Monday, January 5, 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. =)

  • 40 points: You will receive a critique based on your current week's entry.
  • 60 points: You will receive a free blog critique and helpful suggestions.
  • 90 points: You will receive an 700 word critique on your novel, short story, article, etc.
  • 110 points: You can help judge one of the contests.
  • 120 points: You will receive a free ebook of PURPLE MOON. 
  • 150 points: You will receive a special surprise in the mail. 
Earning Points:
  • 20 points: If you sign up for a month of my Write Now Mentoring Program!
  • 5 points: If you post a review of Purple Moon on Amazon and/or Goodreads. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 5 points: If you join the Purple Moon Publicity Group on Facebook. (You will have the chance to participate in monthly giveaways!)
  • 5 points: If your writing prompt is selected for Monday's Minute Challenge.
  • 3 points: If you cast your vote! (See the end of this post.)
  • 3 points: If you post your entry on your blog via ILink, 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.)
  • 2 points: If you follow this blog via Google Friend Connect. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: If you "like" my Facebook page. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: If you follow my Twitter account. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: Become a "fan" of me on Goodreads. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 2 points: Follow me on Pinterest. (Let me know in the comments if you do!)
  • 10 points: If you win 1st place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 7 points: If you win 2nd place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 5 points: If you win 3rd place in the writing prompt contest.
  • 3 points: You receive an Honorable Recognition. 
Points Tracker:
  • Ana I.: 46
  • Angela: 29
  • Anna S.: 59
  • AnnaMarie: 22
  • Armina: 52
  • Ashley: 7
  • Benj. Evans: 40
  • Brittney: 3
  • Brooke: 20
  • CeCe: 28
  • Christine: 22
  • Elisabeth: 137
  • Emily F: 45
  • Emily S: 6
  • Evan: 10
  • FlyGirl: 54
  • Francesca: 10
  • Funto: 9
  • His Princess: 121
  • Jacqueline: 59
  • Jillian: 10
  • Kaira Anne: 58
  • Kaity: 15
  • Karina: 23
  • Katheline: 32
  • Kaity: 9
  • Katie Grace: 91
  • Kendra: 67
  • Lace: 6
  • Laura: 9
  • Lottie Le: 39
  • Naomi: 10
  • Maddie Jay: 20
  • Mary B: 127
  • Marsh: 20
  • Michael: 26
  • Mickayla: 34
  • Rcubed: 75
  • Rebekah B: 53
  • Russian Pianist: 38
  • Samantha: 16
  • Sarah: 126
  • S. Brightly: 113
  • SK Lupu: 35
  • Sofia Marie: 16
  • Story Weaver: 3
  • Tara T: 104
  • TW Wright: 202
  • Victoria: 38
*Points are updated every other Monday.
*When you request to use your points for a prize, the points you use will be taken away from your total. In other words, when you reach 30 points, you can claim the prize for 30 points--but it will cost you all of your points. Or you can continue to try and earn points so you can claim a bigger prize.


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

In honor of the 1-year-anniversary of Monday's Minute Challenge, there will be a slight yet fun change to the contest in two weeks. =) (It was supposed to be posted today, however I have been having technical difficulties with my laptop this past week.) (PS placing an open water bottle too close to your laptop is never a great idea...) 

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: 

Sometimes you plan things too far in advance. And sometimes you don’t plan at all.
It was only a week since the kingdom had fallen. Only a week since life had turned into an endless game of hide and seek. Only a week since that star had died.
And still our lives were a mess.
We knew no one. We knew nothing, apart from that everyone was against our clan. We had to keep moving, had to keep on our feet, never stopping to sleep. It was a necessity, made all the more tiring by my brothers low muttering. He was plotting his revenge. But that would never do. They were cunning, as cunning as the foxes that they had originally sent in. As cunning as their queen.
Oh, I had never seen her, sure, but she was the one thing that had haunted every child’s bedtime stories. She would not leave them, hanging at the edge of their every decision.If you’re not good, the queen will get you. Watch your step or the queen will get you. She was the sole reason they were running, trying to reach the very place that had cost them so much. Trying to run towards the very reason they were running in the first place.
The birds stopped their rhythmic calls. Our footsteps faltering. A heavy thud. I blinked, sure I was imagining this. But she was still here. This could not be happening. Why would they send her after me? Why would they send the leader of the hunt? 
Congratulations, Samantha! Click here for your badge. =)

Second place winner: 

Blank pages, begging to be filled with all sorts of stories and fables. Anything my heart desired. I had finally found my life book, nearly half full already. Was I going to die young? Why was it so full? I shrugged it off, trying to stay on the same note of glee I had felt when I found it. I was the fifth person to ever find their life book. That’s exciting! I squirmed on my stomach and stretched my legs. Too bad this was the only place I could get any privacy. Let’s see… what’s something I’ve always wanted to do? Travel to Gigasoet? Nah. Already done that. Catch a wish? Maybe... I needed to think about it.
As I considered different possibilities, I glanced at the book. The page I had opened it to was the time when I had tried to climb the tallest tree around to impress Aaron. Cheeks flaming, I flipped to the next page. How embarrassing. Especially since I didn’t fall until he was underneath me. My hands trembled slightly as I turned to the last written page; words were quickly appearing as I watched. My face paled to the same tint as the pages. Maybe if I wrote what I wanted to do, it would happen. That’s what the rumor was, anyway.
I hesitated, pencil poised over the little book. Why were the words coming so quickly? Wait… with less than half the book left and the words spilling out so fast, the book would be finished in a month! Cold fear snaked its way into my heart. Was I going to die? 

Should I erase some of the early pages? It would take away pieces of my past! But… maybe it was the only way to keep surviving.
Congratulations, Elisabeth! Click here for your badge. =)

First place winner: 

It has been five months since the first case of infection was reported. Panic ensued, and anarchy was rife. Those bitten in the early days got lucky and were put down, others were not so fortunate. The ones that are outside now; they’re trying to get a piece of me. All that separates us is a wall of fencing and barbed wire.
I can’t see them, but I can hear their cries and footsteps beneath the snow. The dead are persistent; they never give up until you’re cornered with nowhere left to run.
As I pull out a cigarette, light it, and take one long drag, I can’t help but look to the sky. Winter is here, and the stars are shining as though nothing is going on. It is Christmas, and there is a blanket of snow on the ground.
Earlier on that day, a small snowflake landed on my nose.
But none of that matters anymore. Not when you have a billion un-dead cannibals trying to eat you at every waking moment. Stuff like Christmas just goes out the window. Well, as long as you board it back up again.

Extinguishing it, the snow crunched beneath my boot.
Looking out into the darkness, something caught my attention.
I blinked, sure I was imagining this. But she was still here. This could not be happening.
It had been several days since my wife went out on a supply run with other members of our group. Yet there she was; among the dead. Her right arm had been torn off, and her neck was red with dried blood.
No longer am I her husband; I’m her meal.
Congratulations, Francesca! Click here for your badge. =)

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 3 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: telescope, coin, mirror (submitted by Lace)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Victoria)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted for only a moment. (submitted by Ana)

Post your entry on your blog!:

If you're posting your entry on your blog (+3 points), please add your link below rather than in the comments:

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 5 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below, Monday through Sunday.

Current Judge Panel:
  • Tessa Emily Hall (me)
  • Kate Petty
post signature


  1. Umm...I'm not sure if you saw my comment last week, but I also voted, posted my entry on the linky and followed you on Pinterest, but I only got three points added this week. I might be making a mistake, though. If that's the case, I'm sorry. Anyways, I'm so excited for the special one year anniversary surprise.

    1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I completely forgot to add in the points everyone received in the comments. I guess I had too long of a break from Monday's Minute Challenge, lol!


  2. I plan to start entering these again! It's been hard for me to do things the last couple months, but I'm really excited to be able to participate again! :D
    Happy 1 year anniversary!!!!!

  3. Story: Celestial past.
    Prompt: three items, phrase
    Words: 300

    "A star? Now why would a star marry a human?" The dark clad man asked as he paced my room. I could see my hands quiver nervously in the mirror, where a shining woman in a lace gown greeted me. He was right, why was I marrying?
    "For love." I lied. My fingers nervously fingered the coin I held.
    "No." He dismissed my lie immediately.
    Stars had always been honest beings, betraying me now. 'Always remember who you are, Sirius' my Father's words echoed. I turned to face the telescope that gazed out my window to the heavens. My breathing froze as I noticed the man near it. "Not love... peace." I finally corrected.
    "Peace, hmm?" His fingers caressed the telescope, its metal rims and polished wood. He snickered cruelly and knocked it to the ground.
    A tiny gasp escaped my lips before he silenced me, grabbing my wrist. He looked at the silver coin, its star insignia confirming everything. "You can't stop the war. Its coming, the stars shall be darkened, your kind will-"
    He was cut off as a young woman opened the door, "Sirius, he's waiting," Aliyah said, eyes widening as she saw the man with me.
    Silence. And after a moment the sound that changed my life.
    My heart stopped beating at the gunshot. Aliyah crumpled to the floor with his bullet lodged in her heart. "No..." I stumbled back. Everything slowed down. My life seemed to last forever, hers only lasted a moment. It was a blink in the lifetime of a star. And then he was speaking again.
    "For those who would live in darkness rather than light, I bid you and your little peace ceremony farewell."
    I looked back up at the black clad man, and stared into the barrel of his gun.


    1. I also have two questions about my score. there are still 2 me's. I entered my first entry as The Story Weaver using the character Lace. I received honorable recognition, voted, and my prompt was used. If I'm not mistaken that should give me 3+3+5. I currently have 6 under Lace and 3 under Story Weaver. It would be great if I could just become Lace (with 11). thanks so much!

  4. 3 things: box, letter, jacket.
    Phrase: we entered the room together, and that was the last thing we ever did together.

  5. I used the picture prompt and the sentence. My entry is 298 words long. This is sort of a continuation from my Sherlock entry.

    I sighed as I brushed my brown hair out of my face. It was over. I had been fired, and Courtney got shot. I felt a tear slip down my cheek, her death playing through my mind. My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted for only a moment, and I watched it end. Now I was going to go back to finishing school, with no one left that I cared about. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘there is someone left…’ I shook my head to clear the thought from my mind. I hadn’t meant to think of him. Thunder rumbled overhead and rain poured down a second later. I sat on my luggage on the platform, waiting for the train to come. After what seemed like forever, I heard the train whistle and saw the lights. I stood up and collected my bags, boarding the train. The worker showed me to my room and I gave him a coin as a tip. Once he left, I started changing into dry clothes. There was a small mirror on the other side of the room which I used to braid my brown hair which was now black and wet from rain. The train lurched and my uniform skirt fell to the floor with a thud. I turned away from the mirror, watching it roll towards me. I pulled my sweatshirt tighter around me as I picked it up. It was wrapped around something. I picked it up and unwrapped it. Inside there was a small, antique telescope. There was a note taped to it. The writing was Anthony’s.

    ‘I know you are probably at boarding school, and there probably is no turning back. But I caught a break. And we need you.”

    I had to get back to Manchester. To them.


    1. Sorry, I meant to say that I used all three prompts.


  6. My prompts:
    Items: Peppermint Mocha, notebook, silver ring
    Sentence: I sat in the café I knew so well. It looked the same, even though I had changed drastically through the previous events.


  7. Thank you so much for choosing my entry as the first place winner for the previous challenge!

  8. I've watched these posts come across the Goodreads stream for months, and I'm finally thinking I'll give this a go this round...but I'm a bit confused about the deadline thing. This challenge ends on the 15th, correct? But another one starts on the 11th?


  9. Hey! I'm really glad I could participate again! I used the picture prompt and the phrase prompt. It's 302 words (a little long, sorry!)

    Two hundred dollars and a leather suitcase.

    It's all I have left of her.

    The last time I'd seen her was nearly three years ago. She'd been sitting on that leather trunk, her black traveling dress clean and pressed, but soaking wet even with the old black umbrella propped above her head. Her satchel was dripping pathetically on the brick walkway where she waited, but she didn't seem to notice... or care. Her head was craned eagerly to the side, her back rigid with anticipation, as the harsh yellow gaze of the train came barreling towards her. The picture was etched so clearly into my mind, there were days I almost believed I could still see her sitting there.

    She'd left us against all the advice, persuasion, and threats we could muster. My father said he would disown her if she stepped foot on that train. But her mind was made up. "I'm doing the right thing, Mara." They were the last words I'd heard her speak before I turned and left her there. I listened to the train hiss to a stop, and a few minutes later chug on again. Only then did I dare to look back... and she was gone.

    Twenty-three silent months later, and we received word we had a package on the train. Her leather trunk, shipped anonymously; a clipping of her obituary in an envelope on the front. Her death sounded suspicious at best. Her satchel was nowhere to be found.

    My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted only a moment.

    It's my turn to await the train now. I'm going to the city my sister dreamed of- the one that took her life. I'm going to find who did this.

    With all I have left of her- two hundred dollars and a leather suitcase.

  10. Write a story based on these three objects: Silver goblet, flame, sword
    Write a story using this phrase: It was either a horrible way to end a good story, or else a terrific way to begin a nightmare.
    Write a story based off of this picture:

  11. I also liked your facebook page :)

    P.S. I am very excited to see the fun and exciting change!

  12. Objects Prompt: computer, gun, envelope
    Picture Prompt:
    Quote Prompt: I think, if he was a book he'd be the one you'd throw across the room, then hours later, pick it up again and leaf through its pages.

  13. Picture Prompt:
    Sentence Prompt: Well, if you look at it in just the right light, you might be able to see the good I'm going to do.
    Item Prompt: ring, arrows, bedroom


  14. Hey Guys! It is me `Kaity`. Here is my story “An Orphan’s Disastrous Journey.” I used the picture and three things. Hope you like it!
    Here are my prompts!
    Three things: castle, black cloth, prisoner
    Saying: She looked over at her comrades. “Let’s take this city.”

    I was leaving. But…for what? To be confirmed about what I already know? My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted for only a moment. I had buried the pain for so long. Why was I going back? Revenge?
    No. I told myself. I don’t even know who did it.
    Then I remembered the details of that night more clearly than ever.
    The rain poured down the train windows. Makah sat beside me, twisting the frills on her frayed shawl.
    “Who’re we goin to live with?” she asked.
    My throat tightened. We were orphans. No one was going to take us in.
    Forcing a smile I said, “We’re gonna live in a very special place.”
    Her blue eyes seemed to look right through me they gave a look that showed they knew the truth.
    Before I could say another word the train screeched to a halt. Women began to scream in anguish, husbands rushed to the front of the train. Shots were fired somewhere near the front of the train.
    Everything seemed to be going in fast forward. Makah’s hand tightened in mine. Her cheeks were pale and she looked as though she were a ghost.
    A shot was fired.
    Makah slumped back onto the seat. A young man clothed in black with a red bandana covered his face, stood in shock over me. In his hand was a gun.
    “I’m sorry.”
    A train whistle brought me back to the present. I gathered up my two bags, folded my umbrella, and stepped onto the train.
    Now I knew where to look and who to look for. As I was looking for my seat a man bumped into me. I looked into his piercing blue eyes, hatred burn in me.
    I had found who I was looking for.

  15. It's probably too late to submit, but I'll post my story here anyway. =) I used the word prompt and it's 298 words.


    "What's wrong with the telescope?"
    "Hm? Oh, a mirror is broken," came the doctor's distracted answer.
    I nodded and fingered the smooth blue metal. "Pity, it is a good one."
    He turned his chair around to face me and cleared his throat. "I did not call you here for idle chitchat."
    "I know," I answered, sitting down on a chair opposite him. "But you seem quite reluctant to begin the conversation."
    "Because," he leaned forward and stared thoughtfully at the floor. "Because this is a matter of international security."
    I raised my eyebrow. "International security?" I asked incredulously.
    He nodded. "A danger which will -- is affecting the whole world."
    "The H. I. R."
    I stared in shock. "The Humanoid Independent Robots? How?"
    "You know we decided to create them to think on their own. Well actually, we couldn't agree, so we flipped a coin. And the effect was independently thinking robots."
    Indescribable fear began to fill my heart. "And?" I weakly asked, even though I well knew the answer.
    "And they've decided to rebel against humanity." He got up and walked over the window. "They have made it their purpose to wipe out humanity once and for all."
    I said nothing for a moment, but then finally I opened my mouth to speak. "How will we ever break out this news to the public? They'll laugh at us."
    He turned around and looked at me. "We need to deactivate the H. I. R."
    "But how? Is there a way?"
    "Yes, there is. But it is a difficult way."
    Disappointment filled my heart. But then I thought of those I loved. My family, my friends, my colleagues -- and suddenly, I knew what I had to do.
    "Tell me," I said. "And I will do it, or die trying."


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