Look What’s Coming! The 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest!

It’s that time again!!!  Writing Contest time!!!  Yippee-aye-oh-hurray!!!

I know none of you got a wink of sleep this weekend, waiting for the contest announcement, so I won’t keep you waiting another second 🙂  (Plus, I want to give you all plenty of time to get your entries written in case you have plans during Fourth of July week… write now, you’ll be all ready to go and can settle in when you have a few minutes here and there to read all the wonderful entries as they come in with your kids and families! :))

The Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest!

The Contest:  Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words about the 4th of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!

You may choose any 4th of July setting you like: country, city or small town, sleepaway camp or vacation, with family or friends or all alone, at a parade, a picnic, a fireworks show or a bonfire, in the middle of the woods or in a country where the locals don’t celebrate 4th of July.  Your secret or mystery doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering.  It could be who took Granny’s award-winning Fourth of July cherry pie?  Or what did Robin tell Sarah who told Olivia who told Gracie about Anna in cabin 7?  Or where did the flags for the parade disappear to?  Or why doesn’t Becky Sue want to go to the fireworks show? Or what Old Mrs. Hootenspiegal knows about the mayor!  Just as long as a secret or mystery of some kind is revealed or solved by the end.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Monday July 1 at 12:01 AM EDT and Friday July 5 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Contest post which will go up on my blog on Monday July 1 and remain up through Sunday July 7 (no Would You Read It on Wednesday July 3… and although the post will remain up through Sunday to give everyone plenty of time to read, the entry list will be closed at midnight Friday so we have time to judge).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my July 1st post by midnight Friday July 5th.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judging:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five (or possibly a couple more :)) finalists which will be posted here on Monday July 8 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 6 PM EDT on Thursday July 11 and the winner will be announced on Friday July 12.

The Prizes!:  The first place winner will receive (I am not making this up!) a picture book manuscript critique from Simone Kaplan!!!!!  Yes, THE Simone Kaplan!!!  I wish I knew how to put that up in lights and make it all sparkly! 🙂  Simone Kaplan has been editing children’s books and magazines for over 20 years.  She was an editor at Henry Holt and Company, and then a Senior Editor at HarperCollins.  More recently she has worked as a consultant to various authors, illustrators, and publishing houses.  She also runs a wonderful website called Picture Book People (where you can sign up for her free newsletter among other things.)  A prize like this makes me wish I could compete in my own contest! 🙂

If we get more than 15 entries, we will place through 3rd.  If we get more than 25 entires we will place through 5th.  Additional prizes will include critiques, gift certificates and signed books.  (Details to come.)

So put on those thinking caps and start bouncing those ideas off the wall!  Your story could win you a fabulous prize, but win or not, you can be certain your stories will be read with appreciation by LOTS of readers! 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

50 thoughts on “Look What’s Coming! The 4th of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest!

  1. Cathy Mealey says:

    Not one wink of sleep I tell you Susanna! Have you ever seen me post at 6:44 AM before?
    I've worked with Simone, so I can certainly attest that this is a MARVELOUS prize for the contest winner. I can't say enough wonderful things about how talented, thoughtful and kind she is, and what marvelous wisdom she can impart. So write you best everyone, this is an opportunity not to be missed!

  2. PamBrunskill says:

    What a fabulous contest and prize, Susanna! I met Simone Kaplan yesterday at the NJSCBWI conference. She's very nice!

  3. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    I love the “old lady knows something about mayor” idea! I love mysteries too! This will be fun! 🙂

  4. Cathy C. Hall says:

    Ooooh, Fourth of July Fun! And P.S. Now I won't be able to sleep, wondering what Robin said about poor Anna! 🙂

  5. Beth Stilborn says:

    This sounds like fun! (And I *LOVE* your mystery examples!) I must see if I can come up with something.

  6. Mike Allegra says:

    I, too, know what Old Mrs. Hootenspiegal knows about the mayor — and it is FILTHY!

    Man, your contests sure ask people to jump through hoops! But I'm in.

  7. Angela Brown says:

    This sounds like such an awesome contest. Still underwater with a few projects so I won't be able to enter but I look forward to seeing what gets shared 🙂

  8. Christine Irvin says:

    OK, so now I have to put on my thinking cap, rev up my writing machine, and type out an award-winning PB about a 4th of July mystery. Hmmmm….shouldn't be too hard now, should it….????

  9. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Oh goody goody goody!!!! A Susanna Leonard Hill Holiday Writing Contest!!!!

    You are very good to us, Susanna…the prize is FANTASTIC! I'm off for an afternoon of fly-fishing with my husband…I'll be bringing my trusty pad and pencil in case any idea sparks are ignited…maybe, in the peaceful pastoral setting of the flowing river, there will be a fireworks display in my brain and I'll write the mystery story entry. 🙂

  10. disqus_bENDymTlMv says:

    I had a critique with Simone and she is wonderful, informative and very kind! Awesome prize Susanna! Exciting! 🙂

  11. disqus_bENDymTlMv says:

    The more I learn the less I know! I will figure out how to sign in all the way so it shows my name AND pic. 😀 Meg

  12. Teresa Robeson says:

    What an exciting contest!! I hope I'll have time to write something for it, but I'm pretty swamped this month. Thank you, as always, for offering cool contests and content!

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I hope you have time to write an entry too! Make time! You don't want me to get out the Electric Cattle Prod, do you? 🙂 (JK – I know how busy everyone is… but it would be fun to read your story :))

  14. Grannymar says:

    I've started scratching my head already…. Maybe something will strike me before the deadline! We don't do 4th July in Ireland.

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Well, it could just take place in Ireland ON the 4th of July which is a day like any other day there and nothing special… I'm not picky, that would be fine 🙂 As long as there's a secret or a mystery 🙂


  16. colonialist says:

    As I commented to Nancy:
    “It is a complete mystery how these naughty rebels got away with declaring independance from a little island near Europe. Just think, they don’t even have a King or Queen any more!’
    No, perhaps that won’t be quite the right note to strike …”
    Back to the drawing board!

  17. Stanley & Katrina says:

    Neighbor Girl is working on her story right now! She is so excited about it. Your mystery examples are a riot and the prize is Ahhhhmazing!

    ~Stanley & Katrina

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