Connie Nguyen is brand newt to our contest and our site!

(Who newt?)



We have a newt-comer to our contest!  First time on what Peggy Dobbs referred to as our playground!  Let’s welcome Connie Nguyen, invited here by Stefani Allison.  Connie has the prologue for a futuristic story. Some of you may be offended by the use of the “F” word, but we are not censors, only editors, and try to remain newtral in such matters.

There is still time for you to enter this contest yourself, and a chance to win $250, and an adult size order of fame.

Here are details:

And here is Connie’s prologue to her work-in-progress called

Newt Rising

By Connie Nguyen


“Just paint my skin. I want to look the same as when I was a little girl.”

But there was no way that the woman could become the vivid eyed, dreamy little cherub in the photo again. Newt’s pigments hid the grey, bruise-mottled skin. But not the missing nostril and chunk of lip. Not the extra lumps that the woman tried to pass as breasts by jamming them into a misaligned bra. Not the shedding wisps of hair that she still had to brush off the woman’s face even after Newt thought she secured everything under a cap.

“In here. Take what you need,” the woman pointed at her purse with a mangled, twisted finger. Well, what was left of it anyway.

Newt helped herself to a few grimy coins, but took note of the small crumple of bills. “Ma’am, if you like, for just a little bit more, I’ve been working on a device, think of it like a cheaper prosthetic if you will. It’s for grabbing and holding things. It’ll help not just during your lunch date today, but¾”

“Good heavens, no,” the woman tilted the mirror lamp closer, checking to see whether the light would betray her now peachy, dewy face.  “Money is tight as it is. Besides, my husband might notice more than just a few missing coins this time; though why he wastes money buying the paper every day, I don’t know. It’s not like we ever read anything new in there, am I right?”

Newt didn’t smile back, not that the woman paid any attention. She was wrapping an intricate silk scarf around a sunken neck and flaky scalp, tucking away lonely threads of hair. How many of Newt’s tools could the woman have bought with that money instead of a luxury Scraper scarf?

One final pose in the mirror and the woman joined the rest of her Morph brethren outside in their repeat pilgrimages to The Skyscraper. Damnit, that shade on her skin was too orange and way too flat. How was Newt to ever work in The Skyscraper’s Science Department if she couldn’t even manage that?  Deny it all she did, Newt was no different from everyone who flocked to that ridiculous, proud behemoth, fighting to feast on its leftovers and bask in its glow.

Still, why didn’t anyone else see it? That jutting out from the sea of shacks, The Skyscraper looked exactly like a giant middle finger saying, “fuck you.”


Here is a video in which Newt Rockne inspires the staff at A Word with You Press to write their very best, couching literary achievement in football metaphors.

14 thoughts on “Connie Nguyen is brand newt to our contest and our site!

  1. Stefanie says:


    Ladies and gentlemen: what you have just seen is the first attempt at a novel by someone I consider smarter and wiser than I can ever hope for. The fact that she has imagined such a world and is tackling it head on is in and of itself a major endeavor.

    Imagine how much more we will see and be amazed by as she pushes forward!

    I already gave you my comments in our messages, so I will leave the rest of the critiques to the group so you can get acquainted with everyone. Wonderful job, Connie and I’m so proud to call you my best friend ❤️

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    I read what I presume is meant to be a prologue to a novel named “Newt Rising” by Connie Ngyuen not once, but twice without having much of a clue or guess afterward what this story intended or meant. I have an improbable guess that this woman has traveled to the plush skyscraper for a sunlamp suntan being a cancer patient living in poverty in one of the shacks nearby, but there must be a lot I am missing here. Has there been a nuclear war, agent orange, chemical warfare? Where is the location on the globe? A prologue needs to give us some direction as to what the novel is about. What happened to this woman to change her skin from when she was a little girl. There are many opportunities missed here to draw us in rather than confuse us. Or is it just me having a bad day?

    I would be interested in reading the author’s explanation of her story which I obviously haven’t discerned from these brief words.

    • Connie Nguyen says:

      Thank you for reading my prologue, not once, but twice, Parisianne. I am glad it has piqued your curiosity. To answer your questions, you will have to read of my novel 😉

  3. Michael Stang says:

    First off, Thanks Steph for inviting a new talent to the site. Second, Thanks Connie for accepting the invite and submitting a piece. Whether you are an old timer or a newbie at this, there is always the butterflies to remind you you are human. Not to worry, no humans here. Just a bunch of scribblers that follow their hearts. Welcome to the show.

    I am interested by your prologue. There is an oversoul of intent here, waiting in the wings to come forth full blazes and knock my socks off. The skyscraper (a character in and of itself) seems draconian, demanding sacrifice from a populous that is blind to the dangers. Sort of like a Republican I know, but another story and not the point.

    Keep the faith, Connie. If you are friends with Steph, I know you’re a fighter and hard worker. Two essentials for a writer to succeed. Good luck.

    • Stefanie says:

      She is a huge reason why I am the person I am today. My involvement with this story is relatively minimal, as I really only contributed some structural and grammatical advice. The story and where it is going is all Connie’s brain child.

    • Connie Nguyen says:

      Thank you for your warm welcome, Michael. I was content being a lurker on this site for a good while, but Stef, being the wonderful person and friend that she is, persuaded me to share my work on here. And just as she has grown so much as a writer from being a part of the group, I also hope to grow as well.

      My prologue is for a novel that I’ve been writing on and off for the past 6 months or so. Before the contest, my novel did not have a prologue, so I struggled a bit deciding what I wanted to capture. My main concern was that I did not want my prologue to be a first chapter in disguise and I did not want it to be an information dump describing the world that Newt lives in. In the end, I settled on a short scene that would allow the readers a chance to glimpse into my main character’s life and thoughts, with just the bare bone amount of information to pose enough questions to hook the reader into wanting to find out more by reading the rest of my story. Whether or not I succeeded in my goal is up for debate, but I am proud enough of my result to share with the AWWYP group.

      I still have a long ways to go in becoming the writer that I would like to be, but I am eager to stay here for a while and learn from everyone on board 🙂

  4. Kristine Starr says:

    I am really drawn to the alliteration of, “…fighting to feast…” and the visual that brings to mind. Reminds me a little of Phillip K. Dick. I’m interested in this world.

  5. russ shor says:

    First off, it is beautifully written. I do believe you need to connect the first scene with the old woman, to the second one .. .. just a phrase or a word.. And, you final image is so riviting, that it might make a GREAT first line of your novel..

    • Connie Nguyen says:

      Thank you Russ for the generous words and suggestion 🙂 I felt something was a little bit off about my prologue, but after a few rewrites and an eagerness to be done and submit my work, I had a hard time reading my writing with fresh eyes and was too shy to ask someone other than Stef for an opinion. I will add a stronger transition in my next edit. And as much as I like my last sentence, I have a different one in mind for the Victor Villasenor First Sentence contest 🙂

  6. Derek Thompson says:

    I read into the woman’s character some kind of environmental catastrophe – or maybe a Hiroshima. The skyscraper poses most questions of all – why the pilgrimages and why was Newt so affronted by it (and other people’s inability to see what it really represented)? No doubt about it, there’s a layered story there waiting to be told.

  7. Tiffany Monique says:

    I’m definitely in the coaster and waiting for the ride to start. I am curious about her background… does that get involved in the story in a big way, or is it just a great jumping off point to be dotted and crossed as simply part of the background? Makes me think of The Faceoff reality show and the Hunger Games… Good stuff!

  8. Shawna A Smart says:

    Very nice curtain on the backstory, plenty of crumbs, all seeming disconnected but leading a person to turn that page to the ‘meat and drink’, as it were.

    The war of most stories is won in the first five paragraphs or so, or a shadowy prologue like this. I would definitely look a little longer before leaving my seat.

    Nice sub.

    You are right where you should be, slinging those word counts to a starved internet audience too saturated with ego-fawning flash fiction ebook horrors for pennies, which seem to be thicker than cockroaches these days just when I am trolling for something, hell anything I can read with my jaded brain and stay immersed in, for that magical ride I used to catch so easily as a child, a floating carpet ride into a different world and time and place then my own.

    I myself welcome a slower start, with glints of promise revealed in patient flips of the narrative hem.

    As a prologue I think this hits the mark dead on.

    Fond regards,


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