To help celebrate the holiday season, I’m very happy to announce our judges’ choice as the winner of our December Jackpot contest, “Best Opening Sentence.”
Congratulations to writer Julie Helms for her First Place entry:
“This I confess, and nothing more!” she cried aloud to the howling throng.
Julie’s entry was chosen by unanimous decision from among our three contest finalists. Here’s what our judges had to say about this winning opening sentence:
This is the top pick, first prize. There is not much doubt about this one. This is a wonderful lead-in, high ‘wow’ factor (5/5) because it has instantaneous brilliance, sets the scene immediately, displays dramatic intensity, tension, emotion, –and piques the imagination immediately by suggesting wrongful condemnation and, imminent danger. It offers an unknown but very high- potential back story. This is a powerful opening sentence and has easily earned first prize. This is very well done.
For her winning entry, Julie receives the $35.50 First Place prize and our sincere congratulations.
In addition, I’ll invite her to participate in SoWrite’s next contest as a judge, rather than a contestant.
Here are our runners-up, along with the judges’ comments:
Taking the silver medal, from writer Alistair Marquise:
Just as the pages of an unscrupulous businessman’s ledger are blown backward by the frigid breath of a shattered pane, so too does the brittle night fall upon this city in ever-increasing layers of aphotic guilt.
With a high “wow” factor, this sentence is clearly our first runner-up because it displays wonderful imagery. This IS really beautiful writing, even with the seemingly unnecessary word “aphotic” included. We had some reservations about the inclusion of that rare word, which we both had to look up for definition. Inclusion of that word did not, however, destroy the potential.
There is little doubt this opener is elegant –and offers potential for an amazing story. The ‘frigid breath’ ‘brittle night’ and ‘ever-increasing layers’ offer wonderful imagery.
Taking the bronze medal, from author Robin Tidwell:
She took the phone call out in the hallway.
This was the toughest choice. Why? On the surface, this sentence can be dismissed as extremely simple and common. Everybody takes calls out in the hall.
“The call” however, IS a wide open, dangerous unknown that is capable of invoking tremendous fear in some readers for specific reasons. The absolute unknown is a powerful factor in raising emotion. This sentence is subliminal, neat, concise and is very adaptable to the beginning of a story in any genre.
In all, we had 21 entries for the December contest — more than triple the number we had for our debut November contest event. Our judges, Tammy and Raymond, agreed that this was a fun contest to decide — but the decisions weren’t easy. Our contestants once again displayed a high level of talent.
I hope you’ll take the time to read and comment on ALL of our entered sentences: Contest Page is here.
We had a $10 Bonus Prize, too, as a big Thank You for entering. In fact, I ended up awarding TWO of those bonuses. Want to learn more about how that worked out? Here’s the link to my posting:
Thanks once again to everyone who participated in December’s Jackpot contest. It really was quite a lot of fun. Please watch for January’s contest, to be announced after the New Year.
Speaking of that: Happy Holidays to all, and to all an amazing New Year!
»photo credit: marcn
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