Announcing The Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!!!

Rise and shine, my friends!

It’s about time for some new high jinx and shenanigans!

Given the unusual circumstances we all find ourselves in at the moment, I bet you are all challenging yourselves each and every day!


There’s the What Can I Make For Dinner Out Of 1/2 A Cup Of Raisins, A Sleeve Of Saltines, And A Can Of Baked Beans? Challenge. . .

. . .the Total Body Workout On Top Of The Coffee Table Because That’s All The Space I Have Challenge. . .

. . .and the Lord Help Me How Will I Entertain The Children On What Feels Like The Millionth Evening Of Quarantine (If I Have To Play Candy Land One More Time I Will Have To Be Committed!) Challenge!

It is just possible that the novelty is beginning to wear off of these a teeny tiny bit. . . 😊

So I am here to offer you something new and different! (and feel free to use it to solve #3 above as well 😊)

When life is so topsy-turvy it can be hard to find the energy and motivation to write, so how about a little boost and a little encouragement with perhaps a soupçon of competition?

It’s time for

The First Ever Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge
For Children’s Writers!


Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

(Not a contest exactly… no room in the blog calendar, no time for judging, no gigantic prizes on offer…but still (hopefully!) tons of fun!)

Here’s how it works:

Starting today, each Monday until June 22 (which makes 7 Mondays total and will get us to the end of the school term) I will post a Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt for a 100 word story.  Post your story in the comment section for that week’s challenge (or if you have trouble posting it, email it to me and I’ll post it for you.)  At the end of the 7 weeks, everyone who has posted one story for each week’s prompt will

A) have 7 brand new stories to play with!  (Who knows? Your next picture book or even chapter book or longer might be sparked by something you write for the Challenge!)

B) be able to take credit for entertaining lots of stuck-at-home fellow writers and their kids (not to mention you’ll entertain yourself and your own kids!)


C) qualify to win a prize from the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Mystery Bag of Marvelous Prizes for Writers! (I’m not really expecting 400 people to complete this challenge… if that happens we will have to eenie meenie miney mo winners until we run out of prizes, but you will still win A and B above!)

You can compete with yourself to see if you can write all 7 stories!  You can compete with your writing friends to see if you can write more than they do! And if you want to get really competitive, you can all read the stories that are posted and “like” the ones you think are best and see who gets the most “likes” 😊 (If you do that there might be some special prizes…who can tell??? 😊)

When the going get’s rugged, children’s writers beat the blues by playing writing games and creating new stories to keep themselves and everyone around them entertained!

So here we go!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #1 for Week of May 11:

Choose one item from one or more of the columns below – minimum 1, maximum 3.  You can choose only one item (for example, one item from Column B), or you can choose one from Column A and one from Column C, or you can choose one each from Column A, B, and C – whatever combination you like depending on what you feel you need to spark your story.

Write a 100 word story for kids which includes at least 1 and not more than 3 of the items below.  Please either highlight them or list them at the top so it’s easy for me to see who has qualified for the challenge. (If you want to use a title, the title will not be included in the word count.)

Post your story in the comment section (or email it to me to post.)

Read, enjoy, and comment on each other’s stories! 😊

Here is today’s mix ‘n’ match list:

Column A Character Column B Setting Column C Emotion
knight birthday party cranky
alien school bored
camel beach jubilant

*For those of you who feel you would benefit from a little more structure, you can make this a Mother’s Day story – but that is a suggestion only for people who want it, not a requirement for this week’s story.*

So you might choose “camel” only.  Or you might choose “school” and “jubilant”.  Or “knight”, “beach” and “cranky”. . . (And you can throw in Mother’s Day if you want to 😊)

Get the idea?

In an attempt to answer possible questions I will say:

  • you can write as many stories as you want each week
  • you can post them at any time during the week (just make sure they’re on the Monday Mix ‘n’ Match Mini post for the week you’re entering – e.g. below for Week #1))
  • you can play catch up (so if you miss a week you can go back and add to an earlier week if you’re trying to complete the challenge and qualify for prizes as long as all entries are posted on the correct week and are posted no later than Saturday June 27th at midnight Eastern time.)
  • no illustration notes
  • if 2 or 3 items from one column are what get your creativity sparking, that is okay (e.g. you can use knight and alien if you want)
  • You may go over the word count if you’re on a roll and you wish to (because there is not judging 😊)
  • You may write in poetry or prose


Here’s a little sample to show you how it works:
(No comment on the dreadfulness of the sample 😊)

Week #1: camel, school (99 words)

Camel School

Cami was excited for school!

Would she learn reading? Writing? To count past 12?

“First class, Hydration,” said Miss Dromedary. “Try for 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes. Practice makes perfect!”

Cami couldn’t imagine drinking that much!

“Next, Spitting! Try for 120 feet. Practice makes perfect!”

Cami’s tongue flickered like lightning, but could she spit far?

“Now, Sand Running! A steady 25 mph. Practice makes perfect!”

“Even practice can’t make me that fast!” cried Cami.

Miss Dromedary patted her head. “This is Camel School, dearie.  Chameleon School is next door.”

“Phew!” said Cami, scurrying to join her friends.


And here’s a little sampling of the prizes up for grabs to whet your competitive spirit 😊 MORE TO COME!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small


Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin


15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe


Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)


Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA


The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)


Scythe by Neal Shusterman

So come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE!!! 😊

Check out the Week #1 stories!

How To Have A Camel Birthday Party – Brenda Whitehead (camel, birthday party)

A Knight At The Beach – Jess Murray (knight, beach)

Puddles From Pluto – Julie Abery (alien)

Untitled – Candice Marley Conner (knight, beach, jubilant)

Birthday Surprise – Genevieve Petrillo (birthday party)

The Knight And The Bouncy Castle – Little Cornish Writer (knight, birthday party, bored)

Andromeda And Nick – Cindy S. Boyll (alien, knight)

Carlos The Camel Goes To Revere Beach – Susan Reese Krevat (camel, beach, bored)

Chloe’s Extraordinary Bunny Beach Birthday Party – Corine Timmer (birthday party)

Wake Up Call – Jill Lambert (alien, school, cranky, Mother’s Day)

Cranky Camel At The Beach – Susan Inez (camel, beach, cranky)

Blast Off – Barbara Renner (alien, school)

Mommy’s Cranky Beach Baby – Jamie Bechtelheimer (beach, cranky)

Night Knight School – Matthew Lasley (knight, school, cranky)

How To Pet A Camel – Jeanette Jones (camel)

Untitled – Carmen Castillo Gilbert (cranky, birthday party, beach)

An Ode To Our Teachers – Michelle S. Kennedy (school)

The Uninvited Guest – Jarmila  (alien)

Knight Light – Margo  (knight)

Sir Grumpsalot’s Lesson – Dot Anson (knight, beach, cranky)

The Knight’s Princess – Linda Schueler (knight, birthday party)

Camel’s Surprise – Susan Schipper (camel, beach, jubilant)

The Birthday Party: A Circular Story – Rose Cappelli (camel, birthday party)

Alien Beach Adventure – Ashley Congdon (alien, beach)

Prehistoric Hairdo – Kristy Roser Nuttall (cranky)

Beach Bummed – Sarah Meade (beach)

The Cranky Alien On The Beach – Linda Boyden (cranky, alien, beach)

A Good Knight – Patricia Nozell (knight, school)

It’s Not My Party – Sarah Hoppe (birthday party, emotion of cranky but not the word)

Back To School – Deb Sullivan (school, alien, cranky)

Ulric, The Tap Dancing Knight – Brittany Pomales (knight)

If You Invite A Camel To Your Birthday – Sara Ackerman (camel, birthday party)

Grandpa’s Style – Leslie Denkers (jubilant)

Camel On Vacation – Dawn Young (camel, beach, jubilant)

Untitled – D. Litwer (alien, beach)

Alien Annie – Linda Staszak (alien)

Untitled – Mary VB (beach, knight, cranky)

(K)Night School – Bev Baird(knight, school)

Mr. Camel Needs A Break – Sue Lancaster (camel, beach, cranky)

Lost In Time – Colleen Murphy (knight, beach)

Sir Sunny – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (knight, beach)

Horace – Amy Flynn (camel)

Gismos The Alien – Everard Anson (bored, alien, jubilant, cranky)

A Limerick – Marty (knight, jubilant)

Pal – Mia Geiger (camel)

How To Homeschool An Alien – Liz Kehrli (alien, school)

A Knight’s Delight – Nancy Riley (knight, beach)

Zara’s Blooming Flower – Lori Himmel (camel, school, jubilant)

Cranky Camel – Deb Buschman (camel, cranky, beach)

Clanky Cranky – Laura Pomar (knight, school, cranky)

The Jubilant Beach – Ketan & Aiyka Ram (beach, jubilant)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (knight, bored)

Mix And Match – Shariffa Keshavjee (knight, bored, camel, alien, school)

Good Knight! – Lily Erlic (knight, beach, cranky)

Untitled – Penny Adler (school)

Show And Tell – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (alien, school, bored)

Aliens Have Birthday Parties Too! – Alicia Meyers Kelly (alien, birthday party)

LeeLee Croaks – Katie Schwartz

Untitled – Lauri Meyers (bored, knight)

Untitled – Ugo Anidi (knight, birthday party, bored)

297 thoughts on “Announcing The Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!!!

  1. Brenda Whitehead (@BrendaW_Prof) says:

    This was a fun writing prompt for this morning’s 5am writing session, thanks, Susanna! Here’s my story this week:

    HOW TO HAVE A CAMEL BIRTHDAY PARTY. (100 words–camel and birthday party)

    Step 1: Invitations! Double-check the sand-code… sand sector 333,888,333 is WAY OFF from 888,333,888! (I hate number humps!)

    Step 2: Prepare! Cactus cake? Check! Party hats for all the humps? Check! Camel-spit target game? Check!

    Step 3: PARTY TIME!! (What’s that you say? QUARANTINE??)
    • Eat entire cactus cake yourself? Check!
    • Put party hats on quickly-crafted sand-man friends? Check!
    • Play camel-spit target game alone? Che—- WHAT? NO SPITTING?! Nevermind…
    • Have a lonely birthday? … WAIT! Is that a mirage?? NO! It’s a socially-distanced Camel Birthday PARADE! WHOOP!

    Step 5: Bedtime! Lay down thankful for camel-caring friends. OUCH! (Those darn party hats!)

  2. ejessmurray says:

    A KNIGHT AT THE BEACH (81 words, knight & beach)

    Everyone says a knight at the beach is amazing, but knight just didn’t get it.

    Sand itched in his armor. His face-plate made smelling the roses impossible. And he was much too heavy to swim beneath the stars.

    What’s that? NIGHT, not KNIGHT?

    Oh! Got it!

    The crabs, the skunks, and the sea turtles can’t seem to tug off the K on their own. If only there were someone chivalrous around…

    Ah! You belong in a story book, a real hero!

  3. littleredstoryshed says:

    What fun, Susanna! Thank you for the encouragement to sit down and write something, however mini.
    Here is my story for week 1:
    PUDDLES FROM PLUTO by Julie Abery

    Watch out for puddles from Pluto!
    They are not really puddles, they are aliens in disguise called Plutonians.
    Plutonians are mischievous and tricksy, and their magic is strong.
    Just a few drops of rain, and they arrive in a flash.
    You did not see the invisi-puddle!
    You can’t get out of the infini-puddle!
    And WOOSH…
    You catapult skywards from the incredi-puddle!
    Luckily, they only last until the sun comes out.
    So, next time it rains, remember to take an umbrella
    …and watch out for puddles from Pluto!

  4. candicemarleyconner says:

    What a perfect way for me to procrastinate! Haha. Love your story, Susanna. I thought the ending was clever. Here’s mine at 99 words. I used knight, beach, and jubilant.

    Nikki was jubilant. She had just finished Knight School and her classmates had invited her to join them at the beach! After weeks of jousting, mace twirling, and saving princes, she was ready to relax.

    “I’ve never been to the beach before,” she said, daydreaming about all the fun.

    “I’ve flown over it lots,” her friend Gull squawked from the open castle window.

    “What should I pack?”

    “Towels, umbrella, and of course, your suit!”

    Clank, clank, clank. Nikki shuffled in the sand.

    Her classmates looked at her and smiled. “Nikki! You need a swimsuit! Not your suit of armor!”

  5. Kathy Halsey says:

    Alright, we got a challenge. Great posts so far! As always, the bar is high. I will join as I need distraction and direction right now. Ty, Susanna, as always for lifting us up.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I think we all need distraction and direction right now, Kathy. These are such strange times. If we can gather together, have some fun, and support each other, that’s what friendship and the writing community are all about! ❤

  6. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    birthday party story – 97 words – I’m in.

    Birthday Surprise

    Jack blasted out of bed. “I must be ready for my birthday party.”
    Mom acted natural in the kitchen. No happy birthday!
    Surprise party? Jack wondered.
    Outside he waited for his friends to arrive. He kicked dirt, practiced doing cartwheels, and rode his bike in circles. Nobody came!
    Jack checked the yard expecting balloons, streamers, and snacks. The yard was empty!
    “Worst birthday ever!” Jack stomped back inside.
    “Big day tomorrow, Jackie,” Mom said.
    “Yes, silly! Tomorrow is your birthday.”
    “Tomorrow!” Jack slapped his forehead and gave Mom the biggest hug ever. “Tomorrow will be awesome!”

  7. LittleCornishWriter says:

    The Knight and the Bouncy Castle- Knight, birthday party, bored

    When Griffin the Knight saw that
    Edgar the inventor had
    bought his new bouncy castle invention to
    Princess Poppy’s birthday party, his eyes
    shone as brightly as his armour.
    He was SOOOO bored, standing guard all day,
    waiting to protect her in case the troublesome
    Toothfires came creeping from their cave.
    He longed for a boing…for a bop…or a bounce.
    The jesters were having a fine old time
    so why couldn’t he?
    His chance came when the party feast arrived.
    The castle billowed in the breeze. Empty.
    Griffin tiptoed…and JUMPED!
    A saggy bag of…nothing.
    Oh, that pesky sword!

  8. Cindy S. Boyll says:

    Fun! Here is my entry, “Andromeda and Nick,” below:

    Andromeda Alien and Nick Knight were cranky. Nick lost his way to the castle and rode into a spooky forest. Andromeda was there star-gazing. She thought no human could find her. Alas, as she peeked through her telescope, Nick poked her with his spear. He didn’t mean to jab her but he was lost, without lantern, and his helmet offered little vision.

    Andromeda yelled an alien “aarrrrgh.”

    Nick yelled, “Sorry, fair maiden.”

    Fair Maiden? No one had ever called Andromeda fair maiden.

    She smiled. “Would you like to look at the stars?”

    Nick, who still could not see, said, “Yes.”

  9. Susan Reese Krevat says:

    Hello! I hope I’m posting this in the correct spot. Here’s my story:

    Carlos the Camel Goes to Revere Beach

    “I am so bored!,” whined Carlos the Camel.

    “Let’s go to Revere Beach and check out sand sculptures!” exclaimed Carlos’ mom.

    Carlos, his sister and parents piled into their Camel Cooper
    and drove off.

    Carlos’ father explained, “There
    is a sand sculpture contest every summer at Revere Beach. “

    Carlos and his sister just rolled their eyes in
    the back seat. Carlos reminded himself never to complain
    about being bored again.

  10. Corine Timmer says:

    #1 birthday party (100 words)

    Chloe’s Extraordinary Bunny Birthday Party

    Chloe stamped her feet.
    “Stupid virus,” she sputtered, as tears swelled in her eyes.
    “Now my friends can’t come to my bunny birthday party!”
    Her mother listened.
    “They have costumes already,” Chloe moped. “And presents.”
    “Perhaps we can host an online bunny party?” her mother said.
    “An online party?” Chloe muttered. “Uhmm, I guess . . . Maybe a challenge! Like, The Coolest Bunny Face? But what about my presents?”
    “Could it be that the postman delivered them?” her mother said, chuckling. “You can open them while sharing screen time.”
    “Yay!” Chloe cheered, as she bunny-nudged her mom.

    What a great idea, Susanna! Thanks for hosting this challenge. I look forward to reading the other entries.

  11. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    Thank you for another great challenge, Susanna! Here’s my entry:

    Wake Up Call
    By Jill Lambert

    (100 words—alien, school, cranky, Mother’s Day)

    Mother’s Day’s over,
    Mama is trying–
    “Wake up, son!
    He’s not complying.

    “Aww! Do I have to?”
    Zic whines from his pod.
    Why’s he so cranky?
    Hmm… that’s odd.

    “It’s Saturnday.
    Time to get dressed.”
    Zic won’t budge,
    tries to protest.

    “Why do I have
    school every week?
    I’ll learn on my own.
    Dad says I’m a geek!”

    “Even so, Zic,
    home’s not a choice.
    School is required.”
    (no-nonsense voice).

    Zic sighs. His bot
    flies his uniform in.
    He zips it on,
    flips a switch to spin.

    BAM! reappears
    at his alien school…
    doesn’t like going,
    but getting there’s cool.

  12. susaninez0905 says:

    Here’s mine! Cranky Camel at the Beach

    “We’re here!” Shouted Fox.
    “Can I remove the blindfold now?” Asked Camel.
    “Yes. I’m so excited!”
    “We’ve been walking like; forever, it better be worth it.” He nudged the blindfold off his face. “You’re kidding.”
    “What’s wrong?”
    “REALLY, the beach?!”
    “I love the beach. The wind, the waves, the sand: pure magic.” Fox sighed.
    “Let me tell you once more. Come closer so you can hear me.”
    Fox walked over to his friend.
    “I HATE SAND!” Camel shouted.
    “Okay, I get it.” Fox pouted.
    “I thought this would be different,” Camel groaned.
    “Well, you sit and pout. I’m going swimming.”

  13. Barbara Farr Renner says:

    Thanks for the fun challenge. Here is my entry:
    BLAST OFF (alien, school)
    by Barbara Renner
    96 Words

    Three – Two – One – BLAST OFF

    I climb – UP – UP – UP – through the clouds.

    A meteor – I swerve, nearly colliding with the North Star.

    I gain speed. I zoom past the galaxies – until – I go into slow motion. I glide through the dark. What’s that? It steps across my windshield.

    An alien! It has huge eyes and a round head. I take a picture. It slips out of view.


    My spaceship crashes.

    “Jonathan, it’s time for school, hurry up.”

    I crawl off my bed, pick up the cat, and sulk out of my room.

  14. Jamie Bechtelheimer says:

    This is so fun, thank you all for putting this together! Here’s my entry for Week 1 (181 words).

    Mommy’s Cranky Beach Baby

    “Ah,” said Mommy as she walked on the shore.
    “MAMAAAAA!” cried Baby, wiggling in Daddy’s arms.
    “I’m coming, sweetie!! Ooh, ooh! Hot! Hot!” Mommy jumped and jiggled across the burning sand.
    Baby laughed as Mommy took him in her arms.

    Mommy smiled as she held Baby’s hands and they toddled through the shallow waves.
    A big spray of salt water splashed into Baby’s eye!
    “WAHHHH!” cried Baby.
    “Oh, no!” Mommy fussed, “Let’s get a towel and wipe your eyes!”
    Mommy scooped up her Baby and ran back across the sizzling sand.
    “Oh, oh! My feet are on FIRE!”
    Baby laughed and cried and hiccuped while Mommy wiped his eyes.

    “Lunch time!” Mommy cheered.
    “Hooray!” Daddy cheered.
    “EAT!” Baby shrieked with delight.
    “Here’s Baby’s lunch, and Daddy’s… Oh no, I forgot MY lunch,” Mommy pouted.
    And then it was Mommy who cried, “WAHHH!”
    It had been a day.
    “MAMA!” Baby called.
    “Yes, Baby?” Mommy sniffed.
    Baby smiled and ran out onto the sand, jumping and jiggling.
    Baby squealed, “OOH! OOH! AH! AH!”
    Baby crashed into Mommy’s arms and they both laughed together.

  15. matthewlasley says:

    Week 1 Entry 85 words (Knight, School and Cranky

    Night Knight School

    The sign read “Knight School: All Are Welcome” and I thought it was a great opportunity to do something adventurous! I could be a brave knight and save damsels in distress, defend the kingdom from dragons and monsters, and have people cheer me on.
    But my father said I had to work at the family candle shop and had no time for such silliness!
    So now I am going to Night Knight School which is very hard when your teacher is a cranky Black Knight!

  16. Jeanette Jones (@TheFeltTipPen) says:

    How To Get a Pet Camel (100 words)

    If your mom takes you to the pet shop, she probably wants you to pick a fish, or a dog, or maybe even a ferret.
    She probably doesn’t mean you should ask for a camel.
    But you really, need a camel, you tell her.
    It could entertain your baby brother with rides while she’s cooking dinner.
    It could take over the car pool so she could stay home and relax.
    It could weed the garden and reach the high places in the garage.
    But, maybe she’s right. Maybe a fish or dog would be better. Though wait! What about a…

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    POSTED FOR Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD

    Eenie Meenie Miney Mini Writing Prompt #1 for week of May 11, 2020 – 95 words
    Words selected: cranky, birthday party and beach

    Mom, really?
    I’m too cranky to plan my sister’s birthday party!
    I’m really not that smarty!
    WHAAAT? This needs to be a theme party you say?
    You need great ideas right away?
    What about a beach party with shovels and pails?
    A Camelot one, knights and dragons with long tails?
    Bottles of suntan lotion and mini-surfboards?
    Or perhaps princess tiaras and magic swords?
    Plastic seaweed and umbrellas red and green?
    Wizards in tall hats making a scene?
    No, no, no mom! Please Mom! Give me a break!
    Don’t you see? This is all a mistake!

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    POSTED FOR Michelle

    An Ode To Our Teachers WC 104
    By Michelle S. Kennedy

    At first, staying home was exciting…
    The school shutting down was inviting.
    But then days became weeks,
    of kid’s shouting in shrieks,
    as us parents teach reading and writing.

    Doing math is now more than a chore.
    There are tantrums, and meltdowns galore.
    We can’t keep our youngsters engrossed.
    Our teachers are missed more than most.
    With our deficits hard to ignore, we just can’t take anymore!


    To the teachers we may have dismissed,
    or unfairly treated or dissed:
    We’re sorry. We just had no clue.
    We appreciate ALL that you DO!
    You’re dearly, and sadly so MISSED!

  19. Michelle Donny Kennedy says:

    Aw, thank you! I have many teacher friends and during this crazy time, I just couldn’t not recognize them for all that they do. (PS- I realized I typo’d- “kid’s” should have been “kids”. LOL)

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The Uninvited Guest

    “Did I send an invitation to Mars?” I ask the alien.
    His eye blinks. “B…D…” he says and hands me a flower.
    Since he’s giving me a gift, he might as well join the party, I decide.
    The room goes silent.
    What now? I turn on the music.
    My friends stay still.
    Not the alien.
    First, he does the moonwalk dance. Then, he swings until his skin lights up.
    “Wow!” I watch the cupcakes rise.
    One by one, we follow. Weightless, we swim in the air.
    “Cool!” everybody shouts.
    The alien shines.
    I hope this party never ends.

  21. Margo M says:

    Knight Light:

    I’m a princess that’s what Papa tells me.
    He tucks me in and Mama sings.
    After a story about the glory
    Of kingdoms and princes who turn Kings.

    Each night with kisses and cuddles
    Page by page they tell the tale
    Always stopping for the pictures
    every one with out fail

    I wonder if there’s a magic dragon
    In my closet hiding wishes
    My blue rug now a moat
    With swimming schools of fishes

    Mama plugs in my night light.
    A knight who’s jousting stick glows blue
    He keeps me safe within the darkness
    And helps me sleep the whole night through

    Can I sleep with all this wonder
    In my room and in my mind
    As Papa pulls my door shut tight
    my eyes are not too far behind

    I guess princesses do need protection
    From dragons and the dark of night
    Though I am always safe til morning
    I have my very own Knight Light.

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sir Grumpsalot’s lesson. by Dot Anson. (cranky, knight, beach)

    “Merlin, NO,” screamed Sir Grumpsalot.
    “You did this to yourself. You’ve been way too cranky.” The knight was waist deep in sand at the beach, with the hot sun beating down on his thick, shinny armour.
    “When you’ve learnt not to be so cranky, I’ll take you back to the castle! Enjoy!”said Merlin as he walked away.
    Sir Grumpsalot squirmed as the sweat ran down the inside of his suit. Each movement caused the sand to seep through the gaps. Now he was hot and itchy.
    “Why didn’t I just stand at the gates as I was told?” After an hour or so, he suddenly thought, “Oh I see!” And he stood perfectly still. Merlin returned after another hour sure that the knight had learned his lesson…. at least for today!

  23. Linda Schueler says:

    The Knight’s Princess
    by Linda Schueler

    “Look, my princess.” The knight pulled out his sword. “I have defeated the evil dragon.”
    The princess smiled.
    “Would the princess like a piece?”
    “Yes, Daddy, yes I would,” said the princess.
    “Then I will cut you one,” said the knight. “How big?”
    “A really big one, Daddy Knight.”
    “With lots of frosting?”
    “Yes, Daddy Knight. Lots.”
    Daddy Knight stabbed the sword into the dragon cake. He bowed and handed her the biggest piece.
    The princess licked the frosting from her fingers. “This is the best birthday party ever.”

  24. seschipper says:

    Thanks Susanna for providing a “fun” activity while “quarantining”!

    Here is my Week 1 tale! Words selected are: Camel, Beach, Jubilant !!

    Camel’s Surprise

    Caramel Camel decided it was time for her daily walk. It was a very warm, sunny day. Camel liked trekking through the desert sand. CC, as her friends called her, was very adventuress! She tried to walk in a different direction each day. Today was no different, CC sauntered about as the sun became stronger and brighter! CC trudged along, this was not fun! It was too hot. Suddenly, CC heard an unusual sound. It was the sound of waves crashing on a beach! CC was jubilant! Her adventure took her away from the desert to a sandy beach, just in time for a swim!

    Susan Schipper 🙂

  25. rosecappelli says:

    Can’t resist a challenge, Susanna! Thanks for all you do to encourage writers.

    The Birthday Party: A Circular Story (camel, birthday party)
    by Rose Cappelli

    Because the pony got sick, Clarence offered to give rides at Mikey’s birthday party.
    Because Clarence is a camel, Mikey’s mom ordered a truckload of sand.
    When the sand was dumped, hundreds of ghost crabs scurried out, scaring the kids.
    Because the kids were scared, they hid next door.
    Because the kids weren’t at the party, Mikey cried buckets of tears.
    Because the tears were salty, the crabs gathered for a swim.
    Because the crabs were contained, the kids returned.
    Because the kids returned, Clarence gave them rides…
    because the pony got sick.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Wow! Well done, Rose! Perfectly circular, and great job with the cause and effect! And I love the idea of a camel substituting for a pony at a kids birthday party! I have to admit, I thought he was going to misbehave and there was going to be a grumpiness or spitting incident, so I love that you went in a totally different direction!

  26. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    I love your story Susanna. This exercise helped give my son a topic for his writing as well.

    alien, beach


    It’s my first trip to the beach on Earth!

    The brochure shows soft sand, cool waters, and best of all, FREE spaceship parking!

    Oh no! I forgot the sunscreen. Argh . . . I’ll have to turn around. 

    Alright, let’s try this again. Go past Mars . . . turn left after the Moon . . . .  Uh, why so much traffic? 

    Finally! I’m here. Umph, of course. Free parking means no parking. I’ll just keep jetting around until . . . ah ha, there’s one. 

    Soft sandy beach here I come! 
    It’s soft, slightly rocky, and . . .

    HOT! HOT! HOT! 

    Where’s the cool water? Where’s the cool water? There!

    Ahh . . . cool water . . . . Wow, it’s a dolphin like from the brochure. Hmm . . . I don’t remember it having such a large jaw and . . . sharp teeth. 

  27. Kristy Nuttall says:

    Thanks for this fun challenge!

    Prehistoric Hairdo (cranky) Word Count: 100
    by Kristy Roser Nuttall
    One morning, everything made Tabitha cranky.
    Even Cats.
    Tabitha grumped.
    And slumped.
    And dumped all her toys out onto the ground.
    But her favorite doll’s hair got stuck in Mr. Dinosaur’s scales.
    Tabitha howled.
    She pulled on the doll, and stretched out Mr.Dinosaur until. . .snap!
    Mr. Dinosaur broke, but his tail was still stuck in doll hair.
    Her doll now had a prehistoric hair do.
    Tabitha gasped.
    But then her mouth twitched.
    She felt the crankiness start to crumble and bubble up into
    And laughs.
    And then she promptly stuck another dinosaur
    in her own hair.

      • Kristy Nuttall says:

        Thanks Sarah! I just realized I have a few typos in there, but at least I thought of a story today!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank YOU for kindly offering a lovely prize, Kristy! I’m glad you’re joining in the writing fun! As for your story, anything that ends with a giggling child sticking a dinosaur in her hair has my vote for believable and entertaining! 🙂

    • ptnozell says:

      What a wonderful way to change a cranky day to a giggle-filled day! I may just have to try this (especially if the hair salons remain closed much longer).

  28. sjwmeade says:

    Excited to participate. Thanks, Susanna! My word was beach.


    By Sarah Meade

    “We’re here!” Mom says.
    “Woohoo!” Brewer cheers. “Let’s swim!”
    “Yes!” Elena says. “But first: sandcastles!”
    “Done,” says Brewer.
    “No, a whole kingdom.”
    Brewer sighs.
    “Ready to swim?”
    “Almost! But first: sand names!”
    “Done,” says Brewer.
    “No, our whole names.”
    Brewer scowls.
    “I want to swim!”
    “Me too,” says Elena, “but first: a snack.”
    “Done,” says Brewer.
    “Now I’m thirsty.”
    Brewer groans.
    “Are you ready NOW?”
    They race toward the waves.
    Elena runs back under the umbrella.
    Brewer trudges back.
    Rain pelts their kingdom and erases their names.
    “I really wanted to swim,” Brewer mutters.
    “You know what?” says Elena. “Let’s go!”
    Brewer blinks.
    He looks at Mom. She nods.

  29. Kristy Nuttall says:

    Sarah I love how you capture the excitement of beach day and how you build up the tension of him wanting to swim NOW! And your onomatopoeia is delightful! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Now I just wish I could go to the beach.

  30. Linda Boyden says:

    The Cranky Alien on the Beach 100 words
    It was a mistake, Zeph thought. One sneeze, all ten of his eyes shut, and Zeph was stranded.
    “This stuff clogs my rotaries so I can’t move! How I miss my sweet home Patootles, where it’s always green!”
    Zeph gnashed his silver teeth and raised all twelve arms when a voice said, “Dude? Need help?”
    Zeph had heard tales of such aliens, with only two eyes, arms, rotaries, and who stretched to the clouds.
    Soon, alien hands lifted Zeph up and carried him to safety. “May the force be with you, little dude.”

  31. ptnozell says:

    For all those tired of hand washing, it could be worse…

    A Good Knight (Knight, School, 100 words)

    Terry was champion dueler, top dragon-fire extinguisher, and premier prince-in-distress rescuer at Sunnybrook School for Medieval Wannabes.

    But when Sir Shadylake commanded thirteen daily hand washings, Terry was dumbstruck!
    Befuddled! Distressed!

    Pulling each chain-linked glove off, washing, and then refastening link by link left no time for tournaments. How could she become a good knight?

    Terry pleaded, but Sir Shadylake stood firm as an oaken door. She reasoned, but that sparked fiery replies. She fled to the tower, but quavering princes filled it.

    Finally, Terry speared soap. She sniffed. “Snapdragon-scented! My favorite!”

    She lathered up and earned the knight-with-shining-fingers award.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Love this, Patricia! Ver well written! Love “top dragon fire-extinguisher” and “premier prince-in-distress rescuer” (so nice to have a girl be doing the rescuing for once and the princes in distress!) and it never even occurred to me how much more trouble it would be to wash your hands a million times a day if you had to take your chain-linked gloves off every time! Tons of fun – thanks for joining in!

      • ptnozell says:

        Thanks, Jill. Handwashing doesn’t seem so bad now after I thought about how much more difficult it could be for others, like my knight.

      • maryvb says:

        Hi Susanna,

        Thank you for this contest!

        I posted a story, but do not see it listed with the others. I’m wondering if I didn’t post it correctly.

        I’ve copied and pasted it below.

        Thanks so much, Mary van Beuren


        Charlie was stuck inside of his pop-up beach tent. A figure in a metal suit rolled up to the tent.

        “What doing?” Charlie asked.

        “Shining my armor, laddie,” said the knight.

        The knight tried to stand, but couldn’t. He plopped down with a cranky, “Hmph.”

        Charlie dug into his mommy’s beach bag. A hair brush!

        He brushed and brushed the sand away.

        The knight stood, took out his sword, laid it upon Charlie’s right shoulder, then his left. “I deem you Sir Charlie,” then, squeakily walked away.

        Charlie’s mom turned around and said, “Ah, Charlie, I love lazy, summer days.”

        “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust


  32. Sarah Hoppe (@Sarahlhoppe) says:

    It’s Not My Party
    Sarah Hoppe
    WC 115
    Words: birthday party, shows the emotion of cranky (but not the word)

    Today is Tony’s birthday party.
    Not mine.

    Tony’s backyard has race cars and streamers everywhere.
    Not a dinosaur in sight. Growl!

    Race car games…
    With race car prizes. Argg!

    Cake time! Dinos love cake!
    Tromp, tromp, tromp – wait, what?
    Red velvet with black frosting – howl!

    Stomp! Bellow! Sigh, sniffle.
    Then everyone speeds over to…
    The race car piñata. Grrr!

    But dinos are good at smashing stuff.
    Crash – off pop the tires! Bash – out go the doors!
    Down come the…

    Race car treats? ROAR!

    “Look,” says Tony, “a dino car!”
    I guess a dino could drive a race car,
    Just for today.

    Woop! Zoom! SCREECH! Yipee!
    It’s not my party, but race cars are definitely dino-mite!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story and clever ending, Sarah! It’s hard when the birthday boy has the wrong idea about what kind of party to have (and it’s not your birthday!) but I’m glad it worked out at least a little in the end 🙂

  33. Deborah Agranat Sullivan says:

    Week #1: School, Alien, Cranky (96 words) by Deb Sullivan

    Back to School

    Desk looked out the window.
    “School is too quiet,” he said. “Where are the kids?”
    “Maybe they moved out of town,” replied chair.
    “ALL of them?” asked desk.
    “I bet they blasted off to space!” said chair.
    “We would have heard that,” said desk, growing cranky.
    “I think aliens took them!” said chair.
    “They’d never take Bronson,” desk replied, rubbing his dented leg.
    Then, Mr. Whipple came in. He wore a mask.
    Desk slid back, chair got sprayed and rug moved out.
    Bus turned the corner.
    Desk looked out the window.
    And smiled.

  34. brittanypomales says:

    Ulric, The Tap Dancing Knight (98 words)

    Ulric was a KNIGHT with clunky armor.
    Perfect for fighting but too heavy for…dancing.
    A knight without grace, he could not waltz or ballet

    So instead he rode and raced to the caves.
    Where a dastardly dragon was rumored to live.
    Ulric drew his sword and tip-tapped inside.

    Dragon sidestepped. TIP TAP went his talons.
    The tip-taps continued from both knight and dragon
    and soon the fight turned into tap dancing!

    Their tip-tapping echoed out through the woods.
    Knights rushed in at the sound of the noise.
    And the dancing duo bowed to a clank of applause.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    If You Invite a Camel to Your Birthday (100 words)

    If you invite a camel to your birthday, make sure he doesn’t knock over the decorations with his hump.
    And if the decorations tumble down, the cake will still be delicious.
    If you invite a camel to your birthday, make sure he doesn’t spit on the cake.
    And if the cake gets drenched, then you can open presents sooner.
    If you invite a camel to your birthday, make sure he doesn’t trample the gifts.
    If your guest destroys the decorations, the cake, and the presents, he will want to make it up to you.
    Let him.
    [sign: Camel Rides!]

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Grandpa’s Style (110 words) jubilant

    My Grandpa is my favorite playmate and not because he plays Find the Quarter with me. My Grandpa has style. He calls me ‘mi amor’. That means ‘my love’ in French.

    When asked ‘how are you?” my grandpa says ‘Marvelous’, or ‘Just Marvy’ for short.

    When we eat Grandpa says ‘Delicious’.

    On my birthday Grandpa said, “I am jubilant to see you!” Then he winked and whispered, “that means ‘overjoyed’.”

    “I am jubilant to see you too, Grandpa.”

    Last week our cat had kittens and I gave them names.
    Marvelous, Delicious, Jubilant, Mi Amor, and Goliath, (‘cuz he’s the runt). Grandpa now has style and kittens . . . .

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Such a cute story, Leslie! I love how Grandpa’s personality comes through! My grandpa used to say, after dinner, “I’ve had an ample sufficiency” (which was his much more polite way of saying “I’m full!”) and the grandpa in your story makes me think of that 🙂 And I totally love the kittens 🙂

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Week #1 CAMEL ON VACATION (88 words, camel, beach, jubilant)

    Dawn Young

    Jubilant Caramel prances along the beach swaying her hips from left to right. The waves roll in and out as Caramel thinks

    about her previous life back in the hot dessert sun. I love the feel of the soft white sand between my toes.

    I am so happy the Zoo Keeper stopped to ask for directions. The trailer door popped right open with one kick, BAMM!

    All I need now is an umbrella, a blanket, some sun glasses, and a sign that says: CAMEL on VACATION!

  38. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Week #1: Aliens, Beach (105 words)
    by D. Litwer

    Four aliens peeked out.
    “Oooooo!” “Awwww!”
    Luminescent waves ebbed and flowed along the edge of the beach.
    “I will collect more fuel for our spaceship,” said Papa Alien. “I will help you,” said Mama Alien.
    “Can we explore?” asked the alien children.
    “Yes, but don’t go far,” said Mama Alien. “Watch out for strange creatures,” warned Papa Alien.
    The alien children gathered souvenirs to show their friends back home.
    A huge creature emerged from the ocean.
    “Aaaaaah!” screamed Brother Alien. “Run!” screamed Sister Alien.
    “Time to go,” called Papa Alien.
    “That was fun! Can we come back again?”

  39. Linda Staszak says:

    Susanna, thanks so much for spreading some sunshine on these dreary days!
    Linda Staszak. 98 words, Alien

    Annie tightened the final bolt on her spaceship, fastened the seatbelt, and blasted off with a deafening roar.
    Mom dashed outside, yelling and waving.
    Annie watched the earth grow smaller and smaller. She smiled at the man in the moon, steered around him and went on her way.
    She hoped Mom wasn’t too worried.
    Finally, she spotted the new planet. She landed and climbed down the ladder.
    A small creature pointed at her. “Look Daddy, it’s an alien.”
    Annie giggled. “I’m not an alien. You’re an alien.”
    Then she blasted off once again—it was almost dinner time.

  40. Elizabeth Westra says:

    Is it too late to enter this? How and where do I start? This sounds like so much fun!

    Elizabeth Westra

  41. maryvb says:

    Week #1, Beach, Knight, Cranky: 100 words. (Newbie to all of this…)

    Charlie was stuck inside of his pop-up beach tent. A figure in a metal suit rolled up to the tent.

    “What doing?” Charlie asked.

    “Shining my armor, laddie,” said the knight.

    The knight tried to stand but couldn’t. He plopped down with a cranky, “Hmph.”

    Charlie dug into his mommy’s beach bag. A hair brush!

    He brushed and brushed the sand away.

    The knight stood, took out his sword, laid it upon Charlie’s right shoulder, then his left. “I deem you Sir Charlie,” then squeakily walked away.

    Charlie’s mom turned around and said, “Ah, Charlie, I love lazy summer days.”

      • maryvb says:

        Thank you, Susanna! Very funny about the mom brushing her hair – I hadn’t thought it through to that point! This is such fun – thank you for the challenge and prompts!

  42. bevbaird says:

    Such a fun challenge – such great stories. Here’s my entry:

    (K)Night School (100 words – Knight and school)

    Benny couldn’t believe his luck. “Is this Knight School?”, he asked when his call was answered..
    “Yes it is. We’ve lots of classes available.”
    “Can I ride a horse?”
    “Practice with a sword?”
    “No.You’d best check online for classes. We start next week.Most run from 7 to 9 P.M.”
    “At night?”
    “Yes. It is night school after all.”
    “But I go to bed at 8!”
    “But you wanted night school.”
    “No, I wanted to learn how to be a knight.”
    “Best bet – call Medieval Times,” The man hung up.
    Benny smiled. Medieval Times would be perfect.

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