Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Minute Challenge: Writing prompt contest for teens & up!

A quick writing challenge (and contest) to help get your creative juices flowing for the new week.

  1. The entry must be between 150 - 300 words. (In order to see how many words your entry is, write it in Microsoft Word, or you can copy and paste it here.)
  2. The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  3. The winners will receive a badge for their blog, as well as extra points (see the point system below).
  4. The winner will be chosen based on the judges's preferences, as well as the following questions: Does this entry capture my attention immediately? Does it make me want to continue reading? Is the writing clear? They will also take into consideration the writer's voice and style--not necessarily technical issues, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. 
  5. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)

Since the point system has caused a bit of confusion recently, I have decided to take a different approach.

From now on, I will host a monthly giveaway, and one winner will be announced every four weeks. 

But don't worry! You can still receive a prize from the points that you have earned up to this point. Click here for more info

Keep in mind that you are in charge of your points from now on. If you win a contest, the only way that you will receive your points is by clicking the entry below. 

Also, if you have already liked my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter, etc. then make sure to click those entries as well in order to receive your points. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


There will be one randomly-selected winner chosen from the above raffle each month. They will have the choice of receiving one of the following prizes:

  • A critique on of one of their MMC entries
  • A blog critique
  • A 300 - 600 word critique on your novel, short story, blog post, etc
  • The opportunity to judge one of the contests
  • A free ebook of PURPLE MOON
  • A special surprise sent to your mailbox (snail mail, not email)


The judge panel chooses these winners based on a point system (not to be confused with the point system mentioned above!).

Keep in mind that the judges are not aware of which entry belongs to which participant until after the judging is complete.

The entries that the judges thought was the most intriguing (based on rule #4) is ... 

Third place winner: 

I trudge through the snow, fingering the spot where the string of the bow connects with the nock of the arrow. Glancing over my shoulder, I catch a glimpse of Jace moving through the woods, as silent as I. Tessa and Anna are counting on us to find food. The wind is chilling and snow falls heavily from the sky. I can barely make out the trees in front of me. My breath comes as a fog from my mouth. The woods are silent. I pause. 'The woods are too silent.' My instinct kicks in and I start to slowly make my way back to the cabin. Jace appears beside me. "Find anything?" He whispers.
"No. But something isn't right." I glance from side to side, trying to find what is making me uneasy.
"You sense it too?" Jace asks, cocking his shotgun. I nod slowly. The silence is broken by a piercing scream. Jace and I stop for a second, then make a mad dash for the cabin. "Tessa! Anna!" I scream. Another scream from the cabin. By the time we get there, it had gone silent for four minutes. The door is open, swinging freely in the wind. We run inside and find it torn apart. "They found us." I whisper. I hold my bow at the ready and go into the room that Tessa, Anna and I shared. It is empty, and there is a small drop of blood on the blanket on Anna's bed. "Darcy! Get in here!" Jace yells. I sprint into the other room, and find him holding something in his hand. It is a small, silver ring. The insignia on it: a tree crossed by a sword. "It's The Union." He says. "The Union got them."
Congratulations, FlyGirl! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

I wheeled my chair across the dirt yard by the stable. It had been years since I had been near a stable or a horse, but less this stable, and the horse I was here to see. There was a fear deep down inside that my horse wouldn’t recognize me. We had gone through so much, my horse and I. We had raced in various races, around the United States, winning a few of them. It wasn’t until we started racing in other countries that we had any problems. I shouldn’t have raced Dawn after she hurt her leg while being moved onto the ship, bound for Europe. When I saw her limping across the deck when the ship docked in England, I knew then that I shouldn’t race her, but I did. Dawn stumbled and fell before we had even finished a quarter of the race.
A smiled light my face and a laugh gurgled up my throat as I saw my beautiful horse walk over to my wheel chair. She nuzzled my face, nickering softly. And I knew all was right between us. I leaned my face up against her forehead. I would give anything to be riding on her back again. I ran my hands down the side of my face, enjoying the smell and feel of a horse, of Dawn, again.
Congratulations, MaryClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

First place winner: 

Was what I desired most really worth what it would cost me? The question echoed in my mind as I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable. She said it would cost me; I nonchalantly replied that I didn’t care. I would take the outcome like the healer that I was. She passed her hand over my forehead, spoke a few strange words, and was gone. Things would change any moment now.
I opened my eyes, but it was as if they were still closed. It made no difference how many times I blinked and looked for the sunshine. I couldn’t see anything. There was no reason to be worried, though. Yes, it was baffling… but I had never felt so safe. Surely nothing could hurt me here, no matter how frightening it seemed. Nothing could ever hurt me… and there was no one that meant me ill will. Anywhere.
Suddenly I woke from what seemed to be a dream to see my friends lying on the ground around me. A happy cry escaped me, but it died away in my my mouth. They were dead. They were gone. All of them. So much blood...   
A half-scream, half-sob escaped my lips and I wrenched my gaze away from the sight. So much despair running rampid amidst the chaotic ruin of this nightmare. I wept into my wrist and the tears dropped onto the back of my hand singly. Who could have brought such pain upon the people I loved most?
Suddenly I couldn’t bear the thought of looking at my hands. 
Congratulations, Elisabeth! Click here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

  • Submit your response in the comments below, or post it on your blog via InLink (below -- you will receive 2 extra points!). 
  • Your response should range between 150 - 300 words. 
  • The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  • If you'd rather not submit your post in the comments or on your blog, you may email it to me instead.

Choose at least one:

Note: You can always combine the prompts into one entry.

(Optional) Write a passage continuing your entry from last week week (or whichever week you'd prefer). If you can, try to continue it using one of the following prompts.
  • Write a passage using these items: old hat, blue gem, polaroid camera (submitted by FlyGirl)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Sofia)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run. (submitted by FlyGirl)
*If your prompt was selected, be sure to claim your points here

Post your entry on your blog!:

If you're posting your entry on your blog (+2 points), please add your link below rather than in the comments. And don't forget to claim your points here!

Submit your prompt idea!:

The prompts that are used for Monday's Minute Challenge are submitted by the participants. Here's how this works:
  • You will be able to submit 3 prompts each week in the same format as above: three objects, one picture, and a piece of dialogue or phrase.
  • On Mondays, I will choose 3 prompts that have been submitted by 3 different people.
  • If your prompt is selected, you will receive 2 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below.

Current Judge Panel:

  • Tessa Emily Hall
  • Kate Petty
  • Caroline George
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  1. Wow!! You guys don't want to know how excited I was to win second place. I don't think I have ever won anything more than an honorable mention! Thanks for the votes guys!
    My prompts:
    Three objects: Banjo, Curly hair and Tomatoes.
    Sentence: S/He (I, or name) didn't see this coming.

  2. Oh my wow! I can't believe I got third place! I've never gotten anything above honorable mention!

    Anyway, congrats to all!

    Here are my prompt submissions:

    Sentence: There was no way to keep this from happening... but I have to try.

    Items: snow, high boots, snowmobile

    And here is my entry for this week. It is 273 words long and I used the item prompt.

    I struggle to keep my old hat on my head as the wind gets harsher and harsher. Klepner keeps a firm grasp on my arm, ushering me along silently. He holds me steady on the edge of the bridge. "Poor, poor girl. Harper, if you had just stayed quiet and minded your own business."
    "I still would have helped Mrs. Hunter. All this would have still happened." I yell over the wind coming off the Thames. All this because of a blue gem. All this because I agreed to help her find her daughter. All this because I'm a Holmes. I glance at the six year old girl standing beside me. Her face is white with fear. Klepner gestures to the bridge. "I'd like to keep your camera... you know, it could sell for a bundle on EBay." I slowly release the Polaroid, dropping it to the concrete. I won't be needing it anymore. "Klepner!" A voice yells. Klepner turns, keeping my face at the rushing waters. Even though I can't see the face that belongs to the voice, I know who it is.
    "Anthony." Klepner sneers.
    "Let her go." He says, and I feel Klepner's grip tighten and force me closer to the edge, along with Daisy.
    "If you wish them dead, Anthony, by all means come closer." Klepner says. I twist my head. Anthony stops walking. In a swift move, I drive my elbow into Klepner's sternum. He releases me and Daisy, who runs to Anthony. Klepner drops to the pavement. I look back at Anthony. "Keep her safe. I... I'm sorry." I turn back towards the edge.
    And I jump.


  3. I used the sentence prompt and it's 295 words.
    Close by, the castle rose out of the forest, curved slender towers against the sturdy forest trees. Against this whimsical backdrop, the sky shone in soft morning light as clouds with the colors of plum and raspberry barely obscured the sun. Ahead of me, the path split, one fork up to the castle, and one away. I stood at the crossroads.
    But I'd come here on a mission, one I needed to fulfill. I moved up the path the damp, earthy scent of the forest achingly familiar. Completely normal, I thought. Normal like when I'd been here last.

    Sighing wind rattled the tree tops—somewhere just ahead of me a bird chirped in alarm at my approach. Maybe that little bird knew the unwelcomeness of my intrusion here. Even if everything went perfectly, even if they did not kill me on sight I still could never return.

    Sunlight reached the forest floor in splatters through the breaks in the roof above. I could not see the sky from my place on the path, but I had walked a while.

    Then the forest abruptly stopped, breaking out into a large clearing. Straight ahead, the castle rose unobstructed by forest trees. Pangs of homesickness hit me with the force of a river. Possibly only I knew of the secret passageway at the end of the servants corridor, of the hidden window just behind the throne room that gave a stunning view of the village, and of the crown, hidden hurriedly below the floorboard of the princess's bedroom.

    Lost in thought, I didn't even notice the sound of horses until too late.
    Shouts of “Get her,” rang out.
    It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run. No point dieing until I'd finished my mission.

  4. I used the picture and the item prompts and my story is 300 words.

    The church bells rang out clear and crisp, echoing off the mountain walls and startling the birds from their tree-top perches.
    Finally, the day had arrived when my brother would forever be joined to his bride in holy matrimony. And I couldn’t be happier, after all, I had done a fair bit of matchmaking to get them to this point.
    Cecily looked over her shoulder at her reflection in the floor length mirror. She was a vision of beauty from the delicate blue gem hanging around her neck to her dainty shoes peeking out from under the dress.
    Aunt Polly bustled in with the veil draped over her arm. “We just need to pin this on you and we’ll be ready to march down the aisle.” She reached a plump hand up to smooth the hair under an old hat on her head which had certainly seen better days. Nevertheless, as far back as I could remember if there was a special occasion that hat came out of the mothballs to make an appearance.
    “Would you believe it, your Uncle Steven actually brought along that Polaroid camera of his as if that thing is going to take any pictures worth remembering.” Cecily and I smiled.
    A knock sounded on the door and one of the bridesmaids stuck her head through. “Ready when you are.”
    Five minutes later found us lined up in the hall outside the sanctuary door. The brides maids went first, then the flower girls and the ring bearer. Then it came time for Cecily and her father to take the walk with me carrying her dress train.
    I listened to them say their ‘I dos’ and watched as they sealed their promise with a kiss.
    I sighed happily. Now I could look forward to nieces and nephews.


  5. My prompt ideas.

    Picture prompt:

    Item prompt: puppy, blanket, head phones.

    Sentence prompt: They say trust is easily broken like a spiders web but certainly the heart is likewise.


  6. I’m so sad to have missed last contest, but I had a hectic two weeks! Here’s to this week!
    It was a strange little idea. Good concept but “eh” for execution. Not my best, but I went with it :) I hope you all enjoy.

    Story:: The Mountains Cry for Music.
    Prompt:: Photo
    Words:: 300

    “Sing me a song of a lass that is gone. Say could that lass be I…” Delicate notes fluttered on the mountain breeze through open halls of the small chapel. A figure clad in white sat reserved at the bench of a piano. “Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye.” Her hair gleamed like silver as slender hands caressed the song out of the instrument. A blissful moment of fantasy. Then, too soon, each note died and fell to the wooden floor echoing a deafening silence. Reality struck.

    The faded figure sat in dull grey at the bench of the piano. Her hands were in her lap. She had never dared to touch the black and white keys. A melody had never been born, and the Spirit of Song was alone.

    Her voice was empty, wishing to utter a thousand things, a thousand notes rhythms and crescendos. None could exist. Not without a player. A singer. An artist… And without their voice, the mountains were a lonely place.

    As the brilliant blue sky echoed its tone off the jagged peaks, the Song slipped away. She retreated down the hall, but not too far nor too soon to witness the miracle occurrence. Worn oaken doors opening; young weary girl entering. The visitor. The one who came. What seemed like an eternity- then notes playing.

    She picked up a few crisp words:

    “My own Mountain silent long, join my melody, join my song…”

    The notes echoed off the mountains themselves.

    The player interrupted herself, stopping fingers from grazing over keys.
    “What a foolish medley. Could a mountain sing?” She asked the emptiness.


    The musician turned abruptly, her eyes meeting with the brilliant blue of the Song’s

    “And I believe you could make it sing again.”

     Lace

    Prompt Submissions:
    1. Juice box, salamander, shovel
    3. It was all a lie, an elaborate, beautiful, terrible lie.

  7. Here's my entry. It's 300 words long. I used all three prompts.

    I felt in my bag for my Polaroid camera, the hundredth time I had done so since I'd left the house. Still there. I relaxed and lowered myself to the ground, drinking the very last of my water. As I returned the bottle to my bag, something caught my eye. Picking it up, I found that it was an old hat that was dirty from being outside for so long. Tossing it back on the ground, I caught sight of something else among the pine needles. I pulled it out, realizing it was a journal page: 'It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run.'

    It startled me, and I stood up, eager to be gone from that place. I hadn't gone far when a thrashing noise sounded behind me. My legs suddenly found that they could indeed run up the steep mountainside. "Why me? I'm not bothering anybody. I just need a picture of-" I realized then that that was exactly why I was being chased. They must have needed it, too. I kept running as fast as I could, just trying to keep ahead.

    After a while, I had to stop. Hands on my knees, I looked for a place to hide, seeing what I’d been looking for all along. Encouraged, I sped up again, reaching it in no time.

    The church was empty, which was good. The framed picture was at the left of the building and I hurried over, pulled my camera out, and took a shot of the blue gem embedded in the gold frame.

    Kneeling, I said a quick prayer before heading out the door and back down the mountain. I went at a normal pace then; it didn't matter anymore. I had the picture. The person behind me didn't.


  8. Can anyone send in prompts? If so, mine are these:
    2) sunset, flickering light, dawn
    3) "What have I done to deserve this?"


  9. Hey, Guys! It’s me ‘Kaity’ again. Could I change my name to Roe H.? If so cool. If not that’s fine to. Anyway here is my story it’s called “Mermaid Gem.”
    I snapped a few pictures with my Polaroid camera. I just hoped it would be enough. The blue gem in front of me glittered in the moonlight. Suddenly I heard shouts. Then a familiar voice seemed to crack through my courage.
    “What are you doing here Miss Smith? Or should I say…Agent H2O.”
    I froze a pulled my old hat further over my white blond hair. It was at that moment that I realized my only option: run.
    I grabbed the gem and bolted out of the door and into the hallway. I darted this way and that as I wove my way in and out of the different halls. Suddenly I screeched to a halt. Before me was the end of the dock.
    The water looked dark and menacing I shivered. Going in there would be almost certain death. Shouts came from behind me. I took one look behind me then jumped into the dark water. I slowly began to sink into what I was sure to be my watery grave when the jewel in my hand began to glow and shine.
    Light shone all around me. When I opened my eyes instead of seeing my two legs fervently trying to kick to the surface, I saw a tail.

    My three things are: Stars, carpet, doughnuts
    My saying is: the Bible says to love my enemies. The person who wrote that mustn’t have met “him”.
    I don’t have a picture.


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