Sinda Essen

Tag Archives

Sinda Essen, Maxwell Traenor Win Final Writing Challenge of 2014

Congratulations to Chris, the writer behind Sinda Essen and Jhen Thelev, who has won the November & December 2014 Writing Challenge. This is Chris’s sixth win, an unprecedented number in the history of the Challenges, so special congratulations to him. Judge Jamie, the writer behind Lt. Cmdr. Sal Taybrim, had this to say about the piece:

 I think the plot and the twist was well developed and delivered.  The whole idea behind the piece was one of the best of the round.  I particularly liked how you sprung the Klingon attack with very little preamble.  Marsha was surprised, the audience was surprised, it pushed the action forward in a big burst – a very nice effect!

This round’s runner-up was a first-time entrant, the writer behind Maxwell Traenor, who received his honor because of his short story “Chocolate.” My comments, as judge Cassandra Egan Manno:

It’s as stilted and awkward as I’d expect a first contact between a physicist and an alien over food and drinks to be. What really makes that atmosphere work, though, is that it revels in its minutiae — the untranslatable “cuisine” and “dessert,” the description and delight involved when Maxwell eats that desert. In my experience, it’s very difficult to write an awkward story that isn’t constantly tripping over itself to prove its awkwardness, but “Chocolate” pulls it off: We’ve already seen, by the time the dessert arrives, how uncomfortable Maxwell is feeling, so that provides a whole different perspective with which to view his sudden obsession with the dessert. … The twist, such as it is, is both funny and oddly touching, as Maxwell’s companion protests ignorance and Maxwell himself doesn’t ever want to stop eating. “Delightful,” in retrospect, is definitely the right word to describe “Chocolate.”

Please drop by the forums to offer these writers, and all our entrants, your congratulations if you haven’t yet done so!


What is a Writing Challenge “Champion”?

Some writers enjoy occasionally entering a story in the bi-monthly Writing Challenge contest. Others make a concerted effort to enter each and every round, and most are rewarded for their efforts — not only with recognition as a winner or a runner-up, but also in honing their skills and receiving feedback from Challenge judges. But it’s that select group of folks who not only enter Challenges regularly but also win regularly that I’d like to praise today.

The Writing Challenges have seen many multi-time winners (you can see a full list at the bottom of the “Challenge Winners” page), but simply winning multiple Challenges doesn’t make you a Writing Challenge Champion. Champions enter and win multiple Challenges in one year, demonstrating that they not only have the stamina and perseverance to think through individual topics and craft memorable stories, but that they also can do so again and again!

There have been five Champions in the history of the Writing Challenges: Saveron in 2011; Kali Nicholotti (now Cascadia Rainier), Velana, and Alleran Tan in 2012; and Saveron again along with Sinda Essen (previously Jhen Thelev) in 2013. These talented writers submitted winning entries in multiple Challenges in the years listed, making them Champions — and recognizing their excellent abilities!

Will you be our next Writing Challenge Champion? There’s only one way to start, and that’s by entering the Writing Challenge! Our current Challenge, “Fashion,” will be open until Monday, August 25th, so make sure you get in an entry before then!


Sinda Essen: Winner of the September & October Writing Challenge

Congratulations to Chris, the writer behind Sinda Essen and Jhen Thelev, whose short story “Love is a battlefield” has won the September/October 2012 Writing Challenge!  This is the writer’s fourth win, making him one of the most recognized champions in the history of the Challenge. The September/October was built around the theme “Isn’t it romantic?” as chosen by Kristen, the writer behind Velana, the previous round’s winner; this Challenge saw quite a number of fine entries, making the judging quite difficult for the panel. However, the judges would like to thank everyone who participated, and look forward to the special November Challenge, which will be open through November 30th!