Monday, February 10, 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. If there is at least 5 entries, the panel of judges will select a 2nd and 1st place. If there is at least 10 entries, the judges will select a 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place. However, if there is under 5 entries, the panel of judges will select only one winner.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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. 
  4. The same person cannot win first place two weeks in a row. 
  5. If the winner has already read PURPLE MOON, the ebook will be rewarded to the second place winner.
  6. 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 the week of 2/3 is the final week that the winner will receive a free ebook.

Point System:

*NEW* The point tallying will begin on 2/10. 

Earning Points:
  • 4 points: If you post your entry on your blog, linking back to this post
  • 2 points: If you post a tweet about Monday's Minute Challenge, with hashtag #MondaysMinute (You may tweet more than once in a week, however the points will only count for one tweet.)
  • 10 points: If you win 1st place in the writing prompt contest (beginning 2/17).
  • 7 points: If you win 2nd place in the writing prompt contest (beginning 2/17).
  • 5 points: If you win 3rd place in the writing prompt contest (beginning 2/17). 
*More prizes to come!
*Your points will be reset once you reach 100.
  • 30 points: Create your own prompt that will be used in Monday's Minute Challenge!
  • 100 points: Receive a free ebook of PURPLE MOON. =)
Last Week's Winner(s)...

Since there were 9 entries for the writing prompt category, there will only be two winners (see the rules above). 

This week, the judges really wanted to select a 3rd place winner. However, since there were only 9 entries rather than 10, we could only select two winners (see rule #1). If you want to increase your chances of winning, please invite your friends to participate! =)

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

Second place winner: 
Casting an oblong shadow in the evening light, the shape of a man walking towards me could be seen from my concealed location in the treetop. His step was quickened as if there was something ahead or behind compelling him in his course along the winding track that led back to my home town. This path made its way right below the foliage where I was hiding. As he approached I could hear his quickened breath, everything else was so quiet, like a sudden stillness before a maelstrom on the lough. I could see the enlarged eyes of the object of my beholding. In his hand was an ancient rifle, his fingers weren’t on the trigger, but close to it.  He looked young, only slightly older than me, but his countenance held a look of that of a much older man. He wore a wool sweater, a tweed jacket and a well-worn cap. His beard was untrimmed, his appearance shabby. He had probably been in hiding; he was IRA after all.
            “Deartháir!” I called as I lept to the ground, stripping away the camouflage.
            His frightened look melted, he dropped his gun, and he ran towards me and I was almost knocked back at the force of his embrace. “Little brother!” he said with a smile, “it’s been so long since last I saw you!” I gazed at his beloved face. Despite the joyful look, I could see more wrinkles and scars of anxiety on his face than I expected. We held each other for quite some time, but I knew this couldn’t last. He was in danger of being dragged away by the Nationals who had taken power of our green isle. As for me, I didn’t wish to get involved in politics and war, having a brother in the IRA alone got me suspected. Here in the forest it was as if these things were so far away.

            The twilight came on faster as we continued to talk. Our speech got more and more serious. He said he might never see me again, at last we hugged good bye. “Little brother,” he spoke, “I love you.” I never saw him again…      
Congratulations, Benj. Evans! Send me an email at christiswrite (at) gmail (dot) com so I can have your badge sent to you. =)

First place winner: 
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. 

Congratulations, S. Brightly! 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.

Today's Challenge Is...

Choose at least one,
and let me know which one you are choosing:
  • Write a passage from one of the scenes that is mentioned in this song, or use the song to inspire a completely new scene to write.
  • Write a passage from the POV of one of the characters in this picture
  • Write a passage beginning with this line: I always knew my brother was up to no good.


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! (You will also receive 4 points if you post your entry on your blog.)

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  1. I'm doing a prompt from the song Don't Take the Girl.

    The hospital room was too small for John to properly pace in. “Sir.” The doctor waited for him to acknowledge him. “Sir,” he said more forcefully.
    John stopped pacing. “Doc, please tell me they’re gonna be okay.” The doctor sighed. If only he could.
    “You’re son will be fine.” John’s heart dropped. He knew what was coming next. “But you’re wife is fading fast.”
    A sob tore through John as he sank to his knees. The doctor watched silently as John’s lips moved feverishly in a prayer. Tears streamed down his face, and his whole body shook. The doctor turned from John as one of the nurses escorted him out. He may not have much hope, but the doctor would do what little he could.
    Tim knew it wasn’t good news when his son stumbled out. He didn’t ask if it was the baby or Cassie, he just led his son to a chair and put a hand on his shoulder. “The doc doesn’t think she’ll make it,” John said, tears still dotting his face.
    Tim bowed his head. He could still remember the day Cassie had waited for them at the gate, cane fishing pole in hand. He couldn’t imagine life without his daughter in law. Silently, he prayed to God that He would save Cassie. That baby needed a momma and John needed his wife.
    Twenty long minutes later the doctor came out of the room. John didn’t even glance up. His breath came in quick spurts and his heart-rate tripled. What would the doctor say? “John,” the doctor said. Reluctantly, he lifted his head. “She’s hanging on. She’s weak, but she just might make it.”

    I wanted to do things a bit different than I normally do and have a happier ending and have an example of God's awesome power!

    1. I love it, Jacqueline! I'm doing the writing prompt that begins the story with 'I always knew my brother was up to no good.' :D

    2. Thanks! Oh cool! I'll have to go read it!

  2. I posted mine, this one was lots of "fun" and I really enjoyed doing it! :) Thanks, Tessa! :D

    TW Wright

  3. I just finished mine. I'm participating on my blog. Here's the link:

    1. Yours is really good!

    2. Your's is awesome, Elisabeth! Seriously amazing!! :) I loved it!


    3. Thanks! I don't really think I'll win, though.

    4. I really want to know what'll happen!

    5. I have more of the story planned out, but I thought it was too long as it is. :)

  4. Congratulations, S. Brightly and Benj. Evans! You guys definitely deserved to win. :)

    1. Passage inspired by Don't Take the Girl.

      "If you do what I tell you to, there won't be any harm," the gunman hissed and grabbed Melissa by the arm.

      I pulled out my wallet, "Here, take it. Leave her alone! Please!"

      "I don't WANT money," he yanked her out of the seat, while she screamed and trembled.

      "Take my car or my phone. Anything! Take my life instead!"

      He pointed the gun at me, "Be quiet, you. Kelsey, tell him to shut up!"

      "Kelsey?" I cried.

      The man stared at me, then Melissa, and his face contorted, "I'm so sorry. It was all ... a mistake ... but where ... then where ... where'd she go?"

      He broke down into tears.

  5. Oooh. I posted that as a reply. Totally unintentional.

  6. Tessa, thank you so much for hosting these prompts they are so much fun to do.
    Here is my entry, using the picture. :-)

  7. I think next week's writing prompt should be, "I never thought my sister would do this to me."

  8. I just had to do the picture; my favorite way to be inspired, ever!

    It was one of the last warm days of Indian summer. I still remember it so clearly. Sophie had been the one to suggest we ride the trails together, up through the woods that we spent most of our childhood playing in. Cara had quickly seconded the plan. It took some convincing, but eventually we even got Benjamin to agree to the idea, instead of spending the day locked up in his books like the nerdy genius he was.

    We rode that day until our muscles ached, splashing through creeks and scratching our arms and faces on lowhanging branches we somehow never saw. We all complained about what a stupid idea this had been, but yet no one ever even brought up the idea of stopping. We all knew in the back of our minds that this would be the last time in a long time we could all hang out together- maybe even in forever. High school was over now, college was coming; for Cara, a missions trip to the Philippines.

    The field we stumbled upon was a welcome sight. We rolled off our bikes and collapsed to the ground, catching our breath and laughing over how horrible we looked. Cara, ever our little thinker, was the first to say something serious. "It's beautiful up here." She breathed the words, almost wistfully. Something like sadness passed through her eyes, and then she smiled. "I'm so glad we came." Sophie rolled her eyes and fell back onto the soft carpet of grass. The low-lying sun cast a golden glow over everything, giving everything an unearthly glow. I was tired, aching, and sweaty, but I remember feeling a sudden, unutterable contentness.

    Yes, it was the last day. How I could have known it was the last of everything? The golden orb hanging over our heads was the last of our innocence and youth. Darkness was coming, thick and choking and more terrifying than anything we'd ever imagined. But how could we know.....

  9. I don't think it sent the first time I commented...but I reviewed your book.

  10. Hey Tessa! Love the challenge. It was a lot of fun to do.
    My entry is on my blog through this link (I did it on the picture):

    Tell the World

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  12. This is my entry, a sequel to the second place entry of mine, "I always knew my brother was up to no good"

    I always knew my brother was up to no good, but when he joined the IRA, I knew he was in serious trouble. When my family heard of his death last month, our home in Killarney became a house of mourning. I was loathe to see that Mother was so overcome with grief at the death of her firstborn. Ah, my dear mother! How she loved him! Alas that he should fall so young! My father appeared stoic at first, but soon his countenance grew more somber. He disapproved of his son’s fierce political fervor from the start, but could not restrain it. He had seen far more death than mother and I had. As for me, I longed for my brother’s company, his jovial voice, the brotherly clouts, and most of all him. I was usually timid, but I always felt more confident around him, but it was not to be any more. As the surviving oldest I now had new family responsibilities to keep and to learn.
    I went to the lakeside where I would sometimes sit and think. I recalled memories of my brother as I gazed across the lough to our familiar mountains. They had been there for ages and had no doubt seen many more troubles than I had. Surely they had wisdom they could bestow on me. Indeed our lough was named for learning: Lough Leane. Tradition had it that Brian Boru, great king of Ireland, had learned at this very lake, on Innisfallen, at the ancient abbey. If only I could be guided into the ways of becoming a more responsible and wise man for my family, then I could have confidence without my beloved Deartháir.

    1. Your writing is very good. :) Is this something you're just making up for fun, or is this based off of a book idea you have?

    2. Pretty much for fun, I'm going to try to have a series based upon these writing prompts, if there's enough maybe something will come of it. Perhaps I will call it Dearthair, which is Irish Gaelic for brother. I did do some research into the Irish Civil War (1922) and the beautiful region around Killarney in County Kerry, the tradition about Brian Boru, Innisfallen, and the actual Lough Leane are all true.

    3. That's really fascinating. I hope the rest of these writing prompts correspond with your story; I am looking forward to reading more!

  13. I know this is late. I wrote a entry then forgot about it, but I hope it still counts.

    I always knew my brother was up to no good. The warning signs were there: the devilish look in his eyes and his smile that only I could see through. Though I knew him better than anyone else, he was still my brother. How could I turn him away? When he came to me, I thought that maybe it wasn’t hopeless. Perhaps he would make up for the years he wasn’t here for me. Now there is only a few minutes to take sense into him.
    “David, you can’t do this,” I plead, daring to put my hand on his shoulder. “We figure out something together. I’ll help you. It…” I choke down a sob and struggle for words. Couldn’t he see the pain he was causing? “It isn’t right.”
    Without warning, he turns towards me. “Nothing’s right anymore, Caitlin, won’t you see that?” he yells. I close my eyes and go back ten years ago to a childhood memory. David played dolls with me. He made me laugh in my darkest trials. Where was that guy? I feel rough hands grab my shoulders and pull me forward. I force myself to look into his eyes. “I got to do this and you’re going to help me. No matter what,” he hisses.

    Hope you like it,

  14. I always knew my brother was up to no good. Last night he scrapes the floor with his knee pads, and today he stole my sister's candy heart. Later today when I was walking through the living room, I heard him and my little sister whispering. So I asked them what they were talking about. And they said, "nothing."
    I decided to go talk to my older sister. I went to my room and knocked on the door. She yelled, "Come in."
    So I went in and told her my brother and sister were whispering again. She said, "That's never a good sign."

    Here's mine, on the writing prompt, "I always knew my brother was up to no good." Enjoy! :)


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