Here’s what the judge had to say about my story:
FIRST RUNNER UP
John Mark Miller, “Hidden Warning.” What a great first line – it immediately makes us want to know more. Who’s speaking? To whom are they speaking? Within that one sentence of dialogue are suggestions of deception right from the start, making us want to know the whats and the whys, as well as the who.
The series of questions Margaret asks herself quickly and succinctly lays out an impressive tapestry of backstory in just three sentences. Although many stories played on the idea of the Queen as deceptor, this version with its time-travel component stood out for its originality.
The language throughout feels crisp and clean – almost effortless (although I know it’s not). It flows in pleasing rhythm, not encumbered by too many adjectives or adverbs, or awkward phrasings. I particularly enjoyed the character-revealing contrasts of the priest: “stooped in a reverent bow,” but “his eyes had narrowed into hateful little slits,” as well as his spitting “Long live the queen,” normally a respectful phrase, but here rendered the opposite.
The title reflects both his warning to her, and hers to him, and ties the story together well. The ending is strong, her threatening phrase echoing the priest’s opening one. I love the inference that she will execute him – expertly communicated without spelling it out.
To read my entry, click here.
Thanks for letting me share my fun news… hope you all have a Happy Monday!