And Now…The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For…!

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Ah, Columbus Day!  That wondrous day on which we all get to skip school and work because old Chris happened to bump into the Bahamas and thereby be forever remembered and credited as having discovered America which he did not remotely accomplish! 🙂  (Poor Chris.  If only he’d had Sat Nav  on the Santa Maria!)

But we don’t mind, do we?!  We get the day off!  And as I always say, what better way to spend that Columbus Day off than by thinking happy thoughts of Halloween?

And what happier Halloween thoughts to dwell upon than anything else (besides the delightful abundance of chocolate it will be your duty to collect – you know, the Mom Tax (or Dad Tax) – the percentage you discreetly skim from those heavy-laden plastic pumpkins to make sure your little darlings don’t overdo it 🙂 ) than…



The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spider, ghost, and moon.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. moon, moons, mooned, spidery, ghostly, whathaveyou 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Thursday October 27th and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 27th post.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book post on Friday Oct. 28 so the post and the list of links will stay up all weekend 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! Please place your entry in the body of the email – NO ATTACHMENTS!)

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, 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 November 7th.  The winner will be announced on either Wednesday November 9 or Thursday November 10.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it 🙂

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

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! 🙂  But prizes will include:

okay… I admit it… this part isn’t quite together yet since I’m still waiting to hear back from some people 🙂  but for starters…

– a read and comments on a picture book manuscript by the fabulous agent Jodell Sadler!!!

– a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming including more PB critiques, signed books, etc! 🙂

I hope those fantabulous prizes will at least whet your appetite for the contest!

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 Jodell for her very generous prize offering!

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

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

51 thoughts on “And Now…The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For…!

  1. Robyn Campbell says:

    Sus, you always give back. We love you and think you are the best. I will ponder this with chocolate in one hand and pencil in the other. And isn’t it sad about poor CC? He thought he would go down in history (which he did) but for some wrong reasons. Ivy is home on fall break. YAY.

  2. viviankirkfield says:

    Woo hoo…or should I say Boo hoo..perhaps not…people will think I am crying, which I am definitely not…unless I am crying for joy that Halloweensie is BACK!!!

    This is so lovely of you, Susanna…what would October be without your Halloweensie contest! I’m excited to write mine and really excited to read the other entries. I hope you believe me when I say that your contests were my first attempts to put my work out there for everyone to see…you gave me courage…and I know you inspire our entire kid lit community!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Bwaaaaa! So Halloweenie-happy to learn that the Halloweensie contest is back! Thank you, Susanna, for sponsoring this holiday tradition once again – so much better for the waistline than binge trick-or-treating.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hi Virginia! As per the instructions in the post, you submit to the contest by posting your entry on your blog during the designated time frame and link to the list provided. If you don’t have a blog, you may copy and paste your entry in the comment section of my October 27 post, or, if for some reason you are unable to do that, you may email me your entry and I will copy and paste it. If you email it to me, your entry should be in the body of the email – no attachments.

  4. Lauri Meyers says:

    Oh man. When you posted moon, spider and ghost, I thought this was going to be easy. But nope! Finding the right way to link and use the words is always trickier than it first appears!!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      You know what’s really funny? I chose those words completely at random – I actually used the list rearranger thinger – and when I went back and read my sample entry from last year I realized I had used a form of all three words! So if I get in a time pinch – which could seriously happen because I have a revision deadline – I could use last year’s sample! 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Wow! That is SOME compliment! Imagine it not being Halloween without Halloweensie! Who’d’ve thunk it 6 years ago when I did the very first one and got 8 entries! All of which had to be posted and judged late because of a freak Halloween snowstorm of 2 feet that knocked out all the power and internet! 🙂

  5. Becky Scharnhorst says:

    Thanks so much for organizing this for another year, Susanna! I always look forward to reading everyone’s stories and this year I’m finally going to write one myself. Eek! It will be my first ever contest and I’m terrified! But I guess that’s appropriate for a Halloween contest. 🙂

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