SCARE US! - Rewarding Our Top Stories!

SCARE US!  - Rewarding Our Top Stories!

The excitement over LitReactor’s first official writing challenge has been building for months.  We teased the announcement in May, and since then people have been buzzing about it.  The premise was simple – write the best horror story you could, based on a few, loving guidelines.  Over 100 writers took up the challenge and produced enough horror to fuel our nightmares for years to come. 

Last week we rewarded the amazing reviewers-- the people who gave hours of their valuable time to help fellow writers with fantastic feedback and support. 

And now it’s time to reward the authors for their writing.  In the spirit of LitReactor’s commitment to learning and improving, we’ve decided to reward people with the means to both learn and improve with their rewards.  Therefore, our winners will be receiving a story critique from some of our talented and amazing class instructors.  The top-notch instructor / authors offering their help include:

  • Ed Sikov
  • Holiday Reinhorn
  • Suzy Vitello
  • Lidia Yuknavitch
  • Christa Faust
  • Joe Nassise
  • Craig Clevenger

Oh, and also... Chuck Palahniuk.

That’s right, our three top rated stories will each receive a very special review from none other than Chuck Palahniuk, the amazing author of Fight Club, Choke, Invisible Monsters, andwho am I kidding?  You know who he is!

Are we excited yet?

No more suspense – you’ve been patient long enough.  Here are our winners!

*NOTE ON RATINGS: A perfect score constitutes ALL Thumbs Ups.  High scores equal the MOST Thumbs Ups.

First, our top three stories, as rated by all of you!  These stories received the highest number of points – our number one slot actually receiving a perfect score.  For their excellent work they will receive more than one instructor review.  In addition to a review from Chuck Palaniuk, they will also get reviews from some of our amazing instructors!

The Top 3:

1. Jane Wiseman "Hatch" – 6000 points - Chuck Palahniuk / Craig Clevenger / Lidia Yuknavitch
2. Bret Caron"We Called it God" – 5900 points - Chuck Palahniuk / Suzi Vitello
3. Leah_beth "Driving After Dark"  – 4700 points - Chuck Palahniuk /  Lidia Yuknavitch

Our next group of writers comprises our highest scores of the competition.  As noted, some of these outstanding writers also received perfect scores with not a single thumbs down rating.  Congratulations, guys.  This is well earned!

4. Joanna Parypinski "The Pickwick Horror" – Holiday Reinhorn / Ed Sikov
5. Scott MacDonald "Follow the Leader" (perfect score) –  Lidia Yuknavitch / Holiday Reinhorn
6. Emma "Crystal" – Holiday Reinhorn
7. Jonathan Riley "Fallen Star" (perfect score) – Holiday Reinhorn
8. FoxyLenz "The Tupperware Party" – Joe Nassise
9. Bob Pastorella "Outlaws" (perfect score) – Ed Sikov
10. Bryanhowie "The Second Plague" –  Suzy Vitello
11. Blair "Anchorstone" – Christa Faust
12. Ian  "In the Tall Grass" (perfect score) – Ed Sikov 
13. sean of the dead "1000 Steps"  - Lidia Yuknavitch
14. lspieller "Itch"  - Craig Clevenger
15. AssholeAmerican "Slaughterhouse" - Craig Clevenger
16. Mess_Jess "Binoomea - Dark Places" (perfect score) – Joe Nassise 
17. Sancho Lestache "Snacks" (perfect score) – Suzy Vitello

This final group of writers had some mixed reviews.  They fell right in the middle; about half of the people liked their stories, while they just didn’t work for the other half.  With this mixed feedback it can be difficult to know where to go next.  And if there is one thing our instructors love, it is teaching!  With this boost, we hope these stories will be able to make it to that next level. 

1. Jacks_username "The Land of Horses and Bourbon" – Ed Sikov
2. Schrander "The Trial of Sparkle Bear" – Joe Nassise
3. Ben Court "Heat Wave or Two For Joy" - Suzy Vitello
4. DanielKeaton "The Tea Salesman" - Craig Clevenger
5. steveburchard "Trouser Snake" - Christa Faust
6. Grigori Black "Stripped"  - Christa Faust
7. Andrewch7 "Mojave Blood" - Craig Clevenger
8. Andrew Kelly "Taken From the Other Side" - Lidia Yuknavitch

Congratulations to all our winners and all of our participants.  We hope everyone had fun, and based on many of the comments, that seems to be the case.  This challenge has had some great moments. 

But it’s still not over!  Expect to see the bulk of our instructors leave their feedback as a reply right on the actual winning story pages (possibly with the exception of Chuck Palahniuk, whose feedback will be emailed in and posted).  Once all the feedback is in, we'll report back and link to all the results and see what our instructors had to say about these stories!

Jessica Taylor

News by Jessica Taylor

Jessica is the writer of stories about people and the things they do. She likes it fine, but plans to keep her day job. She’s the mother of an outstanding little boy and plans to keep him as well. Most days you can find her looking skeptically at her surroundings and being negative, but in a charming way.

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Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies August 28, 2012 - 10:41am

congrats, all. hope you get some excellent feedback.

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 28, 2012 - 10:47am

Fantastic!!  So glad to have placed, but green with envy at those getting a Palahniuk review.  Well done to all and look forward to reading all the critiques.  Brilliant competition - another one soon, perhaps?

lspieller's picture
lspieller from Los Angeles August 28, 2012 - 10:52am

that was a lot of fun, and i can't wait to hear what Craig has to say! thanks, guys.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine August 28, 2012 - 10:52am

Conrats to all. This whole endeavor was super-cool. Love the amount of participation and the sense of community.

Andrewch7's picture
Andrewch7 from Philadelphia, NJ August 28, 2012 - 10:55am

Congrats all! Thanks to Mr. Clevenger for selecting my story. Looking forward to hearing your feedback!

lspieller's picture
lspieller from Los Angeles August 28, 2012 - 10:56am

ditto Scott -- but I'm still begrudgingly happy for the top 3 winners. :) 

shabai44's picture
shabai44 from Spring Hope, NC is reading na August 28, 2012 - 10:59am

Congratulations everyone on some really great work. I enjoyed everything I read and appreciate the feedback on my work. The event was really exciting, and it was inspiring to participate.

I must admit, though - what a kick in the gut!

Looking forward to writing and reading with you folks next time around, and - again - CONGRATS!!!


leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. August 28, 2012 - 11:09am

Congratulations to all!! I'm maybe so excited I could vomit. (Hey, it WAS a Scare Us competition, and I'll admit - I'm terrified!!)

Wow - best of luck to everyone moving forward and can't wait to see what the pros have to say!!! 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. August 28, 2012 - 11:20am

Scott, a critique from Lidia Y. is worth it's weight in gold.  Holiday's book "Big Cats" is also very cool and she's pretty damn amazing.  I can't wait to see Suzy tear my story apart.

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia August 28, 2012 - 11:23am

Congratzto everyone!

Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia August 28, 2012 - 11:33am

Bryan - I'm very jazzed about getting reviews from Lidia and Holiday, and can't wait to see what they say (even if they tear it to bits).  The Chuck revelation just had me hankering for a Chuck review as well.  A quick reread of my last post made me realise it seemed a little ungrateful, which was not my intention.  Writing posts before my brain was in gear there.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. August 28, 2012 - 11:37am

Chuck is awesome.  I love his essays featured on this site.  I didn't think you were ungrateful, I just was pointing out how rad those two writers are.  

Sancho LeStache's picture
Sancho LeStache from El Paso is reading Hunger August 28, 2012 - 11:52am

Oh man, a Palahniuk review is one hell of a prize. So jealous, but you guys earned it. So excited to get some professional feedback! It definitely doesn't feel like a runner up prize or anything, I'm pretty god damn pumped about it haha. This contest was super fun.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch August 28, 2012 - 11:47am

Awesome for the winners!

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch August 28, 2012 - 11:48am

Awesome for the winners! So excited for them, I had to post twice.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter August 28, 2012 - 12:19pm

Congrats, guys!

.'s picture
. August 28, 2012 - 1:11pm

Good job everyone! First round of tequila shooters are on me. 

And then the second round is for your guys...

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 28, 2012 - 1:22pm

Congrats to everyone. It was a lot of fun and I liked reading people's stories. I wish I had time to read more of them.

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff August 28, 2012 - 2:22pm


You're lucky I didn't have the time to rewrite, monsters ;)

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from CA, TX, Japan, back to CA is reading The Tyrant - Michael Cisco, The Devil Takes You Home - Gabino Iglesias August 28, 2012 - 2:39pm

Now I need to shank that dick who gave me the one bad review.

I kid, I kid! Congrats everyone! Some very awesome people up there, I imagine there will be some very grateful authors here shortly. Come to the forums and let us know what you've learned after the critiques!

TigersMS's picture
TigersMS from Australia is reading House of Leaves August 28, 2012 - 4:09pm

Nice work winners. Your rewards fill me with the same feeling that I had reading your stories - Jealousy. Almost every story had me saying Damn it - why didn't I think of that!!

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres August 28, 2012 - 6:08pm

I am very happy and honored to be able to have my story read, reviewed, and critiqued by an established author & instructor here on LitReactor.  That means a lot to me, and I'm interested to see what I can learn from it.

I'm also super happy to see some/most of my absolute favorite stories from this challenge, and, not coincidentally, some of my new favorite people in this "community," also getting rewarded for their amazing stories.  These are stories that make me keep pushing myself to write more, and people who are super supportive and helpful and creative, and every one of them deserves the honors they are getting.

I hope I keep running into all of you in the workshops and future challenges, cuz I like you guys.

EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff August 28, 2012 - 6:17pm

Congrats everyone! I wish I had more time to have read more stories. I don't think I made it to those top 3.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers August 28, 2012 - 6:50pm

Congrats to all the winners! 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland August 28, 2012 - 7:06pm

I'm super stoked that Holiday is going to reveiw my story and equally jealous of those getting a Chuck reveiw. I also want to congratulate all the winners and thank all who submitted. There were many excellent stories. This contest was fun and inspirational. I look forward to reading what the Lit reactor instructors have to say about all these great stories.

Andrew Kelly's picture
Andrew Kelly from Florida is reading Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton August 28, 2012 - 8:29pm

Congratulations to all the winners, especially you Jane. You totally deserved it.

Mike's picture
Mike from Scotland is reading graph descriptions his students have written (badly) August 28, 2012 - 8:40pm

Congrats to everyone! Very cool prizes!

Special shout out to Jane Wiseman, lspieller and AssholeAmerican...recent graduates of beginning the novel! Hope the success spurs you on!

WesFord's picture
WesFord from America (CO, NE, NC, AK, NY, WA) is reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Portable Atheist by Hitchens, 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill August 28, 2012 - 9:18pm

How wonderfully damned exciting and also terrifying in it's own way. :) Love it!

lspieller's picture
lspieller from Los Angeles August 29, 2012 - 8:52am

so when should we expect these reviews? not that im counting down the hours or anything.... :)

Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts August 31, 2012 - 3:56pm

Congrats, everyone! Very exciting! ^_^


Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks September 5, 2012 - 11:48pm

Thanks, everyone! And congratulations to all of you amazing people! I'm a little slow on the uptake here-- our school semester just started and I've been so busy that I hadn't even heard about this until today. Wow!