Instant Hook Results and Other News

At last we have a winner and two runners up for the second annual Instant Hook Literary Contest!

This award, which is given to the writer who composes the most enticing first 300 words of an unpublished novel, drew submissions from every province of Canada, as well as from the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand. As you can imagine, the competition was fierce and the adjudication unusually challenging.

Sincere thanks to all those who entered. Taken together, all these submissions would make one fantastic novel of first pages. Many of these stories open like the mouths of wonderful caves, promising twists and turns and treasures to come. The winners below, you can be certain, have created something remarkably gripping.

The Winner: Marianne Jones for her entry The Book of Common Prayer.

Runners up: Jenna La Sie for Hope and Loss and Deborah Hedd for Truck-Driving Girl.

Marianne wins a cheque for $300 and a sodalite keychain, created by Open Earth Designs*. Jenna and Deborah both win a free hour-long writing tutorial.

This time I have chosen not to give any significant details about the winning entries as they are high concept enough for it to be wiser for the authors keep the specifics firmly bottled until the stories appear as completed works.What I can say is that the winning entry deftly introduces a supernatural occurrence replacing conventional disbelief with humour and charm. Both runners up introduce characters in very significant motion. One features a relationship which feels very established before we enter but which now faces a new challenge; the other introduces a voice of unreliability and menace who unnerves the reader by claiming his/her empathy.

Again, many thanks to all for taking part!

*Featured at Corner Brook’s Wonderful Fine Market, Open Earth Designs produces one-of-a-kind gemstone bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and keychains, many with sterling silver settings. For more information, contact

For those who wish to look into the Online Novel Writing Workshop Series, I will be accepting a limited number of new participants from May 1.

Stay tuned for the May edition of INK STAINS and for more exciting alumni news! Look out for the next contest deadline.