Almost an Inkling Creative Writing Contest

Almost an Inkling Writing Contest

The 2015 “Almost an Inkling” Creative Writing Contest has concluded, and it was a scintillating success! A list of winners is below. Did you miss the chance to read some of the winning works when they were live on the website? Don’t worry; they will all be published in a beautiful forthcoming e-book from Oloris Publishing. If all goes well, this book should be available for purchase by the end of November from the Oloris Bookshop.

Winners were chosen in two categories: Popular winners were decided by public vote, and literary winners were chosen by judges Sørina Higgins (Chair of Signum’s Department of Literature and Language) and Robyn Stone-Kraft (Editor at Silver Leaves and Director of Poetry at Oloris Publishing).

Here are the names of the winners and the titles of their works:

Week 1: Through Mysterious Doors

Original Prompt: This week, we enter the world of microfiction with stories of up to 333 words that involve portals into other realms. Take a character through some kind of gateway or past some threshold into a secondary world unlike our own. (Note! We are looking for originality! Wardrobe doors and old boots will be frowned upon).

Week 1 Winners

  • Literary winner: Laura Crouse, “Lot’s Wife”
  • First Runner-Up: Anne Whitver, “Never Trust a Clock”
  • Second Runner-Up: Cheryl Cardoza, “Fairy Rings”
  • Popular winner (tied): Olivia Jakobitz, “Through the Porthole”
  • Popular winner (tied): Brenton Dickieson, “One Step Into Dawn”
  • Popular runner-up: Eugene Sullivan, “The Stairwell”


Week 2: Here Be Dragons!

Original Prompt: This week, we want flash fiction stories of up to 500 words that deal with dragons! We’re looking for exciting adventures that consider what type of dragon is being hunted, why it’s being hunted, what’s the motivation, and what is the outcome? Is our hero prepared, unprepared, self-deceived about being prepared? What’s the dragon’s point of view? Surprise us with a twist!

Week 2 Winners

  • Literary winner: Alana Asby Roberts, “I Love Thee Not”
  • First Runner-Up, Stacy Ericson, “Hear The Lonesome Whistle Blow”
  • Second runner-up: Anne Whitver, “Alchemy”
  • Popular winner, J. Brice Odom, “The Dragon and the Brave”
  • First runner-up: Brenton Dickieson, “Saving the World Left Handed”
  • Second runner-up: Alexis Heit, “It’s a Girl!”


Week 3: Minute Mysteries

Original Prompt: This week, it’s murder, mayhem, detection, and discovery. Show us your most compelling mini-mysteries that can be read in under a minute—and are under 250 words long. Here are some ideas:

  • A classic locked-room mystery
  • A story with numerological significance (a countdown, a pattern, a mathematical clue, etc)
  • The tale of the disappearance of a valuable object
  • A family secret comes to light!
  • An old letter tucked in a book or hidden in plain sight

Week 3 Winners

  • Literary winner: Jessica Kantrowitz, “Text-based”
  • First runner-up: Laura Crouse, “The Power of Innocence”
  • Second runner-up: L. F. S. Alden, “The Old Man’s Will”
  • Popular winner: Olivia Jakobitz, “Willful Mystery”
  • First runner-up: Ed McNamara, “Blueberry Manifest”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Cheryl Cardoza, “Keep it Safe”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Jessica Kantrowitz, “Text-based”


Week 4: Twitter Fiction

Original Prompt: Write a story in only one tweet-length sentence: maximum 140 characters! Give us a setting, actors, actions, a narrative arc, and an climax—all in less than the length of this prompt!

Week 4 Winners

  • Literary winner: K. Wagner, “The Lamp Lighter”
  • First runner-up: Rebecca Seaman, “Mother of Invention”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Lee Smith, “Red”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Matthew Wicker, “Growing Up”
  • Popular Winner (tied): Elijah David, “Last Night”
  • Popular Winner (tied): Olivia Jakobitz, “Leo”
  • Popular Winner (tied): Elijah David, “Out of the Ashes”
  • First runner-up: Olivia Jakobitz, “Ignorance”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Olivia Jakobitz, “For Here or to Go”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Elijah David, “Success is a Matter of Perspective”
  • Second runner-up (tied): Elijah David, “Why Did It Have to Be Imps?”


Week 5: Poetry

Original Prompt: This week, show us your best literary act. We are looking for carefully crafted formal poems in which observation and imagination are compressed into—as Samuel Taylor Coleridge said—“Poetry: the best words in the best order.” Just one poem per entry, please, in any of the following forms: haiku, triolet, clerihew, sonnet, or rondeau. Submit as many entries as you like! Entries may be in the form of Haiku (just one per entry!)

Week 5 Winners

  • Literary Winner: Karl Persson, “Deconstruction” (sonnet)
  • First runner-up: Laura Crouse, “Quantum Theology I” (triolet)
  • Second runner-up: Candice L. Horgan, “Leaves Pass” (haiku)
  • Popular winner: Jessica Kantrowitz, “Bus Stop” (triolet)
  • First runner-up, tied: Olivia Jakobitz, “Books” (sonnet)
  • First runner-up, tied: Olivia Jakobitz, “When Autumn comes” (rondeau)
  • Second runner-up, tied: Elijah David, “Always the Same” (haiku)
  • Second runner-up, tied: Olivia Jakobitz, “Breath at Dawn” (sonnet)


Week 6: Speculate and Subcreate

Original Prompt: For this final week, pull out all the stops! You can have up to a whole 1,000 words—aren’t we generous? Give us your best speculative fiction this week. We want:

  • Magic, mages, witches, wizards, worlds of wonder
  • Science Fiction, futuristic stories, technologically-driven tales
  • Time-and-space travel
  • Parallel universes, multiverses
  • Stories involving invented languages
  • Adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table
  • Adaptations of a Greek or Roman myths
  • Beast Fables for the Modern World
  • Retold or Revisionist Fairy Tales

Feel free to put a Halloween twist on any of these!

Week 6 Winners

  • Literary winner: Laura Crouse, “The Sisters of Protection Skete”
  • First runner-up: Dan Kinney, “The Death-Lords of the Isles of Ash”
  • Second runner-up: L. F. S. Alden, “Starry Sea”
  • Popular winner: J Lenni Dorner, “Chocolate Covered Toffee or Vanilla Taffy”
  • First runner-up: L. F. S. Alden, “Starry Sea”
  • Second runner-up, tied: Elijah David, “Herald of Shadows”
  • Second runner-up, tied: Olivia Jakobitz, “Herald of Shadows” “Ambassador Stone”


Support Future Contests

The Almost an Inkling Writing Contest was originally run during the Signum University Annual Fund Drive. If you liked the contest and would like to support our ability to run future contests like it, please support our efforts with a small donation.

Help cover contest costs with a $10 donation