***Update November 12th***
We’re pretty close to having the finalist list, but even if it was ready in a couple hours, that wouldn’t give enough time to vote today and I have previously scheduled blog posts for Tuesday Debut tomorrow and Would You Read It Wednesday on Wednesday, so the finalist list will be posted on Thursday November 15th. Apologies for the delay, but there were a LOT of good entries and the judging process has been harrowing! 🙂
***Update November 5th***
So sorry everyone but the other judges and I need more time – my fault not their’s. Work deadlines, family needs, and 234 wonderful entries from you guys that all deserve careful and thoughtful consideration mean that I’m just not able to post finalists today. I will get them up as soon as I possibly can but I think Wednesday or Thursday is likely. Sorry for the delay!
Wool of bat and howlet’s wing! It’s time for . . .
The 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest!!!!!
~ for children’s writers ~
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words shiver, cauldron, and howl. 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 235 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. shivery, cauldrons, howling, whathaveyou 🙂 NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )
Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Wednesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below. There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and 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 (please include your byline, especially if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.) If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you. Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!
Please Note: although you are welcome to submit more than one entry, please only post each entry ONCE! If you post it on your blog (preferred method) everyone will come visit you and you’ll make new friends! 🙂 If you don’t have a blog, post it in the comment section below. If you’re unable to post, please email me with your entry and byline in the body of the email. Please DO NOT post on your blog, and in the comments, and send me an email to post. It makes things confusing!
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 devoted 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 5th (sooner if possible, later if necessary!) The winner will be announced on Thursday November 8th, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd. If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 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: (it is currently 1:40AM and I’m at the stage where I’m going to make mistakes, so I will finish posting the prize list properly in the morning. Apologies for the delay!)
First, the amazingly awesome prize I promised!
– Skip The Slushpile with Editor Hannah Lambert of Little Simon!!!
The lucky winner of this prize will get to place the picture book manuscript of his/her choice directly into editor Hannah Lambert’s hands! (In case you are wondering, Hannah is the editor of all 4 of my books in the WHEN YOUR… series.) Hannah will read the manuscript and then send you an email to let you know she’s read your story. She will include a brief mention of something she likes, and something you can work on. (Not a full critique.) Of course what makes this prize so incredible is that if you send her a really, really good manuscript the dream could come true! 🙂 So good luck to whoever wins this! Hannah is particularly interested in mss with a very low word count, and always has an eye out for excellent holiday stories.
(with thanks to Tania Guarino for thinking up the idea of skipping the slush pile!)
– several picture book manuscript critiques from amazing critiquers (details to come – I need to spread my generous volunteers out over 3 contests, so, planning…)
– a personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY JERRY by the wonderful and gifted Shelley Kinder
– Bundle Of Books – assorted PBs, MGs, YAs (details to come) – generously donated by KidLit411
– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books. OR paperback of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication.
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 finished at 1:30 AM and 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!
Tricky Witches (100 words)
On a dark All Hallow’s night,
Shivering with cold and fright,
Tiny trick-or-treaters dare
To approach the witches’ lair.
Past the lighted edge of town
Black-cloaked witches stand around.
Something sticky, thick, and hot
Bubbles in their potion pot.
“Come and get it!” witches lure.
“It’ll warm you up for sure!”
Ghostly howls warn, “Stay away!
Don’t be fooled by the bouquet!
Cauldron’s contents might smell sweet,
But that’s trickery, not treat!”
Little candy-hunters flee!
Plan has worked out perfectly.
Witches cackle gleefully,
“Now there’s more for you and me!”
Final check, the brew is done.
“Fresh hot chocolate anyone?”
Now then, darlings! Is everyone feeling better about their way-better-than-that! stories? I certainly HOPE so! 🙂
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!!!
Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form 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 – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories!
Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂 🎃