February 4, 2012


The New Year Contest came to a close on Tuesday evening, and Jenny and I spent Thursday reading through the entries. There were quite a number of excellent "first impressions": it was difficult to narrow them down to just two! Here are our choices.

Second Place: Sky-glory (Yaasha)

“What is it?” Aron covered his eyes with both hands. The image of it still burned in his eyelids, shooting pain through his head. It was delicate, like a butterfly’s wings or a column of smoke, yet in the delicacy lay perfect design and order, which indicated a strange resilience. It appeared to be formed of several strands, each with its own quality, each lending its unique radiance to the whole. Like hair, Aron thought.

He dared a glance between his lashes, trembling, and the pain seemed to explode behind his eyes, but he could not look away. In a way, even the pain accentuated its beauty, proving that it was more than a fragile apparition. And its size! It filled his vision, one side licking the dark river that flowed to Aron’s right and the other touching the clear purple mountains in the distance on his left. The entire sky seemed to blaze with its glory and to brush the bottom of the rainclouds with many colors.

“What is it?” Aron asked again, clutching his sister’s hand.

Nura stood, transfixed and breathless for a moment, then whispered reverently, “It is a rainbow.”

Jenny and I were delighted with the way the descriptions and the characters' emotions are woven together here. Everything builds up beautifully to that last sentence.

First Place: Time (Alex)

I know who you are.

It took me a while to figure it out, but now I know. When we first met, you came into our house, to see my father. He was drunk again. You stole his wealth, you stole his reputation, and you stole his kindness, and eventually you stole his life. I didn’t cry, because you had stolen my family’s affection for him, too.

You were a strange looking man, very old and yet very young, dressed in garb from about every era and every culture that there has ever been. I counted at least ten pocket watches and thirteen wrist watches, so I could hear a distinct ticking sound whenever I went near you.

You turned to leave, but you said you would be back one day, and that we’d better be careful about what we allow you to take. I asked what your name was.

“In time, you will come to know it,” you said.

Those words puzzled me at first, but now I know your name was hidden in your words all the while. I know who you are.

You are Time. And I’ll be ready for the next time you come to call.

Dark and fantastic. In just a few words, the author captured the elemental fear that Time can inspire and yet also ended on a challenging note. Marvelous through and through.

Congratulations to both of you! There should be emails waiting in your inboxes to remind you of the prizes. And thank you to everyone who entered; Jenny and I enjoyed reading everyone's "first impressions," and we look forward to doing something like this again.


  1. I just got the message in my inbox and I was all smiles! I had to admit that there was a moment after I sent my entries when I thought, "Aw, shucks, I suddenly have a million better ideas." I'm glad I sent my entries before I started second-guessing myself! ;-) Both entries were actually "clips" from possible future stories; now I'm wishing for time to write the stories out for real.

    Alex, great job and congrats! I'm thoroughly jealous that you'll get your hands on The Soldier's Cross and Shadow Things, but your prize was well-earned. You didn't just have a first impression in your entry; you had an entire story. Hard to do in 200 words!

    Many thanks, Jenny and Abigail, for hosting this contest! I had fun and I look forward to reading the imaginative offspring of future contestants. (You will have more contests in the future, right, right?)

  2. Yaasha - I often feel the same after I submit something to a contest; I hit the "Send" button and then proceed to be dissatisfied with what I wrote. But I'm very glad you didn't second-guess yourself. "Sky-glory" is simply beautiful! We hope to do more contests, seeing as this one was such a hit and the entries were so enjoyable to read.

  3. Congratulations, Alex and Yaasha! You've both written exceptionally well.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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