Kingdom Pen is proud to announce the FIRST PLACE winner of our Begin Your Novel contest! 


Congratulations, Brenna Stross!

Her entry, Dying Dreams:

Score: 85

BYN 1st Place Post Graphic

The smallest coffins are the heaviest, always the heaviest. Nothing compares to carrying an innocent human being in a box, and then throwing them into a hole. And then—and this is the worst part—you throw dirt on top of them and seal them up inside the tiny hole, and watch their families cry—and boy do they cry—and you just stand there, feeling bad for them.

I sigh, leaning on my shovel, and the tears come. My God do they come! Twelve long years of digging graves, burying the innocent, and never once did I cry. But this time, this time it’s different. I wipe my face with my dirt-caked gloves. This time, it’s personal.

I sweep the remaining dirt onto the grave. “No worries, Son. I promise; they won’t go unpunished.” I finger my gun, a smile crosses my face and I leave, ready to avenge my son’s death. No one harms my boy. I always told him that I would never let harm come to him. And I broke my promise; I have to make it up to him. I have to. “It’ll all be ok, Bud. It’ll all be ok.”

What the Judges said…

“All three of the winning entries had fantastic first sentences. This one hits you in the gut from the start with an angsty, hopelessly helpless observation about coffins. It’s a terrific emotional hook, and it paves the way for the rest of the stark, well-crafted prose. I’m getting kind of a Stephen King, Dark Tower vibe. 

Then there’s the twist that further entangles the reader’s emotions; He’s buried children before, but now he’s burying his son. Who’s the murderer? How will the main character implement his revenge? These are the questions that will keep me turning the pages.” – Braden Russell

“The first six words tell an entire story all on their own. The first line of this entry almost makes you want to stop and ponder for a while, but the dread in the sentence pushes you forward. The voice of the narrator is distinct, and this short opening reveals much about his worldview–foreshadowing dark days are ahead, and compelling me to read on.

Throughout, questions loom, who is the killer? Why did he kill this man’s young son? Who killed the others? Where they killed by the same person? How many more graves will have to be dug?” – Reagan Ramm  

As the first place winner, Brenna will receive our grand prize of $100, provided by our sponsor, the soon-to-be-launched, Intentional Living for Cultivating the Family Enterprise.