Monday, February 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!).

Important Update:

What I love most about this contest is the sense of community that has resulted from it. MMC was initially started a year ago as a way to help get your creative juices flowing for the week--however, you have made it much more than that. 

I love the way you all encourage and support one another; it's obvious that you don't enter the contest to win. Rather you enter it because you love the challenge, and you love receive the feedback. 

So thank you to every MMC participant: to those who have stuck around for months, and to those who are just beginning the challenge. I'm excited to see how you will continue to grow in your writing!

And with that being said -- since you all love to read one another's entries, I have decided to add another feature to Monday's Minute Challenge.

From now on, every 8 weeks I will choose 5 participants to be part of the MMC Teen Writing Board. 

When a new MMC is posted, these members will send me their top 3 favorite entries for that week. After I tally the votes, I will then send the top 10 most-voted entries to the judges.  

The Teen Writing Board members will be responsible for:

  • Sending me their top 3 favorite entries by the following Monday after a new MMC is posted. They should also explain what they liked about the entries that they chose. 
  • Announcing when a new MMC is up by posting on their blog and/or social media outlet
  • Sending me any ideas that they may have for MMC (or letting me know what they think about a new idea that I may have)
What will these members receive?:
  • 5 extra entries into the drawing (for both of the months that they are on the board)
  • A badge to place on their blog
  • A feature on every MMC post (for the 2 month duration that they are on the board)

And yes, the members will still be able to participate in the contest. (However, they will not be able to vote on their own entries.)

Want to apply? Click here!


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: 

We can’t fight ourselves. If only they’d stop. We can’t survive this alone. 

I watch them from a distance. So foolish—Fighting like animals, fighting each other. We have other enemies out there who won’t wait for our quarrels to be resolved. 

In my peripherals I see it becoming violent, but I don’t dare turn my head. I was the sensible one. I wasn’t like them—an animal.

The green Jeep lies behind me, front door open. I could simply slide in, drive away. For a moment it’s even tempting. But I remember: I am the smart one. I know we can’t survive alone. 

Opposite escape is our greatest danger. The woods. The reason I can’t turn my head. The Perils lurk there, great beasts with tormenting claws and petrifying teeth. They’ve roamed past their land onto ours. If I look away, they come. Then they win. 

We are an easy target now, open prey to be hunted. Those fighting waste energy and expose their backs. They find small dangers in disagreements and ignore the real concern. Continue this and we’d be dead by the end of the week. Other pods, they’d survive—make it to the new compound. But we’d be trapped in dead man’s land, and soon enough we’d match the name.

I watch from the corner of my eye in dismay. There’s no time for this. I have to remain sensible—the only one out of all of us, perhaps then there would be hope.
But I make a mistake. I turn my head. I expose myself. The Peril is given an opportunity. 

Moments later I suspect those fighting heard a scream. They probably turned too. But they wouldn’t have seen me standing anymore.

They can’t fight themselves. If only they’d stop. They can’t survive this alone. 
Congratulations, Lace! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

Silence. I couldn’t even feel my heart beating because it wasn’t. It was still frozen with shock. I stumbled around on the roof-top, disoriented; still couldn’t hear the constant New York traffic; everything was blurry. Why didn’t they put railing on the sides? Maybe because no one was supposed to be up here.
My feet stumbled and I fell on my stomach close to the edge. With childish terror, I scrambled away on my hands and knees. Something was wrong. I felt dizzy and sick. My stomach was churning. The ground kept rocking under my feet and I couldn’t stand up without falling. What was wrong with me?
“‘Sup?” the voice came from the only way off the building. Swiveling my head in his direction, I already knew who it was. And that was the worst part.
“What are you doing here?” I said. At least I tried to say. The words came out all wrong.
“I’d tell you, homey, but I think it would mess things up a bit.” he walked closer, his swagger as arrogant and annoying as usual. Leaning down, he flashed his way-too-white-to-be-real smile.
“So, like, I’m not going to tell you my plan because that’s what the stupid people do. Whenever you tell them how it works, they survive.” How did I ever think he was a good guy?
“I’ll just give you a hint: whatever happens to you, it’s probably my fault.”
Poisoned. I’ve been poisoned.
Another revelation hit me just as he closed the door, locking it behind him.
I am going to die.

It was either a horrible way to end a good story, or else a terrific way to begin a nightmare. I tapped my pencil on the table thoughtfully. A smile quirked the corners of my mouth.
Definitely the latter.
Congratulations, ElisabethClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

First place winner: 

It was either a horrible way to end a good story, or else a terrific way to begin a nightmare. Everything had been going well. Until now. I swallowed my screams as I fled. Flames hungrily licked the sky, devouring everything I'd come to love. My only home.

The town would be consumed within minutes. Last time there had been a fire—just a small one. I'd helped pass water in a line from the well to the site of the flames. With everyone working together, we'd vanquished the fire within minutes.

But this time raiders riding fierce horses swept through the town, swinging mighty cavalry swords and setting fire to everything they found. I tried not to see the horrors around me, but I couldn't ignore the screams. All because of me.

An armored raider rode towards me, and I grabbed a young boy. About ten maybe, I didn't have time to look as I pulled him to the side, almost tripping over my skirt. He screamed. Or maybe that was me. 
Congratulations, Kaira! Click here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

Honorable Recognitions

These winners will receive a badge, as well as 2 extra points:
  1. Anna
  2. His Princess
  3. TW Wright
 Congratulations! Click here for your badgeand 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: bars, moonlight, tears (submitted by Kaity)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by FlyGirl)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
     I hated being falsely accused but until this moment I hadn't realized that one could be unjustly forgiven as well. (submitted by His Princess)
*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. Oh my goats! Thank you for choosing my prompt and for the Honorable Recognition. :D:D:D


  2. Congratulations to all! Here is my entry for this week. It is 215 words long. I used the sentence prompt.

    items: old hat, blue gem, Polaroid camera
    sentence: We had made it. The only problem was, we were too late.

    And here is my entry:

    I run down the dark streets of London, determined to outrun the police officers and news reporters that had been chasing me for four blocks. They know who I am. Their many feet crash against the pavement behind me, and as I turn a corner I feel one hand close on my wrist, jerking me back. I look into the face of the one officer with the scar on his left cheek. "Harper York, we need you to come with us."
    "What did I do?" I ask panting.
    "What did you do?" Asks one reporter, shoving her way to the front of the pack. "You found who had kidnapped both Daisy and Charles. Miss York, you're a hero!" The crowd erupts in cheers, cries of "yes yes" and "hero" reach my ears. I shake my head, my brown curls bouncing.
    "I am no hero, I assure you of that."
    "Sure you are!" Scar Officer says as he lets go of my wrist. "I am sorry of falsely accusing you of trespassing and kidnapping."
    I had been falsely accused of many things.
    I hate being falsely accused, but until this moment I hadn't realized that one could be unjustly forgiven as well.
    I am no hero.
    I don't deserve that title.
    Not after what I've done.


  3. I haven't entered one of these for awhile, but this prompt clicked with me, so I'm going to go for it. :D
    I used the items prompt, and it is somewhere under three hundred words. (I forgot the exact length)
    - - - - -

    I gripped the cool iron bars of my cage, the mist from the pond gathering near my face.

    It was silent.

    All that could be heard was my ragged breath caused by the fear that arose in my heart. How could I not be terrified upon being locked in a cage amidst an unknown place, without a living soul in sight, and only the silence to accompany me.

    It was not a good situation to be in.

    I lifted my squinting eyes above, maybe in hope that I would find something enlightening. And there, in the sky, was a moon. It was in that moment that I knew I was someplace other than my home, for I had never seen a moon shine with such brilliance about the sky. A shimmering light circled around, and small sparkles trailed off its end like tears. I dropped my gaze back to my desolate surroundings. A cold shiver went through me.

    "Hello?" My voice cracked in that simple phrase I had uttered so many times in my life. The word echoed over the darkness, repeating itself dozens of times. I licked my dry lips, glancing again at the moon. I tried my best at a smile, and it shone back at me, its light never flickering.

    But the silent continued on.

    I clutched my hands together and sank to the damp ground beneath me, the bars as a backrest to my shaking frame. I turned my head to the left, a small flower on the ground, just outside the bars of my cell. I blinked, then, warily, reached my hand out and plucked it from the ground.

    And then it was silent no more.

  4. And here are my prompt entries:

    Items: Ring, arrow, snow.
    Sentence: I was incapable of lying.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This is my first time to enter this... So I hope I'm doing it correctly. Thank you for hosting these challenges! :D

    My prompt suggestions:
    Items: Rock, folding chair, sunglasses.
    Sentence: "Have you ever heard the word quiet?" He hissed, shoving another magazine into his gun.

    As for my entry, I used the items option, and it ended up being exactly 300 words.

    Moonlight and tears.
    I twist them in my scarred and calloused fingers, pulling until they turn tight and hard.
    "Neither should be this way," I whisper as I collect yet more tears from my cheeks and mix them with the moonlight. "Neither should be like this."
    But did I have another choice?
    Grasping one hardened bar, I lift it and fuse it to another with my nimble fingers. The moon looks on, as silent as the tears on my dust-streaked face, and a thousand times sadder.
    This, it seems to say, is not how things should be.
    I whisper, "You'll watch out for me, won't you?"
    My fingers do not still as the moon answers in silence, Of course.
    Quiet again covers the field of still grass. My fingers twist warm tears into cold moonlight, turning the one cold, and the other hard. Minutes pass unhurried until my work is complete. For a brief moment, I sit still, my eyes staring unfocused on the cage now surrounding me.
    The grass hisses around me as the wind picks up, asking why I built myself a cage - but of course, grass cannot talk, can it? I do not answer; I merely remember.
    "I'll come for you. Stay safe," he said.
    What other way to keep a threat away than to put it in a cage?
    What better way to keep a girl safe from the world?
    Bending, I drop more tears upon the moonlight and form it with thin, calm fingers into something beautiful for him to find.
    I throw it between the bars of my cage. The moon slips behind a cloud.
    When it emerges, nothing is to be seen in the field of grass but a small, silver key glimmering beneath the moonlight. I am hidden until he comes.

  7. Story: Kinder Light
    Words: 300
    Prompt: Three Items; picture

    Behind the bars upon my face
    A streak of sadness moonlight trace
    Reflecting into northern night
    But to my cell gives little light

    I look and spy a figure there
    Out in the night
    With auburn hair
    Bringing in a lamp alight
    Brought from the little village square

    Her lantern gives a modest hue
    To objects that I never knew
    But I will never greet them there
    Outside my cell in open air

    Then stopping footsteps do I hear
    Their silence landing on my ear
    “Walk on so silence flies away!
    For silence fills my ev’ry day
    And tortures me upon my stay
    Oh stranger come another way!”

    Then padding, softly padding
    Treads upon the ground
    The silence that I always find no longer to be found
    “I hear your voice” the stranger spoke
    Who from her lantern came a smoke
    “But where art thou, I cannot see
    In night this dark nor any day
    Blind as I’m highly blessed to be
    I cannot find; where is thy stay?”

    And queerness fell upon my mind
    Why such a woman carries light
    No helpfulness of any kind
    In her never-ending night

    “Here in my cell I wait for thee
    Apart from life and never free
    But if I may so dare to ask
    Why in the lantern’s light you bask
    For if you cannot see its glow
    Its light gives you no clearer step
    Then why decide to bring it so
    When from no footfalls you are kept?”

    “This light I bring for other’s sake
    For those who from the darkness take
    Their only comfort, here they wait
    I show them hope, renew their strength”

    And tears streamed ever down my face
    For blessed I was by kinder grace
    This woman with the lantern light
    The one I greeted fateful night


    I decided to have fun and try it out in verse :)

    1. Prompt submissions:

      3 things: watch, violin, button
      Sentence: People say loneliness is a choice, but I say its more than that, it’s a way of life

    2. This is beautiful. Few people tell stories in verse, and even fewer with such clarity when they do so. Well done!

    3. Oh My Goats this is just..... awesome! I love poetry and this is just so cool that you were able to turn the prompts into poetry.
      Really, really cool.


    4. Wow! Thank you both so much! It was challenging but fun. I'd say the hardest thing was finishing and realizing I had to cut out words. When they are part of a rhythmic poem words are a lot more important and it was challenging to figure out where I could cut down the story and other ways. Thank you again! I love to get feedback.

    5. No problem. And, yeah, I can see how that would be tough. I find it hard enough to cut out my favorite words/ phrases in a story, I can only imagine the agony of having to do it in a poem. It would be murder! :D


    6. It's absolutely amazing! Love it!

  8. Thanks for the contest! Here is my entry. I used the three words and it's 186 words.

    I glance in the telescope again. “I never stop being amazed by Saturn. It’s beautiful.” “Ye alway say tha, Henry” Jack chuckles and I chuckle back. Memories wash over me as I find one constellation after another. “You know, Jack, I used to think these planets and stars somehow effected our lives.” I smirk. “I was the most fervent believer in that there ever was.” “Nah, Henry. Others maybe, but ye – ye always was a Christian. I can’t think no different.” I laugh and rip my gaze from the telescope. Moonlight blinds me for a moment. Jack sits beside me smiling. “Oh, that would have been splendid. But it’s not how it works.” I hear a couple cars whiz by on the closest road about a half-mile away. And then again silence. I shake the stillness off before the tears start. “Pass me a chocolate bar, will you?” “Sure.” I look up into the stars and again wonder at the thought that the God who shaped them all would take my life and change it. That’s what I call grace. Too bad she didn’t know it.

    It'll also appear on my blog on Saturday, if that counts. :)

    1. My prompts:

      1. Pan, pencil, cake
      2. I wish life was as easy as it used to be.

  9. Hi, Tessa! Thanks for the contest. I was wondering: my dad doesn’t let me do giveaways at all. Do you think I could do the points by the former system? I’ll understand if that won’t work out, though. Again, thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Awesome!! I love the storyline behind this. :)


  11. Items: Shattered glass, heart, cards
    Sentence: Was what I most desired really worth what it cost me?

  12. My story is 299 words and I used the picture as well as the item prompts.

    It had been two months since I had come to live in my late grandfather’s mansion. Six weeks since I had first seen the girl and the same length of time since I had been able to think of anything else but her.
    Every morning when the last slivers of moonlight were fading I would see her, the mystery girl. Her dull brown hair always hung loose and tangled about her shoulders as she walked barefoot down the lane, swinging a lantern in her hand.
    When I asked Mrs. Swanson, the housekeeper, about the girl a strange look came over her face as she fumbled to come up with an answer. “Don’t bother yourself with her, Mr. Fields.” She had said. “Tis’ only a village girl.”
    And yet she stuck in my mind, unmovable. Thoughts of her seemed to sway my emotions from tears of grief over my grandfather’s death.
    So I made up my mind. I would wait for her and find out for myself about this strange girl who walked the lane in the unholy hours of morn.
    The next morning found me dressed warmly and leaning against the iron bars of the estate’s fence, waiting for her. I didn’t have long to wait. After a quarter of an hour I saw her. Slowly she approached, a slight smile teasing her lips.
    “Hello.” I said.
    She smiled. “I know you.”
    “You do?” I asked, thinking she must know me by my title.
    “Yes, I’ve seen your picture.”
    “Picture?” She withdrew a photograph from her dress pocket and handed it to me. A face quite like mine stared back at me from the picture. I was surprised to find the girl in possession of a photograph of my grandfather as a young man.
    “Where did you get this?”


  13. Three items prompt: flag, news paper, coat.

    Sentence prompt: How had I gotten here? In a moment I would receive what I wanted most and yet lose the one thing I most deserved.

    Picture prompt:



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