Roses are red
Violets are blue
And so do YOU!
Hang onto your conversation hearts everyone! It’s time for . . .
The 5th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!
~ for children’s writers~
The Contest: since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels curious! Your someone can feel curious themselves or make someone else feel curious. The curiosity may be about a person, place, thing, quality, idea, event, or about whether something will happen or something is true or real, or anything else under the sun you can think up! Think beyond the obvious! Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone curious (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂 You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.) If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂 No illustration notes please!
Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below. There will be no regularly scheduled posts (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It or PPBF) for the duration of the contest, so this post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to 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 writesbynightlight1 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 no 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. 🙂
P.S. Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk. If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it. It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk. Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!
The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday February 19th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.) The winner will be announced Friday February 21st or Saturday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed. (And there will be no Tuesday Debut, WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.) The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!
Judging criteria will include:
- Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
- Creativity in using curiosity and success in making us feel the curiosity!
- Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
- Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
- Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
- Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂
The Prizes: Oh, so many wonderful things to choose from that will be of great help to you in your writing career!!!
– Penny’s Two Cents – an incredible opportunity for any picture book writer!
Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes six thirty-minute Skype/Google Hangout sessions with Penny. The sessions can be used anytime during 2020. Ask her anything related to writing for children and getting published. Up to two sessions can be used for general comments on a manuscript (not a full critique). Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Katey Howes, author of GRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press 2017), MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE (Sterling Children’s Books 2018), BE A MAKER (Carolrhoda Books, 2019), and the forthcoming RISSY NO KISSIES (Lerner/Carolrhoda Spring 2021)
– a spot in Making Picture Book Magic (Interactive or Self Study version – winner’s choice) – an online picture book writing course from Yours Truly. If you choose the interactive version, month to be mutually agreed on by me and the winner.
– Prize Pack #1 – a personalized signed copy of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA (Lee&Low Books 2016) by Sylvia Liu and the 2020 Guide To Literary Agents (which you may exchange for the Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2020 if you prefer)
Lee&Low New Voices Award 2013
– Picture Book Prize Pack – a personalized signed copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE (HarperCollins 2019) by Ashley Franklin and a personalized signed copy of NOAH NOASAURUS (Albert Whitman & Co 2019) by Elaine Kiely Kearns
– Picture Book Pack From Chris and Chris: a personalized signed copy of EMILY’S IDEA (Sounds True, March 2020) by Christine Evans and a personalized signed copy of HEY, HEY, HAY! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) by Christy Mihaly
– Historical Women Picture Book Pack: a personalized signed copy of QUEEN OF PHYSICS: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) by Teresa Robeson and a personalized signed copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books 2020) by Vivian Kirkfield
Asian/Pacific American Award Picture
Book and ALA Notable Picture Book
– A SURPRISE PACK! – 2 additional picture books (not signed) donated by Darshana Khiani (who will have her own book, How To Wear A Sari, out in Spring 2021!): What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider and Caspian Finds A Friend by Jacqueline Veissid
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! 😊
And now, lovelies, it is time for my traditional sample entry, since I feel I shouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do. . . 🙂
A Valentiny Mystery (184 words)
Mama’s working busily
Making something I can’t see.
“What’s that?” I ask her quizzically.
“Try to guess,” she answers me.
“It’s a little mystery.
I’ll give you clues. Think carefully,
And figure out what it could be!
It’s something red.”
What could it be?
“Ribbon? Wagon? Redwood tree?”
Ooh! I love a mystery!
“It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”
What could it be?
“Candy apple? Raspberry?”
Hmm… it’s still a mystery!
“It’s something heart-shaped perfectly,
And something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”
What could it be?
“A candy heart? A strawberry?”
Hmmm… it’s still a mystery!
“It’s something super sparkly.
And something heart-shaped perfectly.
It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”
What could it be?
“A sparkle-sprinkled chocolate cherry?”
Golly! What a mystery!
By now, it smells deliciously!
I know it’s super sparkly. . .
I know it’s heart-shaped perfectly. . .
I know it’s sweet and sugary. . .
It’s something red. . .
What could it be?
“I’ve got it!” I say gleefully.
“I figured out the mystery!
It’s my Valentiny cookie!”
Made by Mama just for me!
I warned you. . . 🙂
Never let it be said that I’m not willing to embarrass myself for you! 🙂
And now you all hopefully feel filled with confidence in your own entries because certainly they are all FAR better than that!
I can’t wait to read all of yours! I’m SO looking forward to them! I hope there will be LOTS – the more the merrier! And you still have until midnight Friday to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet. Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well. And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc. The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!
Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the list 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!) Please allow a few minutes and possibly refresh your browser before deciding that your link hasn’t posted and adding it a second time or emailing it to me.
Eager Readers – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories. And be sure to read the 90 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!
Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! 💕
Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories! Titles are direct links.
- Shelly & Saul – Sue Lancaster
- Bags Of Love – Laura Howard
- Some Bunny Loves You – Laura Howard
- I Don’t Need A Valentine – Deb Buschman
- Sending Love – Chelsea Tornetto
- My Sunny Valentine – Glenda Roberson
- What Makes Your Heart Beat? – Beth Brody
- The Perfect Valentine’s Playdate – Deb Sullivan
- The Heart – Nina Nolan
- Love And My Teddy – Tracy Curran
- Crazy, Foolish Love – Tracy Curran
- The Chocolate Beast – Megan Walvoord
- How To Fix A Broken Heart – Paul Roncone
- Little Card’s Purpose – Theresa Kiser
- Valentine Story 2020 – Shariffa Keshavjee
- A Robot’s Valentine’s Day – Susan Summers
- Mystery Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
- The Hunter Games – Anne Lipton
- Cupid’s Love Trials – Katrina Swenson
- Will You Be Mine? – Ryan Roberts
- Signed Sealed Delivered – Delia Black
- A Shelter Dog’s Valentine – Anne Bromley
- The Curious Concoction – Stacey Miller
- Crabby’s Heart Speaks – Rebecca Loescher
- Valentine Clue – Alicia Fadgen
- Cupid’s Confusion – Alicia Fadgen
- Cupid’s World – Alicia Fadgen
- The Perfect Valentine – Maryna Doughty
- Jigna’s Valentine – Gabrielle Cardwell
- Moe’s Valentine’s Day Discovery – Kelsey Gross
- The Rose Thief – Margaret Aitken
- The Egg – Rebecca Woodall
- How Do You Write A Poem? – Belen Medina Cabot
- Missing Hearts – Bru Benson
- An Antique Valentine – Abbi Lee
- My Piggy Valentine – Claire Lewis
- Romeo And Jellyette – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- The Lost Valentine – Ellie Langford
- Mia Flying Heart Girl – Lily Erlic
- Squirrel’s Surprise – Darci Nielson
- Sylvia’s Special Valentine – Vanessa Cicarelli
- This Arrow Is Narrow – Linda Staszak
- Valentine’s Day Is Gross – Ranessa Doucet
- The Art Of The Heart – Wikki Krawczyk
- Valentine Equation – Claire Bobrow
- Cupid’s Diary – Ketan Ram
- Valentine Broccoli? – Susan Drew
- The Upside-Down Heart – Mary Munson
- Who Could It Be From? – Ashley Congdon
- The Curious Case Of The Valentine Gift – Heather Kauffman
- My Heart’s Wish – Melissa Stiveson
- The Unquestionable Valentine– Deborah Boerema
- Whose Valentine Could This Be? – Michelle Howell Miller
- Mailbox – Amy Flynn
- I Miss You – Jarmila Kurucova
- What Is That? – Jyoti Gopal
- Katerina The Caterpillar Solves A Conundrum – Dina Towbin
- Beetle’s Valentine – Chambrae Griffith
- Scales Of Love – Caroline Perry
- Cupid And Curtis – Jen Bagan
- What If…? – Susie Sawyer
- A Valentine Surprise – Corine Timmer
- Where Is Love? – Emmie R Werner
- Will She Or Won’t She? – Elizabeth Volkmann
- Mystery Marks – Mary Warth
- Roosters And Roses – Paul Kurtz
- Computer Bugs – Paul Kurtz
- Boys – Yecchh! – Donna Kurtz
- Eight Legs Of Love – Donna Kurtz
- Secret Stash – Mia Geiger
- The Curious Kitten – Elsie Duffany
- What’s Love? – Ingrid Boydston
- An Unexpected Valentine – Michelle S. Kennedy
- How To Find Your Valentine – Cindy Williams Schrauben
- Peck! – Andrea MacDonald
- The Mailbox Mouse – Roo Parkin
- Pandora’s Peek-Not Pact – Jenny Buchet
- Dear Cupid – Marty Bellis
- Curious Kip – Kirsten Pendreigh
- Bernard And Robin: One Adventure, Two Friends – Susan Twiggs
- Scraps Of Love – Charlotte Sheer
- When Love Gives You Wings – Kate Thompson
- What If . . . A Valentine’s Story – Kelly Pope Adamson
- Cookie Memories – Judy Sobanski
- Wanted – Jill Lambert
- Always. Every day. No matter what. – JC Kelly
- Ophelia Divine – Sofia Dibble
- Bee My Perfect Valentine – Kelly Pope Adamson
- Joy Finds Love – Olivia Rehfield