Mini-Contest #3

The third mini-contest was held in August 2007. It challenged contestants to write a great beginning to a story, using only 25 to 50 words. The ideal beginning would be so good, the judges would want to read the rest of the story.

We received 36 entries from 22 contestants (contestants were allowed to submit up to two entries apiece). Two judges selected 14 contenders from all the entries received. Five judges labeled one entry as their “favorite” and rated the rest as either “yes,” “maybe,” or “no.” For the first time, we had a tie–a tie for third place. And also for the first time, we had repeat winners. Some of you are getting really good at these!

*TIE* Third Place ($5) by Richard K. Lyon

While inventorying her late aunt’s estate, Janet found a single earring, a cage of gold wires holding a jewel that looked like an eye. When she wore it, the jewel would turn this way and that, as if looking for something and it made odd little sounds, almost like whispering.

*TIE* Third Place ($5) by Renee Holland Davidson

It was there, just as the county clerk told her it would be:

Julia Bennington Wayne
Born October 22, 1975
Died November 15, 1975

But, of course, Julia hadn’t died. She’d grown up in California with two loving, though overprotective, parents and an assortment of goldfish, turtles and mischievous mutts.

Second Place ($10) by Stijn Hommes

I had never been on the wrong side of law enforcement before, but that changed when I was caught urinating on a grave – in a drunken rush I might add. I got arrested and dragged off to court, sued for vandalism by the zombie who “lived” there.

First Place ($15) by Donald Uitvlugt

Sara Young was tired of everyone telling her how strong she was. She wasn’t strong, she was lucky.

Lucky she had finally noticed the lump, lucky the chemo had worked. A year later, her cancer was in complete remission. Lucky.

She wanted her breast back.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Two other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

Jason paused. He’d been digging for a night and a day, through roots and around rocks, and the hole was about five feet deep. But last time it had been this deep and that hadn’t been deep enough. He sighed and started digging again.
(by Jim Anderson)

Red Ridge was not a particularly interesting place to live. Not until Peter Madison showed up one September morning and took his clothes off in the town square. Veronica would never have admitted that she stayed by the library window staring out at the square for a long, long time.
(by Karen Crump)

It Was Their Idea
This contest premise came from two newsletter readers who submitted the same idea independently. Since they gave us the idea, they each get to have an entry published.

Susie let go of her big sister’s hand and darted across the narrow road. She approached the tree at the edge of the field; the call she’d heard had come from there. She saw no one, only a strange shimmering in the air.

The voice asked, “Where are you going?”
(by Evelyn Bell)

Ken bumped the invisible cage wall, again. “Damn. We’re not cattle.”

“Since these extraterrestrials communicate by telepathy and navigate by sonar, evolution made them blind and deaf. To them, we’re dumb experimental animals found in a crashed spaceship,” said Jeff.

“I’ve an idea to show we’re thinking beings,” said Ken.
(by Roselyn Silverman)

Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.