Sunday, October 25, 2009
1st Place Judges' Selection: Forgiven by socact
Right about now, I'm considering myself to be the luckiest of the four very lucky judges of the For the Love of Jasper Contest. Why am I the luckiest? Because I have the distinct honor of getting to write a little something about the winning entry in the Judges' Selection Round.
All of the judging for this contest was done anonymously, so even as I write this, I have no idea who crafted this amazing piece or even what the title of it is. I know it only as "Entry FLJ_020." Reading the entries without knowing who the authors were was amazingly freeing. I was able to just be affected by a story without having any preconceived ideas of what it would be like.
This particular entry affected me like no other. The author does a fantastic job of establishing an emotional connection to the characters, right from the very beginning. There isn't a great deal of exposition on the characters' histories, and yet I feel like I know them, and their connection to one another is absolutely believable. Because the connection is so well-established, what happens to the characters in the story has a tremendous emotional impact.
The author also masterfully invokes emotional responses without being overwrought. "She kept calling his name, in a language of love and regret and utter despair." That's the line that set off my tears the very first time I read this entry. And this, later in the story, so powerfully conveys the bittersweet nature of memory to a survivor: "I just ran the same route I remembered from the Forks Elementary school bus, which had stopped at my house first, then Edward’s, then Bella’s. I ran past each of them, witnesses to so many childhoods gone by. At least we had that. We would always have that."
We judged the entries on several different criteria, and this one scored high in both the technical aspects and the artistic aspects. It's incredibly well-written, with lovely language, and it hits all the right emotional notes. It features Jasper prominently and appealingly. The other characters are used well, helping us to understand Jasper without being mere accessories. It's also well-suited to be a one-shot, with a distinct beginning, middle and end, and a satisfying emotional resolution.
I couldn't be more delighted that Entry FLJ_020 is the winner of our Judges' Selection Round. I read about 70 stories for this contest, and this one stood out as exceptional from the very beginning. Congratulations and thank you to the author.
Link to story: Forgiven by socact