Oh yes! Here are the winners of my writing competition!
Thank you so so much to everyone that took part I had about 20 entries which is a lot in my eyes! I'm really grateful to everyone of you an for those that didn't manage to enter in time, don't worry, I'm already thinking about my next one! Some of my awesome bloggy friends also have competitions running and they don't seem to be getting many entries which I am very sad about so I will leave links to their competitions at the bottom so you can enter them..If you don't I will get mad..lol..
Can everyone give a big thank you to the guest judge Siobhan Curham for taking the time to help out and donating a signed copy of her awesome book Dear Dylan to the winner. Gosh I feel like I've won an award or something..or won it for you!..A big thank you to my manager and my agent and all my fans and....LOL onto the winner..or should I do the two runner-s up first?..;P
The Winner; Hanifah from Doodle Rainbow with her entry: Memories.
Memories are powerful. They shape you. They can haunt you. They are you. Memories can destroy lives and save them. Even though they are nothing more solid or real than a lazy daydream or a passing thought, they often carry more power than things which exist in the present.
I sit on the grass beneath a great, old oak tree. Sunshine dances through the branches and plays on my lap and over my face. This tree itself has seen lifetimes of memories, but it still stands, strong and wise and tall.
There is a small hole in the ground, soil decorating the sides like a barricade. My earthy hands clutch a small, insignificant wooden box. It could be any box, but it’s mine. I still remember when I buried it. It was autumn, and the ground was a red, orange and brown mosaic of leaves which crunched pleasingly underfoot. I am twelve again as I turn the petite bronze key and watch the lid click open, the contents as alive and bright as I once was.
I am twelve, and I lay a pair of pastel pink ballet pumps into my box. I remember when my mum bought them for me, when I chose them; my eyes skimmed past the sparkly blues and glittery purples and I saw that pair. I knew they were mine, instantly; soft satin pink with the most amazing floppy bows. I kept them still in the shoebox, in the shelf under my cupboard. They were too nice to wear, terrified I would spoil them. I’ll never forget the day, the one and only day, I wore those ballet shoes. I was a swan in Swan Lake, all powdery white with pink shoes. It was my first ever performance, and I was immensely proud. How I twirled and pirouetted that night! How I danced, how I lived. After that, I could never wear the shoes again; after all they had been through. I even kept a bunch of roses a member of the audience threw for me, dried them and kept them in the box too.
I am twelve, and I lay a parcel, string and brown paper, into my box. As a young child, I had a pen-pal. Her name was Aahna and she lived in India. Aahna, like me, loved to dance. It was this shared love that brought us together even though we lived in completely different worlds. My world was school and friends and ballet classes; pretty dresses and annoying little sisters and bed time stories. Her world was fetching water from the pump in the morning, feeding the chickens grain and cutting up vegetables; she danced in the dust of her back garden when she had the time, and dreamed. I lived her dream, and I wished she could live it with me. She always used to send the most wonderful gifts; colourful silky fabrics studded with gems, a soapstone elephant figure, a page of flowing Hindi writing in black ink. The gifts I sent back to her never seemed so enchanting in comparison. This parcel was a polka dotted notepad which I meant to send to her. I never did. They phoned me, three days later; she died of cholera in the night. I cried, because I really loved her, the friend I never met. Aahna.
I finger other items in the box. I am twelve again. These are my favourite novels, pages worn and stained and faded with love. A dried daisy chain I made with my best friends. Smooth white stones hand-picked from the salty shores of the beach. A whistle carved from wood which my dad taught me how to make. Photos. Fragments. Memories.
I am thirty again, and I smile softly as I place my box back into the ground, waiting timelessly for my next visit...
Siobhan Curham's Comments: This was such a beautiful piece of writing. The opening description of memories acts as a really powerful hook into the rest of the story. Sometimes, when an opening is so strong, you can feel let down by the rest of the writing if it isn't as good, but this definitely wasn't the case here. This story just got more and more interesting and emotional. There was such tenderness in the writing and the author managed to convey so much in so few words. It brought tears to my eyes in places. It was such a great idea, so beautifully executed - it left me wanting to read more.
Second Place: Emily from Emily's Chronicles with her entry: C'est La Vie. (''That's Life'')
The late afternoon sun was warm and pleasant and the tiny town of Chaumont, tucked away in the hills of the French countryside, was quiet and sleepy. In the local newsagents, l’épicerie, business was slow and the proprietor was feeling rather bored, but in a nice, dozy way. He stared out of the shop’s glass front, watching the road that twisted away before him. On either side of its neat green hedges were buttercup-filled fields, dotted with placid black and white cows chomping slowly on the lush grass, and by the fence in the right-hand field stood a chestnut pony, its coat shining in the gentle yellow sun. Soft birdsong was the only sound he could hear but then the shopkeeper’s ears were not very sharp and so it is unsurprising that it was not until she rounded the bend in the road that he heart the sweet crooning voice of a girl singing.
Elle Boudinot pedalled her pink bike up the lane, her thick blonde plait slung over one shoulder, and flashed a dazzling, even-toothed smile at the watching shopkeeper. His own lined face broke into a wide grin; he had a soft spot for this pretty teenage girl, and her friend Dominique.
She placed her bike carefully against the shop’s white wall. “Bonjour, Monsieur Poupard!”
“Bonjour, Elle,” he beamed at her. “Waiting for Dominique, are we?”
“Yes.” Elle smiled and sat down on the step, being careful not to crease her pleated pink skirt. “I think I will wait out here. It is a lovely day, is it not?” “Beautiful,” agreed the shopkeeper, still smiling widely. “Oh! There she is!” He gestured up the road to where Dominique was cycling round the corner on a pink bicycle almost identical to Elle’s, and she smiled and waved at the old man and her friend.
“Bonjour, Dominique!” said Monsieur Poupard blithely as she reached them and stepped off her bike.
“Bonjour! Hey, Elle!” Her friend stood up and they hugged. They were very different; Dominique was dark whilst Elle was fair, with white skin where her friend’s was sun-kissed and freckled, and taller than the other girl, willowy whilst Elle was curvaceous. The compliment each other, thought the shopkeeper, and he smiled beatifically at them. He was still smiling beatifically when he saw their expectant faces looking up at him.
“Oh! Of course! Sorry, girls…” He turned and opened the shop door. “Losing it, I am…”
The two girls exchanged an amused smile before stepping into the tiny, low-ceilinged shop. He was always muttering to himself.
“Now, I just got in the new issue of that magazine you like… let me find it…” He rummaged in the paper racks at the side of the shop then turned round holding two copies of Vogue. The girls squealed and all but snatched them from him, running their fingers over the glossy pages.
“Merci, Monsieur!” exclaimed Elle, and the old man turned slightly pink as he looked at her eager, thankful face.
“You’re very welcome, Elle,” he said, smiling at her. “Very welcome. Now…can I get you anything else? Sweets? Make-up?”
“I don’t have very much money today, but thank you anyway…”
“That’s quite all right, my dear. How about you, Dominique?” He turned to the tall, dark-haired girl on his other side.
“I can’t, thank you, I’ve spent all my pocket money this week!” She laughed, as if chiding herself, and the shopkeeper joined in.
“Ah, you young! Never prudent with your money!” He wagged a finger at her and she laughed again, the sound ringing out like a bell.
“Actually, it was my brother’s birthday…” They descended into small talk for several minutes until the shopkeeper said, “Well, will you pay for that magazine now?”
“I have my money here, Monsieur,” said Elle from behind him and he wheeled round, confused.
“Elle! Were you there all that time?”
“Yes, Monsieur Poupard,” she said, giggling, and after a minute her smiled back at her, setting his puzzlement aside.
“I couldn’t think where you’d come from, then! Getting old, you see…” He tapped his temple and exhaled.
“Ah, not at all!” said Elle, making him blush. “You are not so old…”
“You lie to save an old grandfather’s feelings, my dear…” It was five minutes before Dominique broke into their conversation. “I am ready to pay now, Monsieur Poupard,” she said.
“Dominique!” He spun round to see her smiling at him. “You girls have me seeing double…and you don’t even look alike! Ah well, just an old man’s bemusement, no matter…” He bustled around to behind the counter and took the money the girls set on it, carefully placing each coin into the till.
“Bonne journée, now, girls,” he said.
“Bonne journée, Monsieur! Merci!” They skipped out of the shop and, taking their bikes from where they had left them against the shop wall the two girls cycled back up the road.
It was only when they rounded the bend that they emptied their pockets.
Small objects cascaded into their bikes’ baskets. Tubes of lipstick. Bottles of nail varnish. Bars of chocolate. Two bags of strawberries coated in white chocolate. A spotty spiral-bound notebook. A packet of multi-coloured pens. A tiny mirror in a vintage rose print case.
Elle lifted a tub of lip gloss to the sunlight, studying the tiny specks of glitter suspended in the translucent pink liquid, and inhaled deeply.
“C’est la vie,” she said.
Siobhan Curham's Comments: I LOVED the opening description in this one - I felt as if I was right there in that sleepy French town. I love it when a writer transports me out of my life and into the life of the story so effortlessly. The characters were really well drawn and the dialogue was great. I particularly liked the depiction of Monsieur Poupard - both through his dialogue and actions. And the twist at the end was great - I didn't see it coming at all, and it's a real skill for a writer to be able to construct a concealed but believable twist like that.
Third Place: Nadia from Journal Of A Teen with her entry: The Sound.
She lay silently there, lips trembling but not making a single sound. She feared what would happen if it heard her. Her hands trembled, along with every inch of her body. She put her headphones in her ears, in the hope to at least block out The sound. But it was impossible for anything or anyone not to hear it.She was shaking, shivering, but still breathing. She played all her favourite songs in the deepest hope of comfort or for something, anything, to calm her down. But she still could hear it over the loud beat, she could still hear it over the loud lyrics being sung and she could still hear it over the loud, drumming and feared beat of her heart.
Happy thoughts fled through her mind, she tried and tried to get them to stay, to keep her calm. But the fear, the sound, crushed her happy moments her happy thoughts replacing them with the fear of what was to come. Nothing could keep her calm, no one could help her. Not a single person could be prepared for the sound. She looked around her bedroom, saying her good byes to her happy memories, her life. She staggered silently to her wall of pictures, every one of them held a happy moment, a moment in her life where she smiled and laughed. She missed that more than anything.She wished she could go back in time and be the girl she once was, the girl before this mess, this mistake. That one mistake has changed her life. Forever. She couldn't turn back time no matter how desperate she was.
Slowly and silently she sat on her bed and looked around her room again, and then her eyes lay on her dream catcher beside her bed. It had white delicate feathers and spun round on windy days. She remembered the time she got it. It was when she was five, her mother had died and every night she would have nightmares and every day they would get more and more worse. She remembered screaming at night so loudly the neighbours called the police. The nightmares got so bad her dad got her a therapist in the hope to help her; the therapist gave her the dream catcher and told her that all her bad dreams would be taken away from the magic of the catcher. Then the next night she didn't scream or cry at night.
Then suddenly she heard the sound, the sound everybody feared, the sound everybody hoped not to hear. The sound. Her heart raced faster than lightning, tears fell down her fearful scared face. Then she heard it outside her door, it was eventually going to get her, she knew that. No matter how many things she put on her door it would get her. She heard it again, her heart thumped. I can’t do this she thought to her self. She would rather die quickly rather that be tortured, and then she did what anyone would have done. She walked to her rusty old window and climbed on the window pane. With her trembling hands she slid the window open; she took a deep breath and jumped, jumped all the way down.
Goodbye world. Goodbye dream catcher, this is the only nightmare you couldn't catch.
Siobhan Curham's Comments: This was such a dramatic piece of writing - right from the start I was hooked, wondering what the sound was and why it held so much power over her. I love the way the tension builds throughout as you wonder what is going to happen and slowly discover why. A really gripping, nail-biting read!
Congratulations to you all! The winner has already been notified so your book should be on the way soon. :)
Thank you again!
Runners up would you like to e-mail me and discuss your prizes?
Life Of An Awkward Donkey Competition
Emily's Chronicles Competition
Mad Roses And Oopsy Daisies Competition
Please tell me if I have missed you out and I will add you to my list of competitions to enter. :-)
Don't Forget To Smile!! :D