Writers Read Opening Sentence Contest Winners and More


Many thanks to our judges, Dan McClenaghan and Penny Perry!

The winners of the Writers Read Opening Sentence Contest are …

Marcella Carri: Forty years old is too damn old to be chasing some fool man clear across Texas, I thought, as I made my way to the back of the lurching Greyhound bus.

Sandy Carpenter: Death was Grandma's hobby and, fortunately, not her own, since she spent almost every afternoon attending the funerals and—best of all—the receptions afterward of every name in the Los Angeles Times' obituary listing, which often included the old folks she knew, but just as often had never even heard of before that Celebration of Life she relished so much.

Lisa Albright Ratnavira: She battles on, morphine and Ativan for her pain; three brothers at her bedside thank her, love her, touch her; that trickster, the labyrinth turns again; we follow, but only Natalie finds the exit.

And other noteworthy submissions…

Warren Bishop

The lilting fragrance and softness of her hair, in merely brushing his lips again, melted fantasy into the painful reality of knowing that once she had seared his heart with the scar, he could never possess her, but solely have her.

Laurie Richards

The first time June's father raised his fist above her, she ducked as he swung, and when his gimp leg gave out, he fell against the wall, landed on his rump and belched.

I've been in sand hell for a week and already I know that riling Corporal “Runt” Feeny is one of the few pleasures I'm going to have in this assignment.

Jeanne Nelson

Standing in the cat-box, she reflected gratefully that as yet no cat had used it, that she had not tripped when she dashed into the closet and into the cat-box, that the cat-box matched the size of her feet, and, as the faint smell of fresh kitty litter enveloped her, she considered her predicament—and a faint, but determined, "meow."

Una Nichols Hynum                                                                                                 

Chaya died of revenge.

Susie Deslauriers

The girl held tight to the jumpmaster, who in seconds would push them both from the plane, all because her weirdly odd father said, “Prove you have balls, and my company is yours.”

Linda Wapner

Doris just washed down her third chocolate Sara Lee brownie with her Diet Coke as she was going to be late for her Weight Watcher's meeting.

Jim Trageser

I still remember the nights Pop would come racing down the stairs, white powder caked to his moustache, eyes ablaze, a plethora of projects to be completed before dawn: "Go get the boat, son, we'll sand down the hulll; hell, we can make Australia by morning ... no, wait, we'll cut down the oak in the back yard, get the stump grinder, make mulch and plant a garden ..."; a quick pause for breath, and then: "Did you get the post cards?" he panted.

Robert Sommers                                                                                                     

As a seasoned veteran at the whole relationship thing, Blair knew that even a slightly negative mention of Wanda's physical attributes, no matter how well considered and conceived, would assuredly result in a quick and sudden alteration of some of his own most personal and distinctive features.

E. E. Mack

I woke up, my face pressed against wet cement.

Mary Barnes

It wasn't the first time Bozlee had staggered into this particular dimension, and it probably wouldn't be the last, but the building-tall stack of ancient computer punch cards definitely made it the oddest so far.

Judy Justin

It wasn’t so much that he constantly sounded angry, that he was a misogynist who married multiple times and presented himself as an authority on women, or that he was loud and believed his opinions were always correct; it wasn’t even that he was grossly overweight; no, the real problem was that so many people believed whatever he said.

Jo Anne Monypeny

I blurted out "I HATE sushi," then realized how screwed I was.

Kitiov Notna

I am very tired, exhausted; I am what you would call an immortal, but live in a place called time, and you live in eternity.

Janet Swenson

Pain, in knowing that life unfulfilled is but a moment of sadness in the reality of my past of lonely childhood memories and near tragic yet fateful events that haunt my life, questioning my existence as a moment of hope flickers in the quiet passing of a Monarch butterfly in Fallbrook, then I see him, staring through my window.

Diantha Zschoche

He should have know better and perhaps he did but was past caring that he was throwing not a pebble but a boulder into the pond of their relationship by asking

“Why do you change the subject whenever I ask about Rick and act like I have asked you about the grocery list and not about us?”

Margie Middleton

Desperately she scanned the building again, seeking a place to hide the body.

Fred Longworth

As the big brown bear hurtled across the meadow, Jane's boyfriend Kevin climbed a tree, but Jane, exuberant prose writer that she was, couldn't refrain from verbal gymnastics: "After brief consideration, I assuredly believe that urgently fleeing this vulnerable spot on this verdant sylvan hiking trail would definitely afford me a tangible margin of—."