Deck the halls!
Light the menorah!
Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!
It’s time for…
THE 8TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!
~for children’s writers~
The Contest: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero! Your hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked loaf of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift Of The Magi where two people give up the thing most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday. Your hero can be obvious or unlikely. Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 250 words (I know! So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 🙂 ) (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 🙂 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 250! Title not included in word count.) The field is wide open! Have fun! The more creative the better! No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)
Post: Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Saturday December 8 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below. This post will remain up for your reading pleasure until I post the finalists. There will be no regular posts (Tuesday Debuts, Perfect Picture Book, or Would You Read It) for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy. If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is midnightwriter1 or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!) If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post your entry for you. But please don’t send attachments! Just copy and paste your story including byline into the email. Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list or by emailing me and asking me to post it. Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing.
The Judging: My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to approximately 10 finalists (depending on the number of entries – if we get a lower turnout we’ll post fewer finalists, a higher turnout possibly one or two more.) In the interest of finishing up the contest in a timely fashion so everyone can go about their holidays, we will do our best to post the finalists here by Friday December 14 for you to vote on for a winner. The vote will be closed on Sunday December 16 at 5 PM EST. Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place (or wherever we place to), and the winners will be announced on Monday December 17 (how’s that for ambitious?! 🙂 )
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. Holiday Heroism! – the rules state a Holiday Hero story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, and it must contain a hero and act of heroism in some form! 🙂
- 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.
– Magic Happens When You Make Every Word Count Writing Mentorship with Author Vivian Kirkfield!
1. Read through your body of work (3-5 PB mss)
2. Skype chat with you to discuss your dream/vision/direction and her general thoughts about your work.
3. Help you choose which manuscript to move forward with/work on with her.
4. Critique that ms and then set up a Skype chat to go over it.
5. Help craft a cover letter and pitch for your ms which will then serve as a template for you as you move forward with your other work.
This is a truly amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with a talented author and critiquer to get you submission-ready for an editor or agent!
Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. She’s got a bucket list that contains many more than five words – but she’s already ticked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she is not looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books that she hopes will encourage young kids to become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate(Holiday House, Feb 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book(PomegranateKids, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah(Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). You can visit Vivian on her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar, where she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge every March. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest,Instagram, Linkedin, and just about anywhere people are playing with picture books.
– A Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique by prolific author Diana Murray!
– A Non-Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author Amy Dixon!
– A 2-Pack of Personalized, Signed Picture Books by Tara Luebbe – I Am Famous and Shark Nate-O
– a spot in my online picture book writing class Making Picture Book Magic (in any month mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
– Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $25 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)
The time has come for my sample. I wrote it between midnight and 2 AM, so that’s my excuse for how bad it is and I hope you all appreciate the fact that I am willing to make a complete fool of myself just for you! 🙂 But this should be very comforting because you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ANYthing you wrote is better than this! 🙂
So. Are you ready? (Be forewarned you might need a little chocolate to help you through… I’m going to need a LOT! 🙂 I have taken dreadful writing to a whole new level and should probably write a new sample tomorrow! Also because this one is a few words over the limit 🙂 )
The Christmas Rescue
‘Twas the night before Christmas
The sleigh was packed high.
The team shook their jingle bells
Eager to fly!
Santa and Elsie Elf
Boarded the sleigh
And quick as a wink
They were up and away!
As they soared over rooftops
That glittered with snow
“Look at that shooting star go!”
Santa leaned forward
And peered through the night.
“That’s no shooting star!
It’s a meteorite!”
“Pretty!” said Elsie.
And Santa said, “Yes…
But it’s going to wreak havoc
With our GPS!”
The NAV screen went blank
A search icon spun round
Because Magnetic North
Could no longer be found!
They tapped at the screen
Turned it off and back on
But it was no use
Their directions were gone!
The meteor’s metal
Messed up Elsie’s phone
So she couldn’t call Tech
At the workshop back home.
“Maybe star navigation?”
said Santa with doubt.
But clouds had moved in
And they blocked the stars out.
“We have no direction
We can’t find our way
To get gifts to good girls and boys
At this precise moment
From out of the blue
A small caped crusader
Flew into their view.
“My goodness!” said Santa.
“Whatever is that?”
The crusader said proudly,
“I’m Super Bat!
I just couldn’t help
Overhearing your plight.
The Bat Squad and I
Can assist you tonight.”
“How?” wondered Elsie.
“No problem,” said Bat,
“we use echolocation!”
With Super Bat skillfully
Guiding the sleigh
The gifts were delivered
By dawn Christmas Day.
“We couldn’t have done this
Without you, you know.”
Santa smiled and said,
“Bat, you’re a Christmas Hero!”
So now! Is everyone filled with confidence about their entries? I certainly hope so after that display! Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you guys 🙂 It just proves how much I love you 🙂
I can’t wait to read all of your (much better!) stories! I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier! And you still have until Saturday midnight to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet and want to join the fun. Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well. If you just want to enjoy reading, that’s great too! We need all the readers we can get, so feel free to spread the word to parents and teachers! And what better way to entertain yourself and your kids while waiting for the holiday goodies to bake? Or get someone to read aloud while everyone else wraps presents 🙂
Rejoice! and let the festivities begin!!! 🙂
Happy Holidays to All! 🙂
And don’t miss the additional 49 fabulous entries in the comment section below!
(Titles are not links – sorry! Scroll through comments to view)
- The Super-Invisible Snowgirl – Anne L
- Toby Saves Christmas – Sherry H
- The 12 Days of Christmas With Noni – Johanna
- Saint Bernard Savior – Sandra
- The Cookie Defenders – Darcee
- Nippynose Flu – Jennifer
- Santa’s Gift – Barbara
- I’m Santa – Sarah
- Manger Mayhem – Susan
- Cat Called Hero – Lily
- All By Myself – Jessica
- Surprise On The Sleigh – Sarah
- Ozzie Owl To The Rescue – Judy
- Come Back Santa – Lisa
- Christmas Presence – Angelique
- Papa Bear’s Rescue – Dianne
- Santa Tryouts – Amy F
- Just One Bean – Kristy
- Merritt Mouse – Saves Christmas – Patricia
- Jesse The Pup Saves Hanukkah – Amy B
- Sammy, the Skillet Saves Hanukkah – Amy B
- UH-OH. OH NO. HO HO – Jill
- The Christmas Boots – Sherry F
- Christmas Cookies – Kami
- Christmas In The Park – John
- A Christmas Scent-sation – Jill
- A Christmas Prayer – Michelle
- A Special Nest – Beverly
- Tent City Christmas – Anne B
- Who Was The Real Hero The Night Baby Jesus Was Born? – Carmen
- The Cookies That Saved Christmas – Jamie
- Fox And The Red Wagon – Kathy
- Listen To Libby – Nannette
- The Soldier’s Little Girl – Beth
- Momo The Xmas Hero – Shariffa
- The Santa Kid – Mega
- Dasher Saves The Day By Night – Tara
- Alex & Apple Save Christmas – Nicole
- Sparkle’s Special Christmas Wish – Lucretia
- Santa’s Beard – Linda
- Christmas Kindness – Beth B
- A Neighborly Christmas Eve – Mona
- Ellen – Priya
- The Christmas Pick-Up – Laura
- Christmas-time Tea – Elizabeth
- The Holiday Hero – Ranessa
- The Little Reindeer – Debora
- The Hay – Anna
- Happy Rose For Christmas – Liz