New 3-Sentence Contest: “Best Excerpt, All Genres”

Last weekend, I promised you a new contest. Here’s your chance to show off your best writing. To enter, all you need is three dynamite sentences.

Contest 3 sentences picked
Our first contest for 2014 is “Best Excerpt, All Genres.” So this first round is open to almost everyone. We’re really going to mix things up this time, which should be interesting.

We’ll have lovely medals for our contest finalists, as well as some sponsor-supplied cash prizes.

You don’t have to pay to enter. Instead, I’ll be looking for your help with spreading the word and choosing our finalists. More on that in a minute.

Please note: We are now closed to new entries. Additional comments and feedback are still welcome for our 3-sentence entries. Thank you all!  ~Jim * 2-17-14

First, let’s recap the “why bother?” inquiry.

In my preview post, I offered this response to the question, what value is there in pitting excerpts of just three sentences against each other?

I propose that this competition holds enormous value for our writers. How many sentences do you read on a book cover’s blurb before you make your purchase decision? If you open a novel, how far do you have to read before you “know” this is a book you’ll buy?

Three sentences can carry great power in their presentation.

In non-fiction, the power of three sentences is legion. Many persuasive NF books include two or three sentences as an appended part of the title itself.

Great blog posts rely on the draw of those first three sentences to convince readers to keep reading. And in a sales letter, long form or short, if the first three sentences suck then little else matters; the letter will fail to deliver.

So that’s the “why” part. Now let’s get down to “how” this will work.

This writing contest is open to all SoWrite site members. If you aren’t already on the list, you can sign up using the blue box, below. That’s how I’ll know who you are and how to contact you if you are a finalist.

To enter, you’ll submit your three-sentences here on this page, using the Comments section. You are welcome to include a title for your entry.

Note: Please be certain that you own the copyright for your entry or entries! If you haven’t entered one of these contests before, please consult the complete rules.

Acceptable entries include three sentences pulled from:

  • Newly-written material
  • In-progress works of all sorts
  • Poetry (use the “/” for each line)
  • Short stories and flash fiction
  • Novels and novellas
  • Non-fiction blog posts, articles, essays, and full-length books
  • Sales and marketing materials, including landing pages (etc.)

You may enter up to three times, each from a different source.

Note: Your entered sentences do not need to appear consecutively in your source work.

Conditions apply:

 As “payment” for your entry, I ask that you share this contest with your networks, via whatever social media you prefer (Twitter, G+, Facebook, Pinterest, and others). Tag me if you can, and I’ll play along. (Check my Social buttons, top/right of any page on-site.)

You will also help choose our finalists!

Your opinions will form part of our judging formula (approximately 1/3). How? I’d like you to add your rating to at least 3 other entries. You’re welcome to say whatever you like (within reason — I retain edit powers!), but please be sure to add your rating, on this scale:

  • The scale is a range of 1 to 10
  • “1” is the lowest, a rating of “ho hum”
  • “5” is a neutral rating of “acceptable but not exceptional”
  • “7” equals “excellent”
  • “8” would be “outstanding”
  • “9” should be reserved for “amazing”
  • “10” will only be conferred as the highest possible praise (don’t give 3 “10”s!)
  • Your first priority will be to rate any unrated entries, rather than add to existing ratings.
  • You will not rate your own entry! (had to make that clear)

If you have any questions about this new twist in our judging, please ask me via email or other private messaging — or use our SoWrite Facebook writers’ group.

Deadline for all entries: Sunday, February 16 at 11:59 pm EST  (now closed to entries)

Finalists will be chosen during the week beginning Feb 16, and announced on Sat, Feb 22.

Here’s the link to Saturday’s announcement of finalists:

 Here’s the twist:

Finalists will each be asked to submit up to three more sentences directly related to their entries.

Judging among our three finalists will begin anew, based on their total of up to six sentences each.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, March 1 by 7 pm EST.

Cash prizes will be determined by the number of total entries. Minimum prize purse is $25 total, courtesy of Mandy’s Pages (thank you, Mandy!).

Are you ready? Do you have three awesome sentences from your arsenal to enter in the fray?

See my sample entry for style guidelines.

Don’t forget to Share! Use the buttons provided below, or copy and paste the contest link as needed:

Important: Please be sure to Subscribe to Comments for this post, so you will be an active participant in the contest!

With grateful thanks to our charter site and contest sponsor:
Mandy's Pages content website


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  1. My Entry Ttle:
    Ths s my frst sentence. And ths s sentence number two. Here’s the thrd and fnal sentence.

    • Here’s my ratng for ths goofy entry: Not so hot. Ratng = “3” (sorry!)

      • Oh, Jmmy, Jm, Jmmy. I do so wsh your qualfers for ratngs could be a bt more objectve. IMO ‘outstandng’ s superor to ‘amazng’. One’s ndvdual perceptons could easly cause an ‘excellent’ pece to become a ‘not so hot’ entry based on personal experence. For example, I’ve encountered several amazngly bad stores. Due to such trauma, I suspect ‘amazng’ has a negatve’ connotaton for someone. Yes, as Carole Kng once sad, “It’s too late baby,” for ths contest. But, for future reference, maybe you could consder concrete rather than abstract qualfers. If not, would you thnk about addng more detals to your word for each ratng?
        Example: Excellent=very good, better than most wrters but you can do even better, Outstandng=just below the best possble ratng, above excellent, keep pushng. Hghest=most superor, even f Martn Luther Kng Jr, the Dala Lama, and Gandh combned ther efforts, they couldn’t acheve ths level. Stuff lke that.

        • can’t delete. but please do. I wll repost on wrtng group page

        • Kae Bender says:

          I totally agree wth PJ. A more detaled and exactng standard would really help gude the ratngs. I found myself beng qute subjectve and even nconsstent between entres, nfluenced both by personal taste and experence and by the ratngs of prevous revewers.

          • I’m fne wth what you’ve descrbed, Kae:

            “nfluenced both by personal taste and experence and by the ratngs of prevous revewers” s perfectly okay. I’m not askng our contestant-revewers to make the fnal determnaton for ths contest, only to help choose our fnalsts — servng as about 1/3 of the judgng.

            I want you all to have fun wth ths, and not to feel too nhbted or constrcted to smply offer your subjectve opnon. I have a dfferent standard for our contest judges, behnd the curtan. :-)

        • Don’t make me come over there, PJ! :-)

          I thnk we all understand the concept of a sldng scale as I’ve defned t. I’m happy to let our contestants decde from there how to apply that scale to ther ratng opnons. What I dd not want was for a ratng of “5” to be “wow, ths sure does suck, but not as bad as a ‘4’ sucks…” Are you wth me on that approach? Hope so!

    • Contestants: If you need a TYPO FIX just let me know.

      If you don’t know how to fnd me, check the “Let’s Talk” lnk n the header bar. ~Jm

    • ENTRY >> Ths s part of a potental blurb for the book I started on my blog: Survvng the Zombe Apocalypse.

      When sxteen-year-old Cleopatra Stevens watched one of her teacher’s de n the mddle of a lecture, she thought she had seen the worst of the vrus.. She was wrong. Now she has to do whatever t takes to survve n a world domnated by zombes.

    • Actually I found t funny. 5.

  2. ENTRY >> “My Natve Sprt, Speakng Today” (provsonal ttle, travel narratve essay)

    The name of our country, n our language, s Hellas, not Greece; the latter s the appellaton adopted by our Roman conquerors, many centures ago. Hel-las, lterally, means “the land of sun and stone.” But, how could the occasonal vstor know how t s to be caught between these dazzlng rocks and the hard place of people’s perceptons – and msconceptons – about us?

  3. ENTRY >> Excerpts from Vsble To All [Edted by Jm Bessey, 2/2, 6:40 pm]

    1) She always thought t unfar that men can rde comfortably astrde, whle females were expected to put themselves n danger by un-naturally hookng one leg over the horn of the saddle and contortng ther bodes.
    2) As they walked back towards the gatherng, the Russan General relates some hstory of the Prague Castle art collecton; “About eght hundred years ago Prague frequently flooded so they flled n over the houses and buldngs wth post-war rubbsh and sol, approxmately twenty-two feet and the cty was then rebult on top.
    3) When Sydney’s hand touches Armne’s she begns to feel lghtheaded and her perpheral vson darkens, lke she s n a tunnel…a tunnel that ends n another tme, far nto the future.

  4. ENTRY >> The frst three sentences of a flash fcton story: “A Sprted Request”:

    I’ve never been much good at paperwork, so when the dude wth the bg scythe came by wth that huge form to fll out I just sloughed hm off. Colossal mstake . . . I fgured I had all of eternty, rght? What was the rush?

  5. (Please excuse the typo above)
    Excerpt #2 from Vsble To All
    As they walked back towards the gatherng, the Russan General relates some hstory of the Prague Castle are collecton; “About eght hundres years ago Prague frequently flooded so they flled n over the houses and buldngs wth post-war rubbsh and sol, approxmately twenty-two feet and the cty was then rebult on top

    PLEASE DISREGARD THIS ENTRY, folks. [Edted by Jm, 2/2, 6:40 pm]

  6. Lori Thatcher says:

    ENTRY >> Frst three sentences of a short story, work n progress.

    Wheels lost tracton n soft sand and the lttle red Nssan faltered as t entered the water, comng to a stop wth waves barely lappng the hood. The engne ded wth a sputter and the wndsheld wpers slapped the gatherng randrops once, twce, before freezng n the mddle of a stroke. It wasn’t at all what Harry had planned and as he stared dumbly through the wndsheld, he thought, “Ths s gong to be a slow sucde ndeed.”

  7. ENTRY >> Entry two from another flash fcton “Off the Wall”

    “Pushed, I tell you . . . pushed!”
    “Calm down Mr. Dumpty . . . Let’s take t from the begnnng.”

  8. ENTRY >> And fnally from my current WIP – Argentum:

    “Hey, Popgoes! Come back! Drat, better get after hm. Good day sr!” and wth that the Great Bobbert ran off through the park n pursut of hs weasel.

  9. ENTRY >> An excerpt from a novel “From Raggs The Bent Man (w..p.)

    “I loved your mother, lad, she was a dear sant, –no less than a perfect sant, and she was a good woman, you can be proud of her, lad, she saved my worthless lfe– ths s between you and me, ‘ts nothng for gentle folk or nasty hags wth broomstcks-up-ther arses and waggng tongues to know.”
    The Parson was gettng too close to say anythng else. I nodded and watched her wpe a tear from her cheek.

  10. ENTRY >>
    It was a horrble thng to say, but the best thng that ever happened to Brana was her Great-Aunt Elza Sheffeld dyng and subsequently leavng all her worldly possessons to her estranged nece.
    Ths was an aunt Brana barely knew and only just remembered ever meetng her when prompted by the lawyer who had been searchng trelessly to fnd the last remanng relaton of ths poor old lady.
    Tears welled n Brana’s enormous, dark brown eyes as she lstened to the portly lawyer —Ronald Crafton was hs name– seated behnd a dsorganzed desk whch was smultaneously mpressve n sze yet beat up and shabby lookng; the knd you’d fnd n a second hand shop or tucked nto the corner of an old, musty attc.

  11. ENTRY >>
    He snorted, stretched one arm, and woke, looked around the room, nearly closed hs eyes, then sped me and froze, wary, head cocked, slowly retrevng hs wg.
    A funny thought came to me that I should say, “Fear not, for behold I brng you good tdngs…” but I wasn’t sure that would set wth hm, and I dared not smle.
    I held up both hands, nstead, the unversal sgn of good ntentons, but he dd not relax.

  12. 5

  13. ENTRY >>
    The softness n her eyes from years of lfe’s experences graced her face as she gazed longngly nto the horzon. She was about to make her journey home; one that she ntended to for many years, but only now felt was the rght tme. 120-year old Amela closed the dary that she held so dear all these years wshng that Elana could see how prceless her gft had been.

  14. ENTRY >> entry # 2, an excerpt from ‘The Rupaloo Boy’ a short story

    “I shall not marry the rch or the handsome f they are also stupd” sad the young maden, watchng the parade of sutors pass by ther poor hovel, starng at her n awe, and leavng gfts of flowers, food, and slk to brbe the father for her hand.

    “Choose well” sad her grandmother haughtly, “Marry rch, for f you choose a poor man, you shall be requred to bear hs chldren, do hs laundry, bathe hm, and cook food for your chosen burden daly wthout complant; you may not have food, and t shall be forever, wthout thanks.”

    “ If I receve no thanks, cruel remarks, no kndness, lttle respect or mpolte talk from the one chosen, I shall never adorn hs bed no matter how rch he may be, my grandmother!”

  15. Katharine says:

    ENTRY >> #2 from me:

    Hs gray har and recedng harlne seemed out of place wth the way hs muscles rppled, as he eased hmself nto the lounge char he’d erected n the sand, and adjusted hs slk swm trunks. Hs arms, legs, and chest bore the tawny hue and slck sheen of a professonal tanner. He settled hmself, facng the lake and the scorchng afternoon sun, eyes shut, so, we women stopped watchng hm and slowly followed our chldren nto the ce-cold water.

  16. ENTRY >> Ths s an excerpt from “How to become a warror woman” post on my blog, t descrbes a kngdow ruled by women on another realty/dmenson:

    A woman n Anurn worths more than a normal man, and all ts socal lfe s regulated by rgd laws where a man has no chance but to stay n second place and serve to the communty, hs mstress owner or f he s fortunate enough, to hs wfe. A woman can have several husbands, and her only lmt would be how wealthy she s. Because, due to the rgd laws of Anurn, a woman who cannot afford the mantenance of her husbands would fall nto socal dshonor and would loose all her propertes, men ncluded.

    • 5

    • 5.

    • I say 5 There are ESL ssues.

      • Could you be so knd to tell me what s ESL?

        • ESL means Englsh as second language. Perhaps some phasng or words were not used properly or not translated well and therefore msunderstood.

        • Carlos, s Englsh your second language? (ESL) You do very well! I see Glory explaned what ESL s already. Wrtng n Englsh as a second language s tough, I ADMIRE anyone who speaks a dfferent language and bravely wrtes n Englsh–Englsh has a lot of strange structures and at tmes, unusually dffcult word usage. Keep at t, you’re dong well!

        • Actually, gven how well you wrte, I thought t was the average Amercan wrtng. My hubby s Guatemalan. He speaks Englsh fluently, but he can’t wrte at all. So I can apprecate the sklls you have for wrtng n Englsh. :)

          • Thanks a lot to all of you, I’ve never seen that “where” nstead of “were”, I msspeled that. When you’ve sad I had ESL ssues, I felt as f I had some knd of werd dsease, lol. Yes, you’ve got the eye, and once agan I felt lke the rabbt caught by the hawk from a mle away! I must accept I’m gulty, Englsh s my second language. But recevng an honorable “average amercan” plus a 5, I thnk s qute acceptable, but the man goal s that you enjoy what I wrte. So, besdes ths great contest from Jm Bessey, f any of you would lke to read my posts and read somethng werd or bzarre, just let me know. I’m here to mprove n ths great sowrte communty, and to spread my stores to the world!!!

          • I thnk you are dong a wonderful job. I wll have to check out some of your wrtng. Can you send me a lnk to some of your stuff, f t’s onlne? I would be happy to take a look at t. By the way, where are you from world-wse?

          • If Jm allow us to, here’s the lnk:
            Try to start the story of Tales on a near world snce the beggnng, you can fnd other cool stores there. Don’t worry, I’m already prepared for you to slaughter my grammar. But please, enjoy the stores!

          • I took a peek and suggested some mnor mprovements n one of your posts. I thnk t would be easer to suggest mprovements va emal. Publc suggestons can be embarrassng. Feel free to emal me f you’d lke. And be warned, I don’t have much free tme. I am currently edtng two of my books (gettng them ready for submsson), studyng for school, and wrtng for my blog. So, my vsts to your ste and any help that I can supply s gong to be a lttle lmted and random. :)

    • Kae Bender says:

      Yes, I’m afrad the Englsh needs qute a bt of grammatcal polshng, ncludng to make the fnal thought actually a sentence — though, Carlos, the “where” s perfectly correctly used. Gven your language challenges, I’ll evaluate only on the content and concept rather than the grammar, whch I’ll expect you to work on. I lke the Amazonan twst to put women n the power poston, and I’d be nterested to fnd out how you see ther communty standards playng out. Gven your descrpton of the law, t defntely seems to have nterestng potental, and for that I gve a 6.

      • Thank you Kae, you’re so knd, the amazonan women, whose name are “Anurns”, are characters from a book named “Ranbow” that I’ve already wrtten, but that I need to get t translated. Meanwhle, I’ve been postng some descrptons of the characters n my blog whch you can currently read on the lnk I posted. Thanks agan for the 6!

    • I can’t decde f the dea s ntrgung or a smplstc verson of a present day stereotypcal patrarchal socety wth the roles flpped. In any case, the challenge of wrtng n Englsh dstracts from the content. Once the translaton s smooth ths could prove to be an nterestng story. I just can’t tell at ths pont. I’d gve t a 5 wth the potental of a hgher ratng once t s effectvely translated.

      • Thanks PY, these warror women lfe s not as smplstc as t looks n the three sentences. By example they sal shps n the ar, graffes are sacred for them and they have energy arrows and bombs. They lve n Anuc, a terrtory wth dferent lands and ctes generally ruled by men. Both fght aganst monsters from the kngdom of darkness lke werewolves and some others.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      It’s ntrgung to see gender roles reversed, but the mstakes wth grammar are costly, makng t hard to follow. Of course, people who lve n glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I grew up speakng Englsh and I can’t tell you how much tme I spend edtng out my own errors.

  17. ENTRY >> Excerpt from “The Tme I Ddn’t Fall Apart” (magazne artcle)

    I knew I had to go home for ths reunon.

    I had moved twenty-plus tmes as a mltary kd, so “home” was a nebulous concept, but ths lttle town n Mssour was the before-and-after of all the wanderng: the place I had come as a newborn and the place I left after hgh school.

    My parents, who had recently moved ther nest to another state, were returnng to see my grandmother and called back ther three baby brds.

    • For those who are curous, the rest of the artcle s at:–ddnt-fall-apart

    • I say 7

    • 8.

    • Lori Thatcher says:

      8 Great!

    • Kae Bender says:

      Perhaps ths ratng goes beyond the contest expectatons, but the lnk nvtes expanson. Your chosen excerpt bengnly sets the stage for the reunon but, wth the ttle for context, begs the queston as to the crcumstances and why you mght and ddn’t fall apart. Perhaps t was cheatng to read the artcle, but after checkng t out, I stll wondered why you chose ths nebulous 3 sentence secton from the mddle; n fact, the entre artcle left me stll wonderng at your choce. Your panc, your jagged gref, your quest for closure, and your 3 sentence selecton all seem stll to contnue the pattern; rather than a concluson, the whole story gves the mpresson you’re stll tryng not to fall apart. These 3 sentences are well-constructed, clear, and, wth the ttle for context, ntrgung. After consderng t all, I’m stll left wonderng. So f an excerpt s supposed to pull the reader n, ths has succeeded nobly. For the sentences themselves, I’d gve a 6; wth the ttle, I’ll gve t an 8 for ts promse of more than meets the eye; for ts concluson, I’d gve only a 5.

    • I want to know more about ths “return of the prodgal” trp! 8

    • Just my opnon, but more actve voce would pck up the pace. Plus, the whole nest/brd thng seems a lttle cheesy. But I’m sure others lke t. Just not my taste. You managed to get a large amount of nfo n three sentences! I’d offer a 6.

    • I lke ths a lot. 7

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      The frst sentence wasn’t an attenton-grabber for me. A reunon s a well-used story devce, so f your gong to go wth t you have to come out swngng. The last reunon story I read was about a group of seven frends who come back to ther home town to destroy a chld-kllng, shape-shftng monster from outer space. (Oh man, I need to get to a lbrary and stop rereadng Stephen Kng. Is there a support group?) Anyway, I dd lke the magery of the baby brds returnng to ther nest.

  18. ENTRY >> Ths s a part from the “Tales of a new world” story whch you can fnd n my blog:

    “Gal went wth hm unsure f he was gong the rght way. Borg took hm a few streets from the pont they’ve met nto a thrd floor appartment, whch smelled terrbly as f t hadn’t been opened for ages, ts lght was yellow and desparng, only a few rays from the sun entered from a large but narrow drty vent wndow. It was small for the quantty of people n there, about forty whom where lstenng to ther enthusastc guru, who was speakng about the end of both worlds and the prophecy fullflment.”

    • You’re dong fne, Carlos. I meant to pont out another error: the “quantty” of people’ s really a msused word too, t should be ‘number’ of people. A ‘quantty’ refer to a collectve homogenous entty, lke an ‘amount’ of somethng you can’t count . An example, a ‘quantty of peanut butter’. There cannot be a “number of peanut butter”. –but there can be ‘a number of peanuts” ( e. ndvdual peanuts that can be counted )
      People now tend to use “less” and “fewer” ncorrectly n the same way, for example, there cannot be “fewer peanut butter” n a jar, —-but there certanly can be “less peanut butter”. “:D
      Keep at t, Carlos “:)

    • 6

    • Kae Bender says:

      Ignorng the grammar lls and the run-on (second) sentence, ths descrpton s really good. For more effect n the story, you mght want to “show not tell” how the guru was enthusastc and actually quote hs speech. For purposes of a 3-sentence excerpt, though, the summary was ntrgung. 6

    • * JIM,* ths s an added note
      my comment on the use of “where” and “were” n Carlos’ entry was contradcted whch must have been confusng for Carlos, who s strugglng wth ESL.

      I wsh to pont out once agan, n THIS partcular usage, ‘WHERE’ s used ncorrectly. Ths quote followng s drectly from Carlos’ entry, and clearly, n ths sentence, ‘where’ should be ‘were’

      ” It was small for the quantty of people n there, about forty whom where lstenng to ther enthusastc guru, who was speakng about the end of both worlds and the prophecy fullflment.”

      “WHERE” s a descrpton of a locaton. “…WERE lstenng” would be the correct usage.

      “Where they WERE lstenng ” would also be correct, but ‘whom’ would become redundant.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Thngs get nterestng n the last sentence wth “both worlds” and “prophesy fullflment”. Keep workng on the grammar.

  19. I say 5 Here’s a good example, Carlos of ‘sound-alke’ words , you used “where” but meant “were”. Keep at t, you can DO t “:)

  20. Kae Bender says:

    ENTRY >> [From an essay, I guess you could call t, for a forum I’m n.]

    What I’ve realzed as I look at Dr. Martn Luther Kng’s legacy s that as long as the sufferng s a prvate shame, t can reman nvsble (and certanly there are many forces today renforcng too much prvate shame). As long as we can reduce the crss to statstcs, t sn’t human. The problem doesn’t become real untl t becomes vscerally vsble, untl we can crnge at the photos of abuse, untl we can empathze wth the masses of humanty beng dehumanzed, untl we meet the specter of devastaton face to face and t touches our hearts and tears a rp n the fabrc of denal and forces us to see through to the panful ugly truth.

  21. ENTRY >> Here s my entry number 3 , an excerpt from “From Raggs, the Bent Man”

    “Aye, that you dd, Mary Flanngan, you should be holdng that waggng tongue before the devl hmself gets hold of t and pulls you down nto the pt!”
    “No fear of that, Parson, me tongue moves too fast to be caught, even by the devl hmself!”
    “Aye, that may be true n your case” he sad, smlng fercely.

    • I’ll gve t a 6 – would have been a 7, but the “fercely” at the end bothers me a lttle. Not sure how you would “smle fercely”!

      • 7

      • Debbe, ‘smlng fercely’ can be observed easly by observng humanty very carefully: have you ever heard of the common sayng “grn and bear t?”
        “Smlng fercely” s a forced smle. Somewhat akn to a ‘forced smle’ or a smle ‘donated’ because t s ‘expected’, but a queston of sncerty of the smle s rased. Smlarly, t may be a smle offered n undeclared tolerance of an ndvdual’s conduct, or n some nstances, hypocrsy n agreeng wth “borderlne” conduct or language.

        • Kae Bender says:

          Interestng explanaton of “smlng fercely” and f I were famlar wth the concept that mght have made the passage more nterestng for me — but I’m not and so nstead t seemed confusng; but that s of course out of context of the rest of the story, so I hope you have been fllng n clues as the story moves along so that those of us who were confused could have deduced the ntent.

          • Well, sn’t that the pont? There s lttle to be gleaned from 3 sentences. They ether grab you or they don’t, encourage you to read on, bore you so you’re ndfferent to contnung or repulsed enough that you’d never read another word wrtten by sad author, but we shouldn’t judge the entre work merely on those frst lnes. At least I don’t.

    • Kae Bender says:

      Yes, the ferce smle detracts from an otherwse ncely constructed exchange. Nonetheless, I’ll gve the ferce smle the beneft of possble plot-ntenton and award a 7.

    • PJ Yusten reples [edted by Jm on Wed 2-12)

      I lke the ferce mage wth the smle. It gves the character more depth makng me more curous about hm and hs ntentons. A parson can turn to the dark sde. I am not sure why but I keep wantng the ‘hmself’ to be ‘hsself’ from one of these characters. I do not know ther backgrounds but maybe Mary sn’t formally educated and would use that word? Or, maybe I am not even makng sense. That does happens once n a whle. I’ll say 7. If only I could get a ‘hsself’ an 8 would be more approprate. Actually, I’d prefer a 7.5 f that s a possblty.

    • I lke the conversaton and mmedately wonder who s the protagonst n ths dalogue and the hstory between them. I’m confused about the genre – not sure f I would read the story n full. Nce job. 7

    • melindaclayton says:

      I love ths! It made me smle and wonder what happens next. 8.

    • 6

    • melindaclayton says:

      Made me smle – a defnte 7. :-)

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Clever dalogue, but what horrble, dsgustng thng dd she say to nspre ths conversaton? Why wasn’t that part of the three sentences?

  22. ENTRY >> W.I.P. from memor ttled “Government Cheese and other Tasty Treats” or “Cemetery! All Your Horses Are Dead”

    After t dropped out of the haymow door onto the ground, Grandpa stomped out of the barn, pcked up the demon and went to work beatng ts brans out—f snakes have any brans. Snappng the bg bull snake lke a whp aganst metal and wood, Grandpa Bll kept whackng t over and over agan aganst the bars of the pasture gate untl the snake’s mushy head just dangled lke a popped balloon. I hate, hate any knd of snake but, somehow, I almost felt sorry for ths guy who gave hs lfe defendng a stupd bale of hay.

    • I say 7 , lfe demonstrated and also a compasson for lfe n any form, nce combo, PJ

    • Kae Bender says:

      Wow, what an ntense antpathy for that poor snake. Grandpa certanly has ssues. I, too, have no real love for snakes, but that seemed excessve and nhumane. Stll, I have to assume there s a pont n the memor that requres us to know ths about both you and grampa, so I’ll gve t an 8 for ts crnge-worthness.

    • I’ve seen a lot of snakes, klled several, and never dd one go ths peaceable. They always fght. Was t already dead when Grandpa snapped t lke a whp? Hope so, or else there s a fact mstake, I thnk.
      And a snake defendng a bale of hay s confusng.
      However, I would thnk maybe I don’t know somethng here, and would read on, whch s the pont of the frst three sentences, rght? Therefore, you have succeeded that way.
      7.5, untl I’ve read the rest. 😉

      • Katharne, ths chapter features my great grandfather who followed expectatons for gender roles of the 1950s. He couldn’t/wouldn’t ever have admtted to fear of a snake. He was n the haymow of the barn throwng hay bales out for the cattle. Snakes often lurked n bales of hay. Ths one struck out at Grandpa when he pulled the bale off the stack takng hm completely by surprse. They were both startled. The bull snake actually bt hm on the hand.
        Stll recoverng from the unexpected attack, Grandpa was cursng (a few new words for me) and very, very angry. He stomped down on the snake’s head kckng t out the haymow door where t dropped to the ground below. So, no t was not ‘all the way’ dead but ‘mostly dead’ as Blly Crystal would say n the Prncess Brde. The ntal battle was over before the three sentence scene started.
        Grandpa chose overkll (I thnk) drectng hs anger toward ths crtter as a way to erase hs fear w/o showng hs vulnerablty. Typcally, he was a gentle but stubborn old fart. I was about 5-6 years old and I’d never seen hm ths angry and I’d never seen hm afrad of anythng. At the end of the day after supper, we (my aunt and I) crawled up on ether arm of hs old overstuffed char and lstened to hs embellshed verson of hs encounter wth ths bull snake. Both he and my grandfather were natural born story tellers. Hopefully, that helps t make a lttle more sense to you.

    • Snakes don’t bother me (then agan I haven’t had the bejesus scare of encounterng one n a hayloft) Chances are my gut reacton would have been smlar – t’s ether me or hm ! 7.5 from me on the raw emoton behnd t.

    • I was able to completely vsualze the scene, PJ, bravo! Yes, raw emoton, vvd acton, and compasson. An 8.

    • P.J., I lve n the country and understand ths passage. I had a frend once (she ded) whose husband usually klled the snakes n ther pond who tred to steal her ducks’ eggs and babes. He gave her a scythe to use when he wasn’t there (she was under fve feet). On her frst snake kll, she sad she ht the snake once and chopped ts head off, but she was so angry at t she kept strkng t. Probably forty tmes n all. As she came to herself agan she sad, “I could hear myself gong ‘Unh! Unh! Unh!’ every tme I ht the thng, and I thought, ‘Ths s how people come to stab other people forty or ffty tmes.'” 8

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths was one of my top 11 pcks. I hate, hate snakes too. Mght want to put talcs on that second hate to make sure the reader doesn’t consder t a typo and watch that “agan aganst” n the mddle of the entry, t reads funny. A strong pece, vsually. I enjoyed t.

  23. I lke the ferce mage wth the smle. It gves the character more depth makng me more curous about hm and hs ntentons. A parson can turn to the dark sde. I am not sure why but I keep wantng the ‘hmself’ to be ‘hsself’ from one of these characters. I do not know ther backgrounds but maybe Mary sn’t formally educated and would use that word? Or, maybe I am not even makng sense. That does happens once n a whle. I’ll say 7. If only I could get a ‘hsself’ an 8 would be more approprate. Actually, I’d prefer a 7.5 f that s a possblty.

  24. ENTRY >> Work n progress equne fcton set n the world of 3 Day Event Rdng. The openng sentences from the prologue:

    “And now to the next tem on the agenda,” declared the Charman of the board. As he looked up, pretentously surveyng the crowd , the 53 year-old retred Chef Executve Offcer carefully removed hs spectacles from hs ruddy face. Reachng nsde hs Dubarry jacket for hs eye-glasses case, he contnued, “the matter of Rachel Porter and equne ownershp transfer of Calm Before the Storm”.

    • I’ve always loved horses so the subject nterests me. Equne fcton s a new term to me but mages of Pegasus and uncorns keep gallopng around n my head! After attemptng to read many tmes, the errors n mechancs contnue to be a dstracton. If the mstakes were fxed, I’d read further to fnd out why ownershp of the horse s controversal. Wthout the errors, I’d gve t a 5-hgher f I had a better grasp on content.
      If the charman s ‘pretentously surveyng the crowd,’ s he pretentous? Does he consder Rachel to be pretentous? Why would he take off hs glasses and put them away f he s proceedng wth an ownershp transfer?

    • I saw the ‘spectacles’ and wondered about the ‘eye-glasses’ case. Inconsstent? I say 5

    • 6

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      When ‘the’ appears before the ttle, you don’t captalze, so use “the charman of the board” n the frst sentence. Snce the nterestng part s the ownershp of the horse, I wonder why that was the thrd sentence chosen nstead of the frst.

  25. Happy Mdweek, awesome contestants! Here’s an update for all of you:

    I’ve gone back through all of your entres, and added the word “ENTRY” n bold, to make t easer for everyone to fnd entres among the ratngs and conversatons.

    Have each of you rated at least 3 other entres? If you haven’t yet, please dg n! :-)
    Please pay specal attenton to those entres that have not yet receved multple ratngs or dscusson.

    To those of you who’ve rated more than 3, and offered detaled feedback — THANK YOU!
    I’m so excted to see wrters takng extra tme to offer constructve crtcsm and analyss.

    For all of our contestants:

      Do you need a typo fxed? PM me or leave a reply to your own entry; I’ll fnd t!
      Want to go back and add the lnk to your source work? Add a reply to your entry and offer your readers the lnk, as some contestants have already done.
      Dd you only submt a sngle entry? Don’t hestate to add two more from other sources. Mx genres f you lke. Maybe you have a great short story or essay that could use some exposure and feedback. Brng t!

    Please don’t forget to share ths contest (and your entry!) wth your socal network — thanks! The deadlne approaches.

  26. Ths s Cherry Kelly’s entry, brought over from the other contest post:

    ENTRY >>
    I met a man named Goose,/ Who was heavy and wore a burnoose.
    He went on a det / Whch was qute a rot
    And now hs burnoose s too loose.

  27. Where, oh where dd the entres go?

    • All of the entres are all marked wth ENTRY >> , Raymond. And, except for ths wonky last batch, each entry also has a hazy blue background, nstead of the whte background for subsequent reples.

  28. Ths s my last entry taken from a nghtmare sequence n my portfolo.
    ENTRY >>
    “Eva naughty. Me naughty,” the tattered lttle toddler whmpered n the flthy closet corner as she wnced from the stng of the soaked drty daper remndng Eva a bg grl must make t to the potty on tme f she wants to eat. A cockroach crawled nto the feast on her staned bottom as a bony lttle fnger mxed seepng blood wth the tny tears she tasted for her last supper.

    • OMGosh! Wow, I feel ths chld’s pan. Very good job wth ths PJ. Ths s defntely an 8 n my eyes. The descrpton couldn’t be more, well, descrptve. Thank you so much for tearng my heart out just before bedtme. :-(

      • Sorry, Dawn. I have problems sleepng and often have nghtmares. When I wrte t down and add to the nghtmare, I can release t from my head and transfer t to the paper. It’s strange but becomng a grandmother somehow made me more ‘aware’ or ‘senstve’- I don’t know how to descrbe t. But, I try to avod readng artcles or lstenng to news about a parent channg up a chld or starvng a chld or anythng about chld neglect or abuse. It’s too dffcult for me to let t go. I can’t ‘look the other way’. Don’t know f that makes any sense to you but I don’t set around and nvent these sckenng scenes – not conscously anyway!
        Thank you for the honest comments.

        • I completely understand. If you read Danny’s Grace, you would see what I mean. It’s full of scenes that I really hate thnkng about. Unfortunately, the kds that these thngs happen to can’t turn t off.

    • melindaclayton says:

      Ouch! I can defntely see ths scene. 8

    • Ths scene almost turned my stomach. There can never be any excuse for chld abuse. Don’t get me started on ths subject. Well wrtten, PJ — I say 8

    • I, too, gve t an 8, and I’m glad you can wrte out your nghtmares. I just wake up n a sweat and don’t go back to sleep.

    • I agree wth everyone that chld abuse s totally wrong.
      However, I had real trouble graspng the meanng of the last sentence, pcturng what exactly you were descrbng. Ths s my thrd day tryng to fgure t out. I would have read on, of course. Ths s a subject no one could feel rght about gnorng, but I’m thnkng: Whose bony fnger? Why blood? She ate blood and tears for supper? She’s samplng from her daper? Or there s blood n the daper and whoever’s bony fngers are there? Or…
      Probably she wpng tears off a blooded cheek? Hope so! But the wrtng doesn’t flow.

      • It’s the two-year-old’s bony fnger. Pror to these sentences the reader knows the mother knocked Eva down as she tred to clmb on to the tolet. The fall broke open a gash on the sde of her head. After she was tossed nto the closet (a common occurrence) the toddler s lyng on her sde and her tears drp nto the blood. She lcks the blood from her fnger because she’s barely two and she probably hasn’t eaten recently. The mother s potty tranng her by wthholdng food f she has an accdent.
        Decdng not to nclude the most sckenng part of ths story, I skpped the next sentence when the mother’s drunken boyfrend s turnng the door handle.
        I thought I’d panted a farly graphc pcture for the reader but obvously I was mstaken. Sorry there was so much confuson. I apprecate your comments. That’s what s helpful about constructve crtcsm. What I thought was “tghtenng up” content was actually takng out detals needed for understandng.

    • Ths entry s one of our four Fnalsts! :-)

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths blew me away. Fnalst.

  29. ENTRY >> “The lost sland” (WIP, travel wrtng)

    My bran was strugglng to process the ntrcate sculpture of nterpenetratng flud volumes, n whch the doorstep of a house was an extenson of the next one’s balcony, whle both were the extenson of a thrd one’s rooftop – and all ths beng replcated ad nfntum, wth mnor varatons, wth strangely twsted starcases and doors openng on nvsble steps, level upon level upon level wth ther boundares nextrcably ntertwned.

    A tghtly woven fabrc of mnature buldngs; an ensemble that could easly compete wth (dare I say, even surpassed?) the llustratons of those ntrcate “mpossble constructons” n the pantngs of M.C. Escher — there t was, hangng over the precpce wth a seemngly effortless grace whose perfecton took my breath away. Then, the sun sunk nto the sea, and the vertgnous lnes of the vllage emerged, elaborately lt, out of the blackness engulfng the rocks.

    • These are very long sentences. I found t a lttle dffcult to follow and otherwse beautful descrptons began to lose me n the process. I thnk ths has great potental. Personally, I need to see whoever s gvng the descrpton take a couple more breaths n the descrpton. I would gve t a fve unless t was broken down a lttle bt more to make t easer for the reader to follow. (comng from a slow-mnded person. :-))

    • Beautful descrptons, probably better edted to shorten the sentences. I say 6

    • 6

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths pece demonstrates a strong talent, but I have to admt, the length and complexty of the sentences made t hard to follow. You’ve created the lterary equvalent of an Escher pcture! (And maybe that was the pont.)

  30. ENTRY “Roots” (WIP, travel + local culture)

    The young man who entered, accompaned by a gust of cold ar, seemed somehow famlar. The mschevous sparkle n hs eyes, combned wth the badly-concealed smles of my hosts, suggested that they were all expectng somethng from me – obvously, a recollecton bured n the msts of those ffteen-plus years of my absence. Impossble.

    • I lke the contrast n sentence length. I do not follow why a ‘sparkle n hs eyes’ and ‘badly-concealed smles’ means there were ‘expectng somethng’. I would probably read more to fnd out. I’d gve t a 5.5 at t hs pont. I lke the mage of the recollecton beng ‘bured n the msts’.

    • The sentence structure repeats tself: man plus cold ar, sparkle plus smles. Otherwse I really want to know more. 6.

    • I say 6

    • 6

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      I’m confused on the pont of vew or what’s gong on. In the frst sentence, a young man enters the room, and then the people of the room expect some reacton from “me”, the narrator who has been away for ffteen years. I guess I thought t was the young man n the frst sentence who was returnng, but no, t must be the narrator. Arggh. The qualty of wrtng s good: mschevous sparkle, badly concealed smles, bured n the msts. Nce turns of phrase throughout.

  31. melindaclayton says:

    ENTRY >> Really great entres! I’m almost afrad to post mne. Ths s from Appalachan Justce:

    “I paced to the wndow, opened the shutter, and looked out nto the nght. The pan I felt was ngh unbearable; I wll admt that. I couldn’t say nothn’ to Cornne, couldn’t speak through that pan, couldn’t breathe wth t sttn’ on my chest the way t was.”

  32. ENTRY >>
    My ndex fnger reached for the photo and ran down Danny’s arm, then, as f nvoluntarly, I pcked t up and hurled t towards the freplace. It ht the mantle, bouncng off and glass shattered n tny fragments on the floor. Cleanng t up wll have to wat.

    • Ths s an excerpt from the sequel to Danny’s Grace. It s not nearly done yet, but, here s a small snppet of t. It may be ttled Rush to the Altar.

    • It would make more sense to me f you called t a framed photo or used another reference to ndcate glass s nvolved. Otherwse, I pcture a paper photo you pck up and toss so t’s flutterng n the ar nstead of shatterng. I lke the tender mage of a fnger runnng down Danny’s arm contrasted wth the angry tone of throwng and shatterng.
      In the second sentence the word ‘and’ slows down the acton. You mght consder tryng a smle to appeal to the senses or compare the broken glass to the relatonshp. Just an dea. I feel lke the last sentence sn’t needed. You could splt one of the other sentences nto two sentences nstead. These are all pcky small thngs. I really lke the mages you created. But, I thnk you can make t even stronger by helpng the reader vsually create more detals of the scene. I say t’s a 6 at ths pont. I would want to read more.

      • Thank you for the deas PJ. I thought about the glass thng only after I posted t. :-) As for the last sentence, there s more to the story and there s a reason she thnks t. It has everythng to do wth her mental state, not as stable as everyone thnks she s. (Wth just three sentences, t s hard to see the rest of the story surroundng t that makes t all make sense).

    • 5

    • It ddn’t take any quantum leap of magnaton to understand the photo was framed and covered n glass. I would probably use ” bounced off, glass shatterng” I say 7

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      I dd get a bt lost n the frst sentence thnkng the character reached for the photo then ht an actual person’s arm (maybe someone sttng next to her) nstead of the arm beng n the pcture. I’d defntely go wth “bounced off”, and I wonder why the thrd sentence sn’t “would have to wat”. If t’s nteror dalogue, talcs would be an opton.

  33. ENTRY >> Ths s from “Danny’s Grace”

    I felt the stng before hs hand made contact wth my face. I apprecate you tellng me to look up. I wouldn’t have wanted to have mssed such an epc moment.

  34. ENTRY >>
    He tackled her just shy of the end of the tree lne. He was furous and he planned to make her pay double the prce for her efforts to escape. When he rpped off her shrt, she screamed for help.

  35. ENTRY >> Frst entry:

    If you get me, you get a bonus. […] There s a wall nsde me that you cannot pass, even f you wanted the best for me. […] I need someone who can take me by the hand, walk me to the wall and gve me a leg up, so that I can start clmbng.

  36. ENTRY >> Second entry:

    The heavest thng s ther heads on her shoulder. As much as ther muscles shrnk and ther bones crumble, ther heads are heavy wth thoughts and memores and fear, and ther foreheads’ sweat leaves marks on her unform. Some start walkng agan, when they can hold up ther heads by themselves.

  37. ENTRY >> Thrd entry:

    He knows he cannot really look for the boy. Those chldren tend to appear out of the blue, they materalze behnd you and are suddenly there to ask you for money or steal your phone or crack a joke. They do not come from somewhere.

  38. ENTRY >> Entry #2. From a blog post, “Zgzag”.


    Once a month or so, a tny pnpont of lght appears n the center of my feld of vson. If I’m watchng TV or drvng n the car, I don’t notce t at frst, but f I’m starng at a blank page or even the blank computer screen, I see t rght away. I yell to my husband to help me fnd the msplaced Advl, snce the sooner I take them, the less tme I’ll lose to ths mgrane.

  39. melindaclayton says:

    ENTRY >> Squeezng one n under the deadlne. Ths one s from Entangled Thorns.

    “Tell me ths: When a person s done lvng, what’s crazy about dyng? I lost my Junor a year ago last month, and I lost my chldren too many years ago to count. I have outlved and outlasted anyone or anythng I ever cared about, and I am fnshed; there an’t nothng weak about that.”

  40. ENTRY >> #3

    Hs frst ever draw on burnng tobacco made hm cough and gag, as he had never done before. He ddn’t know because they’d made t look so easy, and now they laughed at hm. He doubled over from coughng, hands on hs knees, lookng at hs drty tenns shoes, feelng hs falure.

  41. ENTRY >> Source: my WIP ‘Beach Pole 67.’

    She looked at them, her eyes gettng most, and started sngng, softly: ‘And then you came and spoled t all by sayng somethng stupd lke “I love you”.’ Frank Snatra would have been proud. Then, as the shell of her tough grl atttude fnally shattered to reveal the true Sabrna, she burst nto tears.

    • I offer 5, thnkng the frst sentence could be a lot more powerful wth revson.

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      The emotonal rollercoaster for Sabrna s strong. Perhaps f we had an nklng who she was sngng to and/or what’s happenng n ther relatonshp t would be stronger.

      • Short verson: There hasn’t been any love n Sabrna’s lfe for years, then she meets two people who are obvously made for one another, and befrends them. After a whle she shares wth them the dark secret of her past, whch explans the absence of love. She sngs that one lne because (1) t perfectly matches her feelngs and (b) she’s a Snatra fan.

        Long verson: er… wat for the book to be publshed. :–)

        It’s not just a rollercoaster for her, BTW—got a blurred vson myself when I wrote (an reread) that scene…

  42. ENTRY >> Openng lnes of an as yet unttled (and far from fnshed) WIP.

    Completely gnorng the fact that I’m a wrter, at the same tme holdng on to her prejudces about people wth autsm, my psychologst clams I lve n a world of my own because I spend at least eght hours a day at my computer, my tool of the trade. It’s lke sayng a tax drver lves n a world of hs own because he spends eght hours a day drvng hs tax around town. Wth a world vew lke hers, I dare say that I’m not the one here whose body and mnd lve on two separate planets.

  43. ENTRY >> Excerpt from murder mystery WIP:

    Funeral for a Hero

    Justne was a beautful grevng wdow; she was all n black, from her smple pumps to the black nettng coverng her head, and though her face was shelded by the vel, I could see how pale was her face, how swollen her eyes, how trembly her chn, though her cryng was slent. Owen, bless hm, held hs mommy’s hand and patted her arm, even though the lttle guy seemed overwhelmed wth all the flowers lookng lke a ggantc Hawaan shrt, the Amercan flag huggng the bronze casket, the mournful musc. When Justne turned to hm and handed hm the flag, he looked up at her wth hs solemn blue eyes so lke hs daddy’s that t hurt my heart to look at hm, and sad n hs whsper-soft four-year-old voce, “I’ll take care of you, Mommy.”

  44. ENTRY >>
    Entry #2: from “Pass or Fal? A Teacher’s Frst Year”

    Rsng about sx nches out of hs char, the prncpal placed both hands on the desk as he sad, “You have had a Specal Educaton class?” I was startled, to say the least. He was not a large man (I suppose at the tme I beleved all prncpals were bg, tough men), but he had a commandng presence.

  45. Jennifer Rodriguez says:

    ENTRY >>
    Once agan, t started. That burnng desre n her throat she knew she couldn’t control but had promsed herself so many tmes that she would. She stared wstfully out her wndow, across the street at the convenence store where dangerous “salvaton” sat, watng for her on a cold refrgerator shelf.

  46. ENTRY >> Entry #3. The begnnng lnes of a short story.

    I chopped the olves coarsely, added them to the smmerng sauce, and turned the other burner on hgh. Slut’s spaghett would be good enough for hm tonght. The coroner would probably fnd the remnants n hs stomach.

  47. ENTRY >>
    (Sales page) Ttle: How I decded what I wanted to be when I grew up

    I’m a late bloomer.
    I’ve worked as a unversty classroom teacher; I’ve taught hands on photography; I’ve taught Englsh as a second language, whch turned nto a mult-cultural adventure; I’ve created and wrtten numerous newsletters and news releases, n Englsh and n other languages; I’ve had a bg red V on my forehead for Volunteer; I’ve been chosen as presdent or secretary of many organzatons; I’ve sung n symphony choruses; I’ve played pano and led the musc at church; I’ve performed and sung n plays to rase money for charty; I’ve made money sellng photo albums; I’ve sold natve plants at a nursery; and…
    At age 58, I dscovered what I had been workng toward all those years.

    • melindaclayton says:

      LOL, Mary Alce, you deserve some sort of bonus for squeezng the most nto three sentences! 6

    • That’s a lot of nformaton n a contnuous sentence, and well done, so I say 7

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Ths mpressve lst does a good job gvng us nfo. about the character’s past and nterests, and t’s done n a way that llustrates the character’s voce, but havng to judge n a contest, I’m afrad all I’ve got s a lst. I wsh the concludng sentence had been somethng stronger.

  48. Can someone please tell me how to opt out of emal notfcatons. Not that I don’t want to be socable, but my nbox has been gettng flooded all day. :-) Thank you to anyone who can help me out wth that.

    • melindaclayton says:

      I set mne so they’re all contaned n one “folder” as they arrve. I want to perodcally check n, but lke you, I was gettng flooded!

      • Thank you, Melnda. I ddn’t know you could do that. I just set t up, so I hope t works.

      • In theory, f you leave the frst notfcaton avalable n your nbox (rather than deletng t), all subsequent reples should “ple on” to that frst message. However, that mght not work for all mal systems. I lke your folder dea, Melnda! You used “rules” for ncomng mal, rght?

  49. ENTRY >>
    Entry #1 >>> from Grls on Fre a romantc comedy starrng three women n ther sxtes and ther “loves.”

    Old knob and tube wrng smoldered nto flame blastng a hole-n-the-wall where Trxe plugged n her ron. Fred left the blame and devastaton behnd, and moved on to a new wfe, hs ffth. Sx months of argung wth the nsurance company, lvng n a hotel sute, and losng all ther belongngs awakened Trxe’s dormant longng for someone to love and comfort her.

  50. melindaclayton says:

    ENTRY >>
    Yay! There’s stll tme! Okay, last entry of mne, from Blessed Are the Wholly Broken:

    “For weeks I sat at the defense table, my mouth dry, my eyes drer, and lstened to the horror of my crme. The carefully prepared defense of my actons crumbled away lke so much dust n the wnd, blown apart by my own behavor. By the end, even I knew I was a monster, not for the reasons they cted—not because I had klled my wfe—but because I ddn’t save her sooner.”

  51. Alexandra Heep says:

    ENTRY >>

    From “A Heep’s Tale” Openng paragraph, Chapter 3 (Aganst All Odds). Work n progress, never to be fnshed t seems.

    Omnous clouds are buldng outsde her wndow. The wnd s pckng up n gusts, whppng the branches around n a hauntng melody, wth rollng thunder playng the rhythm secton. Statc energy s caressng her lke an unwanted lover, rght down to the tps of her long har.

    • I lke the personfed statc energy mage but much of the descrpton s too abstract (n my head, that s). I get the mpresson somethng evl or dark s gong to happen due to words lke ‘omnous’ and ‘hauntng,’ but then t hnts of sexual tenson. Not sure ‘gusts, whppng the branches’ would sound lke a ‘hauntng melody’. Wouldn’t wnd gusts cause branches to crack or make harsh noses? Maybe ths s the next 50 Shades of Grey and I mssed out. It does make me thnk of romance novels. I’d want to read more. I’ll rate t a 6.

    • Sorry don’t lke ths one so much. Too many clches. 4

    • Tamara Narayan says:

      Nce descrpton of storm, but yeah, storms are over-used to convey dread and/or antcpaton.

  52. ENTRY >> Ths excerpt s taken from a revew of foods offered at the state far. ENTRY # 2 from PJ

    On the 100th annversary of the Iowa State Far’s nfamous butter cow sculpture, food vendors wll ntroduce the mother of all calore-laden, hot-grease-drenched, edble tems yet to be mpaled. A fttng trbute, a honey battered hunk of butter sacrfces tself for a second soakng nto the hot splattery deep fryer grease, creatng . . . vola! Deep fred butter on a stck! Yet to be categorzed nto a food group, the frst 100 deep fred butter on a stck purchases come wth an extra-large bonus T-shrt boastng, “I went to the Iowa State Far and all I got was dabetes!”

  53. Jaw droppng oly prose. The questonable “mpaled” gets you a 7.

  54. H PJ, I can certanly vsualze the sculpture based on your descrpton. I thnk you meant “vola” nstead of “vola”? I dsconnected on the last sentence as I felt t was napproprate humour – my best frend’s son was dagnosed wth dabetes – nobody knew what was wrong wth hm (he was qute ll). After dagnoss the medcal team sad hs organs were shuttng down, hence the llness. He was very lucky to survve. He’s now nsuln dependent. I would score a 6.5 on the artcle concept and topc (assumng the food revew would also be accompaned wth lots of vsuals from the event?).

  55. Agan, wondered about the ‘mpaled’ (?) I say 7

  56. Please scroll UP to see addtonal new entres!

    I’m not sure what happened, but PJ’s earler entry seems to have pnned tself to the bottom of the comments thread, whch s werd and so far unfxable.

  57. PJ I wanted to add a postscrpt to your Butter Cow entry: I was so ntrgued by the descrpton that I looked t up and used ths and from the Iowa State Far webste to do a Toastmaster’s speech! My audence LOVED t.

  58. Tamara Narayan says:

    I don’t know where ths comment wll land so, just for the record, t’s about the Iowa State Far Deep-Fred Butter Extravaganza.

    Wow, ths s revoltng. And I mean that n a good way. Ths was one of my top 11 pcks.

  59. Aw yes. I forget everyone sn’t an Iowa State Far groupe where over 50 foods are served on a stck. Lettuce salad, chocolate coated bacon-t all must be on a stck as n the object gets a sharp object shoved n ts mass (mpaled). Okay, t’s a reach. :)

  60. Carole, My grandfather and my mother were dabetc so obvously I ddn’t ntend to offend anyone. Qute bluntly, many of those wth Type II dabetes are overweght or have an unhealthy det; even f t wasn’t the case I beleve we can fnd humor n almost any topc. Poor taste? Maybe. Some physcal problems can be controlled, others can’t. I laugh at ‘flaws’ n myself on a regular bass. I suffer from depresson-make jokes about t all the tme. I have had problems battlng my weght all my lfe. I fnd humor n the stuaton. My youngest daughter has bran cancer (she has a deep sense of fath, by the way). She wll be the frst to make a joke about t. She’s qute humorous. I guess f she’s not offended no one else should be, ether. To be truthful, f we were all careful not to say anythng consdered offensve to anyone, I don’t know what materal comedans would use. Relgon, sex, drugs, musc, fashon, guns, jobs, sexual orentaton, status, poverty-every topc magnable s most lkely offensve to someone somewhere.
    As a journalsm major and advocate of free speech, free press and free expresson, I suppose I often sound crude to other people. Others may offend me as well. I guess that’s why we all have our own taste n wrtng, flm, books-whatever the case. I am sorry you were offended but I don’t apologze for the materal. The T-shrt s a top seller so some one thnks t’s funny. I’ll stck wth my usual phlosophy. My frends, relatves and those who know me understand my ntentons. The rest of those who tend to judge me? Eff’em f they can’t take a joke.
    BTW, thanks for pontng out the typo. I’ll ask Jm to fx t. Also, thanks for ratng my entry. I have smply avoded a few I ddn’t want to deal wth; your approach s much more drect and productve. I apprecate your honesty.
    And, yes there were several photos and comments from patrons on the new foods on a stck at the far.

  61. Now t makes sense, at frst I thought you mght have been meanng ‘nhaled’ f you get t, that’s a tongue-n-cheek descrpton of “consumng EVERYTHING n sght.”

  62. Cut t wth the apostrophes. “Gets” s plural, no apostrophe. It’s ONLY mean It s, and s never used before a noun. Sorry, I have to edt as I read.

  63. I don’t thnk the last sentence s debasng for dabetes-sufferng people; to me, t sounds lke a black-humored way to stress the lnk between all ths fat consumed and the gravty of the dsease. I won’t rate ths one though — grease and fat make me shudder, and I won’t be very objectve, LoL.

  64. H PJ, I sad “dsconnected” not “offended” … I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s medcal condton and truly wsh the best for her and all of the lovng people who surround her. Thank you for sharng your thoughts and deals — respectfully, Carole.

  65. Ths was a report, rght? These thngs happened, shrts and all, rght? I apprecate reportng that goes beyond the routne and ncludes a slght twst of rony or any other sgns of lfe. Remnds me of Paul Harvey or Baxter Black, a bt. And Iowegans are a complex bunch, eatng detary recommendatons for after-dnner mnts. (Marred one.)
    Perhaps one punctuaton change: “deep-fred-butter-on-a-stck purchases” ? Lotsa hyphens n ths pece, but maybe they’re all necessary…

  66. Thanks for your reply and knd words. My daughter has a deep sense of fath and a great atttude. I lack her strength but admre her refusal to allow her llness to control her lfe. I’m sorry I was defensve n my reply; t wasn’t necessary. I know there was no ll ntent.

  67. Carol, I wrote a note but t seems to be hdng.

  68. Jm, Maybe t’s just me (okay, most lkely) but I cannot fnd my thrd entry at all. Fess up guys. Who has hexed my entry? lol
    I just want to make sure t exsts pror to fnal deadlne. Thanks.

  69. Yup. You found t. Thanks! Just no comments yet so I must have overlooked t.

  70. UPDATE on Comments gltch:

    H frends,
    We have A LOT of new entres, but they are appearng above ths dsjonted thread secton (all of whch somehow “reples” to PJ’s earler entry).

    Please SCROLL UP and look for blue-background comments wth the bold ENTRY >> label. If you are subscrbed to Comments here, you’ll see notfcatons of these n your nbox, and can use the emal lnks to easly fnd them.

    Please accept my apology: I don’t have any relable method for fxng ths comment-reples gltch. Actually, I’m afrad I’d break somethng by tryng! :-)

  71. Jm, I’m brand new to the contest so may be dong somethng wrong. I posted an entry a bt earler but t hasn’t shown up. Dd I need to share and nk ‘before’ I posted? Because I dd that afterward. All of my comments are showng up just fne. I read your note about where thngs are postng, but I stll don’t see t. Thanks!

  72. H frends,

    Although the entry deadlne s now behnd us, please don’t hestate to add your feedback and ratngs to exstng entres. You’ve all done a wonderful job readng crtcally and offerng constructve comments. Thank you!

  73. I’ll check nto t for you, Janet.
    You don’t need to do anythng specal to make entres show up. I’m not that crafty at Codng! 😉

  74. Just throwng ths out there for our contestant-raters, strctly optonal —

    Do you have a favorte among our entres, just one?
    We’ve seen a few almost-reluctant “8”s. Do we have ANY “9”s or “10”s? Lookng back on these, would any of you lke to select one among them all as your top choce? :-)

  75. I’ll announce our Fnalsts shortly.

    Revewng the judgng numbers and dscusson rght now. Please stay tuned. Thanks!

  76. A quck note about your ratngs and feedback for entres:

    >> Your ratngs HELPED to determne whch entres would fnsh n the top 10, for fnal judgng. Our goal was that at least ONE of the reader favortes was ncluded n the judges’ choce of fnalsts.
    >> Lower ratngs by contestants DID NOT elmnate entres from contenton. We have two contest judges who read your entres frst whle gnorng reader feedback.
    >> Lack of or low quantty of reader feedback and ratngs DID NOT factor nto our two judges’ ntal entry rankngs. See my second note, just above.

  77. Our FOUR fnalsts (yup!) are, n ALPHABETICAL ORDER by author surname:

    * Kae Bender — for “What I’ve realzed…
    * Melnda Clayton — for “For weeks I…
    * Nyaran — for “He knows he…
    * PJ Yusten — for “‘Eva naughty. Me…’

    I’ve edted the entry quotes, above, so that they now lnk to each entry.

    I’ll notfy each of these contestants va emal, too, n preparaton for the fnal round of judgng.

    Thank you ALL for your ncredble entres!

  78. Please CLICK HERE to see the prevew announcement of wnners on the Fnalsts Post, n Comments. ~Jm

  79. Kae Bender says:

    Thanks judges; thanks readers for the feedback; thanks Jm for runnng such an nterestng exercse. It’s been an experence for sure! Kae

  80. Sweet. Thumbs up for the good ole’ Butter Cow!


  1. […] Ths s a wrtng contest that s beng held by a good frend of mne. If you are nterested n postng an excerpt of three lnes just for fun, please check t out. Rules and thread for the contest are here. […]

  2. […] Ths contest s now n progress: […]

  3. […] PJ Yusten — for “‘Eva naughty. Me…’“ […]

  4. […] judges also explaned that when our fnalsts added more sentences to ther orgnal 3-sentence excerpts — agan, exactly as the rules provded — that changed the entre runnng […]

  5. Frank Dellaglo — Best Excerpt, All Genres: Wrters’ Contest February 2014

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