Monday, March 16, 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)


A winner has been chosen for the giveaway! This month's winner is ... Elisabeth! Congratulations! Don't forget to send me an email and let me know which MMC prize you would prefer (listed above).

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 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.
Congratulations, Maddie! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

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.
Congratulations, KairaClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

First place winner: 

 “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.”
Congratulations, Lace! 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. His Princess
  2. Mary
  3. FlyGirl

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: puppy, blanket, headphones (submitted by His Princess)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Mary)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    "What have I done to deserve this?" (submitted by Maddie)
*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
post signature


  1. Here's mine. It's 125 words, I believe, and I used the 3 words. Thanks for the contest!

    I fell into bed and crawled under the blankets. It should have been freezing, but all I felt was a numbness. I grabbed my headphones off the dresser, but then thought against it. Crying was better done in quiet. I let my hair fall from my ponytail - the one Ana always said looked good on me. It didn't matter anymore. I had jumped up and down when Mom finally conceded to letting her stay for the weekend. Now I wished she had given me that disapproving look she always did and declared "no" in a huff. Ana was going to bring a puppy. We were going to play on the trampoline and swing oh-so-high on the swings. Were. Not anymore. God, I whispered. Help me.

    1. My prompts:
      1. I tried to smile, but it felt so hard all I did was sigh.
      2. Princess, coffee, horse
      3. (picture 12)

  2. I know I've already asked this, but I didn't get an answer.

    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.

    Thanks for the contest, Tessa!

    1. Hi, Sofia!

      Send me an email and we can try to work something out. =)

      Thanks for participating!


  3. Hey Guys! It’s me `Kaity`. Here is my story “Grace, Hope and Mercy”. It’s 183 words long. I hope you like it.

    “What had I done to deserve this?” I asked myself as I dodged another low growing branch. They had come to my family cottage. They had taken my family. They had ruined me. They were the king’s men.
    I stifled back a cry as I stubbed my toe on a large rock. All I had left was my headphones and an old horse blanket. That was all I had left of my former life. I heard the bray of a dog behind me. I felt as if I was a fox being hunted down by dogs. The same dogs that I had raised from puppies.
    Suddenly I crashed into an old well and felt myself falling down and down and down. Deeper and deeper I fell. I reached out to grab something. Anything. But it was in vain.
    All of a sudden, I hit the ground. I looked around. I was in a deep dark cavern. Huge stalagmites and stalactites were all around me like giant teeth. Out of nowhere a hand grabbed my shoulder.
    “I see you found my home, Mercy.”

    1. Nice one Robin!
      ~Joanna Hawking~

  4. Thank you so much for 3rd place, and for selecting my prompt! I'd never entered anything like this before, so I was really excited when I found out:) Here is my entry. It's 298 words.

    I reached around my father and placed a plate of grilled chicken and mashed potatoes in front of him, smiling when his face lit up.

    “Anna, dear. What have I done to deserve this?" He looked up at me, his eyes shining.

    The smile that had been on my own face began to fade, but I held it in place before it was erased entirely. "It's your birthday, Dad." The surprise in his eyes disheartened me, but I kept on like I hadn't related this news only thirty minutes before. "I wanted you to have your favorite."

    "Well, aren't you a sweet girl." His expression said he was touched. Reaching out, he took my hand and kissed it.

    It should have made me smile, but instead I wanted to cry. How much his mental health had declined since my youth. I wondered if he would even recognize my siblings’ names if I mentioned them, or if he would have to ponder a moment before remembering who they were.

    When he began to eat, I told him that we hadn't said the blessing yet. The expression he wore said he was sure we had; but he prayed with me all the same and didn't object, being the dear that he was. As I watched him eat, I realized that, though he couldn't always remember the conversation we’d had twenty minutes before, at least he still remembered me. I knew that days would pass and his mental health would continue to deteriorate, so I wanted to cherish how he was faring today.

    I sat down in the chair across from him. "To your health on your sixty-fifth birthday." I smiled as I raised my glass, a true smile this time. And he smiled back at me in his gentle way.

    My prompts are:

    1.) Sentence: "All I heard were gunshots and then he slumped against me."
    2.) Items: Necktie, revolver, window
    3.) Picture:

    ~ Maddie

    1. Great job, Maddie! Awesome storyline and this swntence is just beautiful: "The smile that had been on my own face began to fade, but I held it in place before it was erased entirely. "

    2. Oh, I forgot to say that I used the sentence prompt:)

    3. Thank you, Sofia Marie:) You're story is really good, too. I want to know what happened to her friend!

  5. Christopher Columbus! Thank you so much for choosing my entry for first. I am truly honored.

    Story: People Never Look Up
    Words: 300
    Prompt: Picture and Sentence

    “What have I done to deserve this?” Isi interrogated the rock walls. Wandering lost for days was wretched enough, but stumbling underground with no sunlight, no light at all except for the eerie bluish glow of the cave… that was hundreds of degrees worse than wretched.
    “Huh? Answer me!” she yelled in frustration. The cave only gave a resounding echo. Isi turned her eyes downward again, watching her muddy sneakers tread over the rocks and rubble. Sure the cave had appeared magical at first, but her brain must have been too desperate for an adventure that she imagined it. She shivered in her jean shorts and tried her best to keep away from the stream that flowed beside her. She wandered against its current towards the source, for that must lead up and to the light, right? She couldn’t recall if that precious piece of information was true or not.
    She only glared at her feet until her shoulder ran into a musty rope.

    Isi stopped and looked at it, dirty and well worn. She could have imagined thousands of hands pulling at it on some ship ages ago before it was buried in the earth. But angrily she became bored and tread on. Her mind muddled by self-pity, she never once thought that it might lead her out of this place. She never once pictured the glorious sunlight that shone on the stones of the wishing-well at the end of that rope, nor the trees that twisted and tumbled upwards into blue sky. Never once did she think of that.

    And never once did she look up. For people rarely do. And so they continue only in the monotony of what is ahead and behind and around. They wander, lost.

    So simple, yet impossible…why do people never look up…


    Prompt submissions:
    1. Dress, scissors, light bulb
    3. There was nowhere else to turn to…no one else

    1. Wow! So well written! I'd love to here what happens next!
      ~Joanna Hawking~

  6. My prompts:

    Picture prompt:

    Object Prompts: calculator, crochet hook, french doors

    Sentence prompt: I slammed the door of my car. What was I doing here?


  7. My entry is 256 words and I used the sentence prompt.

    Girlish little giggles floated to me on the soft summer breezy where I sat on the porch shelling peas. That would be my granddaughter, Tillie, playing with an earthworm or beetle. I chuckled, it was nice to have little ones in the house again.
    The next minute she came running across the porch , thrusting at me a plump baby hand full of flowers.
    I gasped in mock surprise. “What have I done to deserve this?” I asked setting aside my peas.
    “I pickeded them for you, Gamma, because I love you.”
    I looked down at the little violets plucked from my garden. They were wilted and bruised, the result of having been handled by childish hands. “Well I love you too. And do you know, I think those are just the prettiest flowers anyone has ever given me?”
    Tillie’s face lit up. “Why don’t we see if we can find a vase for these and perhaps a cookie or two and a glass of milk for you.” I said standing and taking her hand.
    Into the kitchen we walked and as I went to get a vase she skipped over to show her flowers to grandpa. He looked away from his newspaper and peered over his glasses at the violets that likely wouldn’t last an hour after I put them in water.
    “Well isn’t Grandma the lucky one to have you to pick her such pretty things.” He tossed me a wink.
    I smiled and turned to the sink. Yes, wasn’t I the lucky one.


  8. Here's my entry! I used the phrase prompt.
    I was so eager for adventure. So ready for a change. I didn't regret what I'd done, I was just scared of what would happen next.
    "What have I done to deserve this?" My voice echoed through the valley. Here I was. A fifteen-year-old me, lost in the mountains of North Carolina. I had no food, no phone, and most importantly, no boat.
    I glanced at the shattered remains of the canoe strewn over the rocks jutting out of the river. It was beyond repair. I had saved up my money so long for that craft. But now it was gone. I had ran away. Ran away from everything I once knew. But I couldn't go back. There were too many memories.
    We were going to make this trip together, my dad and me. It was going to be a survival trip, like the shows you watched on Tv and longed to be a part of. But now it was a mission. The mission- I don't know. But it was a mission nonetheless.
    I slung my backpack over my shoulder, filled with everything I owned. A change of clothing, a notepad and pencil, my mother's Bible, and most importantly, my father's rifle. I had to keep moving, I couldn't afford to stop. Or could I? I wasn't going anywhere in particular, just away. But I had to keep moving. If I didn't, the memories would come back. I checked to make sure that my knife and hatchet were still securely hooked to my belt, and kept walking.
    ~Joanna Hawking~


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