Ear of frog and toe of newt! It’s finally time for . . .
The 6th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, children here defined as 12 and under), 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 right now this very second and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below. 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 below. (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!) P.S. Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk. If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it. It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk. Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!
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.
– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by wonderful editor Marilyn Brigham of Two Lions!!!
Marilyn Brigham edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade for Two Lions, the children’s imprint at Amazon Publishing. Her recent titles include Go to School, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Bonnie Leick and The Secret Knock Club: The Great Sleep-Under, by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud, illustrated by Adam McHeffey. She is looking for commercial, character-driven picture books and chapter books; holiday picture books; and widely appealing, high-concept middle grade. She is not currently acquiring board books or nonfiction.
– winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a 15-minute phone call for all your writerly questions from fantastic author Katy Duffield (LOUD LULA – Two Lions 2015, FARMER MCPEEPERS AND HIS MISSING MILK COWS – Cooper Square Publishing 2003, ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO – forthcoming from Candlewick, and many other titles)
– winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Query Letter Critique from amazing author Dori Kleber (MORE-IGAMI, Candlewick 2016)
– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the awesome Vivian Kirkfield, author of the forthcoming SWEET DREAMS, SARAH – Creston Books, 2017) AND personalized signed copies of her wonderful books SHOW ME HOW and the LUCKY DRAW ANTHOLOGY.
– a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) including:
THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel
GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
THE LITTLE MOUSE, THE RED RIPE STRAWBERRY AND THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audrey Wood
A MORNING WITH GRANDPA- Sylvia Liu
Middle Grade Books:
THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME- Jennifer E. Smith
SUNNY SIDE UP Jennifer and Matthew Holm
IF YOU’RE READING THIS Trent Reedy
AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS Gennifer Choldenko
(What a totally awesome book bundle for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)
– 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.
– a personalized signed copy of THE PEDDLER’S BED by Lauri Fortino
– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA THE VERY MESSY WITCH by Diana Murray
Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂
Now then. Time for my sample entry which I provide because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Also, in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my truly horrific attempt to be filled with confidence that their’s is MUCH better! I have to confess, I was really down to the wire this year (my schedule is a little bit nuts!), I have a deadline for tomorrow… which also means I may be a little behind getting started reading entries… just so you know… but I digress!
So, here goes nothing…!
Won’t You Come Into My Parlor…? (100 words)
The Halloweensie Spider was lonesome as could be.
“Nobody ever comes to visit me.
“I know!” she said. “I’ll plan a big to-do!”
So she sent out invitations to everyone she knew.
The Halloweensie Spider got ready for her guests.
Hot apple cider and candy treasure chests.
Games organized for lots of friendly fun
Like Pumpkin Golf, a Witch Ring Toss, and Find The Skeleton.
The Halloweensie Spider stood at her moonlit door
Greeting the witches, goblins, ghosts, and more.
“So glad you came!” she told them with a smile.
“Forgive my sticky floors, but I hoped you’d stay awhile!”
Everyone feeling better about their stories now? I should certainly HOPE so! 🙂
Also, this is so weird I just have to share it. I realized belatedly that totally by chance, my sample entry from last year also included the 3 words from this year. Look!
Halloween Surprise! (100 words)
Spooky shadows. Darkened street.
Suddenly my brother, Jay,
Tugs my arm. “Let’s go this way!”
He pulls me off the beaten track,
Passes Old Man Clancy’s shack.
Creeping fog licks at our heels.
I don’t like the way this feels.
Something glides in silent flight,
Ghostly shapes against the night.
“Witches! Let’s go home!” I say.
“Owls. Let’s go on,” says Jay.
Spidered moonlight through the trees.
Heartbeat pounding. Shaky knees.
Up ahead this haunted night
Monsters dance by bonfire light!
Costumed monsters end disguise.
Cake and presents, friends who say,
“Happy Halloween Birthday!”
How weird is that?! But I figured it would be cheating to use it again 🙂
I can’t wait to read all of your entries! I’m so looking forward to them! I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier! And there are still nearly 5 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet. Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well. And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc. The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!
So! I don’t love this link system, but it’s all I have, so my apologies and do your best with it, and let’s hope it works!
Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the linky list below so we can all come read your awesome stories! (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)
Eager Readers – you ALSO need to click the “click here” to add your entry button on the linky list just to see the list of links. I apologize profusely for the inconvenience of not having the list visible right here on my site. But this, apparently, is wordpress…
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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂