Paste launched a writing contest earlier this month in partnership with Biographile’s Write Start series. We asked you to tackle the dreaded blank page and send us an opening paragraph that would leave us dying to know what happens next.
We received hundreds of entries from across the globe, chronicling stories ranging from a comical breakup during a fire drill to a man’s desperate decision to blow up a post office. Choosing a winner was a challenge, but one entry stood out to the editors from Paste and Biographile. And so it is with great excitement that we present the winning paragraph written by Taylor Siolka!
Mark Stanley was dead. Not forever, mind you. Just for the night. Tomorrow morning, he’d wake again at precisely 6:45 a.m. He’d put on his beige suit, get in his beige car, drive to his beige job and live his beige life. He’d avoid eye contact and conversation, as he typically does. But for tonight, that Mark Stanley was dead. Tonight at Mary’s Club, he’d step on stage and leave his corpse at the door.
In addition to Siolka’s piece, two more entries entranced us with their stories. So it is our pleasure to give Honorable Mentions to Jyll Thomas and Aaron Wannamaker!
“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” The door at the Sunshine Inn almost broke his long, crooked nose as it slammed shut in his face. Forty doors had closed when the sinners saw it wasn’t their dope dealer or social worker. No matter, one door seeking redemption would open and Nathaniel would be ready. Inside his tattered briefcase was a Bible, duct tape and a sharp knife. He would heal them. — Jyll Thomas
Aerie Westfall trudged through the snow of the Winter Wastes, a crossbow in her hands, a severed head in her backpack and a 12-year-old autistic boy following her footsteps. — Aaron Wannamaker
Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories with us!