Oh, Boy! We’re Going To Have Some Fun Now!

Ask, and ye shall receive.

That’s how I operate around here.

When you guys want something, I do my best to accommodate 🙂

Some of y’all had a bright idea about a “writing contest in February to break up the winter doldrums”…

…and far be it from me to deny your heart’s desire…

…so here we go!

You know how in October we do the Halloweensie Contest – weensie because the entries are not very long and written for little people?

Well, prepare yourselves for the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest! 🙂

valentiny logo

The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!

Valentiny because it’s also not very long and also for little people 🙂

Halloweensie and Valentiny – a match made in… well, okay, maybe not heaven, but definitely in the hare-brained scheming mind of Yours Truly 🙂

Due to the fact that this is a new contest being put together on short notice, it is just possible that the people in charge around here haven’t worked out all the details quite yet (i.e. there’s a certain amount of scrambling for prizes for y’all… still working on that!) (Also there is the link list difficulty to sort out…)  But here’s what we’ve got so far!

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is grumpy!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone grumpy (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! Title is not included in the word count.)  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday February 8th and Friday February 12th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my February 8th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it’s up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you!)

The Judging: over the weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday February 15th or Tuesday February 16th (depending on how many entries we get.)  The winner will be announced on Friday February 19th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If we get a large turn out, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it… like I said, there’s a bit of prize acquisition and organization to be accomplished yet!  But since this is a new contest, there may be a smaller number of entries… we shall see 🙂

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using grumpiness and success in making us feel the grumpiness!
  3. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  5. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  yeah… I’m still working on the prizes 🙂  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there’s something you’d particularly like to win! 🙂  Or if you have clout with anyone who could offer a good prize please contact me at once! 🙂  But so far prizes will include:

Enrollment in Julie Hedlund and Emma Walton Hamilton’s Complete Picture Book Submissions System!

I Heart Picture Books – a 5-pack of Valentine picture books including A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger, Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman,  Zombie In Love by Kelly DiPucchio, Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, and Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood PLUS 3 Endangered Species Chocolate Bars!

(Don’t worry! – I promise I’m working on rummaging up more prizes! :))

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It’s a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows 🙂

Many, many thanks to Julie and Emma for their very generous prize offering!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! 🙂

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

42 thoughts on “Oh, Boy! We’re Going To Have Some Fun Now!

  1. tinamcho says:

    Oh, I hope I can participate this time. And Susanna, today I was rummaging through Groundhog books in my 1st grade classroom and discovered your Phyllis groundhog book! Except it’s under a different title. I’m sooo excited I can read this to the kids and tell them I know the author! And yea, I see you have printables and activities for her on your site. Thanks!

  2. ptnozell says:

    Ooh. So difficult to feel grumpy as such a lovely contest looms! With prizes, too! And all to celebrate a day that oozes chocolate – yum! Thank you especially for adhering to the US-style of date-writing: a bonus of 72 words!

  3. Robyn Campbell says:

    You rock, m’lady. Will sharpen the brain and see if it (and it’s tired) can come up with something unique. Something SPECTACULAR. Something that will knock your socks off. *ahem* Now I see what you were talking about. XOXOXO

  4. Teresa Robeson says:

    I am SO thrilled you’ve moved to WP! Now I can read your posts via the Reader. I have so little time to read blog posts anymore and anything that makes it easier for me to get to them makes it more likely for me to read them. 🙂

    And you are such a dear for putting up a contest when I know you’re swamped. ❤

  5. Kizzi Roberts says:

    I just discovered your blog and now am working on my own because I’m so excited about this fun contest! Looking forward to seeing all the entries! Thanks for offering such a great opportunity to share work and get to know other writers.

  6. ingridboydston says:

    I already own nearly all of the books on the prize list, but ANY of the critiques, or especially enrollment in Julie Hedlund and Emma Walton Hamilton’s Complete Picture Book Submissions System would be a dream come true! My idea has been rolling around in my head for two weeks. This weekend it it emerging! So exciting, just getting to go through the process again is a win. Again, many thanks to all involved! Ingrid Boydston

  7. Ellen Warach Leventhal says:

    Yikes! Sitting here watching the Super Bowl (well, waiting for the commercials), and I just realized I haven’t started to write a Valentiny! I wonder what I can do in a week. We have until Feb. 12 right? Pressure! Can the author be the grumpy one? LOL

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hahaha! I just wrote my pitiful sample in under 2 hours so I know you can write an entry in a week! Just be forewarned… it turns out to be even harder than I thought to get down to 214 words! Don’t leave yourself ONLY 2 hours 🙂 And YES – the author can be grumpy 🙂

  8. Jenifer McNamara says:

    2/08/15 Here’s my Valentiny Contest Entry:

    Flicker’s Valentine

    by: Jenifer McNamara

    Flicker ran, opened her large silver wings, and flew to her mailbox. She opened the

    mailbox. It was empty. She put her large silver paw in the mailbox, and banged on all four


    “No valentine!” “No friend to be mine!,” she cried.

    She blew a big fiery breath, and sat next to the mailbox. In another fiery breath she

    spouted, “No colored paper hearts with frilly lacey edges,” and sighed.

    All afternoon she sat next to the mailbox. The scent of peonies, pansies, and posies filled

    the air. The flowery smells make her feel dreamy and sleepy.

    Clitter clatter, Flicker”s long silver ears rose. The clatter stopped. Flicker sat smelling the

    sugary-sweet scent of the flowers. The silky soft shimmering flowers danced. They glid and

    and slid in front of Flicker’s eyes. The petals wiggled, waggled, and waved on their long

    green stems sweeping Flicker away.

    Wwhhmm! Wwhmm! Flicker’s long silver ears rose. Her skin prickled and tickled with fear.

    She took a deep breath, and faced her fears. Among the peonies, pansies, and posies she

    spotted ten dragonflies.

    The ten dragonflies lie shaped like a heart. Flicker’s heart swelled. She yelled, ” Happy

    Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  9. agsawan says:

    Mr. Grumpy’s Birds

    Johnny loved to play baseball: summer, spring, fall and winter.
    One cold February day Jenny pitched a fastball and Johnny swung his bat.
    The ball flew over the fence striking Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder then landing with a plop on his front lawn.
    All the birds flew away.
    “Oh no,” whispered Jenny.
    Mr. Grumpy shuffled out of his house.
    He poured some more seed into the birdfeeder and then slipped the baseball into his pocket.

    “All he cares about are those stupid birds,” thought Johnny.

    The next day it snowed.
    Johnny and Jenny made a snowman.
    Mr. Grumpy sat across the street staring out his window.
    “What is he doing?” Said Jenny
    “Looking for birds,” said Johnny.

    Later that evening, before he went to bed, Johnny looked outside and saw Mr. Grumpy still sitting by his window.

    Johnny thought for a moment; then he pulled on his boots and grabbed a shovel.
    Johnny dug a path through the snow to Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder and then all the way back to Mr. Grumpy’s front door.

    The next morning Johnny opened his door to go outside and there on the steps was a basket full of old baseballs with a note attached that said,
    Happy Valentines Day from The Birds and Mr. Grumpy (aka Mr. Olsen).

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