Congratulations to our 2018 Spec Faith Winter Writing Challenge winner:
Melinda K. Busch.
I’ll be contacting her privately about her prize. I honestly thought any of our four finalist might win, they were that good. And the close voting bears that out. So congratulations to the other three finalists for their excellent entries: Esther Brooksmith, J. L. Rowan, and M. A. Zeller.
Special thanks to all of you who participated. We had a great group of entries, more than last time, as I recall. It’s not easy putting your writing out there for others to read, especially when you have a limiting prompt and word count and you’re writing with a deadline. Thanks to each of the entrants for sharing their stories with us.
Also we wouldn’t have a contest without the visitors who commented and gave + votes during the first round. The comments in particular help us accomplish what this contest was created for—it gives writers feedback so they have an idea what readers think when they are engaged with your story or story fragment.
Finally, a hearty thank-you to those who voted in the poll to select the winner. Yes, we Spec Faith administrators and writers could serve as a judging panel, but I think the general reading public should be the ones to judge. We had a great turnout—the most voters we’ve had for our writing challenges throughout the years.
Contests like this are fun. The thing that continues to amaze me is how varied the stories are even though they all begin with the same first sentence. We had such a wide range of fantasy, science fiction, allegory, supernatural. That shows a lot of creativity.
For those who may have missed Melinda’s winning entry, here it is again:
By Melinda K. Buschr
Jenni fidgeted with her ring—the one only she could see—while she waited to hear the verdict.
The doctor sat behind his desk. His delicate fingers skimmed through pages of notes. “Ms. Lucien.” His words came in a sing-song as if he spoke to a small child. “You have one last chance to recant your claim to have sight. If you do this, I could discharge you immediately.”
She remained silent, staring at the ground. His empty eyes frightened her, almost made her wish she were still blind. But she could see. She had found the ring while feeling through her late grandmother’s possessions. When she slipped it on, the dark haze that had surrounded her since she could remember began to lift. Soon light flooded her consciousness, revealing a beautiful world. She shivered with delight at the memory of her first sight of a sunset, tendrils of colored clouds stretching across the sky.
When she did not respond, the doctor continued in his condescending tone. “Sight is a fairy tale, Ms. Lucien. If you will not recant, I can only conclude that you must be admitted for reprogramming.”
She twisted the ring and considered how to answer. To deny she could see would be a lie and Mother had taught her to value honesty; to speak the truth would doom her to remain a prisoner until she embraced darkness again.
Her decision made, she raised her head. Whatever may happen, she would rest on the truth. “I can see, Dr. Teneborn.” She slid the ring off her finger and let it clatter onto the desk. He felt for it and pulled it into his hand. “Put that on; see for yourself.”
He held it a moment, then set it back on the desk. “Foolishness,” he crooned, “to think a ring could grant sight. Do not fear, Child… we will cure you of your madness soon enough.”
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Again, thank you all for participating, and watch for Spec Faith’s Summer Writing Challenge later this year.