The March Madness Writing Contest Is Here!!!


Spring is here!

And so is

The MarcMadness Writing Contest!

The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day…  Have fun with it!  The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂

You do not have to include spring – that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.
If it’s a picture book, you may NOT include art notes, because we get into a weird area of whether that’s fair in terms of word count and added description etc.  So if you write a picture book that’s wonderful, but make sure art notes aren’t necessary to understand it.
“Fairy Tale” apparently turned out to be a very debatable term, so my fellow judges and I will do our best to handle whatever you’ve come up with.
Title not included in word count.
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday March 24 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Wednesday March 26 so we can all take our time reading and enjoying everyone’s stories!  (No PPBF on Friday March 21, no new post on Monday March 24, no WYRI on March 26).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday March 27 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday March 30 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 31.  (No PPBF on Friday March 28.)

The Prizes!:  

 – 1st Prize is a read and critique by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary!!! (Unless for some reason you don’t want a read and critique by an agent, in which case you may swap for any of the other prizes)
 – 2nd Prize is a picture book manuscript critique (for rhyming mss only) by Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and the forthcoming COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! OR a picture book manuscript critique (for non-rhyming mss only) by Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO and PENNY LOVES PINK as well as illustrator of many others.
 – 3rd Prize is personalized signed copies of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card
 – 4th and 5th Prizes are your choice of any two of the following picture books PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card:
     – LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
     – THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart

 – 6th Prize (which just skated in under the wire – thank you Sudipta!) is a personalized signed copy of hot-off-the-presses SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

And don’t forget, all you illustrators, that this will be followed by a related Illustrator Contest in April!!! (to be announced and elaborated on as soon as the writing part of the contest is over! :))

And now, so that everyone will feel happy and confident about posting their stories, I will share my sample, a Wild West twist on The Gingerbread Boy at exactly 400 words (phew!):

The Cornpone Cowboy

     Once upon a time (because that is the way all good fairy tales begin), Farmer Bubba and his lovely bride ThunderLily had the most beautiful ranch in the Wild West.
     The grass was emerald green.
     The rivers were pure as morning dew.
     The cattle were sleek and fat and gave such rich, creamy milk that all the ice cream makers in the world fought over who would get it.
     But even with all this beauty and excellent ice cream, Bubba and ThunderLily were sad.  For though they were surrounded every spring by velvet-eyed calves and stilt-legged foals, fluffy chicks, pink piglets, and wooly lambs, they never had a child of their own.
     Luckily, ThunderLily was not one to sit around moping.  “If I can’t have a child, I’ll make one,” she told her darling Bubba.
     She got cornmeal and buttermilk, eggs, salt, and bacon drippings, and quick as you like she whipped up a sturdy little Cornpone Cowboy.
     “We’ll call him Charlemagne,” she said dreamily as she plucked the skillet from the barbeque pit.
     “You’ll have to catch me first!” snorted the Cornpone Cowboy, and off he rode as fast as his cowpony could carry him.
     He passed the pigpen and the piglets grunted, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the sheepfold and the lambs baahed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the cow barn and the calves mooed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Why does everyone insist on calling me that?” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     And so it was at the hen house…
     . . . the horse pasture…
     . . . and the goat shed.
     Along about sundown a voice called, “Hey, Cowboy! Won’t you come set a spell by the campfire?”
     “Don’t mind if I do,” said the Cornpone Cowboy, tuckered out from galloping. He hopped down from his pony, spurs a-janglin’, and came face to face with…
     . . . COYOTE!
     Quick as a wink he twirled his lariat. . . 
     . . . hog-tied Coyote . . .
     . . . and lit out for home!
     When Bubba and ThunderLily heard his story, ThunderLily said, “That’s our boy! Lightning fast!”
     Which is how he came to be called LightningCharlie instead of Charlemagne (because really, who could live with that?) and they all lived happily ever after!

The End

Wasn’t that nice of me?  Now you can all feel brave and smug, secure in the knowledge that your story is better than that!!! 🙂

Anyone besides me feeling an urge to sing?
     “Like a Cornpone Cowboy
     riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
     Cornpone Cowboy…

No? Darn! I was hoping the exceptional quality of my singing would distract you from that story even though “cornpone” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “rhinestone”  🙂

I can’t wait to read what you have all come up with!  Let the fun begin! 🙂

And remember to check back here for entries added in the comments.  I’ll list them as they come in 🙂 (Titles link to stories in comments – give them an extra moment to load)

Jennifer C – The Princess And The Pete
Pat H – Jack And The Giant
Angela – The Belle And The Sticker Burrs
Sean – No Spring Chicken Little
Shelly – Prince Frog
Kirsten B – Goldi And Red
Pen – The Sweetie Witch
Connie – Chocolocks And The Three Bunnies
Karen – Little Red Hen’s Shiny New Friend
Teresa S – Little Red’s Green Cloak
Eric – A Sleeping Beauty
Katie – Little Dead Riding Hood
Robert – Jack And The Beanstalk
Lisa – Rabbi Wolfberg And The Boarmans Celebrate Sukkot
Denise – The Biscuit Man
Kristen – The Boy Who Cried Spring
Jennifer Mc – Little Red Ray
Debbie – The Three Kittens
Gaye – Chocolate Muffins
Nancy – Big Bad Wolf And Red Riding Toad
Robert2 – The Emperor’s New Clothes
Kelsi – Goldinocks And The Three Scares
Jen – The Mischievous Fire Truck
Heather – Rap-unzel
Robert3 – Humpty
Hilary – Hare And Tortoise
Sandy – The Three Little Pigs And The Shoemaker
Kelly V – A Fractured Fairy Tail (Literally)

474 thoughts on “The March Madness Writing Contest Is Here!!!

  1. Karen Mae Zoccoli says:

    I love how you brought in several tales into one, and especially like the competitive jarring at the beginning! Nice 🙂

  2. pennyklostermann says:

    Ok. I just finished and I don't know how in the world I can pick just one!!!! I have several favorites and all the finalists are exceptional. I haven't read all the other entries yet, either, but I've read enough to know that you and your assistants had a majorly hard job!! Wow! Wow! Wow! Thanks for the fun, Susanna! The only thing that isn't fun is having to chose, but I'll go and vote!

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