⭐️Deck the Halls! ⭐️ Light the menorah! ⭐️ Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja! ⭐️
It’s time for . . .
THE 9TH 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 TREAT!
Your treat can be any kind of treat – a delectable holiday food specialty – Grandma’s Sugar Cookie Reindeer, or the Brown Family Gingerbread House; an event or experience that is a treat – the town Holiday Parade, attending the Nutcracker Ballet, or getting to light a candle on the menorah; making a treat for someone else – baking peppermint crunch brownies for the residents of a local shelter, or doing something special for a favorite teacher or neighbor – sky’s the limit 🙂
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 Wednesday December 11 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 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! If your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight I can’t 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 do not submit entries before the start of the contest! Please submit your entry only ONCE! If you add it to the blog link list, and the comments, and email me to post it, things get very confusing! I try to stay as glued to my desk as possible, but sometimes I have to get up so if I don’t respond to your email or approve your post immediately, don’t panic! I’ll get to it as soon as I can!
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 Monday December 16 for you to vote on for a winner. The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 18 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 Thursday December 19.
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 Treat! – the rules state a Holiday Treat story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about a treat of some kind that is specific to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate. The story must center on the treat – the treat must not be just an offhand mention/reference in a story about something else.
- 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!: OMG! So much awesomeness!!!
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of your picture book manuscript plus a 10 minute phone call to talk!!!
MG/YA First 1500 Words Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of the first 1500 words of your MG or YA manuscript!!!
Melissa is currently looking to build her client list and is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind
Art of Arc Writing Course from writer and editor Alayne Kay Christian!
Art of Arc is an independent-study picture book writing course. Most stories have some sort of arc. Many successful picture books are built around an arc. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your story order and the tension that will energize it from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading.
The purpose of this course is to deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and to introduce you to many other picture books structures. The course also addresses a number of common issues that weaken a story and common writing mistakes that authors make.
Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)
Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019)
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017)
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019) and the forthcoming YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020) and LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020)
Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction
Signed Copies of multiple star- and award-winning picture books
SONNY’S BRIDGE: JAZZ LEGEND SONNY ROLLINS FINDS HIS GROOVE (Charlesbridge 2019) and A PLACE TO LAND (Charlesbridge 2019)
A PLACE TO LAND: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE SPEECH THAT INSPIRED A NATION (Charlesbridge 2019) by Barry Wittenstein
and BIRTH OF THE COOL: HOW JAZZ GREAT MILES DAVIS FOUND HIS SOUND (Page Street Kids, 2019) by Kathy Cornell Berman
Book Bundle #2 – Two By Tara Plus One
Please join me 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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊
This is the part in the proceedings where I would normally post my sample to entertain and encourage you, but I’m afraid today, without burdening you with the details, my heart just can’t be in it. Bad timing, I’m sorry 😦
But I know you guys are going to come up with great stories, and I’m so looking forward to reading them all. I know they will lift my spirits! 😊
I can’t wait to read all of your entries! With so many great prizes up for grabs I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier! And you’ve still got a couple days to write, so you can squeeze in under the wire 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 Holidays!!!🎄⭐️ ✡️❄️☃️🕎
And don’t miss the 77!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments below! The titles are linked and will take you directly to the stories!
- Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed – Sue Lancaster
- The Popcorn Tree – Lindsey Hobson
- Christmas Vacation Anticipation – Glenda Roberson
- A Great Treat – Deb Sullivan
- Santa’s Selfie – Sue Lancaster
- Mountain Magic – Deb Buschman
- The Great Cookie Escape – Katrina Swenson
- Elves Need Treats Too – Alicia Fadgen
- And One For Me! – Priscilla Merryman
- Gulab Jamuns – Shariffa Keshavjee
- Xmas Surprise – Shariffa Keshavjee
- The Candy Cane Con – Maryna Doughty
- Santa’s Sweet Treats – Lu Pierro
- Flavor Favor – Dorothy Wawa
- Gingerbread House UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Liz Sites
- Earl’s Christmas Gift – J. Gray Frye
- How NOT To Sit On Santa’s Lap – Chelsea Tornetto
- Vinarterta with Amma – Anne Lipton
- A Present For Grandma – Susan Drew
- Fudge – Johanna Speizer
- Never Too Old For Grandma Soo’s Pie – Bru Benson
- Where Light Can Reach – Kristen Loughlin
- Santa’s Cookies – Megan Hoffman
- Broccoli: The Best Holiday Treat – Taylor Gardner
- The Big Bad Wish – Roo Parkin
- Treats From Trash – Geraldine Jones
- Dinosaur Dress-up – Roo Parkin
- Christmas Cake Hero – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Even Trolls Deserve A Treat – Jill Lambert
- Christmas Kitchen Chaos – Deborah Bence Boerema
- Home For The Holidays – Penelope McNally
- The Choice Of A Tree – Tracy Curran
- The Gingerbread Sleigh – Tracy Curran
- The Cookie Competition – Lisa Cloherty
- Santa’s Favorite Treat – Deborah Dolan Hunt
- Hero Cat’s Treat For Christmas – Lily Erlic
- Three Treats For Santa – Dawn Young
- Emma’s Turn – Beverly Warren
- A Sweet Escape – Tara Cerven
- How the Kvetch Hijacked Hanukkah – Paul Kurtz
- Best Christmas Ever! – Paul Kurtz
- Jungle Bells – Donna Kurtz
- My Bubbie’s Special Hanukkah Recipe – Donna Kurtz
- Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
- Santa’s Millionth Cookie – Heather Pierczynski
- Recipe For A Snowman – Kelly Pope Adamson
- A Fairy Tale Treat – Stacey Miller
- All I Want For Christmas – Laurie Carmody
- Double The Christmas Waffle Recipe – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- A Surprise For General Gingerbread – Brenda Covert
- Christmas Magic – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Special Report – Augusta McMurray
- The Reindeer Farm – Carrie Williford
- The Greatest Latke Topping – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
- That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles – Amy Flynn
- Believe In Christmas Magic – Linda Staszak
- Tortellini Day: A Family Holiday Tradition – Mona Pease
- Gingercats!– Amy Duchene
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Candle – Lisa Hutcheson
- Christmas Cookie Cuties – Kathy Mazurowski
- Biscuit’s Christmas Treat – Gabrielle Cardwell
- A Treat For Nana – Deborah Holt Williams
- Gobblewolly’s Gingerbread Goof – Jenny Buchet
- An Indigestible Treat – Jill Proctor
- Uh-oh, What Happened To The Dough? – JC Kelly
- Nutty Nut-Cracking – Ledys Chemin
- The Greatest Gift – Valerie Bolling
- Grandma Goodsnacks– Abbi Lee
- A Taste Of Peace – Pat Finnegan
- Andrés SAVES la Navidad – Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD
- The Case Of The Disappearing Candy Canes – Kristen Donohue
- Goodnight Zoolights – Kelly Pope Adamson
- With A Puff Of Snow – Yara C
- Santa’s Treat – Judy Sobanski
- A Wondrous Treat – Michelle S. Kennedy
- Hodgepodge – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Little Bot’s Crunchy Latkes – Deborah Bernick