Thursday, February 03, 2011

Contest winners for DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X

You've amazed me yet again. The reason it's taking so long to announce the winner in these things is that it's not all that easy to choose! As problems go, this is a pretty good one to have!

First up, some special recognition for a young writer making her first foray into writing contests!
A Funny Daddy's 8 year old daughter 3:56am

It makes me very happy to see kids wanting to write!

These entries just totally cracked me up.

I suspect some sort of collusion or nefarious pen-name shenanigans since they posted at the same time, but I adored them both:

Marybk at 8:33am's entry:

Day Nine-and-thirty

Noah draws his net filled with gyrating crustaceans and catfish, his smile arching like an upside-down rainbow. “God’s finest provisions, dearest.”

“Indeed.” Namaah squibs an armadillo across the deck. “Did He send any baked cobra?”

“Our maker humbles us, love. The Lord giveth…”

“But sushi giveth the elephants gas.”

“Perhaps they’re…heaters for chilly nights?”

“Bah! A firefly’s warmth is preferable.”

“Wouldst thou have me forsake an entire species for one meal?”

Nearby, a giant tingo belts, squeehaaahhhhn! Noah jumps, losing his grip, sending the day’s catch back to sea.

Namaah nurses his rope-burn. “Betcha tingo tasteth like chicken.”

David at 8:33am's entry

A firefly landed on G34 the same moment the MC announced it. I smothered the bug and number with a chip. “Tingo!”

“That’s not how you pronounce it.” Jennifer sighed and regarded the rest of the ancient Tingo hall: “Sorry folks, drinking turpentine will do that to you.”

My face burned like a space heater. I jabbed at her to-go box of sushi. “Eat your nasty squibs and shut the hell up.”

“Wrong again.”

“Fine.” I grabbed my Clock .40 from my purse and shot her phonetically correct ass. A touch of brain splattered on her card.



A lot of the entries had great lines:

"my brother is borrowing me blind."
Kelly 1:15am

"'Tis a tingo beauty," says an Aussie."
Crease 3:11am

"Without magic he would end up working for the Witch’s Auxiliary as a broom boy"
L.G. Smith 10:09am

"Language was his first love, silence a close second."
Michael G-G 12:21pm

"I was Alzheimer’s bitch."
Rebecca T. Little 9:26pm

Shaunna 1:33pm had a brilliant first paragraph

Bartholomew Turkleson eschewed soft cheeses, sushi, raw eggs, and beef. He wore his seat belt, kept his water heater at 110, and never ended a sentence with a preposition. He didn't fear death, but he wasn't going to leave the door open for her either.

Lynn @ 1:56pm had an outstanding first three lines:

They came at dusk.
They always did. It was their dinner time, and lucky us, we were on the menu.

Jjdebenedictis at 2:45am demonstrates wordplay both elegant and imaginative:



"Good resemblance, hey?"

"May I help you?"

"Here to see Martin Goethe. I scare people."


"No, it's my job. Martin wants to fire Flynn Weber; I'm here to help."


"Martin didn't warn you?"

"Martin lacks, as employers go."

"Heh. Can't fire his own people."

"Can't foresee me intercepting you."


"Last fellow was a barbarian imitator. He ate raw meat."

"Um. Flynn?"


"Er. Repent, sinner?"

"Dieu, sauf moi des d├ębiles qui B.S. You know Martin's superior also wants him fired?"

"What? You mean--?"

"Quite. Always nice to meet a colleague; good day, sir."

And this one, this one, oh mygodthis one.

This entry is in its own special category of "the most amazing contest entry I've ever seen, and boy howdy, I've seen some REALLy good ones." You might have to read it twice (I did) to see why I love it so much.

Kate Outhwaite 7:27am

“Squibs!” declares the child, pointing at the adjacent tank.

“Squi-duh, ” sighs the father balancing sushi on chopsticks. He turns and I see it’s Josh. Older, but unmistakably the boy who bought me a firefly in a jar as the chemo fought the cancer for the right to kill me the first time round.

Our eyes lock. He sees me!

Josh points at me. “That one.”

Steam rises from the pan over the propane heater.

“Hurt lobster?” asks the child.

“Not really. Maybe it tingles a tiny bit.”

“Tingo...” says the child as the chef lowers me into the steam.

This one is too brilliant not to win, but there were four other amazing entries too.  So, clearly more than one winner this time.

Here are the finalists:


“Tingo!” Akiko yelled, as she swung the bat into knotted sheets. “Tingo!!”

Seven months ago the Peruvian diplomat had fed her sushi on one of his squibs, then made her love him while fireflies danced across the shores of lake Chauya.

Winking flits of hope.

“Tingo!” The bat crunched sheets.

A baby in two months, but better without him, her diplomat, whimpering now, blood spotting linen. He'd given three months of lust and four of short temper--quick and cruel affections.

“Tingo,” she said, missing, then hitting the heater. It psshhd hot steam over fading firefly dots.

Love speckling out.

The Sentence Sleuth 11:22am

Yuki’s back was turned to him. The firefly pattern on her kimono dissolved into a pile of yellow and red fabric as the garment slid to the floor.

As the silk nuzzled the space heater, Squibs McGee nuzzled her bare neck, her bare shoulders.

“You make me tingo all over,” she said.

He felt more than a tingle himself as she pushed him onto the futon.

“Now you show me American sushi roll.”

The neighbors heard the explosion.

Stone Girl 1:22pm

There is but one who knows the fates of Brahm and Wu:

The former (tingo impulse: high) is at Wu’s door (again); this time, to beg a bit of sushi.

As Wu turns ‘round to fetch the fish, Brahm spies the squibs stacked (foolishly) atop the unlit heater. . .

Unable to resist, he reaches out to pilch a squib! Just as he does,

a firefly (exacting sweet revenge against the swatting Wu)
swoops down! Its flash ignites the heater, which ignites the squibs, and then, the two!

The witness to their grand demise? Just one, with tiny compound eyes. . .

Katherine Tomlinson 9:06pm

Life imitates art

At the last minute, the director changed the scene from the interior of an Italian restaurant to an exterior at a sushi place called “Tingo.”

He wanted a firefly to dance across the frame as he filmed and was surprised that fireflies aren’t available in December. Warmed by a heater at his feet, the director was also oblivious to his star’s discomfort as he waited in the cold.

The squibs went off perfectly, polka-dotting the star with fake blood. It took a minute for anyone to notice that the director’s coat was also bloodied.

On-set accidents happen all the time.

The winner is Stone Girl @1:22am in a very close call.

If the two of you (Stone Girl and Kate Outhwaite) will each send me your mailing addresses, I will pry another copy of THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X from the adept digits of the editor and send it to you.

I am in awe of what I read here.


Kevin said...

FANTASTIC contest!!! Loved reading the entries, and the winners/honorable mentions all made me smile/think/laugh/squirm in various ways. Just absorbing their brilliance has improved my writing.

Can't wait for the next contest. They're dang fun.

And I really enjoyed the eight-year old's was great! I smiled the moment I began reading it. She's a gifted story-teller, and I hope she continues to write!

Marybk said...

Laughing at the image of Janet jumping out of the water. So carefree, just as I picture her.

Congrats to all the finalists and especially to Stone Girl and Kate Outhwaite for winning! I loved reading the entries in this post. Some lovely art going on here.

(PS: The timing was a coincidence. I don't know who David is, but I adore his dry wit! If I could choose my alter, maybe not so altered.)

Michael G-G said...

Ay caramba, folks. Is it my imagination, or are these contest entries reaching stratospheric standards? You are all winners, in my book.

Joelle said...

Every week I give my Grade 6/7 kids a writing prompt at the end of class (optional). Last week I gave them five words to write me a story. Today I get to find out the results when I get to class. Kids LOVE to write. You just have to give them permission. And a journal. They loved that they got their own journals.

David said...

Thanks for the contest. This one was really fun, and the writing was good; good enough that I wasn't so interested in winning as I was in discovering which entries an agent's eye might like.

These prizes alone are worth the time in dabbling over an entry: mini-feedback about writing styles; a little hand clap; a push to keep doing what we love to do.

Thanks again. (Oh, and my story was based on a family myth about my grandma--she tied up an abusive first husband in his own sheets, then let him have it!)

Christina Auret said...

I should say congratulations, but mostly I just want to say wow.

Ari said...

Congratulations, Kate and Stone Girl. Well done.

I, too, am in awe of the imagination and creativity in all the stories.

Dave Ale said...

Congrats to all of the winners/honorable mentions! Several of the stories made me laugh.

L.G.Smith said...

Congrats Stone Girl and Kate O. Great entries, though the lobster one kind of freaked me out a little.

And I do like to see a happy shark breaching from the cold depths of the ocean -- even if it is to snatch up a poor helpless seal.

Shaunna said...

After reading the entries, I was not surprised it took so long to announce the winner. Congratulations to both of you, and I just have to tell Stone Girl: that is some stellar use of language. I'm just curious, Janet, if you meant to include tingo or if it was just a fortunate typo that you decided to leave in there. This is the first time I've heard the word, though I'm glad English is adopting it, because we needed a word for that.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

I had so much fun with this challenge. I would have voted for Kate's story myself. It really is something special. Congratulations to Stone Girl too. Great story.

Tamar Ossowski said...

Congrats to the finalists and winners! Great job and so much fun to read!

Jeff Chen said...

Amazing finalists! And marybk's usage of "tasteth" made me snort something out of myeth nose.

A Funny Daddy. said...

Thank you, Janet and Kevin for your kind word about my daughter’s entry. I shall make sure she sees them the next time she is with me. She will get quite a kick out of it, plus it will further boost her self esteem.

I shall keep my eyes peeled for the next contest. It will be up to her whether or not she enters.

When she is with me, she does a large amount of writing and illustrating, though it might be more a case of annotating what she has drawn. We have been regaled with many a long running saga concerning her inventive characters and the situations they find themselves in.

Now, after a long day at work and fighting with t'motorway, I really need a large Macallan or two :-)

Joel said...

What a great contest ... thanks for doing these Sharquita. I really enjoy reading them.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Congratulatins to Kate and Stone girl. All the mentions were great.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Thank you for singling out my entry, Janet.

Maybe if you stop having these great contests, I'll finish my MS and can query you!

Bonnie AKA The Sentence Sleuth

Kristin Laughtin said...

I never thought I'd see a happy-looking picture of a shark.

Wow, it took me a minute to really grasp Kate's, but once I did, I loved it. I think that one's my favorite.

Jennifer said...

Okay you aren't kidding. The lobster one is one of the most amazing short stories I've ever read. I can't believe it managed to not only tell an entire story in so few words, but also possess those levels of depth. I'm in awe.

Kate Outhwaite said...

Now that the palpitations have stopped :-), I just wanted to say thanks once again to Janet for organising these contests and to all fellow participants, including the under-10s, for making them fun, challenging, entertaining and educational - how many of us had heard the word "Tingo" before last Thursday?

Can't wait for the next one!

Lynne said...

What a killer contest.

I had just as much fun reading the various entries as I did writing mine. Thanks, Janet, for hosting, and thanks too for singling out my first three lines for Shark props. (Lynne at 1:56 here).

Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and mentions. Loved, loved, loved the lobster story. The most amazing part of this contest for me was the incredible variation in the entries-- all of which started with the same ingredients. It makes me wonder if this is what your slush pile looks like?!

Thanks again, Janet.

Steve Stubbs said...

This time I agree and disagree. I agree that they are all brilliant and disagree on the winner. My clear choice would have been Jjdebenedictis at 2:45am. I am a sucker for stories that end with a fillip.

I guess there is just no accounting for taste.

And many thanks for the chance to read some really superb writing.