We have our December Jackpot finalists!

The judges have made their picks, and it’s time to announce our fast-paced December Jackpot contest finalists.

December Jackpot page

This contest began just under one week ago, and I’m thrilled with the response. Not only did we set a new record for single-day visitors (thank you all!), but we also more than tripled the number of entries we had in our November debut.

Let me say this, right away — your entries were fantastic! We’ve received a stunning variety of competing sentences, long and short and in-between.

Along the way, I heard from some old friends and made some new ones, too. Something interesting happened, too — we had three entries that together represented three generations from one family! Pretty cool, huh?

The official contest entry page is open to the public now. I hope each of you might take some time to read all of the submitted sentences. Please feel free to comment openly; some of the earlier comments were submitted during the “remain anonymous” period. Authors, you are all welcome to “claim” your entries by revealing your identities, too.

My sincere thanks go out to our judging team of Tammy and Raymond. They worked under the pressure of the looming holidays and travel plans; the deadline was tight, to match the fast pace of the holiday contest. As I noted in our last contest, the high quality of the entries made the judging no easy task.

 Our judges have made their decisions.

The December Jackpot contest, “Best Opening Sentence,” closed today at 1:00 pm. Tammy and Raymond immediately began trading emails to reach a consensus about our three finalists.

For now, I’m only going to reveal the first few words of each sentence. Sometime in the next hour I’ll go to the contest page and reveal the authors of the finalists (but not the others; there are too many!)

I’ll announce the name of the contest winner (already locked in)  tomorrow afternoon, as promised. At that time, I’ll also post the judges’ remarks for these three entries. For this evening — and in random order — here are the judges’ choices as December’s three finalists:

Each of the above phrases is a link to the complete entry. One of those is the winner of this month’s progressive jackpot, which grew to $35!

Oh, and there was mention of that other little “entry bonus” — remember? Sometime between right now and tomorrow’s winner-announcement, I’ll mark one of the non-finalists (chosen at random) as the winner of that $10 bonus award. You’ll just have to stop by and check the page to find out who gets that prize.

Thanks once again to everyone who participated in our fast and festive holiday competition!

~ Jim 


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  1. Looking GREAT, Jim! Congratulations we offer to the three finalists are well-deserved. Excellent entries were received for this contest! Stay tuned…

    • I can’t wait to publish the responses that you and Tammy provided for our finalists, Raymond …

      But I will wait — until tomorrow. This was a FUN contest. Thank you both for your dedication.

  2. With help from my math-whiz son, I figured out a way to choose an at-random winner for this contest’s $10 bonus prize. Here’s how it worked out: http://sowrite.us.com/december-jackpot/#comment-764

    • And if you’d like a good laugh at my expense, please read my follow-up comment to the one linked above.
      Just call me “math challenged” and let’s leave it at that, okay? I’ll announce our contest winner shortly.
      Thanks for your patience.

  3. Triple the entries? That’s some fantastic growth! Perhaps next time you should make the contest just a word or phrase, and you’ll get triple once again 😉

    • What’re you, a wise guy?
      (I know, Amit — how do I go back to essay-length entries after the fun we had with this one??)

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