An Interview with Kristy_Matthews - Winner of the December Challenge

Cast your mind back to December, when the weather was warmer and we were all chuckling to ourselves about having 'skipped winter this year'...

There's no way we were ever really going to get away with that one now, were we? 

Well, if there's one good thing snow's for, its got to be the excuse it provides to light a fire, stay inside, and read a book (or three). If you haven't already had the opportunity to read through December's festive challenge entries, now you've got the perfect excuse!

The brief for our December Challenge was purposefully broad, asking only that entrants included a character named Carol, and some kind of Christmas-themed festivities. As usual, we received a massively dynamic range of entries, including a mixture of soppy traditional tales, sarcastic commentary, sadistic murder, and sentimentality. The quality was such that the judges had a challenging task on their hands just to whittle it down to the final five runners up, and one winner!

Luckily, this month the judges' initial round of voting drew a unanimous winner, which was a rather unexpected christmas gift to themselves. Thanks literary Santa!

Perhaps Santa found himself a victim 
of the digital revolution, with his robot 
replacement running an OS called Carol...
Writing a festive tale can be something that many writers actively avoid - and it's easy to understand why. Often filled with cliché and dog-eared phrases, even the traditional festive story-arcs have long been feeling a little flat. Each year authors must face an increasingly challenging juggling act between originality and tradition. On one hand, you don't want to bore the reader with familiarity, so some kind of originality is required; but nor do you want to unwittingly offend anyone by disrespecting their beliefs through your witty take on the Yule-tide festivities.

So what should you do?

Here are a few things to consider about cliché before you finish constructing your literary master plan for Festive Domination: 2016

Cliché (which of course is usually 'avoided like the plague'), suddenly becomes annoyingly relevant when you settle down to write a themed or festive story. In fact, it becomes more than relevant, because to make something seem 'festive' you've almost definitely got to conform to some of the tropes that people expect to find in a festive story; ergo: cliché.

But writing good cliché is really difficult, especially because it goes against everything that you're 'supposed' to do as a good, original writer. So dial down the gag reflex, and start channeling the sparkly, peace-loving, tinsel-mentality. Or should you?

To write good cliché you need to be careful, take a good long think about what it is that you're looking to portray and make it believable. Cliché is often negatively received by the reader because it a) makes the reader more able to guess what's about to happen in your story, or b) it makes the story itself become unbelievable because the writing is just a little too warm and fuzzy for anyone to actually be able to relate to, realistically.

Obviously everyone knows what it's like to be a billionaire mouse though...
So remember to use cliché sparingly, but place it well. Don't be hesitant to make a miracle happen, but do make sure that it's something that could actually happen within the realms of your story.

A good thing to keep in mind, is that cliché has become so because it's popular. People like to read stories that have a happy ending. People actually - shock, horror - like for things to turn out well. It's ok to have a happy ending, but what's not okay is to drown it in sweet sticky toffee, chuck it in a bin full of tinsel and make it dance like a puppet to the tune of Silent Night. Although thinking about it, that might make quite a funny story...

The winner of our December Challenge, Kristy_Matthews, developed a story that had just the right balance, plus that little bit extra...

Congratulations to all of our entrants in the December Challenge, especially our five runners up!

The Annunciation by RJ_Urquhart | Carol's Swansong by Ernest_Lee | Ein Weinachtsleid by Nina_Lee | A Carol's Carol by W_Miles_Bell | Avoidance by girl bird

Kristy_Matthews was kind enough to have a chat with us about her entry. Read on below to find out how she developed her story, how she approached dealing with the treatment of such an emotional subject matter, and how she grounded her story in a relatable reality for her readers.

WEbook: Hi Kristy, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your winning submission in our December Challenge: ‘It’s Christmas, Carol’. 

Your story is a sad, but also heart-warming tale that explores themes of love, loss, the strength of family, and of different ways to deal with grief. We see Gertrude, the grandma, smelling of whiskey, the mum who wants to have the perfect Christmas and the daughter who doesn’t quite want to face the day. The story itself is realistic, and by stripping it back to the daily annoyances of life – such as putting on the washing – it becomes not only believable to the reader, but also a very poignant portrayal of how despite the loss of a loved one, the world keeps turning. 

When you were planning this story, did you find yourself drawing on personal experience, or did you use research to inspire you?

Kristy_Matthews: Well, Christmas for me was always an interesting time. My father was in the military, but my parents were divorced. So growing up, I only got one parent to spend it with. Even though grandpa's sisters didn't drink, my aunts were very similar to Aunt Trudy. But I also come from a military family.

My brother was in Afghanistan and while he was over there this scenario has become a very real possibility. I helped my sister raise my nephew while he was over there, the holidays were an emotional mess. I really wanted to reflect on the sacrifice that soldiers have to go through, but also, what their families go through. Especially over the big holidays, it's one of the hardest things for everyone in that situation, and everyone tries to be strong when they don't think they can anymore.

WB: Christmas is a time, traditionally, for family and togetherness. When one of the constants is removed from this experience – in this case the death of the MC’s father - it inevitably creates instability and sometimes fracture within the lives of the people that are left. In your story, you initially distance your MC from the action, before placing her at the forefront. By doing this you hint at these fractures being healed, and create an emotionally satisfying ending to the story for the reader. 

Do you think that it’s important to create these healing moments when writing emotional pieces such as this? If so, why?

KM: I definitely believe that having a healing moment is important. They are there throughout life. Life can go along being absolutely horrible, and I think often times people forget that it's the small things that make it worth it. People forget that the small healing moments in life are essentially what makes it worth it. It makes it way more real, but it also makes it so the piece is readable and you aren't a complete emotional wreck after it's over.

WB: The rebelliousness of your MC seems on first reading to be simply the standard fare of a teenager, but upon a second or a third reading it becomes clear that this is not entirely the case. Firstly, we have the mixing of the dark and light laundry, the threat of them mixing to turn the light dark. Then, we have the black t-shirt she chose to wear – replaced by the green sweater her mother selects, a colour symbolising life – then finally the dark ribbon used as a choker. 

Did you intentionally use these as symbols of the MC’s grief in your story, or was it coincidental?

KM: Well, a lot of these small things are actually experiences I've had with my own mother. I was a very angsty teenager. It was much to my mother's chagrin when I'd mix laundry or try to wear black clothing and heavy makeup to family holidays. Green is her favorite color so often times when she would choose my clothing green is what she'd choose. But I also like the psychology behind colors. Green is a calm color, it's the color of harmony and balance, it symbolizes hope, renewal, peace. And that's exactly what her mother needed at the time. But the dark ribbon and clothing also show that she's depressed and trying to kind of wreak havoc on her mother's emotions to make herself feel better, while trying to express herself and who she is at that point in time.

WB: What kinds of fiction do you usually write? Can you tell us about something you are working on, or maybe something you’ve already finished?

KM: I usually write romance, very woman-oriented books. Right now I'm actually working on something a little bit different. It's called Leap of Faith, and the basic idea behind it is that souls are not tied to any one body or "shell" as they're referred to in the book. So it's about a soul's journey to find the right shell made for it, which only comes about every millennium. It's going to give a lot of insight in the war of what the body and soul want, but also, things like schizophrenia and Deja Vu are explained. I don't want to ruin it, but I definitely look forward to finishing it. I have a good friend who is editing it every time I finish a chapter, then I'm gonna try and get it published because I definitely think that this book will not only be entertaining but might help someone who needs extra inspiration to get through what they're going through.

WB: Who is your favourite writer on WEbook and why?

Favorites are always really hard for me to choose. I don't know if I really have one. I enjoy many people's writing and what they bring to the table. Everyone has a unique view and they express it differently and writing is so beautiful because it shows how that person thinks and feels, you can see their undertones and it really helps you get to know what they're thinking and feeling. I may not have a favorite, per say, but I love everyone's here because I appreciate them for their beautiful uniqueness.

WB: What are your favourite books or authors, and how have they influenced your writing?

KM: Well, right now I'm reading Harry Potter. I love the Harry Potter universe so much and Jo has made such an influence on my life between her writing and what she did to accomplish what she did. But she also is so influential because she started off in a very similar place I did. We both loved to write and young ages, we both lost a parent--not in the same way but still, we've both been in abusive relationships, we both have been in the same financial situation... so looking at her and seeing where she now gives me hope, not only as a reader but as a writer as well. It gives me hope that someone might see my story and love it, and then by some magic I can touch millions of people's lives with my work. I'll probably never be as big as her, but it's definitely my dream to at least touch one person with my work. I also enjoy the Luxe novels, I'm rather obsessed with the American Victorian era. I really just like to read, I love books and the knowledge they can bring but also the fact that you can completely escape into another world because of them.

WB: Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us about your winning entry Kristy! We look forwards to reading many more of your entries over the months to come.

If you haven't already had the chance to read Kristy's winning entry in full, you can still find it on WEBook, along with all of the other entries in the challenge. 

Don't forget that the January Challenge: Below the Surface is open to submissions until 31st Jan... 

Good luck!

Happy reading!

Hannah from the WEbook Team

An Interview with the October Challenge Winner - SideShowShannon

Our October Challenge was one of intrigue. And it was also a little bit like a computer game for those who can remember computer games before all the fancy-pants graphics we have nowadays. Give us a bit of Zork and interactive fiction any day. Actually, if mention of interactive fiction has given you a bit of a lust for escaping into the past, we've found a couple of great places online that you can relive your childhood (or for those of you who are wondering what the hell we're on about, to explore some digital history). 

There is of course, the aforementioned Zork which you can play online here, then there's the brilliant BBC  30th anniversary game of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (this one is HARD), or Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur because everyone loves a sword adventure.

But anyway, back to the topic in hand. The October Challenge started off with the premise of a character being alone in a room, with a window, a door, a fireplace and a wardrobe. Each entrant had 850 words to use in their story - some chose to use these words to stay put, others chose to use them for escape. What we were left with was a smorgasbord of brilliant takes on the theme or idea of abandonment, including emotional abandonment, abandonment of the self, and abandonment by loved ones. Well done to everyone who entered! 

So, maybe you're feeling a little inspired right now to write your own tale of abandonment? Well lucky for you we've compiled a veritable list of tips and tricks to get your story off on the right foot. 

1) Writing is a solitary pursuit, so you're probably already halfway there with your assessment of loneliness and solitude. It can also be incredibly helpful to write in solitude, if you haven't already tried it, do.

2) If your (writer's) loneliness doesn't match up to the depths of despair that you want to portray, consider reading a couple of articles written by people on the topic of loneliness. Make sure you get a good mixture of viewpoints from various sources so that you can build up a good picture.

3) Pick your vocabulary well. Being abandoned or writing about solitude doesn't always have to conform to negative language, many people enjoy being alone. Perhaps they are glad they've finally been abandoned by a controlling or dependent friend or partner and now they're free to live the life they've always wanted. 

4) If you're feeling lonely, then talk to someone about it (that's not really a writing tip, but it's a good thing to remember)

The winner of October's Challenge was SideShowShannon with her beautiful entry Her Final Day. Congratulations to Shannon on winning the challenge, and congratulations also go to our five runners up:

Shannon was kind enough to have a chat with us about her entry. Read on below to find out more about how she went about crafting her entry and the influences she took from her own life...

WEbook: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Shannon! 

Your story focusses on themes of loss, love, the maternal bond versus the familial bond, emptiness and the construct of the 'home'. When you were sitting down to write this piece, did you find that the combination of these themes came together naturally, or were you actively trying to incorporate them with each other as a wider construct for your story? 

SideShowShannon: Honestly, I didn’t put any thought into weaving it together. Writing this actually felt natural, even though I’ve never experienced anything like it. The first thing I did was decide what I wanted the house to look like, and I always pictured something old, with secrets. From there I gave the house a new secret and in a couple of hours I had my story. 

WB: Your story has an overreaching sense of emptiness; we see the half-empty wardrobe, the 'pretty much' empty room, the newly empty womb and then finally the empty pill bottle. This acts in direct contrast to the the home that the MC is in, as this is traditionally seen as a place of safety and full of life. 

Using the opposition of strong human emotions that (almost) everyone can relate to is a powerful - but ultimately tricky - way to construct a story. How did you approach your exploration of the MC's emotions in contrast to the home that she finds herself trapped within? 

SS: That was harder for me because I had to become a teenager forced to grow up too soon. I have absolutely no personal experience when it comes to her loss, but when I was 17 my family suffered a tragedy that we’re still licking our wounds from. I remember exactly how I felt then and projected those feelings into the story. It was very therapeutic, and I was actually pretty spent when I finished. 

WB: Your story follows the MC as she acknowledges a shift in her emotions, and subsequently her perception of what truly matters changes as she tells her story. Where once the material things that she couldn't have were what mattered, by the end her desire for these things pales in insignificance to the loss of her child. 

How did you plan this shift when writing your story, and do you have any tips for other writers who might like to incorporate a similar transition in their work.

SS: That shift wasn’t planned, I seriously sat down and didn’t look up or take a breath until the last word was written. But, I’ve also experienced that moment when my shift in focus went deeper and with more intention. 

WB: You mention religion in your story, using Sister Anne to ask God to forgive Mia's sins. But, she is also a realistic Sister, because she asks Mia to ask for forgiveness from herself. This suggests that she can sense an unhappiness in Mia, and is perhaps worried about Mia's mental state, especially considering the the references to the unspecified pills that Mia must take. 

Was this focus on prayer, God and forgiveness a way to distract the reader from Mia's final act, which is in the eyes of religion, a sinful one?

SS: I grew up in the South, where religion is big. I chose Catholicism because I grew up Baptist wishing I’d been Catholic. I also added religion because it’s a common reason for parents to send their daughter away when she’s in this situation. 

I chose to surround Mia with women that she grew to love and trust because she’s a teenage girl; they crave it. I hated the thought of her being rejected and sent away by her parents then being placed with wardens who punished her for her mistake. I never planned on her committing suicide, but at some point in the story I decided that she wouldn’t want to return to a family who cast her out and to a life without her new baby and the women who helped her survive her pregnancy. 

WB: Who are your favourite WEbook authors, and why?

SS: I haven’t gotten the chance to read a Webook but I’m looking forward to finding a favorite! 

WB: What are your three favourite books or authors and why?

SS: I am addicted to Stephen King - It is my absolute favorite. The relationships between The Losers reminded me of growing up in my neighborhood. I’m still close to the kids from my ‘hood!  I love reading scary stories- I even like some of my nightmares! 

VC Andrews’ series have always fascinated me as well. Her true original books still line my shelves. I came from a dysfunctional family so reading about those lunatics made me feel a lot better about my situation. 

WB: How did you discover WEbook?

SS: I’ve had a WEbook account for years, but I don’t remember how I found it! I’ve always loved writing and really enjoy having an outlet where I can read other pieces and have my own critiqued.

WB: Thanks again for chatting with us Shannon, we look forwards to reading many more of your entries over the coming months!

Don't forget that the December Challenge, It's Christmas, Carol is open to entries now! 
Get yours in before the end of the month to be in with a  chance of winning the top prize!

- The WEbook Team

Interview With the Winner of the August Challenge: Confessions

If you had something you needed to confess, how would you do it?

Back in August, that's the question we made WEbook ponder over for our Monthly Challenge.

We had a whole range of brilliant entries that explored obvious ways to confess, plus a couple more interesting, and unexpected manifestations of a confession too.

Our stand out winner for the August Challenge was Ernest_Lee with his entry The Truth - so a huge congratulations goes to Ernest_Lee, and also of course to our runners up:

So, What Makes a Winning Confession? 

Well, the most important thing that a confession needs to be tied to is a motivation - because it is with this that the plot will be propelled forwards...


If the confession is something as innocuous as your character eating the last piece of pie, then, well, unless it's poisoned pie, that's pretty boring - right? It's unlikely that there will be much believable propulsion off the back of this action. What you want is for your character to eat, say, all the pies that were intended for the International Pie-Eating Contest: 2015, and now there's a whole lot of really hungry, pie-less contestants after your character's sugary blood. Your character's motivation? An insatiable love of pies that consumes their every waking moment. It's a problem that needs a solution.

"It was me! I ate all the pies!" Jason wailed as he tried to climb the perimeter fence, his sticky hands making the ascent increasingly precarious. A hungry growl from the crowd below forced Jason's slippery resolve onwards, upwards. The pies were heavy in his stomach and he could feel the fence begin to give way to his weight as he approached its zenith.     

Motivation is a crucial aspect of any narrative; we need to believe in and perhaps even sympathize with a character's actions, thoughts and decisions in order for a plot to be successful. Giving them an obvious source of motivation, perhaps even one that the reader can ally themselves with, makes your plot believable and relatable. So, by using a confession as the motivating factor in your story's narrative, you are beginning on the right foot, with a powerful method for delivering narrative-propulsion.


Structuring a story around a confession can help to develop a sense of inner turmoil in your characters, allowing you to develop a more in-depth portrait of their personality for your readers. And also, by developing such an emotionally-driven aspect to your plot, it becomes easier to manipulate your character's emotional responses.

Facing inner conflict or inner turmoil can help your character to fully engage with the plot. By developing character's emotions so that they pull towards a central focus, your narrative gains a strong sense of direction and purpose, rather than just pottering along towards its inevitable conclusion.


When making the decision to include a confession, or an intended confession, in to your story you need to ensure that you have a powerful cause-action-deliberation string that the reader can easily follow within the wider context of your story. 

Take a look below at the simple story progression chart to see how easy it can be to successfully incorporate a confession into your story using a cause-action-deliberation string:

The example above shows the kind of construct that can become a narrative feature in a large, action propelling way, or as a smaller back-story that gains momentum. Often all you'll need is a subtle ember to flare up at the right moment to kindle the coals in your story in to an inferno of action and emotion.

If you'd like to find out more about how you can use confessions, hidden information, secrets and inner turmoil in your writing, there are - of course - plenty of resources out there on the interweb. We've collated our favorite few here for you to have a read through, enjoy!

Now, on to this month's winner. We selected Ernest_Lee's submission as the winner of August's challenge because not only was the story convincing, but the plot was flawless and the character motivation was bang on. Ernest_Lee was kind enough to let us interview him on his winning entry, read on below to find out more about how he constructed his winning narrative:

WEbook: Hi Ernest_Lee, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, here's our first question:

The protagonist’s confession, framed within your convincing and well-structured story, asks simply one question of the reader: What would you do? Drawing on the most basic natural instinct, self-preservation, the reader must weigh up the facts they have been given, and pass judgement on your protagonist’s treatment of the situation.

When writing this story, did you sympathise with Billy’s plight, or are his actions unforgivable no matter the circumstances?

Ernest_Lee: I certainly sympathised with his plight, but before passing judgement, one must remember that my protagonist, at eighteen was little more than an inexperienced kid. In mitigation of his actions, it will be noted that the enormity of his crime hit him immediately after the event and he did try his utmost to rectify it.

It is easy to judge somebody’s actions from the comfort of one’s armchair, but most of us are never placed in that kind of life or death situation and, consequently, we do not know how we would react in similar circumstances. In extremis, people are unpredictable.

For these reasons, I think his actions at the time are probably forgivable. Less forgivable, in my opinion, are his later actions where he spends a lifetime “dining out” on his supposed heroic exploits.

WB: By placing the protagonist as the almost-victim of a common enemy – the Nazis - the reader is already sympathetic towards him, and naturally champions his fight for survival. When it becomes apparent that only one character, or none, can survive, the reader quite easily forgives Billy’s intent and subsequent actions.

How did you approach the structuring of your story to elicit reader-empathy for Billy, despite his murderous intent and action?

EL: I can’t say there was any overt intention to elicit empathy. I just reported the story from Billy’s point of view and hoped that the reader would understand. I placed myself in Billy’s shoes, and tried to tell his story honestly, but I realised that, even while confessing, he would try to cast himself in as positive a light as possible under the circumstances.

It will also be noted that the murder occurred on day 50, Billy was picked up on day 54 (the same day that that their rations were due to expire) and Fowler had been assuring him that their voyage would shortly be at an end. However, at that point, Billy had lost confidence in Fowler and didn’t believe him. The point here is that both of them would have survived if only Billy had held his nerve.

WB: When re-reading your submission, the line ‘“You might have just saved our lives, young fellow” he [Fowler] said.’, takes on an ironic tone, whereas on the first reading it instills hope in the reader.

When including this line, were you actively trying to throw the reader off the scent of Billy’s later actions, or was it an attempt to further bolster the reader’s affection for Billy by casting him as the real saviour of the situation?

EL: First and foremost, it was intended as irony. However, a perceptive reader might notice that knowledge of the westerly progress of the boat was irrelevant as to whether, or not, they reached their destination. When sailing due West, it is knowledge of latitude that is all-important, and Fowler had that covered. Billy's contribution was therefore more of a convenience, than a necessity.

My intention throughout was to portray Billy as a mainly passive character who does very little to ensure their survival. Offering up his wristwatch towards the common good was Billy’s only action that promoted that end – and it will be noted that Fowler prompted him to do so. If anything, the intent of this line was to portray Fowler in a positive light rather than Billy.

WB: At the end of the story, Billy decides that he will not mention Fowler at all. Yet, the lie he is telling himself is just as big. Not only is he outwardly denying Fowler’s presence in the boat, but he is also inwardly denying his culpability in Fowler’s murder by pretending it never happened.

This is undoubtedly a cowardly decision, but still forgivable given the potential consequences. At the end of the story, when Billy finally confesses, he does so selfishly, safe in the knowledge that he can never be judged by his friends and family.

Is Billy a coward, or do you think his actions are justified in the sense that they were necessary for him to survive?

EL: I think that once the lie had been told, it had to be perpetuated. Also, for some people, “the truth” is a malleable concept and to them it is whatever people can be persuaded to believe.

Delaying his confession until all his family and friends were dead could be interpreted as cowardly in the manner you have stated. However, I suspect that Billy thought of it as a noble gesture. His family and friends had spent years basking in his reflected glory and he was sparing them the shame of being associated with his inevitable disgrace once the truth was out.

WB: The story is about murder, and the confession to one. Yet the word ‘murder’ is never used in the story.

Was this a conscious decision?

EL: I can’t say it was a conscious decision at the outset. After the first draft of the story, I noticed that “murder” hadn’t been mentioned, and it struck me as a neat idea to keep it that way because Billy, even in confession, was attempting to cast himself in the best possible light because, as I mentioned above, truth can be a malleable concept.

WB: Who are your favourite writers on WEbook, and why?

EL: I admire many writers on the site but, to my mind, there are two who stand out as quite brilliant: A.U. Latif (Aftab) and Devi Shorashi (The Brat). Both are superlative storytellers and marvellous technical writers, yet their styles appear to me to be diametrically opposed.
Aftab writes beautiful prose that borders on poetry at times and he is a sheer joy to read. He has developed a style and narrative voice that is instantly recognisable.

The Brat, on the other hand, adopts a voice to suit her story. I’ve never known her use the same narrative voice twice. I think of her as “the woman of a thousand voices”. She also has a wicked sense of humour, and this permeates much of her work.

WBWhat are your four favourite books or authors, and why?

EL: Probably my all time favourite writer is Joseph Conrad – to the uninitiated modern reader, he can be very daunting. In a typical book, nothing much happens for perhaps the first 75% of the story, but what Conrad is doing is meticulously setting the scene and developing the characters. The reader becomes so immersed that the action, when it occurs, is explosive. His brilliant “Victory” is a very good example of this. That novel also features two of literature’s most notable villains: the opportunist desperadoes "Plain" Mr Jones and his sidekick the psychopathic Martin Ricardo – truly terrifying characters.

In many of Conrad’s writings he uses an innovative narrative technique where the narrator (usually the worldly wise and cynical retired ship’s captain, Charlie Marlow) tells the story to one or more people in a social setting. Using this technique, the story can be paused while his audience discuss details, character motivations, etc, thereby adding further depth and understanding to the tale.

The second is “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. A superb book that achieves the almost impossible feat of portraying a distasteful and awful subject (paedophilia) through the eyes of a monstrous and odious character, yet somehow manages to be warm and funny. It also features some of the most beautifully written prose that I’ve ever encountered.

Another favourite writer is John Steinbeck. He had the enviable knack of writing very deeply but with an extremely light touch. All of his writings are accessible and very easily read. In my opinion, his masterpiece is “The Grapes of Wrath”- a marvellous book that is both a story of the triumph of the human spirit in adversity and a Marxian critique of capitalism.

Patrick O’Brian’s series of 20 novels detailing the trials and tribulations of Captain Jack Aubrey RN and his friend Stephen Maturin over the course of a period between 1800 and 1820 is peerless and these books represent some of the finest historical fiction ever written.

I’ve always preferred character driven stories, and nobody could write characters like O’Brian. His characters are deep, well rounded and believable - so much so that I tend to think of them as close personal friends. As well as being products of their time, these characters hold the beliefs and prejudices of their contemporaries and they are never invested with modern knowledge or insights. 

WB: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Ernest_Lee! We look forwards to reading many more of your submissions over the months to come.

To read Ernest_Lee's submission in full, check out the August Challenge Project page!

Announcing the winners of the September Challenge: Every End Has a Beginning

Congratulations to the winners of the

Back in September we asked you to submit a story that began and ended with the same line, however, the line had to change meaning by the time we reached it at the end of the story. 

Despite a few grumbles about the selected topic, the standard of entries was incredibly high. 

And, well, it isn't called a challenge for no reason. 

Without further ado, here are our winners for October:


The following six were October's month's runners up:

Thanks to everyone who took part! 

Our judges said:

"Thanks to everyone who entered the September Challenge! We had a bit of a grapple over the final few runners up because there were a few members whose writing had come on leaps and bounds in this challenge - we're sure you know who you are! Rather fitting for the theme of this challenge too, because it shows that every end really does have a beginning... No matter where you started out, the effort that you put into your writing pays off in the end."

Don't forget that the
 October Challenge: Abandoned 
is now open to submissions!

- WB


NaNoWriMo is fast approaching! To help with your planning, we've made a NaNoWriMo calendar - remember to stay focused!

Good luck and happy writing

- WB

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