Your Story 43: Winners!

Prompt: Write the opening sentence (25 words or fewer) to a story based on the photo prompt to the left. (Official Rules.)

Thanks to everyone who voted on WD’s Your Story #43! Here are the results. The winning entries, in ranking order, are as follows:

1. As the last of the day’s light retreated behind the desert mountains, the sheriff’s heart sank; he knew the runaway would be dead by morning. (Laura Wenzel)

2. Buck lit the lamp and prepared to step into the future, wondering whether he had packed enough strength, courage, and clean underwear for the trip. (Cindy Morrow)

3. Cursing his wife for being right about something impossible, he put down his lantern and gazed at the void that had once been New York. (Karolina Galuszka)

4. Jacob lifted the lantern off the crusty salt pan and waved toward the setting sun—a signal to his brother, if he was still alive. (David Howes)

5. When Stevens finally reached the mysterious lantern, he noticed he had left no footsteps in the desert sand. (Ashton Webb)

6. Looking across the snow covered prairie, Dwight gently lowered his lantern and wondered how he could be so lost on lands he knew so well. (Chip Putnam)

7. Knowing I mustn’t rush, I set down the lantern, steadied myself against the icy wind, and tried to recall the location I left Samuel’s remains. (Sara Shelton)

8. Staggering to his feet, the man leaned down to pick up the lantern as something wet slid over his left eyebrow and into his eye. (Angel Carter)

9. Jason sat his lantern on the sand as he raced toward the loud cry that came from the water, interrupting his thoughts. (Nancy Mills Shannon)

10. After filling his belly with beans, the cowboy grabbed his lantern and headed for the nearest shrub—where a coiled rattler lay in wait. (Gary Adams)

For more writing exercises to spark your creativity, check out Take Ten for Writers!

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40 thoughts on “Your Story 43: Winners!

  1. jimmy1122

    I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.cccam server

  2. WillWorkForBooks

    I’m a little confused as to what I’m supposed to do after I get past the “Your Story #43: Vote Now” link. It shows me the sentences and the voter percents, but I don’t know how to actually vote. It won’t let me do anything.

  3. SAHD Dad

    Okay, I’m willing to admit that it may be me (my brain is often several cans short of a six-pack on Mondays) but I’m not finding a link to actually read the submissions and vote on them. This page is titled “Vote Now,” as was the link I followed to get here, but I’m just not finding it. Help, please?

      1. StaceyShannon

        By “mid-August” do you mean just a random day? Or is there a specific day/time you could provide so I can stop obsessing over checking the forum… Ha!

  4. Katy7437

    I am new to the competition, and I have a question. Is there any way that I am able to confirm whether my submission was received or not? (Other than “Thanks for your submission”)

    I have made a submission to #43. Thank You for your time.


  5. Stars

    I have a question, for this competition and every competition on Writer’s Digest, are we allowed to put a pen name on the entry form? I’m new to this.

  6. blackeyedfetus

    You could use your imagination as to whether he is by the sea or not. I agree with Tiffany. Ismeme, If you want my 2 cents… It may behind him for instance, he may be walking away from it. I guess the sand caught your attention, right?

    WF2012…It’s a lantern . Or are you asking about the model? gas, or kerosene?

    Good luck guys

    P.S. I’m quite lost myself. It could be taken any direction. But that is the fun part. 🙂

      1. blackeyedfetus

        You could call it however you see it… Just as Tiffany mentioned earlier about whether he is on a beach or not. It is up to your imagination. But if you want my personal opinion, i would not refer to it as a lamp of any sort, as it would seem to me as something static, not portable. A kerosene lamp to me, would generally not have a handle, and be placed indoors, or on a porch. But that doesn’t mean all kerosene lamps are like that.. Again, it is how i see it, you may see it anyway you like, and use it to your advantage. The kerosene lamp could represent something beyond the physical object. Don’t trouble yourself too much over a name. It has several. You can even make one up but make sure the reader is on the same page. Besides that, have fun and don’t let your imagination get the best of you.

        If you are adamant on using a word, but can’t figure it out. Well, again, its just my opinion, simply write your sentence (25 words max) without referring to it. Ask yourself these questions: is it rising or setting? where is he? why does he seem to be in the middle of nowhere? Is he alone? Where was he? Where is he going? Is he getting up or sitting down? Is he married? What do he do for a living? If you ask anyone of us these questions we would all reply differently. There are no wrong answers. Just have fun.

        I hope this helps

  7. Howell2010

    I hope this goes well. I am an aspiring writer, but this is the first time I’ve posted something on a place specifically for it.

    Do you have to write a whole story using the opening sentence, or just the opening sentence?

  8. Ismeme

    I have a question. Is the man standing by the sea? That’s what I thought at first, by when I look closer it’s really hard to tell. I don’t want to submit something that doesn’t make any sense, so I’d really like to know. Thanks.

    1. Tiffany Luckey Post author

      Hello Ismeme,

      To me, it doesn’t look as if he (or she!) is standing by the sea. But then again, if he looks as if he’s standing by the sea to you, then that’s fine; it’s your interpretation of the photo. Feel free to submit your entry interpreting the story that way; after all, it is your story. Good luck!


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