The closet was her favorite place to hide when she was little. Now she is twelve and that’s where they found her hanging.
The platform snaps open beneath the man’s brown shoes, and in an instant those shoes disappear as his neck pops against the noose, his feet swinging and clapping together. The crowd about August cheers — or perhaps they only give murmurs of approval; the world awaiting death is oft more quiet than that of life.
The third weekly winner is “Free” by Jean Blasiar. Prize of $50 AUD. Enough to buy a micro-advertisement printed on the wing of a butterfly.
Why I love “Free”
The unknown presumed crime intrigues me. What could possibly happen so one person is free from responsibility yet the other is not? Then what could possibly happen to fill an entire book? I think I imagined some Russian scandal, a 1984-ish world where two party members disagreed and that disagreement lead to betrayal.
I particularly like it for the implied connection between the two people in the story. Perhaps they were friends, co-creators, a team working together to make something great. Then, as some teams do … it all broke down in a flurry of lawsuits and accusations.
Comma Comma, killer of winners
There are a few stories I love but won’t win because of misplaced commas. I know what they’re trying to say but what they are saying is something else.
I suggest trying out your story (and all writing in general) sans commas to see if it still is correct. Peppering needless commas in the place of mental pauses is incorrect.
If you are using commas parenthetically, like this, then you need to ensure if the phrase enclosed within commas was removed the sentence is still correct.
– You might notice a “that” could be added to the above sentence. But would this improve the comprehension of the sentence? This is the purpose of grammar – to improve and enhance comprehension.
“Commas,” said Mathew, “go inside quotation marks when writing dialogue.”
“Certainly,” said the three-toed sloth, not looking up from the chessboard.
Enough grammar. Wikipedia’s comma article is a good read.
I’ve struggled with awarding prizes to fantastic stories that have a grammatical problem. My writer half says chill out and award it with a corrected version below. My editor half is strict and wants to karate-chop anyone committing a grammatical error (myself included). Should I privately write back to the author and show them how to improve their work? Or should I do so publicly so everyone can learn from it? Argh, I don’t know. Suggestions welcome.
BIG prizes next week!
Next Sunday I’ll be awarding a $150 first prize, a $100 second prize and a $50 third prize!
All stories entered up to 6pm Sunday 1st March (Australian East coast time) are eligible for prizes. Write write write! Swamp the site!
Clarification: (because clarity is what good writing is all about) — ALL entries for the entire competition time and all new entries are eligible for the grand prizes. That means an entry from weeks ago can win and one submitted at three minutes to six on March 1st can win!
The bullet ripped through his camo,
knocking him down.
He closed his eyes and pondered what the definition of a country really was.
Sometimes one sentence is enough to express your feelings.
“Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
She made her away towards the stage, her heart beating like crazy, her legs felt like jelly and her hands just wouldn’t stop shaking. She stood there and stared at all the people staring back at her, then she opened her mouth and sang her song, and everyone was entranced by her voice and the lyrics that she had written.
I imagine the waves crashing rhythmically against the shore, magnificent and powerful, crashing and waning, crashing and waning, but now the rhythm takes on a melancholy feeling and the desperation creeps back and the crashing waves become a drum beat and the drum beat becomes a heartbeat and I feel panicked and lonely. Damn it!
Her gaze rested on me for a moment, then went back to the kids, and on to her own reflection in the mirror.
“I know it’s hard to believe,” she said finally, “but they don’t even look like ours, you know.”
The assignment for their science project was to demonstrate the law of gravity and document the effects. One boy filmed the other dropping bricks off the expressway overpass.
She was desperate to figure out the answer to his question without giving herself away.
Out of everything they covered, “What’s your sign?” had not been included.
Thirty-seven years of research, twenty billion dollars, six thousand hours of debate, seven tons of metal, one-half ton of silicon, one hundred miles of wire, and three-hundred-fifty million moving parts. What a strange price we pay for Armageddon.
I spent two years of my childhood pretending I was a squirrel and collecting acorns. I still stop to pick them up sometimes.
I chortled a little when she spoke into my ear, so stunningly-soft and desperately silent, as she collapsed into sobs. The warm breeze tickled little, but I wish that I’d hugged her when she told me her mother had cancer.
The old gypsy woman gazed into the crystal ball and saw herself engulfed in flames. “Impossible,” she laughed, unaware of the small boy playing with matches under her booth.
A lily rose out of the pond, its scent sweet and bitter, its colors yellow and blue, its posture bent and straight at the same time.
I wanted to be like the lily, strong and smooth and sweet, but life weakened, roughed, bittered me without remorse.
“So aren’t you going to tell me all the details of your nefarious plan?”
He was at the top of the roof when he fell, rolled down the shingles into the gutter that ran around the roofline; then blackness as he fell further.
Coming out of the dark after the long fall, he felt the others around him who had fallen, as they joined together to became a flood of water pouring out of the downspout, into the light.
Staring at him, I was mesmerized by the chiseled features, the GQ magazine good looks with the long aquiline nose, piercing blue eyes, full, generous mouth with sparkling white teeth, and indeed the handsomest man I’d ever seen.
Ahhhh, thank heaven for mirrors!
My addiction grows stronger every day, the desire to indulge in it intense, to the point where I can’t sleep without dreaming of it, can’t get through the day without thinking of it, can’t hold a conversation without it swirling in my head, begging me to do it “just one more time,” and one more “just one more time” ad nauseum.
Please tell me, is there a rehab for Two Sentence Story writers?