Posted in Short Stories

Spring Fling Writing Contest 2021

The Challenge

Find a gif and write a spring-inspired story. Anything related to Spring, geared towards kids ages 12 and under. 150 words max.

THE SPRINGTIME GROUCH

(150 WORDS)

Ever heard of the Springtime Grouch? The plague of Seedtime. The witherer of all that grows.

With the personality of stinky socks, he dines on slug curry and maggot rice. His favourite day of the year is Valentine’s Day; he celebrates by sneaking into the local greetings card shop and with a thick marker colours all the ruby-red hearts black. And he doesn’t even stay in the lines.

He’s a wet blanket, a stick-in-the-mud; all parties are pooped when he’s around. With Spring festivals and sunshine, the Grouch doesn’t care if the world is in bloom. His eyes – like two melancholy curled-up woodlice – are one blink away from murder.

The Easter Bunny should be stowed in a pot! The boiling kind.

If you happen to see him poking around your garden with his shovel of bats, don’t for Pete’s sake let him stay… Tell the Springtime Grouch to GO AWAY.

THANKYOU to everyone involved in this fab competition for their amazing generosity and for putting a spring in my step this year. I had so much fun bringing the Springtime Grouch to life!

And be sure to check out Ciara’s blog for all the other incredible entries from the wonderful kidlit community.

Posted in Short Stories

Fall Writing Frenzy 2020

The Challenge

Pick one of the Fall images (provided) and write a 200 word-max piece inspired by that picture.

Image (9) courtesy of Unsplash

My Entry: SKELETON CAREER DAY (195 words)

Blustering into the dingy café, the skeleton plonked his weary bones on the chair.

“How did it go?” said his rickety friend. “Did you share your ambitions?”

The skeleton leaned towards the candle in the centre of the table and his eye sockets lit up. “I told her I wanna be a crash-test dummy! I wanna save lives with my bones.” He waved his scraggy hand in the air, painting a picture with his phalanges.

“And?” His friend rubbed his hand-bones together. “What did she say?”

The skeleton hung his skull. “She said I didn’t have the stomach for it.”

His friend thoughtfully tapped his chin. “I thought you wanted to be a stand-up comedian?”

 “I did, but she said there’s not a funny bone in my body.” He gloomily swigged his pumpkin-spiced latte, which cascaded through his bones and puddled by his metatarsals. “I even volunteered to be part of a skeleton crew—”

“Oof, not many of those about.”

“What can I say? I was desperate!”

“So, what did she mark you down for, in the end?”

The skeleton slumped and rubbed a bony hand over his bony pate. “The usual. Halloween decoration.”

Posted in Short Stories

Spring Fling Writing Contest 2020

The Challenge

Find a gif and write a Spring-inspired children’s story, using a maximum of 150 words.

Snoopy & Woodstock gardening

My Entry: ‘THE JAMMIE DODGER TREE’ (149 words)

Archie Pickle firmly believed that a good day started with a pair of galoshes and a runcible spoon. Spring was springing and he had work to do before it was sprung.

“I’m planting a Jammie Dodger tree!” He dug a hole in the lawn and surrendered one of his favourite tea-dunkers. Watering it generously, he tapped the soil with his sole, marvelling at a job well done.

That night, the next-door neighbour twitched her curtains, grumbling to her long-suffering husband.

“That crackpot Pickle woman is digging up her front garden.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“It’s two a.m.!”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Any sane person would be in bed!”

Next morning, Archie shimmied on his galoshes and raced outside. A glorious, jamilicious treat-laden tree had sprung up.

Mrs Pickle gazed at the delicious wonder. “It’s magic,” she sighed.

Archie rolled his eyes, pointing at the spoon and the watering can. “It’s not magic, mum. It’s science.”

Posted in Short Stories

Valentiny Writing Contest 2020

The Challenge

To write a children’s Valentines story, in which someone feels curious, using a maximum of 214 words.

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My Entry: ‘CUPID CAPER’ (214 words)

“One last time.” The cop rubbed his jowl. “Where were you on the night of February 14th?”

The chubby cherub scratched his bottom. Wing-cuffed, because he was considered a flight-risk, Cupid had been in the windowless room for ten hours.

“I was at home, watching Love Actually.” With his rosy cheeks, bottomless blue eyes, and golden curls, he had the face of a criminal.

“Can anyone verify that?”

“Would you believe me if I said the Easter Bunny?”

The cop slammed his hand on the table. “Tell me how you did it, Mr Cupid!”

“I can’t do that, Chief Inspector.” There was a twinkle in Cupid’s eye, like a villain.

Furiously frazzled and utterly knick-knacked, the cop stormed out.

“Any luck, sir?” the rookie asked.

The cop took out his handkerchief and mopped his brow. “Diddly-squat.”

“But every year, sir, like clockwork: the switchboard gets inundated with calls of people falling in love!”

The cop hurled his handkerchief to the ground. “I know! And the culprit is in that room! What I don’t know is, how he does it.”

“The victims?”

“Don’t remember a blasted thing.”

“I’ve got a friend, married 25 years because of him. It’s scandalous!”

The cop chuckled mirthlessly. “Oh, he’s been playing this game a lot longer than that, sunshine.”


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Thank you to Susanna Hill for setting up this marvellous contest; to the judges for their time in judging all the amazing entries posted (an unenviable task); and to the prize-givers for putting the icing on the cake.

The Result:

I am absolutely over-the-moon to have been awarded an HONOURABLE MENTION for humour! Yay me!

Posted in Short Stories

KidLit Fall Writing Frenzy 2019

THE CHALLENGE:

To write a max 200-word short story inspired by one of the given images. Here is the one I chose:

MY ENTRY: ‘AUCTION MOUSE’

“Roll up, roll up!” A dapper sootish mouse with a permanently puffed-up chest and glint in his eye, tapped the edge of the Baked Beans can that he stood on, and cleared his throat. “It is the day after Halloween… And you know what that means? That’s right, Gentlemice! HOUSES FOR SALE!”

The town-mice edged closer; casting longing looks at the higgledy-piggledy pile of carved pumpkins lolling next to the wheelie-bin. They all wanted one.

“We’ve got big ones, small ones, ones with windows, ones with TWO windows…” the auctioneer rattled on, watching the eyes of his patrons grow wider.

“Five nuggets of cheese for the one with the crooked smile!” a portly mouse with a missing front tooth shouted from the back.

“TEN!” The old church-mouse narrowed her eyes.

“FIFTEEN NUGGETS OF CHEESE AND A BUNDLE OF FLUFF!” The tailor-mouse waved his paw, tripping over his mouselings who were hopped up with glee.

The auctioneer glanced at the pumpkins with their rictus grins. ‘Keep smiling’, he thought deliciously. ‘Halloween’s not over yet.’

“SOLD!”

THE RESULT

This was the first writing competition I’d ever entered, so I was absolutely DELIGHTED to have been awarded an HONOURABLE MENTION for “Fantastic Characterization”. Thank you to all those hard-working busy bees who organised and contributed to the contest. I’ll be sure to try again next year!