yeah write #93 weekly writing challenge winners: jury prize, crowd favorite and top row five

yeah write virgins

There were three, count ‘em, THREE, virgins on the challenge grid this week. Welcome and thanks for joining us! Thank you to everyone who is spreading the word about yeah write and our funky little community here of bloggers who write, and writers who blog. C’mon back next week and — and bring your friends.

jury prize winner—invitational grid

crowd favorite—challenge grid

“Tom is My Friend” by Jared Karol at Lick the Fridge

All of the posts the editors moved to the invitational grid this week have one thing in common: They are stories. Simple and honest and true, they tell of big moments and small, with beginnings, middles, and ends. Don’t get us wrong. Posts about politics can be bracing. Rants can be hilarious. Blogs written in the style of a journal or diary can move us. But yeah write is, first and foremost, a showcase for writers who are storytellers. We celebrate the art of super-short-form nonfiction storytelling.

The clear winner this week – taking both the editors’ Jury Prize and topping the challenge grid as Crowd Favorite – was by Jared Karol at Lick the Fridge for his stark post about a dad’s coming out, “Tom is My Friend.” There are so many winning qualities to highlight in this post. For one, the structure is spot-on: meandering at the beginning, rising in action to the climactic moment, and winding down to an ending that closes the scene, if not the emotional impact. And though that beginning meanders, the story never digresses—the action flows just how young Jared would have experienced it. He doesn’t feel the need to digress and list out all the players and explain their relationships, or tell us the backstory on why this kid has flown to visit his dad, or how this all makes him feel today. He sticks to his story. The present tense—usually frowned upon by yeah write editors—works here because the piece seems to elapse almost in real time. We learn, along with Jared, his dad’s truths—as a rush, a surprise, something we didn’t see coming.

But what resonated most with me was Jared’s voice. As his 14-year-old self, he was pitch-perfect—not an easy thing to do when we look back as adults. I’ve read fiction that is supposed to be written in the voice of a child and often these kid narrators are using descriptive words an adult writer would kill for, describing emotions most grown-ups have never figured out. It’s hard to wipe away our writerly selves and write as an eighth grader would write, feel as an eighth grader would feel, notice what an eighth grader would notice. Here, the words are unpretentious, just like a young teenager would use: “[T]here are people doing all kinds of different things, like reading and writing in cafes, and dancing on the streets, and protesting, and running for buses.”

And when the impact of his dad’s words hit him, Jared resists the temptation to bring out the ten dollar words. Instead, he stays true to his younger self: “[A]ll of these thoughts race around in my mind, all jumbled together, and the dust bunnies whirl under the couch, and the doors on the 24 close as the bus continues south toward Castro Street.”

He closes by just telling us what happened next. A doorbell rings, they walk down the stairs and Tom, his dad’s friend, drives them to the airport. 

The sign of a good story is that you want to read it again. I read Jared’s post several times, finding new complexities within its modest language and structure each time. Of all the posts on the grid this week, this is one I’ll remember for a long time.

Congratulations, Jared on the win!

To everyone else, come back next week and bring us your stories. We love a good yarn.

Win-win

The thumbnails are now sorted in the grid from most votes to the least. In the case of a tie, the thumbnails are additionally sorted by page views. Part of the top row five? Please grab a winners’ badge from the sidebar and display it proudly on your own blog. Congrats!

Do not be discouraged if your blog has landed near the bottom of the grid; it is always a tight race. The fun lies in getting better exposure for your blog and in the spirit of competition as incentive to improve your writing and blogging skills. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.

Thanks again, everybody, for linking up, for reading, for accepting the weekly writing challenge. And for making yeah write the most welcoming spot on the Interwebs for writers who blog and bloggers who write.

Yeah write #94 weekly writing challenge grid opens Tuesday.

Tell your friends. Bring us your best stuff. See you then.

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9 responses to “yeah write #93 weekly writing challenge winners: jury prize, crowd favorite and top row five”

  1. Jamie@SouthMainMuse [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 2:49 pm #

    I agree that Jared’s voice as his 14-year-old self was just right. It added to mood and pacing and emotion of the story. It was wonderfully done.

    • Jared Karol [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 4:53 pm #

      Thank you, Jamie. It was fun to go back all that time to my 14-year-old self and write that piece. I’m glad you, and everyone else, enjoyed it. :)

  2. Ken [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 10:52 am #

    Congratulations to everyone, I thought all the posts were wonderful. I have to say that I did much better than I had ever expected. Thanks for letting me play. I think I may return, some point in the future. :)

    • Erica M [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 5:24 pm #

      I enjoyed reading your piece. It was on the cusp as being selected by one of the editors for the invitational grid. It was missing a central conflict (man v. man, man v. self, man v. nature, man v. society) but it had all the other yeah write elements such as plain language, empathetic characters and humor. Please stick around; we’d love to have you as a regular contributor.

    • Kristin [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 9:35 pm #

      I loved this post – even though now I see wrinkled, milky oysters every time I open my fridge. Thanks for that. Really.

  3. Cindy R [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 9:58 am #

    Congrats to Jared and the rest of the Top Row 5: Mod Mom, Christie, Samantha, and the Cat Lady!

    • Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks Cindy! I second that – Congratulations to Jared, Christie, Samantha and the Cat Lady! You are such a talented group of accomplished writers and I am honored to be in your company.

    • Jared Karol [Fri] 25 Jan 13 at 1:44 pm #

      Thanks so much for having me. Glad to participate, and for the opportunity to interact and engage w/ so many new writers. I’ll definitely be back.

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