The results of 2017 Online Contest
(Category A)

The results of 2017 On-The-Spot Contest (Category B)

Rank Prize Young Writer Age (years) Story Judges' Verdict
1 $350 Cate Pitterle 15 The Skyfarer's Daughter “The Skyfarer’s Daughter” is a very well written story that drops the reader right into the world of a young girl on a pirate's ship. It showcases author Cate Pitterle’s knack for believable dialogue, polished writing (“a deadly display of silver and brawn”) and her effective use of detail to make the pirate ship a compelling backdrop to an age-old story. The tenderness between Janis and Tiernan is pictured really well.

Something to think about: A reader may also want to know more about how Janis feels. Is she afraid when the cannonball flies overhead or excited about fighting, even though she's never faught before?
2 $250 Charlotte Menke 14 An Unexpected Journey “An Unexpected Journey” portrays a detailed and descriptive world building right from the start — "I dragged my work leather boots along the dusty concrete slabs of the loading dock." That launches readers rightaway into the narrator's world. Charlotte Menke weaves historical events so well with the fictious story line that a reader is very tempted to look up the real story. Charlotte has a good grasp of detail, narrative pacing and effective dialogue. The descriptions of the dirigible station in Germany and of the Hindenberg itself were very impressive.

Something to think about: A reader may expect more elaboration on how Peter feels, what his responses are to all the events.
3 $150 Sreya Vannapagari 13 Spoilers of the Future “Spoilers of the Future” is one of those imaginative stories that makes you wonder what it would be like to have psychic powers. Sreya's language is spot on. For example: "He went through girlfriends like a sick kid goes through tissues." The premise is fascinatingly appealing, and the treatment is wonderful.

Something to think about: This could be expanded into a longer version of fiction. A reader may want to know more about the main character (we know he doesn't play sports, but what else he does).
4 Special Mention Ayanna Schubert 14 Wynter “Wynter” can make a reader feel cold and alone, just like its tragic main character. Well written with surprising ending, the book takes a reader into the mind of both characters completley. It is difficult to write purely interior characters and this story does it well. Ayanna has done a fantastic job with emotional style of writing.

Something to think about: A clearer time line (how long has the man been gone?)
5 Special Mention Sonia Birla 13 The Black Umbrella Sonia has done a terrific job of using an object to tell her story which is a device used by very seasoned writers! The limit of 1500 words probably forced the plot to be very linerar, but this story could really deepen and take off with a longer fiction.

Something to think about: More specific and unique details about each character and what they notice.
6 Logan M. Egle 14 Escaping the Rising Storm “Escaping the Rising Storm” offers a nicely blended combination of excitement, humor and relatable characters all against a backdrop of Viking cultural imagery. Logan has employed a good grasp of detail to describe fishing and boating to hold the readers’ attention.

Something to think about: The readers may like to see Osbert's reasons for giving up and the inner struggle.
7 Debra Adamolekun 16 Paper Airplanes “Paper Airplanes” is a nice, bittersweet tale of young, unrequited love. It is a timeless theme that Debra works into a new context with believable characters. Telling the story through the recap story pulls in the reader in a captivating way. The ending is unexpectd and well done.

Something to think about: The story could have held together structurally a little better. Stick to casual or formal style.
8 Soumya Shenoy 11 The Mystery of Mr. Linden's Library “The Mystery of Mr. Linden’s Library” is an imaginative tale that should resonate with readers who know books to have magical properties, particularly for children. Librarians should like this story for its message that scary things happen to people who steal library books! Soumya did a great job describing leaves and vines growing from the pages of “The Secret Garden.”

Something to think about: More descriptions of Jamie's surroundings. What does that library look like (inside and outside).
9 Taylor Cimone Johnson 15 Saving the Beating Heart As a portrait of suffering, a heartbreaking tale, Taylor's story is raw and authentic in its truthtelling. While it should never be an end itself, profanity presented in an appropriate context can effectively convey a character’s tortured inner landscape. The narrator in this story is in extraordinary emotional distress and Taylor effectively conveyed that distress to the reader.

Something to think about: Taylor should think about expanding the story by braiding in backstory of the narrator's interactions with his mother…some happier moments perhaps with sad, honest memories. More showing than telling. Story felt more confessional than ""fiction"".
10 Niharika Thuppanna 10 Scorpion on the Rock “Scorpion Under the Rock” wins a reader over with its irresistible narrator, Raju, and its understated humor. Niharika shows great promise in the crafting of compelling characters. All of the main personalities, especially Raju and his grandmother Ajji, leap off the page. Niharika did an excellent job of building tension both with Raju's disobeying his grandmother and then with being bitten by a scorpion. That is not an easy thing to do in such a short space. A well-told story with a funny twist at the end.

Something to think about: More casual dialogue between the family members may be helpful.
11 Hannah Won 14 A Medicine of Love “A Medicine of Love” is a story of love and forgiveness that shows even the most brokenhearted can find hope again. Hannah has done a good job in doing justice to the emotions that both Ryan and his new older brother are likely to have under these circumstances. The characters are all sympathetic - a reader will root for them to find peace in rapidly changing circumstance following a tragic loss.

Something to think about: The beginning of the story could use strengthening.
12 Tarisha Badaya 14 Mr. Schaeffer's Trench Coat “Mr. Schaeffer’s Trench Coat” is a carefully written and wonderful story with a compelling narrative voice. The story leaves a reader encouraged to make an effort to understand the people we do not know. It is too easy to judge without caring and disappointingly rare to care enough to explore the value in others. The trench coat is a nice metaphor for the barrier between people that, absent some investigative effort, obscures the truth of who people are. It is a pleasing twist to see that Mr. Schaeffer had been spending his days making that very effort to invest in understanding his neighbors by rendering them artistically.

Something to think about: More focus on mystery element may help.
13 Aditi Anand 15 I Love My Dog “I Love My Dog” is an ironically titled, chilling story, that does not follow a predictable plot and holds the reader's attention all the way until the end. Aditi makes a good use of a very clever and creepy idea to build into the mystery.

Something to think about: Better character development and a better explanation as to why Rufous is such bad luck.
14 Kydn Aurora Meyer 10 A Meadow's Tale An exciting story about a lone cat finding a family and acting bravely. The story wonderfully shows the reader what the world looks like through feline eyes. Kydn successfully gets the reader caught up in the emotion of the story and makes them want to keep reading. Every writer wants to achieve that feeling for her reader. Excellent world building. Descriptions are very imaginable.
15 Ankita S Karuturi 10 Breaking Through “Breaking Through” is an action-packed page turner that keeps the excitement and suspense going through the entire story and adds a lovely touch of magical realism towards the end. The story follows Poppy, as she flees an unknown and inexplicable presence of the empty streets of New York. Poppy must confront an ominous entity that demands possession of Poppy’s necklace.

Something to think about: Readers may want to know who Rosie is. More description of their surroundings when the two are hiding.
16 Christopher Joseph Maxwell 16 Nature's Music This is a serious, emotional, tragic story. Chrsitopher has written a cautionary tale about pushing children too hard to be perfect. Part of telling a story is showing the transformation of your character or characters over the course of the story - Christopher has done a great job.

Something to think about: Show more than tell.
17 Molly Heinold 12 On the Prairie “On the Prairie” is a good-hearted story about the difficulty of coming to terms with having to leave the life you know for a life you don’t know. Molly does a good job describing the sparseness of life on the prairie and renders the feelings of the main character, Christina, with equal care. Molly's description of Christina’s family felt credible and authentic.

Something to think about: Christina waking up the first morning & being horrified about having to go to the bathroom in an outhouse. You may want to think about adding that bit of drama to your plot.
18 Khloe Corrine Marie Beutler 14 Roses “Roses” is a sweet and thoughtful story that leaves us with the lesson that life is too short to let fear keep you from loving others. Khloe did a good job showing how the protagonist redefined roses from a symbol of death to a symbol of love.

Something to think about: You may want to begin your story with the second paragraph. You don't need to explain yourself with the first paragraph because your feelings about roses become clear as you tell your story.
19 Sivaranjani Velmurugan 11 Dream “Dream” is an imaginative story about a magical kingdom of talking toy animals beneath the bed of our young protagonist, Nick. Sivaranjani use metaphors and similes that are real for her characters. For example, ""Nick stepped on the grass which was as soft as cotton candy!"" Well done! She also does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the action of her story. Sometimes writers tell too much of their story rather than show the story. She has done a great job of staying in the life of the narrator both in his dream world and his real life.

Something to think about: What is Nick thinking and feeling when he is in other world?
20 Elliot Hui 12 13th Tunnel Street “13th Tunnel Street” is definitely a spooky story. What should have been an innocent Halloween party turned out to be a genuine monster bash with real monsters. Elliot does a good job keeping the excitement up and describing the environment of the story with all senses.

Something to think about: Fun chase - reader may like to see it last longer. More on how the monsters had gotten confused about who the kid was in the first place.
Rank Prize Young Writer Age (years) Story Judges' Verdict
1 $350 Sonia Birla 13 The King of the Board Sonia has excellent storytelling ability. She has made an exceptionally good use of pace and imaginary. Very well done. Wrtie everyday!
2 $250 Cate Pitterle 15 The Rendering Cate has created a wonderful world -- clever and fresh. Well conceived story.
3 $150 Soumya Shenoy 10 The Day I Lost My Memory Soumya has a very natural voice and has created a believable story. She is a strong writer -- she should try to avoid cliché expressions. Create more stories!
4 Special Mention Huda Haque 13 Promise Huda has written a great and imaginative story. The story starts very strong and then gets a bit diluted. Huda is a good writer who needs to take a moment to breathe few times while writing -- to know where her story is going - the craft of the story will shine more. KEEP writing!
5 Special Mention Varsha S Karuturi 12 16 Years of Existence Varsha's voice and prose is wonderful. She starts brilliantly but end was a bit rough. The story needed more development and exposition