Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday's Minute Challenge

What is Monday's Minute Challenge?

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

Rules & Prizes:
  1. Only the writing prompt entries--not the journal prompts--will be entered into the contest.
  2. If there are over 5 entries, the panel of judges will select a 2nd and 1st place. However, if there is under 5 entries, the panel of judges will select only one winner.
  3. The 2nd place winner will receive a badge for their blog, and the 1st place winner will receive a badge, as well as a free ebook of my YA novel, PURPLE MOON. (See the note 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. The same person cannot win first place two weeks in a row. 
  6. If the winner has already read PURPLE MOON, the ebook will be rewarded to the second place winner.
  7. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)
*NOTE: I was originally going to award a free ebook of PURPLE MOON to the winner for only the month of January. However, I have decided to extend it--but only for one week. That means that this week, 2/3, is the final week that the winner will receive a free ebook.

HOWEVER, once you place 1st or 2nd three times, you will then receive a free ebook of PURPLE MOON. =)

Last Week's Winner(s)...

Since there were 6 entries for the writing prompt category, there will only be two winners (see the rules above). 

It is also very exciting to read the entires, and the judge panel always has a difficult time making their decisions. So thank you to all who participated! 

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

Second place winner: 
Every minute that passed was one minute closer to my worst nightmare. With each step Matthew took toward the gallows, my heart grew heavier. There was nothing I could do. I had petitioned, pleaded, and begged the Duke to change his mind. He would not. Now I must watch my brother hang because he was kind enough to open our home to a stranger, to a pirate. The courtyard is silent, only the shuffling of feet can be heard. 
I do not tear my eyes away as Matthew is led up the steps to the platform. The noose is draped around his neck. A bird caws, breaking the silence. Time seems to slow as the executioner reaches for the lever. He pulls it halfway; still the door does not drop. Now the lever is three-quarters of the way to the drop. Just as the lever is centimeters away from when the trapdoor will fall, I blink. When I reopen my eyes, Matthew is gone.
Congratulations, Jacqueline! Send me an email at christiswrite (at) gmail (dot) com so I can have your badge sent to you. =)

First place winner: 

Every minute that passed was one minute closer to my worst nightmare. I struggled with the fears that threatened to strangle me and breathed deeply several times, willing myself to calm down and think. It was now or never, and it if was never, I could die. There was a window three feet above me and it was my only hope. I struggled to climb up the steep wall without hurting my throbbing swollen arm. Just as I sat on the windowsill and started to make my way out, I heard something behind me. I squeezed my eyes shut, wishing, hoping it wasn't who it had to be. "Trying to escape, are we?" a cold voice said quietly, sending chills up my spine. Veldi stepped into the room, his cold eyes emotionless as always. Veldi's best advantage over me was probably that he knew everything about me while I knew nothing of him, save that he was not afraid to hurt me. There was nothing I could do against him, so why was he afraid? Did he know something about me that even I did not know? Instantly, my fear was turned into anger and pain and I twisted around to look at him. "Why do you hate me so? Why can't you leave me be?" I exclaimed furiously with tears welling up in my eyes. "I'm afraid that would be impossible, my dear," he replied coolly. I shuddered at the latter part of his statement. Then his words began to sink in and dread descended into my heart. What did he mean? Was I going to be stuck in this cold and filthy hole forever? Why was he so afraid?

Congratulations, Elisabeth! Send me an email at christiswrite (at) gmail (dot) com so I can have your badge and ebook sent to you. =)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

How to Submit:

You may submit your challenge response in the comments section below. (If you would like to make it even more challenging, set a timer for 60 seconds and see how much writing you can get done in that amount of time.) Your response should range between 1 - 3 paragraphs.

You can also post your challenge response on your blog, and then create your own challenge for your readers! However, make sure that you link back to this post and use the image above. If you are participating on your blog, be sure to submit your link in the comments and I will add it to the list of participants at the end of this post.

*NOTE: I was originally going to award a free ebook of PURPLE MOON to the winner for only the month of January. However, I have decided to extend it--but only for one week. That means that this week, 2/3, is the final week that the winner will receive a free ebook.

HOWEVER, once you place 1st or 2nd place three times, you will then receive a free ebook of PURPLE MOON. =)

Today's Challenge Is...

Choose at least one,
and let me know which one you are choosing:
  • Write a passage incorporating these items: a flashlight, rope, and a backpack
  • Write a passage using the following words: trigger, camouflage, ground
  • Write a passage beginning with this line: I never thought disobeying a teacher would bring me here.

Are you participating on your blog? If so, make sure that you have linked to this blog, and included the above picture. Submit your post's link and I will be sure to add it to this list!

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  1. Hey Tessa! :) I totes agree with you that Elisabeth's is awesome. ;)

    Here is my entry:

    Thanks for doing this, Tessa, I'm having lots of new ideas, and having even more fun writing the prompts! :D

    TW Wright

  2. This is such an awesome idea! I'm using the flashlight, rope, and backpack prompt. Here's my entry:

    I tiptoed to the storage room but the door creaked as if to wake the dead. I gritted my teeth. My life and future were at stake and everything was working against me! I had to move at a snail’s pace to do anything quietly. About fifteen minutes had passed before I finally got the flashlight and wound my way back to my room.

    I shone the light and saw Justin there, carrying a large backpack. He pulled a thick rope out and carefully tossed it through my open window. I wanted to tie a figure of eight knot but I’d forgotten how so I attached the rope to the window with overhand knots. Then I prepared to slide down when my bedroom door opened. I screamed and tumbled off the rope.

    The last I heard was my father yelling, “You’re going to hell!”

    1. I really like yours! I'd want to read more!

  3. I love that you do these! They are so fun! And I loved Elizabeth's entry!
    I’m writing a passage using the words trigger, camouflage, and ground.

    They’ve come. They’ve come and I am the only one left at the farm. The only one left to defend it. I had hoped I was hallucinating when I saw those black SUVs roll in the driveway, but I knew that I wasn’t. I run to the bedroom and grab my bolt action rifle. Now I must decide. Do I stay and wait for them to enter the house? Or do I go out to greet them?
    I decided to stay in the house. Since I’m the lone defender, I am going to need the cover and protection of items in the house. Without any camouflage I would be a sitting duck in our bare, desert yard. I lay down on the staircase landing in the front entryway, the barrel of the gun pointed at the glass door. I double check that the clip is secure and ready myself to pull the trigger. The men step out of their cars. They carry briefcases and oblong duffle bags, but no guns. All three men wear dark sunglasses, but not suits. Instead they have long-sleeve black t-shirts and black jeans. I don’t know how they stand it in this Texas heat. One puts a finger to his ear, and it is then that I notice the coiled cord that disappears into his shirt.
    BANG! The man holding the briefcase crumples to the ground. But I still haven’t fired a shot.

  4. Hey! this is my first time, I will probably be a regular, this is a bit more than 3 paragraphs and is a bit quirky. This is a neat blog! Thanks! The first line should suggest which one I chose.

    I never thought disobeying a teacher would bring me here. I was a long, long way from the school where the deed was done, a thousand miles in fact. Emitting an ironic chuckle, I pondered the events that led me to this place. What a place it was!
    It was a normal school day at High Hill High School back in Tennessee. I was with a few of my chums, working on a chemistry lab our teacher had assigned us to do, it was about determining whether a change is physical or chemical. He had told us to finish it by two o’clock, giving us almost enough of time to finish. When the time came, we had only one thing left to write down. As the best writer in our group, I was chosen to do it and pass it in. Everyone else had left when the two o’clock bell faded. I scrawled out the remaining words as our teacher Mr. Bridge glared at me. I hastily passed the lab report in, hoping he wasn’t too disappointed with me. I hurried out the door and that’s when it happened; I bumped into Jerry.
    Jerry was a quiet fellow, and smart too, but I had never gotten to know him. “Pardon me,” I said.
    “No, problem”
    I would have left it at that, but apparently Jerry had a few more things to say. Pulling some coins from his pocket, he remarked, “If I were to put in my two cents, I would say that it was my fault for the bump.”
    “I appreciate the pun, but I must be on my way,” I said without relish, but some other condiment even less akin to sugar, perhaps even annoyance.

    It was the next day before I apologized to Jerry for my rude tone outside the chemistry room. Knowing that he liked puns, I told him one that I had made up a few months before then, “What do you call the likelihood of a piece of flour becoming spaghetti?” This question seemed too perplex him until I gave the rejoinder: “pastability.” He laughed so hard I thought he would keel over, but he told me a few more jokes and before the day was over it seemed as though a friendship was beginning to form. And it did!

    Here I am on a ski lift in the White Mountains of New Hampshire sitting beside Jerry, my school chum. Even though it has been years since the day we first told puns to each other, we still laugh at the first ones. Perhaps it is not because of their acute cleverness, but for the friendship they helped start. I smile.

    1. I love your story! I think it's great! :)

    2. Your story is good! It's very lighthearted, which is a change from most of the other ones. :)

  5. Thank you so much! i can't believe I won! :)

    1. Congratulations Elisabeth! Your story was great. :)

  6. I LOVED the pirate one! But what a place to end it! I want to know what happens!

  7. Great job so far everyone! They are all very intriguing. =) Thanks for participating!

  8. Hi Ms. Hall! Here's my entry:I knew that it would be easier to talk about pulling the trigger than actually pulling it. When you see who you’re hunting and realize this is a person I’m about to shoot, all your thoughts of revenge don’t seem so important anymore. Could I put my gun down? Could I walk away and let him live? No……I already opened my big mouth and swore to my father that I would not leave the woods until Saul was dead. My father desperately needed the ground to be stained with his blood. Hidden by the camouflage of the forest, I waited for the sound of his horse’s hooves splashing through the shallow part of the river. I tried to keep my breathing steady and unnoticeable. I closed my eyes and just listened. There; the clop of a warhorse’s hoof in the pond water. I opened my eyes and ready my gun. Squinting ever so slightly, I traced the tip of the gun to Saul’s chest. But just then, Saul turned towards the side of the clearing as if he can see me through the foliage and with a sharp intake of breath I thought: Gia, how did you think you could kill your own brother?

    By Angela

    1. Yours is good! By the way, I promise that I wrote mine before reading yours. :)

    2. S. Brightly,

      I'm not worried that ours sound the same. Great job! =) (I just read yours. The way you handled the intensity of your story was really good. I want to read more.

    3. Thanks. :) I was actually thinking the same thing about yours...I liked how the end was a surprise, something that's rare to find in most stories I read. :)

  9. Sorry, I forgot to put which challenge I chose. It was: Write a passage using the following words: trigger, camouflage, ground. Thank you!

    Sincerely, Angela

  10. Here's mine; I used the prompt with the words trigger, camouflage, ground.

    The trigger pressed against my finger, cold and hard. The slightest twitch and it would be all over. I tried to take a deep breath to steady my arm, but fear cut off oxygen. My eyes began to burn, and I hastily blinked back the tears before he could see.

    "Do it." His voice was hard as steel and laced with venom. Was this the voice that kept me company at night when I couldn't sleep? "Do it now, Anna!"

    I looked at him, silently begging him once last time not to make me do this. He was my brother; he loved me; why was he doing this? His eyes, the eyes that were burned into my memory as being kind and caring, were now fierce and unrelenting. It was as if all his camouflage was suddenly stripped away, and it left me reeling. I saw that there would be no out for me; I had to do what he wanted me to. My mouth began to tremble and tears spilled down my face, as it was no longer possible to hold them back. "No," I whispered. "No!" I couldn't, wouldn't do this. My aching arm lowered, and in that instant I saw his eyes flicker. He jumped forward as I turned to run, and I felt him grab my hand- the hand with the gun. An explosion louder than I'd imagined roared in my ears, matched only by my scream as I watched him crumple to the ground.

  11. Love the new header Tessa! Great job everyone, love the stories!


  12. I wrote another piece based on one of your prompts, the first one is still my entry:

  13. Here's my story; I hope you guys like it! :)

    Write a passage containing the words ‘trigger’, ‘camouflage’, and ‘ground’.

    I crouched down quietly in my shelter, chuckling quietly. I had been working on this place for months, and it was finally finished! We stumbled upon it in the woods and I thought it would make a great hideout, even if it was just an old log and some breaking boughs when we found it. Now it was a room that five people could fit in comfortably and eight would fit, but it would be a bit snug. Most of it was underground and there were footholds cut into the earthy wall; the best part was that it was completely camouflaged from the outside.
    I craned my neck, searching for Cameron, who had no idea about the shelter. I knew he would come looking for me soon. Hearing the soft rustle of dry leaves, I readied myself to jump out at him. Sure it would scare him, but he’d forgive me after he saw my alcove. The footfalls stopped and I assumed he was looking around. With a flying leap, I landed on the firm, hard ground with a loud yell. In that second, several things happened. I realized with a shock that it wasn’t Cameron; it was a girl with a gun. When I jumped out, she must have pulled the trigger. I heard a gunshot as if from miles away and saw a growing red puddle close to my feet. I crumpled to the ground without a sound.

    Rachel watched in utter horror as the strange girl fell to the ground and laid there like she was dead. She immediately grabbed a shirt from her backpack and tried to use it as a makeshift bandage, trying desperately to stop the blood that was flooding from the girl’s arm.
    “God, please help me! I don’t know what to do!” she cried with tears of fear for the girl streaming down her face. Then she gasped; she had shot the girl. It was all her fault.

  14. This one is just for fun; I hope you like it!
    Write a passage containing the words 'trigger', 'ground', and 'camouflage'.

    I squatted in the barricades, waiting for something to happen. It was 15:00 and still there was no sign of our enemies. I check my gun to make sure everything is cocked and ready before readying myself to keep on waiting… and waiting…
    I hear a slight noise close to the other side of the fort and I creep over quietly to investigate. “Who goes there?” I shouted nervously, as my investigation had been futile and only three people I knew could sneak as stealthily as all that and never leave a trail, not even a light footstep on the wet, muddy ground. A head popped up over our barrier and I pulled the trigger, but it was too late. I saw a red stain drip down my shirt. Glaring furiously over the wall, I found my attacker. “JUSTIN!” I shrieked in frustration. "This shirt is brand new and you’ve ruined it! I just got it!” Then a thought clicked in my mind. “Wait… Justin, we’re on the same team!!!”
    Justin’s guilty look only lasted for a minute; then he snickered and his mischievous appearance gave him away completely. My only disappointment is that when I tried to shoot at him, he ducked out of the way. Why did they have to decide on using red dye in the water fight, anyway? Now I have an ugly red streak down my brand new shirt, which just happens to be light pink. Hopefully it’s washable.
    I decide to get back at Justin, even if he is on my team. Sighing, I don my camouflage cloak and hope that I can sneak up on him before he sneaks up on me again.


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