First of all, let me just say that if you submitted a story to our contest, you are a winner. Yes, your story not winning means that technically you're a loser. But just the fact that you entered at all means that you're someone who is entirely confident they can count to ten. Not everyone can say that about themselves. A lot of people get stuck around six. I myself couldn't count past eight until I was thirty-two. Even now I have to get naked to count past twenty.
Oh, sure---usually you like it when I'm funny! But I see how it is now. Fine. That's just fine. I'll just stop being entertaining. No problem.
Princess had to choose. Frankly, she knew the dragon better.
Submitted by the person who runs this blog here, that's the story that I and my co-judge, the famous, bestselling, Oprah-ordained novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard, knew pretty much right away was our winner. We both loved it. It's got ... well, everything.
If you scrolled through the submitted stories, you know we had a lot of stories that could have won. I'll paste below the list of Honorable Mentionables, any one of which could have been chosen winner. Seriously: one's better than the next. They're extraordinary.
If you read through the stories, you'll know I'm not lying when I say I was amazed by their quality. So many were soooooo good.
You know what, though? You wouldn't believe how many of the stories were, like, one punctuation mark, or one simple tense choice away, from being good enough to win. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to change out a semicolon for a period (or visa-versa), or alter the tense of one verb, or drop one comma. So many of the stories were one little thing like that away from at the very least making the list below. It was pretty agonizing sometimes.
Person who won: I'll be emailing you. Congratulations!
If your submission didn't win or make the list below, and you'd like to know why, I'll be happy to share with you my thinking on the matter. In a comment box to this post, list up to five of your submissions that you'd like (publicly) critiqued. Number them so it's easier for me to refer back to each one, and I'll get all editor on your ... computer screen.
A hearty and deeply felt thanks to everyone who submitted, read the entries, or in any way encouraged this contest along. I had a surprisingly great time with it. We'll do it again next year.
Here are this year's Could Have Won Ones. These are just ... perfect.
"Pray with me?"
A real pony? That pickle was magic! Thanks, Miss O'Magicalnannywhoewardsgoodlittlechildrenwiththeirheartsdesire!"
So, there is an upside to a nuclear holocaust.
And that's when she realized her husband was gay.
She required a head with long flowing hair.
It was a dark and stormy night. I stayed inside.
He embraced her. Kissed her. Buzzards gathered.
Trapped by the avalanche, I finally rued bringing the trombone.
By the third take, the TV preacher wept convincingly.
Stumbling on the village of pygmies, I plotted my revenge.
In the blizzard, Rudolf regretted his plastic surgery.
Having finished his opus, Herbert realized he had no friends.
After much deliberation, he decided he would become a nun.
With the mime lying dead, Beatrice thought: "Not again."
Once, at church, Dad cried; my eight-year reality shifted.
The girl known as Pinky began dancing to the uilleann pipes.
Martin was so shocked he dropped his martini overboard.
Foster lived in the attic with his iguana and ferret.
Beatrice's murder spree began with a clear goal: Olympic gold!
The jury convicted Mother. Now I'm free to kill again.
The alien in my belly returned to the unknown.
She lifted her suitcase, dropped the burning match, and left.
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