Thursday, May 5, 2016

1 Red Light/Green Light Contest: Announcing the Top 5!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Below are the top 5 entries in our Red Light/Green Light contest, where writers are vying for the prizes of a gift certificate to One Stop for Writers AND a phone call with fabulous agent Kimberly Brower at RF Literary!

First, our agent judged entries based on their first sentence. Then she judged entries based on their first two sentences. Now, she's selected the top 5 entries based on their opening pages!

CONGRATS to all who made it in to our top 5, and good luck going forward!  

And for those who didn't make it in, remember that this is all subjective. If you're unsure about your opening, consider entering AYAP's First Five Pages Workshop, which runs monthly, for some extra guidance!

And now, presenting:


Author: Maggie Hasbrouck
Genre: YA Contemporary
First Page: 

My mother and every other woman who lives on Muriel Avenue gets paid to have sex; that’s just how it is. When I was in the fourth-grade and just beginning to grasp the true nature of my family’s business, snot-nosed Tyler Williams shoved it in my face. I suppose you could say I was naïve, but back then I didn’t know all the things that could go wrong. I didn’t know about the dark side of people or that a single can of wasp spray could turn the whole world upside-down. Back then, I thought Tyler Williams, with his big mouth and strawberry blond buzz-cut, was the worst thing I’d ever face.

We were barely one week into the school year when Tyler decided to notice me. We were in the basement cafeteria, surrounded by the smell of pine-scented cleaner and canned spaghetti. I was still sweaty from recess. “So,” Tyler pushed up the sleeves of his dingy, button-up oxford. “Where do you live?”

What’s it to you, I should have said. “Muriel Avenue,” I answered.

He was blank for just a second, and then he puffed out his chest and smiled like some kind of stupid lizard or maybe a blowfish. “Muriel Avenue?” he turned to look directly at me.

“Yeah,” I took a bite of my cheese and mustard sandwich.

“So,” he announced to the entire table, “you’re a slut.”

No kidding, I thought. “Yeah,” I said with a mouthful of sandwich. “I mean technically I’m not old enough yet, but my mother's a real slut. Somebody in the family has to be, or you don’t get to live there.”

Author: Christy C
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
First Page:

The gun clicks and I smile.

So much for acting like a professional.

“It’s oddly exhilarating, isn’t it,” my mentor Chloe says. 

The charcoal black pistol fits perfectly in my palm. Sleek, classy, dangerous. If it weren’t for the museum inventory number attached to the trigger, I would have thought Chloe swiped the gun off the set of a period drama.

The pistol is cold, even through the protective layer of my latex gloves. I shiver, losing a battle with goosebumps. My body has forgotten it’s always 23.5 degrees Celsius in lab. I suppose it’s still a comfortable step up from the -270 degree environment outside our space station windows.

“All finished Lia?” Chloe asks.

“Hmm? Oh, yes. Here you go.” My fingers uncurl reluctantly from the artifact.

Following museum protocol, Chloe takes the gun with gloved fingers. The lid to its velvet-lined casing closes with a quiet hiss, locking automatically. She scans the barcode etched on the front of the box, directing Male_A077’s possessions to the correct shelving unit. “That’s the last container belonging to our pirating friend.”

“I’ll bet he never imagined the contents of his pockets would be so thoroughly analyzed,” I say, disposing used gloves in the neon orange burn box by my feet. I would leave a great impression on a future scientist studying the 33rd century if they found the half eaten granola bar stashed in my purse.

Author: Amanda Perry
Genre: YA Other
First Page:

They say the devil was once an angel, no one knew this to be true so well as Evelyn Wharton.

It came as no surprise when Evelyn’s father said he no longer wanted her; he was never around all that often to begin with. No sooner had the services for her mother— and would have been sister— ended was she deposited into a carriage and whisked away from the city, a place she’d called home for almost seventeen years. It all happened in a hairsbreadth of time, but that’s how it was with change. It came on sudden and fast like a storm, leaving only silent chaos behind. Placing her hand on the cool glass, Evelyn watched through rain soaked windows as the gas lamps of Philadelphia disappeared behind her.

Settling back on the velvet bench, she pulled the blankets tighter around her lap hoping to stave off the chill that fought to sneak in through cracks around the door. The horses’ hooves beat against cobblestone, the noise becoming less obtrusive once they reached hard-packed earth. The relative quiet, however, did little to soothe her nerves.Evelyn shifted in her seat. There wasn’t much sense in trying to close her eyes.Exhaustion threatened to steal her away, but every time her eyelashes fluttered against her cheeks, memories of her mother’s lifeless face startled her back to consciousness..

A sharp tap on the front of the carriage interrupted her thoughts, followed by a voice  “Ms. Wharton, you doing alright in there?”

“Oh Harrison,” She huffed, “ Call me Evy, we’re far enough away from home that even father can’t hear you now.”

Harrison merely nodded before turning his attention to the reins, his silhouette marrying the darkness once again. Evelyn leaned back, thankful that he at least was with her, making her feel less alone.

The ride to Batsto Village was long and rocky and at some point, Evelyn drifted off. Maybe it was the sound of the rain on the roof, the steady beat of the horses’ shoes slapping the mud, or the sway of the carriage that had lulled her to sleep. Whatever it was, she hadn’t slept so well in days. She had been sleeping so soundly in fact that she hadn’t even realized they’d stopped.

Gathering her skirts in one hand Evelyn stood, albeit hunched over in the small space, and pushed the carriage door open. Rainwater had settled into the hinges causing it to creak, and she made a mental note to have someone see to its repair immediately. Bright rays of sunlight welcomed her, causing Evelyn to squint as her booted foot felt around for the first step. She hated maneuvering in and out of this thing.

“Ms. Wharton,” Harrison’s rich voice greeted her, “allow me.” She felt a firm hand grip her elbow and guide her easily to the ground.

Author: J.A. Ward
Genre: YA Contemporary
First Page:

Three months ago I watched a stranger die, so I know what death looks like. In fact, I remember what it sounds like, what it feels like, too. That's how I know the disheveled guy sprawled across my grandfather’s front porch is, most certainly, not dead.

There's no blood on his clothes, just a film of dust on his jeans and yellowing stains in the pits of his wrinkled, white T-shirt. He reeks of grass clippings and sweat. Nothing like the smell of singed rubber or sunbaked asphalt that tends to rise up in my nightmares of The Accident.

Even in the dim porch light, I can make out the well-worn drum sticks poking out from my best friend, Jesse Cooper’s, back pocket. I sigh, sliding my hand over the underside of the nearby rocking chair to release the key from its hiding place. Of course, I wouldn’t even have to question if it was him or not if he’d just go inside like I instruct him to every time we meet here for band practice.

“Naptime’s over, Cooper,” I say, nudging his shoulder with my foot. One of his hands stutters in response, dirt-stained and callused. It triggers the memory of small fingers twitching in the fading sunlight, and I have to look away. I shove the key into the lock, focusing all of my concentration on opening the front door. Anything that keeps my brain occupied, no matter the insignificance, is a temporary relief.

This is what it’s been like for the past eighty-eight days.

Author: Megan Snyder
Genre: YA Fantasy
First Page:

Somehow she lived for almost 23 years without hearing of it. Not a word, not a mere breath of the curse was whispered by anyone in the kingdom. But still it hid. It hid behind crooked smiles and thinly veiled courtier contempt. Then again, her father had always been stuffed with secrets. They sat on his brow, crusted onto his fingers, belted around his waist that steadily grew outwards. Her mother carried little secrets too, sewn into the linings of her gowns, undetected. Scullery maids whispered behind their worn hands and butlers laughed too loudly to cover the sounds of their secrets in the taverns after work. It seemed that the only beings in the realm of Tollauré devoid of mystery were the crown princesses, Giathien and Medelyn.

Princess Gia felt it on a cloudy day, down by the harbor. The breeze just brushed past her cheek, smelling of sea salt and incense from the vendors around her. It prickled, just under the skin of her right cheek. But she paid it no mind, towing her younger sister behind her in their search for the perfect gift for their mother.

“Meddy, keep up with me or you won’t get any sweets.” Gia teased her younger sister who clung to her hand and trotted behind her, auburn curls bouncing around her chubby cheeks, and wide eyes trying to catch glimpses of everything around her.

“But, Gia, you promised! You said I could have the luluberry pies and…and…cocoa things! You promised!” She stopped suddenly in the middle of the street and Meddy ran into the backs of her legs, almost falling over if it hadn’t been for their clutched hands.

The itch had started again, gaining intensity just beneath the surface of her skin, pulsing like a bee sting. Gia raised her fingertips to her cheek but didn’t touch the skin. Heat radiated out, warming her hands despite the summer sun beating down on them already.

"Gia?" Medelyn came around in front of her sister, worry lacing her sweet little voice. She was only five, Gia's darling little sister. Despite their mother's attention to her, she was Gia's little girl and she took care of her, more mother than sister. "Are you alright?" Meddy asked Gia, a slight quiver in her voice. The girl's big green eyes stared up at her sister and Gia put her own discomfort aside to lift her sister up to her hip. 

1 comment:

  1. Impressive talent! I particularly like Megan Snyder's story!


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)