In Lisa M. Stasse’s new novel, The Forsaken, Alenna is an orphan living in the authoritarian United Northern Alliance (formerly Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.A.). At 16, she’s forced to take a government-mandated personality test that determines she has a “high capacity for rebellious behavior and brutal violence.” Alenna is exiled to The Wheel—an island where the worst of the worst potential criminals are sent.
Inspired by Alenna, we asked you to write a short story from one of three different perspectives. You wrote and voted, and we sent the top-hearted entries to Lisa to judge the winners. And now we are please to announce the winners of The Forsaken short story contest!
Grand Prize: Truth, Innocence, and Guilt by amara
Lisa wrote: I thought this story was truly excellent—very well written, even poetic in places, and quite chilling. I thought it did a great job of conveying the psychology of imprisonment. And I loved the ending too. I probably should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I would happily read much more of this story because I was pulled in by the prose and the character’s voice. It could be the start of a longer piece. In any case, I thought it was stellar.
Congratulations, amara! You will receive a signed copy of The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse; Changeling (with a signed bookplate!) by Philippa Gregory; Advanced Reader Copies of Tilt by Ellen Hopkins and 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues; and a copy of Blood Red Road by Moira Young.
Second Place: Mama by Amy Schmitt
Lisa wrote: I really enjoyed this one too. It was creepy and disturbing, and it had elements of the Southern Gothic to it. It reminded me of a Flannery O’Connor short story, or maybe even a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie! I loved the unusual first person voice. Writing from the perspective of a demented killer is pretty tough, but I think this story pulls it off with flair! Very nicely done.
Nice job, Amy! You will receive a signed copy of The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse; Changeling (with a signed bookplate!) by Philippa Gregory; an Advanced Reader Copy of The Blessed by Tonya Hurley; and a copy of This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel.
Third Place: Remember, Precious by Kaitlyn Elizabeth
Lisa wrote: I thought this story was extremely lyrical and moving. It’s so well written—and the character and her situation is so heartfelt and gripping. I enjoyed reading this one a great deal. It completely wrapped me up in its world.
Lisa also provided great comments on all the finalists stories. Read on to see all her comments. Well done, Figs!
Loser by Rachel Elkin
Lisa wrote: I really liked the thriller aspect, and the computer hacker angle. I think it’s a really great premise too! This could be fleshed out even more into a longer piece. It’s a great idea. I could picture this story as the starting point for a book or a screenplay or something.
Revenge by Sally Balboa
Lisa wrote: I loved the dystopian element to this story—what a great concept for a future prison! And I love the twist at the end as the protagonist plans her revenge. I felt like this story was bristling with energy throughout. A fun, sharp read.
The Compact by Morgan
Lisa wrote: Another one that I could relate to. I really liked the attention to class and wealth in this one. It’s a really sad but psychologically true sort of story. Very good work.