Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #3!

I know.  It’s Monday.  When the last thing we need is confusion!

Here’s the situation:

It was brought to my attention that “Eenie Meenie Miney Mini” was a poor choice of name for my writing challenge.

I chose it innocently, thinking of the rhyme as a childhood game of random choice that was fun to say.  Nothing more.  I thought it a good representation for the challenge because it’s something kids (and kid lit writers) are familiar with and it represents making random choices, as we do with the prompt selection.

But someone more educated than I pointed out that it was based on a rhyme that was racist and potentially terribly offensive to anyone who knew its origin.

Now that I know, I cannot in good conscience keep the original name in such a public way.  I would never want to offend anyone.  So I have changed the name to the less-fun-to-say-but-more-appropriate Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge.  I changed the graphic and tried to go back and correct all the places I used the original term.  If I missed any I apologize and hope no one will be offended.

But it is still the same writing game and you are still in the right place!

Onward then, to the newly named but still the same

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)


Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #3 for Week of May 25:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), and with nursery rhymes and point of view. 😊   This week we’re going to play with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point!

Here’s the picture, drawn by the incredibly talented Julie Rowan-Zoch (illustrator of LOUIS by Tom Lichtenheld forthcoming from HMH October 6, 2020!) and used with her permission for your writing fun 😊 (Thank you, Julie!!! 💕)


illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2020 used by permission


These will be the characters in your story!

Now, choose character names from the following list and one of the plot points!

Character Name Plot Point
Mugsy Make a friend
Tick Tock Share a secret
Delphine Get in an argument
Henry Cook up a plan
Marigold Get in trouble

Write a 100 word story for kids about the pictured characters, using two of the name choices and one of the plot scenarios and post it in the comment section below!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by character names that are not on the list you can use them instead – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing, not specific names!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which plot point you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.


I’m going to have to skip my sample today – I have a deadline this week and I used up my blog post writing time on tasks I hadn’t planned for – but if I have time and can add a sample later in the week I will! 😊 Meanwhile, I am SO looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!  There have been so many amazingly creative, clever, fun, and entertaining stories written so far!!!

Now 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! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)


Check out the Week #3 stories!

Mugsy Shares A Secret – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf  (share a secret)

Time For A New Bird Feeder – Jess Murray (cook up a plan)

Who’s The Favorite – Sue Lancaster (get in an argument)

Ball Trouble – Genevieve Petrillo (cook up a plan)

Henry And The Wind-Up Chick – Rose Cappelli (share a secret)

Name Game – Brenda Whitehead (share a secret/make a friend)

Tick Tock Pip – Leslie Denkers (get in trouble/cook up a plan)

Pip’s Plan – Barbara Renner (cook up a plan)

Duck Hunt – Colleen Murphy

Henry And Marigold – Linda Staszak (make a friend)

Marigold And Mugsy’s Dance Battle – Jamie Bechtelheimer (get in an argument, make a friend)

Henry And Marigold Get In An Argument – Sara Ackerman (get in an argument)

Hank, Pip And The Garden – Susan Schipper (get in trouble)

Mugsy And Marigold’s Morning – Deb Sullivan (cook up a plan)

Delphine’s Secret – Linda Schueler (share a secret)

Pip’s Perfect Partner – Jill Lambert (cook up a plan)

Miss Marigold Fluffington – Susan Inez (hatches a plan)

A Day At The Dog Park – Matthew Lasley

Pip And Dip – Sarah Meade (get in trouble)

Tik Tok Of Zico – Candice Marley Conner (get in trouble)

Henry And Pip Make Friends – Marley Conner age 9! (make a friend)

Tick Tock Makes A Friend – Mary Van Beuren (make a friend)

Mugsy And Marigold – Cindy. S. Boyll (share a secret)

A Pal To Play With – Ashley Congdon (make a friend)

Dot And Edna: Chick Trouble – Deb Buschman (get in trouble)

Storm Secrets (Zack & Pip Share A Secret) – Di Litwer (share a secret)

Tick Tock’s Luck – Michelle S. Kennedy (get in trouble)

Different And Yet Alike – Eleanor Ann Peterson (get in an argument)

Marigold And Mugsy Hatch A Plan – Patricia Nozell (make a plan)

Henry And Marigold – Beverly Baird (make a friend)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Corine Timmer (share a secret)

Henry And Marigold Cook Up A Plan – Susan Krevat (cook up a plan)

Mugsy The Chick’s Tricky Trick – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (cook up a plan)

Pip And Zico Cook A Plan – Ketan, Aiyka & Ravi Ram (cook up a plan)

Pip And Henry – Mia Geiger (plot a secret)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Kristy Nuttall (share a secret)

Big News – Dawn Young (share a secret)

Untitled – Kay DiVerde (share a secret)

Butch And Kip Cook Up A Plan – Liz Kehrli (cook up a plan)

Limerick – Marty (make a friend, Delphine)

Untitled – Dot Anson (cook up a plan)

Pip And Delphine Cook Up A Plan – Tracy (cook up a plan)

Tick Tock (and GusGus) Come Up With A Plan – Penny Adler (cook up a plan)

Bing And ShickShick – Amy Flynn

Mugsy And Marigold Share A Secret – Alicia Meyers Kelly

A Chick For My Hat – Lily Erlic (cook up a plan)

Zico And The Fiesta – Katie Schwartz (cook up a plan)

Untitled – Lauri Meyers

Pip And Tick Tock Cook Up A Plan – Ugo Anidi




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! 😊

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 gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, suggesting them for school visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

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

270 thoughts on “Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #3!

  1. Lauri Meyers says:

    So cute Julie! And great starters Susanna!
    Chapter 1
    Psst! Mugsy!
    Who’s that?
    It’s me.
    Me who?
    It’s Marigold!
    Marigold my little yellow flying best friend?
    Yes, that Marigold!
    Chapter 2
    I’m on a secret mission.
    Do you want to know what it is?
    Then it won’t be a secret.
    Yes. It will be OUR secret.
    Oh yes, yes, yes! I love secrets.
    Chapter 3
    See that cherry pie?
    That cherry pie smells good.
    I’m going to taste it.
    I didn’t know you could make cherry pie, Marigold.
    I can’t.
    Oh. Secret mission.
    Chapter 4
    Do you see the lady?
    No, the lady is outside.
    I’ll perch on the pan and lean in very carefully.
    Marigold! You’re sinking! Mugsy will save you!
    Mugsy. Our mission made a mess.
    (Door opens)
    Our secret is out.
    She won’t know it was us.
    OUR secret.
    (Cherry paw prints in the kitchen. )

  2. Ugo Anidi says:

    Ugo Anidi
    167 words
    Pip and Tick Tock cook up a plan.

    Pip and Tick Tock watched Jide play with his new puppy and chicken from the shelf.
    “We have to do something!” Pip shouted. “I have dust in my eyes! He’ll forget us here!”
    “We’re only toys, they’re real.” Tick tock sighed. He looked at his feathers and the real chicken’s real and fluffy feathers. He shook his head
    Pip looked at his tongue and tail and the real puppy’s wagging tongue and tail. He sighed too. “But we have to do something! We can do things they can’t! I can do back flips and talk. The real puppy can’t! You can fly and crow anytime, that real chicken cant. and we can talk but they can’t! Turn me on and I’ll do the same for you. Let’s go play with them”
    And down they went.
    “Back flip Back flip” Pip said as he did back flips on the rug in front of Jide.
    “Jide, let’s play together” Tick tock said flying over Pip.
    And they all did.

  3. Heather Hatch says:

    (posting just for personal challenge)

    Pip(the dog), Henry(the chick-real-not wind-up) or share a secret. 598 Words

    ‘I know all about you, said the chick. You like cheese sandwiches, you sleep by the door socan race to the farmer first, you fluster the ducks and you think that face patch makes you look like a big bad pirate. But that’s a secret I won’t tell. And your name is Pip.
    Well, I know everything there is to know about you, said the dog. You hang with me, love chasing flies, and you’re almost as fast as me. You have 9 brothers and sisters, but you hope everyone thinks you’re a duckling because of your cute curly tail…and then, you’d be an only child. And you hate the dark- but that’s your secret I won’t tell. And your name is Henry.
    We know every body in this barn.
    We know everything about this farm.
    We need a new secret.

    They looked in the stable. They found Flicka swishing, but not a new secret.
    They looked in the coop. They found Henny Penney and Lucky pecking, but not a new secret.
    They looked in the Sheep fold. They found Wilma and Little Butthead, but not a new secret.
    They looked in the Granary. They found Tiger stalking, but no new secret there, either.
    They looked in the Pasture. They found Buttercup grazing. But still, no new secret
    They looked up the hayloft. There it was. They crept. They spied. They tracked.
    Now they knew something no one else knew.
    Sheep Does it give wool? I don’t think it gives wool, but it’s very curly on top.
    Cow Doesn’t eat grass, but we saw it roll in the grass, and It smashes it flat like Flicka the horse.
    They ran to the stable. “Flicka, Flicka! We have a secret! There’s a new animal in the barn. Can you guess?”
    “Humphh,” nickered the horse. ‘Can it pull wagons and carts?”
    “ Well, we saw it hitch onto something outside, with only two wheels”, said Henry and Pip.
    They skittered to the coop.” Lucky! Penny! We have a secret! There’s a new animal in the barn. Can you guess?”
    “Does it lay eggs? Will it live in the coop?” clucked the duck and hen.
    “ It doesn’t lay eggs but collects them like Henny”, said Henry and Pip.
    They ran to the sheepfold. “Wilma and Butthead! We have a secret! There’s a new animal in the barn. Can you guess?”
    “Does it have wool?” said Wilma and Butthead. “Well, it is very curly”, said Henry and Pip.
    They ran to the pasture. “Buttercup! We have a secret! There’s a new animal in the barn. Can you guess?”
    “Does it eat grass?” mooed Buttercup.
    “We don’t think so, but we saw it roll down a hill and squash it all flat, like Flicka the horse”, said Henry and Pip as they ran to the granary.
    Tiger, Tiger! ! We have a secret! There’s a new animal in the barn. Can you guess?”
    “ Can it hunt mice? “meowed Tiger.
    “We don’t think it does, but right now it is playing with your kittens!”
    At this, Tiger ran to the hayloft. All the animals gathered at the foot of the hayloft ladder, just in time to see the new animal come down the ladder. And right then, the farmer came in, too.
    “Kate? Kate! I thought you wanted to help with the milking. You probably found the new batch of kittens.” The farmer closed the barn door and led Kate, Pip and Henry to the milking shed.
    (Kate. The new animal was a Kate.)
    “I sure did! Such cute things. And who is this? And this? Said Kate, scooping up the chick on her shoulder, and the pup under her arm.
    “That’s Pip, and Henry, his sidekick. The cows are waiting for us now, but later those two will introduce you around. Nose and beak into everything! Henry and Pip know everyone.”
    “Great! And Grandma, can I name the new kittens?”
    The Farmer has a name! The didn’t know that.
    Henry looked at Pip. Pip looked at Henry.
    They had a new secret.

  4. Grinny Butler says:

    Zico Makes a Friend (Zico, Marigold, make a friend)
    by Sarah Hawklyn (Grinny Butler)

    What kind of bird was this Zico wondered?
    “Hello yellow bird. What’s your name?”
    He nudged her with his nose.
    The little bird wobbled and chirped.
    “You must not speak dog.”
    He patted his chest “I’m Zico. I don’t speak bird. I will call you Marigold. Would you like to play?”
    He bounced around to show her he wanted to play. He knocked her over in his excitement.
    “Oh, you must be tired. Shall we nap instead?”
    Zico gently picked Marigold up in his mouth.
    “We can nap together. I have the softest bed. We can be quiet friends.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s