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!
(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
*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)
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!
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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)
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.
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)
Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)
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):
If Animals Went To School (2019) If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)
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!)
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!
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!
The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)
Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness
The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty
This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward
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)