I am so excited about this! I look forward to these contests so much because so many wonderful, talented writers contribute such fantastic stories! I can’t wait to read what you’ve all come up with this time!!!
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: – a $50 Amazon gift certificate – a picture book manuscript critique from yours truly (a $75 value) – the writing craft book of your choice (up to $30 value) – a place in Making Picture Book Magic (my online PB writing course) (a $99 value)
Here is my sample (and I will admit this was a REAL challenge for me! I’ve never tried writing a mystery before (as I’m sure you’ll be able to tell!), so that was hard enough, but fitting it into 400 words nearly killed me! In fact, I didn’t quite manage, but it was past my bedtime. I had to cut so much out to get it near the word count that I’m not sure it even makes sense anymore 🙂 Be forewarned this may qualify as the worst story I’ve ever written – that’s what happens when you over-schedule and write at the last minute! 🙂
The 4th Of July Parade
Lola longed to lead the Crumb Creek 4th of July Parade.
But Granny crashed her motorcycle and broke her arm, and it looked like there would be no 4th of July Pie this year.
“Never mind the parade,” said Lola. “I’ll help you bake.”
“Fiddlesticks!” said Granny. “I can bake pie with one hand tied behind my back!”
Lola gave her a hug. “I’ll be your other hand right after tryouts.”
“Knock their socks off, Sugar-Pie!” said Granny.
At tryouts, the boys hopped on YankeeDoodlePony one after another. Lola hated to admit it, but they were pretty good riders.
When it was her turn, Lola rode her best.
Afterwards George said, “You won’t win.”
“I have just as much chance as you,” said Lola.
Henry said, “You’re too small.”
“I’m the right size for YankeeDoodlePony,” said Lola.
Billy said, “You’re not a boy. Yankee Doodle was a boy.”
Lola had nothing to say to that.
“This year, the leader will be Lola!” announced Mayor Fluffbottom.
Billy had nothing to say to that.
George stuck his tongue out at Lola, but she was too happy to care.
“They picked me, Granny!” Lola sang, rolling piecrust while Granny picked one-handed through seventeen quarts of blueberries.
“I knew they would!” said Granny.
By bedtime, fifty pies cooled on the counters.
“How will you get these to the Village Green without your motorcycle?” worried Lola.
“I’ll figure a way,” said Granny. “Sweet dreams, Sugar-Pie. Big day tomorrow!”
In the morning Lola raced to the barn.
“Hey!” said Billy. “YankeeDoodlePony is gone!”
“What?” Lola gasped.
George and Henry smirked.
“What did you do with him?” demanded Lola.
“Nothing!” the boys insisted.
The parade started in thirty minutes!
Lola had to find YankeeDoodlePony!
“Help me look for him!” she begged.
They searched high and low, but YankeeDoodlePony was nowhere to be found.
Lola discovered hoofprints and wheel tracks on the driveway.
“It looks like someone drove a pony out here, but he’s long gone. I guess I won’t be leader after all,” Lola said miserably.
YankeeDoodlePony came down the road at a smart trot pulling a little cart. Granny drove one-handed!
“Sorry I’m late, Sugar-Pie! Had to deliver the pies!”
Lola turned to Billy, Henry and George. “I’m sorry I thought you hid YankeeDoodlePony,” she said.
“That’s okay,” said Billy.
Lola hopped aboard YankeeDoodlePony
George handed her the flag.
Then Lola rode out to lead the 4th of July Parade.
She sat tall and straight and proud.
YankeeDoodlePony pricked his ears and pranced.
The American flag waved its stars and stripes in the hot breeze.
The crowd along the sidewalk cheered.
And afterwards, there was 4th of July Pie for everyone!
Now then! That was quite spectacularly awful! So I hope it will fill you all with confidence, because I know you can all do better than that!
CAN’T WAIT to read your stories!!! Don’t forget to add your post-specific links below, or copy and paste to the comment section! Look for Sidney, Sian, Pam, Michele, and Brianna’s stories in the comments.