Join our January Jumpstart jackpot: “What happens next?”

NEWS: Contest entry deadline extended to Saturday, Feb 2

Jump Start contest imageUPDATE: Each writer’s first entry is FREE

Here are the new details for our January Jumpstart Contest

“What happens next?”


FIRST PRIZE: No less than $25 cash

Additional prizes offered: 

• Proofreading, up to 5000 words, by

• Possible publication with

• $10 “thank you” prize for one non-finalist

This contest uses a creative writing prompt, provided by our December contest winner, Julie Helms. Her First Place opening sentence is:

“This I confess, and nothing more!” she cried aloud to the howling throng.

Now, here’s your chance to steer this story any way you want to.  Enter our contest by adding at least one more sentence, up to about 100 words.

So far, we do not know —

  • Who is speaking?
  • What is she confessing?
  • What sort of group is this “howling throng”?
  • Will this woman survive her “confession”?

Answer any of these questions, or none of them. Show us your brilliance.

All we need to know is — what happens next? To win, you’ll need to think creatively.

If you have more than one idea, you can submit up to two additional entries (see below).

I’ll add 50% of every extra-entry fee to the initial $25 prize pot. 

New entries accepted until Saturday, February 2 at 3:59 pm EST. Judging begins immediately after that.

We’ll announce 3 finalists that same day, after 6  pm. Then, from all remaining non-finalists, we’ll choose one entry at random to receive that $10 bonus prize.

Our contest winner will be announced by Sunday afternoon.

SoWrite’s judges will use two simple criteria to compare the entries:

  • Basic writing skill
  • Originality and creativity in following the “prompt” sentence.

We have a panel of four judges for the January competition: Julie, winner of our December contest; Raymond, our November winner; plus two brand new Sponsors:

Remember, this is not a popularity contest, to be won by social media votes. Your odds of winning are based upon the number of entries and the level of your creative talent.

Does this contest spark your imagination?

I hope you’ll join us, and maybe win some cash!

Bring us your “what happens next?” sentences. Take this somewhere only you can imagine.

CLICK HERE to enter – FREE for SoWrite subscribers

The password is:   janjump2013

You may submit up to TWO more entries: keep reading…

Please note: This contest is now closed to new entries. Thanks, everyone! ~JB

Help us grow the January cash prize — 50% of every extra entry will increase the prize jackpot. 

If you would like to add two more entries, please click the button below.  (Be sure to read the Thank You page!)

$2 for TWO EXTRA ENTRIES via PayPal:

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

If you would like to add one more entry, or if you prefer not to Subscribe to Updates, use this $1 entry fee button instead. Please be sure to read the Thank You page!

$1 for ONE EXTRA ENTRY via PayPal:

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!


When you click the Pay Now button, you will be directed to PayPal’s secure payments processing page for  Payments made in error will be cheerfully refunded upon request.

Special thanks to our site and contest sponsors:

Mandy's Pages websiteWormhole Electric PublishingThe Fires of Waterland by RA KukkeeEnglish Trackers editing website

»”Jump Start” Photo credit: cmaccubbin

questionQuestions? Ask away, right here on this page in the Comments section. I’ll be sure to answer your inquiries promptly.


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  1. kerry michael wood says

    (moved to contest page) ~Jim

  2. I am not a writer but LOVE this idea. The winner’s first sentence is brillant. Can’t wait to hear the results of your current contest.

  3. Petra Newman says

    Hi Jim; I’ll try to add to this. It’s hard to write only one sentence. Once I start, I just want to keep going. It’s a good exercise to make every word count:) sounds like a lot of fun. Can’t wait to see what others have written.

    • Jim Bessey says

      You can add more than one sentence, Petra.
      I asked for a cap of “about 100 words” to keep things manageable. You’re welcome to have a look at the Contest Page to see what others have written. No obligation! 🙂

  4. We have wonderful entries to date, Jim! This is shaping up to be a great challenge!

    • Jim Bessey says

      I agree, Raymond!

      We had a slow start, but the competition posted here now is first rate. Amazing the twists and turns one can take from that first sentence, isn’t it? 🙂

  5. Oh, have I missed the deadline?

  6. “I have but one life to give but it is far, far better to devote my life to my country land than to keep it for myself”
    “No, no no. How many times must we go over and over this. You are not some all powerful force that can change your lines at will. Start at the top.”
    He walked off, whispering to his assistant, “Is the understudy up on her lines?”
    Have you separated out the special potato salad?” She nodded to him.
    This I confess…Line?…”

    • I’m so sorry you missed the deadline, Lee —

      We would have loved to include you! I’ll leave your prospective entry here so our readers can enjoy it, and make sure to nudge you sooner for your entry in our next contest round. Thanks very much for giving it a shot. Who knows, you might have won this!

  7. I’ve missed the deadline but I wanted to participate for the fun of it 😉 Thanks, Jim.

  8. Darn, I meant to put in the director saying, “Hold your torches.” 😉

  9. I got a kick out of seeing all the commentors since I’m about as non-competitive, non-game type person as you can get – I’m fascinated by how different we all are… : – ) We’re quite a species, hey?


  1. […] With a respectful nod to the Big Game being played today in New Orleans, I’m excited to announce our judging panel’s decision for the winner of our January Jumpstart contest, “What happens next?” […]

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