UPDATE: TIME’S UP! THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!
So. Last time we had a contest we had some problems because people were concerned with silly things like “rules” and “things Nathan promised” and “this blog isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on, and in fact, if you were printed on paper you wouldn’t be worth the paper you were printed on either, Meanie McMeanieagent.”
Let’s be clear up front: this is a for-fun contest that I conduct in the free time that I normally spend bathing and attending to personal hygiene. Rules may be adjusted without notice, as I see fit, in ways in which you might find capricious, arbitrary, and possibly dangerous to the Baby Jesus. Let’s be clear: no angst this time. You have been warned.
Are we having fun yet?
Now then! You remember how this works right?
1. Please post the first paragraph of any work-in-progress in the comments section of THIS POST. The deadline for entry is THURSDAY 4pm Pacific time, at which point entries will be closed. Finalists will be announced on Friday, at which time you will exercise your democratic rights to choose a grand prize super awesome winner.
2. You may enter once, once you may enter, and enter once you may.
3. Spreading word about the contest is strongly encouraged.
4. I will be sole judge this time. Bwa ha ha.
5. A word on word count: I am not imposing a word count on the paragraphs. However, a paragraph that is too long may lose points in the judge’s eyes. Use your own discretion.
THE PRIZES: The grand prize super awesome winner of the SUFPCx2 will win their choice of a partial critique, query critique or 15 minute phone conversation in which we can discuss topics ranging from reality TV shows to, you know, publishing. Your choice. Runners up will receive query critiques and/or other agreed-upon prizes.
On with the show!
S R Wood says
Just under the wire. I hope.
From my WIP, YA fantasy.
“There they are,” Riga said. He was rowing, and twisted around to check the shore ahead. “I see them. On the beach.”
“I knew it!” Ander sat in the stern, munching on a clam fritter. “I knew it, I saw them from town. Where should we land?”
Riga pulled on the oars, a strong stroke that sent the little boat surging through the water.
“Right in there next to them. And save me one of those, that’s dinner.”
“Are they dead?” Ander said.
“That, or dying.”
Ander swore. “Diable.”
A sighing breath came across the water, and then another: a wet exhalation, hoarse and deep. The sea was calm and Riga brought the boat close to the first shape, nearly still in the water and shining black in the low afternoon light. The whale’s blowhole puckered and opened as it breathed, and Riga reached over to touch the smooth skin.
Elen Grey says
Eden Carmichael sat in the lounge of the Harley Woman's Garage & Day Spa, her black leather, side-zippered, ankle-length boots propped on a sleek, blond chair. She had a perfect view of the work bay, courtesy of a low brick wall topped by a ton of sparkling glass running the length of it. If Eden walked twenty-one feet in the opposite direction, she could get herself a manicure. Playing her fingers over the cold wet glass of her San Pellegrino, she stared at the 2000 Harley-D Heritage Softail Springer. A wedding present from Ben, she'd had Big Al custom-color it in Got The Blues For Red to match her nails by OPI. It didn't make a damn difference. She hadn't been able to swing her leg over that lush rider saddle since sweet Ben had gone and got himself good and dead.
As the auditorium lights dimmed I sank into the creaky wood seat among the soft sounds of everyone settling around me and stared at the illuminated slide of Darwin that my professor used to begin all his lectures. He liked that one where Darwin is leaning against the tree covered in dead vines, his hands hidden in his black cloak. He’s got his hat pulled real low and that big white beard to frame his worried eyes. Maybe not so worried, maybe just knowing, or perhaps it was the weight of dismissing God that gave him that pensive look. I don’t know but judging from his theories I’m guessing he was probably a pretty serious character, but if your subconscious makes all your decisions anyway that melancholic look could hardly be his fault. Every Thursday he looks a little different to me and tonight as my professor crossed in front of him Darwin emerged amused, a Mona Lisa with secrets still to keep. With each passing class a new motivation is revealed and I find myself thinking about it all a little more despite my best efforts, collecting pieces, trying to figure it out. Merrill. I mean goddamn, what is this horrible human need to understand anyway?
It had been a bad day even before Jeff found the remains. Don must have had too much tequila at the motel the night before, because he was digging at half his usual speed and his normal monologue was replaced with heavy sighs and occasional groans. Spazz was retching into the bushes before 11 A.M. and had lain useless in the van ever since. Probably heat exhaustion, thought Jim, who had only seen her do two shots.
My heliophobia support group met in an old schoolhouse whose main doors had been welded shut and painted blue. You entered around back, up the Z-shaped wheelchair ramp. I’d been attending for years and knew every hall and every stairwell in that place, even saw the belfry once, having shimmied up a ladder hidden in the supply closet. Nothing up there but dust and bird shit and some failed eggs, not even a bell. Just wooden slats through which the sun broke like streaky clown tears. Which didn’t scare me. It’s not that any of us feared the sun, it wasn’t that simple. We simply loathed its intentions. We had already betrayed its destiny and, like everything else in our lives, it was born just to expire.
Carrie P says
My father doesn’t look at me. Not as I slide from Grandpa’s Ford-150; not as I help my little sister, Hope, down from the extended cab; and not as I start pulling boxes and suitcases from the back. His gaze travels endlessly over everything stacked on the sidewalk, never once bothering to stop on me. I want to tell him it’s okay, I understand that he doesn’t want me. But I can’t say it in front of Hope. She’s so young, and it would only hurt her.
I hope this makes it in time!
Apprehension filled every ounce of Tracy Wilson’s body. She was going home. Not the home she lived in or even the home her parents lived in. Home, as in where she grew up from the age of ten, until the time she left for college—that home. No matter how long she’d been away she still knew the streets by name and what founding families lived in what houses. It had nothing to do with a great memory and everything to do with things had barely changed in the rural town of Capri, Ohio, population: two-thousand and fifty eight.
I’m awake, but the tightrope woven out of childhood memories is still taut under my soles. If I inhale too sharply or too deeply, I’ll fall. The memories will shatter. So I lie still and balance over a heat-faded Moscow street of twenty years ago.
Mother served sweet noodles for lunch. Golden rings of butter trembled and broke into millions of sparkles on the milk surface. I wasn’t allowed to start eating while Grisha was still in the courtyard playing tag with neighbourhood boys.
A large fly on the blue rim of my plate rubbed its legs, and I folded the tablecloth fringes into tight, pudgy braids. But before I was done my right hand grew heavy; my fingers ached. I let go of the tablecloth