piece, Brian and congrats for the win! The same for those who received honorable mention. I read all of the other prompts and enjoyed each of your prompts.

Thank you for this opportunity, Courtney :) I hope you decide to make this a regular on your blog.

Jenny said...

Ooo, those were all good entries.

Sara said...

Congratulations Brian, Chelsie, and Allan! Nice work, guys!!

Anonymous said...

How about a first line contest?

Entrants submit the first line of their WIP, and you judge which one intrigues you most. Winner gets a critique of their first page(s).

Christi Corbett