Writing Contest News!

Lydia Sharp generously hosted a writing contest over on her blog, The Sharp Angle. Writers sent in their first 500 words of their WIP and Lydia would pick the best one.

Oh, and she also offered A FREE CRITIQUE of those 500 words!

As you can imagine, she was quickly flooded with entries. Here are the stats (I took this directly from her blog)

Total Entries: 83
At 500-ish words per entry, that is 41,500+ words read and analyzed in my “free time”, in less than two weeks.

Yep, she created a monster with this contest!

And I am pleased beyond words to have been chosen as an “Honorable Mention”.

Lydia has mentioned she may consider doing this contest again sometime this summer so get your first 500 polished and ready to go, because she gives a seriously awesome critique!

Here is my critique from Lydia… (Her critique is in bold and at times she underlined my work for emphasis)


Every week Kate stood on the same front porch, her hand poised inches from the door, willing herself to finally do the unthinkable—walk away without knocking. However, during the hesitation, her courage inevitably fled. {nice tension}

            Wednesdays were a long-standing tradition, and one she couldn’t disrupt.

            Steeling herself for what she would endure over the next two hours, Kate rapped her knuckles against the door. Familiar footsteps clicked toward the other side of the entry and she forced a smile as the door opened to reveal an overdressed, overfed, overbearing woman. {love how you used repetition in that description. beautiful.}

           “Katherine Davis, how dare you appear at my doorstep looking like some commoner? Get that bonnet on your head this instant!”

            Her smile faded. “Yes, Aunt Victoria.”

            Kate pulled the velvet cage over the her mass of auburn hair secured in a knot at the nape of her neck, knowing full well she’d only remove it after stepping across the threshold. {I can feel her frustration here. very well done.}Under the guise of propriety, her aunt had tortured her for years.

            From etiquette during afternoon tea to running a household, Aunt Victoria enforced her opinions over Kate’s every move. Recently she’d expanded her teachings to include the fine art of manipulating men. Snaring a husband was the ultimate goal.

            Kate followed the perfume cloud into the parlor. {another excellent description} Cream and gold wallpaper, the best her father’s money could buy, adorned each wall. Marble-topped tables stood between overstuffed chairs and a matching sofa. Polished mahogany frames held paintings of stern men and sweeping mountain ranges. A buffet displayed a china tea set adorned with red roses.

            Taking a seat on the sole wooden chair in the room, Kate prepared for the upcoming interrogation. The bitter spinster didn’t disappoint.

           “I assume your servants are behaving better after my lecture last week?”

           After discovering muddy footprints on the front porch during an unannounced visit, her aunt had lined up the household staff and disparaged each and every one. Three left the room in tears, and one quit on the spot. {oh my}

            Kate merely nodded.

           “Good. They have to learn to serve their betters with more respect.”

            Kate poured herself a cup of tea and reached to add {I would just say added here; the act of reaching isn’t necessarily important} a small pastry to her plate. It was early morning, but she’d already been up for hours without breakfast.

            “Don’t take too many sweets. They’ll ruin your figure.” Ignoring her own advice, Aunt Victoria placed three on her own plate and then settled back against the upholstered sofa. {love this!} “Did you enjoy the Ladies Society meeting about the new library?”

            “I didn’t attend.”

             At this, her aunt’s tone hardened. “Securing an invitation required delicate negotiations among the most influential women of this town. Your position in society is not guaranteed, Katherine, so I trust you have a good reason for embarrassing me—again.”

            Undaunted, Kate met the narrowed eyes with ease. “I needed to review a contract and finalize the monthly profits and losses.”

            Wrinkled hands flew into the air with dramatic frustration—a gesture that would have been far more impressive had Kate not seen it nearly every week. The familiar rant began, as always, with an exaggerated sigh.

           “It’s a wonder I even bother with you anymore. As for your father, he should have hired a bookkeeper long ago instead of forcing the task upon his only daughter.”

I would definitely keep reading. Your depiction of character is superb, and the tension here is constant. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m in love with your use of description.

I really feel like I’m living in this scene and I honestly care what happens to Kate. You’ve made me feel real concern for her in just a few pages.

So well done, Christi. I should be asking you to critique my work, not vice versa. Seriously. 

Thanks again, and good luck with this!


23 thoughts on “Writing Contest News!

  1. Congratulations Christi, a well deserved honor 🙂

    I loved the first sentence when you used it before and I am happy I was able to read further this time. Your descriptions are well done and I would also, read on!

    This is a book waiting to happen 🙂

  2. Ramblings,

    If you click on the “My Novel” tab in the left sidebar you can read about 2 more pages 🙂

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  3. Lydia,

    I don’t even know how you’re awake right now after doing all those critiques!

    Thanks so much for mine. Your words and insight were awesome!


  4. Jillian,

    Thanks for the support. When does your book come out? I’d love to have you on here for a little interview 🙂


  5. Hi Christi! Thanks for posting this.

    One thing that stood out for me was the great choice of verbs, even in description: wallpaper “adorned” each wall, tables “stood,” frames “held” paintings, and a buffet ‘displayed” a china tea set.

    Much, much better than wallpaper was gold, the tables were between the chairs, in the frames were paintings, and a tea set was on a buffet.

    Congrats on your honorable mention!

  6. Maine,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment…especially one so complimentary :).

    Verb/word choice has been something I’ve struggled with, so now I pay extra special attention to each word, and how it reflects on the sentence, and then the overall scene, character, setting, and everything else.



  7. PK,

    Thanks so much for the encouraging comment. I hope one day to be able to share Kate (and Jake–the gruff, honorable, and courageous trail guide) with the world 🙂

    I see you were an honorable mention too…are you going to post Lydia’s critique on your blog?


  8. Meghan,

    I’m so glad you like the opening scene. Getting such wonderful support from other writers makes all the lonely hours tapping away at the keyboard worth it!

    Loved your survey, and the results, on your blog. Lots of work went into that one I bet!


  9. M. H.,

    Thanks for such a lovely and encouraging comment! You can read the next few pages to my WIP by clicking on the “My Novel” link on the top left sidebar. (I’d love to hear your thoughts if you do)


  10. A. Grey,

    Yesterday we spread two bales of hay/straw around our backyard to cover up all the mud. While going back for handful after handful I TOTALLY thought of you and how you do such hard work everyday. Wow!

    Thanks for checking out the excerpt. It’s so nice to hear from other writers!


  11. Your characterization is excellent – I already hate Aunt Victoria and can sympathize with Kate. Her nervousness is palpable in your descriptions. Very well done!

  12. Margo,

    Hey there CP! I think these first two pages changed a bit since you saw them last. I’m glad you liked them and I can tell you you’re in for good surprises over the next 100 pages.

    Thanks for all your input!


  13. Lindsey,

    So glad to hear my character intentions are coming through. That is exactly what I’d envisioned accomplishing in these two pages. Check out the “My Novel” tab to read the next 500 words…I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you here again.


  14. Melissa,

    Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. It has been a labor of love and I’m glad others are enjoying what comes from the voices in my head 🙂

    If you click on the “My Novel” tab you can read another two pages. I’d love to hear your thoughts…


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