Well, thank-you everyone for entering. I’m so glad I set this particular challenge as it’s been so much fun getting little insights into all your works in progress and I can genuinely say I’d have carried on reading every one of them. They all pulled me right in and left me wanting more, so seriously well dones on lots of good stuff.
Because the numbers were manageable, I’ve got a wee comment on each. Not particularly detailed, but if anyone wants to ask for more thoughts, then I (and perhaps others) can try. So here goes:
The Memory Thing – @athelstone.
Brilliant startling start with an engaging voice that lets us feel instantly connected to the PoV without yet knowing much about them directly. You’ve posed all sorts of questions about the dead man and what the mc is going to do next (and why they were drawn to the dead man in the first place). And you get a bonus point for the cat.
Untitled – @JohnAlty.
This leaps in with some powerful scene setting both of the bayou and the boy’s life. I found the timeslip a little tricky but I think that’s just a feature of the short word count. The sense of foreboding works as a strong contrast with the youth and isolation of the boy & the reaction to the heron was perhaps the most powerful moment in setting up that atmosphere.
The Black Ruby – @Squidge
We get a real sense of Tilda & of her relationship with Silviu in this opening. We’ve got an instant window into the short term stakes & a good balance of world building with the highly engaging internal dialogue.
Drink with a Dead Man – @Sandradavies
This is such a wonderfully drawn mystery right from the outset – starting with his seemingly fanciful dread, contrasting with the queue, and then the reveal, it raises so many questions about him and the couple and the sender of the letter. I love the tiny details (opening the envelope) that add to the tension even before we’ve any idea why. Gripping already.
The Last House – @RichardB
Brilliant scene setting and internal dialogue in this opening. It raises good questions of how he got to this point, who sent him in this direction and what his prospects are. I love the opening paragraph – the sharp wit hinting at anger.
How to leave a husband who adores you – @Janeshuff
This is such an unusual way to start, and captivating. The building blocks of realising that this adoring husband might not be the wonderful guy Step 1 suggests, the sense of urgent secrecy contrasting with the methodical, almost dryly witty voice. It all hooks you in to her life right away.
Waste not want not – @Seagreen
Love the older mc, and the hints of his life – the chair and meds and writing, the relationship with his daughter being close perhaps but complex. The voice nicely avoids feeding into clichés of old/disabled people & I love that lovely piquant last line!
The Right Attitude – @Libby
Lovely characterisation of the worrying mother trying not to show her worry, scrutinising everything her child says & does. This poses an obviously powerful question of the child’s health and the family’s response to that, setting it up nicely against the normal domestic background.
So choosing a winner was ridiculously hard. Like I said, I’d have carried on reading all of these, and as that was my only judging criteria I made my life difficult! Buuuut, I’ve got to go with Sandra’s Drink With A Dead Man, because I might have to kill her if she doesn’t let me read the rest of this! 🙂 Thank-you so much everyone and well done to the lovely, murderous Sandra!