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Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Contest September 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Word Play, Writing & Writers.

Stephen King, who winters in Sarasota, agreed to speak in Manatee County on January 29, 2015, at a fundraiser for the Manatee Country Library System.

As one might expect, sponsorship tickets for the event zoomed out the door.

All but one.

The Library Foundation holds a ticket for the lucky winner of Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Writing Contest.  Entrants are not restricted by age, but must possess a valid Manatee County Public Library card that is in good standing.

Since I do . . . I tossed my 250 words into the pool.

* * *


Violet’s threat hung in the air.  She pointed a gun at me, placing more pressure on the trigger than I deemed prudent.

I scanned Hal’s living room, noting the crimson stain pooling around Hal’s body.  Violet meant business.  Some other scandal hound would get the scoop on Hal’s death, and mine, unless I helped her.

I gave Violet center stage.  Like a true diva, she dove in.

“Hal called this morning. He said he had some dirt on me and invited me over. When I arrived, he suggested we discuss the situation over a glass of wine . . . in the Jacuzzi. I refused. He got ugly. When I started to leave, he called you. After hanging up, he said, Sugar, when Ketchem publishes the photos I dug up on you, your career will be on permanent standstill. I knew I had no choice.”

Violet paused.  I glanced at Hal.

Seeing the trajectory of my eyes, she gasped.  “No! No! I know what you’re thinking, Sammy. I didn’t KILL him. I agreed to meet him in the Jacuzzi and went to get a towel. I heard a gunshot, raced back here, and found him like, like . . . that. I heard a noise behind me, grabbed the gun, and turned around. There was no one there. I panicked and started tearing the place apart to find the photos. Before I found them, I heard the doorbell and you walked in.”

I exhaled.

If Violet didn’t kill Hal, she didn’t need to kill me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

General tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 and can be purchased later this year through the Manatee Performing Arts Center box office and the Manatee Library Foundation website.



1. Silver in the Barn - September 25, 2014

Ahhh, I could never do this in such a limited number of words. I guess it forces you to get to the point, right? Poor Violet, a victim of bad timing or a very good liar. Great job, Nancy! And just where are those photographs…..?

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Barbara. The contest requested the first paragraph of a murder mystery, with a 250 word limit. I jammed these 250 words together to create a single run-on paragraph. 😛

I don’t expect to win the grand prize . . .

2. Rainee - September 25, 2014

A powerful piece of writing Nancy. Isn’t it great how short, succinct sentences pack a real punch!

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. When I write, I allow the words to flow. When I edit, I weed out the extraneous to reveal the essential.

I am almost always happier after weeding wordy plots.

3. Pix Under the Oaks - September 25, 2014

Most excellent Nancy! I enjoyed it.. wishing you luck!

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Pix. It’s an odd contest ~ I don’t see the rationale of imposing a 250-word limitation AND the constraint of a SINGLE paragraph (which effectively precludes the use of dialogue).

I jammed these 250-words into a single paragraph for the contest but spread them out here. I doubt the judges will be impressed with the compacted snowball of words I tossed their way. 😛

4. Jill Weatherholt - September 25, 2014

Excellent, Nancy! It’s not easy to write with such limited number of words, but you did a great job. Best of luck with the contest and keep us posted. 🙂

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Jill. I’m not holding my breath on this one . . . but it never hurts to enter. Maybe one of the judges will love the name Violet. 😉

5. livelytwist - September 25, 2014

Ooh, love the thriller. So who killed Hal?

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Shh . . . it’s a secret!

6. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - September 25, 2014

Oh man – that was good, especially given the constraints! 🙂

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Kate. The flavors of characters barely peek out at the 250 word mark, but we know that Sammy is a scandal hound, Violet is a diva, and Hal (like Jacob Marley) is dead. May he RIP.

7. valleygrail - September 25, 2014

Cool story! And I am so glad a creepy clown named It didn’t pop out from under a sofa cushion and gobble up both Sammy and Violet.

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Bwahaha. A creepy clown with a BIG red nose and a flower that squirts would be just the thing, VG!

8. Grannymar - September 25, 2014

Best of luck with the contest, Nancy!

Now all I need, is to decide if Violet is innocent or guilty.

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, GM. I wouldn’t want to be standing in Sammy shoes with her waving that gun around.

9. Barbara - September 25, 2014

Great piece of writing Nancy, you had me hooked and I think you will be a good contender for first prize. Keeping my fingers crossed!

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Barb. I’m not holding my breath . . . but I am keeping my fingers crossed. 😛

10. diannegray - September 25, 2014

Very well done, Nancy. Best of luck! It’s a great exercise in writing control to get to the point in so few words 😀

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Thanks, Dianne. It’s a long shot . . . but you cannot win if you do not play. So I pulled the trigger and let ‘er rip!

diannegray - September 25, 2014

Got to be in it to win it! Nice shot 😀

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

If it hits the bulls-eye, you’ll hear me from there.

11. judithhb - September 26, 2014

How clever Nancy – hope you win the ticket. 🙂

nrhatch - September 26, 2014

Thanks, Judith. Win or not, it was fun to write ~ it’s great that Stephen King agreed to help the library with its fundraiser this year. Someone slipped him the request at a book signing and he said, “yes.”

12. NancyTex - September 26, 2014

Nicely done! Such a talent to be able to tell a full story in so few words.

nrhatch - September 26, 2014

Thanks, NT. The contest rules requested the first paragraph of a murder mystery and imposed a 250 word limit. While I had fun writing this, I’m not sure I’m enamored enough with Sammy or Violet to solve the mystery of who killed Hal.

Maybe I’ll just leave them to their own devices. 😛

13. Carol Balawyder - September 27, 2014

All the best of luck, Nancy. I hope you win! 🙂

nrhatch - September 27, 2014

Thanks, Carol. I’m so glad that Stephen King is lending himself to the lending library’s fundraiser.

Carol Balawyder - September 27, 2014

That’s really cool!

14. jannatwrites - September 27, 2014

Nice scene! I don’t trust Violet, but then again, maybe Sammy did it. I hope you do well in the contest 🙂

nrhatch - September 28, 2014

Violet, Sammy, and Hal are 3 shady peas from different pods ~ truth is not their constant companion.

15. Three Well Beings - September 29, 2014

I like your short short, Nancy…it could spin into more very easily, I think! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! I would just love to hear Stephen King speak. You could go and tell us all about it. 🙂

nrhatch - September 30, 2014

Thanks, Debra. I thought it would be fun to enter. Someday it would be fun to write a Mystery Thriller from start to finish. Like Agatha!

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